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Alaska Airlines has been getting some pretty bad press lately. As a very recent ex-patriot of a community solely dependent on them to get further than 15 miles out of town, I was routinely more than willing to add my voice to that chorus. Thanks to the most erratic schedule ever created by man, enhanced by normally marginal summer weather where dense fogs suddenly appear our of nowhere, Alaska Airlines has a reliability factor somewhere south of zero for most Barrow residents. Such grumblings about our local airlines had not been heard in Barrow since MarkAir attempted to post a
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I was in my car the other day listening to the radio. There was an ad on for the make of car I’d just bought. Each model was breathlessly described with one exclamatory word. One was exciting, another was dynamic, another was powerful. They got to my particular model and the word they used was “dependable”. It would have been one of the most deflating moments of my adult life had it not been for the fact that at the time I was on the Seward Highway doing 60 and watching the traffic in front of my recede into the
(Earl Finkler, Bob Thomas and I are the announcing team for KBRW Radio’s Wednesday night softball game program. Earl is out of town on vacation. I sent him this note to catch him up on things.)
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We spoke often of you at the broadcast tonight. Bob ended up doing it last week by himself since I was out of town too. He said there was a lot of dead air. Apparently no one was willing to try and fill our shoes so, as we have so often suspected in the past, our reputation as a broadcast team is
I asked a friend who recently moved to Anchorage from Barrow how long it took before the urge to buy 10 cases of paper towels every time he shopped at Costco wore off. He said it had been over nine months since he left the bush and that moment had not yet occurred for him.
As I approach the final few weeks of my life here, I find myself wondering more and more how I will adjust to life in a place with not only multiple choice shopping, but the ready availability of goods. I will no longer have toContinue reading →
This is a story about someone whose simple act of kindness made a major impression in my life. I am telling it as my gift to her on her retirement from the position of executive director of the Alaska Public Radio Network.
At one of the first press club award dinners I ever attended, the Daily News and Times were still battling for survival in the Anchorage market. This made the dinner a crowded affair as each paper competed for the most awards. It was immediately evident on entering the room that it was divided into a bush versus urbanContinue reading →
It’s not as though I don’t already have enough to worry about. Here I am, trying to pack up my life of the past 28 years, sell my old house, buy a new one, transport a neurotic dog and five birds (including one very vocal parrot whose language may get me tossed off the flight!) 800 miles to their new home while keeping my fledgling business functioning. And now I find I have to worry about my papers.
The worry started when I read about the controversy over where Senator Stevens’ papers will be housed. It grew as I readContinue reading →
In a May 18th news article, the Superintendent of the Klawock School District is quoted as saying, “We do not want to give a certificate of attendance. We are very concerned about everyone feeling successful.” Further on in the article it states, “Although Robertson said the Klawock teaching staff supports the state’s efforts to implement graduation standards, the district is concerned that the certificate of attendance will negatively affect student’s self-esteem.”
Let me start by saying what a great way to teach these children the reality of the world they are about to encounter. Which of us doesn’t know aContinue reading →
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There’s apparently a lot of discussion going on around the state concerning the possible one time payout from the Permanent Fund of $25,000 to every qualifying individual in Alaska. Some Alaskans apparently feel that the amount of the payout should not be uniform but should be based on longevity in the state. Since I’ve lived in Alaska 30 years, that idea has some appeal to me. While I’m not the longest living Alaskan here, 30 years certainly would put me up there with the big bucks. But I think we need to go a few steps further with this idea
You acquire a lot of debt when you live in the bush. Not necessarily financial debt, but karmic debt. After 25 years of having your city friends pick you up at airports, open up their homes to you and your fifty-five boxes from Costco and Sam’s, drive you to doctor’s appointments and generally help you work out the craziness that comes with prolonged exposure to bush living, you are obligated to return some of that to friends left behind after you find your way to the city.
And so it is that I find my home a central focus forContinue reading →
When my mother was still a very young bride, her husband moved her from her home in Philadelphia to their new home in Atlantic City, New Jersey. By car, this is a journey of 90 minutes at worse, 60 minutes using the expressway. Since my father didn’t believe in feeding quarters into machines on a highway that gave him no visible return for his investment, we usually went the 90 minute route.
Part of any holiday in my childhood was spent in a car driving to and from Philadelphia where first my grandmother and then my aunt hosted the familyContinue reading →