Neighbors Digest

Posted: Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Free immigration consultations

An attorney from Catholic Social Services of Anchorage will be in Juneau on Thursday and Friday, March 25 and 26, to provide free legal counseling for immigrants.

The immigration counseling, which takes place at SERRC's Valley Adult Education Center at Smith Hall at the St. Vincent de Paul Society, is confidential. People seeking information about work permits, naturalization, lawful permanent resident status, political asylum and temporary protected status are invited to attend.

Half-hour appointments must be scheduled in advance through Joyanne Bloom, 789-4622.

Gastineau Humane Society elects board

The Gastineau Humane Society, a nonprofit organization operating in Juneau since 1964, elected new board members at its annual meeting on March 10. Joining returning board members Kevin Ritchie, Dave Gaudet, Debbie Penrose-Fischer, Bev Mueller and Robert Minch are John McConnochie, Catherine Barrett, Shelley Wright and Duane Callahan. GHS Board President Kevin Ritchie and Executive Director Chava Lee both expressed their gratitude and appreciation to retiring board members Linda Blefgin and Iris Frank for their years of service and dedication to the Humane Society.

Sea kayak symposium

The Alaska Sea Kayaking Symposium, a nonprofit organization funded through sponsorship and student fees, is announcing its 16th Annual Alaska Sea Kayaking Symposium, to be held Friday to Sunday, May 7 to 9, at Alaska Pacific University.

Award-winning author Jan Shriner will provided an evening of slides and stories for her keynote presentation "Waterway to Wilderness." Explore images and habitats to invigorate your paddling dreams and ethics. Shriner will share insights from her travels through the power and magnificence of Big Sur, Anacapa and the Grand Canyon, to peaceful moments on the enormity of Puget Sound, Lake Superior and the Sea of Cortez.

On Saturday, May 8 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., the symposium will also offer a comprehensive introduction to the sport of sea kayaking, aimed at the beginner and intermediate paddlers. A full weekend package participant will receive 25 hours of instruction, including pool and lake sessions, the lecture series and hands-on boat demonstrations.

The informative and entertaining classes and slide shows are packed full of basic "must know before you go" information, new trends and ideas for the best places to kayak in Alaska and around the world. The full weekend includes Saturday night festivities or select individual lectures. Some lectures to look for include: Paddling in Wind & Waves, Cold Water Immersion, Trip Planning & Safety, Emergency Equipment & Safety, Paddling In Kachemak Bay, the Kenai Fjords National Park, Prince William Sound, etc.

There are many principal sponsors for the event: Alaska Kayak School, Alaska Comunications Systems-ACS, Alaska Kayak, Alaska Pacific University, Alaska Sea Kayakers, American Canoe Association, Across the Bay Tent & Breakfast, Baidarka Boats, Challenge Alaska, COAST Magazine, Honey Charters, Kayak Adventures Worldwide, Knik, Canoers & Kayakers, Kokatat, Lazy Otter Charters, Lifetime Adventures, Millers Landing, National Outdoor Leadership School, Pangaea, Prince William Sound Kayak Center, Recreational Equipment Inc.-REI, Sailing Alaska, Sound Eco Adventures, Sunny Cove Sea Kayak Tours, UAA Outdoor Club, Wilderness Adventures, and board and committee Members.

The full weekend package (including the lecture series and keynote) for beginners, intermediates, youth or each family member is $225 or $195 if you register before May 1. The lecture series for the full weekend is $50, individual lectures are $5, the intermediate refresher is $75, and the keynote speaker presentation is $8. For more information, call 564-8314, or register online at

Dept. of Agriculture grant applications

The U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development is accepting applications for grants and loans under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program. Last year, five rural Alaska school districts received grants totaling almost $2.5 million. They included the Denali Borough School District in Healy, the Kake City School District, the Pribilof School District on St. Paul Island, the Southeast Island School District in Thorne Bay, and the Yukon-Koyukuk School District. Additionally, a $3.6 million RUS loan was awarded under the program to United Utilities Inc., to provide services to educational facilities in the Lower Yukon and Lower Kuskokwim school districts.

For information about eligibility requirements and how to apply, visit or call Rural Utilities Service Telecommunications Field Representative Wesley Lannen at (360) 666-2741. The grant application deadline is April 30.

Southeast Alaska Master Gardeners confefence

The Southeast Alaska Master Gardeners will be holding their seventh biannual Southeast Alaska Garden Conference and Tradeshow from May 13 to 16 at Centennial Hall. The opening reception will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on May 13 at Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventures, 7600 Glacier Highway. For additional information or to register, please visit the master gardeners Web site at

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