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Tourism trends: The Selfie Stick

Bulky cameras swinging from straps around the neck for taking photos of majestic mountains or breaching whales? So last season. This season is all about mobile phone photos with the tourist as focal point. 

Thanks to the selfie stick, tourist-centric photos need not be at odd angles with terrible cropping due to short, stubby human arms. With the selfie stick, a photo can contain the shoulders and head in entirety, set against a serene backdrop of — is that a seal? Who cares!

Traveling to Nepal on a wing and a prayer

Since the April 25 quake that devastated Nepal, Yasmine Habash has wondered desperately where her mother might be. Dawn Habash was on a trek in near the Langtang National Park when it struck. 

At first, Yasmine and her family sought to spread the word about Dawn, with a social media campaign and various interviews with news organizations.

Rainy Day Reads: Have you heard about poetry? It’s really great.

I heard about National Poetry Month the usual way: my Facebook friends. In this case, my friend Alfred A. Knopf publishing. Why am I friends with Knopf publishing on Facebook? I don’t know. I’m not sure how it happened. (I suspect algorithms.) But I’m not complaining. For National Poetry Month, they published a poem a day on their Facebook feed and it was most educational. Take April 22nd’s offering by Richard Kenney:


April (and late March) indictments

Here’s a list of everyone who has been indicted by the Juneau District Attorney’s Office recently. The DA’s office presents cases to grand juries just about every Friday, and the Empire tries to compile them in list form at least once a month. Indictments are accusations of illegal activity and are not evidence or proof of guilt.

April 10

• Vincent P. Guimmayen, 29, and RyanJay M. Guimmayen, 24, were named in the same indictment as co-defendants in a drug case.

The bronze whale isn't gobbling up schools' funding

The bronze whale isn't gobbling up local schools' funding. The new library isn't paved with children's dreams of new textbooks. The City and Borough of Juneau isn't blowing money for schools on frivolous — or useful — purchases or investments. 

I've written a fair amount lately about the Juneau School District writing and re-writing its budget to account for ever more stringent state funding cuts.

A lot of people are upset.

I've seen public testimony during legislative hearings, rallies, letter writing campaigns and more. 

The full Q&A with blogger Libby Bakalar, who is freeing the nipples of Juneau

Here's the full transcript of the Q&A I had this afternoon with Juneau's Libby Bakalar, author of the the "One Hot Mess" blog, or O.H.M for short. Read on to find out why she's soliciting nip pics from Juneau women and how she expertly suckered me in to doing it as well. (I wrote about my experience and the Free The Nipple campaign here.)

Why we can't stop sending this Juneau blogger pictures of our nipples

There’s a certain amount of reluctance — followed by a rush of giddiness and giggles — in sending someone a picture of your boob so they can post it online.

I know because I did so on Thursday, as did 33 other Juneau women whose breasts selfies (breast-ies?) now grace the Interwebs on Libby Bakalar’s blog, “One Hot Mess,” for all to see.

Budget cuts cut vulnerable populations the deepest

Budget cuts!

It's hard to say if hearing the phrase one more time or hearing the consequences of said budget cuts is more likely to make a reader rage-cry these days. 

I've been in Alaska for nearly eight years now. It's a land of plenty! We weathered the Great Recession! But now with low oil prices, oil tax scenarios that require an advanced degree and a graphing calculator and limited production of the Alaska economy's lifeblood, there seems to be only one thing on the minds of our legislators: Budget cuts!

What that $1.5M for Choose Respect actually paid for

Sometimes when you're working on deadline, you end up receiving the perfect bit of information... a day after you really needed it. That's what happens when doing your job is contingent upon asking other people for stuff! People actually have other things to do than to get me facts and figures at all hours of the day and night, whether I want to believe it or not.

March indictments

The Juneau District Attorney’s Office presents cases to a grand jury just about every Friday. Copies of the indictments are usually available to the Empire the following Monday. Here’s the a list of all who were indicted as of late, from grand juries that were convened March 13 and March 20:


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