Empire Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down

Thumbs up to all those involved with Capital Park’s Empty Chair memorial, particularly sisters Alice Tanaka Hikido and Mary Tanaka Abo for their efforts. The memorial honors Japanese-American Juneau residents past and present who were relocated and held in internment camps during World War II. Nothing can erase the pain these families endured, but it is wonderful to see the community come together to remember those hardships and celebrate the people affected. A dedication of the memorial will be held at 2 p.m. July 12 at Capital Park.

Thumbs down to the potential flooding in the Mendenhall lake and river area due to the possible jökulhlaup, a phenomenon in which water collecting under the glacier spills out from under the ice. Suicide Basin is still filling, and has reached a depth of about 80 feet. The National Weather Service reports that the water could release gradually as it did last year, but could also release all at once, causing flooding, as it did in 2011.

Thumbs up to Juneau resident Steve SueWing who represented Juneauites at a June 10 summit for working families at the White House in Washington, D.C. The summit focused on issues and obstacles encountered by American working families — not least of which the topic of paid family leave. SueWing met with Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and brainstormed with the delegation solutions to some of Alaska’s working families’ struggles. Congratulations, Steve, and thank you for representing Juneau and Alaska on this important topic.

Thumbs up to Southeast Alaska Independent Living for the measures its taken to ensure visitors with various disabilities have the resources needed to enjoy Juneau. In its first year, SAIL’s program received seed support from the Rasmuson Foundation and an allocation from the City and Borough of Juneau Marine Passenger Fee Program. The funding was used to develop training programs for businesses regarding access and customer service for visitors with disabilities. In a city with an economy so reliant on tourism, anything that helps Juneau become more accessible to more people is a wonderful addition. We hope the changes allow more people of all abilities to explore our beautiful city.


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