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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Murkowski's DADT vote disappointing
I am very disappointed Sen. Lisa Murkowski has voted against important defense legislation and denied equal treatment to our military personnel. Today she voted against legislation that would appropriate money to the Departments of Defense and Energy as well as repeal a policy that discriminates against select military personnel.

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.

Broken water main hits Archives
A broken water main at the State Archives Building doused several boxes of records Thursday morning, but Archivist Dean Dawson said the items were able to be dried without suffering permanent damage.

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.

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.

High school mourns beloved math teacher
This equation isn't adding up.

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.

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.

Photo: Skinning the slope
Ed Shanley, right, Kevin Krein, center, and Sean Janes ski the ridge above the East Bowl at Eaglecrest Ski Area on Thursday. The ski area is waiting on more snow to officially open.

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.

A story appearing on page A1 of Thursday's Empire titled "Designated floodplain areas to change in new FEMA maps" contained an incorrect Web link. The correct link is

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.

Photo: A light workday
Chatham Electric wiremen Daniel Leder, top, and Richard Hayes wrap a lamp post in glowing blue holiday lights across from the Juneau Court House on Thursday. The company is called by the state Legislature to light up the Governor's Mansion and the capitol as well as some local churches.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

My turn: Write-in campaign reaffirms a core Native value
On Nov. 2, we witnessed remarkable citizen activism, and a mobilization within the Alaska community with more than 258,000 citizens exercising their right to vote - of those voting, more than 100,000 exercised a right they had never exercised before by casting a write-in vote for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski. This is a new page in Alaska's history.

Outside editorial: Tax compromise is a start; now Congress must fix code
On balance, we're glad to see congressional Republicans and the White House come together around a package to keep the Bush-era tax cuts for two years, include numerous tax cuts favored by President Barack Obama and extend benefits for unemployed workers.

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.

It's not rational to spend tax dollars on NPR when other outlets provide similar programming
According to a Poll Position survey conducted in late October, 45 percent of Americans said "No" when asked whether the U.S. government should stop helping to fund NPR; 39 percent said "Yes." Only those respondents identifying themselves as Republicans favored, by a 54 percent to 28 percent margin, ending taxpayer support for NPR.

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.

Public broadcasting's flaws are far outweighed by the enlightenment it spreads
Vivian Schiller may be a blithering something or other, but whatever she says or does should not be reason enough to defund America's public broadcasting system.

Wintering in
One outdoor fixture will be spending the winter indoors, as it dries in preparation for refurbishing next year.

Siskins, redpolls flock to Juneau when it's coldest
I was asked often in November about the flocks of little brown birds that were seen swooping in unison from tree to tree. Sometimes a whole flock would whirl up and take off for some other location. These flocks were often quite large, numbering 300 or more birds, and just how hundreds of birds can fly so close together without bumping into each other is a wonderment.

Travel to Ushuaia, Argentina and the Arntarctic Peninsula with latest Travelogue
JUNEAU - Loren and LaRae Jones will present a Travelogue on "Ushuaia, Argentina and the Antarctic Peninsula" at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 14 at the Goldtown Nickelodeon.

SAIL/ORCA hosts annual Lu'au
JUNEAU - Southeast Independent Living and Outdoor Recreation & Community Access (ORCA) are holding their annual Lu'au from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Augustus Brown Swimming Pool.

Former local vies for Paradise host position
A former Juneau resident has been selected as a semi-finalist in a worldwide host search for a new travel television series, "Paradise Hunter."

Multi-Agency avalanche training on Turnigan Pass
TURNAGAIN PASS - The Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, along with multiple search and rescue organizations, will conduct a large-scale interagency avalanche training exercise Saturday and Sunday in the Turnagain Pass area.

Run for fun with Girls on the Run
JUNEAU - Girls on the Run of Southeast Alaska is hosting a fun run to celebrate the end of the season beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Dimond Park Field House. Presented by AWARE, the run is a 5K and girls in grades three through five from Harborview, Gastineau, and Riverbend Elementary schools will end their season with this celebratory event.

Birdwatchers across the country scan the skies for Arctic birds
ANCHORAGE - This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Sign up for gear, learn to Nordic ski with 4H club
JUNEAU - The Juneau 4H Nordic Ski Club will hold its yearly registration and equipment rental from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday at the Bill Ray Center.

Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center closed this weekend
JUNEAU - The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center will be closed temporarily this weekend.

Wild shots
Submit your wild shots

Today, Dec. 10

Snow & Grooming report
As of Dec. 9 the following trails have been groomed and/or tracked:

Eaglecrest to decide on opening today
The staff at Eaglecrest Ski Area will make a decision today regarding opening this weekend. General manager Kirk Duncan said as of Thursday, around one foot of additional snow was needed. He said there will be a meeting at 4 p.m. to make a final decision regarding the weekend.

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.

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.

Murder conviction in Anchorage freezer body case
ANCHORAGE - A man who killed his friend with a skillet, cut up the body and stored it in a freezer was convicted in Anchorage of second-degree murder and tampering with evidence.

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.

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.

Mayes picked to head senior, disabilities agency
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sean Parnell has picked a new director for the Division of Senior & Disabilities Services.

Jury deliberates on firearms case in U.S. District Court
The case of a man charged with illegally possessing a firearm is in the hands of a Juneau jury after attorneys delivered closing arguments Thursday in U.S. District Court.

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.

Today's Fairweather sailing canceled
The Alaska Marine Highway System canceled the sailing scheduled for 8 a.m. today of the ferry Fairweather, according to a press release from the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities.

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

Repairs planned for Southeast weather buoy
JUNEAU - The Coast Guard says plans are under way to repair a faulty weather buoy in Southeast Alaska.

Tax dispute near end with Alaska contractor
FAIRBANKS - A dispute over property taxes that has dragged on for two years may be settled soon between a Fort Wainwright housing contractor and the city of Fairbanks.

Anchorage Assembly approves holiday fireworks
ANCHORAGE - Anchorage residents will be able to set off fireworks this New Year's without worrying about the law.

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.

Bears, Falcons hope to impress in Wasilla
This is it for Juneau's prep wrestlers.

Falcons with a whole new look
The name on the front of the jersey stayed the same, but the Thunder Mountain boys' basketball team is full of new faces.

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.

Bears begin conference play tonight on home ice
Now is when it all starts to count for the Crimson Bears hockey team.

Parnell approves new education commissioner
Anchorage elementary school principal Michael Hanley has been named commissioner of the Department of Education and Early Development, replacing Larry LeDoux, who was ousted by Gov. Sean Parnell.

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.

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.

Murkowski, Begich split on defense vote
JUNEAU - Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has joined with Republican colleagues to block legislation that would have allowed gay troops to serve openly.

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.

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.

Pebble mine opponents object to 'legal terrorism' tag
ANCHORAGE - A group of Alaskans fighting the state over permits for the Pebble Mine wants an apology because they say the person representing mining companies accused them of "legal terrorism."

Group developing efficient homes for rural Alaska
FAIRBANKS - With high fuel prices and harsh winter climes, constructing energy-efficient housing in rural Alaska communities can be a difficult task that is compounded by the prohibitively high costs.

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