Neighbors mailbox

Posted: Friday, October 12, 2007

Thanks for attending the National Suicide Prevention Week march

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I want to express my appreciation to the city of Juneau, the Juneau Police Department and the citizens of Juneau for their support of the Native Alaskan and American Indian community representatives who participated in the National Suicide Prevention Week observance on Sept. 12.

This candlelight march, although quickly planned, was met with cooperation and support by your city. We were joined by Tlingit singers and by townspeople who learned of the march and joined us on the spot. Your local police are to be commended for their willingness to support such efforts.

More than 100 community representatives came to Juneau to share strategies and hopes for youth suicide prevention and youth violence prevention. Our group included community workers, tribal leaders and respected elders from 13 different Native communities. They were made to feel welcome and enjoyed Juneau's hospitality.

Jo Ann Kauffman

President, Kauffman and Associates Inc.

Spokane, Wash.

Thanks to all who helped take down the 50 state flags

The 50 state flags came down on Sept. 30 after five months of waving their colors over Egan Drive from Marine Park to 10th Street in downtown Juneau. Thankfully, the weather cooperated without the wind and rain that the flag crew had experienced putting them up last spring on April 29.

The members of the take-down crew were Hal Creek, Jim Akins, George Fisher, Steve Byers, Hans Mercer, Charles Renhard and Wayne Hoyt. Thanks, guys. This year, the Juneau Police Department supplied the traffic control, which is much appreciated.

Thanks again to Steve Kikendall, manager of Tyler Rentals, for the use of their man-lift crane. Thanks to KINY/KSUP Radio for your support and supplying the staging area for the crane.

And thanks to those who made a donation to this community pride project. You are the Friends of the Flags.

We are looking forward to our 31st year next spring, when the flags go up again.

Rudy J. Ripley

Chairman, Friends of the Flags


Thank you, David Davidson, for your immediate response

I must take the time to write and say thank you to David Davidson, front office manager for Westmark Hotel in Juneau, for his immediate response to my call for assistance when my husband was so ill on Aug. 21. Upon our return to Juneau, I did stop by to speak to Davidson personally, but we were scheduled to leave prior to his coming in.

I must also say that the quick response, efficiency and sincerity of the medical team, from the time they responded at the hotel through the time we spent at the hospital, was truly remarkable. I am pleased to say that my husband is well, and we did continue on our cruise without further incident. We had a most memorable trip, and I am truly impressed with Alaska and the people who live there. I thank you most sincerely.

Sharon Gudenberg

Palm Coast, Fla.

Thank you, Juneau, for supporting the family of Jody Watson

The family of Jody Watson would like to thank Juneau for its help and support. Thank you to those who called 911; the first responders, for their actions and respect for Jody; the Juneau Police Department; the District Attorney's Office; Judge Patricia Collins; University of Alaska Southeast; Chapel by the Lake; the Alaskan Memorial Park and Mortuary; those who serve on the grand jury; witnesses who came forward; the Violent Crimes Compensation Board; and the Juneau Empire, for its coverage over the past two-plus years.

In each step along the way, we were met with compassionate and caring individuals, and together you brought accountability to those responsible for the loss of Jody. We would also like to say a special thank you to Jody's friends, who shared stories and memories with us, Officer Matt Torok, Sgt. Paul Hatch, Carrie Hulse and Doug Gardner. You will always have a special place in our hearts.

Diane Souron, Deborah Watson and Nicole Watson


Thanks for your help in the lost hiker rescue last Thursday night

My family and I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the dozens of fellow Juneau residents who turned out for help and support in the lost hiker rescue effort last Thursday night.

My sincere thanks to SEADOGS and Juneau Mountain Rescue for their help in this incident, but even more so for their many years of voluntary commitment of personal time and resources to equip themselves, train, and participate in numerous rescues in the area. Thanks are also due to the State Troopers, and to the many friends who showed up to help. Your presence helped get my family through a very long night more stressful than my own.

The overwhelming response serves once again to remind us all of how lucky our community is to have so many skilled and dedicated individuals willing to drop everything at a moment's notice to help out others in need. They deserve everyone's whole-hearted support.

To all those who participated, and to all those simply concerned for my safety, my sincerest apology for the scare caused by my bad decision making. This incident may not end 50 years of enjoyable wandering alone in the woods, but does result in a healthier and humbler respect for the potential dangers of doing so.

I will be carrying some extra items in the future, as I am now not allowed beyond the end of the driveway without a cell phone, rescue beacon, and space blanket!

John A. Wilcock


Thank you, Leighty Foundation, for your generous donation

The board and staff of the Gastineau Humane Society would like to take this opportunity to thank the Leighty Foundation for its recent donation. The Leighty Foundation was established to carry on the work of the Leighty family and to support their own personal ongoing efforts in the areas of Earth education and protection as well as to promote philanthropy and volunteerism. The donation to the humane society recognizes the important place animals play in the lives of humans as well as their effect on our physical environment. At the request of the foundation, the money will be used for spaying and neutering.

Pet overpopulation and the myriad of problems it causes for both the community and animals is a dilemma that could be resolved through spaying and neutering. A spayed or neutered animal exhibits better behavior is healthier and lives longer. Unwanted animals dumped outside to fend for themselves often die from exposure, starvation or attacks from another animal. Animals that are out and about looking for a breeding partner are more likely to be killed by a car or another animal. And, animals who are not suffering from the anxiety of unrequited hormonal imbalance are less likely to be destructive. Several studies indicate that the majority of animals that cause serious bites to humans have not been spayed or neutered. When humans changed the course of animal history by domesticating them, we took on the responsibility of providing them with the best care we can.

If you have a pet that needs to be spayed or neutered, please contact the Gastineau Humane Society at 789-0260. We can help you. Thanks in part to the Leighty Foundation, individuals who may not have been able to afford spaying or neutering for their pet, will now have that option open to them. This is a good thing for the animals, their owners and for the community we all share.

Chava Lee

Executive Director, Gastineau Humane Society


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