Don Young Guest of Honor at
By Carol Cairnes
April 10, 2007
On April 2nd Don Young, the Representative for all Alaska, came
to Ketchikan as the guest of honor at a barbequed pork dinner.
How funny is that? He was not wearing his Golden Fleece, but
flecks of it were gleaming from his teeth. I think he's been
chewing on it. There was no mention of the Gravina situation
in any of the promotional material he was handing out to the
crowd, which fit quite comfortably into the new Sunny Point Conference
Room. The usual diehard geezers (myself included) where there,
but he was targeting a younger demographic. "Young Man"
and "Young Woman" said the campaign buttons. Mr.
Young seems to be looking to the future. So what's wrong with
Ketchikan's local representation?
When I go through the current state documents about Gravina I
see that the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
has applied for and received a permit from the Army Corps of
Engineers to build Alternative F1 of the Gravina Access Project.
Ketchikan's transportation dollars continue to flow into a pointless
project that is never going to materialize while the residents
of Ketchikan dodge potholes that could swallow a brown bear.
Young didn't give up his pork, but he seems to have come to the
realization that constructing a bridge across the Tongass Narrows
might not be the best approach for the future development of
the Ketchikan Gateway Borough in spite of what he says to local
reporters. The focus has shifted back to Tongass Narrows as
a superhighway itself and the talk is all of ships and ferries.
Thank goodness hydro has risen from the ashes too. And at last
there is serious talk about supporting fiber optic highways coming
into our area, a special blessing for Prince of Wales Island
residents who will likely never have a road link to the mainland.
The Gravina Bridge has vanished from Senator Stedman's online
Newsletter. But as a parting shot, the defeated Frank Murkowski
awarded a bid to Kiewit for design and construction of the 3.2
mile Gravina Roadway. If I had the energy, I'd follow that money
trail, but I d rather head down a brighter path. Governor Palin
seems to be open to new directions, but the message she keeps
getting from Ketchikan is what? That we're lunatics? That we
want to put the results of transportation dollars spent in a
place that none of us drive? You see it, don't you? Stand in
town and look across the Tongass Narrows east of the airport
runway. There's where the money to fill your potholes is going,
into a road you'll probably never drive on. Meanwhile, you're
afraid to teach your kid to drive because the roads on this island
are so dangerous, but you can't let them walk because the there
are no pedestrian paths along the road.
I think what Don Young would like to have said to the folks last
Tuesday was, "Eat your pork, don't waste it. Feed your
children with it, not your Fat Cats." It is overdue for
Ketchikan to reassess its transportation needs. If we build
our town, they will come. After all, Ketchikan is the best-kept
secret in Alaska. We need to show some pride in our beauty and
charm by taking care of what there is and development will beat
a path to our door.
We are so lucky here that our island is a rock. Upon this rock
we could build to the sky. We could have a skyscraper built
with the latest technology that would meet the needs of many
modern industries and take up a footprint no larger than the
old hospital building that blights our downtown. The intersection
of Forest Avenue and the new 3rd Avenue Bypass Road is another
promising location for vertical expansion. We need to lift our
sights beyond the delusions of past administrations.
Finally, I would once again like to praise the work of the airport
ferry crew. All the rhetoric about access to the airport maligns
the fine job they do for us. There is no faster, easier, more
efficient, more dependable or safer way that could be developed
to get across the Tongass Narrows short of having Scotty beam
us over. Thanks, guys. It's always nice to have you as my welcoming
party when I come off the road.
Received April -9, 2007 - Published April 10, 2007
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
Send A Letter -------Read
E-mail the Editor at
Stories In The News