Alaska Digest

Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Students charged in anti-Native graffiti

JUNEAU - Police said a misdemeanor charge has been filed against one boy and is pending against two others in connection with the painting of anti-Native graffiti outside Juneau-Douglas High School last week.

Juneau Police Officer Paul Comolli said the youths, one white and two Hispanics ages 15 and 16, are part of a multi-racial group of friends, including Natives. He said the boys told him they painted the words because adults were overreacting to recent reports of racism at the school and they thought it would be funny.

"They found a great, big button to push," Comolli said.

On Thursday night, a custodian found painted on the windshields of two vehicles and the exterior wall of the school's metal shop phrases that included the initials KAN. It's not certain what KAN means, but students variously have told teachers it stands for Kids Against Natives and Kill All Natives.

The school also has disciplined the students, but Assistant Principal Dale Staley declined to provide details.

"The district is not very happy with their actions, and we applied discipline appropriate to the action," he said.

Students were disciplined under school district policies that prohibit discrimination and vandalism. Possible disciplinary actions range from one to 10 days of suspension imposed by school officials to permanent expulsion by the Juneau School Board, Staley said.

Comolli said one youth has been charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, and was lodged at the Johnson Youth Center, the state juvenile jail in Juneau. The same charge is pending against the other two boys.

The cost of cleaning up the damage from the paint was $200, police said. Fourth-degree criminal mischief refers to causing damage worth $50 to $499.

Bill sponsor says game board needs diversity

JUNEAU - Senate Minority Leader Johnny Ellis is sponsoring a bill that would change the name of the Board of Game to the Board of Wildlife, and increase its membership from seven people to nine.

Ellis, D-Anchorage, says the game board is dominated by hunters and trappers, and needs more diversification, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. His bill would give wildlife viewers and other nonconsumptive users a foothold on a board, he said.

"Wildlife belongs to us all, as a common property resource, just like the oil, and it's very valuable for tourism and our Alaskan quality of life and that should be recognized," Ellis said.

The bill has brought praise from The Alaska Wildlife Alliance and scorn from Sen. Ralph Seekins, R-Fairbanks, and game board member Pete Buist. Buist argues that the board already considers nonconsumptive use.

But Ellis said the board needs to be more balanced. He said the bill would require that the membership of the board reflect all the different uses of game.

Grant to help maintain senior independence

JUNEAU - The city received a $378,420 community development block grant for Catholic Community Service's program helping senior citizens remain independent. The money is for an adult day-care facility to serve those with Alzheimer's disease or a related disorder. The grant money will pay to rehabilitate a building for the program.

The program serves 18 seniors at the Juneau Senior Center and proposes to expand to 30 when the new facility is ready.

The city submitted a grant application for the project, known as The Bridge, in October 2003.

Meeting set to discuss new school in the Valley

JUNEAU - The Juneau School District task force for the planned high school at Dimond Park will hold a public forum from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Floyd Dryden Middle School.

The forum is intended to gain school and community opinions on programs for the new high school and Juneau-Douglas High School, the district said.

The forum will provide the task force with guidance as it develops recommendations to the school district on programs, activities, boundaries and school name.

Group holds events for Black History Month

JUNEAU - The Black Awareness Association of Juneau is sponsoring two events this week to honor Black History Month.

At 6 p.m. Thursday at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School, the association will present awards to middle school students who won an essay contest about the noted 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education, which desegregated public schools.

From 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Cathedral of the Nativity's parish hall, there will be a celebration featuring singing, dancing, poetry and food. Admission is $5.

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