'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.

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.

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.

A different kind of Shopping Adventure
Shopping for a dish or dishing while shopping?

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

Around Town
Thursday, Nov. 26

Around Town
Today, Nov. 27

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire reports were not available by press time Thursday.

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.

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

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

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.

A day Juneau can be thankful for
Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell woke up Thursday at the Governor's Mansion with one mission in mind: serving turkey at The Hangar on the Wharf with his family to "our new community." Thanksgiving meant something more for Parnell this year; marking his official transition to Juneau from Anchorage.

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?

Retailers ring in shopping season
Juneau retailers opened their doors in the wee hours this morning as Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season.

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.

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

Photo: Thankful for calm waters
A fishing boat trolls for winter kings Thursday in Juneau Harbor. A few boats were fishing in the harbor for the elusive salmon.

Native American Heritage Month: Colleen Henderson
Age: 32.

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.

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

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

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:

Support local business when holiday shopping
Holiday shoppers will be out in full force today, taking advantage of Black Friday sales and Juneau's annual Public Market in a mix of national and local shopping traditions. Business owners are cautiously optimistic that this year will fare better than last, when Juneau first began feeling the pinch of a nation-wide recession.

Alaska's clean initiatives
The following editorial first appeared in the Anchorage Daily News:

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

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.

Connected life a great gift during any season
For most people, the holiday season means spending time with friends and family. We invite them to our Thanksgiving table. We send them cards. We kiss them under the stars to usher in the new year. But we also get angry at them, deal with their demands and endure their opinions of one another.

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.

Thoughts on cars and chocolate
Just as I don't want to know exactly what's in a hot dog, I didn't like reading the other day that there's a possibility Hershey may be taking over Cadbury. I don't know what's in Cadbury chocolate or Hershey bars, and I don't care because I trust them to put good ingredients in their candy.

Head-to-head standoff decides annual Turkey Shoot winner
As sunset neared, two shooters were still competing head to head in one of the most contested battles of the day, the "Annie Oakley."

Out & About
Today, Nov. 27

Federal subsistence board takes action on requests
ANCHORAGE - The Federal Subsistence Board considered four special action requests and a request to reconsider a previous action during its Nov.12 work session in Anchorage.

Natural Resources Conservation Service to hold meeting on programs
PALMER - The Natural Resources Conservation Service State Technical Committee will meet at the NRCS state office conference room on Wednesday Dec. 2 at 9 a.m.

Green infrastructure planning grants available for Alaska communities
ANCHORAGE - Alaska communities have an opportunity to jump start their green infrastructure planning efforts to prevent water pollution and improve water quality due to a new grant program supported by economic recovery funds.

Dan Moller a good pick for non-ski local treks
Eaglecrest Ski Area is likely opening this weekend.

Running with porcupines, snow and great athletes
There is something poetic about watching a good runner stride. Most runners change their gaits to match terrain, but good runners change the paths they are on to suit their stride. Each step remains seemingly effortless, as rocks, dips, hills, puddles, flora and fauna are traversed with the same ease and grace as a well-practiced orchestra. It's these same runners who seem to float an inch above the surface.

Girls on the Run Southeast to hold 5K Fun Run season finale
Girls on the Run of Southeast Alaska will hold their final 5K Fun Run Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Dimond Park Field House to celebrate what organizers called "a successful fall Girls on the Run season."

New November snow reveals forest tracks
One snowy day in mid November, I stood on the bank of the Holding Pond in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area and was surprised to see a beaver swimming back and forth. He slapped his tail once or twice and disappeared as I turned my back to clean debris off the fence that guards the outlet of the pond. Later, I found his tracks along the shore of the pond and over the dike to the Mendenhall River.

Degrees to dig
Greens Creek and Couer Alaska are now in the process of hiring from a pool of fifteen people who recently received safety and underground mining training through a partnership between the University of Alaska Southeast, Mine and Petroleum Training Services (MAPTS), the Alaska Department of Labor and the mining industry.

Photos: Saltwater selections
Show us your big fish

Photo: More of a good thing
Show us your big fish

Trekkers to present at Centennial Hall
JUNEAU - Erin McKittrick and her husband, Hig, will be presenting their 2007, human-powered journey from Seattle to the Aleutian Islands and signing books on Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. at Centennial Hall.

Kusko 300 launches $50,000 raffle
BETHEL - Organizers of the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race have launched a $50,000 winner-takes-all raffle to raise funds.

Alaska aviators return from Kosovo
ANCHORAGE - The last remaining soldiers with the Alaska Army National Guard are coming home from Kosovo duty just in time for Thanksgiving.

Alyeska Ski Resort to open for season
GIRDWOOD - The Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood is opening for the season.

Lumber prices rally for timber industry
EUGENE, Ore. - Prices in the depressed lumber industry have risen recently, as production has fallen to meet demand and dealers have begun restocking inventories.

Air quality drops in Fairbanks, North Pole
FAIRBANKS - Fairbanks' municipal government is asking people to voluntarily halt wood burning after air quality in the area dropped below federal standards.

University of Alaska to vote on budget
FAIRBANKS - University of Alaska regents are scheduled to vote Monday on the $820 million operation budget for the next fiscal year.

Official: Trooper who shot man "heroic"
FAIRBANKS - The head of the Alaska State Trooper said the trooper who shot and killed a man yielding a knife earlier this week acted heroically and may have saved lives.

Monster truck show to return to Tacoma
TACOMA, Wash. - Nearly a year after a 6-year-old boy watching in the stands was killed by flying debris, the monster truck rally where it happened is coming back to Tacoma.

Geezers vs. Chicks helps fund Girls on the Run
The Geezers' manhood will be tested Saturday night at Treadwell Arena in Juneau as the Chicks look to continue their recent domination in the annual series.

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

Sports in Juneau

Sports briefs
Special Olympics tourney draws 500

Size of company's Yakutat gold mine claim questioned
A massive gold mining claim near Yakutat by an out-of-state company has proven to be not only controversial but also questionable in its legitimacy, according to officials.

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.

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.

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.

Pair produces unique book of Sitka photographs, essays
SITKA - An eagle sits on a rock on the north end of town, looking at the camera, with O'Connell Bridge, the Sisters and Mt. Verstovia in the background.

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.

Photo: Turkey trotting
Former Gov. Sarah Palin joins thousands of runners Thursday for the annual Turkey Trot in Kennewick, Wash. The event is a fundraiser for the local American Red Cross. The former Republican vice-presidential candidate is spending the holiday with relatives in Richland, Wash.

Wood energy becoming more popular
For the Bethel region of Alaska, the heating fuel of the future might be a throwback to the past.

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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