Reports from the wilderness
It sounds like the set up for a study on creativity: Take three different artists - a painter, a poet, a director. Bring them to an intense natural landscape. Leave them there for a week to ten days, letting the landscape seep into their brains and bodies. Then watch to see how the experience gets translated through their art.

'Wonderful Life' earns it's title
Many of us who love to read fear the arrival of movies based on our favorite books. The lead doesn't fit our imagined standards of height, sexiness or hair color. Music takes the place of lush descriptive details. Scenes occur in locales never mentioned in the book. It becomes really painful when new characters are thrown in, or the story is told in a different sequence than in the book.

Even Depp can't save 'Tourist'
The filmmakers behind "The Tourist" must have thought they had a gold mine on their hands. An ever-alluring genre, exotic locations, good-looking superstars dominating the screen - all that, plus an interesting enough story, seems like it should be enough to keep you entertained for less than two hours.

Local artist's work missing from studio
Four paintings by local artist Phoebe Rohrbacher were reported missing from the artist's studio, located in the Simpson building downtown, sometime last week. The alleged theft is thought to have occured between Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon. The paintings were discovered to be missing on Sunday.

JDU to sponsor musical theater dance workshop Saturday
Juneau Dance Unlimited (JDU) will sponsor a Musical Theatre Dance Workshop on Saturday, Dec. 18 at the JDU Dance Studio, 8420 Airport Blvd., Ste. 202. This workshop will be taught by Ricci Adan, a master dance teacher and director of dance machine international in New York. The session for students ages 8-12 years will be held from 2-4 p.m.; students ages 13-adult from 4-6 p.m. Some dance experience is required. The cost is $20 per person.

SHI to sponsor guitar jam, Native artist market Saturday
Sealaska Heritage Institute will sponsor a celebration of Native guitarists and art this weekend with a free jam session and art market.

2011 Katchemak Bay Writers Conference registration now open
Registration is now open for the 2011 Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference to be held June 10-14 at Lands End Resort in Homer. This year's keynote presenter will be Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove.

New nonfiction to entertain and intrigue
New nonfiction to delight, entertain and intrigue on the shelves now at the Juneau Public Libraries.

Tax deal can be better
President Barack Obama's tax deal with the Republican leadership is a sad and, I believe, unnecessary cave-in to the power of extreme wealth. We must do better, and I believe we can.

Santa uses Coast Guard sleigh Liberty for delivery to Southeast communities
HOONAH - Santa's new sleigh is 110-feet long, has room for roughly 20 elves to aid in toy delivery, doesn't need a red-nosed reindeer for navigation, and can travel in weather that would make even the most seasoned Kris Kringle shiver.

Photo: Rehearsing for tonight
Mary and Joseph view their newborn child as Theatre in the Rough puppeteers Megan Behnke, left, Aaron Elmore, Ann Gifford, and Eddie Jones, rehearse "Shepherds, Wise Men and Angels" on Wednesday at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. The Christmas story, told with puppets, runs tonight through Sunday starting at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Photo Hitchin' a ride downtown
Sarah Brooks walks her daughter, Mitike, 4, downtown Monday after a stop for some warm milk.

Photo: Bell ringer
Sally Smith, bundled up against Wednesday's cold winds, rings a bell for The Salvation Army's seasonal donation pot on Front Street. The former Juneau mayor now works for Sen. Mark Begich in Juneau.

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.

Police & Fire
Editor's note: A Juneau Police Department daily report for Monday was not available as of press time.

Hospital staff recognized for dedication
Four Bartlett Regional Hospital staff members were recognized Tuesday evening for their dedication and abilities.

Photo: Plowing a path to skate
Marc Scholten uses a all-terrain vehicle owned by John Ingalls to plow skating paths and areas for hockey Wednesday at Twin Lakes. Scholten said he spent one-and-a-half-hours clearing snow at the lake and would like a bigger blade to speed up the job. Colder temperatures through the week should make for good skating.

UAF, USDA could bring grant money to local shrimpers
A new grant program could mean some extra funds for Southeast Alaska commercial shrimp fishermen. The University of Alaska Fairbanks and U.S. Department of Agriculture are teaming up to provide grants totaling up to $12,000 though the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program.

Phillip Edward Patch
Phillip Edward Patch passed away Dec. 12, 2010. He was born in Anchorage and has been in living in Juneau since 2004 after serving 10 years in the U.S. Army. A full obituary will follow with dates for services to be held in Juneau.

Outside editorial: The myth of the Social Security trust fund
The following editorial first appeared in the Kansas City Star:

Outside editorial: Congress keeps passing the immigration buck
The following editorial first appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Fourth estate's struggles help failings of government to fly by
By rejecting every claim the state had improperly conducted the election, Superior Court Judge William Carey has drilled another nail into the coffin of Joe Miller's bid for the U.S. Senate. In some circles, liberal bloggers will be blamed, or credited, for bringing down the one-time front runner. If there's any truth to this, it's a story that begins with how the American people have contributed to the slow demise of freedom's vaunted fourth estate.

If the commercialization of Christmas draws ire, there is an alternative
The intersection of sectarian and secular is crowded with dented fenders and smashed bumpers. At no time is that more evident in the United States than the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In a nation that values free speech, individual freedom and the ability to worship the deity of one's own belief - or not - the co-opting of a religious observance into the commercial world makes for trouble.

Events of the last week give centrists a big boost
If you are a political moderate, you have to love what's gone on the last few days, including Monday in New York City. Lions and lambs aren't lying down together, but the middle ground is certainly being sought and elevated.

Politics in America: Only the rich need apply
"Swilling the planters with bumbo" was what it was once called - the Colonial American tradition of treating voters with gifts during election campaigns, particularly plying them with rum (including a concoction known as bumbo). Virtually everyone who could afford the practice did it, including George Washington, who served 160 gallons of rum to 400 voters during the 1758 campaign for the Virginia House of Burgesses. Needless to say, this was a prohibitively expensive way to campaign, and it meant that politics was largely the preserve of the rich.

Anchorage girl wards off abduction attempt
ANCHORAGE - Police say a man tried to abduct a sixth-grade student in east Anchorage in a case similar to three attempted abductions last January.

Alaska seeks extent of refinery chemical spill
FAIRBANKS - The Alaska environmental commissioner says the state could know by February the extent groundwater has been contaminated by a chemical solvent spill decades ago at a refinery in North Pole.

Environmentalists sue Alaska over mine gas permit
FAIRBANKS - An Alaska environmental group has filed a lawsuit challenging state approval for a Usibelli Coal Mine plan to look for coal bed methane near Healy.

$81 million in school bonds planned in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage School Board wants to ask voters to approve three bonds totaling $81 million for school improvements.

Calista announces special distribution
ANCHORAGE - Calista (chah-LIS'-tuh) Corp. says its board of directors has approved a special $300 distribution for elder shareholders.

Wales man becomes drunk on perfumed body spray
WALES - Alaska State Troopers say a 22-year-old man became intoxicated by consuming perfumed body spray and assaulted three other people at a home in Wales.

Pollock catch limits increase
ANCHORAGE - The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has good news for Alaska's groundfish fishery.

Anchorage man killed in snowmachine crash
ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage man killed in a snowmachine crash near Big Lake hit a metal pole on a bike path.

Fairweather sailing canceled for today
The Alaska Marine Highway System has canceled the 8 a.m. today sailing of the ferry Fairweather from Juneau to Sitka, according to a release from the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Weather forecasters are predicting winds exceeding 45 knots with seas rising to nine feet and freezing sea spray. For more information, call AMHS' reservations office at (800) 642-0066.

Tax deal approved for Alaska housing
FAIRBANKS - The Fairbanks City Council has approved a tax deal with a Fort Wainwright housing contractor to pay the city $475,000 annually for the next 50 years.

USDA names new Chugach forest supervisor
ANCHORAGE - The Department of Agriculture has announced a new forest supervisor for the 5.4-million acre Chugach National Forest.

Court rejects Sitka man's sentence appeal
SITKA - The Alaska Court of Appeals has upheld the sentencing of a 21-year-old Sitka man convicted of stabbing four people to death in 2008.

Fairbanks reverses $500 vehicle bonds increase
FAIRBANKS - The Fairbanks City Council has reversed a decision to raise vehicle bonds by $500 for drunken driving violations.

Alaska wildlife center takes orphaned bear cub
PORTAGE GLACIER - The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is assisting the state Department of Fish and Game in placing the second motherless cub in a month from Kodiak.

Planning Commission rescheduled
There will be a special planning commission meeting at noon on Monday in the Assembly Chambers to hear "SMF2010 0001: A Final Plat of Mansfield Crossing Subdivision." The applicant is Nathan Bishop and the location is River Road. Contact Community Development at 586-0715 or e-mail with any questions.

Alaska schools tighten air quality guidelines
FAIRBANKS - The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District has tightened air quality guidelines that govern when students are allowed outside for recess and other activities.

JSD Budget Committee is Thursday
The Juneau School District budget committee is seeking public input for the FY 2012 budget process. The next public meeting is 6 p.m. Thursday in room 206 at Juneau-Douglas High School. Topics for discussion are "aligning the budget with the strategic plan" and "eliciting feedback from the community."

Anchorage woman cited for feeding pigeons
ANCHORAGE - Alaska State Troopers say a 72-year-old Anchorage woman has been cited again for feeding pigeons.

Murkowski no longer raising funds for legal fight
JUNEAU - A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she's no longer actively raising money for her legal defense.

New commander named for Alaska State Troopers
ANCHORAGE - The Department of Public Safety has named Keith Mallard to command the Alaska State Troopers.

UAF to lay off most supercomputer staff
FAIRBANKS - University of Alaska Fairbanks officials say layoff notices have been given to most of the staff of the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center.

Troopers chase down fleeing driver in Soldotna
SOLDOTNA - Alaska State Troopers say they chased down a driver in Soldotna who twice refused to pull over for a traffic stop and then smashed into the bumper of a Bureau of Highway Patrol car.

Coeur calls for note redemptions
Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp. is calling for redemption of all of its outstanding 1.25 percent convertible senior notes due in 2024. A press release states there were $1.859 million worth of notes outstanding as of Dec. 1

MCA Foundation reports massive beach cleanups from 2010
The Marine Conservation Alliance Foundation reported it has cleaned more than 400,000 pounds of debris from Alaska's beaches this year. A press release states this brings the cleanup total since 2003 to more than 2 million pounds.

SEARHC strengthens health care on Prince of Wales Island
On Jan. 19, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium will dedicate a freshly renovated and expanded Hydaburg Health Center that has a staff of six employees, including two midlevel practitioners and two community health aide/practitioners, and an annual budget of $425,000.

TMHS boys, girls head out for weekend hoops tourneys
The Thunder Mountain boys' and girls' basketball teams are off to Anchorage and Petersburg, respectively, over the next few days to compete in tournaments.

Mr. Perfect -again
Things did not look promising Sunday night as the Sunday Mixed League began warm-ups and bowlers noticed the automatic oiling machine had a slight malfunction, resulting in excess oil on the lanes.

Parnell unveils $11B spending plan
Gov. Sean Parnell promised his new budget would both hold the line on state spending, and continue his confrontational stance towards the federal government.

Judge: Alaska deserves senator by Jan. 3
JUNEAU - Alaska should have a U.S. senator in place by the time Congress convenes in early January, even if all of the legal wrangling between the two rivals contesting the seat isn't resolved by then, a federal judge said Tuesday.

Tlingit tribal leader selected for White House pre-summit
The president of the Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska was one of only 12 tribal leaders invited for a personal meeting with President Barack Obama.

State sues over federal sea lion protections
ANCHORAGE - The state of Alaska filed a lawsuit Tuesday in an effort to stop a federal agency's plan to protect endangered sea lions by restricting fishing in the western Aleutian Islands.

'Our Super Bowl'

Scientists: It's not too late yet for polar bears
ANCHORAGE - Two groups of scientists are suggesting a sliver of hope for the future of polar bears in a warming world.

State receives more than $2M for mine restoration
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced Wednesday more than $395 million in grants will be available across the nation for restoration of abandoned mine lands. Alaska will receive $2,398,714 of those funds.

Juneau district attorney to take post with Legislature
Juneau District Attorney Doug Gardner will resign his position Dec. 31 to begin duties as Director of Legislative Legal Services Jan 3.

EPA: Tanana River rail bridge environmental risk
FAIRBANKS - Federal regulators say a proposed Tanana River railroad bridge is an environmental risk and that alternative sites should be considered.

USDA calls for conservation grant proposals
The United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, or NRCS is seeking proposals for grants for improvements on water quality, air quality and to promote energy conservation. The Conservation Innovation Grants, or CIG, program will make $25 million in grants available to address natural resource concerns. A statewide grant will also be made available next year.

Knik Arm Bridge project goes forward
ANCHORAGE - The proposed $700 million Knik Arm Bridge project is moving forward after clearing an important hurdle Wednesday.

Senate kicks off debate over US-Russia arms treaty
WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats secured the backing of a significant number of Republicans in a crucial test vote Wednesday on a new U.S.-Russia arms control treaty - President Barack Obama's top foreign policy priority.

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