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Postal Service and union open talks on new contract

AP Politics - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:32am
Postal Service and union open talks on new contract Associated Press - 19 February 2015 15:32-05:00 News Topics: Government and politics, Postal service, Labor negotiations, Labor unions, Shipping, Transportation and shipping, Industrial products and services, Industries, Business, Personnel, Labor issues, Social issues, Social affairs Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Immigrants feel stuck after judge blocks Obama orders

AP US News - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:26am
Immigrants feel stuck after judge blocks Obama orders Associated Press - 19 February 2015 15:26-05:00 News Topics: General news, Immigration, National courts, Social issues, Social affairs, National governments, Government and politics, Courts, Judiciary People, Places and Companies: Barack Obama, United States, Tucson, Mexico, Arizona Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Walesa: Solidarity in sanctions would change Putin's policy

AP Top news - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:20am
Walesa: Solidarity in sanctions would change Putin's policy Associated Press - 19 February 2015 15:20-05:00 News Topics: General news, Government and politics People, Places and Companies: Lech Walesa, Vladimir Putin, Ewa Kopacz, Poland, Russia, Ukraine Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

US Embassy: Turkey, US sign deal to train, arm Syrian rebels

AP Top news - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:14am
US Embassy: Turkey, US sign deal to train, arm Syrian rebels Associated Press - 19 February 2015 15:14-05:00 News Topics: General news, Embassies, International relations, Government and politics People, Places and Companies: Bashar Assad, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey, Syria, Ankara, Middle East, United States Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sandra Kleven: Embracing Icons

49 Writers - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 5:00am
Artwork by Sandra Kleven
One may feel an inclination to adore famous poets. To be impressed beyond ease of expression. To see the greatest of poets as nearly holy, and the greatest poems as personal touchstones.
“You do not have to be good…” Mary Oliver  
“This is the way the world ends…” T. S. Eliot
“And the lily, how passionately it needs some wild darling!” Jalaluddin Rumi
“Do not go gentle…” Dylan Thomas
“Whose woods these are…” Robert Frost
“I have seen the best minds…” Allen Ginsberg
“The whiskey on your breath…” Theodore Roethke
Six or eight words conjure up an entire poem. These lines and those who made them are so ensconced in the literary liturgy as to seem iconic. And the poets, a lively crew in life, seem rigid as statues—as if we must only circle, genuflect, and quote.
Standoffishness exacts a price. In keeping these luminaries at arm’s length, we miss entering, engaging, resurrecting. When we dare to get closer, the quality of the contact changes and those we have loved from afar enter our homes, hearts, and poetry.
As the editor of Cirque, I appreciate poems that draw on famous poets. In recent issues, Jim Hanlen writes about the chickens of William Carlos Williams and Suzi Gregg Fowler writes of “receiving” a poem from Alaska’s Poet Laureate, Nora Dauenhauer. The poem concludes, “It is not a poetry race. It is a poetry taste.”
Tom Sexton, 1995 Alaska Poet Laureate, has published a collection relating to Chinese poets, I Think Again of Those Ancient Chinese Poets. John Morgan pays homage to Kabir in his latest book, River of Light: Fishing with Kabir.
American poets of the last fifty-plus years were friends, rivals, and lovers. But most notably, they knew each other. They helped and influenced each other. These generalities hold solidly as one reads biography, letters, and collected prose. When we write in homage, argument, or imitation of great poets, we gradually join the circle of friends. 
 “Immature poets imitate. Mature poets steal.” T. S. Eliot  
I first pulled poet-from-shelf with some diffidence, certain caution, when I wrote a line that drew from Yeats, “The Second Coming.” My line was “Who comes around uninvited to be born/ of what careless father gone?” I pondered what I had done, feeling reluctant and imitative. But I left the line in place.
Later, I wrote a quatrain on Plath:
Sylvia reads “Daddy” on YouTube.
At least I think it’s her.
It certainly sound like Sylvia would
precise, embittered and nice.

I felt like a trespasser, but grew bold. Theodore Roethke entered my work.   
I blundered into Roethke’s world in part because of his connection to my birthplace, Seattle.  He wrote that the great dead poets would help a writer, adding that “The dead like having their pictures painted.” Roethke died in 1963.  
So, I called on Roethke. In a poem, I imagined myself, a child, walking a Puget Sound beach with him. My poem announced that his terminology marked him as an outsider. “We don’t speak of stones or the sea, in Western Washington. We use other words in place of these found out in your poetry.”
Out of my imaginary association with Roethke, I came to meet three of his former students. All three were persuaded to submit work to Cirque.  
I’d become comfortable but pushed into discomfort again when I confronted Sylvia Plath in a poem both harsh and mocking.  
Dark with Sylvia
Sylvia gassed herself to death in February of 1963. I was reading her body of work when my brother committed suicide (2008). Even before my personal tragedy, I had come to know of her baby boy in Plath biographies and in her poem “Nick Jumps Over the Candlestick,” which ends:
You are the one/ Solid the spaces lean on, envious./ You are the baby in the barn.
My brother’s suicide was still on my mind when, six months later, word came that Plath’s son, Nicholas Hughes, had hanged himself in Fairbanks, Alaska. I saw how a legacy of suicide can be left when a family member dies this way. I blamed Sylvia for the death of her son and I put my accusation into a poem. The poem mocked her style.
I was throwing stones at a monument. In begins, “Sylvia, your son has done. Has done. Has done. A son undone.” I thought it was a good poem. Stone Boatin Wisconsin accepted it and nominated the poem for a Push Cart prize. I offer this last not to brag but in support of a cause. I believe it is good to enter these worlds. It is rich. It might be ennobling in a sense that is hard to describe.
The path of adulation is not for me. But I would enter the social circle of friends, rivals, lovers, mentors. Worlds open, I promise you this, and your work as a writer/poet changes through engagement, argument, critique, and acts of love.
Poets congregate to rise on the same tide.
Cirque editor Sandra Kleven is a poet and essayist. Her writing has appeared in AQR, Oklahoma Review, Topic, Praxilla, Stoneboat, f-zine and the UAP anthology, Cold Flashes. Kleven is the author of four books, most recently, Defiance Street: Poems and Other Writing (VP&D Publishing House). She holds an MSW degree as well as an MFA in Creative Writing.
Kleven will teach a six-session 49 Writers course, Joining the Conversation: Engaging with Poets Past, on Thursdays, beginning March 6, from 6 – 8 PM. Students will consider the lineage of poets and poems and will shape new writing in ways that engage with the "great" poets of history via: homage, argument, variation on theme, call-response (and more) with the resulting work, clearly braided into the larger tradition. Participants will help select the "famous" poets to be examined. Through this process the poets of history will be transformed into literary friends – or foes.
Categories: Arts & Culture

Auke Bay Plan Available Here

Assembly News - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 12:00am
Categories: Local Happenings

State Library in Juneau Features Artwork of Hannah Lindoff’s Book

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 2:50pm

The Alaska State Library will exhibit artwork from the book Mary’s Wild Winter Feast by Hannah Lindoff. Come feast your eyes on a selection of the illustrations, a collaboration between Tlingit collage artist Clarissa Rizal and digital artist Nobu Koch. They feature Mary’s adventures hunting, fishing, and foraging with her family in southeast Alaska. This exhibit is made possible by the University of Alaska Press and will be on display through March 27. First Friday opening reception will be on February 6 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Alaska State Library on the 8th floor of the State Office Building. For more information, contact Claire Imamura at (907) 465-2458or <> .

See it here:

Categories: Arts & Culture

Birthday Bio

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Tue, 02/03/2015 - 5:54am

Clarissa and her children, Ursala, Lily and Kahlil – July 2011

A couple of weeks ago, one of my apprentices asked me if I would write a bio of myself that explained when I began to do my art and why.  She said she had to choose someone who had influenced her life to become an artist; she choose me.  This was an assignment she needed to present at her art class.  My initial response was “Gee, I inspired her to become an artist?  But I don’t want to write about me, it is so boring to go back that far and talk about who, what where when and why…”  However, I gave her my word that I would do this for her that night.  So, I “set the stage” with low lighting and a cup of tea; I do this whenever I have to write about my personal life to help me focus with very little struggle – then with very little editing, the words just flowed from my head down through to the keyboard onto the computer screen.  Here’s what came…

19 January 2015

Sitting in the direct heat of the fake firelight of the electric Amish heater in my studio, always bundled in my sheepskin coat, sheepskin boots and hat because the heating device is not large enough to heat this one room where I work and sleep, I am never quite warm in Winter, though it’s better than being outside right now with 0 degree starlit snow. I reflect upon my life as an artist and wonder where it all started and if living the life of a full-time artist, especially now in a place without running water, without sewer, and without sufficient heat, was and continues to be, worth it.

No matter what age, for the past 59 years, I’ve always been a child of creativity, with a drive that is endless. I exist on 6 hours sleep a night; from the time my eyes are awakened by the early dawn until I suddenly stagger to my bed 18 hours later; like I am going-going-going, then gone! It’s only in the past couple of years that I realized that not everyone is like this; where have I been?

38 years ago today, my first child Kahlil was born, named after Kahlil Gibran who wrote many inspiring books including The Prophet, Spirits Rebellious, and my favorite The Broken Wings.  Spiritually-inclined at a very young age, anything written about Christ had to be read; any paintings, prints and photos of Jesus had to be studied, so natural it was to read all of Gibran’s works when I was a young adult. And even though in the western way of living having a child at 20 was considered young, it was natural for me to think it normal because our Tlingit culture had the wisdom to know children are a gift of God.

My parents guided me into the way they were conditioned to get a “real job” to secure a pension plan to retire in 40 years.  This worked for a little while.  From the age of 14 to 20 I had real jobs working as a librarian assistant, a home-health aid for the elderly, a clerk typist for the Governor and for the Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Contracting, until of course Kahlil was born. Being a new mother was challenging; I was not a natural-born mother because I was such a tom-boy and it was next to impossible to stay indoors day in and day out while the baby napped, I had to keep up with the diaper changes and laundry, and he had to be nursed every 2 hours 24-7! Holy cow!

To keep my sanity I turned to gardening; it got me outdoors yet close to home! I turned to drawing, crocheting and sewing. While he took his naps, and directly after putting the entire household to bed each night, I’d stay awake ‘till at least midnight, creating; it was my therapy! During the raising of my three children, I made a living over the next decades in a variety of ways: besides designing and making Tlingit ceremonial regalia in button blanket, Chilkat and Ravenstail weavings, I was an entrepreneur before I knew what that meant.  I made hats, I sewed custom-made clothing, created costumes for local theatre companies, owned a landscape gardening company, and was co-owner of an online newspaper.  In the 70s and early 80s, I took up learning our traditional arts from some of the best artists of their time: carving, regalia-making, traditional song and dance, metal-smithing, basketry, Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving. Just before my children were grown up and gone I had created a name for myself as one of the few, if not the only, Tlingit women who has been a full-time artist working in all of the above mediums for nearly 40 years, all in the name of keeping my sanity and being a stay-at-home-self-employed-mother because I did what my mother recommended I do: stay home with my children.

In a few years I will be 65; do I see myself retiring soon? No way. I have no pension plan; I have no savings; and I surely do not have an inheritance.   I cannot afford to retire. And what would I retire to!? Would I retire to taking vacations? What for?…vacations are boring; I don’t want to relax – relaxing is a lot of work! Would I retire to volunteering at something?   I been there done that volunteering all my life with the house concerts I used to produce in my own home; with the children’s theatre I used to co-produce; with the art shows and classes I used to teach, just to name a few.   Would I retire to what most people retire to? Watching TV from the couch. What for? Is that really fun, is it productive, is it creative, does it do anyone any good? The only results I see from watching TV is weight gain—too much potato chips!

Would I retire to what some of us retire to? Art and music.

Hello? I am already there; I have been creating art and playing music all my adult life. Does this mean I’ve been retired all my life?   Hmmm…an interesting perspective.

It looks like I will continue doing what I have been doing for almost 40 years.  Why change now?  I’m in the groove.

My children now have families of their own. Each of my children and their spouses are self-employed artists. I have watched them struggle with making ends meet like the way their father and I made ends meet never knowing where our next paycheck would come from and if next month’s bills would get paid. I watch them live like I have, not afford brand new cars, not take any vacations, not have the latest styles of clothing, all the while living with tension about the ability to keep a roof over their heads, mouths fed, and clothing clean. However, there’s a sense of pride and awe that I feel when I see the fact that they stay at home with their children, making wholesome meals from scratch, tending to a flourishing garden, doing their “art” and their little kids “working” right alongside them: happy. These are values I did not realize were taught to them by my own example, someone who has passionate creativity, a drive that has always been driven, at the edge.

Kahlil is a professional film-maker/director who also teaches film a couple of days a week at the Institute of American Indian Arts; his wife Miki is a counselor at the Santa Fe Arts Academy; their 7-year-old Violet enjoys chess tournaments, sewing, ice-skating, gymnastics and basketball. Lily is an award-winning, professional storyteller/actress and also a Ravenstail/Chilkat weaver and teacher; her husband Ishmael is also a professional storyteller/actor, excellent writer who recently published his first book of poetry. They have four children who are being home-schooled. Ursala is an oil painter, block-print maker, graphic artist/web designer, and is president of a local Charter school she is starting; her husband Chris is a lead singer/songwriter in his band, a sculptor and a house painter.  Their two daughters are obviously following their footsteps!  My children and grandchildren live fully.

To my best of my ability, I live a life of integrity. I keep watch of what I do to see what I believe. My offspring and my work is love made visible. I follow my heart because my heart follows the source of creativity that inspires me and continues to drive me. I am old enough to look back upon my life and enjoy it a second time around. All my relations, my parents, my children and their children are proof of the legacy that I co-created and will leave. And when I leave, my conscious will be clear and free, knowing all that I loved and lived, was worth it.

Categories: Arts & Culture

Have You Seen The “Chilkat Mini-Coopers?”

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Sun, 02/01/2015 - 10:05pm

Hand-painted mini-coops in Chilkat yellow and Indian red! by Clarissa Rizal

Let’s go for a quick road-trip in one of these “Chilkat Mobiles” zipping through the Redwood Forests and out across Canyonlands and Arches National Monuments sliding into Sedona across the Mohave dessert and up towards the Rocky Mountains!  Yep, zippidity do dah at your fingertips in the miniatures of miniatures!

Categories: Arts & Culture

Clarissa’s Tentative Schedule for the Arts 2015

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 8:58pm

“Chilkat Child” headdress and collar – trimmed with sea otter fur and 22. bullet shells – designed and handwoven by Clarissa Rizal

I am currently gearing up for a full year of travel to art shows, cultural center openings, weddings and of course visiting my kids and grandkids along the way!  Here’s my 2015 schedule:

1).  Heard Museum Indian Art Market and Fair, Phoenix, AZ – March 5-8th – Booth #D45

2).  Catherine and Dylan’s Wedding, Austin, TX – April 18th

3).  Grand Opening of Soboleff Cultural Center, Juneau, AK – May 15

4).  Eiteljorg Indian Art Market and Fair, Indianapolis, IN, June 27-28

5).  Teslin’s “KusTeYea” Celebration, Teslin, Yukon, July 24-26

6).  Santa Fe Indian Market, Santa Fe, New Mexico, August 21-23

7). Haskell Institute Native Art Market, Lawrence, KS , September 12-13

8).  Cherokee Art Market, Tulsa, OK, October

9)  Autry Native American Art Market, Los Angeles, CA  November

10).  NMAI (National Museum of the American Indian) Holiday Art Market, NYC, December


Categories: Arts & Culture

Happy 35th Birthday to Lily Lalanya Hope

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Thu, 01/29/2015 - 9:47pm

Ishmael and Lily Hope with their 4 children Elizabeth, Mary, Eleanor, Louis and Santa! – December 2014

Another fortunate child of mine who snuck in like her brother and sister when their mother wasn’t looking!   Cheers to you for holding up with 4 children, and for making plans to go for your Masters Degree in Education, and starting the online weaving source called the Northwest Coast Weavers Supply, all this while helping to support Ishmael and his career as a writer and culture-bearer!  You could sound like your mother, alas, you are your own strong-willed person — keep it up my dear while continuing to lovingly care for yourself!  Lots of big hugs and kisses, my Nina!

Categories: Arts & Culture

My Blog is Back!!!

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 8:39pm

Donna Beaver Pizzarelli, Al Pizzarelli, and Clarissa Rizal — street bench near Basin Road, Juneau, Alaska

For whatever reasons, my blog crashed on November 18, 2014.  I didn’t know about it until three weeks later when I received a call from a total stranger out of Minnesota who was roaming my website and could not pull up my blog and thought he’d better bring it to my attention — like how cool is that!?  How many people would go through the trouble?

In between her full-time job working for the USGS and doing her own creative works especially in Haiku poetry, and assisting her husband’s creative endeavors,  Donna worked hard getting my blog up and running again, finalized today!  YAY!

Check out Donna and Al’s poetry:

Categories: Arts & Culture

Letting Go of My “Chilkat Mobile”

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 8:08pm

Back side of my 1991 Toyota Corolla — Clarissa calls it her “Chilkat Mobile” — license plate “CNH 794″ She considers these letters and numbers “good…!”

My “Chilkat Mobile” is originally from Juneau, Alaska.  In December I put the car on the ferry for a 3-day sail to the port of Bellingham, Washington State.  From Bellingham, I drove down to the mountains above Los Angelos, then across to Scottsdale and up to Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  I drove through all kinds of storms, wind, rain, sleet, snow and finally sunshine!  This car can make it up the infamous Wolf Creek Pass to Denver no problem.  Though remember because it is a 4-cylinder, you have to drive in 2nd gear up the mountain passes.

Front of Clarissa’s “Chilkat Mobile”

“Chilkat”  was owned by an elderly blonde woman who is now 92.  22 years ago, she and her husband bought two of these cars, a his and her pair:   one for her, one for him.  The cars were originally red, but they had both custom painted yellow.  A little over a year ago, they both went into an elder-care home and so they sold both of their beloved machines.   They took VERY GOOD CARE of these cars; in fact, they each had their own garage built especially for them; no kidding!  Except for a few tiny nicks here and there from tiny rocks on the drive down here, the body is straight, no dents and no rust anywhere except for a small strip across the bottom part of the window on the back hatch door; I remedied that situation by placing yellow duck tape (the exact color of the car!) across the line of rust.

I bought the “her” car.  Peggy  was retired when she bought the car and had no children or grand-children, she mainly used the car to go do errands and such in the remote town of Juneau which has about 70 total miles of road as the town is land-locked.  The car most likely did not ever go more than 60 miles an hour, if that, until of course, I drove it on the freeways from Bellingham — the car hums at 75 no problem with a load.   When I drove down from Bellingham, I had the car packed with two suitcases, my paintings and prints and weaving looms.  It probably hasn’t had any kind of load like that before.

On the car deck of the “MV Malaspina” ferry from Juneau, Alaska to Bellingham, Washington, then the long drive down to Colorado…!

Both cars were well maintained partially due to the fact that the husband was a boat and car mechanic as well as an inventor and both he and his wife were meticulous about everything they owned.   I knew them personally.  I grew up with them.  They talked me into buying this car because they wanted me to have it because they knew I liked older cars and they knew I took care of my things.  They also knew I needed a car to teach my classes up in Yukon Territory!   For a 22-year old car, the interior is clean, barely worn anywhere because the car was mainly used by one person, so the grey upholstery is in great shape, no tears, no stains, no worn spots – there is only one worn spot on the carpet.   I have my own maintenance records for a little over a year I’ve owned it since, I’ve had the oil changed three times; totally serviced and new rear brakes before I jumped the ferry with the car.  I haven’t had to do anything major.  It handles snow real well, hugs the road like a roadster; it’s a sweet thing!

As you can tell, I am proud of my “Chilkat Mobile”.  I would not have sold it if it weren’t my need for a travel van.  I need something larger because I am an artist who travels to a variety of shows “west of the Mississippi!”  I need to carry all my art plus the display units.  After at least 10 inquiries from prospective buyers from around the country in just a couple of days on the Craigslist market, “Chilkat” is now living in Taos, New Mexico with her new owner.  I wish her a longer and more prosperous life; she served me well and in turn I wish her the best!

Categories: Arts & Culture

Superintendent speaks out about student privacy rights

Juneau School District Announcements - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 1:40pm

Supe's On  - Welcome to the Superintendent's Blog

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Categories: Arts & Culture

School District Report on Investigation into Hazing

Juneau School District Announcements - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 3:35pm

The Juneau School District has concluded our investigation into allegations that on or about May 30-31 of this year a group of incoming senior boys hazed/initiated a group of incoming freshmen boys by paddling them multiple times.

These events were first brought to our attention in early June. At that time the district began an initial investigation, which, due to an active police investigation and summer vacation, was put on hold. When we were informed that the police had concluded their investigation we resumed our efforts.

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Categories: Arts & Culture


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