Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Media deluded about health care reform
After reading Ruth Marcus' article "Twisting Arms in Senate, No big deal" in Monday's Empire, one is left with mouth agape. The statement that Sen. Harry Reid giving away tens of billions in taxpayer dollars for votes is the same as Tom Delay offering a personal endorsement for the same just shows how far adrift the media has become.

Juneau travelers see few flight delays
Thick fog caused the only delay for Ron Smith and his son, Elliot, on a Tuesday morning Alaska Airlines flight from Fairbanks to Juneau.

Around Town
Today, Dec. 29

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

Woman arrested for pulling a gun on landlord
A 19-year-old woman was arrested Monday on a felony assault charge after pulling a gun on a landlord serving an eviction notice at the Glacier View Trailer Park.

City cushions some projects against cuts
A $2 million infusion from Juneau's sustainability fund will likely soften the impact of a projected sales tax shortfall for several city projects.

City ramps up search for new snow storage site
A plan to pave a tour bus parking lot at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center has intensified the city's search for new places to store snow.

Photo: Glacier by sunset
Hikers make their way Tuesday along the frozen Mendenhall Lake with the sun setting through heavy fog.

Photo: Capital City Classic
Juneau's Hannah Swofford, right, and East's Ashleigh Owens go for a rebound Monday during the opening night of the Capital City Classic basketball tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School. The JDHS girls' team turned the visiting East Anchorage Thunderbirds' first five possessions into turnovers, rolling to a 75-29 win on opening night of the tournament. For more coverage of this and the boy's game, see page B1 of today's Empire. To view more photos of the event, visit the Web at spotted.juneauempire.com.

Photo: Into the fog
Darla Orbistondo takes her mid-morning walk Tuesday along Channel Drive in heavy fog. Cold clear skies this week could lead to more morning fog and icy streets.

Around Town
Today, Dec. 30

Photo: Settling in

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

Photo: Winter golf
Jason Shima, left, and Andy Fritz play their way through the miniature golf course Monday at the Juneau Arts and Cultural Center. Titled "Around the World in 9 Holes," the event is sponsored by the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council as a fundraising effort to repay the city for recent renovations at the JACC. Wednesday is the last day the course will be set up.

Carmel D. Roberts
Former Ketchikan and Juneau resident Carmel D. "Punky" Roberts died Dec. 18, 2009, in Mount Vernon, Wash. She was 63.

Benny Lingle
Skagway resident Ben L. Lingle died peacefully in his sleep the morning of Dec. 13, 2009, at his home. He was 82.

Leslie Phillips
Juneau resident Leslie Charles Phillips died peacefully Dec. 21, 2009, at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. He was 64.

Sonja Felkl
Former Juneau resident Sonja Felkl died unexpectedly at her home in Eugene, Ore., on July 17, 2009. She was 63.

Outside editorial: Screening flights for terrorists
This editorial appeared in the Los Angeles Times:

Unconnected dots
The following editorial appeared in the Washington Post:

Malfunctions in security
Had it not been for a malfunctioning detonator, nearly 300 people traveling on a Christmas Day flight might have perished. Only the faulty device, along with some fast-acting passengers, prevented a disaster.

My turn: Rule needed to protect Tongass roadless areas
Since a suit was filed to put the Tongass National Forest back into the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, there has been a lot of debate about the effects it will have on the Tongass. Many of the claims have been inaccurate or misleading.

Targeting the debt 'fixers'
Can you imagine getting a job at which your boss tells you that you'll get your paycheck every two weeks whether or not you show up? And performance doesn't matter. Everything's fine as long as you merely say you'll do the work.

The great sideshow of 2009
In September 2008, as the worst of the financial crisis engulfed Wall Street, George W. Bush issued a warning: "This sucker could go down." Around the same time, as Congress hashed out a bailout bill, New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, the leading Republican negotiator of the bill, warned that "if we do not do this, the trauma, the chaos and the disruption to everyday Americans' lives will be overwhelming, and that's a price we can't afford to risk paying."

Failing the US system
It's tempting to look at Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's foiled attack on a Detroit-bound airplane as an isolated incident. But the frightening fact is that the Nigerian suspect is far from alone.

Legacy of a lost Mexican gray wolf
Many years ago, at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, I had my first and only encounter with a live Mexican gray wolf.

Parnell adds spring AMHS ferry runs
KODIAK - Gov. Sean Parnell has ordered the Alaska Marine Highway System to schedule more ferry runs between Homer and Dutch Harbor.

Mount Redoubt volcano rumbles again
ANCHORAGE - Alaska's Mount Redoubt volcano is rumbling again.

North Pole man faces more charges in attack
FAIRBANKS - A North Pole man already facing a string of charges following an alleged attack on a woman has now been indicted on four counts of sexual assault.

Former lawmaker sentenced in drug case
FAIRBANKS - Former Alaska state Rep. Nick Stepovich has been sentenced to 352 hours of community service or 45 days in jail after his conviction of felony cocaine possession and tampering with evidence.

Assembly vacancy attracts 15 candidates
FAIRBANKS - The latest vacancy on the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly drew 15 applicants by Monday's deadline.

Fuel removed from damaged tugboat
VALDEZ - Almost all diesel fuel from the undamaged tanks of a tugboat that went aground on Bligh Reef has been removed.

Coast Guard rescues 2 teens from Afognak
KODIAK - A Coast Guard helicopter crew has plucked two teenage hunters from Afognak Island north of Kodiak after they did not return as scheduled to a pickup point.

Stroke blamed for Sutton man's behavior
PALMER - A Sutton man who pointed a gun at Alaska State Troopers in September has been released into his girlfriend's custody after a Superior Court judge in Palmer agreed his bizarre behavior was likely caused by a stroke.

School District recruiting budget committee members
JUNEAU - The Juneau School District is recruiting five community members interested in serving on a budget committee for the 2011 fiscal year.

2 juveniles arrested after Anchorage assault
ANCHORAGE - Two juveniles have been charged with felony assault following an early morning attack in west Anchorage.

Palin's daughter seeks full custody of baby
ANCHORAGE - An Alaska judge's ruling has revealed a heated legal custody battle between Sarah Palin's daughter and the father of Palin's grandson.

Coast Guard delivers salmon to Kotzebue
KODIAK - A U.S. Coast Guard aircraft delivered more than 20,000 pounds of silver salmon fillets to Kotzebue as part of a humanitarian mission.

Custody battle over Palin's grandson to be public
ANCHORAGE - Sarah Palin's oldest daughter appears to have lost her bid to keep a bitter legal dispute with her 1-year-old son's father confidential.

Bears send message in first round of tourney
The Crimson Bears sent a message Monday night: This is our house, and our tournament.

Bears' D stifles Service
For the second time in as many nights, the Crimson Bears scored early and often, storming to a 16-0 lead and rolling to a 66-26 win over Service.

Crimson Bears, Cougars battle at charity stripe
Juneau-Douglas played from behind virtually all night and couldn't come up with the buckets it needed down the stretch, falling 73-58 to Service on Tuesday in the second round of the Capital City Classic at JDHS.

Boys earn first win of season, 63-49
Juneau-Douglas made seven 3-pointers and got 33 points off the bench for a complete team effort on the way to its first boys' basketball win of the season Monday, 63-49 over 3A Wrangell in the opening round of the Capital City Classic at JDHS.

Alaska coach nears 900th victory
ANCHORAGE - Chuck White is 68 years old and feeling his age. His right hand shakes with tremors and his bones creak when he moves. He has spent 45 years in the same profession and every March he considers retiring.

Palmer girls edge Service 44-38
The Palmer Moose escaped with a win over the Service Cougars Monday afternoon 44-38 in the teams' first Capital City Classic matchups.

Photo: Classic collision
The Mud Dogs' Adam Soto knocks over the Snow Mens' Stuart Thurston Tuesday as they fight for the ball during the second half of Game 2 of the Holiday Cup Juniors Division playoffs. View photo galleries updated daily online at www.Palmer girls top East Anchorage 49-35
Senior guard Shauna Thein scored 16 points and Jaimi Cox contributed 14 more to give Palmer's girls' team a 49-35 win over the East Anchorage Thunderbirds Tuesday.

Parnell names new in-state gas line coordinator
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sean Parnell has chosen a state geologist to take over the job of in-state gas line coordinator, a position that was vacated last month.

Rachel Yould: Victim or schemer?
ANCHORAGE - Who is Rachel Yould?

Alaska mayor heading home in rescue truck
HOUSTON - Houston Mayor Roger Purcell is heading home in a rescue truck, but he's not a patient.

Iowa lawmaker predicts Palin run in 2012
JOHNSTON, Iowa - Iowa U.S. Rep. Steve King predicted Tuesday that former Gov. Sarah Palin will seek the Republican presidential nomination and has a good chance of winning Iowa's leadoff caucuses.

Fuel off-loaded from tug
ANCHORAGE - Crews continued Monday to remove fuel from a damaged tugboat that went aground on Bligh Reef - the same reef encountered by the Exxon Valdez oil tanker in the nation's worst oil spill.

Census to kick off in rural Alaska
ANCHORAGE - Long before spring breakup, when many residents of rural Alaska head off to fish camps, U.S. Census Bureau workers will begin their count of residents living in communities off the road systems.

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