'4,000 miles by boot, raft and ski'
When Erin McKittrick and her husband, Brentwood "Hig" Higman, last visited Juneau, an unseen October drizzle pattered on their tiny rafts as they paddled into the inky darkness along Gastineau Channel. At first, the city was just a small island of lights in a sea of night. Then they could make out the fog-obscured shapes of buildings, and then the crimson stream of car lights on Egan Drive, and then the imposing towers of the cruise ship dock where they landed.

Audition call for actors who can sing
Perseverance Theatre will hold auditions for its production of "Hansel and Gretel" from 5-7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 30 at Perseverance Theatre. Male tenors and female sopranos with singing and acting experience should prepare sixteen bars of a song.

Poetry OmniBus contest opens Dec. 1
Poetry OmniBus, in cooperation with the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council and Capital Transit, is looking for this year's fresh and surprising poems from Juneau locals.

Dance off the extra pounds Friday night
Juneau International Folkdancers and Alaska Folk Festival are sponsoring a Thanksgiving weekend barndance Friday night 7:30-10:30 p.m., at St. Ann's Parish Hall, located at Fifth and Gold streets downtown.

2010 wearable art entries now accepted
The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council invites you to start creating for the 2010 Wearable Art Extravaganza. This year's theme is "Cirque de Pluie" (Circus of Rain, a Juneau take on Cirque du Soleil - Circus of the Sun).

Sabor Cubano fundraiser tickets now on sale
Always dreamed of visiting Havana? On Saturday, Dec. 5, the Canvas Art Studio will host Sabor Cubano, a night of food, art, dancing and more.

Chocolate bars help support Arts for Kids
Arts for Kids will be selling SmART Bars during the holiday season to support art scholarships for Juneau School District graduating seniors.

Painting pictures with music
Tech N9ne has been blasting a barrage of lethal lyrics through sound systems for more than two decades in the hip-hop game.

Earthen Vessel makes a joyful noise
Most musical performances are marked by a clear distinction between performer and audience: the musician plays, the audience listens. Not so with the band Earthen Vessel, a local Christian band. They play with the expectation that the audience will join them in song, and share in the powerful experience of making music.

A quick visit to Spain without leaving Juneau
This month's tasting focused on Tempranillo, a single varietal grown throughout the world that does particularly well in Spain, specifically in the region of La Rioja. As Spain produces most of the great Tempranillos it is of little wonder that all the wines selected for this month's tasting panel did come from that part of the world.

Homespun Mercantile opens for local artists
Jeanne Wilder was trying to work on jewelry at the outdoor Juneau Artists Market recently when a gust of wind rocked her makeshift gallery. Next to her Carol Schriver tried in vain to corral her fabrics and Michelle Donohue looked far down the street to see if the scents of her homemade soaps would turn some heads. Thus was born Homespun Mercantile.

Let's hear it for Team Edward
I refuse to call it "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," I'm sorry. I don't recall the book's cover having the words, "The Twilight Saga," and therefore I refuse to acknowledge them when referring to the movie. I'm nitpicking a little, I know, and that's likely because I get a little irritable with chapter two of this - ahem - saga created by Stephenie Meyer.

Make mundane tasks go by faster with an audiobook
As you're getting ready for the holidays, take some of the drudgery out of your tasks with an audio book. Look for bestsellers like "Her Fearful Symmetry" by Audrey Niffenegger, "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" by Jamie Ford, and "Unaccustomed Earth" by Jhumpa Lahiri. Take on Diane Gabaldon's latest blockbuster (all 46 hours), "An Echo in the Bone," or opt for something shorter, like one of several Louis L'Amour audiobooks.

Alaska on Paper
Cooking with Alaskan Beer is a celebration of beer, food and all things Alaskan. Chef Stefani Marnon has compiled recipes from the Alaskan Brewing Co. and their annual Brew Crew and Investor Cook-off where she has been a judge for the last ten years.

Stupak amendment finds middle ground
I write to respond to a recent letter to the editor that was in opposition to the Stupak amendment, which bars the use of public funds for abortions.

Poll unfairly biased against Pebble mine
The "lets-not-give-Pebble-a-fair-chance" financiers are at it again. Last Sunday, I was contacted by Craciun Research with what turned out to be an extremely biased and unprofessional poll about Pebble.

Parnell on right track with transportation
Kudos to Governor Parnell for his plan announced on Nov. 12 to address the state's deferred maintenance needs with proposed funding of $100 million per year for the next five years. With approval from the Legislature, this money will fund needed investment in the state's transportation and other infrastructure while simultaneously providing jobs for Alaskans.

Legislators review Parnell's scholarship proposal
Gov. Sean Parnell's newly proposed "Governor's Performance Scholarship" had its first discussion by the Legislature on Tuesday, receiving both praise and questions about how it would be paid for.

Pipeline to the future
Alaska's huge North Slope natural gas reserves were discovered decades ago, but development efforts have been stymied by fluctuating prices and disputes between the state and the lease holders over who should benefit.

An A1 story about food donations in Tuesday's Juneau Empire misstated the location of a food drive. The Southeast Alaska Food Bank's food drive on Friday occurred inside the Alaskan & Proud market downtown.

Around Town
Thursday, Nov. 26

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

JDHS principal search gets started
JUNEAU - The Juneau School District has begun the recruiting process for a permanent principal for Juneau-Douglas High School, and its site council is looking for input on what exactly teachers, students, staff, parents and community members would like to see.

23-year-old indicted on sex abuse charges
JUNEAU - A grand jury indicted a 23-year-old Juneau man Wednesday on four felony counts involving the sexual abuse of a minor.

An obituary for Gay Zarabu that appeared in Wednesday's Empire incorrectly named surviving family members Katie Foster (granddaughter) and Carl Zaruba (grandson).

Some bears still awake in Juneau
JUNEAU - It looks like there are a couple of black bears still out and about in Juneau.

Two indicted for methadone mail bust
JUNEAU - A grand jury indicted a 38-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman Wednesday on felony drug charges for allegedly shipping drugs to Juneau through the mail.

For Natives, holiday a melting pot of cultural traditions
Turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn-on-the-cob ... and gumboots, hooligan oil and wild celery sauce?

Child care center opens downtown
A new child care center that will help meet the needs of legislators with children opened downtown last week.

Environmentalists pledge more money to timber study
A national environmental organization has pledged money toward a timber study that would support new industry in the Tongass National Forest.

Snowfall ahead of pace this year, forecasters say
So far this winter, Juneau has had almost double the average snowfall, but that's not necessarily a sign of what's to come this season, according to the National Weather Service.

Photo: Front Street photo
A view of Front Street from the mid-1950s to early '60s. The corner of the 20th Century Supermarket is visible on the left where McDonald's is now located. Percy's Cafe where the Viking Lounge & Pull Tabs is located. Percy's Cafe was where generations of Juneau High School, Douglas High School and Juneau-Douglas High school students hung out. The Gross 20th Century Theater Marquee is seen on the far right. A truck hit the marquee bringing it down in the 1960s.

Photo: Lighting up the street
Quin McLean installs Christmas lights on the Baranof Hotel building Wednesday in Juneau.

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

Around Town
Wednesday, Nov. 25

Native American Heritage Month: Rosa Miller
Age: 83.

Native American Heritage Month: Harvey Marvin
Age: 76.

Photo: Clearing a jump
Quade Weiler, 10, shovels snow off a friend's trampoline Wednesday in downtown Juneau.

New trustee, Hartig, to join Alaska Permanent Fund board
Gov. Sean Parnell has appointed Larry Hartig to a seat on the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.'s Board of Trustees, helping oversee management of the state's $34 billion savings account.

Donald R. Williams Sr.
Juneau resident Donald R. Williams Sr. died Nov. 19, 2009, after a short battle with cancer.

Kevin Michio Asche
Former Juneau resident Kevin Asche died suddenly Oct. 28, 2009, while on vacation in Maui. He was 48.

Cynthia Marie Phillips
Juneau resident and former Sitka resident Cynthia Marie Phillips died Nov. 21, 2009, in Juneau. She was 19.

Raymond Mork
Long-time Sitka resident Raymond Mork died Sept. 21, 2009, in Sitka after a long battle with pneumonia. He was 78.

Gay Zaruba
Juneau and former Ketchikan resident Gay Zaruba died Nov. 21, 2009, at home. She was 98.

Gay Zaruba
Juneau and former Ketchikan resident Gay Zaruba died Nov. 21, 2009, at home. She was 98.

Don't be SAD
The following editorial first appeared in the Ketchikan Daily News:

How Palin might win the presidency
President Sarah Palin. To many pundits and late-night comedians, this sounds like a punch line, and to many die-hard Democrats it sounds like a reason to leave the country.

No issue with mayor's pay
The following editorial first appeared in the Anchorage Daily News:

Monogamy isn't easy
Right-wing pro-marriage advocates are correct: Monogamy is definitely under siege. But not from uncloseted polyamorists, adolescent "hook-up" advocates, radical feminists, Godless communists or some vast homosexual conspiracy. The culprit is our own biology.

Screaming kids on airplanes: Mayday!
A little late in making those Thanksgiving flight plans? Wondering how you could possibly afford your ticket - that is, without putting a kidney up for sale on craigslist? Good news! You can get a free flight home on Southwest plus a $300 travel voucher. Just do what I plan to - get on a Southwest flight in the next few days, and when it's taking off, shout over and over, "Go, plane, go!" and "I want Daddy! I want Daddy!"

Not safe in the water
When Peter Benchley wrote "Jaws," when Steven Spielberg turned it into a film more than 34 years ago, and when those of us who acted in it helped create the first summer blockbuster, nobody imagined the unintended consequences that would follow. "Jaws" intensified the public's already existing fear of sharks, fueling misperceptions that have given cover to an industry which kills vast numbers of these magnificent creatures each year, thereby depleting a keystone predator that helps maintain the health of our oceans.

We must remain vigilant about weapons of mass destruction
In the debate over terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and the threat they present to America's communities, retired U.S. Air Force Col. Randall Larsen says we may stand in the way of our own safety. This happens, according to him, because we typically pose the wrong questions.

Trooper kills man who brandished knife
FAIRBANKS - A state trooper shot and killed a man with a knife outside a Fairbanks area home where a woman was found dead inside.

North Pole water contaminated by refinery chemical
NORTH POLE - At least six households near the Flint Hills Resources refinery at North Pole recently learned their drinking water is contaminated by a chemical called sulfolane that's used to make fuel.

Goldbelt announces shareholder dividend
JUNEAU - The board of directors of Goldbelt, Inc., approved a shareholder dividend amounting to $2.75 per share.

Woman sentenced to 4 years in death of son
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage woman pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the death of her infant son and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Photo: Riley, Fronimos win
Thunder Mountain's Thomas Riley, top, tries to get opponent Darin Davis in a fall position during their championship match at Ketchikan High School Saturday night during the Bill Weiss Wrestling Tournament. Riley won 9-3 in the 112-pound weight class. The Falcons' Cameron Fronimos won the 171-pound weight class with 10-2 decision.

Sports in Juneau

Tompkins' last turn
At 41 years old, most athletes are well past their prime, especially Olympic-level competitors.

Sports in Juneau

Sports briefs
Special Olympics tourney draws 500

Salazar fires back at the oil industry 'untruths'
WASHINGTON - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar lashed out at the oil and gas industry Tuesday, accusing some industry trade groups of acting like an arm of the Republican Party in criticizing the Obama administration's record on energy production.

Former Wings of Alaska proprietors suing new owners
PORTLAND, Ore. - An Alaska couple has sued Portland-based SeaPort Airlines because it stopped making payments to the couple on the Juneau airplane hangar the business bought from the couple last year.

Moose hunters complain about plant's rancid meat
FAIRBANKS - After Travis Marsh shot his first moose back in September, a nice 52-inch bull near Delta Junction, he couldn't have been happier. The thought of having a full freezer of tasty, high-protein meat made his mouth water.

Kodiak artist opens opportunities for others
KODIAK - A recent art class at the Alutiiq Museum was filled with children eager to learn how to make Alutiiq masks.

Former Palin aide irked by book's portrayal
ANCHORAGE - The first legislative director for former Gov. Sarah Palin, John Bitney, is unhappy with the way he's portrayed in her book, "Going Rogue."

Brad Phillips, Alaska tourism pioneer, dies at 84
ANCHORAGE - Brad Phillips, a pioneer of Alaska tourism who launched the first cruise tours of Prince William Sound in the 1950s, has died. He was 84.

Governor picks Tammie Wilson to replace Coghill
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sean Parnell announced Tuesday that former teacher Tammie Wilson will replace John Coghill in District 11 in the Alaska House of Representatives.

Manager fired over porn star wife eyes Alaska job
ANCHORAGE - A Florida town manager who was fired because he married a porn star is now a finalist for a city manager job in a small Southeast Alaska town.

Corporation still planning Fire Island wind farm
ANCHORAGE - The Cook Inlet Region corporation says it plans to go ahead with the Fire Island wind farm project, despite a split last month with a developer.

Wasilla man pleads not guilty in baby's death
PALMER - A Wasilla man charged with killing his baby daughter has pleaded not guilty.

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