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Daylight saving bill a train wreck

Posted: Friday, April 17, 2009

There's a freight train coming at us, and most Southeast Alaskans seem to be oblivious to it.

That is the repeal of daylight saving time, which already passed the House and is steamrollering through the Senate.

Remember, we gave up an hour of evening light in 1983 and this legislation will cause us to give up a second hour during spring, summer and fall.

If you don't think it will affect us, consider this. During 218 days of the year, the sun will set earlier in Petersburg than it does in Honolulu, Hawaii, which does not have daylight saving time. Arizona is the only other state that doesn't recognize daylight saving, but Phoenix will see later sunsets than Petersburg 225 days of the year.

In Seattle, Wash., which recognizes daylight saving time, sunsets will be later than Petersburg every day of the year. The same goes for Portland, Ore. If you go to the U.S. Navy table of sunrises and sunsets to verify this, remember to convert their times to daylight saving between March 3 and Nov. 1.

Even San Francisco will have later sunsets than Petersburg all but 54 days of the year.

And none of these figures take in the effect of the mountains that interfere with our evening sun.

What does all this mean for us? If you want to go fishing after work, go out for a jog or have a barbecue, you'd better stock up on flashlights and plan on breakfast barbecues. After all, sunrises will be before 3 a.m. at the summer solstice. But, if you value long summer evenings, perhaps you should consider moving south.

All this should be good news for the utility department because more evening indoor time equates to more revenue from the use of electricity. The hospital clinic should be happy because more indoor time equates to poorer health. Same for mental health services. Less time outdoors soaking up vitamin D from the sun will equate to more seasonal affective disorder.

If our southeast Senators can't derail this train, the only option is to go back to Pacific Time. After all, the precedence has already been set by Metlakatla. Why can't we follow suit?

Don Cornelius

Petersburg



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