June 6, 2013 | Vol. 111, No. 23

Letters to the Editor

A village that raises children

To the Editor:

Jeff and I would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the community of Petersburg and the Petersburg school system. Our children have been privileged to experience community support and high school mentoring as they blossomed into young citizens. They transitioned into colleges in natural resources, law, and civil engineering, an attribute to a village that raises children. Mr. Dormer alluded to this in his introductory address, “acting like a parent when we parents aren’t around day in and day out.”

Downsizing in the federal government affected my family as my job and household was transferred. Mary Jane, our youngest was devastated. However, Louise and Patricia’s only plea was to continue attending Petersburg High School and to graduate PHS. As I set sail June 2010, I was an emotional mess as any parent would be. Uprooting and departing Petersburg was never the plan. I experienced day to day anxiety as Louise and Patricia were finishing up their high school years. Gone were the family dinners, Sunday brunches and daily face to face exchanges of information. Born into my world were instant messaging, texts, and scheduled phone calls often missed because of teenage, “I can’t find my cell phone”, woes. Do teenagers call on a Friday or Saturday? No, they call late Sunday evenings when parents are already asleep.

As I signed travel slip after travel slip, the Lake Street neighborhood reported sightings of Louise and Patricia. Where’s Waldo? A monthly calendar was designed to pinpoint where Patricia was. From time to time when it lacked specifics, the credit card history all over southeast and the interior, and the paychecks deposited in Petersburg twice a month filled in the blanks.

Patricia racked up Alaska Airline miles as I streamed her events, buying flowers and balloons from afar. Details drifted back to me from lots of wonderful people. The village that raises children is a network.

Village members all too numerous to name; high school, middle school and elementary teachers, coaches, school and youth counselors, principals, high school front desk personnel, janitors, cleaning lady, neighbors, business owners, priests, housing parents and friends. Thank you for helping me through this anxious chapter. Thank you for the parent in you. Now all I have to deal with is Mary Jane’s renewed interest in graduating PHS and that impossibility. If we can be of assistance to your children as they travel through Montana, please let us know.

Allison and Jeff Jackson

Community van

To the Editor:

I am one of the fortunate ones, with a car I can drive to get myself wherever I want to go. I never have a problem getting to medical or dental appointments because I have access to transportation. If I want a change of scenery, I can just drive on out the road. In a pinch I have friends I can call.

But what if I didn't have a car? What if I were disabled and could not physically get in and out of a car? And then what if I was sick and needed to go see a doctor?

Petersburg is blessed to have a wheel-chair accessible Community Van housed at Petersburg Medical Center. The hospital uses it to take its residents out for rides or dental appointments, but for the most part, it sits idle. It is not, however, just for hospital use. The van is available for the elderly and disabled residents of Petersburg as well.

The catch is, only people who have been specially trained to drive the Community Van by Hoopie Davidson are allowed to drive it, for insurance reasons. Anyone needing to use the van first has to call the hospital to get names and phone numbers of those approved drivers, then track down one who also has the time to drive it when it's needed. But that list is woefully short, and mostly made up of hospital employees who are working and unavailable to drive during the day.

We need more volunteer drivers. Do you have a valid driver's license? Are you free during working hours sometimes? Are you willing to help a disabled or elderly person get to an appointment now and then, or take a group from the Manor or Long Term Care out for a ride? With no handicap-accessible taxis in town, you could be a lifesaver for someone who really needs you.

Hoopie will teach another class or two this summer. If you are willing to take time to get the training needed to become an approved driver of the Community Van and help out your Petersburg neighbors, call Hoopie by June 20 at 772-4970.

Patty Biggers


To the Editor:

I like the new crosswalks downtown. They should help keep the mold from showing. Too bad they didn't do the whole street that way.

Harold Medalen

About a big brother

To the Editor:

Bo Johnson is my big brother. He has been missing in Hawaii. The last time his family heard his voice was on Monday, May 27, 2013. He has a family; 11 siblings and two parents who love him dearly and are worried sick that he is missing.

Bo went to Hawaii in late January of this year looking for a nice long vacation. During that time Bo and Brittany fell in love. In April, Bo told us that he was bringing Brittany to Alaska to meet the family and spend some time here. Brittany was the first girl that Bo ever felt was special enough to bring home. When they got here, Brittany and Bo learned that they were expecting a baby.

Bo and Brittany had dreams of buying land in Hawaii and building a life together there. They wanted to build a home and start an organic farm. He wanted to marry Brittany in the fall and have our whole family celebrate with them in Hawaii. Their ultimate goal was to be happy and healthy in a safe home. Bo sold nearly everything he owned so he could afford buying land in Hawaii and start building their dream home. Bo took full responsibility for his unborn child. He spent his time in Alaska with his family, but taking care of Brittany was always his first priority.

I only knew Brittany for a couple weeks. In that short time I could see how fun and free spirited she was. I will always remember her great personality and lovely singing voice. I am deeply saddened for the loss of Brittany and her baby.

I grew up with Bo and I know who he is. He is a good man. He is responsible, caring, and honest. If you know Bo, you know that he is a hardworking and respectful man. Everything he had, he had because he was determined, persevered through the rough times, and he worked for it. A couple days before Bo and Brittany left to go back to Hawaii, Bo told me this year was turning out to be the best year of his life. He was happy because he was going to live in a wonderful place and have a family. Unfortunately, with the death of Brittany and their child, that will not be happening. If Bo is still alive, I am sure he is crushed over the loss of Brittany and their baby. Bo would never harm anyone, least of all the woman he loves.

Bo is still missing. We don’t even know if he is still alive. I love him so much. My family loves Bo and we just hope and pray that he is alive. I miss my big brother.

Abi Johnson

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