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News that Ucore Rare Metals is proceeding to the next step in its process toward developing a mine at its Bokan Mountain/Dotson Ridge property on the southeast coast of Prince of Wales Island should be viewed positively — despite coming at a difficult time for the rare earth element mining sector.

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Letty Eileen Cole, 93, died on Oct. 15, 2014, in Ketchikan.
Susan Marie Mallott Patrick, 58, died Oct. 11, 2014, in Ketchikan.
Daniel Edward Hines, 47, died Oct. 11, 2014, in Juneau after a nine-month battle with brain cancer.
7/11/2014
Must-have for hiking

Another item has been added to the list of "don't leave home without it."

Or, in this case, "don't leave the cruise ship." Or "don't hike."

A 16-year-old cruise ship tourist got lost hiking on Deer Mountain this week.

But never fear. He had a cellphone, and called 911.

Not only did the phone call alert authorities to his predicament, but they instructed him to turn on the GPS on the phone and read off his longitude and latitude. Then all he had to do — besides hope no hungry bear showed up before he could be rescued — is wait for the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad.

A two- or three-day search turned into an immediate rescue and a happy ending because of technology.

It just goes to show how important a phone can be in the life of a teenager. Or anyone.