The call of the solitary life: a look at the lives of hermits
In "A Pelican in the Wilderness," British author Isabel Colegate sets out to examine the intriguing question of why certain human beings seek a solitary existence, usually in an empty or wild landscape, with few or no comforts. Why does the spare "hermit's cell" beckon? Why hide in a cave from all visitors?

In the Stacks: Fiction features fantasy, tragedy, and several versions of the truth
Here's a taste of the new fiction coming out this week at the Juneau Public Libraries.

Questions left unanswered
To my response to Michael Lileidahl, my intention was not to upset anyone but to inquire why some children are not allowed to watch Harry Potter. Mr. Liliedahl compared the two very nicely, but he did not really answer why? How many people out there watched Lord of the Rings because it was the "best Catholic novel?" How many people read Lord of the Rings because it is "fundamentally religious and Catholic?"

Prose for times
I have just found the eloquent and sensible letter from Paul Gardinier of Juneau on March 28, 2003. He deplored the waste of military spending. Down here in cold Boston (minus 12 this morning in our suburb) there is also opposition to our current mentality.

Ephedra banned, tobacco still OK?
It was very easy for the FDA to ban products containing Ephedra after a prominent sports figure died and another 150 deaths were attributed to Ephedra across the nation over a period of years.

Origins of 'mean Republicans'
The "mean Republicans" only took the tax policy of JFK, who stated "a rising tide raises all boats" when he reduced taxes on "the rich." Linda Orr is free to give as much as she wishes to the poor. With the liberals in charge of the free market there would soon be no boats, or any tide to lift them.

Smoking affects loved ones as well as smokers
On my first visit to the hospital to see my Aunt Rita after she was diagnosed with cancer, she said to my sister and me, "I smoked all my life. That's why I have cancer. I take the responsibility for it. Smoking was my choice."

Interpreting the Pledge of Allegiance
When I Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, I am not worshiping the flag. I am in support for what the flag represents.

Children should draw their own conclusions
In response to Mr. Liliedahl's response to Mr. Ashton's letter about "Harry Potter" and the "Lord of the Rings": As an avid LOTR fan I am obliged to speak and proffer my carefully calculated convictions.

Finding irony while starting a wood stove
Starting the wood stove tonight, I grabbed two pages of your fine paper. It happened that the first page was a Christmas tree article from Nov. 28.

Disagreements OK, but honor country
I would like to add a "fresh perspective" in response to Logan Spencer's. As a young person in today's America, I feel as though my perspective truly is "fresh" because it seems many a youth has a lost sense of love for their country.

Everyone entitled to religious opinions
Thanks to Pastor Pat Brayton for sharing his interpretations of biblical scripture concerning homosexuals. Isn't it great to live in a country where religious views can be expressed without fear of governmental intervention?

Groomed Nordic trail etiquette
I set the groomed Nordic trails in the Mendenhall Campground and on Mendenhall Lake. I have been setting the tracks since 1993. I would like to take this opportunity to shed some light on groomed Nordic trails. The trails on the Mendenhall and other areas are set by the volunteer effort and they are set by the Juneau Nordic Ski Club. As a courtesy to the volunteer effort please consider the following guidelines so that everyone may enjoy the groomed trails.

'Harry Potter' and 'Rings' are entertainment only
Finding irony while starting a wood stove

Web site a source of smoke ban information
I respectfully request that all members of the CBJ Assembly read the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) issue analysis regarding smoking bans. This is the introduction to the report from the ALEC Web site (

Mother's roadside memorial destroyed
On Dec. 8, 2002, I lost my son, Gary Smith, when a drunk driver struck and killed him. Gary was walking along a Hoonah roadside when the tragedy occurred and ever since my life has not been the same. I have "moved on" as best I can, but there are times when the loss of my son makes me feel so sad. This past holiday marked the first anniversary of Gary's death. It was a difficult time for me, Gary's aunts, uncles, daughter, grandchildren, many relatives and friends who knew Gary.

Good prevails in 'Potter' and 'Lord of the Rings'
I respectfully disagree with Michael Liliedahl that the Harry Potter tales are only "pop-culture" and "stories that glamorize black magic" (Mr. Liliedahl's words). Harry Potter books are, like Lord of the Ring books, archetypal stories of the battle between good and evil forces, and good always prevails in J.K. Rowling's series.

Charter school integrates art into its classes
Students at Juneau Community Charter School sat in a semicircle Thursday as art specialist Dianne Anderson showed them a reproduction of Van Gogh's "Starry Night."

Police & Fire
Reports from Juneau police, fire officials and state troopers.

Black wolf near glacier brings locals delight - and some concern
No matter how friendly the lone black wolf recently spotted near the Mendenhall Glacier seems, people should keep their distance, the local wildlife biologist for the state Department of Fish and Game said Friday.

Police & Fire
Reports by Juneau police, fire officials and state troopers.

Will budget cuts scuttle Juneau's charter school?
Juneau's charter school likely will close at the end of the school year if the school district reduces its budget as proposed, parents say.

Giving to the community
In the 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz," the Tinman is rewarded with a heart, the Scarecrow a brain and the Cowardly Lion finds a little courage.

A bonnie taste of Scotland
The Stroller White Pipes and Drums and the Highland Dancers of Juneau presented a local audience Saturday night with a taste of Scotland, as finger-shaking girls danced jigs and the sound of bagpipes filled the hall.

Attack shatters family's dreams
When Maria Miller went to work Wednesday, she was saving up for a nice wedding. Now she is thinking about taking care of her fiance, who can't even push the pain-medication button from his hospital bed, she told the Empire on Friday.

Juneau man enters guilty plea in sex case involving teen
A 49-year-old man facing 17 felony charges ranging from sexual abuse to child pornography has entered a plea agreement that could give him 2 1/2 years in prison for his relationship with a teenage girl.

Changes for school buses could affect many families
The Juneau School Board is gathering public opinion on proposals to save money by dropping some school bus routes and changing school hours. A forum will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School.

Around Town
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Two corrections.

Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Clark Milliken Hoffpauer
Clark Milliken Hoffpauer, 73, died Jan. 4 in Crowley, La., after bouts with cancer.

Darwin Mears
Lifelong Alaska resident Darwin H. "Bim" Mears, 45, died Dec. 29, 2003, at his family home in Ketchikan, following a year-long battle with cancer.

My Turn: Sowing common ground
I have attended over a dozen forums plowing ground which might be thrown into the fiscal gap. Unfortunately, little but dust was stirred up. That recently changed.

Toe cartoon
Editorial cartoon by local artist Toe.

My Turn: Southeast timber industry has responded to change
I would like to address a recent article published in the Juneau Empire by Mike Sallee of Ketchikan. Mr. Sallee begins by stating that he has "become increasingly concerned about a gap between Southeast Conference's goals for our economy and the true needs of our region."

Book awards tailored for outdoor adventure
A decade ago, adventure writers and photographers who climbed the world's tallest peaks, paddled the most dangerous waters and told the tallest tales had trouble peddling their stories.

Cold Climbing
Most of the time in Juneau, ice climbing requires walking to the Mendenhall Glacier and a bit of walking on ice before reaching safe crevasses to climb. The cold snap that hit Juneau in the last two weeks has provided some more exciting options for Juneau's small ice climbing scene, though.

Snow report
On Saturday, Eaglecrest Ski Area reported 34 inches of snow at the lodge and 90 inches on top, with just a trace of new snow.

Out & About
Upcoming local outdoor events.

Web sites
Web sites of interest to local outdoors enthusiasts.

Sports in Juneau
Sports in Juneau is a service provided by the Juneau Empire to provide information on upcoming sports and outdoors events in Juneau.

Ketchikan Triple Dual Meets
Results from Friday's and Saturday's triple dual meets at Ketchikan High School's Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium featuring the wrestling teams from Juneau-Douglas, Sitka and Ketchikan.

Sports in Juneau
Sports in Juneau is a service provided by the Juneau Empire to provide information on upcoming sports and outdoors events in Juneau.

Olympian Flora wins 50k freestyle
Olympian Lars Flora won the 50-kilometer freestyle and Sarah Konrad took the women's 30K by 3.2 seconds Sunday in the final races of the U.S. Cross Country Championships.

Empire Archives: 1979 - Bear boys roll past Haines
A look back at a Juneau basketball series sweep from 25 years ago.

Saceda, Cox help Juneau wrestlers win dual meets
Two Juneau-Douglas High School wrestlers came through in the clutch to give the Crimson Bears the winning points in a pair of dual meets this weekend in Ketchikan.

Headlines from around the state.

Dems, GOP cutting deals early this year
Majority Republicans will have to head to the bargaining table with Democrats early this session as lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday for the second year of the 23rd Alaska Legislature.

Photo: Porky chows down
A porcupine makes a meal of an outdoor Christmas tree last week in Petersburg.

Photo: Market forces at work
A bulldozer builds a second mountain of wood chips last week at the Gates Contruction chip yard at the end of the Homer Spit in Homer.

Alaska Digest
News in brief from around the state.

More bills go into legislative hopper
Young strip dancers and the clubs they work in would face more restrictions under legislation being sponsored by lawmakers from both parties.

Ward back in running for state Senate
Former state Sen. Jerry Ward has returned to the political ring, filing to run in the August Republican primary against Sen. Tom Wagoner, R-Kenai.

Anchorage entrepreneur hopes Alaska humus will turn out to be humongous
Dick Strahl has dirt on his mind. He sees an international market eager for bargeloads of humus, the naturally composting material commonly found in shallow wetlands, otherwise known as peat.

This Day in History
In Alaska; in the nation; in the world.

Fairbanks group works to implement forced treatment for alcoholics
A Fairbanks group is turning to the courts to try to force alcoholics into treatment as part of an effort to reduce the city's population of chronic inebriates.

Avalanche blocks ski train
Crews on Saturday finished clearing up the remains of an avalanche that blocked a train packed with skiers and a Florida film crew as they returned to Anchorage from a promotional trek near Portage.

The governor after a year
Gov. Frank Murkowski, Alaska's tenth governor, served a tumultuous first year in office, cutting state government, reducing the state's fiscal gap and pushing for resource development.

This Day in History
In Alaska; In the nation.

Citizen tracks prostitution, other crime in Spenard
On days off from her regular job as an oil company flight reservations agent, Alicia Knight could go to a movie or take a nap like a normal sedentary 47-year-old office worker. But no.

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