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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chambers renews push for food tax exemption
Juneau Assembly member Sara Chambers wants to revive a push to exempt basic food items from sales tax.

Grocers see drop in fuel surcharges
As diesel drops, barging goods to Juneau gets cheaper. That could translate into relief on grocery bills - or relief for the grocers who ate those costs all year.

Photo: Go putt
Seth Epperson, 13, putts through the first hole of the JACC Putt on Monday at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center. Created as a fundraiser for the center, the nine miniature golf holes were designed and decorated by a local artist. The event continues today from noon to 9 p.m.

Photos: Balancing act
Eaglecrest Ski Area reported prime skiing conditions Sunday, with 115 inches of snow at the top and 31 at the base.

Photo: Catching cold
Kirk Belardi has Twin Lakes to himself Sunday to ice fish. Friday's heavy snow put an end to the perfect ice skating conditions this year. Juneau received about 10 inches of snow over the weekend.

Police & Fire
The Juneau police blotter was not available by the Empire's Monday deadline. Juneau fire officials and state troopers did not report any incidents in the Juneau area.

Police & Fire
Disturbance:

Around Town
Today

Around Town
Monday, Dec. 29

Correction
In Monday's Juneau Empire, a list accompanying a story about sales tax on food misstates an item. The exemption on electricity applies specifically to cost of power adjustments, not electricity across the board.

Ira Moore Stevens
Former Juneau resident Ira Moore Stevens died Dec. 26, 2008. He was 91.

Merle Ann Mason
Longtime Juneau resident Merle Ann Mason died Dec. 21, 2008, in Juneau. She was 79.

Alaska Editorial: Palin energy plan is more modest than Alaska needs
The Palin Administration will take another month before rolling out its statewide energy "plan," and that's probably a good thing. To date, the planning effort led by state energy coordinator Steve Haagenson has not been getting good reviews.

My turn: Religion a relic of old ways in a world of new truths
I have heard it said many times that religion is necessary to enforce morality and that the Ten Commandments are useful for defining what is right and wrong. I think this is a harmful fiction. It seems obvious that morality, and the rational mind we use to refine it, are products of both evolution and experience. Religion is an artificial construct we do not need.

Alaska editorial: Palin's tightening of the state's belt deserves praise
In this time when many of us are forced to tighten our belts, it's good to see the state doing the same.

A farewell hope for journalism's future
My term as ombudsman ends with this column. My hope for the future is that readers, our lifeblood, will find in The Post, in print and online, journalism they can believe in and that the paper will both engage and enrich the many communities in the Washington region.

Finding roads to prosperity
In his Dec. 6 radio address, President-elect Barack Obama vowed to "create millions of jobs by making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s." The story of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's decision in 1956 to create the interstate highway system, how it was funded and its effects on American commerce and culture holds lessons that the new president and the United States would do well to heed.

In Israel, every family shares a soldier's bond
I have three children serving in the Israel Defense Forces. I am the father of Sgt. Nathan Weinberger, 20, Cpl. Rebecca Ross, 19, and Pvt. Ruthie Ross, 18. President-elect Barack Obama has spoken repeatedly of the need to engage young people in service for their country and for the world; in Israel, service is mandatory.

Now is a time for solidarity
No matter how tenuous your connection to any particular tradition, this inevitably is a season of introspection and reflection.

Store owner posts videos of urination
ANCHORAGE - A store owner in Anchorage has had enough of bar patrons relieving themselves on his property.

Eaglecrest reports record weekend
JUNEAU - Eaglecrest Ski Area had back-to-back days of record-breaking business this weekend, despite the national recession and a higher number of season pass holders compared to last year.

Man arrested on White Mountain pot charge
NOME - Alaska State Troopers in Nome say a man has been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle marijuana into the village of White Mountain.

Interior governments fill wish lists for nation's stimulus plan
FAIRBANKS - Local governments in Fairbanks have responded quickly to Senator-elect Mark Begich's request for ideas on how to direct a yet-to-be-drafted national economic recovery plan, suggesting they could use help with energy and street projects.

2008 was bad year for bear encounters
KENAI - Brown bears on the Kenai Peninsula had a hard go of it in 2008.

Coast Guard en route to rescue 3 crewmen
ANCHORAGE - A Coast Guard aicraft launched from Kodiak Sunday to conduct a medical evacuation of injured three crewmen aboard an oil tanker about 700 miles south of Adak Island.

Palin's daughter gives birth to son
ANCHORAGE - The daughter of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has given birth to a son, a magazine reported Monday.

Interior Alaskans gather for annual count of local birds
FAIRBANKS - Fairbanks doesn't have a wide variety of bird species this time of year, but that didn't deter more than 100 Interior Alaska bird watchers from bundling up and heading out for the 48th Annual Fairbanks Christmas Bird Count on Saturday.

Delta Junction house fire kills one
ANCHORAGE - A person has died in a house fire in Delta Junction.

Christmas tree recycling offered
JUNEAU - Juneau Recycling Center will offer free Christmas tree recycling Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Palin second among most-admired women
ANCHORAGE - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was a strong second among the most-admired women, behind Hillary Clinton but ahead of television host Oprah Winfrey, when the USA Today/Gallup poll was conducted Dec. 12-14.

Governor makes board appointments
JUNEAU - Juneau resident Bill Martin was among those Gov. Sarah Palin tapped for appointments to three state boards on Monday.

Fairbanks shooting victim identified, condition unknown
FAIRBANKS - Authorities have identified the man shot in a downtown bar early Saturday morning as 22-year-old Michael S. Twitchell of Fairbanks. Court papers indicate he was shot at multiple times.

'Damp' homeless shelter proposed
FAIRBANKS - Community advocates want to create a shelter in Fairbanks that would protect homeless people from the cold, even if they are intoxicated.

Firefighters find marijuana at home
ANCHORAGE - Police say a fire at an Anchorage apartment led to the discovery of dozens of marijuana plants.

Photos: Capital City Classic
The Juneau girls will play Alexander High School from Albany, Ohio, today at 6:15 p.m. The boys will play Lathrop High School from Fairbanks at 7:45 p.m. at the JDHS gym.

Alaska fisheries report decent sales overall despite rising costs
ANCHORAGE - Alaska's lucrative seafood industry appears to have done very well overall in 2008, despite the increased cost of doing business, with sales in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Bitter cold moves in to Interior
FAIRBANKS - Bitterly cold weather slid over from Canada and settled into Interior Alaska with forecasters saying temperatures could continue to slide to nearly 50 degrees below zero in coming days.

Bear attack video raises some hackles
ANCHORAGE - Put a TV soap star in a plastic box in the bear pen at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, tie a dummy alongside, turn loose the bears, roll video and what do you get?

Musher, dog team overcome tragedy, gear up for Quest
KENAI - Like a cowboy must get back in the saddle when bucked off a bronco, so, too, has Kasilof musher Jon Little gotten back on the runners following a sled dog tragedy at the end of September.

Bad harvest, low demand threaten Pacific fishermen
HALF MOON BAY, Calif. - An unusually weak Dungeness crab harvest is compounding the financial woes of West Coast fishermen who were already struggling with depressed consumer demand and the unprecedented collapse of the Pacific chinook salmon fishery.

Downturn ends glass recycling in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - The downtown in the economy means that up to 150 tons of glass a month will go straight to the Anchorage dump, rather than recycling bins, beginning in the first week of the New Year.

Fairbanks welcomes Japanese tourists
FAIRBANKS - The winter tourism season has officially begun in Fairbanks with the arrival of the first of 18 charter flights direct from Japan.

Teen sought in connection with shooting
ANCHORAGE - Police are looking for a local hip-hop artist in connection with a shooting at an Anchorage home over the weekend.

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