The UAS Sitka campus Title III "Complete to Compete" grant program is re-offering a series of Zoom seminars for job seekers. They are for a new college graduate...
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Find KCAW's Assembly Candidate Forum here: https://www.kcaw.org/2020/09/17/listen-live-raven-radio-hosts-assembly-candidate-forum-draft-thurs/ This was the A...
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Following is a Press Release from Rob Allen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Shee Atiká, Inc.: Shareholders elected three new directors, and the board el...
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Release from Kevin McGowan, Office of Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins, 907.738.0942 The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Seafood Trade Relief Program has set aside $530 million...
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SSS Retail Store has returned to their Winter Schedule: Open every Friday & Saturday 10am-4pm, beginning Sept. 25 & 26. Sitka Sound Seafoods Retail Stor...
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Saturday, September 12 from 9:45-11:15am by Zoom - Sitka Citizens Climate Lobby monthly meeting. For more info. and/or the link to Zoom into the local chapter m...
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Mark your calendars, then tune in to KCAW for three live election forums this September, leading up to the municipal election on October 6. Tuesday, 9/15 f...
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Located at 128 Lincoln St., Gallery by the Sea has fine art & custom framing (as did Robertson's located there previously). To learn more you can visit the ...
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Open Labor Day 5am-12noon New Hours beginning Tues. Sept. 8th Mon.-Fri. 5am-9am + 12pm-2pm + 4pm-8pm Fresh Furniture for the Lobby We asked Eric Dow...
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Fall Garden Happy Hour Zoom - Schedule and topics are as follows: When? 1st and 3rd Wednesdays in September & October And then 1st Wednesdays in Nov...
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There are so many exciting developments that have happened over the past month for Sitka WhaleFest! Sitka Sound Science Center, festival and symposium committe...
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The Municipal Election is Tuesday, October 6. (Ed. note: the Advance Voting-in-Person option is shockingly easy & feels quite safe. No lines or crowds the ...
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The next regular Municipal Election will be held Tuesday, October 6, 2020. The following vacancies are to be filled: 1 Mayoral seat (two-year term) 2 As...
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2020-21 SE AK Commercial Red Sea Urchin Fishery Announcement made 9/25/20: The 2020/21 commercial red sea urchin fishery will open Thursday, October 1, 2020 by ...
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The Soupster calms his gardener friend.
Originally published July 5, 2001
“Excellent!” said the gardener, smacking his lips.
“Good day, Green Thumb,” said a passing Soupster. “And what, pray tell, is your lack of problem?”
“My lack of problem has everything to do with the vigorousness with which my acid-loving plants are thriving,” the gardener said, indicating a particularly robust rhododendron.
“Do you ever use a Garden Weasel?” asked the Soupster.
The gardener ignored the Soupster’s aside and continued onward.
“Anything acid-loving is going like gangbusters in this first year of the millennium,” said the gardener, reopening a long argument he had been having with the Soupster.
“Let’s not go into the millennium issue,” said the Soupster. “Talk about your plants. It calms you down.”
“Ah, my plants,” said the gardener. “Especially my acid-loving ones.” With pride, he pointed to a fecund colony of hosta, each leaf shaped like a spade on a playing card, spreading along the ground.
“You said ‘acid-loving’ thrice already,” said the Soupster.
“Remember our mild winter?” said the gardener.
“A mild, wet winter it was,” agreed the Soupster.
“A lot of rain causes more acid conditions to prevail,” said the gardener, stroking the long white fronds of a goat’s beard plant. “Of course, Our Town’s soil is pretty acid to begin with, there being constant rain and the fact that most of the soil started out as a volcano on Kruzoff Island.”
“I thought the spruce trees looked especially good, too,” said the Soupster.
“Bingo, observant Soupster,” said the gardener. “Spruces are acid-loving, too. If you want to see some especially happy spruce trees, check out the three trees on the south side of McDonald’s restaurant, near Ken Brown apartments.”
“I’ve seen them!” said the Soupster. “Magnificent new growth. It’s like they doubled in size in one year.”
“The spruces especially surprise me,” said the gardener, “because of the mild winter. A while ago, we were having a problem with spruce aphids devastating the trees around here. And the best way to get rid of aphids is a cold winter. But for some reason, the trees seem to be springing back like the aphid is a bad memory.”
“Maybe it is,” said the Soupster.
“Hope so,” said the gardener. “Sweet new spruce tips are among my favorite things in the whole world. An important part of my yearly harvest. I make spruce tip syrup and jam. I even make spruce tip beer. I looooove tart tastes. Like grapefruit juice. Or a good Marinara sauce.”
“Say,” said the Soupster. “You sound pretty acid-loving yourself!”
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The Soupster learns about rules and jokes.
Originally published July 13, 2006
Buh-BANG! Buh-BANG!! rang the pipes in the Soupster’s house.
“There it is!” said the Soupster to Stace, the veterinarian. “That’s the sound that’s been plaguing me.” He placed on his kitchen table two glasses of blueberry-flavored milk Stace had brought. “I can’t believe you drink this stuff.”
“It’s water hammer,” said Stace. “And do you want to fix your plumbing or make something out of what I drink?”
Noxious as the blueberry-milk was, the Soupster sipped, so as not to have to answer.
“Water hammer,” Stace, the veterinarian, continued. “Sudden pressure changes in the pipes. Usually happens when you turn off a tap suddenly and you hear that bang, bang, bang.”
“We used to have an outdoor faucet that stuck way out far from the wall,” said the Soupster. “When you closed it fast, you’d not only hear that banging, the pipe would move crazily up and down.”
“That’s water hammer,” said Stace.
“But I’m not closing a tap,” said the Soupster.
“You must have a leak somewhere. Only so many places it could be,” said Stace, draining her glass and indicating for the Soupster to do the same.
The two friends checked three outdoor taps, the intake pipes for a clothes washer presently in use, the drainage pipes for another washer, no longer in use, and both the intake and drainage pipes of an old dishwasher.
“How do you know so much about plumbing?” asked the Soupster. “You’re a veterinarian.”
“There’s rules for everything, you just have to learn them,” Stace said. “Learn those rules and you can figure everything out. Even the way water runs through pipes.”
“There are some things that have no rules,” insisted the Soupster, as he and Stace mounted the stairs to the second floor. “Like…love or…humor.”
“Don’t go all Aristotle on me, Soupster,” said Stace. “But since you mention it — let’s take humor — which, for your information, has all kind of rules.
“There’s the `Rule of Three,’ which says the punch line is always on the third example. There are rules for exaggeration humor and unfortunate visitor jokes. There’s my favorite — the unexpected answer. But aren’t we here to fix the plumbing?” and she stepped into the upstairs bathroom.
“Eureka, Aristotle!” Stace cried. “I found your leak! You’re going to need to fix a seal in your toilet. I guarantee that your water hammer will then disappear.”
“Ask a veterinarian to help you with plumbing and get a lecture on the rules of joke telling,” muttered the Soupster. “Only in Our Town.”
“Hey, Doc,” the Soupster said aloud. “Do you think I should get a second opinion?”
“Okay,” said Stace. “You’re ugly, too.”
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The Soupster channels – well, not Independence Day, but maybe Bastille Day?
Originally published June 26, 2003
Before the strolling Soupster even reached the bend in the road, he heard three things: the treble- triples and quads of bald eagles, the more purposeful caws of ravens and the baritone of his neighbor, Jean-Pierre, spouting loud, angry French.
After retiring from a bicycle manufacturer in Paris, Jean-Pierre had built a sailboat and headed out to sea. Six years later, with a wife he’d met in Phnom Penh and a son born in Christchurch, New Zealand, Jean-Pierre came ashore in Our Town and declared it “Ze Heaven On Zis Earth!” The son was married himself now and living Outside. The wife had moved back to Cambodia to be with her family. But to Jean-Pierre, Our Town was still “Heaven on Zis Earth.”
Well, maybe not today.
Today, Jean-Pierre was in a furious competition with some ravens to return the contents of his trash can to their rightful place before the birds could pull the items out again.
In the hemlocks surrounding Jean-Pierre’s trash-strewn driveway, bald eagles watched the action from a dignified distance. Not so the ravens, one of which swooped low enough to knock Jean-Pierre’s cap off. Then the bird glided smoothly to the rim of the can, cackled happily and grabbed a piece of melon peel.
“Yo, Jean-Pierre,” the Soupster called. “You can’t win a battle against those odds. Let me help you.”
The Soupster tipped the scales some in Jean-Pierre’s favor. The ravens may have given the Soupster slack because he truly loved ravens. Or because he was not French. Whatever, they flew back up into the hemlocks and started harassing the eagles.
“What got this stuff all over, Jean-Pierre?” the Soupster asked.
“I zink it was ze bear, mon Zoupster,” said Jean-Pierre. “It may have been ze land otter, but I don’t zink zo. I zink it was ze bear.”
“Did you keep your trash in your garage until pickup day?” asked the Soupster.
“Oui! Yes!” said Jean-Pierre. “Always!”
“Did you put any fish or meat in the can that might have smelled strong and attracted the bear?”
“Sacre bleu!” Jean-Pierre said. “My freezer needed repair. I thought for just a little while it would be all right. You are right, Zoupster. It was ze fish!”
“Not such a ‘heaven on earth’ if you have to watch your garbage so closely, eh, Jean-Pierre?” the Soupster teased.
“Au contraire, Zoupster!” Jean-Pierre said. “Zis is nature. In nature, zere is always zometing to leverage ze mistake of any creature. Nature, she is very efficient, no?”
“Yes,” the Soupster said.
“And Zoupster,” Jean-Pierre concluded, as the two men hoisted upright the now-filled can. “We are zo lucky to live right with nature. With nature right on our doorstep. In our driveway. C’est magnifique, no?”
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The Soupster gets to hear a nine-year-old’s point of view.
The Soupster was talking on the phone with an old acquaintance of his, who had worked at the City Offices for many years. It was the weekend, and they were chatting just before their respective supper deliveries arrived. His friend Sharon & her granddaughter, who lived with her, were getting pizza, and the Soupster was getting sushi.
Suddenly, Sharon said, “Oh, oh, there’s the doorbell – I have to answer it. Zeylinn, please come and talk to the Soupster while I go answer the door. That’s a big help!”
Soupster: Hi, Zeylinn! Thanks for talking to me. I have known your grandma for many years. She was just telling me about how you have been attending school remotely.
Zeylinn: Yeah, I just finished last week. Whew, it was hard sometimes.
Soupster: So, you are nine, and you just finished – what – third grade? Who was your teacher?
Zeylinn: His name is Mr. Burrows and he’s really nice. It’s not his fault – the remote school is just difficult. Sometimes it is hard to get online for the morning meeting. And hard to stay online.
Soupster: Yeah, I know what you mean.
Zeylinn: I usually like school and really like reading, but the online reading we had to do was hard, because a lot of the time the questions didn’t make sense. They didn’t match up to what we were reading about, and the answers weren’t in the reading.
Soupster: I get that – when I was in Middle School, we had some assigned reading which was kind of boring and the questions didn’t make much sense, either. Normally, what’s your favorite part of school?
Zeylinn: Music and Library. I like all kinds of music and I play guitar and keyboard.
Soupster: Oh, that’s cool. I’ll bet you miss Library, but you still get to pick out books and read, though?
Zeylinn: Oh, yeah, we just had a Book Fair on the last day before Spring Break, and I got three books – well, comics, actually – I am really getting into comics. Two of them are Babysitter’s Club and the other one is called “Guts.” But they’re all by the same person – here, I’ll read you her name, “R – a – I – n – a. T- e – l – g – e – e – m – e – I – e – r. Raina Telgemeier.”
Soupster: Oh, it’s funny – I have heard about her. She tells stories and draws pictures from her own life. She lives in San Francisco. I guess they have to stay home there as much, or even more, than we do in Our Town. Yup, it’s been hard, sometimes. What are you planning for this summer?
Zeylinn: Well, sleeping in for one thing. And then, we’re probably going to get a pool and go to the beach. Oh, and I really LOVE art – I do lots of pictures with watercolors and pastels. Well, there’s my grandma, I better go help her with the pizza – nice talking to you, Soupster!
Soupster: You, too, Zeylinn. My sushi just got here. Say bye to your grandma for me?!
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