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Adventurers’ endless fascination with Alaska continues unabated in 2017, which already has brought individuals testing their mettle in the Last Frontier to the shores of our First City.

The timber industry isn't taking the hit. Instead, the industry can celebrate a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals majority opinion regarding the U.S. Forest Service's handling of the Big Thorne Project.

Richard Thomas Hall, 56, died May 12, 2017, in Ketchikan.
Velma June Cox, 91, died peacefully on May 6, 2017, in Port Angeles, Washington.
Charles Murphy James Sr., 80, died April 2, 2017, in Big Lake.
The toy list

Toys, they're all the talk at this time of year.

Just ask Santa Claus. He talks to kids and receives their wishful letters in the days leading up to Christmas Day.

Christmas is upon us Tuesday. Most of the shopping is done, although The Salvation Army and Women in Safe Homes continue to prepare and deliver packages for local children — certainly under the direction of Santa — through the weekend and Monday.

Ketchikan High School's culinary class, Kayhi's drill team and Rotary 2000 joined others in shoring up supplies and gifts for WISH and The Salvation Army in the final week of preparation.

Santa's bag will be chock full of gifts for kids.

As of noon Friday, Fisher-Price Disney's Dance Star Mickey topped the list of most popular toys this Christmas, as judged by purchasers on the frequented Amazon.com website. Mickey walks, talks and moves to six dances and gets kids of all ages up and moving around. Dance Star Mickey is a four-star toy.

LEGO City Advent Calendar rated right up there for kids between 2 and 12 years of age. Or maybe their parents made this one popular, thinking their kids would have fun opening the windows each December day leading up to Christmas. Whatever the case, it's a popular purchase with six mini-figures and Christmas accessories, all totaling 271 pieces. It is a four-and-a-half-star toy.

Just like with Mickey and LEGO, good toys don't age, they just get better. Such is the case with Hot Wheels. The 10-car pack promises hours of entertainment for kids 3 and up.

The Assassin's Creed III video game returns its players to the American Colonies during pre-revolutionary days in 1775. In the midst of civil unrest and political upheaval, a Native American assassin fights to protect people and land. However, it this isn't exactly the American Revolutionary War of history books. Parents will decide what ages should play this game, but those who have purchased it say it is a four-star video.

After reading about that, it will feel good knowing the Furby makes an appearance once again on the top-toys list. Anyone more than 8 months old can pet Furby's head, tickle its tummy, pull its tail and talk to it. The Furbish dictionary can be found at www.furby.com. Furby, which comes in a variety of colors, also has its own app. Furby is a four-star toy.

One of the five-star toys is Qwirkle, a board game by MindWare. It appeals to 6-year-olds and older. The point of the game is to match tiles and win points. It resembles Scrabble, except instead of letters, players match colors. This game has won the Parent's Choice Gold Award and is a Mensa Select National Competition Winner.

Another five-star toy, and likely a collector's item, is Barbie - Happy Holidays Special Edition Doll (1995). Barbie has stood the test of kids for 50 years, and still remains beautiful in the eyes of girls of all ages around the world. The Barbie Collector 2010 Holiday Doll is only half a star less popular than her 1995 sister.

Tickle Me Elmo, the 10th Anniversary Edition, likes to be tickled, of course. It makes him slap his leg, fall down and rock back and forth, all the while laughing. He even kicks his feet after rolling over on the floor. Kids love Elmo before they turn 2 and for years afterward. He's a four-star toy.

Finally, World of Tanks is a video set during World War II. It includes 300 armored vehicles from the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Japan and the Soviet Union, depicted with historical accuracy. This video receives four stars in purchasers' satisfaction, but parents decide what ages for which it is appropriate.

That's the top 10, or the toys Santa is expected to carry the most of in his bag on Christmas Eve, according to one of the preeminent toy shops in the world.

Christmas toys are as much the same as they change. They still feature fuzzy animals, dolls, war figures and board games. It's just that they've advanced over the years.

But boys still play war games and girls like dolls.

And adults still like to make sure that every kid gets a toy at Christmas.

Thank you to all of the high school and local clubs who ensure that they will.

Merry Christmas to all the good little girls and boys!