Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Where does all the snow go?
The last round of winter storms continues to keep city crews working 20 hours a day clearing streets and dumping snow into Gastineau Channel. It's mundane work, but because of pollution scooped up with the snow, state environmental policy discourages dumping it in marine waters except in emergencies or as a method of last resort.

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.

Juneau looks to tap federal housing aid
Juneau has one of the lowest foreclosure rates in Alaska, which has the lowest rate in the nation. Nonetheless, the borough can still get a bit of the $3.92 billion pot that Congress is doling out to help communities recover from the housing crisis.

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.

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.

Photo: Powder pup
Maren Brantner plays with her five-month-old black labrador, Wilco, in the snow Monday near Centennial Hall.

Photo: Snow fantasyland
Shane Scarbrough, center, surrounded by family and friends, show off their handy work Tuesday in front of snow structures that Scarbrough constructed on Sunday at his Forest Lane home. The structures include a full-sized igloo, harbor porpoise, dolphin and bears. With Scarbrough, from left, are: Austin Mayer, 7, Kurt Mallett, Lori Martinson, Darian Scarbrough, 12, Ben Bitzer, 11, Vanna Scarbrough, 9, and Ryan Mayer, 12.

Around Town
Today

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

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.

Around Town
Today

Correction
A story in Monday's Empire incorrectly stated Eaglecrest Ski Area's operating days this week. The area will be open daily until Monday, when it will return to its normal weekly schedule of Thursdays through Mondays.

Timothy Swarens
Former Juneau resident Timothy Scott Swarens died Dec. 27, 2008, following a long battle with complications related to a bone marrow transplant. He was 22.

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

Alaska editorial: State lawmakers should receive salary, no per diem
The commission appointed to address pay rates for top state officials was on the right course last week when it called for a uniform salary among legislators.

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.

My turn: As capital creeps away, where's the outrage?
Imagine Kodiak without its fishing fleet and harbors. Fairbanks without its university. Bethel without its regional airport. Palmer without the state fair. Anchorage without its high rise buildings and center of commerce.

Healing begins in Iraqi community
Christmas week is an appropriate time to write about a district here called Ameriyah.

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.

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.

Has Israel revived Hamas?
In its efforts to stop amateur rockets from nagging the residents of some of its southern cities, Israel appears to have given new life to the fledging Islamic movement in Palestine.

Avalanche center: Ski patroller spurred slide
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - The Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center says a ski patroller triggered an avalanche that damaged a restaurant at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

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.

Juneau CPA firm hires new manager
JUNEAU - Elgee Rehfeld Mertz, a Juneau certified public accountancy firm, has hired Mindy Kissner as a manager.

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

'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.

Sierra snowpack thicker than last year
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - State officials on Tuesday reported a deeper Sierra snowpack than last year but cautioned that California needs a much wetter winter to recharge its water supplies.

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

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.

Ebona to lead RurAL CAP again in 2009
JUNEAU - The Rural Alaska Community Action Program Inc. board of directors this month re-elected Andrew Ebona of Juneau as president for 2009.

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

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

Magazine denies Palin baby reports
ANCHORAGE - A People magazine executive denied media speculation Tuesday that Bristol Palin made at least $300,000 for giving the publication first shot at photos of her newborn son.

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.

Bears take Classic crown
The Juneau-Douglas boys basketball team treated the hometown fans to a fitting championship finish Tuesday night, closing out the Capital City Classic with a nail-biting 57-52 win over in-state rival Lathrop.

JDHS girls nipped by Alexander, Ohio
The Juneau-Douglas girls basketball team entered into a true championship game against Alexander, Ohio, in Tuesday's Capital City Classic girls finale, and both teams lived up to the billing.

Capital City Classic highlights
Monday, Dec. 29 - Boys tournament

2008 Capital City Classic awards
All-Tournament team, boys

Fire shuts down Valdez oil refinery
ANCHORAGE - The Petro Star refinery in Valdez remained closed Tuesday after a fire that caused extensive damage to a processing unit and associated pipelines.

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.

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.

Guard headed to Qatar
FAIRBANKS - Nearly 50 members of the Alaska Air National Guard's 168th Aerial Refueling Wing waited patiently Monday afternoon, watching "The Day After Tomorrow."

Pointed gun no match for man's martial arts
FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks man who allegedly pulled a gun on a man skilled in the martial arts got more than he bargained for.

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.

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

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.

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

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