Self-professed grump searches for world's happiest places
"The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Place on Earth" (TWELVE, 325 pages, $25.99), by Eric Weiner: Part philosophy, part psychoanalysis, part cultural studies lesson, Eric Weiner's "Geography of Bliss" searches out the "where" of the happiness question.

In the Stacks: New adult fiction includes 'The Whale Road,' 'Darkness Falls' and 'Endless Blue'
Here's a quick sample of some of the new fiction for adult readers at the Juneau Public Libraries.

Books Digest

Nonsmokers should not influence others
This letter is concerning smoking in the local bars and pubs. I, for one, think it's quite childish and mundane for individuals who don't partake in smoking to influence others with their anti-smoking, fern-head ideals.

Disappointed in Hoonah school
I am very disappointed in the Hoonah School District.

In support of Planned Parenthood
I am writing in defense of Planned Parenthood. Their services, including pregnancy termination, are long overdue in Juneau. Nobody wants to have an abortion. Unplanned pregnancies happen, however, and it is definitely not always in the best interest of the woman to take on the significant emotional and financial commitment of raising that potential child.

Commercial construction rolling
Last year's big trio of commercial projects - Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Fred Meyer's expansion - may be all finished, but smaller projects are keeping Juneau's construction market hopping.

Photos: Parka party
Paula Savikko makes adjustments to 7-year-old Kayla Phillips' Yupik summer parka, called a kuspuck. Students in Savikko's second grade class at Gastineau Elementary School have been making the kuspucks as a culturally relevant look at non-standard measurements. The program for using math in an Alaska cultural context was created by the University of Alaska.

Teacher's union set for pension fight
The union representing teachers and school support staff said Thursday it is gearing up to fight another round over pensions, an issue some lawmakers said they consider a "done deal."

Photo: Outdoor ash trays
Juneau city employees Cary Seifert, left, and Tom Boddy install cigarette disposal boxes Thursday on South Franklin Street. The boxes are for smokers who, since the Jan. 2 ordinance change, must smoke outside of the bars.

Around Town

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials and state police reported:

Local Army National Guard finds new chief
The Alaska National Guard has a new chief in town, Maj. Charles Nesloney, 41. He's a soldier from Texas with a degree in agriculture, a background in farming, and experience as a commander of US Army Space Company in Quatar. Nesloney moved to Juneau in November, 2007 and will be running the Alaska Army National Guard's 3rd Battalion, headquartered in Juneau.

State Farm awards 'smart choices' grant
JUNEAU - Local teens will get more support to stay in school from their peers, community and business leaders, because of a State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship Grant.

Student artist in the Spotlight: Kyle Kahklen
Student Artist in the Spotlight is a weekly feature on the Neighbors page and is in collaboration with the Juneau School District Elementary Art Program. To have your student art included, contact your school office.

Living and growing: Former pastor describes the gleanings from his Grandpa
I am a full-blooded Norwegian who grew up in rural northwest Iowa with my immigrant father and second-generation mother. I am glad they loved me and parented me, but as will all parents, they made mistakes.

Neighbors helping Neighbors
Neighbors Helping Neighbors is a weekly feature on the Neighbors page and is in collaboration with the United Way of Southeast Alaska.

Neighbors Digest

Neighbors mailbox

Amy Bays was awarded a Masters in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University in December; Zachariah Owens, of Juneau, was named to the fall dean's list at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Ore


Pauline M. Matheny
Former Juneau resident Pauline M. Matheny, of Fox Island, Wash., died Jan. 8, 2008, in Monroe, Wash. She was 87.

Paula Gail Buck
Former Juneau resident Paula Gail Buck, of Meadview, Ariz., died Jan. 14, 2008, in her home after a three-year fight with cancer. She was 60.

My Turn: Hoverbarge could harm salmon river
I am writing to oppose use of a hoverbarge and amphitrac by Redfern Resources on the Taku River. The Taku is one of Southeast Alaska's most productive salmon rivers, and there is substantial concern that use of a hoverbarge, in combination with an amphitrac, will have serious consequences for fish habitat.

Outside editorial: Divided it stands
For all the hand-wringing among Democrats about the tough choices the party's voters are facing in their selection of a presidential nominee, it's nothing compared to the troubles Republicans are creating for themselves this year.

Outside editorial: Was Padilla subjected to illegal torture?
Jose Padilla, the onetime alleged dirty-bomb plotter, this month sued John Yoo, the onetime Bush legal adviser who played a key role in crafting the so-called torture memos.

Outside column: Dr. King's greatest dream still remains unfulfilled
If the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had succeeded, racism, discrimination, poverty, injustice and inequality wouldn't still boldly assault the nation.

Evolution of fighting
Fighters armed with big red gloves and burning desire to inflict physical damage to another human being have electrified Juneau crowds at Roughhouse Friday boxing at Marlintini's Lounge for years.

A brief history of MMA
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, boxing ruled America.

Homer to visit JDHS; physical series expected
This weekend's hockey series between Juneau-Douglas High School and Homer should be special, but not just because it features the final home games of the year.

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.

Budget reserve battle lines drawn
The state of Alaska owes more than $5.2 billion to its Constitutional Budget Reserve, but there appears to be little sentiment in the Legislature to fully repay the money borrowed from the fund.

Last year's budget vetoes still sting for lawmakers
JUNEAU - Legislators are still smarting from Gov. Sarah Palin's recent budget vetoes, now their budget director is warning they may be the fall guys if overall spending increases significantly.

Carbon monoxide overcomes family in car, but all survive
ANCHORAGE - A family of five got lucky as they drove down a busy Anchorage street - their car hit a snow bank.

Whale Pass welcomes baby Boomchain
KETCHIKAN - Boomchain came into the world at home in Whale Pass - the first baby ever born in the small community on Prince of Wales Island as far back as local people can remember.

White House defends Chuckchi Sea oil lease
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is weeks away from a decision that most likely will designate polar bears as a threatened species, but it said Thursday that it won't budge on issuing new oil and gas leases in their shrinking Alaska habitat.

Interior officials: Drilling won't harm polar bears
WASHINGTON - The directors of two Interior Department agencies said Thursday they're confident oil and gas exploration in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska can proceed without threatening polar bears that depend on the sea ice.

DOTPF Commissioner faces transportation committee questions
JUNEAU - Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner Leo von Scheben outlined his department's goals with the House Transportation Committee.

Alaska Digest

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