Posted: Tuesday, January 16, 2001

Cancer activist in Portland for treatment

JUNEAU - Juneau anti-cancer crusader Mike Miller has returned to the Lower 48 for treatment of his prostate cancer.

Miller, honored nationally for his work on cancer research and awareness, is staying with family in Portland, Ore., while receiving medical care.

"He has been such an activist for prostate cancer and the American Cancer Society in general," said friend Murray Damitio. "He has this ability to get people involved."

Damitio, owner of the Hangar on the Wharf, has held several functions to help Miller in his battle against cancer.

In October, Miller received the Unity Award during a meeting of the Prostate Cancer Research Institute in Long Beach, Calif., a conference attended by about 1,500 patients, family members and health care professionals.

A popular swim coach with the Glacier Swim Club, Miller resigned his position after being diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 1996. He lobbied Congress and the state Legislature, playing a key role in helping lower the age at which insurance companies must pay for prostate cancer screening from 50 to 40 for most men and 40 to 35 for those at high-risk.

"Mike's a hell of a nice guy and if people in the community want to show their support, take five minutes and drop him a card," Damitio said. "I think he'd love it."

His wife agrees. Judy Miller, with her husband in Portland this week, said people can write him at: Mike Miller, 9585 Southwest Imperial Drive, Portland OR, 97225.

Skagway shares its sludge

SKAGWAY - This historic Gold Rush community put a new twist on the phrase "hands across the border" when it recently donated 3,000 gallons of sludge from its wastewater treatment plant to the Yukon Territory village of Carmacks.

That's on top of the 3,000 gallons sent last August.

"They're just looking to replace their bugs," Skaway treatment plant manager Tim Gladden said.

The "bugs" are the bacteria that break down solid waste. The Carmacks waste treatment plant has a filtration problem most summers when the Yukon River rises and groundwater washes out the bacteria, said Greg Bull of G.J. Bull and Associates in Whitehorse, the consulting environmental engineer for Carmacks.

"We reseed the treatment plant with sewage bacteria which you grow down there in your digestor," Bull told the Skagway News. "So we're reseeding it to kick-start it back up to its full operating efficiency."

The shipment was approved by the territorial Department of Health and Social Services, and was not classified as hazardous waste.

Yukon population dropping

WHITEHORSE, Yukon - The Yukon's population has dropped by more than 500 people.

According to the latest figures released by the Yukon Bureau of Statistics, the population of the Canadian territory in December was 30,553, about the same as the population of Juneau.

In December 1999, the corresponding figure was 31,070. That means a drop of 1.7 percent, or 517 residents.

It's a trend evident since 1997, when the population began moving downward. In December of 1996, the Yukon's population stood at 33,911. By December 1997, it had slipped to 33,390. By December of 1998, it had dropped further, or to 31,768.

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