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.

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.

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.

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.

Talk about Gastineau School heat pump
If Gov. Sean Parnell is truly committed to the priority of "resources, energy, and the environment," he should fully fund the Alaska Energy Authority's recommended Renewable Energy Fund (ReFund) projects and put the Gastineau Elementary School ground source heat pump back on the table.

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.

Egan and Muñoz offer Juneau Chamber a legislature preview
Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, and Rep. Cathy Muñoz, R-Juneau, gave the Juneau Chamber of Commerce a taste of what's on the way for next month's legislature.

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.

Coeur to pay penalty for unpermitted discharges
Coeur Alaska will pay a $170,000 penalty to the Environmental Protection Agency to resolve Clean Water Act violations over unpermitted discharges at the Kensington Mine.

JSD budget committee focuses on Strategic Plan
The Juneau School District's budget committee will focus on preserving the strategic plan and strengthening core education - especially in kindergarten through third grade - when determining how to address a $4 million to $6 million budget deficit.

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
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.

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.

Photo: Making tracks
Carol Prentice and Robin Walz ski with their dog, Jewel, on the freshly groomed trail at the Mendenhall Lake campground Thursday. Trails at the campground and out onto Mendenhall Lake are groomed by members of the Juneau Nordic Ski Club.

A story on page A1 of Thursday's Empire titled "Parnell unveils $11B spending plan" referred to Rep. Beth Kerttula's supporting his strategy. That comment was in reference to the governor's attempt to have the federal government pick up more of next year's Medicaid cost increase.

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.

Let's keep teen drivers safe this holiday season
This holiday season, parents must be especially vigilant to keep their teens safe on the road.

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

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.

Outside editorial: End 'don't ask' before courts make the change
The following editorial first appeared in the Chicago Tribune:

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.

EPA's costly rules will cost jobs and setback nation's economic recovery
Our nation is in a high stakes race with China to develop clean energy technologies but we are falling behind. It may be hard to remember now, but we surprised the world years ago by overtaking Russia in the space race, and we can surpass China now if we make some small but important changes in government energy policy.

EPA's new rules to combat climate change is needed because Congress failed
Unless and until Congress crafts legislation setting out a sound national policy to address our energy future as well as global climate change, it should not bar the Environmental Protection Agency from using its existing authority to require large new sources of greenhouse gases to install the best available control technology at the time they are constructed.

Eaglecrest set to open on Saturday
Two weeks after the scheduled opening date, Eaglecrest Ski Area will open at 9 a.m. on Saturday, according to General Manager Kirk Duncan.

Dropping Fish Creek falls
It's one thing to enjoy a leisurely sea kayaking experience in Southeast Alaska, but it's another thing entirely to stare down the barrel of a 20-foot drop on upper Fish Creek in an 8-foot kayak.

Frozen wilderness an aesthetic delight
November brought us some good cold weather, which froze the mudholes in the trails very nicely. So tromping out toward the Eagle Glacier cabin was much easier than it would have been before the hard freeze. Not that there are many mudholes left! Bridges have been replaced or repaired in several spots (though some still need work) and the formerly treacherous stairway is now in good shape. A few places remain that will be ugly when they thaw, however.

Hilary Lindh Scholarship Winners named
JUNEAU - The Eaglecrest Board of Directors is proud to announce the winners of the Hilary Lindh Scholarships. This year's recipients of the Hilary Lindh Season Pass Scholarship are Asianna Mazon, Riley Sikes, Shelby Jeffries and Christopher Coulson.

Local Christmas Bird Count a holiday tradition
Whether it's by snow machine, by boat, on skis, by car, on foot, or simply in a chair monitoring a bird feeder, for the next few weeks Alaskans across the state will celebrate the season by participating in Audubon's annual Christmas Bird Count. Volunteers will put their binoculars to work in approximately 37 counts in Alaska.

Recent resuce @ the Juneau Raptor Center: 'Archie'
Type of bird: Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica).

Wild shots
Submit your wild shots

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.

Man threatens "suicide by cop"
ANCHORAGE - Two state troopers were called to a Wasilla home where troopers say a man was threatening to commit "suicide by cop."

Fairweather cancels Friday sailing
The Alaska Marine Highway System has canceled the roundtrip sailing scheduled for 8 a.m. today between Juneau, Haines and Skagway aboard the fast vehicle ferry Fairweather, according to a release from the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

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.

Matanuska winds knock our power to hundreds
ANCHORAGE - The Matanuska Electric Association says the Red Cross opened warming shelters Wednesday night at the Palmer Senior Center and Wasilla Sports Complex for residents still without power after a windstorm.

Judge won't return to bench
ANCHORAGE - A judge voted off the bench last month won't be allowed to seek judicial office again in Alaska.

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.

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.

$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.

NASA says solar sail may have failed
KODIAK - An experiment on board the rocket sent into space from Kodiak last month is not responding to signals.

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.

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.

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

AWOL sailor found living in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS - A passport application investigation has led to the arrest of an AWOL sailor running from a Navy investigation.

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.

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.

Alaska militia leader tries to serve judge
FAIRBANKS - An Alaska judge has rejected attempts by a militia leader to serve paperwork alleging the state courts lack jurisdiction and claiming that amounts to criminal activity.

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.

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

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.

Crimson in the crosshairs
There's bad news for girls' high school basketball teams around the state of Alaska: The state champion Crimson Bears might be even better this year.

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.

TMHS girls rally for first win in school history
Good things come to those who wait - and to those who work hard to get better.

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.

College Watch
• Former SE Conf. preps playing college basketball

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.

Small unemployment increases for Alaska
Unemployment rates for both Juneau and Alaska inched up in November, but Juneau's rate moved only slightly and remained among the best in the state.

Woman will be retried for conspiracy in mom's death
KETCHIKAN - A woman accused of conspiring to kill her mother outside the southeast Alaska community of Craig six years ago will be retried in January.

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.

C of E to review Conoco proposal
ANCHORAGE - The Corps of Engineers district office in Anchorage is reviewing whether a buried pipeline is a feasible alternative to a proposed bridge across the Colville River.

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.

Police: Attempted abduction mirrors past cases
ANCHORAGE - An attempted abduction of a schoolgirl in Anchorage this week follows a similar pattern reported in January by three other children in Alaska's largest city, according to police and school district officials.

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.

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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