Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Give this season
Once again, it is that very important time of year that we avow our thanks that we live in Juneau and enjoy the many blessings our community affords. One way to express our gratitude is to be aware of those who are in need. As the holidays unfold and the temperatures drop to winter solstice levels, we should reflect on and give support to the social service agencies under the umbrella of our United Way.

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.

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.

Suspicious powder sparks evacuation
Authorities evacuated a state office building at 240 Main St. in downtown Juneau on Tuesday evening, after a clerk in the third-floor mail room opened a letter addressed to the governor's office containing white powder.

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.

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.

Redfern barge plan for Taku River under review
State permitters this month are reviewing Redfern Resources Ltd.'s revised plan to haul mine supplies and ore on the Taku River year round.

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.

Palin welcomes Juneau to Governor's Mansion
Thrilled to live in a city and state small enough where people can get to know their governor personally, Juneau residents and visitors lined up Tuesday for the annual governor's open house.

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.

Economy necessitates changes at Empire
Starting with today's newspaper, Juneau Empire readers will begin to see a series of changes that will be gradually introduced to print editions in the next few weeks.

Around Town
Today

Weyhrauch wants 9th Circuit Court to overturn panel
ANCHORAGE - Former Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch is asking the full 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a decision which restored key evidence in his corruption trial.

Crews working to repair power lines through night
Alaska Electric Light & Power Co. reported sporadic power outages, particularly in the Mendenhall Valley and out the road as a result of snow and fallen trees from the storm that dumped up to 19 inches on parts of Juneau through Tuesday morning.

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.

Photo: Moving snow
City employee Steven Hay works to clear sidewalks with a snow blower Tuesday morning along Seward Street after a storm left nearly a foot of wet snow.

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

Around Town
Today

David 'Jake' Ramsay
Former Juneau resident David "Jake" Ramsay died Dec. 3, 2008, at his home in Clinton, Wash. He was 68.

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.

My turn: Political advice from the long perspective
During these times of political and financial turmoil, many people have voiced their opinions about the dire condition of our great nation.

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.

Outside editorial: Sick society needs overhaul of health care
Anyone who doesn't believe that the nation's health-care system has become a dysfunctional mess should read the report issued last week on "America's Health Rankings." We failed our physical exam, again, and we're not getting better.

In the shadow of self-reliance
The parking lots at Juneau's Fred Meyer and Wal-Mart were nearly full at 5 o'clock the morning after Thanksgiving. The scene was the same all over the country as shoppers eagerly sought to take advantage of below-basement bargain prices. Is it greed or economic survival that's responding to the nation's economic dive toward depression?

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.

Alaska Air Group announces changes
SEATTLE - The parent of Alaska Airlines has announced several changes in its executive ranks, including a new president for the carrier.

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

Plea deal delayed for Alaska woman
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Mesa County prosecutors want to talk with the parents of an Alaska woman accused of killing her newborn baby before offering her a plea agreement.

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.

Kelly retains House seat by four votes
FAIRBANKS - State Rep. Mike Kelly has retained his seat by four votes after a recount.

Stranded technicians rescued near Kodiak
KODIAK - Four technicians stranded on Sheratin Mountain on Kodiak Island have been rescued.

Plans already under way for 2010 Census
KENAI - State and federal officials are already gearing up for the 2010 U.S. Census, even though it is a couple of years away.

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.

Empire to enhance its focus on Juneau athletics
To Juneau's sports fans, athletes and interest-obligated parents:

Falling oil prices will limit state spending
Plunging oil prices may have Alaska looking at a bare-bones state budget for next year, the Palin administration said Tuesday.

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.

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.

First Exxon payments reach banks
ANCHORAGE - Plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez lawsuit are starting to receive their settlement money, nearly 20 years after the tanker spilled 11 million gallons of crude into Prince William Sound.

This Day in History
In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

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.

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

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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