Empire Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down

Thumbs up to Alaska’s newest residents; all 26,000 of them. That’s how much the state’s population grew between April 2010 and July 2013, the Department of Labor told the Associated Press. The Juneau Economic Development Council reported in its 2013 economic indicators that Juneau alone had grown by 400 in the last year, raising its population to nearly 33,000. This is good news for Alaska communities as a whole. In some rural areas so little as one extra student could mean the difference between a school staying open or shutting its doors permanently.

Thumbs down to the increase in oxycontin on the streets. The Juneau Police Department released its drug interdiction numbers this week, showing that more of the drug was seized in 2013 than during its peak usage in 2010-2011. In all, JPD seized nearly $2 million street value in illegal narcotics.

Thumbs up to Southeast Alaska Independent Living’s Outdoor Recreation and Community Access program and Eaglecrest Ski Area for hosting “Learn to Adapt Day” this past Sunday as a way to encourage awareness and foster participation in the various types of adaptive snowsports.

Instructors were on hand to give demonstrations and the public was invited to test equipment. According to an article in Friday’s Outdoor section, “Learn to Adapt Day is part of Eaglecrest’s series of Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month events and promotions. January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, a national grassroots program aimed at introducing winter sports to first-time participants.”

Thumbs up to the speedy construction happening on the Walter Soboleff Center and the State Library Archives and Museum building in downtown Juneau. Both buildings have been chugging right along and it’s nice to see so much hustle and bustle in that hub of our city. According to a report this week, the Soboleff Center is nearly a year away from being complete and currently has most of its steel frame skeleton constructed. The SLAM building, a bit farther along, changes almost daily and is nearly completely closed in.

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Sun, 01/22/2017 - 07:48

Letter: Let the homeless stay

As a lifelong Juneau resident I, too, have been concerned about the rise in high profile homelessness in downtown. When I was growing up, it was very rare to see people sleeping out in doorways and on sidewalks — but I think this should elicit empathy and compassion on our part as citizens rather than a knee-jerk initiative to drive a group of people out of downtown.

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Sun, 01/22/2017 - 07:48

Letter: Gov. Walker’s decision on Juneau Access the right choice

I want to applaud Gov. Bill Walker’s recent decision to support ferry service and stop spending money on the extremely costly and dangerous Juneau road. Even if the state of Alaska was not in a difficult budget crisis, the move to use the money allocated for this project is better spent on more important transportation endeavors.

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Sun, 01/22/2017 - 07:47

Letter: On income tax

Have you wondered about the person putting all the commercials on TV and in the newspapers opposing an Alaska income tax? His name is Robert (Bob) Gillam, and according to Forbes Magazine, he was the wealthiest person in Alaska in 2016. Sounds to me like “Don’t tax me” and “What $3 billion budget crisis?”

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Sun, 01/22/2017 - 07:47

Letter: Encourage Alaska’s Congressional delegation to protect, fund Alaska’s parks

When I was 27, I was hired as the captain of Glacier Bay National Park’s tour boat, Thunder Bay. It wasn’t until that summer that I really took in the mysteries and wonders of our natural world. I sat with a Park Service naturalist right next to me for 97 days, 12 hours per day that summer.

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