Tuesday, December 16, 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.

Encouraged by bipartisanship
In the spirit of working together, it is good to see that the state Senate has again created a Senate bipartisan coalition. By reaching across the aisle and solving differences, much more can be accomplished for Alaska.

'New' hoverbarge is 'lipstick on a pig'
We have all heard the saying lately, so I won't repeat it again. However, Redfern's newest hoverbarge proposal is still experimental, unproven and unworthy of the Taku River.

Cluster bombs
I am traveling in Asia, and I just saw an article on the BBC that children in Laos are still being killed and injured by ordinance that we dropped there in the Vietnam War.

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

Assembly considers circulator shuttle
A few smaller buses running exclusively in downtown Juneau could come at intervals as frequent as every 10 minutes and free up the city's larger buses for expanding service elsewhere, a public transportation consultant told a Juneau Assembly committee Monday.

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.

Suspect in rape was diagnosed as bipolar
The man charged with kidnapping and raping a 15-year-old Juneau girl was in court-ordered therapy for mental illness earlier this year, according to court documents.

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's three electors vote for McCain-Palin
Alaska's three Electoral College voters cast their ballots Monday for U.S. Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin, marking the first time an Alaska electorate voted for a governor from this state.

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

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

Around Town
Today

Around Town
Today

Allen Herrick
Former Juneau resident Allen Douglas Herrick died recently at his home in Benicia, Calif. He was 48.

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: U.S. should plug Blackwater hole
Five Blackwater security guards indicted in the shooting deaths last year of 17 Iraqi civilians are innocent until proved guilty, and even if convicted might be freed because of ambiguities in U.S. law. But the Justice Department is right to seek to put before a jury its allegation that the guards recklessly caused a bloodbath on Sept. 16, 2007.

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.

My turn: Mining pays its way
On Dec. 9, Dave Atcheson's My Turn enumerated the "inequity" between the mining and oil and gas industries in that mining doesn't pay as much tax. Therein, Atcheson mentioned his kindly neighbor, who allowed his "spouting off" regarding the "insane" Pebble copper mine project. In contrast, oil and gas appears to be the White Knight. And indeed it is. What other industry could afford to pay 90 percent of state government expenses? Answer - none.

My turn: In defense of Yaakoosge Daakahidi and its students
There was an article recently about Yaakoosge Daakahidi Alternative High School students sanding blocks that would be used both as Christmas gifts for children of some of the students and as donations to local charities.

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.

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.

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.

Gravel to be delivered near Mendenhall Lake
JUNEAU - The U.S. Forest Service is having gravel delivered to the Nugget Falls trail construction site across the frozen Mendenhall Lake shoreline, the agency said Monday. The trail will connect the visitor center to the waterfall.

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.

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.

Air emergency issued in Valley
JUNEAU - City officials announced Monday afternoon an air emergency in effect for the Mendenhall Valley, banning woodstove burning until further notice.

Whooping cough vaccines available
JUNEAU - State health and Juneau school officials are offering whooping cough vaccines today and Wednesday at two area middle schools.

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.

Kassel says he won't pursue further counts
FAIRBANKS - Karl Kassel says his fight to unseat Mike Kelly for a place in the Alaska House is over.

'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.

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.

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

Two Rivers woman wins sled-dog race
ANCHORAGE - Jessica Hendricks of Two Rivers has won the first distance sled-dog race of the season, taking the honors at the Sheep Mountain 150.

City looks to expand library mail program
FAIRBANKS - The Fairbanks North Star Borough is hoping to expand its Library By Mail program.

Palin offers 'prudent' budget
Gov. Sarah Palin rolled out her proposed budget for next year in Juneau on Monday.

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.

Democrats defect to Republican majority
Three Democrats from rural Western Alaska districts have left the House's Democratic Caucus to join Nikiski Republican Rep. Mike Chenault's Majority Caucus, Chenault announced Monday.

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.

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

Agency says accelerant poured around Palin's church before fire
ANCHORAGE - An accelerant was poured around the exterior of Gov. Sarah Palin's church before fire heavily damaged the building, federal investigators said Monday.

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.

Federal regulators recommend cutting Alaska pollock catch
ANCHORAGE - Federal regulators have advised cutting the pollock catch.

Anchorage Assembly to consider 'bear cop'
ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage Assembly will consider a proposal to hire a specialist to track bears in the city.

Photo: Gingerbread quest
A sled dog team is depicted in part of the scene of a gingerbread house contest entry on display Dec. 9 at the Fairbanks Pioneers' Home in Fairbanks. Merrilyn Sanders, a resident of the home, and her creative team worked for nearly a month on their Yukon Quest checkpoint gingerbread village, which earned a second-place ribbon in the Group All Ages category of the 25th annual News-Miner Gingerbread House Contest, held Saturday.

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