Governor's Mansion has been closed
In response to the recent letter, "Palins can take a lesson from Obamas," I would like to remind readers that the Governor's Mansion has been closed for substantial periods of time for a massive plumbing project.

Parking garage is nonsense
On the one hand, Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho and others are petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency to take immediate action to curb greenhouse gases.

Juneau residents sign their support for McPhetres Hall
Spending an afternoon defacing a church won't win you many fans in this life or the next, but Sunday was an exception.

Businesses: Black Friday brisk, but not overwhelming
There's no way around conspicuous consumption when it involves carting a 42-inch flat screen television across the Wal-Mart parking lot.

State gas tax holiday has no clear winners
Alaskans are no longer paying a state gas tax, but whether that means they're paying less for their gas is unclear.

Photo: Holiday lights brighten intersection
Car lights blur in a time exposure as the Auke Bay Volunteer Fire Association turns on the new holiday lights on "the tree at the triangle" Sunday at the intersection of Glacier Highway and the Back Loop Road. Alaska Electric Light & Power and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers helped hang the lights.

Remembering a champion
Being dubbed a hero is no modest accomplishment, and for the late Emma G. Widmark, of Juneau, the adjective seems quite fitting.

Around Town

Supporters of state gas reserves tax try again
Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell has certified an initiative petition seeking to establish a natural gas reserves tax for Alaska.

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials and state police reported:

Robber asks store clerks for change, grabs money
Juneau Police said a man robbed two local businesses by asking a clerk for change and then stealing money from their hands.

Photo: Unique gifts at Public Market
Krystle DeCourcey works on a metal piece Saturday at her booth at the 25th annual Public Market at Centennial Hall. DeCourcey's booth, Bifrost Blacksmiting, specializes in blacksmith articles made in a traditional way. The Public Market, located at Centennial Hall and the Juneau Arts & Culture Center, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

Around Town

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials and state police reported:

Leslie Bruce Chilton
Longtime Juneau resident Leslie Bruce Chilton died Nov. 23, 2008, in Juneau. He was 58.

Rosalee Taylor Walker
Former longtime Juneau resident Rosalee Taylor Walker died Nov. 27, 2008, in Baltimore, Md.

My turn: Public records in real time
Alaska has a long and proud tradition of open government and citizen access to the state's public records. "Unless specifically provided otherwise, the public records of all public agencies are open to inspection by the public under reasonable rules during regular office hours." Since this law was first enacted in 1962, every governor and administration has fulfilled its requirements, usually without any publicity or hint of controversy.

Stressed parents cry out for help
ALEONARD PITTS JR.t one level, it sounds like a very bad joke. In September, a safe haven law took effect in the state of Nebraska allowing parents to leave their children at hospitals without fear of prosecution. This, as a means of saving the lives of unwanted newborns who would otherwise be left in garbage heaps and motel rooms or simply murdered outright. Nebraska was the last state in the union to pass such a law, and unlike the other 49 states, it did not limit the ages of children that could be legally abandoned.

Outside editorial: A Fannie-Freddie fix
It looks like Lawrence Summers will be the economic ideas man inside the Obama White House.

Outside editorial: Environmental rules erased at midnight hour
This editorial appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

An American challenge: Stop pigging out
Sure, there probably was some giving of thanks, but that's not what anyone remembers. What we remember is the ugly, vicious, annual Thanksgiving eating contests between me and my cousins. The kind that taught me, and perhaps now the scientific community, that if you consume enough calories, you will actually black out just like you're drunk. Drunk on pie.

Editorial: Gratitude and the good life
As children, our habits of giving thanks likely were cultivated by an attentive parent or by a Sunday school teacher. We were given some crayons and asked to show our gratitude in picture form. We proved it by drawing awkwardly shaped pets, stick-figure families and unappetizing Thanksgiving dishes. Still, Mom recognized the value in our elementary expressions of thanks, and the crinkled paper ended up on the fridge.

Toe Toon
This week's Toe Toon.

Finding tracks on the shores of Mendenhall
Our nonexistent summer season is past, finally. There was enough snow and frost on the ground near the Mendenhall Glacier to make good conditions for finding animal tracks. A recent walk along the shores of Mendenhall Lake was entertaining in that way.

Oil price may be leading to poor air quality
FAIRBANKS - Established by people like gold miners who had other things on their minds, many Alaska cities, towns, and villages are in places with hidden issues.

Skiers plan to slalom around new fees
When Bill Getty helped organize a ski trip for fellow MBA students at Northwestern University, he told them to leave one thing behind - their skis.

Photo: Winter catch
John Fossum, right, pulls out a Kokanee salmon while fishing buddy, Matt Brahm, looks on as the men were ice fishing Nov. 25 on the Snake River Inlet of Dillon Reservoir near Dillon, Colo. The ice was approximately six inches thick where the men were sitting, just a few feet from the shoreline.

Idaho: Wolves hitting Lolo cow elk hard
Idaho Fish and Game biologists have established that wolves are now the primary cause of death of radio-collared cow elk in the Lolo hunting zone, where cow elk numbers are projected to be shrinking by 13 percent per year.

Alaska Pacific Bank promotes Jones
JUNEAU - Alaska Pacific Bancshares Inc. President and CEO Craig E. Dahl announced that Megan Jones has been promoted from mortgage loan processor and closer to mortgage loan officer.

Distress call leads to long distance rescue
ANCHORAGE - A hiker in the Brooks Range was rescued after making a long distance distress call with his GPS unit.

Petroleum facility resumes operations
ANCHORAGE - A Whittier facility has resumed fuel transfer operations after being ordered to temporarily shut down.

Minor earthquake felt in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS - A minor earthquake was felt in Fairbanks just after 1 p.m. Friday.

Halibut limits could be lowest in 25 years
KETCHIKAN - Southeast Alaska's commercial fishing fleets face what could be the lowest catch limit for halibut in a quarter-century.

Church dispute ends up in court
FAIRBANKS - A dispute at a Baptist church in Fairbanks between the pastor, church leaders and members of the congregation has ended up in court.

Fairbanks man helps catch car thief
FAIRBANKS - Fairbanks police say a 75-year-old man helped catch a man who stole his friend's car.

Soldotna post office gets national listing
SOLDOTNA - The original Soldotna Post Office has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Coast Guard helps sponsor Santa visits
KODIAK - Santa Claus will be making appearances in Native villages on Kodiak Island next week, courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Planning Commission and Hospital Board get appointments
JUNEAU - At a special meeting Tuesday, the Juneau Assembly accepted the committee recommendations for eight appointments to the hospital and planning boards.

Ketchikan hires new economic manager
KETCHIKAN - A Montana woman has been hired as the economic development manager for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.

Chicks trip Geezers
Youth triumphed over experience Saturday night during the annual Chicks versus Geezers hockey match at Juneau's Treadwell Arena. The Chicks relied on speed, stamina and a deep bench on their way to an easy 7-2 victory. The Chicks now lead the series against the Geezers 4-1.

Aztecs take '08 Shootout crown
ANCHORAGE - D.J. Gay shot San Diego State to the title of the Great Alaska Shootout.

Palin stumps for senator in Georgia runoff
Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss enlisted Sarah Palin to rally conservatives while Democratic challenger Jim Martin pushed to activate black voters, as they grappled for advantage in a Tuesday runoff that will shape Democrats' hold on power in Washington.

Trap set near home snares, kills dog
ANCHORAGE - One minute a family dog named Grizzly was playing in front of the house, the next he was shrieking and thrashing wildly, a trap locked in a death grip around his head, his face distorted by the pressure and pain.

Shell mulls appealing federal court ruling
FAIRBANKS - The head of Shell Alaska says the company may appeal a recent federal court ruling that has delayed its plans to drill exploratory wells in the Beaufort Sea next year.

Alaska ponders life after Stevens
What happens to Alaska's notorious dependence on federal spending now that Ted Stevens' 40-year Senate career has come to an end?

Fort Yukon youth coach sentenced in teen sex case
FAIRBANKS - A youth basketball coach in Fort Yukon was sentenced to three years in prison for having sex with one of his 13-year-old players.

Survey: Job options top reason for rural flight
The energy crisis in rural Alaska partly explains why people are leaving villages for larger communities, but it's not among the top three reasons, according to the preliminary results of a new survey conducted by First Alaskans Institute.

Officers who fired weapons in Soldotna shooting named
ANCHORAGE - Alaska authorities have released the names of three state troopers involved in the fatal shooting of a fired hospital worker who returned to the facility with two weapons and killed an ex-supervisor.

Interior artists depict Alaska experiences
In a culture seemingly obsessed with TV, Tivo and video games, it can be refreshing to note there are some people and some organizations that overlook such obsessions and strive to promote artistic expression.

This Day in History
In the nation

Alaska firefighters pay tribute to battalion chief
FAIRBANKS - Firefighters from across Alaska have paid tribute to Battalion Chief Phil Rounds who died earlier this month after a 10-year battle with throat and lung cancer.

Bear cub receives some help from workers at Peak Oilfield Service
KENAI - While most people haven't seen many bears since the snow started to fly, Peak Oilfield Service Co. workers in Beluga were seeing too much of one little bruin earlier this month, so they decided to call for help.

This Day in History
In Alaska

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