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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Recognizing the efforts of a good man

By A. M. Johnson


January 23, 2023


Who is Paul Ripdlinger, and why would you or any be concerned with learning the good of the man.  Well, a bit of Ketchikan history will provide a primer for learning about Paul.

In the forty's,  Ketchikan had a policy within the court system that allowed a resident sentenced to jail to serve his penitence, deemed as warranted, to reduce the jail time to serve by volunteering to wander the streets with a designed garbage can on wheels complete with a tool kit of implements that would suffice to pick up the litter from the wood streets and sidewalks areas.  It was common on clear sunny days to see one or two of these parties working their way about maintaining clean streets. To my memory, not considered an embarrassment to the participants, rather a civic duty, a community service.

As time progressed the liberal bent of identifying situations and conditions that in that mind set, was a detrimental action appearing to be an embarrassment to the participants. So, the policy came to an end and the streets then became what most of time are, cluttered with windblown bits of this and that tossed, thrown by purpose, or lost out of traveling traffic, only addressed by mechanical means on seasonal demand and then once or twice in a given season.

Some current months pasts in driving down Tongass Ave. and other streets, including the road to the landfill, I have noticed a gentleman trudging along the street pulling a child's wagon and busy operating an instrument designed to pick objects off the ground by a squeezing manipulation This gentleman, who recently I stopped one day to inquire his name, has made it a project to do his share of effort to improve the earth through eliminating litter. It is a biblical desire on his part to share the day with addressing litter gathering and leaving the earth (Tongass Ave, and other streets and ways) cleaner than when he started the day.

This then is Paul Ripdlinger.  As you drive or walk Tongass Avenue or any byway, notice that the gutters are clear of litter. Maybe consider viewing these efforts of improvement through the eyes of visitors who may pay more attention to the landscape of our community when visiting, we might find ourselves impressed with the cleanness of the streets.

Perhaps you might wave, and honk were you to pass Paul as he is employed in his self-driven quest to make Ketchikan attractive.  One could meditate on the fact that one man, one person, has the dedication at no fiscal cost to the taxpayer, of a good turn to all of we residents of the island.

As a community we often notice and publicly award recognized members of the community for their good efforts in attracting industry, or commerce by celebrating those efforts, typically it involves some well-known or popular idol of the body whole of local leadership. Perhaps recognizing the efforts of a simple soul quietly going about without any fanfare, accomplishing a singular goal benefiting our community would not be too much to consider in the future.


Ketchikan, Alaska




Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was edited to a very small degree for clarification by the SitNews Editor. The context was not edited.

Opinions expressed are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Sitnews.

Received January 13, 2023- Published January 17, 2023

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