By Rob Glenn
February 20, 2006
Ms. Martin, I thank you for writing your letter concerning the more important problems of Ketchikan. I lived in Ketchikan for 3 years. I watched my father die of cancer there, I know many people who have been diagnosed with cancer and so I began to research into what could be the problems.
I, while living there was totally against the bridge. My many letters to the Sitnews concerned Cancer, Drug abuse, Teen pregnancy, and other health issues. It was amazing to me that after writing on here that I felt the water must have something to do with the high cancer, the city then released its finding of high levels of Haleoacedic acid in the city drinking water. In the 30 million dollar range it would cost to correct the problem. Did you know that until 2004 it was not required to check drinking water for haleoacedic acid? How long do you think the levels have been that high in KTN? And haleoacedic acid has been linked to cancers, and birth defects in some cases according to the department of environmental conservation. So one solution is to add ammonia to the water. That must be healthy. Another is to filter the natural sediments in the lakes where the water comes from so that there would be no mixture of leaves, and other items with the chlorine causing the haleoacedic acid. And then lastly the expensive building of a new water treatment plant. I am no water expert, but I do know at least 18 people whom I can name who were diagnosed or passed away from cancer in 3 years!
However, the people who are supposed to look out for the city are very tunnel visioned. Your health is not important to them. What is important is making sure that the Governor, the Senator and the Representative are happy because this keeps money coming to Ketchikan.
A bunch of kids running around on drugs, a bunch of high school drop outs having babies, and an entire family with cancer are not that important. Cleaning up Ward Cove is not that important, making your water healthy not that important. A bridge is important.
You write, "Unless of course you all feel safer turning your heads and hiding behind the bridge, or the dock, or whatever the next thing is that isn't going to change much." I must say excellent statement. The problem is that many people are in denial. Just before moving back to the lower 48, I had a mildly heated conversation with a person who said, "why move to where you are moving, there is so much crime there." My reply to her was "that is all you people in this town say, crime and traffic." It is like their excuse for living in Ketchikan. But there is plenty of crime many of it drug related. How many people come to Alaska because they enter the mix?
Building a bridge is not going to help the social, economic, or health well being of residents of Ketchikan. The blind eye politics of Ketchikan bothered me so much, had me so concerned about my health that I decided I had to get out of there. I left and according to what I just read I am not the only person to leave Ketchikan. They lost over 1,000 people in 5 years. That is a lot in a town of 8000.
Thanks for your letter.
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