Neighbors Digest

Posted: Friday, October 31, 2003

Rotary wraps up first phase of multi-use, open-air picnic structure

After several work parties this summer and fall, the Downtown Rotary Club of Juneau has wrapped up work on the first phase of construction for a multi-use, open-air picnic structure in Auke Bay adjacent to the marina. When finished next year, this water-front pocket park will provide a readily accessible protected sanctuary to conduct a variety of school and community related activities.

In February of 2005, Rotary celebrates a century of service. To commemorate this event, Rotary International has encouraged all clubs worldwide to showcase one particular community service project. While there are past Rotary projects such as parks and viewing areas in Juneau, the downtown club determined that there was a lack of an outdoor multi-purpose structure that could be used by the schools and public alike for educational purposes. The structure could be used for outdoor art classes, a protected bird observatory and a staging area for field trips.

Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world. In more than 160 countries worldwide, 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 29,000 Rotary clubs. Juneau Rotary-Downtown was chartered in 1935, the second Rotary club in the Territory of Alaska. For more info about Rotary, click on

The project kicked off in 2002 when the downtown club conducted an inventory of existing facilities within the Juneau community. After developing a work plan, the Rotary had an engineering and architectural firm draw up a plan. With the cooperation of the City and Borough of Juneau and the Auke Bay School Site Council, the Rotary centennial project is well on its way toward completion in the summer/fall 2004.

Balsa bridges contest to be held Saturday, Nov. 8 at City Museum

Building Balsa Bridges presentation and activities will take place in the Juneau-Douglas City Museum from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8.

The Museum will have a Balsa Bridge presentation on how truss bridges and beam bridges are constructed and then several balsa bridges will be tested to failure. Kids can try their hands at making truss bridges out of gumdrops and toothpicks. A balsa bridge display including bridge photos from past contests will be set up.

This contest is intended to promote interest in engineering, math, and science. It provides an opportunity for students of all ages to learn basic engineering concepts and building techniques.

The annual contest is split into three age divisions: junior (grades 8 and under), senior (grades 9 through 12) and adult. There are two bridge categories: truss and beam. Bridges are designed and constructed by individuals or teams of two. The winning bridges are the ones that have the highest efficiency, which is calculated by dividing the load the bridge carried at failure by the weight of the bridge. For example, last year's junior truss winners, Hans Petaja and Thomas Sorenson, won with an efficiency rating of 687. Their bridge carried 687 times the bridge's weight.

Other winners in junior truss were Austin Dukowitz and Nathan Graves. The winners in junior beam were Gabrielle Worden, Grayson Carlile and Austin Dukowitz. The senior truss winners were Matt Voelkers, Carl Broderson and Nichole O'Brien. The winners in senior beam were Carl Broderson, Matt Voelkers and Taylor Smith. The adult winner was Gary Scarbrough. His beam bridge had an efficiency rating of 3,745.

PE Civil Engineer Travis Arndt and Scarbrough, a bridge inspection manager, will run the event at the city museum. Both work in the bridge design section of the State Department of Transportation.

Rules and specifications for the 10th annual contest will be available at the city museum during the Building Balsa Bridges event. Class size is limited. Pre-registration and a materials fee are required.

The Juneau-Douglas City Museum is located at Fourth and Main Street and is a part of Juneau Parks and Recreation Department. For more information, call 586-3572.

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