April 5, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 14

Letters to the Editor

Fundraising drive a success

To the Editor:

Rae C. Stedman Elementary recognizes the combined efforts of many toward the success of our fundraising drive entitled, “Reading with a Meaning.” 

From local businesses to community members, from parents to students, we linked efforts and stood as one to give the gift of a lifetime to the children of Wondo Genet, Ethiopia--an education. 

Our brightly decorated little yellow donation boxes were accepted and displayed at local businesses. Many businesses then showed their support with a generous donations. Generosity and giving were now spreading like wildfire.

As a grand crescendo, the Stedman Student Council and students at the elementary school gave their time, talents, and treasure for the entire month of February to collecting sponsors, reading abundantly, and rounding up pledges to donate to our giving campaign. At the end of the month, we raised enough money to build two additional classrooms for a sister school in Africa, nearly $6,300.

So with pride in Petersburg we can proudly state: Unity of Community: Powerful enough to build small buildings in a single bound.

Thank you citizens of our wonderful community of Petersburg.

Mr. Kowalski and all Students and Staff at Stedman Elementary

Thank you from the


To the Editor:

I want to thank the thousands of Alaskans who participated in Choose Respect rallies and marches last week; thank you for speaking out and standing up against domestic violence, sexual assault and child sexual abuse. The First Lady and I are especially grateful to the amazing hosts and communities for their hospitality extended to members of my administration. We are rebuilding the importance of the traditions of respect, and by doing so we will end the epidemic of domestic violence and sexual assault. Together, we will create a stronger, healthier Alaska.

Governor Sean Parnell

Our view on education funding

To the Editor:

A number of our members have expressed a desire to explain how we feel about public education.  The following position letter was approved by the membership of the Concerned Citizens of the Unorganized Borough (CCUB) at our March 17, 2012 meeting.

To Whom It May Concern:

CCUB’s opposition to the Petersburg Borough has caused us a great deal of thoughtful discussion, especially in regards to education.  In those discussions, we have catalogued a number of reasons we fully support a strong and well-rounded public education.  We find they are the same reasons championed by Thomas Jefferson in August 1818:

"To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business; To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts and accounts, in writing; To improve by reading, his morals and faculties; To understand his duties to his neighbors and country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either; To know his rights; to exercise with order and justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor and judgment; And, in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed. To instruct the mass of our citizens in these, their rights, interests and duties, as men and citizens, being then the objects of education in the primary schools, whether private or public, in them should be taught reading, writing and numerical arithmetic, the elements of [geometry, algebra, and measuring]...and the outlines of geography and history."

We could not have said it better.

It is true that becoming a borough will mean that Petersburg will give more money to the school system.  It is also true that the State of Alaska will reduce its contribution by an amount equal to the increase in Petersburg’s share.  This means that becoming a borough will not add one thin dime to the Petersburg School System.

CCUB members are strongly in favor of public education.  We realize that providing a quality education for K through 12 is vital to promoting a vibrant and cohesive society.  Becoming a borough will neither help nor hinder the complete funding and support of Petersburg’s public educational system.

George Cole

on behalf of CCUB 

Kupreanof joins

generous library


To the Editor:

The capital campaign for the new library recently received a generous donation from the City of Kupreanof for $18,000. With this donation, the City of Kupreanof has reserved the Story Corner to be named in honor of the citizens of that community who felt it was important to support the construction of this new community facility. The fishing wall will also have a boat named in honor of the City of Kupreanof. The services the new library will provide to the citizens of Kupreanof and others living in outlying areas will be enjoyed for years to come. We sincerely thank the City of Kupreanof for being supporters of the new Petersburg Public Library. 225 individuals and organizations have pledged just over $350K to the new library – we are well on the way to our goal of $500K in local donations.  Individuals, organizations and businesses interested in contributing can visit the public library or psglib.wordpress.com

 Karen Dillman

Petersburg Public Library Capital Campaign

Which vet to support

To the Editor:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there’s one veterinarian per 5,700 people in the United States.  Yet Petersburg, with a population of only 3,000, has three vets:  Dr. Hill at Waterways Veterinary Clinic, and Drs. Lowry and Conniff at Skookum Vets.   Is this really the good fortune that it seems?

In 2007, when we contemplated buying a house in Petersburg, the one thing the town lacked, the one thing that concerned us most, was a veterinarian.  We can get our pets to Juneau for routine matters, but what do you do when your animal is hurting in the middle of the night?  Then we learned that Dr. Hill was purchasing Dr. Egger’s former clinic.  Problem solved.  We bought the house.

Fast forward a couple of years.  Two vets from Juneau and/or Montana came to town and set up a practice.  Now our tiny population is split three ways – each far too small for any of the vets to survive for long.   Let them compete, you say, and market forces will determine who wins all of our business.  Nice theory, but this isn’t Walmart vs. Kmart.  Being a good community vet is a lot more complex than duking it out to see who can sell the cheapest tube socks.   And extreme competition like this may result in mutual destruction.  They starve each other out, then they all leave town for greener pastures.   That seems to be where they’re headed.   Petersburg will be the loser then.

Petersburg pet owners should carefully consider the long-term best interests of their animals and the community when deciding which vet to patronize. 

We support our vet, Dr. Hill at Waterways Veterinary.  We’ve always been happy with his care of our dog.  He has invested in his practice and in this town by making considerable upgrades to his clinic.  Of course he travels out of town to provide services to other communities.  When he does, he encourages consultation by email and phone.  He has two local qualified assistants, at least one of whom is available for emergencies and supplies when the vet is out of town.   Oh, and he bought a house in Petersburg and actually lives here.   When he retires, he’ll leave behind a nice clinic for the next vet. We wonder what Skookum will leave behind?

Paul Johnsen

and Lynn Escola

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