Monday, December 15, 2008

Call limit a disservice
To all child support recipients that use the "free" debit card provided through Child Support Services Department from Chase Bank, a great disservice has been implemented as of Dec. 1. If you call the customer service line more than four times each month, suddenly, without warning, you will now be charged 40 cents every call.

Baffled by former Gov. Frank Murkowski
Frank Murkowski returned a few weeks ago to lecture Alaska and the state Chamber of Commerce about Exxon, the gas line and cruise ships. The former governor forgets that his back-room deals with Exxon and BP nearly cost the state billions of dollars. Many legislators have been convicted for bribery and peddling the Murkowski-VECO 20/20 giveaway. His own felonious Chief of Staff Jim Clark pleaded guilty to receiving $60,000 in VECO money.

'Sunshine vitamin' often hard to come by in Juneau
All you need to make the Vitamin D you need: Sunshine on bare skin.

Teen faces charges in shooting
The 15-year-old boy who police say accidentally killed Aidan Neary, 14, and wounded a second 14-year-old in a Mendenhall Valley shooting Wednesday is facing manslaughter and assault charges.

Photo: Christmas menagerie
Pat and Kim Shea hang Christmas lights together Sunday in front of their Riverside Drive home. About two dozen illuminated figurines adorn their front lawn.

Forest Service says Dan Moller cabin needs rebuilding
The U.S. Forest Service wants to tear down and rebuild the Dan Moller cabin on Douglas Island.

Palin health care proposal promises less controversy
Gov. Sarah Palin's health care proposal for this coming year's Legislature may have a better chance than the last one did, but it's not because of what's in the plan. It's what Palin left out.

Photo: Ice extravaganza
Friends Galen Wright and Ana Rodriguez skate together to the music of "Christmas Wish" during the Juneau Skating Club's Holiday Ice Extravaganza Sunday at the Treadwell Arena.

Alaska Airlines to suspend Petersburg service in March
Alaska Airlines will not operate in or out of Petersburg from March 23 to April 21 while the runway there is being repaired, the company announced Friday.

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

Photo: Opening day
Scott Marnon, right, teaches his 5-year-old-son, Sam, how to ski Saturday at Eaglecrest Ski Area as snow-making machines spread snow in the background. Approximately 900 skiers and snowboarders were on the mountain by 11 a.m. Saturday, the first day of the season for the ski area.

Around Town
Today

Photo: Winter moon
A full moon rises Friday above Juneau. According to NASA, as the moon's orbit reached its closet point to Earth this year, it appeared 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than other full moons in 2008.

Around Town
Today

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

Juneau Community Foundation donates to AWARE
Reed Stoops, left, president of the Juneau Community Foundation Board of Directors, and Ken Leghorn, right, Juneau Community Foundation executive director, present Ati Nasiah, AWARE council director, with a $500 donation on Oct. 27. The Juneau Community Foundation made the donation on behalf of the Leghorn Family Fund to support Girls on the Run of Juneau, an empowerment and prevention program for third- to eighth-grade girls, which combines training for a 5k running event with healthy living and self-esteem enhancing curriculum. Part of the donation also will help expand AWARE's current after-school programs in Juneau and Southeast Alaska. For more information or to become a coach or volunteer, contact Nasiah at 586-6623 or look online at www.awareak.org. For more information about the Juneau Community Foundation, visit www.juneaucf.org or call 523-5450.

By design or destiny, Christmas is always changing
"The only constant is change," the saying goes. My head knows there is truth in this but my heart lags behind.

During Advent, waiting becomes sacred
Sooner or later, life tries everyone's patience. For us all, there will be times when we get irritated or downright upset because of the challenges of time.

Adopt-A-Family this Christmas
St. Vincent de Paul Adopt-A-Family program coordinators Louise Howerter-Wertheimer, left, assistant coordinator, and Rena Sims, volunteer coordinator, pose Saturday at St. Vincent de Paul next to their current food donations, which consists solely of a box of sweet potatoes and a bag of food.

Lance Twitchell is first recipient of Emma Marks Memorial scholarship
A scholarship fund was recently established in the name of the head of one of the last fluent-speaking families of the Tlingit language - Emma Marks.

Unlocking hope with truth, imagination
Have you ever had one of those dreams where you were running? I have. The scenario always changes except for the fact that I need to get away and fast.

Consortium's Bowman earns CPE credential
HAINES - SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Haines Health Center clinical medical director Dr. J. Russell "Russ" Bowman, DO, MHA, recently earned his Certified Physician Executive credential from the American College of Physician Executives.

Photos: A fanciful Nutcracker
Juneau Dance Unlimited's expanded version of "The Nutcracker" ballet was shown last weekend, to the delight of local families.

U.S. Postal Service offers Click-N-Ship for holiday mailing
JUNEAU - With an estimated 19 billion cards, letters and packages expected to be delivered this holiday season, the U.S. Postal Service has a way to avoid lines at postal retail facilities.

Thanks for helping BBBS dream big
On Nov 12, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska hosted its annual "Dream Big!" Luncheon, which raised $30,000 to help us match a Big Brother or Big Sister to every child who needs or wants one. Many people helped make this event a success.

Congratulations to Kincaid, Harboview's Geo Bee champion
"The Gulf of Guinea is a major offshore oil exploration and drilling zone off the west coast of what continent?" was the geographic question that determined Conor Kincaid, fifth-grader in Lucy Potter's Harborview Elementary School class, as this year's Geo Bee champion.

Photo: A present for Mrs. Claus
Six-year-old Samantha listens to Santa explain why he had briefly left his toy workshop in search of the No. 1 item on Mrs. Claus' wish list - an Alaska 50th Statehood commemorative medallion - on Dec. 6 at the Nugget Mall. If you missed Capital City Celebration board members Kathy Hildre and Kaysa Korpela, back, at the Nugget Mall Statehood booth, the 50th Statehood memorabilia, i.e. posters, pins and medallions, is now available at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum.

Coastal Helicopters, Flying Lions to hold helicopter tours
JUNEAU - Coastal Helicopters and the Mendenhall Flying Lions Club will again provide helicopter tours of the lights of the Mendenhall Valley from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19, leaving from Gate 1 of the North Wing of the Juneau International Airport terminal building.

Thanks for donating to the Girl Scouts' auction
The Tongass Alaska Girl Scout Council would like to thank all the businesses, organizations and individuals who contributed to making our 2008 raffle and our 17th annual auction so successful.

Association to hold commercial fishing vessel safety training
JUNEAU - Alaska Marine Safety Education Association will offer a 18-hour fishing vessel safety and drill conductor course from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Jan. 26-28 at the Department of Environmental Conservation offices, 410 Willoughby Ave., in Juneau.

Recognitions
Navy Seaman Recruit Anthony S. Zagars, grandson of Richard A. Zagars, of Juneau, recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.

Thanks for support following my daughter's camping injury
On May 25, Kathy Powers, our daughter-in-law, suffered a permanent eye injury related to a campfire explosion. The Powers and Jones families want to thank the community of Juneau for all of the support our children Kathy and Tim Powers have received from the moment of the accident until now.

Statehood Ball to feature doo-wopin' with the Diamonds
JUNEAU - It will be a trip down memory lane for kids of all ages at the Juneau Statehood Ball at 8 p.m. Jan. 3 at Centennial Hall. To celebrate the 50th year of Alaska Statehood, Capital City Celebrations will present The Diamonds, performing their timeless doo-wop hits - "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?", "Silhouettes," "The Stroll", "Little Darlin'", etc. - from the '50s and '60s. In addition, the Diamonds will pay tribute to the classic four-part harmony vocal groups of the era and the great solo artists of the time.

American Board of Pediatric Dentistry honors Kim Hort
JUNEAU - SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium pediatric dentist Kim Hort was awarded Diplomate status by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.

Tatham, Cook to wed
Christine Hansen Tatham, of Juneau, and Robert Morgan Cook, of Lake Chelan, Wash., will marry at 1 p.m. Jan. 3, 2009, at Northern Lights United Church, 400 W. 11th St. A reception will follow at approximately 2 p.m. at the Baranof Hotel.

Grant services for older Alaskans at risk
Older Alaskans living in many areas of the state will likely see reduced services next year unless the Governor and Legislature increase funding for senior grants. Nutrition and transportation services, senior centers, information and referral, care coordination, chore, respite, adult day and health promotion services are among the services that could be cut. Particularly the villages, bush and small rural communities will be affected due to a new funding formula contained in a State planning document.

Joe Leahy
Former Juneau resident Michael Joseph "Joe" Leahy died Dec. 6 at Providence Valdez Medical Center. He was 68.

My turn: Juneau should prepare for possible economic avalanche
Recent actions by the city to hire an avalanche expert should hopefully be a good prognosticator that the city will take a sharper look at next year's borough budget. Several economic warning signs are in place: drops in this year's student enrollment, loss of Juneau population in general, prediction of sizable loss of sales tax revenue, potential falling property assessments, "de facto" center of state government in the Anchorage area, shortened legislative session, uncertain tourism season and a Juneau construction "pipeline" that could run out of jobs shortly.

My turn: New Arctic Policy should wait for Obama
For the past several months, the Bush administration has been quietly writing a new Arctic policy for the United States, and sources say the president intends to sign and release the policy as a National Security Directive in the last weeks of his administration. The National Security Council and the State Department lead the process, with participation from several other federal agencies.

Outside editorial: Obama's Senate seat should be filled by election
This editorial appeared in the Washington Post:

Outside editorial: Climate change lessons
President-elect Barack Obama is committed to ending the United States' inaction on global warming. He wants to reduce emissions through a cap-and-trade system. But a report from the Government Accountability Office on problems with Europe's system and the inability of climate talks in Poland last week to settle on a specific number for the "long-term global goal for emissions reductions" shows how difficult the task will be.

Outside editorial: Bailout roulette
Congress failed to rescue the U.S. auto industry. In the Senate, the industry's stakeholders agreed to several conditions designed to win over skeptical Republicans who had enough votes to block a bill.

Presenting a united front on behalf of all Alaskans
More than half a century ago, the people of Alaska came together to campaign for statehood, and on June 30, 1958, our families rejoiced at the headline "WE'RE IN." Over the next 50 years we never lost sight of the lesson of this victory. When we work hard, and in unity, there is no limit to what we can accomplish for Alaska.

Barack Obama: Firearms salesperson of the year?
With Alaska gun and ammunition sales mirroring the phenomenal surge nationwide, I feel congratulations are in order. Single-handedly, president-elect Barack Obama has rescued at least one part of a collapsing American economy - and that is before he's even officially taken office.

Toe Toon
This week's Toe Toon.

Eaglecrest Ski Area opens for season
JUNEAU - Eaglecrest Ski Area has a limited weekend opening.

Man accused in attack on girl is indicted
JUNEAU - A man accused of kidnapping and raping a 15-year-old Juneau girl has been indicted.

Vincent hired by Wash. Huskies
SEATTLE - Former college men's golf coach O.D. Vincent has been has been named senior associate director of athletics at University of Washington.

First Student workers vote 'yes' for strike
KENAI - After months of negotiations, Teamster First Student bus drivers and attendants on the Kenai Peninsula cast an 88-to-5 vote Dec. 1 in favor of a strike. For now, buses continue to travel more than 7,000 miles a day to haul 3,000 students to and from classes in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.

'Person of interest' sought in bombing
PORTLAND, Oregon - Investigators are looking for a "person of interest" in the bomb blast that killed two officers at an Oregon bank.

Kodiak distance runner places second
ANCHORAGE - Kodiak's Trevor Dunbar finished second at the high school cross country national championship race in San Diego.

Travel discouraged in snowy, windy Dakotas
BISMARCK, N.D. - Blizzard conditions made travel hazardous Sunday across the northern Plains as officials closed major highways and urged people to stay home.

Chenega forced back to Auke Bay
JUNEAU - Rough seas and high winds have forced the fast ferry Chenega to return to Juneau's Auke Bay an hour after departing.

Wolf kills rise in Northern Rockies
BILLINGS, Mont. - Record numbers of endangered gray wolves were shot this year by government wildlife agents and ranchers in the Northern Rockies, as the predator's attacks on livestock met with an increasingly aggressive response.

One dead in Seward Highway crash
ANCHORAGE - One person has died and two others are hurt in a five-vehicle crash on the Seward Highway.

Physical education teacher honored
FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks high school educator has been named Alaska physical education teacher of the year.

Man accused of firing at police
FAIRBANKS - A 27-year-old Fairbanks man was accused of firing a gun at police during a drug bust.

Earthquake registers 4.3 magnitude
KENAI - The Alaska Earthquake Information Center says an earthquake that had a preliminary magnitude of 4.3 was recorded Saturday morning in the Kenai peninsula region.

Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race to survive
FAIRBANKS - Organizers of the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race say they are forging ahead, even if they don't receive $20,000 in expected money from the city of Fairbanks.

JDHS wrestlers exit early at state
Four of the eight Juneau-Douglas High School wrestlers survived to see Saturday action at the 2008 4A State Championships in Chugiak this weekend, but early exits put all eight in the stands for Saturday's finals.

Wong KO's Flood in main event
Some bartenders serve hard liquor. Marlintini's Lounge bartender Shannon "Fighting Irish" Williams serves hard rights, or at least she did Friday night while filling in for another fighter.

Bears go back-to-back in the MAC
The Juneau-Douglas High School hockey team (2-2 MAC, 9-3 overall) broke into the Mid-Alaska Conference win column for the first time ever during its maiden season with a weekend sweep of visiting Houston (0-2 MAC, 3-6 overall). The Bears picked up their first win Friday by a cushy 6-2 margin, and survived a late charge Saturday with a 5-4 win.

Photos: Alaska Age Group Championships
The Glacier Swim Club competed in the Alaska Age Group Championships last weekend in Ketchikan. As part of the Southeast Alaska Swim Team, they dominated the competition, outscoring the nearest competitor by nearly 1,000 points, the largest margin ever. Full results can be found at www.teamunify.com/Home.jsp?team=wzaslsc. Top: Glacier Swim Club'sHaley Mertz competes in 200 breaststroke. Bottom: Glacier Swim Club girls, from left, Mertz, Ciera Kelly and Joley Hodgson, who were high-point winners in the 11-12 age group.

Sports in Juneau
UPCOMING EVENTS

Palin's church moves services to school
WASILLA - Members of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's church gathered in high spirits at a middle school Sunday, two days after their building was badly damaged by a fire authorities are investigating as arson.

Palin's church damaged in suspicious fire
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sarah Palin's home church has been badly damaged in an arson fire.

Century-old store closes
FAIRBANKS - Friday night marked the end of an era for old Fairbanks when Samson Hardware closed its doors and turned out Johnny Albright's light for the last time.

North Slope stays busy despite drop in oil prices
Activity levels are expected to be brisk on the North Slope this winter, despite the recent plunge of oil prices to levels not seen in years. The plunge has steepened in the last two weeks, but much of this winter's drilling and construction was planned months or even years ago, and much of it will go forward, the operating companies say.

Bush villages scramble to find more heating oil after shipments blocked
ANCHORAGE - Three villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta are in a precarious position: They're trying to find enough heating oil to last them through the winter.

Rage City Rollergirls burst onto the scene in Alaska
ANCHORAGE - Don't mess with the Rage City Rollergirls.

New data indicates rural exodus of Alaska Natives not big after all
ANCHORAGE - New data indicates that the exodus of rural Alaskans to metropolitan areas may be overblown.

Soldotna hospital officials say gunman was fired for performance reasons
KENAI - An official at a Soldotna hospital says the former worker who went on a deadly shooting spree was fired the day before for performance problems.

Wasilla man gets seven years for burglary
WASILLA - The boyfriend of a woman who robbed trick-or-treaters in Talkeetna was sentenced to seven years in prison.

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