Empire Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down

Thumbs up to circulation of e-books at Juneau Public Libraries being on the rise. According to our Sunday story, “Juneau libraries’ e-book popularity surges,” there was a “reported 20 to 30 percent increase in circulation of electronic materials borrowed from the Juneau public library system last fiscal year.” Yet thumbs down to the fact there seems to be pitfalls in the system, ones that don’t necessarily favor the reader. According to our story, “purchasing an e-book does not allow an unlimited number of readers to access the e-book at the same time. Licensing restrictions set by publishers limit the usage. The terms of the licenses vary from publisher to publisher.” We hope the groups of libraries around the state of Alaska, currently working to move toward a model of ownership, continue to see success in their efforts.

Thumbs up to Auke Bay Elementary’s living wax museum, where students dressed up and emulated historical heros. It was the culmination of a six-week project which required students research someone from history and create a “speech ... based on their research. The speeches are memorized ... and students wear costumes and have at least one prop.” It’s fair to say all those historical facts will sink in for these students, and for the audience, as well.

Thumbs up to debunking myths. Take lemmings for example: They do not, in fact, commit mass suicide. And regarding whether or not bears can run downhill... oh, yes they can. Friday’s Outdoor section featured an interesting article addressing some of Alaska’s most common animal myths. Read it online at juneauempire.com/outdoors/2014-02-21/killer-bears-and-lemming-suicide-busting-myths-about-alaska-animals.

Both a thumbs down and a thumbs up to the closure of the retail componentof Wild Oven Bakehouse; there’s just something about buying bread from the same hands that made it. But that sourdough will likely only get better — and more available — since owner Daniel Martin decided to focus his business plan, making his downtown shop solely a bakery.

 

• Empire editorials are written by the Juneau Empire’s editorial board. Members include: Publisher Rustan Burton, rustan.burton@juneauempire.com; Director of Audience Abby Lowell, abby.lowell@juneauempire.com; Managing Editor Charles L. Westmoreland, charles.westmoreland@juneauempire.com; and Asst. Editor James Brooks, james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com

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Letter: The Homeless Ordinance

As I understand it, on Monday the assembly will be voting on an ordinance to permit the police to evict people camping in the downtown and make them move to a camping area in the Thane avalanche zone. I think that’s mistaken public policy. I’ve just hand delivered a 5 page letter to the CBJ in opposition. But what’s really needed isn’t my opinion. It’s a newspaper’s reporting of the facts. That said, if someone’s camped out in a doorway, it couldn’t be a more clear cry for help. And underneath that gruff scary homeless person is so often someone suffering the terrible diseases of mental illness and addiction.

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Win Gruening: Homeless Not Helpless

When Mayor Ken Koelsch recently proposed a city ordinance prohibiting camping in downtown Juneau to help resolve on-going issues with our homeless population, there was significant public reaction.

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My Turn: A Good Time for Kindness

Some time ago, the snow was mounded everywhere, deep and wet. As I gazed from my window, contemplating shoveling, I saw a neighbor plowing out the nextdoor driveway and mailbox — and then chug over to our mailbox, and plow it out as well. Such a welcome and unrequested act of thoughtfulness, of kindness: it lifted my spirits!

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