Shakespeare, unhinged
I t would be tough to argue that Shakespeare's works are undeserving of the reverence shown to them in the literary world. But it's possible that the lofty position they've been granted has obscured their origins as the people's plays, and their broad-based, unscholarly appeal.

First Friday openings include Jacob Higgins, Rob Roys
Here's a look at what's going on around town for this month's First Friday.


Southeast Rap Explosion Saturday
The Southeast Rap Explosion, organized by Juneau's Lance Mitchell, will take place Saturday, Oct. 3 at 9 p.m. at Jaded bar in the Goldbelt hotel.

Folk duo LoveLifeMusic to perform two shows this weekend
Alaska-based folk music duo LoveLifeMusic will perform at 9:30 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Alaskan Hotel & Bar.

French crime novels featured at Evening at Egan
On Oct. 2, University of Alaska Southeast faculty member Robin Walz will present "Rogue Cops, Elegant Criminals, and the Popular French Crime Novel" in the Egan Lecture Hall.

Teaching artists workshop series begins Nov. 3
A six-part workshop series will be offered to local artists interested in working in Juneau's schools, honing skill, strategies and knowledge about working with students of all ages.

Reviewers circle held this week at the downtown library
Love to read, but can't find anyone to talk books with? The first Thursday of each month from 7-8 p.m., the downtown library hosts a Reviewers' Circle. Come prepared to talk about a book (or audio book) you've recently read and to engage in casual conversation.

'Rock Candy' juxtaposes hard and soft, bitter and sweet
In her debut collection, Jenifer Rae Vernon's verse celebrates "sweetness in bleak times," the raw beauty that despite dire surroundings elevates the ordinary, creating moments of triumph and empowerment. These moments become jewels in the rough country of rural western Washington.

Wooly mammoths and wars and floods, oh my!
Perseverance opens its 31st season with a roller coaster ride of fun and frustration, Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize-winning play within a play, "The Skin of Our Teeth."

Steel string guitar soloist Alex de Grassi ready for return to Alaska
Grammy-award nominated guitarist Alex de Grassi is one of the premiere steel string soloists in the world, and seeing him in concert might not be your average musical experience.

Take your expectations down a notch
From the team that brought you "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines"!

K3 hosts Seafood fest and a Night of the Blues'
This Saturday at the Yacht Club, K3 has lined up back-to-back events that will be a feast for ears and stomachs. The Seafood Festival, an annual event, will be held from 4-7:30, followed by a Night of the Blues from 7:30 on.

Fourth annual theater 'Miracle' held this weekend
The idea of pulling an all-nighter to complete a writing assignment may be a sweaty-palm-inducing flashback to college for some, but for Geoff Kirsch, one of four writers participating in this year's 24-Hour Miracle, staying up all night to write a play sounds like heaven.

New chapter books just added at the library
We're adding lots of new chapter books to the shelves at the Juneau Public Libraries - look for the latest in The Stoneheart Trilogy, the first in a new series called In the Cards, and new titles from favorite authors like David Adler, as well as the titles below.

Photo: Walker wins top wearable art award
Micaela Fowler Croteau models "Lady of the Wood," a wooden dress created by David Walker, during the Wearable Art Show in February at Centennial Hall. The piece won first place the first night of the show and second place the next day. Walker won top prize last week at the 2009 Montana World of Wearable Art Awards show in Wellington, New Zealand. Walker was a third time entrant in the show,which is in its 21st year. This year 165 garments were displayed, with entries from New Zealand and 10 other countries. A full profile of Walker and his creation will appear in Monday's Empire.

Palin's book has a fitting title
Ex-governor Sarah Palin is to be commended for finally coming clean to the people of Alaska with her forthcoming book "Going Rogue." Seldom has a title been more succinct or on the mark. Here's what the American Heritage Dictionary has to say on the matter:

Rewards stronger than punishments
My name is David Moriarty. I am a Juneau-Douglas High School graduate now attending the University of Alaska Southeast. I read the Juneau Empire article about Principal Bernie Sorenson's "Freshmen First" program and had a few thoughts.

Cruise tax does effect state tourism future
The Empire's "Attack On A Tax" article is a good beginning in educating its readership about the important public debate over our state's cruise tourism future. Sunday's article only scratches the surface of complex public policy as implemented by the Cruise Ship Taxation, Regulation and Disclosure ballot measure of 2006.

Palin's work ethic didn't extend to state
According to her publisher, "Governor Palin has been unbelievably conscientious and hands-on at every stage, investing herself deeply and passionately in (her memoir)."

The reality of Ballet Measure 2
Smoking is unhealthy and costly, that much is obvious.

Vote 'Yes' on tobacco tax
I will vote in favor of the whopping increase in borough taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products for two reasons: The city can use the money and America's most elite addicts don't deserve a break.

State seeks $8 billion for retirement funds
Alaska is seeking more than $8 billion from Mercer Inc., its former actuary that it blames for part of its multibillion dollar pension plan deficit.

City gets some protection for its power lines
Alaska Electric Light & Power is building an avalanche "diverter" at a cost of as much as $2 million to protect its most vulnerable transmission tower.

Photo: Street artist
Former Hoonah resident Earl Austin paints freehand Tlingit designs on baseball caps during lunch at the Glory Hole. Homeless and camping in the woods, Austin hopes to open a shop along Franklin Street some day. He said he is working on projects for Celebration Festival in June. "I also paint headbands for hats," Austin said. "Kind of like a 'gangsta' style ... really popular with the younger kids."

Weyhrauch's court appeal date set
ANCHORAGE - The U.S. Supreme Court will listen to oral arguments Dec. 8, as former state Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch seeks reinstatement of a court order limiting the federal mail fraud case against him.

Kookesh subsistence trial delayed
The trial of Sen. Albert Kookesh, D-Angoon, and three co-defendants over subsistence fishing violations will not take place on Monday as previously scheduled.

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

An A1 story about leash laws in Wednesday's Juneau Empire misstated a proposed change regarding the licensing of service dogs. Currently, service dogs are required to be licensed and the fees are waived. The change would establish fees.

Around Town
Today, Oct. 1

Report: Juneau population may be inching up
The Juneau Economic Development Council on Wednesday published its 64-page annual report of Southeast Alaska economic indicators that shows the region's downward population trend may be reversing course.

Juneau teacher wins fellowship to study abroad
A circle of second graders holding sticks count time as they do African dance to an Australian aboriginal beat. As the music quiets, they squat down, waiting.

Red king crab fishery closed
The red and blue king crab commercial fishery will not open in Southeast Alaska this year, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced last week.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Today's featured cancer survivor: Cathy Jeans

Photo: Think or swim
Glacier Swim Club member Winslow Conneen debates whether or not to take his turn in laps during practice at Juneau's Augustus Brown Swimming Pool on Thursday.

Around Town
Today, Oct. 2

Ex-Empire publisher returns to fill in interim
Jeff Wilson has been named interim publisher of the Juneau Empire. Wilson came out of retirement in Augusta, Ga., to replace former interim publisher Ronnie Hughes. He will serve four weeks as interim until the permanent replacement arrives in Juneau.

Candidate 'speed-dating' event slated
If you've been curious what it would be like to date a politician, you'll get your chance Friday.

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

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Today's featured cancer survivor: Patricia Yearty
Age: 59.

Grassroots cancer group helps when going gets tough
A local grassroots organization designed to assist people living with cancer will have a chance to shine this month during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Parnell declares disaster in Pelican
Gov. Sean Parnell signed an administrative order Wednesday declaring disaster in the tiny city of Pelican, thereby granting the municipality access to as much as $100,000 in disaster relief funds.

David Stone the right voice for District 1
Assembly District 1 candidates David Stone and Karen Lawfer both have shown a passion for local politics and a deep commitment to serve Juneau. However, we believe David Stone is the most prepared heading into what will be a difficult few years as the city repositions itself to handle budget deficits.

Empire editorial: Bruce Botelho the right person to steer Juneau
J uneau is facing the possibility of rough waters ahead, and needs someone at the helm who can steer the city in the right direction. While both mayoral candidates show passion for community service, Mayor Bruce Botelho is still the right person for the job.

Stephanie Madsen will work hard for District 2
The Assembly District 2 race to fill the seat left vacant by Sarah Chambers is sure to be a close race. Choosing between Stephanie Madsen and Ruth Danner was difficult. It's unfortunate only one can win. Despite who gets the most votes, Juneau will have competent and capable elected official in office. That much we're sure of.

Researchers: PFD distribution raises number of Alaska deaths
D id you know that the arrival of the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend (PFD) increases the death rate? That's right, the PFD could be implicated in your premature death later this month. The odds that your personal PFD dice-roll will come up snake-eyes are less than one in 10,000, but new research leaves little doubt that in the month following the direct deposit of Alaskans' PFDs, the number of city-dwelling Alaskans dying will increase by about 13 percent. Applied to the entire state, that's roughly 27 extra deaths. There is little doubt that the PFD is the cause.

Message to smokers: Here's another nail in your coffin
Most Americans, and I am sure the chief executive officers of the major tobacco manufacturing plants, knew that smoking was not good for your health more than 50 years ago.

Lawmakers should leave the Medal of Honor alone
O n Sept. 17 President Obama presented the Medal of Honor to the parents of Army Staff Sgt. Jared Monti for "conspicuous gallantry." Monti, 30, was serving with the 10th Mountain Division when he was killed June 21, 2006, in a battle at Gowardesh, Afghanistan.

The story behind a story
"If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?" - Alice in Wonderland

Capturing wild-eyed Alaska
It was at age 12 that Daniel Buckscott fell in love with Southeast Alaska. Perhaps it was the familiar ebb and flow of the tides that reminded him of his childhood home near Chesapeake Bay. Perhaps it was the miles of unseen wilderness that piqued his curiosity, his sense of adventure and granted him reprieve from bustling East Coast cities. Or maybe it was a bit of both, and then some.

Treading through time
October is the cruelest month.

From Juneau to Kotzebue, a caribou hunting adventure
Hunting deer in Juneau means climbing over, under and around trees, over mossy covered hills, and soggy bogs of muskeg. In contrast, the tundra areas north of Kotzebue, climbing is minimal and there are little or no trees to navigate. Hills, although small, are just deep enough to hide caribou, the game we're hunting this trip, and the willows that line the creeks provide a travel path with all the necessary elements of habitat: food, water, space, shelter and arrangement.

Orchids in Alaska
There are perhaps 18,000 species (or 23,000, some reports differ!) of orchids in the world, occurring almost everywhere except the High Arctic, the most extreme deserts, the crests of the coldest mountains, and the sea. Their economic value lies in a vast and lucrative floriculture industry and in the production of natural vanilla flavoring. They are cultivated for the spectacular array of complex, often gaudy, sometimes bizarre, and sometimes elegant flowers and are often hybridized by aficionados to create yet more diverse floral exhibits.

Photo: Beautiful but deadly
Amanita muscaria is characterized by its brightly colored cap with white spots or patches. It also has a white stem and grows in woodland areas.

On the hook
Tony Soltys holds a silver salmon caught in September at an undisclosed location. Soltys said fly fishing for silvers is quite an exciting pastime.

Out & About
Today, Oct. 2

BLM Appoints Deputy Director, Operations
Mike Pool, a former BLM California State Director has accepted the position of Deputy of Director for Operations with the the Bureau of Land Management. Pool will formally begin work on January 1, 2010. His duties will include supervising the BLM's senior executive team and providing management continuity between State Offices for all BLM programs.

State accounts for 23 percent of Juneau jobs
JUNEAU - The Juneau Economic Development Council says the rate of state job loss is slowing and the economy is diversifying with more private-sector jobs in the city.

Man cited in Marshall subsistence protest
ANCHORAGE - A city police officer in Marshall has been ticketed for illegal fishing in a summer protest of subsistence fishing restrictions.

Assembly reschedules leash law meeting
JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly subcommittee meeting on "competent voice control verbiage" regarding the leash law revisions has been rescheduled for 1 p.m. Friday in the Community Development Department conference room of the Marine View Building downtown.

Senators urge Obama to reconsider militia stance
ANCHORAGE - Alaska's U.S. senators are calling on the Obama administration to reconsider its objection to federal retirement pay for World War II veterans who patrolled Alaska when it was a territory.

Audit ordered of natural gas authority
JUNEAU - A legislative committee has ordered an audit of the state-funded Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority.

$25,000 collected on Fairbanks tax issue
FAIRBANKS - If fundraising is any indication, a proposed citywide sales tax in Fairbanks could be a cliffhanger on election night.

Kodiak debuts expanded armory
KODIAK - The Kodiak National Guard Armory has been expanded to allow space for classrooms, an exercise center, a distance-learning room and a women's bathroom.

Fairbanks drug dealer accepts plea deal, will be out by Christmas
FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks man who pleaded guilty to drug charges has been sentenced to a decade in prison, but nine of those years are suspended.

Late wildfire burning in Kenai refuge
KENAI - A rare autumn wildfire is burning in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Rasmuson awards $500K through United Way
ANCHORAGE - In anticipation of the upcoming winter and difficult economic circumstances, the Rasmuson Foundation recently awarded a $500,000 Safety Net Assistance Grant to provide immediate support to those most in need of help staying fed, warm and housed.

Anchorage reviewing city labor contracts
ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage Assembly has asked the city attorney to review whether labor contracts approved last year were handled properly.

Fairbanks state rep proposes insurance amendment
FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks state representative wants to amend the Alaska constitution to prohibit laws that require a person to participate in a particular health care system.

Officer's body found in Kuskokwim River
ANCHORAGE - The body of a Southwest Alaska village police officer who drowned in the Kuskokwim River was found Tuesday by searchers.

Two swine flu deaths reported in Fairbanks
ANCHORAGE - Two more swine flu-related deaths have been reported in Alaska.

Icebreaker Healy returns to Seattle from Arctic
SEATTLE - The Coast Guard says the icebreaker Healy is returning to its home port in Seattle.

Knee injury not it for Perkins
It's a bombshell no one wants to hear heading into the final games of their high school football career, but it was a bombshell indeed for Juneau-Douglas senior captain Jack Perkins on Wednesday.

End of the line
After taking first place in the Region V Cross Country Championships in Juneau on Sept. 27, the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears boys' and girls' teams are looking to capitalize at the Class 4A state championship meet in Palmer on Saturday.

Bears versus Mustangs: No love lost in old rivalry
The last two times Chugiak traveled to Juneau to face the Crimson Bears, it didn't end well for theMustangs.

Sports in Juneau

JDHS boys right on target
Things are moving right along for the defending state champion Juneau-Douglas boys' swim team, as the Crimson Bears have yet to lose a meet this year that they were able to attend.

Sports in Juneau

Flu vaccine on its way to Alaska
ANCHORAGE - The first 4,200 doses of swine flu vaccine have been ordered for Alaska. State health officials awaiting their arrival said Wednesday they may not reach state health centers for 10 days.

Class ring makers join Pebble Mine boycott
ANCHORAGE - The growing list of jewelers vowing to boycott gold from the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska now includes major manufacturers of class rings.

Palin's book already on bestseller list
NEW YORK - Move over, Dan Brown. Sarah Palin is on top of the charts.

Both sides of mining measure face penalties
ANCHORAGE - State election regulators are concluding their cases against both sides of a mining ballot initiative rejected by Alaska voters last year.

Search for captured US soldier yields few clues
KABUL - The troops hunting for the young private have little to go on: He disappeared near the border with Pakistan, his Taliban captors released a propaganda video of him two weeks later, downcast and frightened. Then, at least publicly, nothing about the only U.S. soldier missing in the Afghan war.

Gravina bridge in state DOT plans
KETCHIKAN - Plans for Alaska's so-called Bridge to Nowhere are long scrapped, but the state continues to look for ways to improve access between the Panhandle town of Ketchikan and its airport on nearby Gravina Island.

Officials: Rudder blamed in Alaska fishing vessel sinking
WASHINGTON - A fishing boat that sank off the Alaska coast last year most likely lost its rudder, then flooded and went down, killing five crew members, federal safety officials said Wednesday.

Trampling blamed for Alaska walrus deaths
ANCHORAGE - Trampling likely killed 131 mostly young walruses forced onto the northwest coast of Alaska by a loss of sea ice, according to a preliminary report released Thursday.

Anchorage residents asked to conserve natural gas
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage and utility officials have announced a campaign to conserve natural gas during peak demand periods.

It's hunting season and the meat plant is humming
DELTA - It started with 15 head of Galloway cattle he brought up from North Dakota. At the time, Doug McCollum was owner and operator of Delta Concrete. But his heart was in ranching, and he was testing the waters to see if a market existed for locally raised and processed meat.

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