Letters to the Editor

Mission of court system hasn't changed

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Alaska Court System, and particularly those of us working in the First Judicial District (Southeast), I want to extend to the people of Petersburg, Kake and the surrounding area our appreciation for your patience and consideration as we work through the challenges to our judicial process brought on by the current pandemic. As most of you are aware, we have had to suspend jury trials and most other in-person court proceedings, particularly in civil cases, at least through the end of May, and to impose various modifications in the way we do business inside and outside the courtroom for the protection of our employees, officers, litigants, and the public generally.

But the mission of the court system has not changed. We must continue "to provide an accessible and impartial forum for the just resolution of all cases that come before (us), and to decide such cases in accordance with the law, expeditiously and with integrity." To fulfill that mission, we have continued to accept new cases and hold telephonic or video-linked hearings in designated priority cases and others where the judge finds a compelling need to do so. Motions and other matters continue to be decided by judges. We recognize that there have been delays in proceeding with matters that are of central importance to people's lives and are working to prepare for the day when we will be able to process these matters more expeditiously.

To that end, we expect to be expanding the types of hearings that may be heard in the very near future. The constitutional rights involved in criminal cases and fundamental due process in all court matters must be observed and protected, even in times such as these. We encourage citizens with matters before the court to be aware of the electronic and fax means of filing that have been in place in the First District for some time and to otherwise access information concerning telephonic participation and other court matters by way of the Alaska Court System website and Facebook page. We will be resuming trials and other important live hearings when it is feasible and safe. In the meantime we are expanding the use of technology in our courts to compensate for the limitations brought on by the present health emergency. These outlets will continue to provide information regarding the steps being taken and progress being made toward these goals.

The Petersburg court has, in my 35 plus years of practicing or presiding here, always provided an unmatched level of personal service to the community that is difficult to reach under the present circumstances. Our local Magistrate Judge and Clerk of Court, First District Presiding Judge Stephens, and I are all committed to doing what we can to return to that standard, and greatly appreciate the patience and understanding of the people here while we do so. In the meantime, we are still here, and working for you.

Thank you, Petersburg. Be healthy, and safe.

Bill Carey

Superior Court Judge for Ketchikan, Petersburg and Kake

Enforcing leash laws

To the Editor:

I wanted to know why they aren't enforcing the leash law or making dog owners have their dogs do their business in their own yard so they can pick it up just as well as any other yard or sidewalk? The reason I'm asking is because of how many dogs in town that can be carriers of the COVID-19 virus and dogs that are not on a leash will run up, jump on people or even bite someone sometimes and I have even seen dogs in businesses and yet with a deadly virus going around nothing is done about this. People are tired of dogs running Petersburg and everyone says they are being proactive on this virus but yet they let their dogs run loose everywhere. If this virus gets worse it's going to spread like wildfire because dog owners are not locking up their dogs.

Tonia Grant

Editor's Note:Transmission of the COVID -19 virus by pets is possible, but highly unlikely, if hand washing protocols are followed, according to healthcare professionals at Petersburg Medical Center.

Cigarette butts seem to be everywhere

To the Editor:

Although smoking rates have gone down, cigarette butts seem to be everywhere. Cigarette butts make up over 38% of all collected litter. Littered cigarette butts leach toxic chemicals-such as arsenic (used to kill rats) and lead, to name a few-into the environment and can contaminate water. The toxic exposure can poison fish, as well as animals who eat cigarette butts. Thank you to our community members who work to clean up this litter, and those who are responsible with their trash.

Tori Shay

Tobacco Prevention and Control


To the Editor:

I have always found numbers interesting, Mr. Greseth's math class was always one of my favorites, especially when he sent a student downtown for popsicles.

Like this one: In the U.S. almost 8,000 people a day pass away in America (CDC numbers, easy to find on the web), wow. Almost 3,000,000 a year, double wow. Still less than 1% of the population. Oh, not so wow.

40,000 people killed by the corona virus, another wow? In March we lost a good friend to the virus in Seattle. His son sent out a wonderful letter about him. He had in it that his father would have made it one more month maybe two from his medical problems. The virus sped things up and he was taken a month or two faster than the doctors predicted. Instead of the normal stats he is put in the corona virus stat. How many of the 40,000 the virus is blamed for, follow the same route. Don't think we will ever know. Let's say 50%, now the 40,000 becomes 20,000 in about 90 days. Better, the same death rate per 90 days for normal years without this virus, 70,000. At 8000 per day. Wow?

So what was the tradeoff for shutting most things down. 25,000,000 new unemployment applications, add 15,000,000 self employed and people not qualified for benefits. That makes 40,000,000 million jobs lost or currently unfilled now, out of a workforce of 150,000,000. Wow. Congress hands out 2,800,000,000,000, trillion bucks. Now that's a number. For the first time oil sold at -32 dollars per barrel. This is the futures market, so a minus 31 dollars per barrel is paying people to take the oil you own and you will pay them 31 dollars a barrel. Well that's a small number, at least that's something. But it is so huge. Businesses closed that may never open again.

This has all been self induced and needs to stop soon or it could become the first self made depression in history. Numbers are fun but sometimes they are not what they seem.

Marc Martinsen


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