Empire editorial: It's been a couple of good weeks

Posted: Sunday, June 08, 2008

The past two weeks proved worthy of celebration in so many ways.

We heard from Alaska Electric Light & Power Co. that hydropower was back in gear, and we've seen a string of good decisions from our leaders.

In light of that, our only barb goes toward the anonymous readers spewing vitriol on the Juneau Empire Web site.

Thumbs down: To anonymous insults.

Two stories about sex crimes recently spurred comments that were disappointing, to say the least. Unidentified ranters attacked different people mentioned in the stories - not just the accused criminals - and then turned on each other.

It was a level of discourse we find unnecessary and unacceptable. In response, the Empire decided to end public commenting on those kinds of stories.

Other than that, it was a great week.

Thumbs up: To the Juneau Assembly.

On Thursday, Assembly members voted down a proposal to use public funding to improve three private cruise ship docks in downtown Juneau.

The cruise industry had asked for about $1 million to make short-term and long-term improvements for their passengers. The requests were varied, including $18,000 for restroom cleaning and landscaping maintenance, and $300,000 for a handicap-accessible gangway.

While we appreciate tourism, we don't think we should fork over public money to improve areas our residents can't access.

Thumbs up: To Celebration 2008.

We applaud the effort behind this great event. From dancers in regalia to artists offering beautiful wares, the gathering of Alaska Natives has been good for us on many levels.

Celebration attracted thousands of participants and observers. It offered a look at a 100-year-old dance resurrected by the Mt. St. Elias Dancers from Yakutat. And it posed a unique opportunity for Dr. Brian Kemp of Washington State University.

Kemp took DNA samples from people to seek genetic matches with a man whose 10,300-year-old remains were found on Prince of Wales Island. He hopes to share the results during Celebration 2010.

Thumbs up: To natural gas pipeline progress.

After years of closed-door negotiations that went nowhere, it's nice to see some progress on a gas line.

Gov. Sarah Palin and her gas line team have developed a relatively transparent process that has resulted in a proposal by TransCanada, which will be debated during the special session.

State officials believe a $500 million carrot proved sufficient incentive to encourage the company to propose building a pipeline that will be a boon to Alaskans. If the certainty spreads to the Legislature, there could be gas flowing sooner than critics expect.

Thumbs up: To the Tracy Arm goat rescue.

Who would have thought an orphaned mountain goat kid would generate so much concern?

A Tracy Arm boat crew decided to save the little animal after seeing it stuck on a cliff after the death of its mother.

Capt. Steve Weber followed through, and state officials granted the proper permits.

Within days, the adorable kid had a new home at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage.

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