Thursday, December 25, 2008

Zero tolerance on drugs needed
This is in response to the recent article in the Empire about the drug usage and the recent arrest of several students at both high schools. Having worked at the high school for several years and also as an adolescent substance abuse counselor, I can attest first hand that the drug problem has been going on for years at the high school. Alcohol is the gateway drug, but others soon follow. The problem of abuse is starting in middle school, and the students are coming into the high school already using.

Juneau enforces first Valley burn bans in years
With Tuesday morning's snow, the Mendenhall Valley was released from the curse of clear weather: potentially unhealthy air. By that time, about 100 Mendenhall Valley residents had gotten warnings for illegally using their wood stoves.

Grants for new pool come up short
Grant requests are coming back softer than expected, so city officials need to come up with about $2.5 million if plans for a geothermal heat system and therapeutic resistance channel at the proposed Dimond Park Aquatic Center are to stay in the design.

Photo: Return to snow
Jodie Pessolano makes use of the fresh snow Tuesday to ski along Glacier Highway.

Book on Tlingit battle wins national award
Among the 14 winners of the Before Columbus Foundation's 28th annual American Book Awards was "Anóoshi Lingít Aaní Ká: Russians in Tlingit America, The Battles of Sitka 1802 and 1804" - a book by Juneau residents Nora Marks Dauenhauer and Richard Dauenhauer and the late Lydia Black, of Fairbanks.

Interest in mini-bonds low
For 12 days In September, the city had $4 million in bonds up for sale to locals. Those bonds were part of the $19.8 million of borrowing that voters authorized in an October 2007 referendum for the Dimond Aquatic Center.

Photo: Food Bank readies Christmas feasts
Southeast Alaska Food Bank Manager Darren Adams and volunteer Judy Brown push their carts full of frozen hams and turkeys worth nearly $500 to the cash register Monday evening at Wal-Mart.

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

Stores offer gift cards for chains a plane ticket away
If gift card racks are any indication, the people of Juneau love the Olive Garden - despite the city and the whole of Alaska being completely without the Italian restaurant chain.

Around Town
Today

Photo: A festive walk
Frank and Twylia Osborne walk near the intersection of Egan Drive and Glacier Highway with their children, Tyrone, 4, and Aaliyah, 6, on their way to buy Christmas dinner on Wednesday.

Police & Fire
The Juneau Police Department's daily bulletin was unavailable at press time. Friday's Empire will have updated police and fire information.

Around Town
Today

John Sherman Simpson
Former Juneau resident John Sherman Simpson died peacefully on Dec. 7, 2008, in Seattle, Wash. He was surrounded by his family, who had gathered from Seattle, Juneau and Oslo, Norway. He was 93.

Sigurd T. Olson
Longtime Alaska and Juneau resident Sigurd T. Olson died of natural causes Dec. 21, 2008. He was 85.

Janelle Marcie Byers
Lifelong Hoonah resident Janelle Marcie Byers died Dec. 20, 2008, in Hoonah. She was 15.

Outside editorial: A season for giving
This is, by almost any account, the most economically challenging holiday season since the Great Depression. As the unemployment rolls grow by hundreds of thousands, and net worths and 401(k) savings plummet, it may seem reasonable to decide that charity is someone else's responsibility. But now, more than ever, is the time to answer the call of beneficence, whether by donating money or time.

My turn: Help for addiction is available
Recently I participated in a Continuing Legal Education workshop for attorneys titled "Substance Abuse in Law Practice-Problems and Solutions" and it was such an eye-opener I wanted to pass on some useful and perhaps new information.

Outside editorial: China takes a step back on Internet
Prior to the summer Olympics, China pledged to free up Web sites. It unblocked some sites but failed to comply fully with its promise.

Iraq's year of choices
A journalist hurling shoes at the president of the United States may be one lasting, if twisted, image of freedom from Iraq, but the multiple elections scheduled for the year ahead are sure to offer others - and to demonstrate definitively whether Iraq's democratic experiment will be consolidated or will implode. If the incoming Obama administration wants better images than flying shoes in December 2009, it had better be paying attention.

Outside editorial: Bailout falls short on oversight, results
It's been 80 long days since Congress authorized the Wall Street bailout, and it's time for taxpayers to assess what they have to show for their $700 billion investment.

Outside column: 'Recession' tree reflects hard times
My son and I traipsed around our property and several adjacent woodlots before settling on our "recession tree." This Christmas the pickings were slim. A man just up the road was selling the fuller-figured, domesticated variety for $25, and he probably would have given us the neighborhood discount. But I lost my day job early in the fall.

Insurance hassles are killing off family medical specialists
I love being a family physician. I love the history rooted in the country doc who did his best to help comfort and heal his neighbors. I love the broad scope of practice where I am always seeing something different and something challenging. But most of all, I love the long-term relationships with my patients. So it is with a heavy heart I admit my specialty is dying.

Outside column: Fresh thinking for a connected world
If there are any of us who still doubt that the world has shrunk, that we all are linked and dependent on one another, this has been the year that proved us wrong. The evidence is all around us. Early this year, homeowners in Wichita, Kan., and Fuquay Varina, N.C. (among 1,000 other places) defaulted on their mortgages. And so it began.

Police investigate attempted robbery
JUNEAU - Police are investigating an attempted robbery that occurred Tuesday in the Mendenhall Valley.

Eaglecrest to host Christmas Eve event
JUNEAU - Eaglecrest Ski Area will host its annual Christmas Eve activities starting at 3:30 p.m. today.

Deicer fumes invade plane at Sea-Tac
SEATAC, Wash. - Deicer fumes made their way into an Alaska Airlines plane at Sea-Tac Airport and irritated the eyes of passengers and the crew.

Prison bonds sold
ANCHORAGE - The Matanuska-Susitna Borough has sold $240 million in bonds to help fund construction of a new prison.

Police respond to bomb threat
JUNEAU - Juneau police responded to a report of a bomb threat at Wal-Mart late Monday.

Soldier dies in Tok Cutoff crash
ANCHORAGE - A 19-year-old California soldier assigned to Fort Richardson in Anchorage died in a car crash on the Tok Cutoff.

Woman killed in highway crash
ANCHORAGE - A 22-year-old Pennsylvania woman has died in a crash on an icy stretch of the Seward Highway.

Church's baby Jesus figurine is taken
KETCHIKAN - A baby Jesus was stolen, leaving the Clover Pass Community Church without the figurine for its holiday nativity scene.

Holiday cup keeps rolling
With 32 teams and nearly 400 participants buzzing in and out of the Dimond Park Field House this week, the 16th annual Holiday Cup soccer tournament has shown that the old Juneau tradition still has the juice to pack any venue in town.

Alaska Club hosting 3-on-3
Are you looking to burn off some of those cookies and cups of eggnog after the annual Christmas feast? Do you have a house full of kids supercharged by candy canes and chocolate Santas, but soccer's not their sport?

Eagles shooting for state
Go ahead, call it a comeback.

Crimson Bears box scores
JDHS girls varsity basketball

2008-09 Parks & Recreation Adult Ordway Basketball League
Standings as of Dec. 21

Seattle airport begins to thaw
SEATTLE - Alaskans normally shrug off the heaviest of snowstorms, but now they're suffering unusual inconvenience because of a few inches that fell more than 1,400 miles to the south.

Witness says he received immunity offer
ANCHORAGE - David Anderson, the government witness at the center of the storm involving ex-state Sen. Jerry Ward and allegations of misconduct in U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens' trial, has written a new letter to the judge in the Stevens case asserting again that prosecutors promised him and his friends immunity.

Snowzilla rises again
ANCHORAGE - Someone has told the city of Anchorage what it can do with its cease-and-desist order to prevent Snowzilla - the giant snowman - from rising up again this winter in an east Anchorage neighborhood.

Witness in Stevens' trial regrets testifying
WASHINGTON - A witness in convicted Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens' corruption trial has told the judge he never would have testified if he'd known he did not have immunity from prosecution.

Government agency delays use of recreational fishing registry
WASHINGTON - Recreational saltwater anglers who were supposed to register with the federal government by January are off the hook for a year.

Fairbanks Catholic diocese receives complaints
ANCHORAGE - Someone has told the city of Anchorage what it can do with its cease-and-desist order to prevent Snowzilla - the giant snowman - from rising up again this winter in an east Anchorage neighborhood.

Photo: Getting a lift
Avery Thomas and Dave Dishneau work to secure straps from a crane hook to a submerged utility truck Monday afternoon on the Chena River. The vehicle's multiple occupants escaped unharmed after breaking through thin ice near Pike's Landing the previous night.

Police charge three with operating fraud ring
ANCHORAGE - Three people stole checks, credit cards and identities and used them to bilk southcentral Alaska residents out of thousands of dollars during a four-month crime spree, according to Anchorage police.

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

Fairbanks police find body of missing man
FAIRBANKS - The body of a Fairbanks businessman missing since Friday was found in a wooded area on the southern outskirts of the city.

Conservationists vow to keep pushing for ribbon seal listing
ANCHORAGE - The conservation group that petitioned to list ribbon seals as threatened or endangered vowed to keep trying despite rejection by federal wildlife managers.

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

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