Gotta be grateful

The following editorial first ran Aug. 17 in the Ketchikan Daily News:

Gotta be grateful.

Positively grateful.

Too often it’s just the opposite: We look at what we don’t have, can’t have or are not going to get, and spend 90 percent of the time focused on that instead of on what we do have.

But not in Ketchikan when it comes to the tourism industry.

We’ve got tourists, thanks in great part to the cruise lines and the local leaders of days gone by who had a vision for economic development at the port. Specifically, their vision was of cruise ships coming into the community and populating it with customers; customers for the stores and the tours as well as other attractions.

Back then an attraction like zip lines weren’t even dreamed of for Ketchikan. Today, it’s one among many — Ketchikan’s old standard of fishing, plus go-carts, paddle boats and canoes. Pretty much if it’s been thought of, it’s been given a go here.

The tourism industry provides much of the power for the community’s economic engine.

So to hear that the influx of cruise-ship passengers has increased is very welcome news.

The number of passengers has gone up by 38,807, or 6.8 percent, between spring and the week ending Aug. 4 compared to the same period last year, Ketchikan City Manager Karl Amylon noted in a report to the City Council this week.

The increase means Ketchikan welcomed 612,573 passengers by the second week in August. A year ago, that number was 573,766.

With eight weeks remaining to be tallied and about seven weeks before the final ship calls this cruise season, the city holds out hope that it might reach its projected 8-percent increase over 2012.

But as we think about achieving that projection, we can’t forget how much the tourists who came so far mean to Ketchikan.

Their presence has provided jobs, the all-important key to unlocking a prospering economy.

It’s more prosperous when it comes to tourists cruising into town than it was a year ago; we’ll focus on that.


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Letter: The Homeless Ordinance

As I understand it, on Monday the assembly will be voting on an ordinance to permit the police to evict people camping in the downtown and make them move to a camping area in the Thane avalanche zone. I think that’s mistaken public policy. I’ve just hand delivered a 5 page letter to the CBJ in opposition. But what’s really needed isn’t my opinion. It’s a newspaper’s reporting of the facts. That said, if someone’s camped out in a doorway, it couldn’t be a more clear cry for help. And underneath that gruff scary homeless person is so often someone suffering the terrible diseases of mental illness and addiction.

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Win Gruening: Homeless Not Helpless

When Mayor Ken Koelsch recently proposed a city ordinance prohibiting camping in downtown Juneau to help resolve on-going issues with our homeless population, there was significant public reaction.

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My Turn: A Good Time for Kindness

Some time ago, the snow was mounded everywhere, deep and wet. As I gazed from my window, contemplating shoveling, I saw a neighbor plowing out the nextdoor driveway and mailbox — and then chug over to our mailbox, and plow it out as well. Such a welcome and unrequested act of thoughtfulness, of kindness: it lifted my spirits!

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