Portraits of homelessness
Homelessness is such a familiar and persistent problem it can be difficult to gain fresh perspective. It's too easy to gloss over facts and figures, however surprising or shocking they may be. The Juneau Homeless Coalition has taken a creative approach to addressing the issue in our community with their "Out of the Rain" calendar, a collection of personal portraits and narratives that allow for a more complete and realistic grasp of the issue on a local level.

Gallery Walk: The biggest art event of the year
1. "Out Of The Rain," Photographs By Marilyn Holmes

Local filmmaker premieres feature at Anchorage Film Festival
Hardiness is something of an assumed trait if you live in Alaska, and most Alaskans fit the bill at least some of the time. But like anything, the term is relative.

The blues are better in small spaces
The blues - we hate when we have them, but love when we hear them. It's hard to have anything but admiration for a genre founded on making lemonade out of some really nasty lemons.

'Never' not what you might expect
Warning: This review contains plot spoilers.

Gold Street Music this Saturday
The latest installement of Gold Street Music gets started at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4 at Resurrection Lutheran church. This month's performers will be Alyssa Fischer and Tom Locher, Joe Emerson, Jack Fontanella, Alaska's Kit and Tony Tengs. Tickets are available at the door, $5.

King Island Christmas moves downtown
King Island Christmas moves to the Juneau Arts & Culture Center this Thursday through Sunday to continue its "holiday gift wrapped in music."ĘShows are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday; and at 3 p.m. Sunday.

December Coffee & Collections highlights Sydney Laurence
The City Museum's December Coffee & Collections presentation will focus on "Sydney Laurence's Juneau." Mike Blackwell will lead a discussion of his informal inquiry on the museum's newly-acquired Sydney Laurence painting, "Early Morning, Juneau, Alaska." By retracing Laurence's activities in Juneau and at the Nugget Shop, studying the landmarks in the painting, and trying to identify the ship in the scene, Blackwell has uncovered some of the tale behind the painting. Blackwell will also show a sampling of Laurence's other paintings of Juneau and Southeast Alaska.

'This Wonderful Life' opens Friday, Second Stage hosts work by Alaskan writers
Starring Ed Christian in the sole acting role, the second play of the season draws on the characters and themes of the holiday classic "It's a Wonderful Life," bringing George Bailey and the other residents of Bedford Falls together through a single narrator. "This Wonderful Life" had a very short run (one weekend) at Thunder Mountain High School last year; this year's longer run at Perseverance is intended to give more locals a chance to see it.

New library books celebrate the snow and the season
Here are a few of our new snow and holiday picture books for kids and kids-at-heart. Look for our holiday books on display in the Children's area of each public library - they are currently circulating for just two weeks at a time so get in early to find your favorites or place holds on them soon. And, keep an eye out for Jim Aylesworth and Barbara McClintock's beautiful new version of the classic Ukrainian folktale, "The Mitten," which is every bit as lovely and delightful as Jan Brett's version.

HIV/AIDS: It ain't over 'til It's over ...
... And this one is not over yet. Some will remember when we wondered if we would ever get beyond the smallpox epidemic. We did. Many of us have done battle with polio and now that is a rare scare in many parts of the world now.

New parking center fees need explanation
Now that the construction ordeal is over, there is much ado about presenting the brand new Downtown Transportation Center as being free during the Christmas shopping season, for the benefit of Juneau shoppers and businesses, when that is exactly what the intention was supposed to be anyway (emphasis on for the benefit of shoppers and businesses).

Board of Game's black bear decision the right one
It was a pleasant surprise to read the Alaska Board of Game deferred the issue of snaring black bears until 2012 because there was so much blowback from the public. That public included me.

City budget on track for 2011 fiscal year
The city budget is on track, which is good news compared to the last budget cycle where the city had to tap into reserves to save jobs and programs.

Photos: Run readying

Trial date nears for alleged shooter of Hoonah officers
As the deadline set by state law to begin the trial of the man accused of shooting two Hoonah police officers to death approaches, attorneys for the state of Alaska and for the defendant agree on one thing: they won't be ready for trial by that deadline.

Photo: Snowball came out 'smaller than expected'
Madeline Handley rolls a snowmball on her way to the Montessori program at Marie Drake Middle School on Tuesday morning. "It is getting heavier," Handley said of her large snowball. "I think it is going to be smaller than I anticipated."

Alaska unemployment tax rates to rise
Alaska workers will soon see more money coming out of their paychecks as both workers and employers will have to begin contributing more to fund the state's unemployment insurance program.

Photo: Attack analysis
Ian Demore, left, and Freedom McCorkle intently watch after putting Larry O'Keefe's king in check during Gastineau Elementary School's Chess Club on Thursday. The club meets every week and about 30 students are involved in the after school activity.

Photo: Dzantik'i raises money for Movember
Eighth-grader Anita Arlene, left, draws a moustache onto classmate Anita Haube at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School on Wednesday as part of Movember, a moustache growing charity event held during November each year that raises funds and awareness for men's health.

Judge allows Murkowski to participate in Senate election case
A state judge has allowed U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski a formal role in candidate Joe Miller's challenge to her November election victory.

Police & Fire
This report contains information provided to the Empire from law enforcement agencies. This report includes arrest and citation information, not conviction information. Anyone listed in this report is presumed innocent.

Operation Santa Claus brings 'Joy to the world' for Hoonah
Three of Santa's sleighs, sans reindeer, sat at the Juneau Army National Guard hangar on Wednesday, ready to soar into the sky with toys for little girls and boys.

Fisherman's Bend/Andrew's Marina offered to the city
Fisherman's Bend and Andrew's Marina is being offered to the City and Borough of Juneau at a bargain rate.

Princess announces new fishing cruises
Princess Cruises announced Wednesday a new tour option that focuses on fishing will be added to the 2011 season.

Photos: Hooked on blues
Grammy-nominated blues singer John Lee Hooker, Jr. sings Wednesday at Centennial Hall. Additional performances will be held at The Rendezvous tonight and Saturday night. Hooker was nominated for 2009 and 2006 Grammys, won a 2005 Blues Award, was the Bay Area Blues Society's 2004 Comeback Artist of the Year and had the 2004 Outstanding Blues Album from the California Music Awards. "I love Juneau," Hooker said. "As long as they have me playing indoors ... it is hella cold here!"

Alaskan Brewing turns 24, has big plans for 2011
This month marks the 24th anniversary for Alaskan Brewing Company.

Police & Fire
This report contains information provided to the Empire from law enforcement agencies. This report includes arrest and citation information, not conviction information. Anyone listed in this report is presumed innocent.

Fredrick George Gallant II
Fredrick George Gallant II passed away Nov. 18, 2010 in Sitka.

Outside editorial: Food safety bill offers welcome display of bipartisanship
The following editorial originally appeared in the San Jose Mercury News:

Outside editorial: Federal pay freeze a small step toward budget sanity
The following editorial appeared in the San Jose Mercury News:

Why populism isn't popular
Congressional Democrats adjourned before the midterm election without extending the Bush-era tax cuts beyond this year. President Obama and a legion of liberal columnists had urged that they do so for families making less than $250,000 a year; only families making more would have seen their tax rates revert to pre-2001 levels. The commentariat scorned the Democrats' decision not to decide. "Profiles in Timidity" was the New York Times' editorial verdict.

Edwards keeps election loss in perspective
Chet Edwards has no regrets about the controversial votes he believes helped cost him his Central Texas congressional seat.

Gradual changes must be phased in to strengthen Social Security
At 75, our Social Security program is starting to show its age. The major source of retirement income for millions of Americans, Social Security is running a significant cash-flow deficit for the first time in decades.

Don't fall for the campaign to slash Social Security benefits
According to a recent CNN poll, 60 percent of Americans under 60 and 70 percent of those under 50 believe that Social Security will not be able to pay them a benefit when they retire.

Welcome, Old Man Winter
Old Man Winter may have taken the leisurely route to arrive in Southeast this year, but the latest bout of winter weather is - for many - arriving better late than never.

Trail Mix vies for $100,000 in grants
Trail Mix Inc., a local nonprofit trail maintenance group, has applied for two federal grants, administered by the state of Alaska that will aid two future projects: The improvement of the Treadwell Ditch and Peterson Lake trails.

Volunteers provide preseason grooming for Nordic skiers
JUNEAU - Tracks are set, skate trails smoothed and cold weather is in the forecast.

Look for Santa on a fire truck
JUNEAU - Santa Claus will grace downtown Juneau and Douglas beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10 atop a local fire truck.

State Parks Advisory Board welcomes input from locals
JUNEAU - The Juneau area State Parks Advisory Board will meet again Monday from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Alaska Department of Fish & Game headquarters.

Register now for First Responder course in Sitka
SITKA - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Emergency Medical Services department is offering an extended Wilderness First Responder course from Jan. 4 to Feb. 5, 2011, in Sitka.

SnowTRAC offering teleconference option for quarterly meeting
ANCHORAGE - A teleconference meeting with SnowTRAC is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 10.

Denali State Park partially open to snowmobiles
DENALI STATE PARK - The Mat-Su Area Office of the Alaska State Parks announced that Denali State Park is now open to the use of snowmobiles. Park staff have determined that sufficient snow cover exists to protect underlying vegetation in the park.

Deadline today for Hilary Lindh Scholarship application
JUNEAU - The deadline for this year's Hilary Lindh Scholarship, which is open to all Juneau students, is noon today.

Totem Bight SHP Master Development Plan meeting
KETCHIKAN - The Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation will host a public scoping meeting in Ketchikan at 7 p.m. on Dec. 9 at the Ted Ferry Civic Center to introduce the Totem Bight State Historical Park Master Development Plan. A general overview of the plan, goals and objectives, and general timeline will be presented. Participants will be given the opportunity to ask questions, discuss concerns and submit comments.

Avalanche workshop continues mountain education for locals
JUNEAU - The Southeast Alaska Avalanche Center has teamed up with local experts to present the Southeast Alaska Snow Avalanche Workshop for outdoor enthusiasts beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday at Centennial Hall.

Exploring south of Sandy Beach
The Saturday Parks and Recreation hike was scheduled to start at Sandy Beach, head south along the channel to a private cabin beyond Ready Bullion Creek, and then go uphill to the Treadwell Ditch trail and back to Douglas. Ho-hum, I thought. But I went anyway, and I'm glad I did. This hike took me to some spots I'd never visited before and learned a few shortcuts that I'll never be able to repeat.

Nov. JRPC match results
The latest shooting match for the Juneau Rifle and Pistol Club, held on Sunday, Nov. 28 was the last National Rifle Association registered match of 2010. It was held on a brisk Sunday morning with overcast skies and scattered snow showers. The match found five hardy souls enjoying the spirit of competition. Weston Moore was the winner of the hi-power division firing 479.8x, one point below a Hi-Master score. Linda Flynn fired what has become her consistent sporting/hunter rifle master score of 299.6x, while Chris Salazar shot a very impressive 395.20x out of a possible 400.40x in "F" class prone.

Wild shots
Submit your wild shots

Authorities check on sex offenders
ANCHORAGE - Authorities in Alaska have launched a weeklong sweep in eight Alaska villages to check on convicted sex offenders to ensure they are compliant with the state sex offender registry.

Trial begins for man accused of killing friend
ANCHORAGE - The trial has begun for an Anchorage man accused of killing his friend and stuffing his body in a freezer.

Murkowski raises over $245K for legal bills
JUNEAU - Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has raised more than $245,000 to help with her legal fees in her still-disputed race.

59 teams sign up for 2011 Iditarod
ANCHORAGE - The last musher to sign up for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race next year is five-time champion Rick Swenson.

Anchorage takes over Campbell Creek Estuary
ANCHORAGE - The city of Anchorage has taken possession of the Campbell Creek Estuary as a protected area, offering public access to tidal flats and views across Cook Inlet.

Ore. scientist helps Russian-US team track whale
NEWPORT, Ore. - An Oregon scientist is helping a Russian-U.S. research team track an endangered western gray whale by satellite to learn more about migration routes and breeding grounds.

Searchers recover body near Teller
ANCHORAGE - The body of a woman missing near Teller has been recovered.

Ketchikan Rep. Johansen wants to rejoin GOP caucus
ANCHORAGE - Republicans in the Alaska House are deciding whether to allow state Rep. Kyle Johansen of Ketchikan back into their caucus for the upcoming session in Juneau.

Bristol Palin strikes back at Olbermann
JUNEAU - Bristol Palin is striking back against MSNBC host Keith Olbermann for dubbing her "worst person in the world."

Woman arrested in Brevig Mission stabbing
NOME - A 29-year-old woman has been arrested and charged in the stabbing death of a Brevig Mission man.

Inversion spurs Alaska air quality alert
FAIRBANKS - A temperature inversion has pushed pollution to unhealthy levels that triggered an air quality alert in Fairbanks.

Miller: Murkowski following business as usual
JUNEAU - Republican Joe Miller says Alaska's U.S. senators - including his rival, Lisa Murkowski - are taking a page from the "big spenders' playbook" in supporting earmarks.

City, school board set meetings.
The regular meeting of the Juneau Commission on Sustainability that was scheduled for Wednesday has been rescheduled for 5:15 p.m. on Dec. 8 in City Hall Conference Room 224. The Juneau School District facilities committee will meet at noon Tuesday at the downtown Juneau Public Library, while the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Juneau Human Rights Commission will be held at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 16 in the Downtown Juneau Library.

Nutmeg recall affects Alaska
Frontier Natural Products Co-op is recalling two non-organic nutmeg products that have the potential for Salmonella contamination.

Invasive freshwater plant found in Alaska river
FAIRBANKS - An invasive freshwater plant found in Alaska has posed a problem for state and federal officials trying to assess what kind of threat it poses to the environment.

F-22 recovery effort suspended
ANCHORAGE - The Air Force says it has suspended efforts to recover the wreckage of the F-22 fighter jet that crashed near Cantwell, killing the pilot.

Anchorage presentation on large-scale mining
ANCHORAGE - A presentation today at the University of Alaska Anchorage will serve as an introduction to plans to develop the Pebble mine, a huge copper and gold mine in Southwest Alaska.

DH, Floyd Dryden host 20-team hoops tourney
It's been called the Gold Medal Tournament of middle school basketball.

Southeast berth up for grabs
Given there's only one state championship berth for each weight class in Southeast Alaska, it truly is win or go home for Juneau's prep wrestlers.

Southeast berth up for grabs
Given there's only one state championship berth for each weight class in Southeast Alaska, it truly is win or go home for Juneau's prep wrestlers.

Bears set to host small-school champ Hutchison
With the Crimson Bears hockey team closing in on the halfway point - and most difficult part - of its schedule, Juneau-Douglas hopes this weekend's games will serve as a measuring stick for success this season.

Bears set to host small-school champ Hutchison
With the Crimson Bears hockey team closing in on the halfway point - and most difficult part - of its schedule, Juneau-Douglas hopes this weekend's games will serve as a measuring stick for success this season.

Photo: Holiday hoops
Alex Pihl of Schoenbar Middle School splits the defense of Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School's Bruce Jones and Jacob Thibodeau, right, Thursday during the opening round of Hooptime at Floyd Dryden Middle School. Friday's updated results: Boys A - Floyd Dryden defeated Schoenbar 48-43, Dzantik'i Heeni defeated Sitka 38-17, FDMS defeated Sitka 48-13; Girls A - FDMS defeated Schoenbar 33-20, DHMS defeated Sitka 31-29; Boys B - DHMS Defeated Kake 40-25, FDMS defeated Angoon 31-30, Schoenbar defeated Haines 45-15, Angoon defeated Kake 40-31; Girls B - Schoenbar defeated FDMS 28-22, Kake defeated DHMS 23-13, Haines defeated Angoon 48-34, Schoenbar defeated DHMS 37-13.

Quick action sought on election challenge
An Alaska judge wants a fast resolution to candidate Joe Miller's challenge to Sen. Lisa Murkowski's write-in election victory, but won't decide until today whether the senator herself will be able to play a role in Miller's lawsuit.

Rep. Young questions park service Alaska safety checks
FAIRBANKS - U.S. Rep. Don Young is questioning just how much authority the National Park Service has to enforce safety checks for boaters on the Yukon River.

North Slope spill report focuses on flow lines
ANCHORAGE - A new state report on Alaska North Slope petroleum spills concludes the flow lines moving crude oil, water and natural gas from wells to processing plants need heightened monitoring.

Salazar says Interior will process Shell's Beaufort Sea drilling permit for 2011
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Shell's application to drill an exploration well in the company's Beaufort Sea federal offshore leases next summer will be processed.

Alaska acknowledges effects of climate change
ANCHORAGE - Alaska's fish and wildlife managers have released a state plan anticipating effects on Arctic bodies of water, fishing industries and wildlife resources brought on by climate change.

BP suspends construction of rig off Alaska coast
JUNEAU - BP PLC is suspending construction of a huge oil rig off Alaska's coast to review its engineering and design plans and ensure the Liberty project can be done safely.

Susitna dam would generate electricity for Mat-Su
ANCHORAGE - Plans for a hydroelectric dam on the upper Susitna River have been around for decades, and the latest planned dam is at least 10 years away - if work starts right away.

FBI names new head of Anchorage office
ANCHORAGE - A veteran FBI agent whose investigations have ranged from Mexican drug trafficking groups to gangs and violent crimes has been named the new head of the Anchorage division office, the bureau announced Wednesday.

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