Out There

Grizzly Volleyball

Posted in Uncategorized by Pete on December 11, 2008

Our high school mixed-6 (boys and girls) volleyball team is playing at state this week.  We’re obviously excited and so proud of them.  Our school has never sent any team to state, to my knowledge.  Although Akula (the new side of Kasigluk) has sent teams before, at least in basketball.  Anyway, its fantastic.  They were the shortest team they saw all season but it didn’t stop them.  And I’m probably more proud of them all being eligible than I am of their victories, silly as that might seem to them.  They worked their butts off doing extra reading and whatever it took to catch up and stay eligible.  The good news?  Staying caught up is a lot easier than digging out of the hole!  You can track their progress here (for a little while anyway – scroll down).  Thanks BSSD!

We’re #3! We’re #3!

Posted in politics by Pete on December 11, 2008

You think Illinois is bad?  Hah!  It has NUTHIN on Alaska or especially North Dakota, that legendarily sordid den of iniquity.  USA Today put out a seriously flawed study that proves Illinois hasn’t caught us yet.  And as soon as Weyrauch and maybe Don Young and a couple more after that are added to the list we’ll be #1.  As Napoleon would say:  “Yessssss.”  Here is the view from Ketchikan.

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recycling in the bush – is it worth it?

Posted in Uncategorized by Pete on December 6, 2008

Another new change is some recycling is happening right now.  There are a couple of people in our village who work on recycling, collecting used batteries, pop cans, bottles, etc.  It must be grant funded.  They drive over to our school from Akula by boat or snowgo (1.5 miles each way), sort out the tons of nasty candy wrappers, spit cans, and other trash that gets placed in the recycling container, put the recyclables in huge plastic alpar bags, drive them back over to akula, later drive them to the runway and put them on a Hageland Aviation plane, which takes it 25 miles to Northern Air Cargo in Bethel, which flies it 400+ miles to Anchorage, where it is picked up by a Smurfit-Stone recycling company truck (the people who run the recycling center behind napa auto parts on Dowling).   I think it gets crushed and semi-processed there, and then a lot of it gets barged over 1,000 miles to Seattle or somewhere for further processing.  Now, all of these planes and barges are carrying the stuff for free or at a steep discount because it is all “back haul,” going the direction in which the vehicle is usually empty (NAC planes fly from ANC to BET stuffed full, and fly back nearly empty, so prices to send freight from BET-ANC is cheap), and because it is a “good cause” and because it is usually light (bags of pop cans are light).  Finally, we actually get a check from the Anchorage recycling people for $.35 per pound of cans we sent in.

SO.  My question is, can it possibly be worth it to go through all of those steps?  What is the benefit from a single recycled aluminum can or plastic juice bottle?  In terms of CO2 emissions and global warming, can this process be mathematically justified? I doubt it, but I really don’t know.  I do know that shipping is expensive out here, and each pop can is going through a lot of shipping.  Now, I’m all for recycling.  I want it to continue in our village just to raise the awareness level, as more of a social consciousness exercise than for the practical feasability.   And I like the idea of less trash in the landfill and on the ground outside the school (see my old entry on the styrofoam lunch trays we use).  In fact, I’ve been pushing for our student store to start accepting used cans in exchange for a 5 cent credit at the student store (which would only really cost us like 2 or 3 cents per can).  The staff member running the store is concerned that we would be inundated with cans from people all over, cans not sold from our store.  I kind of doubt it, but even if so, great we’re recycling even more!  It’s ok, we’ll just agree to disagree on that one.  : – )  Of course the best recycling is just reusing something locally.  Like in Anchorage they use the crushed glass in some local factory.   Anyway, I just had to bring up that whole recycling issue.

cell phones in the bush

Posted in Uncategorized by Pete on December 6, 2008

The times they are a channnnngin’.  Did you know we have cell phone service now??!!??  Crazy!  I heard that my village was signing up more people than any other village on the delta.  People are signing up in droves, almost all of them getting the $54.99 unlimited plan and not cancelling their regular land line.  No idea where all that $$ is coming from.  I think its a little nuts because the $30.00 plan would probably do it just fine.  Oh well.  I’d like to sign up and cancel our land line (horrrrible service,  but won’t go into that now), but I’m holding out for now, hoping for a pay as you go thing.  The current plans don’t work for us because of the $.15 per minute to call outside of alaska.  But its perfect for my neighbors.  Although now that I look at it…nationwide 500 minutes for $40 isn’t too bad…hmm…  The idea of a cell phone for possible use while out in a boat or snowgo between Kasigluk and Atmau or Napakiak or whatever is verrrry appealing.  It is not intended to work between villages, but because the tundra around KUK is flat as a pancake it does work for several miles, so I’ve heard.   Pretty cool.