Thumbs up to an exciting week of Gold Medal basketball competition and its organizers, the Juneau Lions Club. Games concluded Saturday with titles going to Kake (Masters bracket), Hydaburg (C), Angoon (B) and Yakutat (Women’s). This year marked the first time since 2007 that women have competed in the tournament, and Saturday’s 54-51 overtime thriller didn’t disappoint. Good job to all the athletes and coaches for bringing a piece of March Madness to Southeast Alaska for us to enjoy.
Thumbs down to the City and Borough of Juneau’s growing budget deficit. Earlier this month, city officials believed the upcoming shortfall to be about $5 million, but more recent projections revealed Juneau will be another $7 million in the hole in 2016. No one’s quite sure what cuts will be made, but everything’s on the table. City jobs, services, programs, projects — any or all could be on the chopping block. City Manager Kim Kiefer presented four generalized options to balance the budget at Wednesday’s meeting. They can be found online at www.juneau.org/clerk/ASC/FC/2014/documents/BudgetShortfallPacket.pdf. One thing is certain, the city’s financial landscape is changing. Contact your assembly member and let them know what’s important to you. Kiefer will present detailed budget cut scenarios at the Assembly Finance Committee meeting April 2.
Thumbs up to Zack Edwards, Juneau resident and developer of “Historical Conquest,” a creative and educational card-based board game. More than a decade ago the game was little more than a concept for a college project. Now it’s in retail stores and growing in popularity. It’s awesome when the passion we know and love in Juneauites translates into success in and outside the state, and inspires the younger generation.
Thumbs down to the recent crop of wild animal encounters. Earlier this month, a Haines dog, on a walk with its owner, was attacked and eaten by a wolf in broad daylight. And in the last month in Juneau, two dogs have been attacked and bitten under strange circumstances: a man reported a wolf attacked his dog on the Mendenhall wetlands, and a woman said her dog was bitten downtown by an unknown animal. A bear was also spotted rummaging for food in Lemon Creek last week. Keep an eye on your pets and make sure your trash is stored properly to keep hungry animals away.