Empire editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down

From jam sessions in the 1970s to an entirely new building, thumbs up to the transformation taking place downtown at the SLAM (State Library Archives Museum). The Final Friday event held last week at the museum drew crowds, and provided a chance to reminisce and re-tell stories, break out the music and celebrate a great new project — a bigger and better museum — that will protect and display the Alaska State Museum’s collection.

Thumbs up to the SEADOGS, a search and rescue team made up of both humans and canines. Every year SEADOGS participates in searches involving everyone from lost hunters to suicide victims. On Sunday, the group was training at Eaglecrest Ski Area, no doubt working hard to ensure those sniffers stay sharp and the lines of communication stay clear and efficient. Keep up the great work!

Thumbs down to the middle school sports out-of-town travel ban which takes effect July 1, 2014. There’s still time to have your voice heard, however. On Tuesday, March 11, the Juneau School Board will meet and provide the opportunity for stakeholders to suggest a different policy. This is your opportunity to let board members know if you think the existing policy should be changed to allow the possibility for Juneau middle school athletes to fundraise, travel and compete against other Southeast Alaska teams at away games. Anyone wishing to testify on the issue at the meeting will need to do so during public testimony for non-action items near the beginning of the agenda. To sign up for a slot, and there are only 20, send an email to schoolboard@ci.juneau.ak.us this week.

Thumbs up to the new avalanche rescue equipment purchased by Alaska Electric Light and Power Co. The gear, which is being stored at Coastal Helicopters for use by any rescue team, allows helicopter-bound search teams to scan for signals from a buried victim’s avalanche beacon. This gear means large swaths of debris can be searched in a short amount of time. It’s good news in a town full of outdoor enthusiasts. Yet no matter the tools and technologies available, the first line of defense is knowing the snow before going into the backcountry. And never go alone.

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