Posted August 31, 2012 02:42 pm - Updated August 31, 2012 03:03 pm

All the news that fits

This blog is a place for, among other things, news that doesn’t quite fit in the paper for one reason or another. Here are two of the items that have been building up this summer in my electronic “Out” basket:

• A cautionary tale about a bear and a scooter

Two nice young newlyweds who came to town to work as seasonals moved into the Starr Hill area and were immediately warned about the bears.  This couple shared a dangerous dream — they really wanted to see bears. They kept their eyes peeled but not a bear was to be seen.
Then, one summer night, word came that a black bear was tearing things up in the neighborhood. Many people would bolt the door and look out the window, but this couple was made of sturdier stuff.
They decided to go for a spin and see if they could get a glimpse of said bear. Unfortunately they were not hitting the road in a Range Rover, but rather a small motorized scooter.
Right about halfway up a hill on Gold Street they almost literally ran into their quarry, and the ensuing chase (the bear chasing them) led them through Starr Hill ‘s streets in quite a hurry. Thank goodness for gravity. Now they have a tale they can tell their grandchildren unless, of course, they try that kind of stunt again.

• A devilish dilemma

I pause before opening some emails. Especially when the header reads “Devil worshippers in Juneau.”
I thought it might have been a recruitment ad.  I get enough spam as it is, and my religious affiliation is summed up by my favorite minister as “beddist” — I sleep through the alarm on Sundays.
We at the Empire don’t want to cover up the news, but this hot “scoop” received July 18 seemed just a little too hot to handle. Or believe. I suspect a prank, but just to give the subject a little light and a fair hearing I’m reprinting the message below:

“Dear Empire,
I'd like to bring to your attention the recent satanic activity being practised by members of a cult group in the downtown area.
Several times this week residents have been shocked to witness such things as demonic rituals, the use of ouija-boards, the drawing of pentagrams, chanting, animal skulls and the recital from witchcraft books by individuals in the marine park area. Others have reported similar activity in the woods behind Sandy beach.
The culprits, who are all adults, claim to be devil worshippers. These people are erratic and frightening.
I am writing to inform residents to stay clear of these self-proclaimed "necromancers" and also inquire as to whether anything can be done about their presence downtown. Surely the practise of black magic is unlawful in Juneau?
A concerned citizen”

I referred the email to our police and courts reporter, Emily Miller. Oddly, I don’t think she even sent me a reply. I could see that I was on my own here. Naturally I went down to Marine Park to investigate.  Instead of finding Satanists I only saw seasonal workers, tourists and a couple of well-seasoned locals basting themselves from the inside out via something wrapped in a paper bag. There wasn’t a Ouija Board in sight.  
Perhaps I got there between shifts.
A quick check of municipal codes revealed no laws against freedom of religion in Juneau, and last I heard, people get to define their own religions. Skulls and spells aren’t my cup of tea, but not everyone drinks tea.  I didn’t go as far as to call Chief Browning for an opinion as the police are very busy people. If ritual sacrifices begin I'm sure they'll get involved.
Should any of this be a legitimate concern, I’m pretty sure Juneau’s Finest are on top of the situation. If you’ve spotted any of this behavior, or participated, feel free to chime in on the comment boards.

• On a happy note:
I just got off the phone with Tyler Myers of the Myers Group, who confirmed that the Alaskan & Proud grocery store will become Foodland IGA on Sept. 10. It sounds like he has big plans for remodeling the store and expanding its departments. It’s good to hear that a local business will remain and the familiar faces that work there will be retained. Now I just hope they’re going to  get in a fresh order of frozen dim sum items. I need shui mai and har gow, and I need it now.


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