Freedom of expression
The great playwright Arthur Miller once said, "The theater is so endlessly fascinating because it's so accidental. It's so much like life."

'2012': A one-trick pony that tends to buck
What do you do with a movie like "2012"? It's 160 minutes of fantastic, expensive visuals. That much is obvious from the trailers. Having seen the special effects marathon with my own eyes, I stand by the sentiment I had going in: If you can see yourself ever, at any point in time, seeing "2012" then you should do so now while it is on the big screen. Really, the argument could be made that "2012" is a movie that should only be seen on the big screen, because I don't know if there is any real reason to rent it later or buy it on DVD.

Trail Mix BBQ, auction held tonight
Trail Mix will host its annual auction and barbecue at 5:30 p.m. tonight at Centennial Hall.

Three guitar masters share their talent and insight in documentary
Davis Guggenheim calls himself a "Behind the Music" junkie, watching every episode of the VH1 show chronicling famous rock stars' rise and fall and rise again amid triumph and self-destruction. He loves it, he says, but the Academy Award-winning director of "An Inconvenient Truth" had other ideas for his own documentary on the electric guitar.

New fiction for adult readers awaits at the library
"The Ingenious Edgar Jones," by Elizabeth Garner.

Alaska on paper
"Alaska at 50" commemorates Alaska's statehood anniversary with essays from noteworthy writers and researchers. Divided into the areas of art, culture, and humanities; law, economy, and politics; and environment, people, and place, it is comprehensive in its scope, providing both a portrait of Alaska since statehood and a vision for the next 50 years.

Arts Digest
The hills are alive this weekend at TMHS

Obama snub was partisan politics
Recently the Juneau Empire praised Gov. Sean Parnell for skipping President Obama's first Alaska visit so he could attend the Associated General Contractors (AGC) meeting in Anchorage. The Empire stated that the governor kept his commitment to AGC and Alaskans should all be proud of this.

So-called fiscal conservatives are anything but
In the midst of the impassioned debate concerning health care, Republicans have been quick to relentlessly criticize the Democratic majority of Congress over their "out-of- hand government spending."

Penor: Juneau could be a model for waste disposal
When you meet Jim Penor, he might hand you what he calls "a conversation rock."

Mine Mess
Environmental watchdog Chris Zimmer wonders if it will be another 50 years before anything is done about pollution from Tulsequah Chief mine draining into the Taku River.

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

Juneau man caught selling drugs while on bail pleads guilty
A 28-year-old Juneau man indicted for selling OxyContin while out on bail on a separate drug charge pleaded guilty Tuesday to two felony counts.

Restoration project makes Jordan Creek more fish friendly
City officials and the Juneau Watershed Partnership hope a recently completed project will alleviate flooding and improve fish spawning habitat in Jordan Creek near Jennifer Drive.

Woman charged with smuggling 75 grams of cocaine into Juneau
A 28-year-old woman on felony probation was caught allegedly smuggling more than 2 ½ ounces of cocaine inside her most private of places into Juneau last month.

On board the Polar Sea
A Seattle-based Coast Guard icebreaker returning from two months studying polar bears, marine mammals, sea birds and Arctic sea ridges will be open for tours in Juneau today and Friday.

State predator program subject of wildlife talk
Politics are constraining the state's predator control program, which is sorely missing some sound science, according to wildlife biologist Vic Van Ballenberghe.

Native American Heritage Month Barbara (Young) Fujimoto
Age: "Not saying!"

Photo: Decking the boughs
Matt Stedman of Chatham Electric, left, and Chris Quinto of the State of Alaska's General Services department, hang Christmas lights off a mountain ash tree at the Governor's Mansion on Thursday. It takes about two weeks to decorate the house inside and out for the holiday.

Around Town
Today, Nov. 20

Native American Heritage Month Michael Tagaban
Age: 56.

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

Around Town
Today, Nov. 19

An A1 story in Wednesday's Juneau Empire about improvements at Juneau facilities of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration overstated energy cost savings for wind generators being installed. The roof-top wind turbines will save about $600 each per year.

Charlotte M. Duncan
Current Anchorage and former Juneau resident Charlotte M. Duncan died Nov. 17, 2009, at Providence Hospital in Anchorage. She was 61.

Larry G. Howard
A celebration of life for Larry G. Howard, who died Nov. 9, 2009, will be held at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, at the Silver Bay Hangar, 8429 Livingston Way, located between the National Guard and the fire station. Please come share your stories and memories of Larry. Call Alaska Seaplanes at 789-3331 with any questions.

Fredrick 'Fred' Morgan Jr.
Former Juneau resident Fredrick "Fred" Morgan Jr. died Sept. 24, 2009, in Anchorage. He was 70.

Mryan Sabrina Stone-Shepherd
Juneau resident Mryan Stone- Shepherd died Nov. 5, 2009, in Juneau. She was 47.

Empire editorial: Help feed the hungry
This week, Juneau residents will crowd grocery stores, cramming shopping carts with turkeys, potatoes, pie fixings in preparation for their Thanksgiving feasts.

A woman who savors a fine wine
The temperature was close to zero Monday as I left the house to buy Sarah Palin's memoir, "Going Rogue: An American Life." The book was almost impossible to find in Anchorage before its official release Tuesday. The salesman who finally sold me one asked me to promise I wouldn't reveal his identity if he sold me a pre-publication copy.

Afghans want Obama to pressure Karzai
On Afghanistan's independence day in August, my friends in Kandahar were puzzled. Why was the government bothering to celebrate the holiday? With 100,000 or so foreign troops occupying our country, how could we consider ourselves independent?

Exploring the man cave
By legal definition, I am a man, in that I own a Y chromosome, with all adherent rights and privileges, forever and ever throughout the universe, no matter how much Crystal Light I drink. Apparently, this entitles me to something called a "man cave."

The many identities of Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin has a talent for reinvention. Since her first campaign in 1992, she's gone through a wardrobe full of political personas. Study her career and you count no less than five identities: Sarah the culture warrior, Sarah the watchdog, Sarah the reformer, Sarah the veep and now, Sarah the celebrity.

Mammogram debate and a false economy
Obviously, I am not more knowledgeable about breast cancer than a government-led panel of experts. Yet I know enough to look askance at advice that only women 50 and older get mammograms every two years and those in their 40s skip the test altogether.

Obama muted in China
President Obama's China trip may have proved to be a mere lesson in rhetoric.

Trail tales & trekking
Somewhere off the beaten path, tucked behind a large boulder or a fallen tree is an unknown trail, one that few know of or remember and that is often passed without recognition or a second thought.

Communication site proposals available for public comment
JUNEAU - The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service are seeking input on proposals to permit, construct, operate and maintain search and rescue communications facilities in Middle Cape area of the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge and within Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

Local flyfishing club to show 'Drift'
JUNEAU - The Raincountry Flyfishers will be showing the 2008 flyfishing movie "Drift," a Confluence Films Production, at their upcoming club meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2 in the Floyd Dryden Middle School library.

Shooting match highlights the holidays with a twist
While there may be very few, if any, wild turkeys in the state of Alaska, that doesn't mean the Juneau Gun Club can't hold its annual Turkey Shoot the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Successful animal viewing may depend on laundry soap
During hunting season, many people focus on wardrobe. Spying on wildlife, however, is a year-round pursuit that also requires some consideration of your apparel. Knowing how your different wildlife suspects see the world can guide your choices.

Volunteer grooming begins at Eaglecrest, the glacier
The Juneau Nordic Ski Club will now be periodically grooming both the Lower Loop trails at the Eaglecrest Ski Area and at the Mendenhall Lake Campground.

Late October hikes, kinglets and critters
The nice little city trail to Lena Point wanders through the woods, finally emerging on an open point, where there's a bench and a great view of Favorite Channel. The first part of the official trail is boardwalk, very slippery if wet, especially when covered with soggy leaves. Much of this can be avoided by walking in along the chainlink fence (to the left of the marked trail), then veering right on an old road until it intersects the foottrail. At this junction, I noticed a large patch of an invasive geranium called Herb Robert, with its dainty purplish flowers still showing in late October. Much of the middle section of the trail is muddy and rooty.

Eaglecrest may open one week early
Early season snowfall allowed managers of Eaglecrest Ski Area to move the projected opening date to Saturday, Nov. 28, up from Dec. 5.

On the hook
Show us your big fish

Mayors weigh in on statewide energy policy
ANCHORAGE - Mayors from various parts of Alaska testified at a meeting this week with the House Special Committee on Energy on how a statewide energy plan can help make energy more affordable, reliable and efficient in their communities.

Skiers needed to participate in 'Ski for Light' week
Skiers are needed to participate as sighted ski guides in the annual Ski for Light week in Provo, Utah, held in February.

Early cold snap chills Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage is in the middle of its first cold snap of the season.

Alaska's gas line coordinator resigns
ANCHORAGE - Alaska's in-state gas line coordinator has resigned.

Montana university to expand WWAMI
BILLINGS - Montana State University officials will ask the Montana Board of Regents to greatly expand the state's participation in a program that educates medical students with the hope of keeping more doctors in state.

Knik Arm bridge still a state priority
ANCHORAGE - An Alaska Transportation Department senior manager said the Knik Arm bridge is still a high priority for the state.

UAF administrator candidate for APU job
FAIRBANKS - University of Alaska Fairbanks administrator Bernice Joseph is one of five finalists to be the new president of Alaska Pacific University.

6.6 quake off Queen Charlotte Islands
PALMER - A magnitude 6.6 earthquake occurred at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday off the Queen Charlotte Islands off the west coast of British Columbia.

Woman arrested for firing gun downtown
JUNEAU - A 48-year-old intoxicated Juneau woman was arrested Thursday morning for allegedly shooting a pistol at a 50-year-old man at a downtown trailer. The man was not harmed.

Suspect pleads not guilty in rape case
ANCHORAGE - A man accused of sexually assaulting at least five women in Anchorage pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Three to change pleas in caribou case
ANCHORAGE - Prosecutors said three men accused of killing and wasting caribou near Point Hope will change their not guilty pleas.

Eaglecrest may open one week early
JUNEAU - Early season snowfall allowed managers of Eaglecrest Ski Area to move the projected opening date to Saturday, Nov. 28, up from Dec. 5.

BP donates $1M to catalog Stevens papers
ANCHORAGE - Oil giant BP PLC has donated $1 million to the University of Alaska Fairbanks toward cataloging and processes papers from the congressional career of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.

New studies put potential megaquake closer to Seattle
SEATTLE - Pacific Northwesterners have learned to live with the knowledge that a monster earthquake will wallop the region one day.

State unemployment rate up to 8.9 percent
ANCHORAGE - Alaska's unemployment rate jumped to 8.9 percent last month.

Report: Former mayor did not report shortfall
ANCHORAGE - A report by the Anchorage city attorney finds that former mayor Mark Begich did not report a known budget shortfall to the Anchorage Assembly.

Teen in trouble for guns at school
FAIRBANKS - Alaska state troopers said a charge of misdemeanor weapons misconduct is pending against a 17-year-old who left unloaded guns in his car at West Valley High School in Fairbanks.

Bears celebrate season
Juneau-Douglas held it's annual football awards banquet Tuesday, along with a Hall of Fame induction ceremony where former coach Bill Chalmers and seniors Jack Perkins and Silver Maake were enshrined.

JDHS's Johnson signs with UAF
Juneau-Douglas senior forward Emily Johnson has accepted a scholarship offer to continue her basketball career with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks and first-year coach Dave Thompson.

Photo: Wolverines win
Dzantik'i Heeni's Sineva Maka gets called for a foul on Floyd Dryden's Alexis Gann during the first period of a game Thursday. The Woverines won 22-19.

Soldotna tops JDHS, 2-1, in OT
Zane Chapman and Jake Eames connected with a pass and Chapman fed Robin Woodby the assist

JDHS's Jackson competes at Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Regional
Twenty-eight of the top Alaska high school cross country running athletes and their teams competed in the Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Regional Running Championships this past weekend in Boise, Idaho. They qualified for this race at the Oct. 3 State High School Championships in Palmer and trained for the last six weeks under coach Doug Herron. The best high school runners from the Northwest region also competed. The Northwest region includes Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Hawaii.

Sports in Juneau

Sports in Juneau

Despite market turmoil, Alaska considers risky bond strategy
Alaska narrowly avoided losing hundreds of millions of dollars when it delayed making a big bet in the stock market just before the market's big fall last year.

Fact checking the fact check
A purported fact check of Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue" memoir by The Associated Press could have used some fact checking of its own on its Alaska claims.

North Pole group strives to save Santa letter service
ANCHORAGE - A group of volunteer Santa Claus "elves" in Alaska's frigid interior is determined to save a popular holiday letter service featuring the North Pole's most beloved icon.

Waterman seeks to reschedule second trial
KETCHIKAN - A young woman accused of conspiring to kill her mother five years ago is seeking to delay the start of her second trial.

Palin, fans irked by cover shot in shorts
NEW YORK - Of all the adjectives one might use to describe Newsweek's current Sarah Palin cover, "unflattering" probably isn't one of them.

Hundreds cheer Palin in Michigan
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - College students ditched class, employees skipped work and some huddled in the cold overnight just to make sure they get an orange wristband Wednesday that would let them meet Sarah Palin.

Obama delays Alaska drilling decision
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration has delayed a decision on a request by Shell Oil Co. to drill for oil and gas in Alaska's rugged Chukchi Sea. The delay came after the oil company asked for time to respond to criticism of its plan to drill in the icy sea, a prime habitat for threatened polar bears.

Oil companies to scale back Alaska projects
ANCHORGE - Two oil and gas companies plan to cut back their investment in Alaska next year, but another is expanding.

Oil-paid study says Arctic spills easier to clean
ANCHORAGE - Oil spills in Arctic ice may be easier to clean than those in open water, according to research funded by oil companies that are seeking offshore exploration in federal waters.

High court hears predator control case
ANCHORAGE - Opponents of Alaska's predator control program argued Thursday before the Alaska Supreme Court that the program violates the state constitution.

Photo: Icy glow
The setting sun casts a glow over a sheet of ice Tuesday in Rabbit Creek near Cook Inlet outside Anchorage.

Alaska boy burned in 'redneck flamethrower' incident
ANCHORAGE - Two Anchorage men who told investigators they were horsing around with a "redneck flamethrower" set a 5-year-old boy's head on fire and have been charged with felony assault and reckless endangerment, according to police and court records.

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