Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mexican puppet masters bring Spanish-language play to Juneau
Music, math and love might be the commonly-known universal languages, but never underestimate the potential of cows and puppet theater.

White-hot 'Beauty Queen' sears Thunder Mountain Theatre stage
"The Beauty Queen of Leenane" may fool you for a few minutes with its quaint set depicting a well-worn cottage kitchen. But the simple setting belies an underground torrent of rage.

JDU presents April Showcase on 25th and 26th
Juneau Dance Unlimited will present its April Showcase featuring some of its more experienced dancers on Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26 at the Juneau-Douglas High School Auditorium.

New Perseverance Theatre play opens April 26
"The Long Christmas Ride Home," written by Pulitzer-prize winning playwright and longtime Perseverance Theatre collaborator Paula Vogel, will open at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 26 at the Douglas theater.

Alaska Humanities Forum to meet in Juneau April 26
The Alaska Humanities Forum will hold a public information meeting from 3 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 26 at the downtown library.

What's Happening
Hooligan Calendar

A great time for grain-free
T his week is Passover, a time when most Jews who are able will do something to celebrate. Many will forego most food containing grain products as well as leavening for eight long days. It can seem like forever, but it is no time at all for those people who need to avoid grain in their diet all the time.

What to drink when the lights go out
The first thing I think of drinking when I think about my future electric bill is a lot - a lot of anything. Alcohol never really makes anything better, although it does make some things more tolerable. The economy, Juneau's electricity crisis, and bills in general tend to make one want to relax with a few dozen cold beverages.

Newest 'Fable' a quest for two
Despite being derided by some critics for failing to live up to the lofty goals set by game creator Peter Molyneux, "Fable's" rich world, deep levels of interaction, and deft RPG action offered a rewarding experience for those willing to take the game at face value. As we move closer to the release date for the highly anticipated sequel, it looks as if "Fable 2" has just as many ambitious ideas at work.

Making a power play
Life in Alaska is certainly fascinating. None of the amenities of modern civilization can be taken for granted - such as a reliable source of inexpensive energy. Like many in Juneau, I woke up last week to the sound of the local radio station and listened to the morning news. To hear that our main power source was to be interrupted for four months due to a massive avalanche was one thing. But to hear a moment later that our electric rates could possible escalate 500 percent!?!

Speculation at root of energy woes
Two related things in Tuesday's Juneau Empire caught my attention.

Not enough pride in our troops
I have noticed many letters to the editor that say, "support our troops, bring them home." And it's time I write about it.

Upset with TV service changes
It is time for GCI to provide its customers complete information about the conversion of cable TV service from analog to digital. Users need to know all the options available and how to satisfy their requirements.

Electric woes? Try sailboat showers
The avalanche that wiped out Juneau's hydro power has unleashed a new avalanche - of ideas for conserving our electric use.

Don't repeat history's road mistakes
I am writing to encourage the governor to make good decisions concerning the Juneau road.

City shaves some electricity expenses
As the city faces the possibility of spending its entire yearly electricity budget within 90 days, an effort is underway to chip away at the expense caused by emergency power rates of more than 50 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Data: Juneau's school dropout numbers falling
The Juneau School District's latest dropout data has both good news and bad news, according to district officials.

State officials delay disaster declaration
A disaster declaration for Juneau won't be coming any time soon, but state officials are still looking for ways to bail Juneau out of a deepening power crisis.

Electric usage drops 20 percent
In the face of Juneau's energy crisis, the city is experiencing a shortage of an item not usually associated with a rain forest - clothespins.

Air emissions spike in Juneau with increased diesel use
Juneau's electric utility predicts that by late May or early June, it will exceed some air quality permit limits by powering the city on diesel. State permitters may go easy on the company because the cause is a natural disaster.

Sunny Point project stays on schedule
Construction crews began laying asphalt for the new Sunny Point intersection project Tuesday. By mid-May, motorists on Egan Drive will likely be driving on a new overpass, according to the project manager.

McMurren pleads not guilty, trial set for the week of July 7
Accused pedophile Joseph McMurren, 60, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Tuesday to 15 counts of sexual abuse of a minor in Juneau Superior Court.

Electric ratepayers may have to cover repair costs as well
Juneau's electric ratepayers won't only be asked to pick up the price tag for the diesel fuel being used to keep the city's lights on.

Photo: Putting up the welcome banner
Juneau park maintenance employee Ericka Love hangs a banner Tuesday on a downtown light post. City crews have been hanging colorful banners depicting Alaska scenes on the downtown street lamps in preparation for the summer tourism season.

Photo: Closing for the season
Thomas McKenzie, an employee at the Treadwell Ice Arena, shoots pucks at the arena's new hockey nets. The ice rink will be closing on Sunday, but will re-open in mid-August.

Photo: Valuable commodity
A fuel barge offloads its cargo Tuesday at the Petro Marine Services plant on North Douglas Highway. Across the nation, gasoline prices increased at the pump Wednesday, rising more than 2 cents overnight and setting a new record with a U.S. average of $3.53 a gallon. Diesel fuel rose to its own new record of $4.21 a gallon. Gas prices in Juneau are likely to follow the national trend.

Photo: Trail danger
Mark Kelley examines an avalanche Tuesday that is blocking Perseverance Trail. Recent storms and warming temperatures have made snow conditions ripe for avalanches. Juneau officials have advised residents to be aware of the avalanche danger.

Around Town
Today

Around Town
Today

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

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

Corrections
A headline was incorrectly attributed in Tuesday's front-page story on the possibility of an increase in power fees at city docks. The headline should have read: "Port director says cost has potential to dwarf moorage fee increases."

Surprise, stoner flick politically poignant
A lot has changed since Harold and Kumar last partied their way onto the big screen way back in '04, White Castle burgers in hand and sex on their minds.

Kung fu collaboration almost spoiled
Some pairings just make sense. Ross and Rachel? You bet. Jim and Pam? Absolutely. Danny Glover and Mel Gibson? Perfection times four. Jet Li and Jackie Chan? Yes, please.

'Charlie Wilson's War' waged on DVD
'Charlie Wilson's War'

Juneau's Cinema guide
OPENING

Wandering music man just passin' through
Sitting on a stool on the stage of the Alaskan Hotel & Bar at open mike night, a man introduced himself as Sal Paradise and took the microphone in his hand, telling the crowd that he's only been in Juneau four days. He strummed his guitar and sang his wandering songs to the receptive crowd.

Kicking the post-folk-fest blues
If you're still recovering from folk fest - holy moley. But for most revelers, recovery settled in sometime last week and was as welcome as the moment an aspirin washes over the pain of a late-nighter.

Bluegrass Camp for Kids registration open
This year's Bluegrass Camp for Kids, taught by members of the Bearfoot Bluegrass band, will be held from June 23 through 26. The camp is sponrored by the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council. Pre-registration is required and spaces fill quickly.

Strom CD release party slated for April 30
Musician Dao Strom will host a release party on Wednesday, April 30, for her new CD, "Everything That Blooms Wrecks Me," at the Alaskan Hotel & Bar.

Sound Bites
She & Him, "Volume One" ★★★

Sound Bites
Jim Noir, "Jim Noir" ★★★

April Showcase with 'Zomo the Rabbit'
Juneau Dance Unlimited's April Showcase will include modern, ballet and hip-hop dance for the enjoyment of all ages this Friday and Saturday at the Juneau-Douglas High School.

Association offers basic boating, navigation workshop for women
The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association will offer a basic boating and navigational skills workshop, "Boating Without the Boys," designed specifically for women.

Mobile mammogram van visits Haines starting May 12
HAINES - The mobile mammogram van will visit Haines starting on May 12, with appointments running through the afternoon of May 21.

Thank you from the Juneau Cooperative Extension Service
The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension faculty search committee and Juneau District staff would like to thank all the community members who took time out of their busy schedules to attend the public presentations provided by the final candidates being considered for the 4-H Youth Development and Agriculture/Horticulture educator for the Southeast district.

Thank you for the delicious fundraising couple's dinner
The Alaska Youth Choir would like to sincerely thank Chez Alaska, owned and operated by Laraine Derr, for the delicious fundraising couple's dinner that was provided April 12.

Thanks for helping at our winetasting
The Juneau Lighthouse Association hosted a spring winetasting and silent auction at the Silverbow Inn on April 3. Thank you to all who helped make the evening a successful fundraiser for the renovations to Five Finger Lighthouse scheduled to start in May 2008.

Pets of the week
Dreamy, nice, sparkling pets seek homes

Bowhay teaches gardeners about planting in containers
Attendees of the Southeast Master Gardeners' special montly program on April 11 browsed among more than 1,000 plants in containers and hanging baskets at Glacier Gardens greenhouse.

Cooperative Extension Service offers energy saving advice
The Juneau District Cooperative Extension Service provides free energy saving information for residents facing electricity rates that will likely quintuple in the next few weeks. Factsheets by energy specialist Rich Seifert are available at the district office located in the Bill Ray Center and can be downloaded from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Web site at www.uaf.edu/ces/energy.

Donation to Boy Scouts shooting sports
Boy Scouts Shooting Sports Director Ernie Mueller, left, accepts a $3,068 check from Juneau Friends of the National Rifle Association Committee Chairwoman Kathy McCasland on April 15 at the Juneau Hunter Education Facility. The donation will go toward new rifles for Eagle River Scout Camp. Each year, the Friends of NRA hold a banquet to raise funds for shooting sports in Juneau. This year's banquet is at 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, at Centennial Hall. Advance tickets are $45 each or $75 per couple. For more information, call McCasland at 790-4957.

Dr. Lani Leary to speak for End of Life Care on Friday
JUNEAU - The Foundation for End of Life Care and Juneau Medical Society are co-sponsoring the second of free lectures, "Ten Things I Wish I Knew Before She Died," by Dr. Lani Leary, clinical psychologist and author of "Healing Hands." Leary will present at 7 p.m. Friday at Centennial Hall. The presentation is free and open to people of all ages.

McCowan to present outdoor safety and survival workshop
JUNEAU - Past judge and marshal for the annual Yukon Quest sled dog race, Mike McCowan will present an outdoor safety and survival workshop from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and 27, at the University of Alaska Southeast Egan Building, Room 123.

Mobile mammogram van to visit Angoon next week, May 1-5
ANGOON - The mobile mammogram van will visit Angoon starting at 3 p.m. on May 1, with appointments available through the afternoon of May 5 (no weekend appointments).

SEARHC joins other Sitka groups for National Bike Month
SITKA - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Health Promotion Department, Injury Prevention, Employee Wellness Team and the Steps to a Healthier Southeast Alaska program are joining with several other Sitka community groups to host a series of May events for National Bike Month.

Sitka Women's Walk and Triathlon takes place Saturday
SITKA - Want to go for a walk, bike ride or swim? Want to try a triathlon? Sitka women are invited to "build your own event" when you participate in the Sitka Women's Walk and Triathlon, sponsored by the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium WISEWOMAN program, Planned Parenthood of Sitka and Sitka Physical Therapy.

Benjamin J. Nelson
Hoonah and Tenakee Springs resident Benjamin "Ben" J. Nelson died April 12, 2008, in a snowmobile accident in Sitka. He was 32.

Beverly Howe-Merrill
Former Juneau resident Beverly Ann Howe-Merrill died April 6, 2008, in Ava, Mo., at the home of her parents, Charles and Betty Howe. She was 47.

Vernon McGee
Juneau resident Vernon D. McGee went missing at the end of February 2008 in a boat-related incident. He was 49.

Charles Wilson
Former Juneau resident Charles B. Wilson died April 21, 2008, in Keizer, Ore. He was 91.

Richard McKinley
Juneau resident Richard McKinley died on March 7, 2008, at Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau. He was 76.

My turn: Amid Juneau's energy crisis, displeasure with legislators
After reading Tuesday's headline article, I would like to express my profound displeasure with our legislators. It's bad enough that they showed a total disconnect with the suffering of their constituents, but the reason for not supporting the $500 supplement was even more disturbing.

My turn: Alaska economy will be OK
Alaska is a safe haven in the U.S. housing market. Investments in homes in Alaska appreciated nearly 2 percent in 2007 and nearly 9 percent in 2006.

My turn: We're all in this together
The April 16 avalanches have affected every family, business and government agency in Juneau. We are already coping with the consequences of this event - trying to conserve energy - as we prepare for the direct and indirect financial impacts to our household and working place budgets.

My turn: State energy problems need fixing
Apparently the state Legislature does not believe an energy crisis exists in Alaska.

Outside editorial: The Pope's message
Almost three decades ago, a new pope still in his 50s captivated Americans during a triumphant tour that took him to Washington, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Des Moines. Last week, America was visited by a different sort of pope - a soft-spoken octogenarian - with a less ambitious itinerary. But, like John Paul II's 1979 tour, Benedict XVI's visit to New York and Washington was a success beyond the opportunity it afforded the bishop of Rome to pray with the faithful.

Outside editorial: About that second Great Depression
The U.S. economy has, for many weeks, had Americans (and their politicians) talking recession: The economy grew only marginally, 0.6 percent, in the fourth quarter of 2007 - and may have dipped into negative territory in the first quarter of 2008.

Outside editorial: IRS doesn't need private tax collectors
Department of Poetic Justice: On April 15 - the tax filing deadline - the House of Representatives voted to bar the Internal Revenue Service from using private debt collection agencies to gather unpaid taxes. The measure would shut down a money-wasting IRS program that hires private firms to find delinquent taxpayers and collect debts. Problem is, the program costs more than the money that is collected.

City attorney shoots down Hood initiative
JUNEAU - City attorney John Hartle on Monday said a draft citizen initiative filed by Dixie Hood and four others hoping to stop the city's parking garage and transit center project has failed review on several measures.

Rate hike to lessen in June, AEL&P says
JUNEAU - The city's electric ratepayers will be getting some relief with their skyrocketing electric prices in June, according to Alaska Electric Power & Light Co.'s Director of Consumer Affairs Gayle Wood.

Corrections officers decry commissioner
JUNEAU - State corrections officers overwhelmingly registered disapproval of their commissioner's leadership in a union vote on Tuesday.

Doyon hires new president and CEO
FAIRBANKS - Doyon has hired Norm Phillips as president and chief executive officer of the Native corporation located in Alaska's Interior.

Bear mauls jogger on Kenai Peninsula
KENAI - A jogger was mauled by a brown bear on the Kenai Peninsula in what state officials are calling the first mauling of 2008.

Man pleads not guilty in death of nurse
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage man has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges related to the death of his neighbor, Anchorage nurse Mindy Schloss.

Workshop on placer mining to be held
FAIRBANKS - A man who started his own mining company will be giving a workshop this weekend in Fairbanks on placer mining.

Foundation pledges $1 million to UAA
ANCHORAGE - The Atwood Foundation has pledged $1 million to the University of Alaska Anchorage's Department of Journalism and Public Communications.

National Guard troops to return from Iraq
ANCHORAGE - After spending six months in Iraq, about 180 Alaska Army National Guard soldiers are coming home.

Committee to take vote on road proposal
ANCHORAGE - A committee in the U.S. House is deciding whether to send the Izembek Road proposal to the full House for a vote.

Butte man cited after fire burns 15 acres
PALMER - A 67-year-old man from Butte was cited after a fire burned more than 15 acres east of Palmer.

West wins big air contest
To a backdrop of bluebird skies and Canadian mountains, Juneau skier Jesse West, 17, took first place in the 13th Annual Olen Nash Memorial Big Air Contest on Sunday in British Columbia. The event took place across from Three Guardsman Peaks on the Haines Highway, about 12 miles away from the U.S.-Canada border.

Capital Embroidery wins hockey association Tier B title
Capital Embroidery received two goals from Dan Spencer in a 6-2 win over the Maroon team on April 16 for the Juneau Adult Hockey Association Tier B championship at Treadwell Arena.

SPORTS IN JUNEAU
UPCOMING EVENTS

Ruddy to compete in national championships
Juneau equestrian athlete Elena Ruddy received an official citation from the Alaska Legislature on April 10 upon qualifying for the Intercollegiate Dressage Association national championships.

The hole in the heart of downtown
If ash from a Pompeii-like volcano suddenly covered up Juneau tomorrow, the menagerie of garbage in the pit where the old Skinner building once stood at the corner of Front and Seward streets would tell future archeologists at least one thing about our society: We liked to party.

State turns down Exxon proposal for North Slope oil field
ANCHORAGE - The state of Alaska on Tuesday rejected a development proposal by Exxon Mobil Corp. in litigation over a rich cache of oil and gas on the North Slope.

Volunteers help preserve Kodiak archaeological sites
KODIAK - Vandalism to many of the more than 1,000 archaeological sites in the Kodiak Archipelago has decreased over the years, though many still face damage by animals, erosion and other natural causes.

Haze from Russia wildfires reaches Southcentral Alaska
ANCHORAGE - The haze that crept into Alaska in the last few days, making Anchorage appear more like Los Angeles on a smog-filled day, is not what you might think. It is smoke and dust from Russia.

Commissioners approve coastal management plan
Juneau planning commissioners Tuesday night unanimously approved a final version of the Juneau coastal management program. It has been in revision for several years since changes in state regulations restricted how local districts participate in state reviews of coastal developments.

Heavy snowfall gives boost to predator control program
FAIRBANKS - Above-average snowfall this month is helping participants in the state's aerial wolf control program track wolves.

Palin rebuffs call for abortion debate
Gov. Sarah Palin on Wednesday rebuffed a call to expand a June special session on natural gas pipeline issues to include abortion.

Anchorage homes to get bear-resistant trash cans
ANCHORAGE - Hundreds of homes will get free bear-resistant garbage cans this summer in an effort to discourage trash bears in two areas of east Anchorage.

Fairbanks wildlife trooper bags national award
FAIRBANKS - It's not every day that you get to pull one over on a state trooper.

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