Thursday, May 29, 2008

Simpson documents her inner journey as an Alaska explorer
Can a middle-aged woman be an explorer? Author Sherry Simpson asked herself this question for her new book "The Accidental Explorer: Wayfinding in Alaska."

Celebrity chef touts Alaska seafood
The bounty of Alaska's waters has drawn culinary prospectors for decades and most recently has attracted one of America's top celebrity chefs.

Ballroom, Latin dance slated for May 31 at Centennial Hall
A dance will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, at Centennial Hall, sponsored by Juneau International Folkdancers. DJ music at the dance will be suitable for ballroom and Latin dances, and Shane Wirtz will be teaching the Glacier Slide.

Documentary presentation scheduled for June 6
An artist lecture at Celebration 2008 is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 6, in the Hickel Room at Centennial Hall.

SEARHC receives Well Workplace Award
SITKA - Wellness Councils of America this month announced the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium earned a Gold-level Well Workplace Award for 2008.

First Command, credit union join forces
JUNEAU - First Command Financial Services Inc. recently entered into a strategic partnership with True North Federal Credit Union to provide financial planning products and services to credit union members in Fairbanks, Juneau and Anchorage.

Wings of Alaska earns safety award
JUNEAU - The Medallion Foundation recognized Juneau-based airline Wings of Alaska with a Medallion Shield, the first ever achieved by an FAA Part 135 air carrier, and the only airline other than Alaska Airlines and its code-share partners to achieve that status.

What's Happening
Hooligan Calendar

Discovering the five flavor points of taste
Years ago, while I was teaching some staff how to make soup and achieve the flavor balance I wanted, I discovered I did not have the proper understanding of how we taste foods.

Que syrah shiraz: Are they cousins, siblings or the same grape?
Paul Fraser, 34, is a surfer dude of sorts. He spends half the year near the beaches of his native Australia, half near the Pacific swells of California.

Skate in the wake of disaster
After providing a much-needed shake-up to the skating genre on the Xbox 360 and PS3 with its huge success, "Skate," EA is bringing its realism-focused franchise to more tactile consoles. Fortunately, this isn't just a straight port with scaled down graphics and tacked-on waggle controls. Electronic Arts has found a creative, and possibly controversial, way to make "Skate It" feel different, yet familiar at the same time.

De-scrambling messages
Every few months I send out a bulk e-mail message to all my friends scattered throughout the world. Some are nice enough to let me know that my message arrived looking like this:

Prescription drug story needed more facts
Katie Doyle's statements in the Empire's May 14 article, "Center addresses prescription drug use," make good copy, but when they're the only numbers in the whole article, that's bad journalism.

City votes to keep property tax rate level
The city's lawmakers voted Wednesday to keep next fiscal year's property tax rates the same as they are this year, and rejected using money from an emergency fund to cover next month's electrical rate surcharges.

Energy adviser seeks solutions in Southeast
Gov. Sarah Palin's top energy advisor came to Juneau on Tuesday, looking for answers to the state's difficult energy questions.

Photo: Preparing for restoration
Addison Field, curator for the city museum, conducts an assessment of The Four Story Totem Pole Tuesday outside the museum. The totem is going to be restored by Haida carver Lee Wallace. It was cleaned over the weekend.

Around Town
Today

Police & Fire
The police bulletin was not made available Tuesday by the Juneau Police Department.

Permanent fund may look into a new location
The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.'s trustees this week will hear a proposal for studying a move of the fund's headquarters from Juneau to Anchorage. The trustees are meeting in Anchorage today and Thursday, and will hear the proposal Thursday.

Williams pleads guilty to theft, drug possession
Accused crime leader Vonnie Williams pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges that he helped steal nearly $20,000 in checks from Taku Smokeries last November by paying the actual thief with crack cocaine.

Harborview students earn 'promotion'
School's out for summer today for about 5,000 Juneau School District students.

Photo: All the ways to enjoy the sun
First, Bobby Jack, left, plays the guitar and sings while Art Johnson carves a Tlingit moon mask Wednesday at Marine Park. Second, Auguste Stiehr tries to maintain his balance while "slacklining," a balance sport using nylon webbing stretched between two points. Third, taxi driver Dennis Harris holds a promotional sign while sitting in his cab near the Mount Roberts Tramway.

Ferry Columbia out of service after 'minor' generator fire
A generator fire on Sunday aboard the ferry Columbia forced it to divert from a trip to Juneau and return to Ketchikan for repairs, ferry system officials said Tuesday.

Photo: Leaping into summer
Juneau-Douglas High School freshman Karli Brakes signs a friend's yearbook Wednesday while sitting on a stairway in the school's commons as another classmate leaps over her. Wednesday was the last day of the school year in the Juneau School District.

Juneau anglers allowed four kings per day under new limit
From California to Alaska, fishermen are suffering from a dearth of king salmon and the hard management decisions that have resulted. In Juneau, though, the usual healthy rush of hatchery kings keep daily sport bag limits much higher.

Around Town
Today

Juneau Assembly approves some school renovation funding
The Juneau Assembly approved an ordinance Tuesday to transfer $2.65 million from a general maintenance fund for renovations at Harborview Elementary School, then approved a bid to do the work.

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

AEL&P predicts large drop in rates next month
Juneau's private utility is forecasting a sharp drop in electric rates next month.

First rejected, man wins city approval for boat garage
A Mendenhall Valley resident whose neighbors came to support him swayed planning commissioners to approve his variance request for a boat garage.

Photo: Twin vigil
A pair of bald eagles known as the "Taku Twins" perch Monday on one of the transmission poles in Gastineau Channel next to the Douglas Bridge. The pair have been a common sight on the poles since the late 1990s.

Will this chick flick fly?
Can a pure chick flick become a hit? Yes, if it draws a diverse enough swath of female moviegoers. For "Sex and the City," that will be the big question.

Silly plot undermines 'Indy 4'
It's funny how hesitant I am to write this review. I'm acting like a poor review in the Juneau Empire will permanently hurt Harrison Ford's feelings.

Juneau's Cinema guide
OPENING

New on Video&DVD Selected home-video releases
Return of Rambo on DVD

DJs move into post-vinyl era
There is a video clip making the rounds on YouTube featuring English actor Steve Coogan from the United Kingdom television show "Saxondale" talking about the state of disc jockeys in the post-vinyl era.

Tokio Hotel: Inciting a teen riot
Move over Jonas Brothers, the Kaulitz twins are moving in.

Celebration benefit concert scheduled for May 30
A Celebration benefit concert is being held at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 30, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall. The proceeds of the event will go toward passes for underprivileged youth wanting to attend Celebration 2008 held June 5 through 7.

Juneau Pride Chorus hosts spring concert May 31
The Juneau Pride Chorus will conclude its 10th anniversary season with a spring concert at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center.

Sound Bites
AL GREEN "Lay It Down" ★★★

Photo: Second Run for the Son
Faith Community School students hold a banner before their second annual Run for the Son fundraiser on April 25 at Rotary Park. Students from the nondenominational Christian school ran laps to raise money for the school. The students would like to thank all the volunteers who made this fundraiser possible.

SAGA to host camp 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.

Mobile mammogram van to visit Yakutat
YAKUTAT - The mobile mammogram van will visit Yakutat starting at 3 p.m. on Thursday, with appointments running through the afternoon of June 3.

Is Hospice and Home Care in your plan?
Most of us shop around for the important things in our lives. Finding a place to live? We check a variety of possibilities and calculate potential costs. We think about what we like and what feels comfortable, and often discuss our needs and feelings with friends and family members. Planning our kids' education? Buying a car? It's the same. We may even spend months scheming to plan the perfect family reunion or vacation.

Photos: Haines Health Center 10th anniversary
Listening: From left, SEARHC Board Chair Jan Hill,President/CEO Roald Helgesen and SEARHC Haines Health Center Clinic Administrator Marcia Scott listen to speakers during the 10th anniversary celebration for the SEARHC Haines Health Center on May 17 at the Haines Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall. About 70 people attended the celebration barbecue.

Are bees in Alaska endangered?
While cleaning a window, I saw a very large bee. Since some people suggest it might be an endangered species, I carefully lifted the sash and scooted the bee out into the free air.

Up from the roots, into the sky
From the southern coastal zones, along the tidal reaches and up the tributary valleys, the vast underground mass is awakening.

Edward Bergeron
Former Juneau resident Edward Bergeron died May 19, 2008, surrounded by his wife and daughters at home. He was 80.

George 'Doc' Marks
Longtime Juneau resident George "Doc" Marks died May 24, 2008, after a three-year battle with lung cancer. He was 80.

Lavon Arnel Liberty
Former Juneau resident Lavon Arnel Liberty died suddenly on May 18, 2008, at the SEARHC Mount Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka. She was 41.

My turn: Permanent fund should stay in Juneau
A member of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. board is asking for a study to be proposed at the May board meeting to look into whether Juneau is the best location for the corporation.

My turn: Of doctors and their mishaps
Nothing in this world is perfect. Bridges fall down, trains collide and airplanes fall out of the sky. Many of these events are due to human error - others are unavoidable. Death is inevitable.

My turn: State addresses recruitment and retention
Many economic forces are colliding for Alaskans - increased fuel, food and housing costs. Like other employers, the state of Alaska is aware of the pressures on its employees and has begun implementing change.

My turn: Fight the rate increase
Fight back or surrender to tyranny? As Juneau faces this unwanted but now unavoidable choice, the path taken will undoubtedly define our character and direction for years to come.

Outside editorial: Republicans hold their line against paying cost of war
The notion that a country at war should ask its citizens to bear the burden of higher taxes is now viewed in many quarters as quaint, if not ludicrous.

Alaska editorial: For Anchorage, capital budget cuts make sense
Gov. Sarah Palin cut $268 million from the capital budget on Friday. That's a lot of money, but still less than 10 percent of the entire $3 billion capital budget.

Opinion: Americans are in for a crude awakening
Whither oil? That's the head-scratching question nagging everyone from beleaguered U.S. airlines and automakers to panicky motorists bracing for $4-a-gallon gasoline

Opinion: The health of Indians suffers due to inequality
How long you live should not depend on how rich you are. But recent studies show that the richer you are, the longer you live.

Car strikes middle school student on bike
JUNEAU - A middle school student riding a bike was involved in a traffic accident early Tuesday morning, according to Juneau School District officials.

Woman charged in hit-and-run death
ANCHORAGE - An 18-year-old woman was arrested on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the death of a man who was struck and killed in an Anchorage hit-and-run.

Lt. Cary assumes command of ship
JUNEAU - Lt. Chad M. Cary, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps, recently assumed command of the NOAA ship John N. Cobb, relieving outgoing commanding officer Lt. Cmdr. Peter Fischel.

Alaska gas averages more than $4 a gallon
ANCHORAGE - The American Automobile Association said the average price of gas is approaching the $4 mark - with Alaska averaging more.

Kasilof boat launch plan worries residents
KENAI - Residents living near the lower Kasilof River said they don't object to a public drift boat takeout there but they don't want access for motorized boats.

Hospital accredited for mammography
JUNEAU - Bartlett Regional Hospital was awarded a three-year term of accreditation in mammography and mobile mammography services as the result of a recent survey by the American College of Radiology.

Search continues for Japanese climbers
ANCHORAGE - The National Park Service said a window of good weather allowed the search to continue for two missing Japanese climbers on Mount McKinley.

Troopers release name of victim in crash
SOLDOTNA - Alaska State Troopers on Tuesday released the name of the Minnesota man died who died in a weekend crash in Soldotna. He was Donn Johnson, 53, of Cass Lake.

Houston rejects emergency declaration
HOUSTON - The Houston city council rejected an ordinance that would have declared an emergency in Houston due to high fuel costs.

Troopers recover body of drowned man
SOLDOTNA - Alaska State Troopers said they've recovered the body of a man who drowned while canoeing near Soldotna on the Kenai Peninsula.

Spring King Salmon Derby Standings
As of 10:58 a.m., Tuesday, May 27

High-powered Bears play for perfect finish
Flair, power and speed are just a few of the traits associated with the undefeated Juneau-Douglas High School boys soccer team.

Sports in Juneau
UPCOMING EVENTS

Colin Flynn honored as state's top player
For a rather quiet guy, Juneau-Douglas High School senior Colin Flynn frequently finds himself as the center of attention.

JDHS fine-tunes its game for state
For a full hour or so during Wednesday's practice, the Juneau-Douglas High School girls soccer team kicked and then charged. Kirsten Jorgensen or Sarah Tarver would send in a ball and a host of Crimson Bears would dart to the ball and try to score past another set of teammates.

Photo: Player of the Year
Juneau-Douglas High School senior Joe Kohan pitches during practice on April 30 at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Field. Kohan was named the Gatorade Alaska Baseball Player of the Year on Wednesday. The 6-foot, 185-pound senior right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.47 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 21.1 innings this season, leading the Crimson Bears to a 12-5 record. Kohan, who also plays shortstop, is hitting .537 with four home runs and 15 RBIs. He is the returning Southeast Conference player of the year.

Honoring Heritage
Alaska presumably changed forever on Jan 21 with the extinction of the Eyak language.

Study shows large dropout rate at Alaska's public university
ANCHORAGE - A study by economists at the University of Alaska Anchorage shows 28 percent of full-time freshmen at schools throughout the state's university system do not return for their second year.

Permanent fund takes hit in early '08
The Alaska Permanent Fund had a poor start to the year and declined 4.5 percent, according to a review of the first quarter.

Arctic nations seek order in North Pole claims
COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Five countries with competing claims to the Arctic agreed Wednesday that control of the region where the polar melt is expected to free up hugely valuable resources will be decided in an orderly way.

State finds TransCanada plan economical, likely to succeed
Gov. Sarah Palin's gas line team released its official findings and determination on the TransCanada gas pipeline proposal on Tuesday, providing the state's first detailed assessment of how much money the state and others would make from the project and how likely the project is to succeed.

Guards criticize commissioner in heated corrections meeting
ANCHORAGE - Corrections officers lashed out at Commissioner Joe Schmidt on Tuesday during a meeting over allegations that he and other top administrators are mismanaging the state agency.

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

Chain saws banned, Forest Service cabins convert to oil heat
As policy and stoves change in the Tongass National Forest, a local group with a long history of service with the U.S. Forest Service decided it can no longer supply firewood to the public-use cabins on Admiralty Island.

Fairbanks home sales drop, but realtors optimistic
FAIRBANKS - Homes sales in the Fairbanks area have fallen from the same time a year ago, but the Fairbanks Board of Realtors reported Tuesday that the local housing market is still strong and has largely missed a housing slump seen around the United States.

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