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Friday, July 10, 2009

Picture books are always arriving at the library for Juneau's youngest book-lovers
New picture books for babies through early elementary school arrive regularly at the public libraries. Here are a few of my recent favorites.

ARTS & CULTURE CALENDAR
ART, EVENTS & PERFORMANCES

Home Skillet Fest
Home Skillet Festival comes together through the combined efforts of many hands, minds and pocketbooks. At its heart, however, it is the manifestation of a simple pleasure - sharing high-quality music - cultivated by its founders, Nicolas Galanin and George Huff.

Listening to the landscape of Breathe Owl Breathe
In lyrics that are at once vivid and obscure, Breathe Owl Breathe sings of mastodons and glaciers, toboggans and boats, evoking landscapes through their music that would be easy enough to imagine were formed right here in Southeast Alaska. However, Northern Michigan is their base, another place where winter encourages creativity.

Depp's charm obscures Dillinger's true nature in 'Public Enemies'
It is a good thing Wikipedia is free. Every time a movie like "Public Enemies" comes out - a movie based on historical events and real people - I inevitably wind up at Wikipedia reading up on the folks I have just seen depicted. With Michael Mann's new film about John Dillinger (based on the book, "Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34"), there are countless criminals and lawmen with their own links and back-stories. At first the objective is just to figure out how far Mann and company deviated from real life, but before long it is simply damned good reading!

B-Real from Cypress Hill to perform tonight
One of the most highly anticipated concerts in Juneau in the past decade takes place tonight when B-Real of Cypress Hill takes to the stage at Marlintini's Lounge. Doors open at 9 p.m. and tickets cost $35.

Sunglasses manufacturer makes film about Juneau road
It may seem like an unusual pairing: Florida-based sunglasses manufacturers Costa Del Mar has released a film, "Blue Highway," which seeks to inform the public about both sides of the issue surrounding the Juneau Access Road.

'Bubble feed' dinner supports Wallen's waterfront whale
"Creating a Bronze Sculpture, From Studio to Foundry to Site" will be presented by R.T. "Skip" Wallen at a whale project fundraising "bubble feed" dinner Saturday July 11 at the Moose Club.

Juneau Dance Unlimited offers jazz/hip hop workshop
Juneau Dance Unlimited still has space for the Work It! jazz/hip hop workshop for students ages 11-18, to be held at the dance studio from 6:30-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, July 13-24.

Ballroom dance held this Saturday at Centennial Hall
Juneau International Folkdancers will host their monthly ballroom dance from 7-10 p.m., Saturday, July 11, at Centennial Hall.

Family before profit
The two things I hate most - dealing with medical insurance companies and my annual prostate examination - both leave me with the same sensation afterward. My friend has a contact within a large insurance company. The friend stated, confidentially, that her company's strategy is to make it as hard as possible for Joe Policy-holder to claim the benefits he is entitled to.

Wasteful spending in Washington
There is a current issue in the U.S. Senate right now to fund a backup engine for the Joint Strike Fighter. This basically is pork barrel politics at its worst. It would cost billions and the current engine is working just fine, according to the experts, including President Obama, who stated on May 7 "We're going to save money by eliminating unnecessary defense programs that do nothing to keep us safe - but rather prevent us from spending money on what does keep us safe. One example is a $465 million program to build an alternate engine it has. The engine it has works."

50th anniversary tribute moving
Two interesting non-events took place in Juneau on July 4. One was the non-public display of the Declaration of Independence on cruise ships. Apparently it was supposed to be shown but for security reasons (that lovely catch-all term) it was not taken off the ship and the public could not come on board except by invitation.

Juneau Road costs keep climbing
The cost to build a road north out of Juneau has climbed to around half a billion dollars, according to new estimates the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities released Thursday.

Court lifts injunction on Kensington permits
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday lifted its injunction on construction at the Kensington gold mine, bringing the mine one step closer to getting back into business since it was halted in mid-2006.

Bail reduced in strong-arm robbery case
A Superior Court judge on Wednesday halved the bail of a convicted felon accused of a strong-arm robbery while on probation.

Woman, 66, dies after jumping off State Office Building
A woman died in an apparent suicide after jumping from the eighth floor balcony of the State Office Building Thursday afternoon.

Voters may face $11.8 million school bond question
Voters this October will likely be asked to issue $11.8 million in school bonds for a renovation at Gastineau Elementary in Douglas.

Out the road, a new research forest
Tongass National Forest managers recently declared 40 square miles at the end of the Juneau road the newest "experimental forest" of the U.S. Forest Service and given it a central research focus of climate change.

Hazy skies result of Interior fires
According to forecasters, the haze obscuring our otherwise clear skies is the result of forest fires burning in Interior Alaska.

Photo: Full moon
An orange-colored full moon rises off of the horizon Tuesday night as it reflects onto the Gastinueau Channel. According to Kristine Spekkens, of "Ask an Astonomer" at Cornell University, sometimes the moon looks orange because when it's close to the horizon the light reflecting off it has to pass through more of Earth's atmosphere. As it does this, the shorterwavelengths, like blue, are scattered and the colors with longer wavelengths, like orange, pass through.

Photo: Wax on
R.T. "Skip" Wallen puts a yearly layer of wax on his 1,500-pound bronze statue of a brown bear Wednesday. The statue, called "Windfall Fisherman" and crafted by Wallen, was commissioned in 1984 in honor of the silver anniversary of Alaska's statehood. The statue, which sits at the Dimond Courthouse plaza, is owned by the city of Juneau and has a maintanace fund set aside for it. The wax keeps the bronze from turning green and protects it from the elements.

Photo: Swinging good time
12-year-old DJ Toyomura swings across the monkey bars as his cousin Lauren Rabago, 12, watches Thursday at Project Playground at Twin Lakes. DJ, from Petersburg, is visiting his aunt in Juneau and is here for a boy scout camp.

Photo: Busy cruise day
A group of tourists stand Wednesday on a platform toward the top of Mount Roberts overlooking the Sea Princess. The Sea Princess was one of six large cruise ships that stopped in Juneau on Wednesday bringing in more than 13,000 passengers and crew members to Juneau for the day.

Photo: Just loungin' around
Stellar sea lions lounge on a buoy Tuesday a few miles north of Statter Harbor in Auke Bay.

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

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

Around Town
Today, July 10

Around Town
Thursday, July 9

Corrections
Wednesday's Juneau Empire had three errors:

My Turn: Robert McNamara's War
This past week saw the passing of Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. This decent, talented and intelligent man was a study of contradictions symbolic of the Vietnam War era and reflects in many ways our country today.

Alaska editorial: Taxed or not, gas price problem won't go away
Even though Alaska has suspended the state gasoline tax, we are still stuck paying some of the highest gasoline prices in the country. Last week, Gasbuddy.com reported that Anchorage's price for unleaded was 30 cents higher than the national average.

Outside editorial: Don't mean to HARP
It's been four months since the Obama administration rolled out its policies to help homeowners battle a declining housing market. As you'll recall, the administration's declared objective was not so much to rescue homeowners who were already in or near foreclosure as it was to identify those who could avoid foreclosure with a little bit of well-timed government support.

My Turn: Clean Water Act now in Obama's hands
There's been a lot of talk and speculation around town about what the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) intends to do following the recent Kensington mine Supreme Court decision. So here's where we are:

Free-market health care reform is just what the doctor ordered
President Barack Obama is right when he says that the U.S. health-care system needs reform. Although this country provides the finest care in the world, our health-care system has serious problems. It costs too much. Too many people lack health insurance. And quality can be uneven.

The infamous kind of fame
The culture of celebrity giveth and the culture of celebrity taketh away. If you don't believe it, just look at Sarah Palin and Michael Jackson.

US and Russia talking again, truly a good start
Progress on reducing strategic nuclear arms is big news out of the Russian-American summit conference, but overshadowed side agreements are true windows on improving relations.

Lawyer: Campbell needs confirmation as lt. gov.
ANCHORAGE - The process for picking Alaska's lieutenant governor is under review.

Juneau to host tourism summit
KETCHIKAN - The impact of fewer people visiting southeast Alaska and what can be done to change that is the focus of an upcoming summit sponsored by First Things First Alaska Foundation, a Juneau nonprofit.

Tuesday's open burning ban lifted
JUNEAU - Capital City Fire and Rescue on Wednesday canceled the open burning ban that was in effect Tuesday throughout the borough.

Kayaker rescued in Bering Strait
NOME - A Norwegian kayaker has been rescued from the Bering Strait after asking for help when he was blown off course.

Double shooting occurs in Unalaska
UNALASKA - Authorities say an Unalaska man died from a gunshot wound after apparently shooting another man in the head and chest.

Police fielding bear break-in calls
JUNEAU - Seven nuisance bear encounters occurred in the community in as many days, according to a bear report the Juneau Police Department's released Wednesday.

Baranov Museum gets grant to preserve jackets
KODIAK - The Baranov Museum in downtown Kodiak has been awarded a $7,440 grant to help preserve four gut skin jackets.

Fort Richardson soldier dies in Afghanistan
FORT RICHARDSON - The Army says another Fort Richardson soldier has been killed in Afghanistan.

Palin to sign gun rights bills
FAIRBANKS - Gun rights enthusiasts, including rock 'n roller turned avid hunter Ted Nugent, are expected to call in to a talk radio show in Fairbanks, where Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has scheduled an appearance.

Palin plans to pick two judges
FAIRBANKS - Gov. Sarah Palin plans to appoint two Fairbanks judges before she leaves office July 26.

Levi Johnston says Palin's resignation about money
ANCHORAGE - The former fiance of Gov. Sarah Palin's 18-year-old daughter says he thinks he knows why the Alaska governor is resigning - concerns over money.

Spending bill includes more for Fort Wainwright
FAIRBANKS - A military spending bill approved this week by the Senate Appropriations Committee could include as much as $125 million for new construction at Fort Wainwright.

Christie won't ask Palin to campaign in NJ
TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie has ended speculation that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will campaign for him.

Alaska Lt. Gov. Parnell says he'll keep Palin's team
ANCHORAGE - Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell says he'll bring Gov. Sarah Palin's top advisers with him when he takes over as Alaska governor July 26.

More testimony in Anchorage on gay rights
ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage Assembly chamber was packed for another round of public testimony on a gay rights proposal.

Iowa GOP wants Alaska gov. for fundraiser
DES MOINES, Iowa - Officials of the Iowa Republican Party say they are trying to attract Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to the state GOP's premier annual fundraising event.

State responding to fire near Nenana
NENANA - The state Division of Forestry says the Minto Flats South fire about 13 miles northwest of Nenana has grown to more than 79,000 acres and is threatening cabins, timber and a drilling rig.

Group will sue EPA over pesticides in polar bears
ANCHORAGE - An environmental group has given formal notice that it will sue the federal government to protect polar bears from pesticide pollution.

Hello, Juneau
Well, after weeks of planning, 3,700 miles and a six-hour ferry ride, I'm here.

Warm weather graces Juneau softball fields
It is hot and sunny, and a fabulous time to be playing softball while surrounded by the glacier and the snow fields — where else but Juneau? Last week was pretty quiet and that was probably good, as many players were still recovering from the Rainball tournament.

Students, instructor earn new rankings
JUNEAU - Karate instructor Diana Stevens has earned the rank of Godan, or fifth degree black belt, reflecting a level of proficiency sought by many and obtained by an elite few in martial arts.

Palin admin releases breakdown of ethics expenses
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sarah Palin, in explaining her upcoming resignation, has repeatedly said attacks on her since she ran for vice president have cost state government millions.

Legislature to hold hearings on Lt. Gov.
The Alaska Legislature is asserting a role in the appointment of a new lieutenant governor after Gov. Sarah Palin steps down and is replaced by current Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell.

Legislators say special session may be needed
Confirming Gov. Sarah Palin's choice to become the new lieutenant governor may require a special legislative session, and that may give legislators unhappy with Palin's veto of $28.6 million federal stimulus money an opportunity to override it as well.

A closer look at Palin's personal finances
ANCHORAGE - Since Sarah Palin abruptly resigned as governor, she has repeatedly cited the bombardment of ethics complaints against her while conceding the financial burden of defending herself had taken its toll.

Spending bill includes more for Ft. Wainwright
FAIRBANKS - A military spending bill approved this week by the Senate Appropriations Committee could include as much as $125 million for new construction at Fort Wainwright.

Group will sue EPA over pesticides in polar bears
ANCHORAGE - An environmental group said Wednesday that it plans to sue the federal government to stop approving pesticides that end up in food eaten by polar bears.

Burns' new documentary notes Alaska national parks
Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, with his new documentary on America's national parks, has touched the hearts of Alaska's conservationists and the tourism industry, both with their own personal passions for seeing these parks thrive for generations to come.

16 billionth barrel of North Slope crude oil
FAIRBANKS - Sometime this summer the 16 billionth barrel of North Slope crude will flow down the 800-mile trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

New law targets Anchorage homeless camps
ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage Assembly has approved a crackdown on homeless camps.

Palin racks up air miles and has time to tweet
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sarah Palin spent another day on the move in far-flung locations Wednesday at a time when many Alaskans remain mystified over her decision to step down and not finish her term.

GOP candidates in Va. and NJ wary of Palin
NEW YORK - Sarah Palin's decision to step down as Alaska governor was driven in part by her wish to help Republican candidates across the country, associates say.

States lure consumers with seafood branding
BOSTON - You've heard of Alaska King Crab and Maine Lobster. Why not Massachusetts Mackerel or maybe Cape Cod Cod?

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