Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Alaska vote counting
It was my privilege to work on the State Review Board for the recent election. It has been reported to be mundane and boring, but it is far from boring. There remain a strong sense of what is at stake even at the most tedious moment.

State must address three issues
There are three old issues covered with moss that should be addressed by the state of Alaska:

Rebates in order
Why is the price of gasoline and heating oil so high in Alaska? Most of the retailers say it's because they "bought their supply when the price was high." This doesn't really flush. In Sitka, the price goes up almost immediately, as the price of crude oil goes up, but almost never comes down. The price of Alaska crude is way down around $40 per gallon, and Sitkans are still paying more than $3.60 per gallon for gasoline.

UAS faculty upset about dean's firing
The sudden dismissal of a popular dean at the University of Alaska Southeast has led to some faculty members circulating a petition calling for the school's chancellor and provost to be replaced.

Juneau kidnapping suspect arrested
Police in Washington arrested a Juneau man Monday on charges of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl last week.

Juneau replays its role in national defense tests
A powerful radar located at Juneau's Lena Point helped the Missile Defense Agency intercept a test missile fired from the state's Kodiak Launch Complex on Friday, and hit it with a "kill vehicle" shot from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

City arboretum needs $171,000 to cover losses
The Jensen-Olson Arboretum and the $2 million endowment its previous owner willed to the city for its upkeep has become a bit of a white elephant.

Photo: Saluting Juneau soldiers
Sgt. Edward Bautista Antonio receives a hug from his mother, Eduviges B. Antonio, on Sunday during a Freedom Salute Ceremony at the National Guard Armory. The ceremony honored seven National Guard soldiers who completed their deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan. The seven are Antonio, Ssg. Jason Baker, Ssg. Jesse Budke, Spc. Young Nguyen, Sgt. Paul Demmert, Spc. Joshua Reierson and Ssg. James Zuelow. Budke, Demmert and Zuelow also were recognized for finishing their second deployment. Antonio served as a medic in Balad, Iraq.

Photo: Juneau artists honored
Christine Crooks, right, and Dan Deroux are introduced by Annie Calkins, vice chairwoman of the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, during a Governor's Awards for the Arts & Humanities reception Monday at the Hangar Ballroom. The awards were given two weeks ago in Anchorage. Deroux won an Individual Artist Award and Crooks was given the Arts Education Award. Rosita Worl was given the Distinguished Services to the Humanities Award. All three were to be recognized by Mayor Bruce Botelho during the Juneau Assembly meeting.

Photo: Expecting a crowd
Diane Diekmann, house steward for the Governor's Mansion, prepares for the Governor's Open House by setting up trays of treats Monday in the dining room. Doors open to the public at 3 p.m. today for the annual open house.

Photo: Measuring up
Kerry Lear helps his son, Jared, 11, find skis Sunday that he can use for classic skiing lessons during the 4-H sign-up and equipment rental at Riverbend Elementary School. Starting Jan. 11, the 4-H Nordic Ski Club will offer 10 weeks of ski lessons for children in kindergarten through 12th grade. The first lesson will be on ski waxing at Riverbend.

Photo: Floyd Dryden goes on the air
Floyd Dryden Middle School student Ashlynn Kay shoots video Friday during a basketball game at the school's gym. More than 40 Floyd Dryden students took turns shooting video of basketball games Friday during the Fast Break Tournament. The school received a donation of analog video equipment from KTOO when the station switched to digital equipment. The school used the equipment to create a television studio, according Alan Degener, a technology teacher at Floyd Dryden.

Around Town
Today

Around Town
Today

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

Correction
Ashlynn Kay's name was misspelled in a photo caption on Page A2 of Monday's Juneau Empire.

Police & Fire
The Juneau police blotter was not available by the Empire's Sunday deadline. Juneau fire officials and state troopers did not report any incidents in the Juneau area.

My turn: All industries are not the same
As I often do, I was spouting off about just how shortsighted, how downright insane it was to consider building North America's largest open pit mine in Bristol Bay. My neighbor, a thoughtful man, an avid hunter and fisherman, who often indulges my rants, was polite and waited until I was done.

Alaska editorial: Answers sought for high fuel costs
In Ketchikan, throughout Southeast and all over Alaska, residents wonder why we pay so much for gasoline.

Outside editorial: A brighter bailout?
The prospect of a hanging for the U.S. auto industry has at last concentrated some minds on Capitol Hill. For weeks, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has been insisting that a bailout come from the Treasury Department's Troubled Assets Relief Program, not a $25 billion fund earmarked for fuel-efficiency improvements as President Bush insisted. Now, though, she has relented, apparently recognizing that Detroit can't build a new generation of cars if it's out of business. As a result, congressional leaders and the White House have agreed in principle to use roughly $15 billion of the fuel-efficiency money to keep General Motors and Chrysler alive until March 31 - by which time a new Congress and a new president can fashion a permanent solution.

Outside editorial: A war the U.S. must fight, win
Conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan will demand President Obama's attention as soon as he takes office, but he also must make time for the war on our border, where the Mexican government is fighting narcotics traffickers. Drug violence has claimed more than 6,800 lives in Mexico in the last two years, and has seeped into scores of U.S. cities that are marketplaces for illegal drugs. This war is as ugly as the others, with beheadings, kidnappings and urban shootouts that threaten the stability of Mexico and the national security of the United States.

Finding the strength to look away
Remember when your high school teachers tried to give their lessons more urgency by repeating the old adage that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it? Well, those days are over, or at least they should be. That's because in today's hyper-connected world, oblivion and forgetting are no longer options. The much greater danger today is our postmodern penchant to watch, replay, fixate and fetishize history even as it's happening.

Children of the Holocaust must learn to live with truth
She says the only Jew she knew was Jesus. There were no Jews around her in Bad Toetz, the West German village where she was born. No one talked about them. No one spoke about where they had gone or the war in which they disappeared, the war in which, she was told, her father died.

A pre-nup for the West Wing
To judge by the moans coming from Democratic lobbyists eager to serve in the next administration, Barack Obama's transition has struck a nerve with its new rules regarding conflicts of interest. But if the next president really wants to transform the culture of Washington, he'll go further and close down another revolving door: the ability of top aides to cash in by peddling tales of what they saw.

Winter storm watch issued in Juneau
JUNEAU - The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch on Sunday for this evening through Tuesday afternoon, saying up to a foot of snow could fall on the city.

Snow predicted for northern Panhandle
JUNEAU - The National Weather Service is warning northern Panhandle communities to brace for a snow dump.

Sport fisherman appointed to board
JUNEAU - Gov. Sarah Palin on Friday appointed Karl Johnstone, a retired judge and sport fisherman, to the Board of Fisheries.

Blasting for parking garage to begin
JUNEAU - Southeast Earthmovers will begin blasting at the downtown parking garage and transit center site on or about Tuesday. There will be workers with flags, temporary road closures, detour and blasting signs.

Sitka hosts events on Safe Routes To School
SITKA - Steve Soenksen, the Alaska Safe Routes To School coordinator, will be in Sitka for two informational meetings Thursday and Friday.

Palin appoints Carey to Ketchikan bench
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage attorney has been appointed as a Superior Court judge in Ketchikan.

Native group cancels statehood event
JUNEAU - First Alaskans Institute canceled today's discussion series on Alaska Native perspectives of statehood, due to a storm warning.

Man to go on trial for toddler death
FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks man charged with second-degree murder in the death of his former girlfriend's toddler son is opting for a trial instead of entering a plea.

FCC officials will address digital TV
JUNEAU - Two top officials of the Federal Communications Commission will be in Juneau Thursday to answer questions about the upcoming digital television transition. KTOO-TV will host a brown bag lunch for viewers who have questions at 12:15 p.m. Thursday at KTOO Studio, 360 Egan Drive.

Man charged with murder in shooting
ANCHORAGE - A 40-year-old Anchorage man died after being shot several times.

Three dogs killed in Anchorage home fire
ANCHORAGE - A fire at an east Anchorage home injured one person and killed three dogs.

'Mutes down Bears 7-1
There was a big difference between the Crimson Bears' 7-1 loss against the Lathrop Malemutes Sunday afternoon and their 8-0 shutout loss Saturday night. That's right, the Juneau boys scored their first goal as full-fledged members of the 4A Mid-Alaska Conference.

Begich doesn't want to see Stevens jailed
WASHINGTON - Alaska's incoming senator says his convicted predecessor, Sen. Ted Stevens, shouldn't be sent to jail.

Alaska issues on radar of new administration
With President-elect Barack Obama soon to be sworn in, lobbying is under way in the nation's capital on numerous Alaska issues, including Arctic oil and gas exploration, funding for rural development and the environment.

Economists: Alaska still top fishing state
ANCHORAGE - Alaska continues to hold its own as the nation's No. 1 fishing state, with salmon fisheries providing the most jobs. However, employment in the crab fishery has dropped substantially in part because that fishery was privatized, state economists say.

Despite record lows, Alaska gas prices still up
A national survey of gasoline prices in cities nationwide has found that Anchorage has the highest average price.

Military launches building boom
Fairbanks is experiencing a building boom of sorts.

Palin picks former police chief for Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board
ANCHORAGE - The job once offered by Gov. Sarah Palin to her dismissed Public Safety commissioner will be filled by a former Soldotna police chief.

Fairbanks residents upset about cell tower
FAIRBANKS - A group of Fairbanks residents is fighting a plan to build a cell phone tower in their neighborhood.

Company eyes Nikiski for wind energy
KENAI - A New York company is planning to bring wind power to Nikiski.

This Day in History
In Alaska

Borough considers wood stove trade-in program
FAIRBANKS - The Fairbanks North Star Borough addressed carbon monoxide pollution problems with an inspection and maintenance program for cars and trucks.

AFN to hold convention next year in Anchorage
FAIRBANKS - The Alaska Federation of Natives has decided to forgo Fairbanks next year and hold its annual convention in Anchorage.

Photos: Operation Santa Claus
Right, Gov. Sarah Palin helps Santa pass out gifts Saturday during Operation Santa Claus in Kivalina.

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