Thank you

Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2005

... for the sauna story

Thanks to the Empire for the article on the Niemi family's Douglas sauna. It brought back many memories of my youth, when a once-weekly sauna was the norm for even the youngest family member, as I recall being in the sauna with my grandmother, who was sitting on the lower bench washing my baby sister.

My husband Rudy was one of the group that built the present sauna, along with my brother Don, Jim Burns, Gene Love (who was a civilian employee of the Coast Guard), John Mulligan and a couple others, under my Uncle John's direction. Rudy and Don would often go on rock hunts in Bear Creek for sauna rocks that met my Uncle's exacting criteria. They had to be dark green and dense enough to keep from shattering in the heat.

One correction: The home now owned by the Walshes belonged to my uncle, not my folks. We moved in with him after my grandmother's death.

Judy (Niemi) Ripley


... for supporting swim, dive team

The Juneau-Douglas High School Swim and Dive Team would like to express its gratitude for the generous support that the Juneau community has given our team.

First, we would like to thank everyone who has purchased a Christmas tree this year. Every year we purchase trees through the generous assistance of Fred Meyers; they are then trucked from Oregon, and barged on Alaska Marine Line to Juneau. Fred Meyers helps facilitate our tree sales on their parking lot and by providing electricity for our Christmas lights. Swimmers and divers, plus parents, volunteer their time advertising and selling the trees. These sales help pay for travel to swim and dive meets and other team expenses.

As with all of the sports and youth activities in Southeast, fundraising is critical to the success of the team. It has been our swim coach, John Wray's philosophy that our swimmers and divers should earn the necessary monies by providing a service to our community. For our kids, fundraising is a year-round activity. Some of our many fundraising activities include bagging purchases at Fred Meyers the day after Thanksgiving, sponsoring a dance at JDHS, selling concessions for Homecoming Basketball Game at Mac Cache, moving wood and collecting donations for the annual JDHS Activities Auction which supports World Languages, and the Swim and Dive and Volleyball teams.

Equally important to our team's philosophy has been the belief that we should pay back to the community for that support by volunteering our time in a community-service project. Last summer the team volunteered its time and labor by clearing brush to help Trail Mix maintain the Mount Juneau Trail.

The swim and dive team would like express our appreciation to the many businesses and individuals who donated the numerous wonderful items for the JDHS Activities Auction. We would like to thank Fred Meyers staff, especially Joe Nightengale, Home Department Manager, for all their assistance in facilitating our Christmas Tree sales. A most hearty thanks goes to Alaska Marine Lines: to human resource coordinator Bill Merk and especially to cice president of sales and marketing, Seattle, Kevin Anderson, for their extremely generous sponsorship and donation of the barge shipping-costs for the Christmas trees. It would not be possible for our team to do this without you.

Many of our swimmers train year-round. The swim and dive season runs from the second week in August through early November. During this time, they are in the pool between 18 and 21 hours per week, with morning practices starting at 5 am. Their positive and winning attitude, and dedication and hard work are evident in their numerous regional and state titles and in their personal best times. Support and commitment from our parents, head coaches, John Wray and Cathy Tide, assistant coaches and our community are vital for each swimmer and diver's success. All we can offer to each and everyone of you is a sincere and heart-felt thank-you for a successful season.

Susan Oelklaus

JDHS Swimming and Diving Parent

... for the support for our Juneau Big Magic Luncheon

Many thanks to our table captains and to everyone who came out to support Big Brothers Big Sisters at our Juneau Big Magic Luncheon on Dec. 1. We truly appreciate each and every contribution, which allow us to professionally support one-to-one relationships for Southeast Alaska youth.

We would like to extend a special thanks to Cody Bennett, not only for speaking at the luncheon, but also for joining our Little Moments Big Magic Giving Society. Our sincere appreciation to all of our Little Moments Big Magic Society members who continue to pledge five-year donations of $1,000 or more and provide the stability we need to provide quality services to young people throughout Southeast Alaska. Thanks to Rob and Kimberly Skinner, Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation; Ketchikan Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailer Association; Bob and Deanna Hal; George and Debbie Reifenstein; Karen Schmidt; Elgee Rehfeld Mertz LLC; Larry Persily; Bill and Sharon Wildes; Georgette and Gary Droubay; Marie Olson; Mike Elerding; Ron and Evvy Barnes; Steve Phillips; Svend Karl Klein-McMahon; Wal-Mart; Linda and Robert Adams; JC Conley; John Hutchins; and to our anonymous donor.

Marc Wheeler


... for help with alcohol program

During the National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence annual meeting on Nov. 16, Ben Coronell and Ed Kalwara were recognized for their dedicated service in alcohol prevention and awareness in the city of Juneau.

A special thank you from our staff and board of directors for their tireless efforts and invaluable contributions in prevention activities and work on underage drinking and driving.

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence

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