Fair days are here again in Haines
Gear up and ship out this weekend for the Southeast Alaska State Fair in Haines. This year the theme is a "May the Fair be with you!", so you might want to pack a lightsaber as well.

'Half-blood Prince' doesn't take a Potter fan to appreciate
Before we get to the 17th "Harry Potter" movie (alright, alright, 6th), I thought I'd share with you what some dude felt compelled to share with everyone sitting near him at Glacier Cinemas the other night: his immediate reaction to each preview before "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" began.

Canvas hosts weaving and pies
The first weekend of August is set to hold lots of art and fun at the Canvas Community Art Center.

'Snowflake Rebellion' weaves web of local Alaska
Anchorage author Tom Brennan will be in Juneau Saturday to sign copies of his new book, "Snowflake Rebellion."

JDHS grad publishes children's series
Chris Eboch is getting spooked. The 1987 graduate of Juneau-Douglas High School has become a successful novelist for young people.

Weber Dance Co. comes for local performance
Juneau Dance Unlimited will bring the Weber Dance Company to Juneau, August 10-21, for a two-week dance intensive and dance performance.

Alaska's $250,000 lottery tickets on sale
Get your tickets! Get your tickets! Spend $5 and have a chance to take home $250,000 through a state authorized lottery in conjunction with the Vietnam Veterans of America. This non-profit aimes to promte and support a full range of issues important to veterans of the Vietnam War and to change public perception of the veterans themselves. Ten percent of what is leftover after the pay-out will go to this non-profit and it's efforts.

Summer Theatre Arts Rendezvous to show three plays
Perseverance Theatre's Summer Theatre Arts Rendezvous will show the talents of aspiring young actors in various productions: in the musical "Annie," "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," and a new play, "Kóoshdaa kaa: Stories of the Land Otter Men." Performances begin Aug. 7 and run through Aug. 15 at the Noyes Pavilion on the University of Alaska Southeast campus.

Essay contest takes aim at local ties to Tongass forest
TONGASS N.F. - Does the recent sunshine remind you of even more reasons you love the Tongass? Does seeing a doe and fawn or humpback and calf inspire you to write? Do you love this great forest we call home even more when you taste wild berries, smell fresh cooking salmon, feel the satisfaction of crafting a home from locally-milled lumber or gaze out over a wild vista?


Grant workshop can pay off for nonprofits
I want Juneau residents who work for nonprofit organizations and government agencies to know about a wonderful opportunity for themselves and their respective groups.

EPA wants Kensington to do it right
The MyTurn article in Wednesday's Juneau Empire by Brian Holst, director of the Juneau Economic Development Council, not surprisingly champions the development and opening of the Kensington gold mine.

State offices need a recycling program
As many know, offices go through a lot of paper. The state possibly uses more paper than most, since we need, at any given point in time, at least seventeen color-coded copies of every document in a dozen different locations (I exaggerate, but only slightly).

Learning Connection a great experience
I'm writing to tell you about one of Juneau's best kept secrets: The Learning Connection (SERRC's little red schoolhouse at 210 Ferry Way). I taught English as a Second Language there this summer, and though I would love to have stayed, my husband and I are moving to Seward.

New governor tries to mend relations with capital city
Gov. Sean Parnell held the first cabinet meeting of his new administration Wednesday, and afterwards praised Juneau and took other steps to mend relations between the state's chief executive and its capital city.

Junior cadets are on the scene
"Tell me one piece of evidence you see," said Juneau Police Department officer Jason Van Sickle as 16 cadets from the Junior Police Academy on Wednesday examined a Chevrolet sedan with a miniature motorcycle wedged under its front bumper.

Local man pleads guilty to cocaine, meth charges
A 26-year-old Juneau man pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to conspiring to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine in the capital.

Cruise executive blames head tax for revenue drop
A cruise line executive attacked the cruise ship initiative Thursday that imposes fees and environmental regulations on the industry.

Governor doesn't support head tax repeal
Gov. Sean Parnell would be reluctant to support a repeal or reduction of the state's $50 head tax on cruise passengers, he told reporters at a Wednesday meeting in Juneau.

Parnell promises Kensington support at Juneau luncheon
The Juneau Chamber of Commerce welcomed Gov. Sean Parnell Thursday like an old friend, even before he gave a ringing endorsement of the Kensington Mine.

Photo: Power washer
City of Juneau port officer Ron Hilbert power washes Sunday morning along Marine Parkbefore tourists and locals flock to the streets. In April, the waterfront from Merchant's Wharf to the Intermediate Vessel Float was cleaned and the city crew tries to keep on top of debris buildup every month. After six years on the beat Hilbert is feeling right at home. 'It's a great job... I like the tourists and the towns folk, and I get to be outside every day,' he said.

Alaska's senators argue with EPA over Coeur action
Alaska's U.S. senators in a Wednesday letter explained why they think the Environmental Protection Agency is wrong to say the Kensington gold mine could use more environmental study.

Photos: Watching for Bears
Black bears have become a frequent sight at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, prompting tourists to pull out their cameras and staff to ramp up warnings about bear safety. To view a photo slideshow of bears spotted this summer in Juneau, visit juneauempire.com/slideshow.

Photo: Garden variety
A bumble bee native to Alaska pollinates a sedum at the Jensen-Olson Arboretum at Mile 23 on the Glacier Highway. More than 200 plant species and 10 vegetable varieties grow at the arboretum, providing a changing color scheme through the summer and an educationalfacility of gardening for the public to enjoy.

Photo: Taking the plunge
Claressa Ullmayer, 15, top, prepares to follow friend Keith Andrews, 15, into a pond near the Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center on Thursday as a bus full of tourists drives by. Clear, warm weather is expected to continue today with temperatures in the high 70s.

Photo: Sidewalk art
Sally Paul, 13, works Wednesday on her tea pot outside of the The Canvas on Seward Street. Paul is taking a wheel-throwing and hand-building clay class at the gallery.

Police & Fire
A report from Juneau police and fire officials was not available by press time.

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

Around Town
Thursday, July 30

Around Town
Today, July 31

A Page One story in Thursday's Juneau Empire about cruise ship passenger taxes alluded to a separate ballot initiative that toughened environmental regulations on the industry. A single 2006 ballot question was responsible for both the head tax and the tougher environmental regulations.

Richard Thomas Kirkland
Richard Thomas Kirkland, 70, died July 25, 2009, at Providence Hospital in Portland, Ore., following a period of declining health.

Tyler Dean 'Tag' Eckles
Tyler Dean "Tag" Eckles died on the morning of July 26, 2009, after a valiant fight against cancer, with his wife Hildegard and friends at his side. He was 59.

Alaska editorial: Alaska should help uninsured children
Alaska needs to get with it. Other states are showing us up with their commitment to paying for health insurance for children in working families, even as the recession hurts state budgets. Earlier this year, Congress and President Obama significantly increased funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program. States contribute funding to the program, though the federal government pays for most of it. The program covers children and pregnant women whose families earn too much for them to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford their own insurance.

Outside editorial: Minimum wages aren't the problem, maximum wages are
The federal minimum wage went up 70 cents an hour on Friday, to $7.25 an hour, the third and last of the scheduled increases enacted by Congress in 2007. Let the standard arguments begin:

Outside editorial: Sins of the dictator
To what degree is the elected government of Iraq obligated to pay for the sins committed by the late dictator Saddam Hussein? Should neighboring Kuwait forgive Iraq's new leadership $24 billion in outstanding debt for the destruction wrought by the 1990 invasion, a seven-month occupation, looting and the violent retreat of Iraqi forces? And is it relevant that Iraq may need the money more than Kuwait does? These are some of the questions the United Nations Security Council must consider when it addresses Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's request to release his country from the remaining sanctions imposed after the 1991 Gulf War, including a requirement that the country use its oil revenues to pay reparations.

Why your doctor may prescribe volunteering
Pat Bjorhovde, a representative with the Association of Fundraising Professionals, made her first trip to Juneau this week and immediately called her husband and told him they need to come back together. She told her husband, who is of Norwegian descent, that he would love it. It isn't surprising to hear such great words about the beauty of Juneau, but it still made me proud (once again) of the place I call home.

Play-or-pay provision means more lost jobs
I've heard of whistling while you work, but I think Max Baucus takes it too far. Baucus, the Montana Democrat who heads the Senate Finance Committee and will have a lot to say about the final shape of any health-care reform, says the new taxes Democrats are contemplating to pay for it are "interesting, they're creative, some are kind of fun."

Bearing hopes of the world
How will the story of Barack Obama's presidency end? Obama may leave audiences cheering and go down in history as one of the most successful presidents this country has ever had. But he may well end his time in office as one of the most disappointing leaders the world has seen.

Real health care reform starts in the lunchroom
When you get a flat tire, you patch it up and keep moving. But if you keep running over nails, your tire eventually gives out, no matter how many patches you apply.

Seward flooding eases, more rain in forecast
ANCHORAGE - Flooding in Seward eased Thursday but the popular tourist town braced for more rain ahead of an influx of thousands of anglers competing in a salmon fishing derby.

Fairweather reports engine trouble
JUNEAU - Late in the afternoon Wednesday, the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry Fairweather reported two of its four main diesel engines are down, according to Roger Wetherell, chief commission officer for the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

Spill response official quits over flooding
FAIRBANKS - An incident commander with the state Division of Spill Prevention and Response, Ed Meggert, said he's leaving his job because of safety failures during spring flooding on the Yukon River.

McDonald retained as Kodiak superintendent
KODIAK - Superintendent Stewart McDonald had his contract renewed by the Kodiak Island Borough School District.

Wrangell trailer fire kills one, injures one
WRANGELL - A fire in a Wrangell mobile home killed one person and seriously injured another.

Flooding possible on the Kenai River
ANCHORAGE - The National Weather Service says water releasing from the Skilak glacial dam could cause minor flooding on the Kenai River at Ridgeway, Soldotna and Sterling.

Anchorage man gets 5 years on drug charges
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage man convicted of distributing crack cocaine has been sentenced to five years in federal prison.

Stryker brigade to return from Iraq
FORT WAINWRIGHT - The Army said about 150 soldiers from the 1st Stryker brigade will return today to Fort Wainwright from Iraq.

Fire damages furniture store in Ketchikan
KETCHIKAN - Fire damaged a Ketchikan furniture store, but there were no injuries.

Police charge man with felony eluding
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police have arrested a man suspected of being the rogue motorcyclist who had eluded officers by driving at more than 100 mph.

Woman accused of firing at man
FAIRBANKS - Fairbanks police arrested a 56-year-old woman accused of firing at a man outside her home.

Army soldier found dead in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - A Fort Richardson soldier from Ohio was found dead in his Anchorage home.

Man convicted of burning own home
GIRDWOOD - The Anchorage district attorney says a Girdwood man who burned down his own house, hoping to collect $95,000 in insurance money, has been convicted of arson and fraud.

Grant to fund fish contaminant study
ANCHORAGE - The state Department of Natural Resources has been awarded a $700,000 federal grant to test for environmental contaminants in Alaska fish.

Seattle breaks record for hottest temp
SEATTLE - Northwesterners more accustomed to rain and cooler climate sought refuge from a heat wave on Wednesday, as Seattle recorded the hottest temperature in its history and Portland edged closer to its own record-breaker.

Oregon man kills bear in his house
GRANTS PASS, Ore. - Everett Skinner and his family have started keeping their windows closed at night after a bear broke into their southwest Oregon home and he fatally shot it.

Earthquake shakes southern Alaska
ANCHORAGE - Geologists say a small earthquake has rattled parts of southern Alaska.

Anchor Point man sent to federal prison
ANCHORAGE - A man arrested by Homer police has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.

Bears betting on getting back
JUNEAU - The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears return a wealth of experience from last year's 4A state runner-up, but this season's hopes could rest on the shoulders - or arm - of a freshman.

Photo: Juneau catcher
Juneau catcher Ryan Kelly makes an attempt to grab a tough throw and put a tag on Dimond West's Kenny Hausinger, No. 22, in Thursday's Game 1 of the Junior League All-Star Baseball StateTournament at Adair-Kennedy Field. Dimond won 6-3.

Study: Overfishing easing in some areas
WASHINGTON - Crabcakes and fish sticks won't be disappearing after all.

Flooding closes one runway at Seward airport
ANCHORAGE - A spokesman for the state Department of Transportation says high water closed a runway at the Seward airport, but all roads on the Kenai Peninsula remain open.

Lawsuit: Pebble permits violate state law
ANCHORAGE - A lawsuit filed Wednesday in Anchorage Superior Court seeks to stop development at the Pebble Mine in southwest Alaska, saying the state's Department of Natural Resources violated the Alaska Constitution by granting permits allowing exploration.

Wildfires prompt Fairbanks health advisory
ANCHORAGE - Heavy smoke from forest fires poured into Fairbanks on Thursday, fouling the air for residents and tourists and prompting air quality officials to issue a health advisory.

Museum curator pieces together stories in Sitka's history
SITKA - On a recent afternoon, Ashley Kircher and Amy Thompson were in a basement room at the old pulp mill administration building leafing through Sitka history.

Group pushes for protection of Alaska salmon
On a recent Saturday at a popular farmers' market in South Anchorage, shoppers lined up a dozen deep at the Arctic Choice fresh seafood booth. Next door, two chefs from Sacks Cafe grilled up samples of wild Alaska salmon behind Trout Unlimited's WhyWild campaign booth to promote wild Bristol Bay salmon.

Pregnant women told to limit Western Alaska pike intake
UNALASKA - State and federal officials are advising pregnant women and young children to limit the amount of northern pike they eat from the Kuskokwim and lower Yukon rivers because the fish contain a toxic form of mercury.

Interior honey season buzzing, producers say
FAIRBANKS - There's a buzz over this summer's Interior honey crop.

Ex-Sen. Stevens case attorney can force testimony
ANCHORAGE - A special prosecutor in Washington was granted authority Tuesday to compel testimony from the Justice Department team that took Sen. Ted Stevens to trial. He was also authorized to subpoena the former lead FBI agent in the Alaska corruption investigation and key witness Bill Allen and his attorney.

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