12 February 2014

In Local News Today...

Alaska Railroad considers commuter rail between Anchorage and Wasilla.

The Alaska Railroad is evaluating whether to launch weekday passenger rail service between Anchorage and the Valley, where nearly a third of the working population drives to jobs in Alaska's largest city.

Trains would run from Wasilla to the railroad's Ship Creek platform in Anchorage and back.

But don't line up for tickets just yet.

Officials want to make sure the public understands that any plans are in the early stages. Any new train service would need approval from the railroad's board of directors, already grappling with a difficult budget year. Many details have yet to be worked out, including fare and schedule.
An Alaska Railroad train reflects color from the western sky. The area around the Port of Anchorage Boat Launch attracted many visitors on a clear evening Wednesday, August 22, 2012. Tugboats came and went, a few late-season fishermen sat patiently near Ship Creek's mouth and warm sunlight reflected off the buildings of downtown Anchorage.

This would seem to be a no-brainer, given that we have only one road into/out of Anchorage, and it's always congested in the morning & afternoon drives. Let there be one accident of any kind, and 80,000 commuters get to sit still for hours.

C'mon folks, make a good business decision ... and get the lead out, 'kthanxbye.

* * * * *
WASILLA -- By the time Antares Viens called 911 from a friend's house on Wasilla-Fishhook Road, his baby daughter was already being born.

Feet first.

The birth at the end of January marked the third in less than three months where the Palmer Emergency Dispatch Center helped deliver a baby by phone, the kind of event that usually prompts high-fives and headlines.

But the story of this baby -- her parents have named her Pearl -- was different.

This baby wasn't breathing when she emerged, bruised and still, in "footling breech" position, a much riskier birth than if the baby comes out head first. Medics performed CPR for more than 10 minutes before they picked up signs of pulse and respiration.
Clarissa Viens holds baby Pearl in the hospital last week. PHOTO COURTESY OF VIENS FAMILY

Pearl needs our prayers.

* * * * *
Last summer, workers demolishing an old Alaska Railroad warehouse near Ship Creek found something unusual inside a wall. It was an old-fashioned photo album: Black leather-bound cover with pages made of delicate black paper. "Marie and Irvan Christian" was embossed on the front cover. 

Inside were pictures of a couple who had married in 1906. The album was made after a party was held for their 50th wedding anniversary. There were pictures of family members seated at well-dressed tables. Ladies in gloves and hats. Interiors with wood-paneled walls, linoleum floors and lace curtains. A napkin printed with their names was pressed between the pages. Newspapers from Florida and Ohio printed announcements about the party, with detailed lists of who attended.

The 1956 golden anniversary album of Marie and Irvan Christian was found this summer in the wall of an Alaska Railroad building as it was being torn down. ERIK HILL — Anchorage Daily News

No one knew what to do with the album after it was found. Months passed. Eventually it landed on the desk of Tim Sullivan Jr., external affairs manager for the railroad. He pored over it looking for an Alaska connection. There was a sticker from the Alaska Railroad on the last page. In one of the newspaper announcements, he came across a name: Gladys Kahler, the couple's daughter. She'd come all the way from Anchorage, Alaska, the story said. A letter addressed to Gladys, tucked in the album, said it was made and sent to Gladys around Christmas 1957 by someone named "Dot."

Sullivan sent the name to the railroad's human resources department. The railroad opened its headquarters in Anchorage in 1915 and ignited the growth of the city. It is one of the Anchorage's oldest employers. Because workers had pensions, it has records of when employees died. Gladys Kahler's name was in the railroad's files.

Born in 1910, she had been the secretary to the superintendent of operations from 1950 to 1959. She died in 1960 in Anchorage. There were other Kahlers in the records, too. Howard Kahler, who was married to Gladys, worked a number of jobs with train freight. He died a few months after his wife, also in 1960.

It's an interesting & heart-warming story. You can read it all at the link.

That's it for this morning. Thanks for stopping by, friends, and have a great day. And if you're in the path of the latest winter storm, stay safe & warm, too.


Stephen said...

I hope the train connection gets a toot on, and wouldn't it be nice if the old album finds a new home. Gotta love history. Cool and windy here. Nice for a change.

Rev. Paul said...

I'm with you on all points, Stephen. Thanks - and good to hear it cooled off a bit, down your way.

Sandy said...

Rev. Paul,

I hope this commuter rail gets approved, it should make a difference on the road once it's up and running.

Cute little baby, I only hope the baby is health (brain issues later??).

Rev. Paul said...

Agreed, Sandy, on both points.

Cathy said...

Perhaps someone placed the album in that wall as a sort of time capsule to do exactly what it's doing today: stirring a blend of nostalgia and mystery.
And of course . . prayers for little Pearl. Awwwwww . . . .

Rev. Paul said...

That could well be, Cathy - and thank you.