One book critic's list of the year's most pleasant surprises
2007 saw some terrific new fiction by old pros (Paul Theroux, Mario Vargas Llosa) and newer pros (Andrea Levy, Arthur Phillips), along with powerful memoirs by Tom Bissell, Edwidge Danticat and Gunter Grass.

A buffet of books to get you through the winter
This week's book buffet is food-related - several kitchen-help books and a bunch of new cookbooks have found their way onto the shelves at the Juneau Public Libraries (and hopefully, soon into your kitchen).

SEACC should be more even-handed
David Fremming's letter to the editor about Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (Dec. 16) was right on. Here is an organization that expounds on protecting the environment and yet seems only to go after big ticket issues like mining, logging and road building.

Shocked over Cascade Point talks
Along with the rest of the community, I was shocked to learn about the city-facilitated negotiations that secretly took away Goldbelt's property rights at Cascade Point.

Mayor, SEACC need to explain themselves
No matter how much the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council and the mayor rationalize what was said and done in the secret negotiations for Cascade Point, no Native was present when they were making decisions for Native lands.

Families will suffer if Kensington closes
I have to agree with Marc Ormsby (Dec.18). I have lived in Alaska only 5 short months and already I have come to learn that Southeast Alaska Conservation Council controls my future. In all fact and actuality, SEACC will be in control of many families' futures if left unchecked.

Rule change could cost Juneau $68 million
The city weighed in Wednesday on a proposed change in the interpretation of a maritime law that could cost the Juneau economy an estimated $186 million and drop sales tax revenues by $3.4 million annually.

Around Town

Photo: Laying tracks
John Kern skis Wednesday morning across frozen Mendenhall Lake. Many cross-country skiers were in the area to take advantage of sunny skies and fresh snow. The weather forecast calls for one more day of mostly clear skies before more snow falls Friday.

Photo: Free wheeling
Alex Galvan pushes his sister, Destiny, in a motorized mini-Hummer on Thursday in the Sandy Beach parking lot. Alex Galvan is on leave from the National Guard in Washington and is visiting his family in Juneau.

Photo: Christmas rush
Josephine Rhyner stands patiently with a couple of packages in line Thursday at the downtown post office in the Federal Building. Rhyner is shipping out gifts for her family in Washington.

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials and state police reported

Police & Fire
Juneau police and fire officials and state police reported

Around Town

Teen violinist shares gift of music with seniors
Presents come in all shapes and sizes during the holiday season, and for the last several years, 16-year-old violinist Franz Felkl has been giving the gift of music to the elderly.

Photo: Leader of the pack
Liz Snyder has her hands full walking dogs for the Gastineau Humane Society on Thursday along Glacier Highway.

Speed limit exemption for winged ships
Winged ships are one step closer to serving Juneau travelers after the Juneau Assembly this week adopted an amendment to add "wing in ground effect" sea craft to a list of vehicles exempt from the 5-knot speed limit in Gastineau Channel.

A Juneau Empire story on A-1 Thursday included the wrong estimate for the potential cost to Juneau of a proposed change in the interpretation of maritime law that affects the cruise industry.

Photo: That's a wrap
Marilyn Clark, front, of the Juneau Retired Teachers Association, and Larry Bussone of the Southeast Senior Services wrap gifts Wednesday at the Nugget Mall as part of the the Juneau Nutrition Program holiday wrapping fundraiser.

Pets of the week
You can visit these wonderful pets during visiting hours from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday or 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Gastineau Humane Society.

A Russian birthday celebration for Santa Claus
When was Santa Claus born? A question few if any Americans can answer.

Photo: Spreading Christmas cheer
Legislative staff members for the "Bush Caucus" are, from left, Kaci Schroeder-Hotch, from Rep. Thomas's office; event organizer Pat Walker, from Sen. Lyman Hoffman's office; and Nancy Barnes and Kimberly Clark, from Sen. Albert Kookesh's office.

Neighbors Digest


Student artist in the spotlight: Ric Sagrado and Jasmyne Quitoriano
Student Artist in the Spotlight is a weekly feature on the Neighbors page and is in collaboration with the Juneau School District Elementary Art Program.

Neighbors mailbox
Thanks from swim and dive team; Thanks to Juneau Pioneer Home; Thanks for support for kids' holiday party; Thanks, youth indoor soccer coaches

DeWitt, Lakip wed
Mica Jean Lakip, of Juneau, and John Joseph DeWitt, of Albuquerque, N.M., were married in a private candlelit ceremony on Nov. 2, 2007, at Pearson's Pond. They will have a renewal ceremony for all their friends and family on their one-year anniversary in Luz, Portugal.

Tips for fighting flu season
The season for sickness is upon us. Runny noses, coughs, sore throats, fevers, vomiting and chills are all sypmtoms on this winter's interinary - unless you know how to prevent them.

Creating art from junk
Random items were turned into small works of art during the Family Junk Day on Dec. 16 at The Canvas Community Art Studio. Approximately 20 kids enjoyed an afternoon of entertaining activites with the help of several adult voluneers, using their creativity to create mosaics, collages, gingerbread houses and painted balls.

Andrees celebrate 40 years
Bob and Judy Andree celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary Tuesday in Juneau.

Jerry Jones
Juneau resident Jerry Jones died Dec. 18, 2007, in Juneau. He was 61.

Merton Fleming
Former Juneau resident Merton Fleming died after a brief illness in Los Angeles Cedars of Sinai Hospital on Dec. 15, 2007.

Darlene Inez Wilson
Former Juneau resident Darlene Inez Wilson died Dec. 14, 2007, in Clearwater, Fla. She was 77.

Charlie 'Chuck' Daniel Hansen
Longtime Juneau resident Charlie "Chuck" Daniel Hansen, 65, died Dec. 16, 2007, in Seattle, due to complications from cancer.

Edward P. Madsen
Juneau pioneer Edward P. Madsen, 97, died Nov. 25, 2007 at Wildflower Court.

Jesse Harvey Jones
Longtime Juneau resident Jesse Harvey Jones died Nov. 7, 2007, in Juneau, due to complications from a perforated colon and the resulting massive septicemia. He was 84.

My Turn: Halibut conservation should be spread across the range
Twenty-seven percent slashed off my area 2-C Halibut quota is more than a bitter pill to swallow for my small long-lining operation. On top of the 20 percent slashed last year, my quota has basically been cut in half in two years.

My Turn: We're the brightest house on the block
Watching last night's news, I learned there's a woman in Dallas, Texas, who used more than 100,000 holiday lights to decorate her house. She calls it Lizzy Land. She chuckled as the camera guy filmed her electric meter spinning faster than Michelle Kwan on a caffeine overdose.

My Turn: Clean elections drive big money out of state politics
The store clerk was folding our newspaper into the grocery bag alongside our eggs and yogurt when the blaring front-page headline caught his eye: "Kott Gets Six Years."

My Turn: From a 'sucked orange' to ripe for the picking
The State Department has long played a big role in Alaska's history, starting with Secretary of State William Seward's much criticized negotiation of the territory's purchase from Russia in 1867.

Outside editorial: It's irresponsible for the U.S. to dodge the fight on global warming
Knowing the war's outcome lay in doubt, fearing his countrymen might make too much of an early victory, Winston Churchill offered his cautionary take on the battle of El Alamein: This "is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Outside editorial: Democratic promises meet legislative reality
For congressional Democrats, the first session of the 110th Congress offered a sobering lesson in the practical limits of majority control. Democrats delivered part of what they had promised to the voters who returned them to power last November and recorded some significant achievements.

My Turn: All students can participate in all sports
The recent Juneau Empire article on the recommendations for sports and activities at both Juneau high schools next year left out an important fact: All Juneau students would be able to participate in all Alaska School Activities Association sanctioned teams and events during the next school year - regardless of where they attend school.

Juneau Parks and Recreation Ordway Basketball League Standings
Juneau Parks and Recreation OrdwayBasketball League Standings

Intensity key for JDHS hockey
More than shots on goals or lighting up the scoreboard, Juneau-Douglas High School hockey coach Dave McKenna wants to see three periods of intensity from his team this weekend.

Tamone closes in on 1,000 miles
Sherry Tamone readily admits she loves data. That bit of information isn't too surprising considering the 49-year-old Juneau resident is an assistant professor of marine biology at the University of Alaska Southeast.

Sports in Juneau
Sports in Juneau is a service provided by the Juneau Empire to provide information on upcoming sports and outdoors events in Juneau.

Sports in Juneau
Sports in Juneau is a service provided by the Juneau Empire to provide information on upcoming sports and outdoors events in Juneau.

McGuire earned consulting fees, panel concludes
The Alaska Public Offices Commission has dismissed a claim that state Sen. Lesil McGuire did nothing to earn $10,500 in consulting fees from Providence Health System.

Kott appeals federal conviction, sentence
Former Alaska House Speaker Pete Kott has appealed both his conviction and six-year sentence on federal corruption charges.

Alaska Digest
Palin signs new oil tax bill into law; $90 million secured for Denali Commission; Klukwan wins grant for heritage center; Alaska Pacific Bank hires new loan officers; Man dies in custody at Anchorage jail; Thirteen people displaced by fire; Stryker Brigade trains for deployment

Staff works to make the Capitol easy to visit, or not visit
With Alaska's vast distances, the state's residents have challenges like nowhere else in keeping up with what their state leaders are doing.

Groups sue to protect rare loon in Alaska's Arctic region
Three conservation groups sued the federal government Wednesday hoping to block Arctic petroleum development through protections for a rare loon that breeds in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve.

Doyon seeks partner for gas exploration
The possibility of a large gas find in the Nenana basin in Alaska's Interior, just 35 miles southwest of Fairbanks, has intrigued people for a number of years.

Longtime Fairbanks jeweler to retire
Gold is the oldest business in Fairbanks, which makes Dorothy Perdue a living legend.

Exxon contests basis for damages
Exxon Mobil Corp. says a $2.5 billion punitive damages verdict for one of the nation's worst oil spills contradicts 200 years of maritime law.

Photo: Cold errand
Billowing exhaust from vehicles idling in the cold Tuesday surrounds Ken Cox as he hurries into the post office in Kenai to mail a Christmas package. After a long warm spell, forecasters called for the temperature to drop to -25 in the city Wednesday night.

Internet video connects village students
The Yukon-Koyukuk School District held a Christmas concert Wednesday afternoon.

Senator wants probe of Young road earmark
An Oklahoma senator wants an investigation into a disputed $10 million congressional earmark for an Interstate 75 interchange in southwest Florida.

Oldest building in state gets restoration funding boost
After several years of work by the city of Kodiak and the Kodiak Historical Society, the Baranov Museum this month became one of 31 applicants selected for a grant from the Save America's Treasures foundation.

7.2 quake strikes Aleutians
A strong earthquake rattled Alaska's seismically active Aleutian Islands, but there were no immediate reports of any damages or injuries.

Plans to dump Mat-Su milk worry officials
State officials are worried about plans by some farmers in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to dump most of the 1,600 gallons of milk they produce each day now that Matanuska Maid Dairy is going out of business.

Fourth child dies after fire in Ketchikan
A fourth child has died from injuries suffered in a house fire in Ketchikan over the weekend.

This Day in History
In Alaska and in the Nation

Alaska Digest
1,300 troops will be reassigned to Alaska; City forwards $4,500 grant to bike program; Fire destroys Selawik church; Bethel Native Corp. announces dividend

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