I too always scan (negatives at least) in 16 bit greyscale. do my local and overall contrast tweaks in 16 bit greyscale to match the print values, convert to 8 bit, then to RGB, then apply a Colour Balance layer (in photoshop) to match print colour/ toning, resize to about 550 to 600 dpi on the longest side, apply very small amounts of USM repeatedly until i get an acceptable sharpness, then use save for web feature of Photoshop.

Hope that hasnt upset too many purists ()