Juneau police say 'no' to enterprising youngsters

Posted: Tuesday, August 29, 2000

JUNEAU (AP) -- Two enterprising brothers, ages 6 and 9, decided they could earn money for Pokemon cards by playing violin and guitar for tourists on the city's downtown streets.

But Juneau police put a stop to the music.

''The law says they can't do it here,'' said Lt. Walt Bowman of the Juneau Police Department.

The mother of the boys, Alyse Galvin, who moved to Juneau a year ago from Anchorage, feels police overreacted to her children playing music last week.

When her older sons, Sean, 6, and Cooper, 9, suggested playing violin and guitar to earn pocket money, she thought nothing of it. The boys had performed often at Anchorage's Saturday Market.

In pouring rain Tuesday, the kids played Suzuki music ranging from ''Camp Town Races'' to ''Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star'' for 20 minutes near the cruise ship docks.

Wednesday they clamored to do it again, and stationed themselves between the Armadillo Tex-Mex Cafe and Alaska Express. After 45 minutes, they gathered up their things to visit a fudge shop and the library. Twenty minutes later in the library parking lot, according to Galvin, a police officer approached the family, asking, ''Do you have two children who play music?''

''I said, 'Yes, I do. Is there some sort of a problem?'''

Two more police cars arrived. Officer Jason Van Sickle told Galvin the boys were conducting a form of panhandling and the activity was illegal without a business license.

Lt. Walt Boman of the Juneau Police Department said regardless of how routinely the Galvins performed in Anchorage, the law says they can't do it here.

No one seemed disturbed by the entertainment, Galvin said.

Armadillo owner Terry Harvey said he was not the one who complained but in his years as a downtown businessman, Harvey has come to see Juneau's strict sidewalk ordinances as fair.

''People complained about 10 years ago when we put tables out on sunny days. I understand that,'' Harvey said. ''With all the tourists, there is really no room on the sidewalk for anything but walking.''

City Attorney John Corso took the incident seriously.

''As a practical matter, even little kids can be a tripping hazard on downtown streets. And an open guitar case (to catch coins) can take up half a sidewalk,'' he said.

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