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Empire Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down

Posted: November 25, 2013 - 1:03am

Thumbs up to the recent Evening at Egan lecture Friday evening in which panelists at the University of Alaska Southeast, along with around 150 audience members, took a step toward addressing and eliminating racism in the Juneau community. UAS Provost Rick Caulfield said one thing in particular that stood out: “Respect is what really matters. That comes from listening, understanding and confronting what divides us.”

Thumbs down to the two confirmed and three suspected cases of “whooping cough,” officially known as pertussis, in Juneau schools. The sickness is a highly contagious disease, which starts with symptoms like those of a common cold, but within two weeks intensifies into a series of rapid coughs that are sometimes followed by a “whooping” sound or vomiting. The Juneau School District gets a thumbs up for being proactive and taking steps to notify parents in order to discourage spreading the illness. We hope folks will take the proper steps to quell any additional outbreaks in other parts of Alaska.

Thumbs up to the U.S. Forest Service for being vocal about potential plans for roughly a dozen dilapidated or infrequently used public use cabins in the Tongass National Forest. They are opening the public comment period on the latest environmental assessment as soon as the notice runs in its paper of record, the Ketchikan Daily News. For an overview of the agency’s plans visit: http://www.fs.usda.gov/r10.

Lastly, thumbs down to the New York attorney who has filed to run against U.S. Sen. Mark Begich in the 2014 election. William Bryk said he has no plans to campaign outside his state, and according to a story published in Sunday’s Empire he has never been west of Buffalo, N.Y. Bryk said if he wins the primary, he would have to be an Alaska resident on Election Day, which he said is how the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the U.S. Constitution on the issue of residency. Bryk has campaigned, unsuccessfully, in two other races outside his state. We’re unsure if this is merely a publicity stunt, or if Bryk actually thinks Alaskans will vote for a candidate who has never stepped foot in our state and has no intention of doing so in the near future. There’s easier ways to find a job, and we hope Bryk looks into those other options.

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