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Thumbs up to the Juneau-Douglas High School football team for bringing home the state championship on Saturday and completing a perfect 11-0 season. Way to go, Crimson Bears.
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And a second tip 'o the hat to the families and friends so devoted to their children and student sports that they flew themselves to Anchorage to cheer.
Thumbs up to the 35 National Guardsmen who returned home safely last week after serving in Kuwait. The members of the 3rd Battalion 297th Infantry took part in the biggest deployment of Alaskan soldiers since World War II. They provided security to American forces and supply convoys in Kuwait.
Thumbs up to the U.S. Forest Service for handing over 10,000-year-old Tlingit remains found in a cave in the Tongass National Forest 11 years ago. This will be the first time a federal agency has returned custody of such finds back to a Native group under the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The bones were found in 1996 during a government archaeological survey for a proposed timber sale on Prince of Wales Island.
Thumbs down to educators engaged in sexual misconduct. The Associated Press recently reported that more than 2,500 educators nationwide were punished in the last five years for sexual misconduct. Alaska, fortunately, was ahead of the curve when it comes to prosecuting offenders. Alaska punished 29 percent of educator misconduct cases, three percent more than the 26 percent punished nationwide.
Thumbs up to the tenacity of Lillian Ruth Simpson, a 49-year-old Juneau woman who survived 19 hours afloat in the Pacific Ocean off Maui. Simpson, a drug and alcohol counselor, fell into the water after her canoe flipped in strong winds. She told the Maui News that she held onto a water container and wrapped her bathing suit top around her head to keep warm after sunset. She was rescued 19 hours later by a fishing charter boat captain who initially thought she was a floating balloon that could attract fish.
Thumbs down to Alaska Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, for refusing to respond to the question of whether she received polling services from scandal-plagued VECO Corp. and for her ridiculous comment as to why she didn't respond. She was one of 60 legislators who were asked by the Alaska Public Interest Research Group whether they'd been the recipient of a VECO poll or had any other contacts with the company.
The research group's surveys were fair and worthwhile, especially since a VECO executive testified during a corruption trial that the company paid for as many as 100 polls over the years. But Kerttula tried to brush off the surveys, describing them as a "form of McCarthyism." An effort to find out which legislators behaved unethically is a far cry from the political witch hunt led by former U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy.