Friday, April 25, 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.

Local stacks feature books for National Poetry Month
Don't let the month of April pass without bringing home one of the many tiny, sensory worlds bound between the covers of a poetry collection. In celebration of National Poetry Month, this week's column will highlight some new and innovative poetry books for children. If April doesn't come often enough for you, look for poetry reviews at the Juneau Book Blog, http://juneaubookblog.wordpress.com/category/poetry/ and find out how you can contribute your own review of the next great poetry collection you read.

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!?!

Juneau road a foolish waste
It's time to admit that the Juneau access road project is a foolish waste of money and an imprudent assault on the very environment it's intended to promote, and kill it. After the infamous "bridge to nowhere" fiasco, the last thing Alaska needs is what will doubtless be mocked in the media as "the road to nowhere."

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

Use PFD to help the struggle
The state of Alaska is in a unique position as never before seen in its history.

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.

AEL&P should have had insurance
I am writing in concern about the electricity bill increase.

Bush's inaction gives ironic relief
I was greatly relieved to read the guest editorial recently about George Bush not doing any thing about global warming.

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.

City committee OKs $3 million loan to AEL&P
The Juneau Assembly Finance Committee on Thursday approved a $3 million interest-free loan offer to Alaska Electric Light & Power.

Clarification
The two libraries that will close one day per week in response to the city's efforts to conserve electricity are the downtown and Mendenhall Valley branches.

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.

Lawmakers ask for public hearing on electric rate hikes
Juneau's legislative delegation asked the Regulatory Commission of Alaska on Wednesday to allow the public to weigh in on a near five-fold increase to the city's electric rates.

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.

Retroactive rate payments explained
If Alaska Electric Light & Power Co.'s nearly five-fold rate adjustment goes into effect for May 1, then the rate changes will apply to all of the previous month's electricity usage.

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.

Photos: Winter: Just shovel it
First, Joey Roters, right, and Brandon Hauser shovel a wheelchair accessible path covered with eight to 10 feet of snow Thursday at the Mount Roberts Tramway building. The tramway will open for limited hours on Wednesday, April 30, for the first cruise ship visit of the season and reopen on Sunday, May 4, when ships arrive on a daily basis. Second, Joe Rafferty hikes through the snow-lined path at the tramway building.

Photo: Laying down on the job
Doug Liermann, below, and Kevin Sellers, employees of the City and Borough of Juneau Port of Juneau, put a fresh coat of paint on the benches of Marine Park on Thursday. The benches were last painted three or four years ago.

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: Sign of the times
A cyclist rides past the Taku Fleet Fuel sign Thursday showing the current fuel prices.

Around Town
Today, April 25

Around Town
Today

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

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

Corrections
The Juneau Jazz and Classics Community Day on Campus, which was listed in the Around Town for April 24, will actually be held on May 24.

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" ★★★

Photos: Glacier visitor center celebrates Earth Day
Families and individuals alike helped the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center celebrate Earth Day on April 19 with a specacular event, "Act Local ... Impact Global."

Consortium EMS to offer Wilderness First Responder course
SITKA - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium's Emergency Medical Services department is offering a Wilderness First Responder course May 12-19 at the SEARHC Community Health Services Building, first-floor conference room, in Sitka.

Consortium, Yale to present naltrexone study findings
JUNEAU - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium will host three community presentations in May with Dr. Robert Robin to present findings from a recent study where the Yale University School of Medicine and SEARHC partnered to test the effectiveness of two medications to treat alcohol dependence in Alaskans.

Cub, Boy Scouts to hold Scout-O-Rama
Juneau Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops will hold a Scout-O-Rama starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, with a opening flag ceremony, at the Nugget Mall. The closing ceremony will be at 4:30 p.m.

Juneau Community Foundation aims to bolster community
Local leaders joined forces with other community leaders throughout Alaska on April 18 to gain insight into building a stronger nonprofit infrastructure and increasing local philanthropy in the Juneau-Douglas area.

The word of God for everyone
Do you know the name of the book that has been translated into more languages than any other book that has ever been written? Maybe that is a foolish question, because there is only one book that can qualify as the answer to that question. There is no other book that comes near. No, not even the Harry Potter books.

Discover Southeast to host Wildlife Cruise
JUNEAU - Discovery Southeast will host its fifth annual Wildlife Cruise to Endicott Arm with Allen Marine from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 17, departing from the Seadrome Dock downtown, across Egan from the Goldbelt Hotel.

Can faith and fun go together?
I like to dance. Well, sort of. Most people wouldn't call what I do dancing. But when the groove hits, I just can't help myself.

Floyd Dryden hosts Health Fair
About 560 Floyd Dryden Middle School students participated in the Alaska Regional Health Fair on April 18 at the middle school.

Limitless Adventure Camp available for youth with asthma
JUNEAU - The Southeast Alaska Guidance Association's Eagle Valley Center, along with the American Lung Association of Alaska, will provide a Limitless Adventures Camp for youth ages 13-17 with asthma to partake in hiking, kayaking, orienteering, basic survival skills and asthma education.

Thanks from Juneau Youth Sailing Inc.
On behalf of the 1,000 Juneau kids who have taken sailing lessons with Juneau Youth Sailing Inc., a nonprofit group, and the many more who can now sign up for healthy summer fun - thank you, Juneau folks, for your magnificent support in buying us a safety boat.

3rd Cabin Reunion well attended
Nearly 100 people attended the Juneau Ski Club's 3rd Cabin Reunion Day celebration on April 12 at Eaglecrest Ski Area, said club historian Bob Janes.

Thanks for supporting the 3rd Cabin Reunion
Many thanks to Eaglecrest Ski Area's crew, Juneau Ski Club and the great group who attended the 3rd Cabin Reunion on April 12.

Thanks to Adopt-A-Book donors
The Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School Parent Teacher Organization would like to sincerely thank our Adopt-A-Book donors. Due to their generous support, Cathy Boutin, the school librarian, was able to purchase several new books for the 700 section of the library, which focuses on healthy living. A total of $585 was contributed by: Birger Baastrup, City Center Chiropractic; Dr. John Bursell, Juneau Bone & Joint Center; Beth Chapman, Faulkner Banfield; Mike and Gail Ford; Alan and Monica Gross; Lindy and Colleen Jones; Juan Munoz, Rie Munoz Gallery; Corey and Ellen Pavitt, Pavitt Health & Fitness Center; and George Rogers.

Thanks for helping with the Archaeology Fair
The Friends of the Alaska State Museum extend a big thank you to participants, presenters, volunteers and to all who helped make this year's Archaeology Fair a roaring success, despite the sunny weather.

Thanks from the Juneau Ski Club
As another wonderful year of ski training and racing comes to a close, we wish to thank our many sponsors for their support of the Juneau Ski Team. We had great success in that many of our athletes qualified for the Junior Olympics and performed extremely well. We deeply appreciate our annual sponsors - Juneau Shirt Company, Don Abel Building Supply and Kensington Gold Mine - as well as the City and Borough of Juneau Youth Activities Grant and the Hale Foundation. Without their support, our program would not be possible.

Russian language students perform well at state
Seven Juneau-Douglas High School Russian language students participated in the annual state Russian Olympiad on April 18 in Anchorage. Five of them presented on video, and two took the actual trip to Anchorage.

Be cautious when using kerosene space heaters
Dramatic increases in home heating costs have consumers searching for alternative fuel options. If you are thinking of purchasing a kerosene space heater for your home, there are important safety procedures you should consider before you buy. First, make sure local building and fire codes permit use in residential structures. Check with your insurance carrier to determine what impact the use of these heaters may have on your homeowner's policy.

FYI
Marriage licenses

Folding my underwear in Portugal
On my first week in Portugal, I was dumbstruck when I was handed a stack of my clean laundry.

Student Artist in the Spotlight: Matthew Mahnke
Age: 6.

Pansies are remembrances of love
Like a sweet breath of spring sweeping us along into the new season, the annual arrival of the first pansies is like hearing the varied thrush singing in the daybreak. It signals the change of life, shaking off of snow and darkness and opening the season of joy and renewal.

Ewing, Hale to wed
Ashleigh Hale, of Haines, and Daniel Ewing, of Juneau, will marry at 5 p.m. on May 3, 2008, on an island in the middle of Gastineau Channel. The bride, groom and close friends and family will hike out on low tide. A reception will follow at 7 p.m. at the groom's parents' home.

Jean A. (Wagoner) Nichols-Telford
Longtime Juneau resident Jean A. (Wagoner) Nichols-Telford died unexpectedly on April 16, 2008, in Juneau. She was 85.

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.

My turn: Information misinterpreted in anti-access road column
It is unfortunate that in Roman Motyka's April 22 attempt to "decipher" Department of Transportation & Public Facilities reports, he managed to misinterpret or misstate several important pieces of information.

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: Parking garage is the right thing
Why does Juneau need another parking garage downtown?

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

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.

Alaska editorial: State's actions on health care disappointing
Gov. Sarah Palin started the year looking as if she was going to tackle tough health care problems head-on.

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.

Ketchikan approves financial analysis of communications utility
KETCHIKAN - The Ketchikan City Council has voted to negotiate a deal with a firm to conduct a financial analysis of the city-owned Ketchikan Public Utilities Telecommunications Division.

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.

Alaska tops union's worker fatality list
CASPER, Wyo. - A report by the AFL-CIO says Alaska and Wyoming top the nation in the rate of on-the-job fatalities.

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.

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.

Alaska medical examiner says man's death was homicide
FAIRBANKS - The death of a Fairbanks man has been ruled a homicide.

Palin orders flags lowered to honor crash victims
ANCHORAGE - State flags will be lowered to half-staff to honor the four victims on a state-chartered helicopter that crashed last week.

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

Police have carjacking suspect in custody
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police took a carjacking suspect and two other people into custody after a high-speed chase and standoff that closed the Glenn Highway.

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.

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.

Future bright for the Bears
Three softball fields at Melvin Park emanated with the sounds of softballs smacking leather mitts during the Juneau-Douglas High School softball team's second day of outdoor practice Wednesday.

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.

SPORTS IN JUNEAU
UPCOMING EVENTS

CORRECTION
There was a scoring error in the Juneau-Douglas High School girls soccer story Sunday on Page B1. Melissa Skan scored a goal in Saturday's 4-1 win over Central High School of Cheyenne, Wyo., not Sarah Tarver. A corrected version of the story can be seen here.

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.

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.

Good news for state pensions
Alaska's looming retirement problem is getting smaller, the Alaska Retirement Management Board was told Thursday.

West Coast waters prove deadlier than Alaska's
SEATTLE - A new report from the federal government says fishing off the West Coast of the United States has one of the highest death rates in commercial fishing - even higher than in waters off Alaska.

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.

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.

Two Denali Park wolves snared outside park
ANCHORAGE - Tourists taking in the beauty of Denali National Park and Preserve could be in for a truly ugly sight - two wolves with tight snares around their necks.

Kenai man injured in grizzly attack
ANCHORAGE - Marc Johnson ran out his front door for a morning jog and nearly died minutes later. He could still see his house when the brown bear charged him.

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

This Day in History
In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

Army, FBI investigating massage parlor visits
FAIRBANKS - Federal investigators from the Army and the FBI are investigating a North Pole massage parlor that they claim was a front for prostitution.

This Day in History
In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

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