Gifts of the season
The annual diet of sugar plums and dew drops is before us once again, and Juneau Dance Unlimited's "Nutcracker" production brings a few new feastings for the eyes this year that will make capital city audiences yearn for one more bite.

From Clara to Snow Queen
Ask Juneau teen Kiana Ford if her favorite iPod music is rap (nope), country (no), or perhaps good old rock and roll (ha ha, nah).

A non-Potter fan's view of 'Hallows'
Some conversations are just best avoided. It can be a matter of self preservation. There are people in your life that you know you cannot talk politics with; you know if the conversation starts, it will become an argument that you actually don't care all that much about but pretty soon everyone is yelling, tears are flowing, fists are flying. Maybe that is only a slight exaggeration. Or maybe you are that person that others avoid talking with. It doesn't have to be politics, either. If someone else knows a great deal more about something than you do, it is generally best to just talk about the weather (unless, of course, that person is a meteorologist).

A new band in town
W hispers and rumors: things we all grow accustomed to hearing and passing on, living in such a small town. Having heard a couple of particularly good ones this summer about a new band in Juneau, I've been waiting for something tenable to check out.

Kris and Lindy Jones to play farewell concert Sunday at Gold Town
The Gold Town Nickelodeon Theater will host a live performance by Haines musicians Kris Eli and Lindy Jones this Sunday, Dec. 12, beginning at 4 p.m. Kris Jones plays guitar and sings his own original songs, and his wife, Lindy, plays stand-up bass and provides harmony vocals. The style of their music is most commonly described as acoustic Americana. To hear a sample, visit or

'Inside Job' a powerhouse
What happened? What hit us? How did things go so horribly wrong?

Special events at the Canvasin December
Finger Painting with Chocolate

Foursquare Church outreach concert this weekend
Foursquare Church will host a free outreach concert featuring music from Handel's Messiah, Bach arias and carols. Performers include Rosie Humpfrey, Steve Tada, Lisa Ray, Rick Trostel and Philippe Damerval.

Tuba Christmas Concert rehearsal
Local tuba, baritone and euphonium players who are interested in performing in an upcoming Christmas concert are invited to attend a rehearsal this Saturday at the Salvation Army Church downtown, 439 W. Willoughby Ave., beginning at 11:30 a.m. The Christmas concert is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 16.

State seeks public comment on Library Archives Museum
The Alaska Department of Education & Early Development, in conjunction with the State Historic Preservation Office, is requesting public comment on historic aspects of the Library Archives Museum project in Juneau.

Wearable art apps now being accepted; Q&A scheduled
The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council is now accepting registrations from artists seeking to enter creations in the 11th annual Wearable Art show.

Juneau Lyric Opera presents Holiday Pops concert
Juneau Lyric Opera will present their third annual Holiday Pops concert twice this weekend: at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11 at Chapel by the Lake, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center. The performance will feature more than 75 local voices singing holiday favorites, led by conductor Sally Smith.

A wolf by any other name may be forgotten
The black wolf known as Romeo was illegally shot and killed. The most heartbreaking aspect of this for me was that Romeo was habituated to people. His comfort level around humans played a significant role in his death. The perpetrators used Romeo's vulnerability to slay him; what a cruel and unconscionable act.

Antifreeze can be sweet death for pets
Genetics prevents me from seeing red and green "Festivus" lights, but I can smell the sweet aroma of colorful engine coolant and antifreeze. And so can our pets. Poisonous ethylene glycol (antifreeze) hasn't forgotten how to kill pets indiscriminately; it may just take a lick. So don't forget your responsibility to keep your critters safe by eliminating hazards within your control. Please fix any leaking engines and clean up your parking space if needed. The animal you save may be your own, or your neighbor's.

Citizens United decision gave democracy to dollars
In an ideal democracy, sensible theory would posit the absurdity of the body politic's intangible "symbol of value" (money) being sanctioned suffrage to pursue a state of consciousness - as in the pursuit of happiness. Earning a return on capital is the implicit mission of any corporation, yet corporate money is often compared to a union of people dedicating their dues when arguing the absurdity of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

Governor, first lady welcome Juneau into their home
Gov. Sean Parnell and First Lady Sandy Parnell welcomed Juneau residents to their home Wednesday in the annual Christmas open house, while Juneau residents welcomed the Parnells to Juneau.

Daisy Bell set to help with avalanche safety
Avalanches around the Snettisham line have always been a problem for Alaska Electric Light & Power. Yet, a new technology in the U.S. may help ease the cost and hazards of controlling these snowy slides.

Whale statue project prepares for last phase
The bronze Whale Project is moving forward and is gearing up for its final phase.

IPHC defends quota decrease plan
The International Pacific Halibut Commission explained its preliminary staff recommendations for 2011, in which the quota for Area 2C cut nearly in half.

Designated floodplain areas to change in new FEMA maps
The city floodplain maps are outdated by 20-30 years. They're in the process of being updated, but with more precise engineering methods some property owners may require flood insurance, while others may no longer need it.

Judge sets status hearing for alleged Hoonah officers' killer
A status and trial hearing for the man alleged to have killed two Hoonah police officers was set for 2 p.m. Jan. 21 by Judge David George Tuesday in Juneau Superior Court.

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.

Hoonah woman medevaced to Bartlett Regional Hospital
The Coast guard and Capital City Fire and Rescue medevaced a Hoonah woman Wednesday night to Bartlett Regional Hospital after she reported complications with her pregnancy.

Some Native donations may not be so Native
Sealaska Heritage Institute received a collection of 18 Native cultural objects and tourist items from an anonymous donor last month. However, studies on these objects have led SHI researchers to believe three of them may not be Native made.

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.

Mesa Grill continues serving hot food in cold weather
Across the street from Sealaska Plaza downtown there is a small, thin-walled kiosk. It's the sort of place that's a common sight in the summer months but not so much in mid-December. Yet, this one's owner stands as proof the winter's cold weather and absence of tourists doesn't drive away all such street-side vendors.

Photo: Christmas at the Governor's Mansion
First Lady Sandy Parnell and 10th Governor of the State of Alaska Sean Parnell move a ginger bread house, one of 13 to be displayed, onto the center table in anticipation of today's Governor's Annual Christmas and Holiday Open House at the Governor's Mansion from 3 to 6 p.m. The gingerbread house, in the design of Russia's St. Basil Cathederal, was made by the Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School Life Skills class with included Instructor Jodie Buck and students Bruce Jones, Manon Paul, Chloe Varner, Victoria Ross and Tessa Smith. More than 24,000 cookies have been prepared, over 100 pounds of fudge and chocolate candies will be served in side while members of the governor's staff will serve hot apple cider and holiday treats to guests waiting in line outside. Entertainers from local community and school groups will perform both inside and out and the Governor and First Lady will welcome each and every guest. "This is one of our highlights of the year," Parnell said. "We look forward to Christmas, and we encourage all Alaskans to help those less fortunate or in need. Merry Christmas."

Photo: A window wonderland
Mace Davis stays out of the weather at the Downtown Juneau Library. The stained glass artwork of migrating salmon is by Bruce Elliot.

City cautious on Fisherman's Bend/Andrew's Marina
The Assembly is reluctant to give approval to Docks and Harbors to purchase Fisherman's Bend/Andrew's Marina.

Olive L. Landon
Longtime Alaska resident Olive L. Landon died Nov. 24, 2010.

Marjorie Ann (Mallum) Bukovich
Marjorie Ann (Mallum) Bukovich died Dec. 1, 2010. She was born in Aberdeen, Wash., Feb. 13, 1927, to Dorothy (Colburn) and George Mallum. During her high school years she met the love of her life and future husband, Rudy Bukovich, while picking daffodil bulbs in the Puyallup Valley. After they graduated high school in 1945, they married after Rudy returned from service in the Pacific. They were married March 20, 1948, and settled in Washington state. The Bukovich family moved to Ketchikan in the 1960s and purchased the Gateway Club and started RB Construction, a gravel and excavation business. Rudy passed away in 1994.

Leo L. Houston Jr.
Leo L. Houston Jr. passed away Dec. 7, 2010 in Federal Way, Wash., as a result of complications sustained from a mining accident in 1991.

James Edmund Bennett
James Edmund Bennett died Dec. 5, 2010 in Seattle. He was born July 8, 1952 in Charlottesville, Va., to Dr. Truett Vann Bennett, and Patricia Henritzy Bennett, both graduates of the University of North Carolina. His father was an accomplished musician and surgeon. His family moved from Atlanta to Hawaii in 1962. He was a dedicated and highly appreciated high school mathematics teacher who taught at schools in Fairbanks, Las Vegas, Point Hope, St. Mary's and most recently Juneau.

Sharon Anne Marie Bezley
Sharon Anne Marie Bezley died Dec. 8, 2010, in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

Outside editorial: Another misstep in energy policy
The following editorial appeared in the Dallas Morning News:

Outside editorial: Signs of bipartisanship in the federal budget debate
The following editorial appeared in the Kansas City Star:

Ranking heroism
Much has been made, and rightfully so, of President Obama's Medal of Honor presentation last month to Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, the first living recipient of the nation's highest military decoration since the Vietnam War. But the award also raises questions. One is why so few Medals of Honor have been awarded to those who have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, compared with the numbers issued during previous conflicts. Another is how it is decided whether a warrior's risk and sacrifice in battle merit such decorations.

Monday's must-see TV
There are ample reasons to be skeptical about the desirability of cameras in the courtroom, most of them turning on broadcasters' propensity to train their glassy gaze only on the most lurid or sensational trials.

Maybe markets will force Congress' hands
I've never wished this before, but I hope the markets tank for the next few weeks. That could finally shock Capitol Hill into facing up to our nearly $14 trillion debt.

Democrats are creating some fertile turf for Sarah Palin
I have my doubts about Sarah Palin as a potential presidential candidate, but you have to hand it to her. Her instincts are wonderfully diabolical. She's trapped our friends on the left in a no-win debate on American exceptionalism.

Funding bill key to UA computer center
FAIRBANKS - The future of a University of Alaska computer center may depend on whether Congress approves a Defense Department appropriations bill in the next three weeks.

UA regents to weigh tuition rate proposal
FAIRBANKS - A proposed tuition increase will be considered at the upcoming meeting of the University of Alaska Board of Regents.

Overdue man's snowmobile found
GRAYLING - Alaska State Troopers say searchers are looking for the body of a missing 33-year-old Grayling man whose snowmobile was found in open water on the Yukon River.

New ethics rules to take effect Dec. 22
JUNEAU - New rules governing executive branch ethics, stemming from Sarah Palin's tenure as governor, take effect this month.

Pay commission hears testimony on Parnell's salary
ANCHORAGE - Only three people showed up Tuesday to testify on a proposed $50,000 salary increase for Gov. Sean Parnell.

Law officers arrest 74 in SW Alaska crime sweep
ANCHORAGE - A sweep by Alaska State Troopers, the U.S. Marshals Service and state drug and alcohol enforcement officers resulted in 74 arrests in more than a dozen southwest Alaska villages.

Parnell keeping key aides
JUNEAU - Gov. Sean Parnell is retaining key aides and members of his inner circle, including chief of staff Mike Nizich.

SuperPAC spends $1.6M to help Murkowski
JUNEAU - A political group formed by Alaska Native corporations spent $1.6 million to defeat Joe Miller in last month's U.S. Senate race.

Sen.'s vote hinges on military gay policy
ANCHORAGE - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says it's time to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and allow gays to serve openly in the military.

Domestic violence in Brevig Mission stabbing death
ANCHORAGE - The woman charged with manslaughter in the stabbing death of her boyfriend in Brevig Mission said she was tired of him beating her and their kids.

Student helps save suicidal friend
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police say a Dimond High School student probably saved the life of a suicidal boy by reporting his threat to shoot himself.

Disabled cargo ship reaches Dutch Harbor
ANCHORAGE - A cargo ship disabled in the Bering Sea has reached Alaska's Dutch Harbor.

State seeks comments on museum project
The Alaska State Museum may be a museum piece itself.

Judicial Council solicits applications as Collins prepares to step down
The Alaska Judicial Council is receiving applications for a seat on the Juneau Superior Court, in preparation for Judge Patricia Collins' upcoming retirement from the bench, according to a release from the council.

From Hoonah to Juneau, and now to state
Apparently, Juneau-Douglas wrestling coach John Smith isn't the only Hoonah transplant in the Crimson Bears' program.

Falcons ready for fresh start
Building a new basketball program from scratch is a difficult task for any team to take on, and the young Thunder Mountain girls' basketball program has experienced plenty of growing pains.

Steininger looks to outwit his opponents
The number of state qualifiers in the young history of the Thunder Mountain wrestling program continues to grow as, for the second straight year, the Falcons will be sending four grapplers to the final tournament of the high school wrestling season.

Miller ups stakes in claims against Murkowski victory
Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller appeared in a Juneau courtroom Wednesday and raised new allegations against state elections officials in his bid to block the write-in re-election victory of Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Warming may help Southeast produce power
Climate change may be causing problems elsewhere, but it may provide some big benefits to Southeast Alaska, according to a new study looking at the region's hydroelectric potential.

Fisheries restricted to help Steller sea lions
ANCHORAGE - Commercial mackerel and cod fisheries in Alaska's western Aleutian Islands will be restricted to ensure that Steller sea lions have enough to eat, a federal agency said Wednesday.

TransCanada still negotiating on pipeline
JUNEAU - TransCanada Corp. says it may not meet its target of securing binding agreements by year's end for a major natural gas pipeline in Alaska, but the company remains optimistic about the prospects for its project.

Aggressive wolves in Port Heiden to be killed
ANCHORAGE - State officials have approved a plan for the aerial shooting of wolves that have killed pets and scared residents in and near Port Heiden.

Attorney disputes Miller claims on e-mails
JUNEAU - An attorney for the Fairbanks North Star Borough alleges that Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller violated borough e-mail policy and his ethical responsibilities while working as a government lawyer.

Aggressive wolves spark fear in Port Heiden
ANCHORAGE - Mayor Scott Anderson doesn't travel around his small town of Port Heiden unarmed. Neither do his neighbors.

Anchorage mayor disagrees with team on homeless
ANCHORAGE - Mayor Dan Sullivan disagreed with two of the recommendations from the team he launched to address the city's problem of chronic street alcoholics.

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