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Friday, December 11, 2009

Becoming 'The Nutcracker'
The queen of the snow, a tasty chocolate from Spain, a sweet plum fairy, and a giant mouse; what could they possibly have in common? They are a tiny portion of the characters that Juneau Dance Unlimited will bring to life in "The Nutcracker."

Felted ornament workshop Saturday
A felted ornament workshop, led by fiber artist Sara Lee, will be held at the Juneau Douglas City Museum on Saturday. Lee, whose solo show "Heartfelt History" is on display at the museum this month along with "Lines of Design" by bead artist Salty Hanes, will lead two separate sessions: the first from 1-2 p.m. and the second from 2-3 p.m.

'Damned United' a compelling film
Having the skill to bring authentic stories to forceful and persuasive dramatic life is a gift not all writers have, but no one has it more than Britain's Peter Morgan. Best known for having written "The Queen" and "Frost/Nixon," Morgan does it again in his potent script for "The Damned United."

"Dracula" visits the Phoenix Stage
Perseverance Theatre's Young Company will present "Dracula," in four shows this weekend, beginning tonight on the Phoenix Stage. Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 10-12, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13.

Winter ball held this weekend, dance tonight
The annual Winter Ball, featuring musical guests the Thunder Mountain Big Band, will be held from 8-11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12 at Centennial Hall. The ball is sponsored by the Juneau International Folkdancers.

Holiday Pops Concert held this weekend
Juneau Lyric Opera will present their annual Holiday Pops Concert this weekend, featuring a community chorus under the direction of Sally Smith.

Local filmmakers selected for Film Fest
Two local filmmakers will visit Anchorage as part of the ninth annual Anchorage International Film Festival, which began Dec. 4 and runs through Dec. 19.

Who's minding the mice?
The mice are loose.

A look back at 2009 releases
Our fair state was well-represented in print in 2009.

Alexie's latest collection will please fans, may shock newcomers
In "War Dances," literary virtuoso Sherman Alexie returns to adult fiction following his National Book Award-winning young-adult novel, "The Completely True Diary of a Part-time Indian." Alexie's narratives draw strength from encounters that force us to confront our own discomfort with issues of race, sexuality and love.

Top-notch cast drives 'Brothers'
It is generally a good idea to avoid melodramas. At work, they're uncomfortable whether you're directly involved or not. In relationships with the opposite sex (believe me, I could tell some stories), they're deal-breakers. Every so often, though, melodramas can make for some excellent entertainment. A good chunk of my motivation to feign illness in middle school was the thought of catching up on "All My Children" and "General Hospital"; stop laughing, I quit the daytime stories cold turkey years ago.

Opera To Go presents world premieres
Opera To Go will present a pair of world premiere one-act operas with four performances over the next two weekends. "The Last Leaf" and "The Gift of the Magi" by Michael Chordas will be performed at 8 p.m. on Dec. 12, 18 and 19 and at 3 p.m. on Dec. 20 at the Thunder Mountain High School Auditorium.

New nonfiction for young readers
Nonfiction for young readers is shelved with the non-fiction for adults, making it easy to supplement books that have just the right text with books with even more illustrations.

Juneau needs to grow to thrive
Juneau is by far one of the most beautiful areas I have lived in. During what seems like a long 23 years, I have had the privilege of living around the world in areas such as Indonesia and across the United States. I even called Iraq home for a year while I was deployed with the U.S. Army.

Education is the core of democracy
Education. That's what everything boils down to for any civil and social construction. A substantive, unbiased exchange of information that increases awareness would not enable self-serving profit-maximizers to delude the majority into voting against health care for all, when we need curtail the spread of pandemics such as AIDS and swine flu. An unbiased, non-specifically sequenced liberal education (as of that at the elementary, primary and secondary "brain partitioning" years) is essential for a democratic republic to function properly.

JPD becomes first police agency in state to receive accreditation
Juneau Police Chief Greg Browning likes telling anyone who will listen about how good the Juneau Police Department is - and now he has the tangible proof to back up his assertions.

Soboleff honors THMS student
Thunder Mountain High School sophomore Tyler Meyer volunteers before school, during school and after school. He helps the nurse, he takes out the trash for the custodians and he wipes down tables during lunch. When school officials offered to pay him, he turned them down. In addition, he's "a model student" who "always has a smile on his face and presents a helpful attitude."

Around Town
Today, Dec. 10

Around Town
Today, Dec. 11

Correction
An A3 story in Wednesday's Empire reported the acronym of the school district's interim tests, or MAP tests, stands for Measure of Academic Performance. MAP actually stands for Measure of Academic Progress.

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

AGIA critics may pick up fight
Alaska's effort to build a natural gas pipeline under 2007's Alaska Gasline Inducement Act is either finally making progress after years of delay, or a costly disaster which will cause further holdups, depending upon the commentator.

Carnival pulls two ships from 2011 schedule
Two cruise lines owned by industry giant Carnival Corp. announced ship redeployments Wednesday that will result in two fewer ships visiting Southeast Alaska in 2011.

School District outlines new set of goals
The Juneau School District is developing a plan it hopes will raise standards, achievement and accountability for students, teachers and staff.

Industry group aims to stem cruise outflow
Sitka businessman John Litten said something has to be done about the loss of cruise business in Alaska.

Harbor dredging project open for public review
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is taking comments on a city project to dredge Douglas Harbor as part of an overall refurbishment plan at the aging facility.

Persily nominated as pipeline coordinator
Legislative aide and former journalist Larry Persily has been named federal pipeline coordinator by the Obama administration, a position designed to help bring Alaska's natural gas to North American markets.

Bartlett hopeful about health care reform
Juneau's Bartlett Regional Hospital and a handful of other rural hospitals around the nation are hoping to continue to participate in a demonstration project that provides extra Medicare money to rural hospitals.

Photo: Singing, not ringing
Jaskson Lee West prefers his guitar and blues music to the tone of The Salvation Army bell as he plays for donations Thursday at Fred Meyer.

Photo: Jelly drive
University of Alaska Southeast student assistants Megan Johnson, left, and David Moriarty show off some of the collections from the university's Peanut Butter & Jelly Drive, held to benefit the Food Bank of Alaska.

Herman Meiners Sr.
Longtime Juneau resident Herman McDonnell Meiners Sr. died Dec. 9, 2009, in Juneau. He was 83.

Donald Williams Sr.
Longtime Juneau resident Donald Richard Williams Sr., Tlingit name Thla-usk, from the Raven Dog Salmon clan, died Nov. 19, 2009, after a short battle with cancer. He was 70.

Patricia A. Gehring
Juneau resident Patricia A. Gehring died unexpectedly Dec. 2, 2009, in her home. She was 38.

Congress should raise debt ceiling
The following editorial first appeared in the Dallas Morning News:

My turn: What do we need to do to create more Alaska jobs?
The mission of the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce is to promote a positive business environment in Alaska. It is something our members believe in passionately. Why? Two thirds of the jobs held by Alaskans are generated by the private sector. Without a healthy business environment, those jobs, and the quality of life we enjoy as Alaskans, will erode.

Alaska editorials: Solving the beluga mystery
The following editorial appeared in the Anchorage Daily News:

My turn: Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share measure is successful
Two years have passed since the Alaska Legislature enacted Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share, a new oil valuation measure. Today the benefits of this legislation are apparent. This article will look at the impact ACES has had on revenue, on jobs, and on oil production, exploration and development.

Copenhagen's political science
With the publication of damaging e-mails from a climate research center in Britain, the radical environmental movement appears to face a tipping point. The revelation of appalling actions by so-called climate change experts allows the American public to finally understand the concerns so many of us have articulated on this issue.

Real test is yet to come for Palin
At midday Friday, Sarah Palin's book-signing road show rolled into Plano, Texas, attracting yet another of the enthusiastic crowds that have greeted her throughout America's heartland. Many waited hours to meet the former Alaska governor and get her imprimatur on their copy of "Going Rogue: An American Life."

Celebrity gossip is just so much juicier when you hear it firsthand
"The last time I talked to Tiger Woods, we stood in the middle of a country club parking lot talking about golf." - Bryan Burwell, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Dec. 1, 2009

Where sleeping bears lie
Hidden throughout the Juneau area, hundreds of black bears sleep in their winter dens. Some of these dens are high above town, others are hidden in the forests amid the neighborhoods of the Mendenhall Valley.

Local Audubon club Christmas Bird Count begins in December
JUNEAU - The Juneau Audubon Society will host this year's Juneau Christmas Bird Count Dec. 19.

'Around the world' miniature golf begins at JACC
JUNEAU - Local artists have teamed up again this year to offer a miniature golf course at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center full of unique art beginning on Dec. 19 at noon.

Two competitive shoots happening for local shooters
JUNEAU - Two events are scheduled this weekend for those interested in testing their aim.

Agencies conducting avalanche training Saturday, Sunday
HATCHER PASS, Alaska - The Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, along with multiple search and rescue organizations, will conduct a large avalanche training exercise in the Hatcher Pass area, this coming weekend, Dec. 12 and 13. The Alaska State Troopers will also be participating in the exercise by assisting with logistical support and resources.

Grants available for historic building preservation and development
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Office of History and Archaeology is accepting applications for 2010 historic preservation development and predevelopment grants to help preserve Alaska's endangered historic buildings and structures.

Making memories hunting for holiday greenery
Harvesting a tree for the holidays might just be one of the most recognized and practiced traditions around. It's one that ushers forth memories of family outings into the woods, often in the snow and cold, to hunt down a little piece of perfection.

Audubon society hosting Tracks and Signs Saturday Wild
Kevin O'Malley describes nature tracking as the place where storytelling and science come together. It encompasses mammalogy, mathematics and the "super-complexities" of signs left behind.

4-H skiers getting geared up Saturday
This year's 4-H nordic ski season will kick off with the annual sign-up and equipment rental day happening Saturday, Dec. 12 from 2-4 p.m. in room 110 at the Bill Ray Center downtown.

Plant resins: Sticky stuff exuded for security
Did you ever lean back against a nice big spruce tree to enjoy a view as you relaxed with a sandwich and a cup of something tasty and warm? If you did, you may have found later that your jacket had acquired some sticky spots of resin from the tree. (I've noticed that this happens more frequently with new jackets than with old scruffy ones ...)

On the hook
Show us your big fish

Snow report
Conditions as of Dec. 10

Out & About
Today, Dec. 11

Deadline approaching for state draw hunts
JUNEAU - Application deadlines have changed for hunters wishing to participate in any draw hunt, including Tier I or Tier II hunts occurring between now and spring 2011.

Trail Mix to hold annual meeting, board election
JUNEAU - Trail Mix Inc. will hold its annual business meeting on Friday, Dec. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

SBA appoints Goings as NW administrator
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Small Business Administration on Thursday announced the appointment of Calvin Goings, as the regional administrator in Region X, to oversee the SBA's programs and services in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.

Member of Anchorage drug ring sentenced
ANCHORAGE - A 28-year-old Anchorage man has been sentenced to more than 23 years in federal prison for his role in large drug ring.

Juneau Coast Guard Chiefs to host annual senior dinner
JUNEAU - Juneau Coast Guard Chiefs and members of the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer's Association Juneau Chapter are holding the 36th annual Senior Citizen's Holiday Dinner at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall Sunday beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Alaska gas prices are highest in nation
HONOLULU - The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report finds Hawaii with the second highest gasoline prices in the country.

Mining company to pay $1.8 billion to clean up toxic sites
SEATTLE - Mining giant Asarco has agreed to pay $1.8 billion to clean up more than 80 toxic sites in 19 states as part of the largest environmental bankruptcy settlement in U.S. history.

Palin to sign books at Alaska Air Force base
ANCHORAGE - Former Gov. Sarah Palin is returning to Alaska for a book signing.

Bering Straits names Schubert new CEO
ANCHORAGE - Bering Straits Native Corp. has named Gail Schubert its chief executive, succeeding Tim Towarak, who has led the company since 2000.

Alaska man saves dog from burning house
ANCHORAGE - An Alaska man on his way home from church rescued a dog from a burning house after checking to see if anybody was inside.

Territorial Guard may get pension checks
ANCHORAGE - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says Alaska Territorial Guard members whose military pensions were reduced by a Pentagon policy change in January should see full payments resume by year's end.

Juneau's cold, clear weather generates 'air emergency'
JUNEAU - Cold, clear weather brought air emergencies and subsequent wood stove burning bans to the Mendenhall Valley earlier this week.

Governor's open house sets new attendance record
JUNEAU - The 2009 holiday open house at the Governor's Mansion had a record turnout Tuesday night with an attendance of 4,114 people, according to the Gov. Sean Parnell's office.

Coast Guard plucks man off ship for aid
KODIAK - A Coast Guard helicopter crew has plucked a 61-year-old man from a ship 150 miles southeast of Kodiak Island and flown him to Kodiak for emergency medical care.

Indian association to hold tribal elections
JUNEAU - The Douglas Indian Association recently opened nominations for the election of five Douglas Indian Association Tribal Council members for terms starting in January 2010.

Jury deliberates in Seattle shooting
SEATTLE - The second trial of a man who stormed into a Jewish center in Seattle three years ago and shot six women, killing one, is in the hands of a jury.

Seventh person pleads guilty in Alaska mail thefts
FAIRBANKS - A seventh person has pleaded guilty to a role in a mail theft ring that stole checks and credit cards last year from neighborhoods outside of Fairbanks.

Falcons hit the hardwood
Thunder Mountain is once again preparing for a season opener in what has been a season of firsts for the new Falcons athletics program.

Full speed ahead
The Falcons boys' basketball team is out to prove that not all first-year programs should be taken lightly, and they'll have their first chance tonight at Thunder Mountain High School against Petersburg in a girls'-boys' prep hoops doubleheader to kick off the season.

Photo: Fastbreak fury
Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School's John Smith goes for a lay-up around Ketchikan's Deau Albertson in a Boys' A division game at Floyd Dryden Middle School during the Fastbreak Middle School Basketball Tournament. The finals are Saturday at Dzantik'i Heeni.

Cordero, Swanson set to take mat at state for Crimson Bears
Juneau-Douglas is sending two senior grapplers to this weekend's 4A state wrestling championships at Chugiak High School. Both are first timers in Alaska's biggest meet of the year.

This squad is the 'Bomb'
Cross country runner Andre Bunton was looking at a lot of "HOR$E POWER" in the semifinals of the annual Juneau-Douglas High School lunchtime intramural dodgeball tournament Thursday.

Sports in Juneau
CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Justices skeptical of law dealing in 'honest services'
WASHINGTON - A federal law that makes it a crime to deprive the public or one's employer of "honest services" is a favorite of prosecutors on the hunt for corrupt politicians and self-dealing corporate honchos.

Despite recession, Alaska's airport business picking up
State airport officials are cautiously optimistic that international air cargo traffic through the Anchorage and Fairbanks international airports is on an uptick after being slammed by economic recession.

Oil future stable, state official says
A combination of rising oil prices and tapering declines in production has given Alaska a projected 50 percent increase in unrestricted revenues from what it was expecting just six months ago.

Thieves take police car on wild drive in Bethel
ANCHORAGE - Talk about a wild drive: barreling a stolen police car along a frozen river in western Alaska, while firing rounds from an officer's semi-automatic rifle.

Fencer passes on skills to Anchorage students
ANCHORAGE - As the young Wayne Johnson, it was hard to feel all that significant in the world.

BLM mulls 100-mile race in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS - The organizer of a proposed 100-mile combined ski, bicycle and foot race in the White Mountains National Recreation Area has already gotten more than 50 people to sign up.

Giant North Slope oil spill likely caused by ice buildup
ANCHORAGE - Officials believe that ice plugged up a pipeline and likely caused a rupture that sent 46,000 gallons of crude oil and water gushing onto snow-covered tundra on Alaska's North Slope late last month.

Draft plan suggests merging utilities
FAIRBANKS - A draft plan on statewide electrical generation in Alaska suggests savings by consolidating six electrical utilities in Fairbanks and the Southcentral region.

Gov. Parnell considers oil tax tweak
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sean Parnell is reviewing state oil tax laws implemented under Sarah Palin's administration.

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