An old story, in a new way
Puppet theater has had a very long, distinguished history in many cultures around the world - Japan, Indonesia, and India to name a few - but in modern American culture, the genre is often associated with children's entertainment (Elmo et al).

A family affair
This weekend, Opera To Go will continue its world premier of two one-act operas written by the parents of a local university professor.

Grumpsicle makes his 30th visit to town
If you live in Juneau, chances are the Grinch isn't the only holiday villain you're used to. The Grumpsicle, a fiendish interloper who tries every year to ruin Christmas, will make his 30th attempt this year, courtesy of the Janice Holst School of Dance.

Juneau-raised jazz singer releases debut CD
After hearing Jeannette D'Armand sing on "Stage Road," her newly-released debut CD, it's surprising to learn that acting, not singing, was her intended career path.

'Tis the season
A "thank you" is in order. From me to you. No, I'm not preemptively sending out "thank you" notes to anyone who might think to send a little Christmas something to me at Juneau Empire. I'm kidding there, of course, although by all means feel free to send some goodies. No, this "thank you" is for something you did not do.

Sinking a hole in one for art
Golfers of all abilities will have the chance to sink a hole in one this holiday season with the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council's second annual "Hit the JACC Putt."

Arts Digest
Holiday Jazz at the Canvas tonight

Ball chairs, wiggly kids a good fit
Students in Jane Canaday's kindergarten class bounce, wiggle and fidget all day long. But that's OK, it's all part of the plan.

After-school program to close
An after-school program put together when the Juneau Boys and Girls Club abruptly closed in September will also come to an end, families were told this week.

Around Town
Today, Dec. 17

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

AEL&P struggles to control Bart Lake Dam leaks
Leaks from Alaska Electric Light & Power's Bart Lake Dam are continuing to plague the Lake Dorothy Hydroelectric Project, utility officials say.

Photo: Almost there
Southeast Remodel employees Rich Clarke, left, and Matt Chaney set up the pews Thursday in the new sanctuary of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. The sanctuary will be used by the public for the first time Friday and Saturday evenings with the presentation of "Shepherds, Wise Men and Angels," a joint project between Theatre in the Rough and the church. The first worship services are to be held Sunday. The church is being rebuilt after a 2006 fire.

Photo: Spirit of the season
Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School art teacher Miah Lager, left, watches her student, seventh-grader Adriana Pintang, 12, hand a ceramic cup to Jeri Kissner, program director for LOVE, INC, at the ANB Hall Thursday. About a dozen nonprofit organizations received handiwork made by the students for people in need this winter. Along with cups, hats, gloves and scarves, gift stockings and money was distributed.

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials reported:

Around Town
Today, Dec. 18

Photo: Music of the Season
Floyd Dryden Middle School choir members Maxfield McVay, left, Jordan Harris, and Taylor Sutak sing during Tuesday evening's Music of the Season concert.

Warren Thomas "Tom" Bates
Juneau resident Warren Thomas "Tom" Bates died Dec. 10, 2009, in Juneau. He was 55.

James E. Douglas
Juneau resident James E. Douglas died Dec. 14, 2009, at home.

Ralph B. McLawhon
Former Sitka resident Ralph B. McLawhon died Dec. 1, 2009, in Aiken, S.C. after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 73.

Wendy Jeanne Natkong
Former Sitka and Juneau resident Wendy Jeanne Natkong died Dec. 14, 2009, in Ivanhoe, N.C., after a full and interesting life. She was 61.

Hazel Lucart
Former Juneau resident Hazel Lucart died Dec. 2, 2009, in Port Angeles, Wash. She was 82.

Frances Louise Parker
Juneau resident Frances Louise Parker died peacefully Dec. 12, 2009, while surrounded by family at the Juneau Pioneer Home. She was 93.

Marilyn Lanor Rapp
Longtime Juneau resident Marilyn Lanor Rapp died Dec. 9, 2009, in Juneau. She was 26.

Alaska editorial: Stop the pain, once and for all
There are few acts more reprehensible or cowardly than when a person kicks, hits, punches or slaps another person who can't defend him or herself. Darker still is when the violence happens within what was supposed to be a secure, respectful and loving relationship.

Pro: Prosperity lies in the huge oil and gas deposits
WASHINGTON - The United States relies on foreign oil for nearly 65 percent of the oil we use - and the level of imports is rising. Energy independence, it is not.

Outside editorial: An enemy within
The following editorial appeared in the Washington Post:

Con: Roosevelt would be shocked by the stampede to despoil the environment
WASHINGTON - It's too bad that Theodore Roosevelt is not alive today to witness the grotesque policies of the Republican Party toward the environment and the sloganeering of GOP pin-up girl Sarah Palin in howling "Drill, baby, drill!" The conservationist and environmentalist Roosevelt would be comforted that he eventually ditched the greedy and corporatist Republican Party to run for president as the candidate of the progressive Bull Moose Party.

My turn: Palin's climate change views don't match reality
Sarah Palin's special commentary in the Washington Post, reprinted in the Juneau Empire on Dec. 11, and titled "Copenhagen's political science" fell right in with the conservative push to portray global warming as a hoax perpetrated by liberals and the majority of the world's scientists.

Palin a new kind of puzzle for GOP
Sarah Palin. Need I say more? Buoyed by a ubiquitous autumn, she has cemented her status as a brand that excites and exasperates, titillates and polarizes. Sort of like Madonna.

Giving the gift of life
Most people who haven't finished (or even begun) their shopping are starting to worry about what gifts to give a friend, relative or spouse. Quick, what did you give or receive last year? How about two years ago? Most of us can't remember, unless it was a big-ticket item.

Bring the outdoors in
The roast is in, the pies are cooling and there's finally time to de-clutter, de-grease and de-grime the bathroom, living room and kitchen.

'Try Nordic' classes begin Saturday
JUNEAU - As part of the new nordic workshops being offered by the Eaglecrest Snowsports School, "Try Nordic" classes will begin at the area Saturday, Dec. 19.

Sports for Youth Foundation accepting player applications
BELLEVUE, Wash. - The Sports for Youth Foundation is currently accepting player applications from American and Canadian youth ages 15 to 20 who are accomplished high school or club volleyball players to participate in the 2010 Goodwill Ambassadors Volleyball Exchange.

Eaglecrest adds a bonus day today
JUNEAU - Eaglecrest will be open today, Dec. 18 with three of the four lifts operating. The Platter and Hooter Lifts will operate from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Ptarmigan Lift will operate from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Kids archery shoot happening today
JUNEAU - The Juneau Archery Club has organized a night archery shoot for local youth at the Juneau Hunter Education Shooting Complex/Juneau Archery Indoor Range tonight from 6 to 9 p.m.

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

Denali National Park open to snowmachines
DENALI NATIONAL PARK - The area of Denali State Park in now open to the use of snowmachines.

Draft management plan up for public review in Sitka area
SITKA - The first draft of the Fort Rousseau Causeway State Historical Park (SHP) Management Plan, compiled by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, is now ready for public review.

Take a break to see more wildlife
It was blustery day on North Douglas. The wind moaned as it tossed the branches of the trees. Down on the ground, sheltered by the tree trunks, the air was almost still. Although the wind masked some of the noise, even walking on moss crackled with hidden twigs.

SAD? Winter joy all a matter of how you look at it
The extended week of Dec. 4 to Dec. 12 was perhaps one of the sunniest I have ever experienced in Juneau.

Running with my 'dawgs'
One of my runner friends is sick. After pushing me up Perseverance Trail and back along the Flume Trail on a 4-mile trek, then out-sprinting me along a half-mile of traffic-congested streets, he went home, licked the spaces between his toes and fell ill. Some of my runner friends do that ... lick between their toes. But they're dogs. And dogs do that.

On the hook
Show us your big fish

Photo: First chair
Local skiers react as they ride the Black Bear lift at Eaglecrest Ski Area for the first time.

Nordic Grooming report
As of Dec. 17 the following nordic trails are groomed and tracked for both skate and classic skiing:

AT&T cell phone service interrupted
JUNEAU - An interruption of AT&T voice and SMS service occured Wednesday in Alaska and Hawaii.

Assembly drops bar 'safety hour' proposal
ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage Assembly has dropped a proposal to extend bar closing times by one hour.

Sebelius announces Alaska bonus
ANCHORAGE - Alaska is among nine states being rewarded by the federal government for enrolling more uninsured children in Medicaid.

Bill on Arctic gets committee approval
ANCHORAGE - A bill sponsored by Alaska Sen. Mark Begich to improve scientific research in the Arctic is advancing in the U.S. Senate.

Group of 14 airlines signs preliminary biofuel deal
SEATTLE - Moving to cut dependence on petroleum for jet fuel, 14 airlines, including Alaska, have signed an agreement for the potential purchase of plant-based fuel from a Seattle company that plans to build a production facility in Anacortes, Wash.

Frontier to start Denver-to-Fairbanks air service
FAIRBANKS - Denver-based Frontier Airlines announced Thursday it is starting seasonal summer service to Fairbanks International Airport.

Young girl hurt in snowmachine crash
BIG LAKE - Alaska State Troopers say an 8-year-old girl had to be flown to the hospital after two snowmachines crashed almost head-on at Big Lake.

Salcha man's death may be homicide
FAIRBANKS - A Salcha man found dead in his cabin earlier this month may have been killed.

Sitka woman loses $3,000 in wire scam
SITKA - Sitka police say a local woman lost more than $3,000 in a scam.

Oregon auto company buys dealership
FAIRBANKS - The Kendall Automotive Group of Eugene, Ore., has purchased the Auto Service Company in Fairbanks.

Richardson Highway closed at pass
VALDEZ - The state Transportation Department has closed the Richardson Highway at Thompson Pass near Valdez due to high avalanche danger, heavy snowfall and blowing and drifting snow.

Assembly overrides mayor's library veto
ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage Assembly voted to override one of Mayor Dan Sullivan's vetoes to the city budget.

Chorus frogs invade Christmas trees
JUNEAU - Reports of Pacific Chorus frogs being found in holiday trees purchased in the Anchorage area surfaced over the last two weeks, the state Department of Fish and Game reports.

Battle-tested Bears
When it comes to experience, balance, size, defensive prowess, speed and quickness, few teams will be able match the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears girls' basketball team this season.

Photo: Bears top Houston
Juneau-Douglas picked up it's second win of the season Wednesday, 4-1, over Houston after rebounding from a 2-1 loss the night before. Chris Budbill, Bill Holbrook, Zane Chapman and Eric Verrelli each scored. Matt Noreen had 26 saves on the night. The Bears (2-8, 2-4) host Tok in a Friday-Saturday doubleheader this weekend.

Charity basketball tournament begins today at Floyd Dryden
Hoops for Charity will be holding a basketball tournament featuring 16 teams in Juneau beginning today at Floyd Dryden Middle School and ending at Thunder Mountain High School on Sunday

Falcons dominate defending 1A state champs Kalskag, 70-13
The Thunder Mountain Falcons continued their early-season surge in teh Powerade/Al Howard Tip-Off Tournament on Thursday, crushing Kalskag 70-13 in the opening round behind 19 points from Reese Saviers.

Pipeline chief urges decision
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Sean Parnell's in-state gas pipeline chief said the tug-of-war among various gas line and hydropower proposals caused him much frustration but didn't prompt him to quit.

Sitka herring fishery ups the ante for 2010
One thing fishermen love almost as much as a high market price for fish is having more fish to catch.

State official speaks at climate talks
Alaska is on the front line of global climate change with melting glaciers and softening permafrost, an Alaska official told delegates during the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Copenhagen.

State seeks PR firm to fight endangered listings
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Legislature is seeking a public relations firm to help the state persuade Congress to limit the Endangered Species Act.

Two-legged dog gives hope to disabled Army veterans
LOS ANGELES - For several years, Jude Stringfellow and her Lab-chow mix have toured the country with a simple message: Faith walks.

Spend more to attract other doctors, says Alaska commission
ANCHORAGE - A state commission concluded Alaska needs to invest more money to train new doctors and lure other doctors to the state to ease a shortage of primary care physicians.

Yukon Quest field still looks strong
FAIRBANKS - With three former champions, three runners-up and several other compelling entrants, the 2010 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race field is the strongest in recent memory - and perhaps ever.

Mountains drew hotel shooting victim to Alaska
ANCHORAGE - Sang In Chun was used to getting up in the early morning hours, well before anyone else, and passing the time before the first service at his Korean church by walking from his Government Hill home to downtown to wait for a bus at the transit center.

Villages upset by Pebble opposition
ANCHORAGE - Two Bristol Bay village corporations are angered by their regional Native corporation's vote to oppose the proposed Pebble copper and gold mine.

Natural gas plant fire destroys building
ANCHORAGE - Two large explosions and a fire leveled a maintenance building Thursday morning adjacent to a natural gas plant north of Anchorage.

Forest Service rewriting Bush-era logging rule
GRANTS PASS, Ore. - After striking out the last three times, the U.S. Forest Service is embarking on another rewrite of the basic planning rule that balances logging against fish and wildlife and clean water in national forests.

Wildlife group says oil, gas drilling endangers polar bears
WASHINGTON - To better safeguard threatened polar bears, the federal government should expand the size of its proposed critical habitat area in Alaska and curb oil and gas development there, the National Wildlife Federation said Wednesday.

Biden unveils federal broadband stimulus projects
DAWSONVILLE, Ga. - Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday announced the first $182 million in federal stimulus money for 18 projects to expand high-speed Internet networks in rural areas and other underserved communities.

State coal exports up in 2009
FAIRBANKS - Alaska's coal exports have increased following a two-year slump, and the state's sole producer is optimistic they will remain strong despite international efforts to regulate fossil fuel use.

Coast Guard senior commander on trial for sexual improprieties
FORT RICHARDSON - A young Coast Guard petty officer was the second lover to take the stand in the military hearing on the conduct of a senior commander who is accused of sexual improprieties including 31 violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

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