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House passes bill to oversee VA hospital building

AP Politics - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 1:26pm
House passes bill to oversee VA hospital building Associated Press - 16 September 2014 21:26-04:00 News Topics: Business, General news, Government and politics, Public buildings construction, Veterans, Veterans affairs, Veterans healthcare, Military healthcare, Building construction, Construction and engineering, Industrial products and services, Industries, Military affairs, Military and defense People, Places and Companies: Mike Coffman Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Union appeals Rice's indefinite suspension by NFL

AP Sports News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 1:17pm
Union appeals Rice's indefinite suspension by NFL Associated Press - 16 September 2014 21:17-04:00 News Topics: General news, Sports, Sports transactions, Sports team and league operation, Sports governance, Violence in sports, NFL football, Women's sports, Laws, Sports business, Sports industry, Media and entertainment industry, Industries, Business, Violence, Social issues, Social affairs, Professional football, Football, Legislation, Legislature, Government and politics People, Places and Companies: Ray Rice, Roger Goodell, Robert Mueller, Baltimore Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Lumber town takes stock after wind-driven wildfire

AP US News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 1:16pm
Lumber town takes stock after wind-driven wildfire Associated Press - 16 September 2014 21:16-04:00 News Topics: General news, Wildfires, Fires, Accidents and disasters, Natural disasters, Lumber and timber industry, Evacuations, Materials industry, Industries, Business People, Places and Companies: California Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

House passes bills highlighting IRS controversy

AP Politics - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 1:12pm
House passes bills highlighting IRS controversy Associated Press - 16 September 2014 21:12-04:00 News Topics: Government and politics, National taxes, Bills, Legislature, Government taxation and revenue, Government finance, Government business and finance, Business, National governments, Legislation People, Places and Companies: Kevin McCarthy, United States Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Jewel releases free song to support public housing

AP Entertainment News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 1:05pm
Jewel releases free song to support public housing Associated Press - 16 September 2014 21:05-04:00 News Topics: Arts and entertainment, General news, Music, Entertainment, Country music, Homeless shelters, Affordable and low income housing, Celebrity, Homelessness, Poverty, Human welfare, Social issues, Social affairs, Social services People, Places and Companies: Jewel, Ty Murray Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

James unveils new shoe before restart with Cavs

AP Basketball News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 12:46pm
James unveils new shoe before restart with Cavs Associated Press - 16 September 2014 20:46-04:00 News Topics: Business, Sports, NBA basketball, Men's basketball, Professional basketball, Basketball, Men's sports People, Places and Companies: LeBron James, Oregon Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top general: US ground troops possible in Iraq

AP Politics - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 12:39pm
Top general: US ground troops possible in Iraq Associated Press - 16 September 2014 20:39-04:00 News Topics: Government and politics, Militant groups, Legislature, War and unrest, Religion and politics, Political debates, Legislature hearings, Terrorism, Legislation, General news, Religious issues, Religion, Social affairs, Social issues, Campaigns, Elections, Military and defense People, Places and Companies: Barack Obama, Carl Levin, Pete Visclosky, Jack Kingston, Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Tim Kaine, Jeanne Shaheen, Chuck Hagel, John R. Allen, Josh Earnest, John McCain, Bashar Assad, Jim Inhofe, United States, Iraq, Syria, District of Columbia, Middle East Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Minneapolis-St. Paul 1 site of anti-terror program

AP US News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 12:39pm
Minneapolis-St. Paul 1 site of anti-terror program Associated Press - 16 September 2014 20:39-04:00 News Topics: General news, Terrorism, Counterterrorism, Government programs, Religion and politics, Luge, War and unrest, National security, Military and defense, Government and politics, Religious issues, Religion, Social affairs, Social issues, Sports People, Places and Companies: Eric Holder, Minnesota, Minneapolis, St. Paul Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cops: No past reason to enter remains-filled home

AP US News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 12:33pm
Cops: No past reason to enter remains-filled home Associated Press - 16 September 2014 20:33-04:00 News Topics: General news, Crime, Dogs, Mammals, Animals People, Places and Companies: Massachusetts Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Kellie Doherty interviews Deb Vanasse, author of Cold Spell

49 Writers - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 7:00am



Tell us about your background.
I’m a full-time writer. To supplement my income, I work as a freelance editor (developmental and proofreading), and I teach creative writing workshops. My undergraduate degree is in English, and I have a Master of Arts in Humanities.

I live on Hiland Mountain, outside of Anchorage (in Eagle River, actually), but I also spend as much time as possible at my husband’s cabin on the Matanuska River, overlooking the Matanuska Glacier. Before moving to Anchorage, I lived in Fairbanks for twenty years, and before that, I lived in Southwestern Alaska, in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta: Nunapitchuk, Tuluksak, Akiachak, Bethel.
How did you get into writing?

Like most writers, I’ve always loved books and language. At first, writing books—especially fiction—seemed too lofty a goal, so I studied journalism. But then I switched colleges and ended up at a school with an awful journalism program, so I became an English major. The more I studied literature, the more I wanted to write fiction. But when my college advisor asked how I planned to make a living as a novelist, I couldn’t say. He steered me into teaching, but I never let go of my ambition to write fiction. I decided I’d teach twenty years and retire (as you used to be able to do in Alaska), and then I’d do what I really wanted, which was to write books.
Deb VanasseWhy an Alaskan book?
I’m very taken by place, and this is the place I know best. And I think Alaska’s ready for more literary/book club fiction set in our state. Seth Kantner’s Ordinary Wolvesset the standard for all of us in that regard. So I’m hugely excited that the official book launch for Cold Spellis going to be Oct. 3–6 with Seth, who’s launching a new book of his own, a children’s book. It’s fun to be swapping places—he’s the one known for literary fiction, and I’m known for children’s books.
How was the publishing experience for you?
Cold Spell is my fourteenth published book, so I’ve had lots of different experiences in publishing: agented, unagented, big publisher, small press, and now, independent publishing. For Cold Spell, I had what I consider an ideal arrangement: a traditional press published the softcover edition, while I retained rights to the other editions—ebooks, audio books, foreign rights. It’s up to me now to prove to the print publisher that by my active promotion of those other rights, we’ll sell more print copies than we would have otherwise.
You wrote quite a few children’s books. Why such a detour with Cold Spell?

Cold Spell is the novel I always aspired to write, the sort of book I love to read, with intriguing characters, evocative prose, and a compelling storyline. In that sense, the children’s books were the detour; I fell into writing them without really intending to. I enjoy the challenge of children’s books—in many ways, kids tolerate a lot less in terms of sloppiness than adult readers will. And I love interacting with kids. But my desire was to write a well-received novel for grown-ups. It feels great to have finally done that!
Why did you have both Sylvie and Ruth so interested in the glacier?

My characters are an unruly bunch—if I tried to “have” them do anything, they’d turn right around and do something completely different. For the most part, I discover who they are and what interests them by seeing what they do on the page. If I knew from the start what they’d do, I’m afraid I’d get bored with them, and that would carry over to the reader. So it wasn’t until Ruth tore that photo out of the magazine that I knew she had an odd obsession with the glacier, and it wasn’t until Sylvie arrived at the glacier that I saw how her mother’s obsession was going to affect her, despite her best efforts to resist it.
What was the significance of Kenny and Ruth’s relationship?

I suppose it’s another of my flaws as a writer—it’s certainly not very efficient—but I rarely know what anything in a story signifies until after it’s on the page. And in the case of Kenny and Ruth’s relationship, I don’t know that it signifies anything. I suppose on some level I’m interested in sexual politics, in that I’m intrigued by the ways women rely on sexuality when other avenues to power elude them. In the triangle involving Kenny, Ruth, and Sylvie, there’s a lot of that going on.
What was the inspiration for the trucker?

David Vann (an author I hugely admire) wrote that Cold Spellis Greek tragedy; that while you like Ruth and Sylvie and hope they won’t hurt each other, you know that they will. An extension of that is that they also seem destined to harm themselves. When Sylvie feels powerless, she asserts herself sexually. You can only do so much of that before you get into trouble. The trucker is trouble.
Brody and Sylvie seem to have a tenuous relationship. Why did you decide to have their relationship disintegrate, only to resume?

If only I could decide such things, writing would be so much easier. Brody and Sylvie made their moves on the page, and I tried not to be a knucklehead about seeing the obvious, so that in revision, I could clarify what was going on. In retrospect, I think Brody works in opposition to the trucker. He’s vulnerable, though he doesn’t want to be, and it’s through him that Sylvie lets herself become vulnerable, which in turn helps her emerge from her preoccupation with herself.
What do you do to overcome writer’s block?

I always hate saying this, because it seems like I’ll jinx it, but in truth, I’ve never had writer’s block. I think writer’s block is strongly connected to a fear of failure, and while I’ve certainly failed often in life, I’ve never had much fear of it. I can generally write my way through stuck points; in fact, a bigger problem for me is forging ahead in a story when I should have stopped to assess whether it was heading in the best possible direction.
Are there any more books in the works?
Always! I’ve just finished a narrative nonfiction manuscript that I worked on during roughly the same time period in which I wrote Cold Spell, a biography of Kate Carmack, an integral but overlooked figure in Klondike gold rush history. When I was well into the draft, I realized that this book would be the first non-academic rendering of the gold rush from the perspective of those who were there first, Alaska Natives and the First Nations of the Yukon, so I wanted to make sure it was as accurate and compelling as possible. I’m also working on a book for writers: What Every Author Should Know.
What words of wisdom would you give to a writer?
With any luck, the book I mentioned, What Every Author Should Know, will impart 85,000 words of wisdom! One of the most important, in my reckoning, is to persevere. Writing is hard work. At every turn, you encounter discouragement. If you give in to it, you’re done. You write the best book you can, and then you make it better. You don’t quit.


Founder of Running Fox Books and co-founder of 49 Writers, Deb Vanasse has authored twelve books, the latest of which is Cold Spell. Deb is currently working on a narrative nonfiction book called Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Last Great Race for Gold. She lives and works on Hiland Mountain outside of Anchorage, and at a cabin near the Matanuska Glacier.
49 Writers member Kellie Doherty, who has volunteered for us for several years--most recently as a blog interviewer, is leaving Alaska soon to pursue her Master's in Publishing. We wish Kellie well in her new endeavors and thank her for her many contributions behind the scenes.
Categories: Arts & Culture

Movies in Spanish Night

Juneau Public Library Blog - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 4:38pm
Tomorrow (9/15) is the Third Tuesday of the month; and what does that mean at the Juneau Public Libraries? Movies in Spanish Night! No matter what your level of Spanish is, you’re bound to have fun watching one of America’s favorite super heros speaking in Spanish and with English subtitles. Doors open at 5:30. Movie […]
Categories: Arts & Culture

Buddy Tabor taught me to filet a halibut

What Turtle Blood Tastes Like - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 2:35pm
in an interview i ask him what he thinks about when he paints houses? nothing, he says i just go blank you never write songs or poems to occupy your mind while working those hands? nope, he tells me when you get as old as me its a relief, the silent mind i’m deep into […]
Categories: Arts & Culture

Chilkat Curlique

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 11:04am

A woven Curlique using Chilkat weaving techniques — by Clarissa Rizal

I am weaving a child-size Chilkat apron as part of a 5-piece Chilkat woven ensemble which will also include a headdress, robe, and leggings.  My goal is to complete the ensemble by end of October; I will have the entire ensemble shown at the Alaska-Juneau Public Market during Thanksgiving weekend at the Centennial Hall in Juneau, Alaska.   Above is a semi-completed image of my first curlique using the Chilkat weaving techniques. The merino yarns were hand-dyed by a yarn company out of Homer, Alaska.  Stay tuned for updates on the “Chilkat Child” ensemble.

Categories: Arts & Culture

Superintendent speaks out about student privacy rights

Juneau School District Announcements - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 2:40pm

Supe's On  - Welcome to the Superintendent's Blog

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Categories: Arts & Culture

School District Report on Investigation into Hazing

Juneau School District Announcements - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 4:35pm

The Juneau School District has concluded our investigation into allegations that on or about May 30-31 of this year a group of incoming senior boys hazed/initiated a group of incoming freshmen boys by paddling them multiple times.

These events were first brought to our attention in early June. At that time the district began an initial investigation, which, due to an active police investigation and summer vacation, was put on hold. When we were informed that the police had concluded their investigation we resumed our efforts.

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Categories: Arts & Culture

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