Teachers deserve respect, decent quality of life for all they do
My career in education has extended over forty years. Twenty of these have been spent on the Kenai Peninsula as a teacher and a substitute teacher. As an experienced educator I can truthfully say I have rarely seen teacher morale as low as it is at the present time.
Teachers are underpaid, not respected as before and are expected to work harder each year. Teachers' health benefits take a healthy chunk from their paychecks. The cost of living has risen well above their yearly raises.
Some educators are maxed out on the salary schedule and their salaries aren't sufficient to support their growing families. These teachers with the larger families actually qualify for free school lunches for their children.
Most teachers have five years of education beyond high school. Their years of education aren't rewarded by salaries comparable to other professions. What is more important than the training and education of our young people?
We may lose the "cream of the crop" if the cost of living keeps rising above the present salary raises. Let's call our legislators, talk to other parents, grandparents and the general public.
Support local teachers for the good of our children.
Mother, grandmother and educator
Board of Fisheries decision offers opportunity for fishers to unite
As fishermen (all user groups), our task in helping manage our resources is monumental. As a sport fisherman representing sport fishermen on the Kenai-Soldotna Fish and Game Advisory Committee, my task has now become even bigger due to the board ruling concerning early-run Kenai kings. It was apparently pushed through to acceptance by Brett Huber the executive director of the Kenai River Sportfishing Association and members of the Kenai River Professional Guides Association.
This has now essentially destroyed the credibility that the KRSA had in the community. This is a real shame, because KRSA members actually donate a considerable amount of money and hundreds of hours volunteering in the community. That nobody is stepping forward to address the questions put to the association is very disturbing to me, as I am a member of KRSA. Having only been a member for a few months, there are certainly facts I'm not aware of. I am not their spokesperson or in charge of what we called in the Navy "damage control."
With that said, the real issue now before us is to regroup and get back what has been taken from us. The resource (fish) must come first, because without it we all lose. The proper management for conservation and preservation of the salmon is so important that we as fishermen must unite and get some issues dealt with before any further damage is done by those with agendas not in keeping with the sound biological methods that are so important for success.
I have been a sport fisherman for over 30 years, 14 of which were spent in western Washington. During those years I witnessed a fishery in distress all but die due to the very issues that are now showing up on the Kenai and other rivers here. These factors include unchecked growth on and around riparian habitat, poor management practices made by the few for the many, too many people in too small a place, deforestation and bank degradation, etc.
The good news is that here in Alaska the powers that be actually invite the public to get involved and welcome the input from advisory committees and the public at large (basically anyone who can show up at the meetings). If you are a sport fisherman and you are not mad as hell over the new ruling, you should be.
As many have now stated before this letter, the ruling goes directly against sound biological conservation management principles. The bio-data we should be using would be more in line with what was already in place. The state Department of Fish and Game had plenty of ability to put in to effect the emergency orders or not.
Now, thanks to this new ruling, they are no longer able to do much, if anything. Here's what I'm suggesting at this point -- a united group of sport fishermen willing to put in the time and effort to get the early king ruling reversed. The time for comment at the board is long past so now is the time.
Catch-and-release fishing has its merits, but I cannot see it used for the big Kenai kings utilizing current methods. There are better ways to ensure the genetic survival and assistance that is needed.
The fact that the biggest of the kings are not returning in the numbers Fish and Game and we sport fishermen would like to see means we have to pull together and get the best solution to the problem. This will need to be accomplished without agendas or worry about how much money will be made or lost. It simply has to be about the fish, or what thousands deal with in Washington will be a reality here on the Kenai, and sooner than you may think.
Here are more probabilities, the loss of the run altogether or the complete closure of the river to all fishing for several years. Any one of these is a real tragedy.
I don't claim to have all the answers and I never will, but I am confident that, united in a common goal, we can take care of the wonderful resource that is here. If you are a sport fisherman and willing to participate, then please attend the advisory committee meetings or some other forum so our voice can be heard and ideas can be shared. You have my word that I will continue to do my part.
I thank you for the opportunity to represent you and look forward to meeting you.
Porter W. Pollard
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