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Crossing guards, sanitation engineers & floatplanes
by M.J. Cadle


August 03, 2004

I for one am happy we have the crossing guards in the summer.  I think it improves traffic flow and safety for all concerned.  In the last few years, I have been impressed at the level of professionalism shown by the young guards.  It was rare to see them neglect their safety duties by chatting with each other and rarer still to see them abandoning one spot in favor of hanging with a friend at another.  This year, however, it is a different story.  I regularly drive by when there are two guards together at one corner or another and none at all at the next.  I have had to stop for streaming crosswalkers while just behind me are two guards looking the other way.  Today in fact, I had to stop for people in the street because the guard was sitting with his friend at the other end of the rope barricade.  All he did in response was blow his whistle once and sit back down.
I have called both the city offices many times and now the police regarding the lax attitude of the guards.  I realize it can be a boring job, and it is hard not to want to walk down and talk to your friends; but that is not their job.  It is to protect people from being hit in the roads and to protect the city and all it's tax payers from a lawsuit.  Knowing about a risk factor and neglecting to protect from it is worth more in a lawsuit than no knowledge at all.  Please if you see the guards neglecting their duties call the city police and complain for the safety of us all.
Thank you to the guards who are doing good work and there are several!

I have been meaning to write a letter to the editor for some time now regarding the Great Sanitation Engineers in this town as well as at the landfill. Both here and in Juneau I have been impressed by the friendly, helpful attitude of those who have one of the less pleasant jobs on the books. Where roads are narrow, I have seen a truck stop it's run and back out of the way of someone trying to get by. At my house I have been lucky enough to get my can emptied even when it may get knocked down by wind, birds, dogs or bears and be farther from the road than it should be, despite my best efforts. And up at the landfill, one kind gentleman kept my car manual that had mistakenly ended up in the recycle bin for several months before he was at work again the same time I was there so he could return it to me, among other kind deeds up there. They work under exceptional circumstances in our quaint SE towns with steep hills, narrow drives, old fashioned hand load cans and bears. Back in my childhood, I remember the sanitation engineers complaining so much about everything that if your can was not positioned just so, there was an extra charge, if it was too heavy there was an extra charge. It seemed there was always an extra charge my mother was complaining about. If you know any Sanitation Engineers around here, please pass on my Thank You!

Regarding floatplane safety, about a month ago a friend and I witnessed two float plans just a few feet apart and at one point we could not see water between them. One was coming down right on top of the other which was already on the water. The plane that was on the water appeared to be taking off both visually and judging from his engine noise. It ended up staying on the water and going down the channel out of sight from where we were. It was late in the day and I am sure the pilots were tired which is a great time for accidents. It is also getting very difficult to cross the channel with all the liters, float planes and charter boats going every which way. Perhaps it is time to set some guidelines if not rules.

M.J. Cadle
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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