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Thumbs up to:
The church youth group from Spokane, Wash., whose members went door-to-door in Juneau to collect food to be added to clothing, toiletries and medical supplies they brought with them for donation to the Glory Hole, downtown Juneau's dining hall and homeless shelter. To finance the trip, each member of the group had to raise $750. Some did so by accepting pledges for hours spent living in cardboard boxes. "The best part was seeing the community get involved, how responsive they were to the food drive and how happy they were to give," Nick Dotson, 21, of the First Church of the Nazarene youth group told the Empire's Joanna Markell.
Employees of the state Job Center, members of the state Parole Board, probation officers and members of the public for their roles in returning child molester Jack Leck II to prison for a parole violation. At almost the same time Leck was on the phone to the Empire asserting his innocence as a career criminal and pedophile, he was downloading pornography on a public computer at the Job Center. Employees there alerted authorities who returned Leck to custody. The Parole Board, which had had no choice under state law but to release Leck on July 4, quickly voted to send him back to prison to serve the remainder of his term. Meantime citizens alarmed by the prospect of a child molester in our midst organized on behalf of our community's children to monitor the activities of Leck and to work to change the laws and make it tougher for pedophiles to be paroled.
Everyone who organizes, administers, sponsors or participates in the 55th Annual Golden North Salmon Derby. This event brings community together as we speculate on the size of the winning salmon, who will catch it and when and where it will be caught. Events like this require year-round planning and sacrifice by a dedicated group of volunteers. And if the fun generated by the derby was not satisfaction enough, more than $1 million in scholarships have been awarded to more than 200 graduating Juneau-Douglas High School seniors since 1953.
The Urban Bear Patrol for continuing to shine the spotlight and its cameras on garbage-raiding bears, prompting Mayor Sally Smith to reassemble the city's Ad Hoc Urban Bear Committee. Progress has been made in addressing Juneau's bears-in-garbage issue, but the problem has not been solved. As long as bears have easy access to garbage, the bears, residents, tourists, pets and property are at risk.
Participants in the subsistence summit who invested time, intellect and emotion in pursuit of a solution to the rift between urban and rural residents of Alaska on the issues of the subsistence way of life and state-federal control over the Alaska's resources. Surely, this is the Gordian knot of our times.
The weather, for finally providing our 15 minutes of summer and stretching it to almost a dozen glorious, sun-filled days. Let it rain.
Genevieve Gagne-Hawes, 20, a Juneau-Douglas High School graduate who on Friday completed her third summer internship in the Empire newsroom and who will resume her studies at New York University in a few weeks. For the past three months Gagne-Hawes covered arts and entertainment full-time while staff writer Riley Woodford was on leave. We thank her for her service and welcome Riley home.
Thumbs down to:
Jack Leck II, the convicted pedophile who wanted the community to believe he could be trusted and only wanted to get a job and blend quietly into society.
Anyone who believes the capital is not worth fighting for - but also to those who think there is no room for diversity of opinion on how best to keep the capital here. We can use all the ideas, help and support we can get.