Fictionalized account of the Black Plague masterfully told
One of the most important events ever to threaten European civilization was the bubonic plague or Black Death of the 1660s. Geraldine Brooks gives a fictionalized account of the year 1665 in an English village. She bases her novel on clues given by Londoner Samuel Pepys in his journal of the plague year and other sources, including three letters left by the historical rector.

Nonfiction DVDs are fun and informative
Non-fiction DVDs can be fun, too! Take a look at what's on the shelves at the Juneau Public Libraries...

Renewed hope
I experienced several emotions while reading the recent article about Rep. Bob Lynn's vote on the Longevity Bonus, but most specifically gratitude and respect. It reminded me of a time when representative government meant you could expect your representative to do the right thing, regardless of their political affiliation. Too often now the party vote overrides the individual opinion. Protecting one's place in the political hierarchy has become more important to our politicians than actually doing the right thing.

Alaska's wildlife policy will prove costly
I am writing in response to the Alaska aerial wolf kill and bear removal program. I am a member of the Canadian Firearms Association and, let me tell you, there are a lot of mad ethical hunters from here who would like to see Gov. Murkowski's head in a sling. This practice is archaic and must never be done.

New question should be added to dividend form
The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend applications have arrived in the mail. There are seven questions on the adult dividend application form.

If you ski, join the Juneau Nordic Ski Club
I read Nick Jans' letter regarding the destruction of the Mendenhall nordic ski trails by snowmachiners. We've been lucky this year that there has been very little of this type of vandalism on our trails so far. I hope it's simply a matter of educating the snowmachiners on the consequences of their activities in that area, as I would like to believe they did not knowingly go out to destroy the trails. But what concerns me in addition to the destruction of the groomed trails is Nick's comment that he "is not a member of the Juneau Nordic Ski Club," as I know that he uses the groomed trails frequently. I saw him ski skating on the campground trails just last night!

Showing courage
Finally, a politician that is willing to put his own personal wants aside and vote for what is right for the people of Alaska! I applaud you Mr. Lynn!

One can't ban all of society's dangers
I shouldn't be surprised at the ridiculous claims and inappropriate correlations being made lately regarding the proposed smoking ordinance, but it's tough not responding.

Instead of a boycott, how about a 'wolf derby'?
As an Alaskan resident for 43 years, I would never try to tell the people of Darien, Conn. (headquarters for Priscilla Feral's, "Friends of the Animals"), the most efficient way to spay or neuter their stray cats; although I have what I feel are some excellent ideas on the subject. It's really none of my business.

Juneau Access Road will cost more than ferry
I lived in Southeast Alaska for nine years. I believe the EIS study on the Juneau Access Road began back in the mid 1980's. I am amazed at the money that has already been spent on this project, not to mention the proposed $300 million that is allocated for the actual construction of road. This is a decisive point for Southeast Alaska.

Where wolves belong
I read with interest the tale of the black wolf and it took me back some 10 years ago. You see, I used to own a timberwolf, purchased from a relative of the owners of the Tenino Wolf Farm in Washington.

King celebration provokes reminiscences, hopes
Juneau resident Marcia Staten was a young child in Alabama when Martin Luther King Jr. led a civil rights march in Selma in 1965. She remembers houses in her neighborhood packed with out-of-town marchers staying overnight.

Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Huna Totem to be host in Glacier Bay
Operating concessions to visitors in Glacier Bay is more than a strong business opportunity for Huna Totem Corp., Chief Operating Officer Robert Wysocki said.

Campaign finance reform intitiative falls short
Backers of an initiative to reform state campaign finance laws did not get enough signatures to get the measure on this year's ballot.

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

Pulltab sellers: Shutdown looms
Some local pulltab sellers are threatening to close shop, and non-profits warn they will suffer, if the city fights proposed legislation that would eliminate pulltab sales tax to municipalities while increasing such taxes for the state.

Photo: Snow man at work
Senior lift operator Jacob Percival watches skiers ride the Hooter chairlift next to a large snowman he and fellow operator Trevor Boynton assembled Saturday morning. After clearing snow from Friday night's storm, Percival and Boynton decided to put the material to some creative use.

Photo: Clearing the path
Jimmie Stringer, pastor of the First Baptist Church on Twin Lakes, shovels heavy wet snow off the steps of his church on Saturday.

Evelyn E. Pasquan
Longtime Juneau resident Evelyn E. Pasquan, 76, died Jan. 11, 2004, at her home.

Elizabeth Dianna Stauffer
Former Juneau resident Elizabeth Dianna Stauffer, 57, died Jan. 13, 2004, after an extended illness at Heritage Place in Soldotna.

This is no time to panic
It's no time to panic and enact a state sales tax or a state individual income tax. Cities and boroughs need the sales tax. The individual income tax reduces the take-home pay of average Alaskans - teachers, nurses, retail clerks, loggers, fishermen, government workers, reporters. Everyone with a paycheck would find a new deduction. A pay cut is not the way to boost the economy.

Cartoon by Toe

Winter activities

Snow report
Eaglecrest Ski Area reported 7 inches of new snow by Saturday morning. The snow depth at the top is 104 inches, with 36 inches at the base. The new snow is powdery on top, a little heavier at the base, and smooth on the groomed runs, the ski area said.

Off-season Outings
Want to make a trade? How about clear skies for low-lying clouds? Temperatures in the teens for ones in the mid-30s? Dry snow for wet mush? Ice instead of slush? Anyone willing to make the trade was in the right spot if they were in Juneau during and after the holidays.

Web sites
Web sites of interest to local outdoors enthusiasts.

Southeast at epicenter of sea bird's flight range
As I held the dead bird in my hand, I was amazed at how heavy it was. It was a marbled murrelet, and sadly, it was one of two that had become entangled, and drowned, in the monofilament mesh of a boat's drift gillnet.

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.

Photo: Circles of light
Members of the Juneau-Douglas High School dance team perform the light march at halftime of Friday's Juneau-Wasilla boys basketball game at the JDHS main gym.

Bears earn a 'C'
If this weekend's two-game series with Wasilla was the midterm exam for the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team, the Crimson Bears passed but still need to do some work.

Boozer breaks out in OT win
The Cleveland Cavaliers showed they can win without LeBron James. They just hope they won't have to keep doing it.

In the Southeast Hoops Roundup that ran in Thursday's Empire, the boys MVP of the Don Hather Tournament was misstated due to incorrect information given to the Empire. The tournament MVP was Chad Stigen. Also, Bryan Combs' name was misspelled due to an illegible scoresheet.

Juneau girls claim title at T-Bird Classic
A romp, a relapse and a rough-and-tumble win. The Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team earned two wins in three very different types of games on Friday and Saturday en route to claiming the title at the Lady T-Bird Classic in Anchorage.

Palin resigns from state oil and gas commission
Sarah Palin, the outspoken chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, is stepping down from her job, she said Friday.

Headlines from around the state.

Exxon will go with Point Thomson
Exxon Mobil has decided to go ahead with its plans to develop huge natural gas reserves at the Point Thomson oil and gas field near Prudhoe Bay, in a move that exposes the company to greater risk.

Decision boosts state's position on subsistence
A court decision in a case going back more than a decade has strengthened the state's ability to make broad decisions about closing areas to subsistence hunting.

Transport plan draft released
A draft plan for a new transportation blueprint for Southeast has been released by the state Department of Transportation.

PETA seafood ad vexes Wehyrauch
An animal-rights advocacy ad campaign warning that seafood is unhealthy could harm the Alaska salmon industry, said Juneau Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch. Weyhrauch, a Republican, has asked the attorney general to see whether the state has a basis for a lawsuit against Virginia-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

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