Archive for the ‘alaska marine highway system’ Tag

Skagway ferry dock still salvageable, service suspended – Alaska Journal of Commerce – May Issue 1 2014 – Anchorage, AK   Leave a comment

Skagway ferry dock still salvageable, service suspended – Alaska Journal of Commerce – May Issue 1 2014 – Anchorage, AK.

Just another cool Alaska cultural challenge!

Like the people of Valdez when an avalanche cut them off from the highway system this winter, the people of Skagway are skookum with the isolation. They’re a little worried about it affecting the tourist season, but that’s still weeks away, so they’re mostly entertained by the event.

For the record, to drive anywhere from Skagway without a ferry requires a passport.

Peril of Living in Alaska   Leave a comment

Skagway ferry dock sinks – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Alaska News.

The people of Skagway are fine. It’s a grand adventure. Like Valdez last winter, they have other ways to get where they need to go and the local community will band together to make sure everybody  is okay.

Posted April 25, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

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Letter: Ferry employee contracts do not belong in the Legislature | Juneau Empire – Alaska’s Capital City Online Newspaper   Leave a comment

Letter: Ferry employee contracts do not belong in the Legislature | Juneau Empire – Alaska’s Capital City Online Newspaper.

Another humerous letter to the editor.

What Ms. Dahl does not recognize is that the Department of Administration and Department of Transportation are not her actual employers. They’re just middle managers who sign the pay check. The people who actual employ her are the citizens of the State of Alaska. Her wages, including the COLD pay, are provided by the taxpayers.

Yes, Alaska has taxpayers. We don’t have an individual income tax. Our state revenue comes from corporate taxes on the oil companies and direct revenue from the sale of our royalty share of the oil. That royalty revenue belongs to all Alaskan citizens. We receive a dividend from it as if the State of Alaska were a corporation that we invest in, because in fact, that is exactly what our state constitution creates.

Perhaps Ms. Dahl would like to explain her larger-than-average state salary to the individual citizens of Alaska and see if we’re interested in her continuing to receive it or if we think she perhaps needs to reduction in wages. I doubt that is what she wants to have happen. In the interest of a less volatile employment relationship, the Board of Directions of the State of Alaska corporation (also known as the legislature) is reviewing the employment contract. This happens in normal businesses too.

So, yes, the employment contract for AMHS employees very much belongs with the legislature because Ms. Dahl doesn’t want to deal with the individual “shareholders” who are far less sympathetic to her than the legislators are.

Every dime extra that she’s paid means less money in our dividends, so she might not want us to start asking if maybe we don’t need quite so many AMHS employees.

Making Sequestration Painful?   Leave a comment

This is either another example of bad reporting or the federal government manipulating reporters to make something unrelated to sequestration appear related so people will complain.

The wildlife interpreters on Alaska’s Marine Highways are federal employees. There’s never been any federal funds actually given to the State to hire naturalists. The State of Alaska provides free room and board in exchange for the services of federal employees. Occasionally, interpreters would be “bumped” because of high demand for cabins, but the AMHS would hold the interpreter cabins for them until all other cabins were taken. As AMHS ships are not cruise ships, there are few cabins. Many passengers sleep in the lounge chairs on the viewing deck or pitch tents on the bow deck. The last couple of years, the Obama administration has taken its sweet time deciding whether to send interpreters, so the AMHS started releasing the cabins to paying passengers. This year, all the cabins were released except on one ferry before the federal Department of Natural Resources asked for them. Now the feds are acting like it was the State’s decision, when in reality, they were the ones who set it up to fail. It’s likely another way they’re trying to make the sequestration furloughs painful, but this isn’t a sequestration furlough, it’s a lack of planning on the part of the feds.

And, it really doesn’t matter. You’d get a much better “tour” from the passengers who ride the ferry frequently. How do I know? I’ve taken the ferry and had many lovely conversations with the regulars who know the route so well and can tell stories about hiking a mountain or fishing a bay or an ancient Native story about a river that the federal employee doesn’t have in their guide book.

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