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Off-road vehicles
by Tyrell Rettke


January 02, 2005

I agree with Tom here. There are not enough places to ride off road vehicles. But there is a larger underlying problem here too: there is no where and nothing for older kids to do at all in this town, that is safe or legal.

We used to have a pool hall and an arcade, and still that wasn't enough, and now those are long gone. The rec center is not really geared towards kids of the age group I'm discussing here, which is 14-23 year olds (kids at heart?)

One of the main problems I see is that none of the adults in charge of local affairs are willing to help anyone out who tries to put something for them to do in. Last year I personally tried to start a paintball league/field. I had some land arranged, thanks to one of those kids at heart, and all I needed was insurance for it. Granted paintball can be a dangerous sport, and the insurance was going to run around $4200 a year. This amount, we could have probably swung. It was the $1500 down that we couldn't. If I had taken advances, say 6months up front, then they wouldn't have been paying the next months, and we couldn't have made the monthly payments. Not to mention, how many people are going to pay before they can play? Kind of a catch-22. When I had exhausted all my own resources to get this done, I hung my head and stepped into the borough office. As expected, I got the little run around.

It was my feeling that the Rec. department's goal of providing recreation for the citizens of the borough would fall easily into putting a paintball league under their insurance. Seemed reasonable to me, but unfortunately, not to them (as I wholly expected). This is the kind of problem that stops people from even trying to get anything done. We get the run around, and then we get what happened next.

A group of paintballers had been playing out at Mud Bight. I had never got the chance to go, but I hear it is a great spot. Well, a few days after they played, I get a call at home, from the borough office. They tell me about all sorts of trash that was left there, and complaints that paint (which is water soluble I might add) had stained some buildings. They tell me to stop playing there, etc. I informed them that it was not me or my associates that played there, and that we tend to take our trash out and wouldn't be dumb enough to play near buildings. The call ends with the office person trying to have me be the paintball police and tell off these other kids because I know who it is etc., etc.

I have gotten several calls to date, 4 or 5. Each one running about the same thing.

You see here in lies the problem. If the people who are supposed to be helping us get things done, and making the community better, safer and more fun for everyone, start attacking groups and making it highly implausible to get anything done, no one will continue to try and do it.

We all know we as a city/borough have a problem with kids being vandals, and getting into various degrees of trouble, be it drugs, or other. Things for them to do other than these self destructive activities would lessen these problems. Logic... IF one has something fun to do, that is not illegal, THEN one will not do illegal things (as much). Obviously there will be exceptions to this, and there will be lapses into deviant behaviors, but on the whole, I truly believe that if we give the youth of our community something to do, a paintball field, a pool hall, an 18+casino, a dance club/hall, then we will see decreases in drug abuse, and youth related crimes as a whole.

The casino reference is a personal preference. I love hold'em poker. I fully realize that a casino would require rewriting state laws. Just a bit of wishful thinking.

Tyrell Rettke
Ketchikan, AK - USA


Related Viewpoint:

Off-road vehicles by Tom Carlin - Ketchikan, AK - USA


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