4 Compelling Stories From Home, Away & Far Far Away
By Emily Maxwell
ALASKA – From alaskapublic.org
Alaska or bust! Racers set out on paddleboards, outrigger canoe, sailboats and skiffs
The starting horn echoed bright and early Monday morning across Port Townsend Bay to launch the fifth annual running of a madcap maritime marathon. The 750-mile Race to Alaska has been compared by its organizers to the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, but with a chance of drowning or getting eaten by a bear.
Any size boat with any size crew can compete in the Race to Alaska as long as it has no motor and can get to Ketchikan self-sustained, meaning no trailing fleet of support teams were in sight. The 43 entries this year include two stand-up paddleboarders, a Hawaiian-style outrigger canoe, a half-dozen rowboats and skiffs alongside a bunch of really fast sailboats, catamarans and trimarans.
“There continues to be interesting boats across the spectrum of craft,” said race co-founder Jake Beattie of the Northwest Maritime Center. “It’s just whatever you want to bring will be racing against whatever else other people want to bring.”
As in years past, the winning team collects $10,000 and the runner-up gets a set of steak knives. Beattie said this year’s field of competitors is the largest in the history of the epic adventure race.
NATIONAL – From usnews.com
San Francisco Board Votes to Close Juvenile Justice Center
San Francisco will become the first major U.S. city to close down its youth detention center.
San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted last week to shut the city’s Juvenile Justice Center by the end of 2021.
A new task force will be created to develop “home-like and rehabilitative centers in San Francisco to house youth offenders, including a secure site for those who pose a public safety threat,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Due to a steady decline in crime committed by youths and a growing emphasis on alternatives to incarceration, many of California’s juvenile detention facilities are left nearly vacant, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. In response, the annual cost of incarceration has skyrocketed. The San Francisco facility, which can house up to 150 juveniles, currently holds just 39.
“Who wouldn’t want to close juvenile hall and make sure we’re not locking up young people? But we also know there are still challenges that might exist, and we need to be prepared for those,” Breed said.
While the process is underway, the Board must review and approve all final plans six months prior to the facility’s closure.
INTERNATIONAL – From bbc.com
Canada to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021
Canada will ban “harmful” single-use plastics as early as 2021 in a bid to reduce ocean waste, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced.
This initiative is modelled on similar legislation passed last year by the European Union and other nations.
Canada will also establish “targets” for companies that manufacture or sell plastics to be responsible for their plastic waste.
Currently less than 10% of plastic used in Canada gets recycled.
Mr. Trudeau called the issue of plastic pollution a “global challenge”.
In May, the United Nations said 180 countries reached a deal to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the world’s oceans, where it can harm fish, sea turtles, whales and other wildlife.
While European and North American countries tend to produce a lot of plastic waste per capita, their management of that waste limits the impact of that product on the ocean compared to other regions, according to research out of the UK.
The Canadian government has yet to decide which single-use plastic products will be included on the list but it could target plastic bags, straws, cutlery, plates and stir sticks.
The prime minister made the announcement a few months before the next general election, which is scheduled for this coming autumn.
Issues like climate change and pollution are widely expected to be among the top concerns on the campaign trail.
Across Canada, a number of municipalities and some provinces have recently moved ahead with various single-use plastics bans, mainly targeting plastic bags.
Mr. Trudeau acknowledged those efforts and said “a real solution needs to be nation-wide”.
OUT OF THIS WORLD – From astronomy.com
The Sky This Week
The Full Moon officially arrives at 4:31 a.m. EDT Sunday morning, but it looks completely illuminated all night. It appears low in the southeast as the Sun sets and climbs highest in the south around 1 a.m. local daylight time. The Full Moon resides among the background stars of southeastern Ophiuchus, though residents in western North America will see it slide into western Sagittarius by daybreak. You can expect a lot of people to ask what that bright object sitting next to the Moon is. Brilliant Jupiter lies just 5° from the Moon after sundown and a couple of degrees farther away by daybreak.