Monday, December 13, 2010

New tax preparation oversight should benefit taxpayers Letter to the editor
The Internal Revenue Service recently launched an unprecedented effort to provide some oversight over the tax preparation industry, including Alaska's 1,600 tax preparers.

One hoping for better from Murkowski on DADT Letter to the editor
Well, Sen. Lisa Murkowski is certainly wasting no time in disappointing those many independents and Democrats who voted for her in the hope she would be a different senator than she has been so far. She has said that she is in favor of repealing the ridiculous "don't ask, don't tell" policy - which effectively bars gays and lesbians from serving in the military, and hurts military preparedness (for instance, the Army recently had to discharge an Arab linguist who acknowledged that he was gay, even though the Army is woefully short of such expertise). Yet when push came to shove, Murkowski voted not to cut off debate on a bill that would repeal the policy, thus effectively killing the bill.

Photos: When the snow and ice are good, Juneauites drop everything else

Southeast students match minds in Robot Jamboree
Cheerleaders lined the sidelines, screaming parents filled the seats and striped-shirted referees stood with whistles at the ready in one of the most combative sporting events of the year Saturday at Centennial Hall.

USCG Chiefs treat senior citizens to holiday feast
"I think it is wonderful to get all the elders together like this," said Tlingit elder Rosa Miller, 84, as she straightened her homemade Santa hat.

Court rejects Miller's election challenge
A state judge has rejected losing Senate candidate Joe Miller's attempt to overturn Sen. Lisa Murkowski's write-in re-election victory, and Friday granted the Division of Election's request for dismissal of Miller's challenge.

Murkowski seeks to lift injunction
Following Sen. Lisa's sweeping victory Friday against challenger Joe Miller's attempt to block certification of her election, Murkowski's attorneys went to federal court to try to get the federal injunction lifted.

Photo: Triple dog day
Alli Rosen walks a trifecta of canine spirit with Foster, Maggie Mayhem and Oso during the weekend snow at Mendenhall Visitor's Center.

New education commissioner to live in Juneau
New education commissioner Michael Hanley will live in Juneau, where most Department of Education and Early Development staff are located, the department announced Friday.

University of Alaska adopts new tuition rates
Tuition at the University of Alaska Southeast will increase seven percent in 2012, the University of Alaska Board of Regents decided Friday. That will follow an already planned increase for the year beginning in the fall of 2011.

Photo: Tree tiedown
Bob, Dinah, Gypsy and Jamison Paul lash the family Christmas tree to the top of their vehicle during Saturday's snow fall.

Police & Fire
This report contains information provided to the Empire from law enforcement agencies. This report includes arrest and citation information, not conviction information. Anyone listed in this report is presumed innocent.

Nugget Falls trail nears completion
The new trail at Nugget Falls has had a long journey to completion, but is almost there with a spring finish in sight.

Photos: 'Nutcracker' features local, outside talent
Juneau Dance Unlimited held performances of the "Nutcracker" this weekend at the Juneau-Douglas High School auditorium.

Police & Fire
This report contains information provided to the Empire from law enforcement agencies. This report includes arrest and citation information, not conviction information. Anyone listed in this report is presumed innocent.

Photo: Fairy amazing
California Ballet Company Corps de Ballet dancer Sarah Jones reads to future ballerinas Saturday during the Sugar Plum Fairy luncheon at the Juneau Arts and Cultural Center as part of the "Nutcracker" ballet presented by Juneau's Dance Unlimited. The final "Nutcracker" performance is at 2 p.m. today at the Juneau-Douglas High School auditorium.

Photo: Tip off time at TMHS
Thunder Mountain High School students cheer their boys varsity basketball team on against Sitka in their opening game of the season Friday.

Lighting the first bulb
December is the month with the Christmas holiday. I enjoy the month for a multitude of reasons.

Senior menu
Monday, Dec. 13

90th birthday celebration will be held
All friends and relatives of Dorothy Hildre are invited to help celebrate her 90th birthday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 18 at the Extended Stay Deluxe, 1800 Shell Simmons Dr., Juneau.

Hoonah family in need of supplies
The Gray family of Hoonah, who lost their home, belongings and pets in a Dec. 5 fire, are in need of donations. Immediate needs include monetary contributions, bed and bath amenities, clothing and food.

Skating club recital today
The Juneau Skating Club will hold its recital at 2:30 p.m. today at the Treadwell Ice Arena. Admission is free and attendees are welcome to participate in a dessert auction with proceeds to benefit the club.

Advent Luncheon open to community
The Juneau Cooperative Church Council welcomes the community to an Advent Luncheon from noon to 1 p.m. on Dec. 16 at St. Ann's Parish Hall downtown. Homemade soups, breads and cookies will be served along with a program of music and reflections on this season of anticipation. A suggested donation of $5 will go to the Glory Hole. For more information, please call 789-4093.

Widowed Person Program to hold holiday dinner
The Widowed Persons Program would like to announce that our annual Holiday Dinner will be held on Dec. 15. The group will meet at 5:30 p.m. in the Nugget Room at the Baranof Hotel. All widows and widowers are invited to join us for this Holiday event. Please RSVP by Dec. 13 to Sue at 586-6424.

Photo: Writing right
Carrie Enge, left, who heads English and writing for the University of Alaska Southeast Learning Center, presents a certificate of writing excellence to Alberto Cabrera, student in Ernestine Hayes's composition class. Cabrera's essay was chosen for inclusion in a special anthology to be made available to upcoming students.

Photo: Christmas boxes
Girl Scout Brownie Troop 4030 collected donations and funds to fill shoeboxes

Recognitions
Victoria Roldan of Bartlett Regional Hospital was awarded the Outstanding Nurse of the Year in the General Medical/Surgical category from the Alaska Chapter of the March of Dimes. There were 110 nominees from across the state and 23 winners.

Photo: A Hecla helping hand
Ron Plantz, Human Resources and Community Relations Manager for Hecla Greens Creek Mining presents a $2,000 check to the Juneau Dance Unlimited "Nutcracker" cast to help support the 2010 production of the ballet.

Volunteer Opportunity of the Week
Organization: Southeast Alaska Food Bank

Pets of the week
SMOKEY

Conquering the crazy challenge
I did a crazy thing last month. I wrote a novel in a month. Somebody's gotta do it, right?

Title
University of Alaska Southeast student student Lora Martin obtained donations for Operation Christmas Child 2010 through UAS International Education Week events held Nov. 15-19. From a display she set up at the campus coffee shop, Spike's, Martin was able to fill 17 shoeboxes with children's toys and items. With the support of the UAS Global Connections club, postage was paid to ship the boxes. Most boxes are headed to Haiti this year.

Carrier, Feilmeier wed
Laurel Carrier and Thomas J. Feilmeier were married Nov. 13, 2010 at the Hyatt Tamaya Resort near Albuquerque, N.M.

Carson, Guertin engaged
Chad Guertin and Hilarie Carson have been engaged to be married.

Thanks from the Juneau Raptor Center
The Juneau Raptor Center is very grateful to everyone that helped us during our recent raffle and participation in this year's Public Market.

In the midst of...
Holidays can be such a mixed bag. We cannot assume what know other people are experiencing. As for me, my significant other of two years, Chuck Bishop, recently died after suffering from a severe stroke for three weeks. So in the midst of planning Advent and Christmas services, personal holiday tasks, etc., I'm walking the path of grief. Before his death on Dec. 2, I thought of how this article would be about how even the smallest things, synchronicities and my faith were helping me in the midst of Chuck's health crisis. Now with a new depth and dimension, I can still oddly give thanks for these blessings.

Thank you for supporting Operation Christmas Child
Thank you to Juneau and several Southeast Alaska communities for their generous donations of gift filled shoe boxes to needy children around the world, many of whom have never received a gift in their life.

Penn's pictures praised
I ran into Juneau Empire photographer Michael Penn at a party recently and told him there was a photo of his that I liked a lot but couldn't remember which one. He replied, "The one with the jumping fish? That one got a lot of attention." Yes, that was it (front page, Oct. 7). What an excellent shot. A lot is going on there and it is all perfectly composed.

Thanks for participating in holiday program
The Widowed Persons Program wishes to thank Jamie Mclean, private counselor and Debbie Sis, Healing Touch practitioner for their participation again this year in our "Grief, Loss & The Holidays" public program in November. Their presentation offered many useful suggestions for families who have lost a loved one through death to navigate through this coming holiday season. Jamie and Debbie recommended ways to create new traditions that pay tribute to the memory of their loved one. We also want to thank the Widowed Persons Program members for their wonderful support and assistance in helping with room decorations, providing food and ensuring that all participants felt welcome at this special public program.

Thanks for help during a tough time
We would like to thank those who donated and helped with our travel to Sitka and for your phone calls and prayers in the passing of our "Uncle Buddy" (Paul S. Chulik Sr.) on Nov. 2, 2010: Lillian Parduhn, Delores Starr, cousin Catrina Mitchell, Sharon Zuboff, Diane M., Albert Howard, Dave Welch and Andy Lee. Also a special thank you to our dear Auntie Selina Everson for once again being there with us at Sitka and to Albert Kookesh for coming over. Thanks to the people of Angoon and to those at Sitka for all the food they brought over to our Antie isabel's home during our stay at Sitka. If we missed anyone, please forgive us.

FYI
Recent births at Bartlett Regional Hospital:

George Cantillon
George "Bud" Cantillon, longtime Juneau resident, died at his home in Auke Bay on Nov. 23, 2010.

Barbara Ann Dyson
Barbara Ann Dyson of Jefferson Hills, Penn. died Dec. 9, 2010. She was 73.

Sharon Anne Marie Beazley
Sharon Anne Marie Beazley died Dec. 8, 2010, in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

TOE Cartoon

Outside editorial: What to do about WikiLeaks
The following editorial first appeared in the Los Angeles Times:

Democrats should embrace Obama's tax compromise
The following editorial first appeared in the Chicago Tribune:

Obama gets tough, with liberals
For months, anxious Democrats have been asking why President Barack Obama couldn't be more like Bill Clinton, their last successful president. Now Obama has gone and done something Clintonian by striking a compromise with Republicans to extend high-income tax cuts, and his own party's liberals are furiously accusing him of betraying their ideals.

The McVictim syndrome could kill us
Call it the McVictim syndrome. Too many pundits, public health experts and politicians are working overtime to find scapegoats for America's obesity epidemic.

Legere's influence felt throughout Alaska media
This past Friday, I had the pleasure of attending a reception at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. While I always enjoy going to this small but charming repository of our community's rich history, this was an extra-special visit given the reasons I was there of the event. This was a party to celebrate the induction of Bill Legere, the General Manager of Capital Community Broadcasting, into the Alaska Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

My Turn: ACES needs to be rewritten to protect Alaska's revenue stream
Former president of Conoco Philips Alaska, Kevin Meyer, recently told the Alaska Journal of Commerce the reduction in the flow of oil through the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, or TAPS, would reach a critical point by 2015. Because of ice and wax build up that will occur in the line at its current pumping capacity, TAPS as presently configured cannot continuously pump oil when the flow declines below 300,000 barrels per day. Alyeska's figures show that this point will be reached in 2018-2020 if nothing is done to increase the pumping capacity of TAPS.

Ice Alaska gets $75,000 to house contest carvers
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the money came from leftover funds that had already been designated toward "tourism, community development and an ice park."

City library's oldest branch closes
ANCHORAGE - The oldest branch in the Anchorage library system has closed.

Asphalt fire sends plume of smoke over Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - The massive plume of smoke over Anchorage Thursday evening was caused by a fire in an asphalt mix.

Activist pushes for more Exxon oil cleanup money
ANCHORAGE - Environmental activist Rick Steiner is pushing a federal judge to force Exxon Mobil Corp. to pay more for cleaning up oil that persists from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.

$1M in funding considered for Alaska landfill
FAIRBANKS - More than $1 million in new funding is being considered by the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly for the next phase in a landfill project to comply with state and federal regulations.

Palin plans book signing in Alaska
JUNEAU - Sarah Palin's returning home to Alaska for a book signing.

Coast Guard rescues overdue hunter near Juneau
The Coast Guard rescued an overdue hunter off Lincoln Island while assisting in a search with Alaska State Troopers 15 miles northwest of Juneau at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, according to a release from the Coast Guard.

Anchorage newspaper driver accused of DUI
ANCHORAGE - A newspaper delivery driver faces a drunken driving charge in Anchorage.

State fines company for Chena River crane collapse
FAIRBANKS - The Alaska Department of Law has proposed a $2,250 fine for the company operating a crane that fell into the Chena River in June.

Judge hears request to block abortion notification
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage Superior Court judge is expected to rule by early next week on a lawsuit seeking to block the parental notification law approved by voters in August.

Anchorage mayor wants family-leave law repealed
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan is asking the Legislature to repeal Alaska's family and medical leave law.

State explores expanding airport hours in Bethel
BETHEL - The state Department of Transportation is exploring the option of expanding the operational hours at the Bethel airport to all-hours.

State biologists kill 12 Port Heiden wolves
ANCHORAGE - State wildlife biologists have gunned down 12 wolves outside an Alaska village where pets were snatched and people were worried about the safety of residents.

Barton appointed to Mental Health Trust Board
Gov. Sean Parnell has appointed Mike Barton of Juneau to the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority Board of Trustees.

Roughed up at Roughhouse
The only Christmas spirit inside Marlintini's ropes Friday night were the red blinking Santa Claus outfits of ring girls Stephanie Cave and Ciara Meek; when they left the canvas, all that remained was stand up, knock down brawls on a card that was hailed as one of Roughhouse Boxing's best.

Thunder Mountain places two at state
The Thunder Mountain wrestling program continued to make strides this weekend as the Falcons placed two grapplers out of a possible four in Wasilla at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska 2010 4A State Wrestling Championships.

Sitka shoots down Falcons
If there are still lessons to be taught to the inexperienced Thunder Mountain boys' basketball team, then Saturday night's 76-56 loss certainly was a learning experience.

Lehnhart appreciates the dirty work in net, science field
Juneau-Douglas senior right defenseman Taylor Lehnhart is a key component of the Crimson Bears' back line of defense, but is probably best known for his job as the goalkeeper for the reigning state champion boys' soccer team.

Bears struggle at home against Malemutes
In the second game of the weekend series between Juneau-Douglas (5-6-0) and the Lathrop Malemutes (7-4-0), the Crimson Bears took an early 2-0 lead only to see it disappear in a hectic second period in which they were outshot 22-5 on their way to a 5-2 loss at the hands of their conference foe.

Falcons girls show progress in two losses
It might not have recorded that first program victory yet, but the Thunder Mountain girls' basketball team is undoubtedly playing its best basketball ever at this early point in the season.

Report faults pilot for deadly Alaska C-17 crash
ANCHORAGE - A pilot's overly aggressive maneuvering and overconfidence were blamed in an investigative report on a C-17 plane crash at an Anchorage military base that killed all four airmen on board.

Ringed seals face uncertain future
ANCHORAGE - When a female ringed seal gives birth in a cave scratched out of snow that has drifted over a breathing hole on sea ice, the clock starts ticking for her pup's survival.

Listening sessions encourage Natives to seek help with mental health issues
ANCHORAGE - She's just a regular Alaska Native, she says - trying to be cool, even when she's not.

Parents being fined if children skip school
ANCHORAGE - School districts in western Alaska have found a new way to crack down on truancy - or rather, an old way: They're getting police to enforce a years-old state law that lets them fine parents whose children skip school.

Murkowski to pursue Bill Allen inquiry
ANCHORAGE - Sen. Lisa Murkowski intends to continue her effort to hold top Justice Department officials accountable for dropping the teen sexual exploitation prosecution of former Veco Corp. chairman Bill Allen.

Man files lawsuit over mining claim trail
FAIRBANKS - A man has filed a lawsuit over access to a trail that leads to his mining claim south of Eagle.

Jury returns guilty verdict in firearms possession case
A Juneau jury in U.S. District Court returned two guilty verdicts against Jayson Dennis man Friday for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

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