Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Art should depict statewide theme
Juneau is facing a unique opportunity to tell the entire state that we are a gracious, welcoming and involved capital city. Art concepts have been solicited for the new parking garage at the base of Telephone Hill and the future Capitol complex.

State workers receive extra holiday
Gov. Sarah Palin is giving Alaska state employees an extra day off for Christmas this year, after Pres. Bush did the same for federal employees.

Southeast guides face one-halibut limit, again
Southeast's charter fishing guides successfully fought off a one-fish daily bag limit for their clients this past summer with a lawsuit in a Washington, D.C., court. Now it's back.

Around Town
Today

Government quietly shifts to Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - Alaskans have argued for generations over the location of the state capital, about access and power and the weather in Juneau. But in just two years, and with hardly any debate, Gov. Sarah Palin has shifted the center of state government to Anchorage.

Photo: Burning the midnight oil on solstice
Juneau residents celebrate the winter solstice Sunday night with a bonfire on a North Douglas beach. Sunday was the shortest day of the year, with six hours and 23 minutes of daylight. Today, the sun will rise at 8:46 a.m. and set at 3:09 p.m.

More travelers stranded amid winter storm
The weeklong snowstorm that has grounded airline travel in the Northwest worsened Sunday, forcing Alaska Airlines to suspend about 75 percent of its flights out of Seattle and Portland, Ore., airline officials reported.

Photo: Wrapping up fundraiser
Helen Idzik picks out bows while wrapping gifts Sunday for the Senior Center Gift Wrap fundraiser at the Nugget Mall. The donations help fund the Juneau Senior Nutrition and Meals on Wheels programs.

Firefighters to replace dump truck tanker
The decades-old dump truck Capital City Fire and Rescue has been using as a water tanker will finally be put out to pasture, Division Chief Richard Etheridge said following an announcement Friday of a $225,000 grant for its replacement.

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

Photo: Sign of the season
A colorful peace sign decorates the hillside Sunday as shoppers drive to and from Costco and The Home Depot.

Around Town
Today

Photos: Watching for Birds
Juneau bird watcher Steve Zimmerman scans the skies Saturday at the Juneau waterfront during the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Top, a juvenile eagle perches atop a tree on Telephone Hill. Eagles, marbled murrelets, kingfishers and gulls were among the birds counted. Audubon holds the nationwide event every year. "Scientists rely on Christmas Bird Count data to assess bird numbers and distribution and to identify birds in need of conservation action," said Matt Kirchhoff, Audubon Alaska's Director of Bird Conservation "Every Christmas Bird Count participant plays a critical role in helping us monitor bird distribution and abundance in Alaska. The count is also helpful in developing Audubon Alaska's WatchList, which identifies declining and vulnerable species in Alaska in need of conservation help."

Photo: Relaxing ride
Ron Antaya pulls his daughter, Elin, 4, during a skate Sunday at Twin Lakes.

Photo: Brisk business
Carlisle Doria, right, Carter Westlund, left, and Greg O'Cleary, background, load a pickup truck with seasoned and spilt hemlock and yellow cedar firewood Sunday at the Western Auto Marine parking lot. O'Cleary said his friend, Steve Seley of Pacific Log & Lumber in Ketchikan, shipped 14 cords in two containers to test the Juneau market. He said they would continue selling the firewood through the cold months this winter. The hemlock was selling for $275 per cord and the yellow cedar was $300 per cord.

Police & Fire
Assault:

Sean Conley Rector
Former Juneau resident Sean Conley Rector, of Satellite Beach, Fla., died Dec. 19, 2008. He was 22.

Susan K. Hosford
Longtime Alaska resident Susan Karen Hosford died Dec. 18, 2008, in Seattle with her husband by her side. She was 57.

My turn: We need Obama's help to make pipeline a reality
Congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama on his victory. We, like all Americans, wish him great success in overcoming the challenges he faces as he takes office. Certainly, one of his most pressing concerns must be stabilizing our nation's economy. The unraveling of the financial markets, a sharp rise in unemployment and a nationwide mortgage crisis all make for a daunting challenge for him and for us as a country.

My turn: Receiving a fair return for Alaska's resources
Frank Bergstrom's My Turn says a lot of good things about mining. Among other things, he talks about their good environmental record.

Outside editorial: A real rival in South Africa?
Two months ago, a group of disgruntled officials from South Africa's ruling African National Congress announced that they were serving "divorce papers" on the ANC and splitting off to form their own political party. Last week, the Congress of the People was formally launched, and delegates selected former Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota as its president. It's not clear what exactly the new party stands for, but its emergence is a positive development in South Africa's still young democracy.

Outside editorial: Detroit's holiday gift
Christmas has come early for General Motors and Chrysler. Friday, the Bush administration pledged up to $17.4 billion for the two distressed carmakers - enough money to save them from bankruptcy. Actually, the cash comes not as a gift, but as loans, with strings attached. Still, it does give GM and Chrysler a second chance at survival, and that's more than they got from Congress, which adjourned last week, unable to agree on a bailout bill.

Madoff's willing partners
There seems to be little doubt that Bernard Madoff is a cheat. His apparent Ponzi scheme, in which capital from new investors would have been used to pay "dividends" to earlier investors, ultimately cost the participants many billions of dollars. But was it all Madoff's fault? I contend that the losses would have been less severe, and might not have occurred at all, if many of the Madoff's investors had not been cast from the same mold that Madoff was.

Beware the gift of money
The economic crisis has given Barack Obama an unexpected gift: spending money. The president-elect is drafting a stimulus plan that will reach $775 billion or more, enough to fund almost every project he mentioned during the campaign. But like many gifts, this one comes with dangers.

Giving the gift of faith
Examples of faith abound at this time of year. There is the faith children put in Santa Claus to bring them stuff that magically no one seems to have paid for. Call it a "bailout" for kids.

Weekend Chenega sailings canceled
JUNEAU - Bad weather has canceled two sailings of the ferry Chenega, the Alaska Marine Highway System announced Friday.

Airline resumes flights out of the Northwest
JUNEAU - Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air announced Monday evening that flights resumed with limited schedules out of Portland, Ore., and Seattle, hubs for flights between Juneau and the Lower 48.

Assembly OKs tribal sales tax exemption
JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly unanimously approved a sales tax exemption for federally recognized tribal governments on Friday.

Jury convicts man of failing to pay support
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage man who ignored orders to pay child support will spend a month in jail.

Kenai to form task force on salmon
KENAI - The city of Kenai is forming a salmon task force.

Unemployment rate increases in Alaska
JUNEAU - Alaska's unemployment rate increased slightly in November.

Decorative bricks breaking down
ANCHORAGE - For many, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Anchorage stops collecting glass
ANCHORAGE - The city of Anchorage is blaming the market for a decision to stop accepting glass for recycling.

Police investigate death as homicide
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police are investigating the death of a man who died suddenly on Thanksgiving as a homicide.

Stevens asks for dismissal of conviction
WASHINGTON - Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens on Monday called for his conviction on corruption charges to be thrown out after an FBI agent bitterly complained about some Justice Department tactics during the trial, including not turning over evidence and an "inappropriate relationship" between a government representative and the prosecutor's star witness.

Alaska's business future could be with China, speakers say
Those who want to do business in China need an agent. The catch: everyone who speaks English and Chinese calls themselves an agent.

Eagle River boy to return home after transplant
ANCHORAGE - An Eagle River boy is expected to return home in a few days after a three-year absence in which he underwent a heart transplant.

Alaska Bar urges court to reject Stevens' plea to keep law license
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Bar Association says that U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens' plea to keep his law license is based on a faulty reading of the rules and a mischaracterization of the seriousness of his conviction for lying on his Senate disclosure forms.

City code officer slays Snowzilla in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage's famous giant snow man, Snowzilla, finally met its match.

State's animal abuse ranking improves, but remains high
FAIRBANKS - Alaska improved its position this year in a report looking at animal cruelty laws throughout the country.

States mull value of tourism advertising in budget crunch
SALT LAKE CITY - A struggling economy has state governments considering whether advertising is a luxury or a necessity.

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