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Letters to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, August 08, 2001

Comedy of errors proves to be anything but funny

Hurrying to prepare for my daughter's party June 29, I was stopped by Soldotna Police for going over the limit in a 25-mph zone. It started a month of errors that just wouldn't quit.

Upon checking my driver's license, Officer LaCroix asked if I was aware that I was driving with my license revoked. He stated that the problem was in 1998, but he wasn't sure what it was. I stated that my new license was dated 1999. I was told that it was probably a mistake, but not to drive until I went to the Division of Motor Vehicles and straightened it out.

DMV had nothing showing against my license and gave me a copy to take to the police station. At the station, I found a new record search also showed no problems. It had just been an error. Still, I was told to take the proof to the District Attorney's office.

I attempted to pay my speeding fine on July 5, but the courthouse had not received my ticket information yet. The District Attorney's office also had not yet received the charge. I left them copies of my proof of innocence, hoping the problem could be settled without me having to appear in court.

The next morning, I received a call from Officer LaCroix stating that the error had been theirs and that the paperwork would not go to the District Attorney's office. He told me not to worry about it; there would be no court date.

I was very relieved. Later that afternoon, however, I decided to call the District Attorney's office to notify them that nothing was coming, so to throw away my proof. Surprisingly, I was told they had just received the paperwork from the police.

Angry and scared, realizing that I might have missed a court date, which could have meant a trip to jail if stopped by the police, I complained to Soldotna Police Supervisor Quelland. He apologized, and said it was his error and immediately call the District Attorney's office to straighten it out. I checked and verified this with the District Attorney's office. Relieved it was finally over, I went on with my life.

Long after the charge was proven to be a mistake, I was surprised to see my name in the police blotter showing I was charged with driving with a revoked license. The report showed my age incorrectly, but it was obviously about me.

Within 24 hours, another consequence appeared. I was in the midst of a guardianship battle over my brother, a stroke victim. I received a call from Anchorage and was told that I could not pick up my brother's vehicle as I obviously didn't have a valid driver's license.

At my request, Sgt. Quelland graciously wrote a letter that there had been an error and that my Alaska driver's license was valid. It stated that the summons had been dismissed with no further actions needed. But this wasn't the end.

On July 25, I was reading the Peninsula Clarion and glanced at the police blotter, curious to see whether they were ever going to show that the charge of driving with a revoked license was dismissed.

Imagine my dismay, when the newest entry showed that "a charge of driving while intoxicated was dismissed." The information, other than the charge, was correct this time.

My daughter, Kristina, age 12, was worried that her friends would never be allowed to stay over at our house again and asked that I set the record straight.

I was worried that the report might cause further problems with the guardianship case. I was also getting some unusual stares. Several of my friends did share with me that they had seen both entries, but they had decided they weren't going to bring it up if I didn't.

This time the mistake was not the police station, the troopers, the District Attorney or even the courthouse. After checking the record sent to the Clarion by the courthouse, which proved to be accurate, it was found this mistake was made by the Peninsula Clarion which willingly apologized. After verifying the letter from the police station, the newspaper agreed to let me air my side of the story.

Kristina and I would like to say thanks to Jerry McDonnell of the Peninsula Clarion and also to Officer LaCroix and Sgt. Quelland for helping to set the record straight. I promise that I will really try to keep focused and remember the lower in-town speed limit.

I also ask them to keep focused and remember that their actions also can have extreme consequences for others.

Devon Martin

Soldotna

Editor's Note: The Peninsula Clarion regrets its error. At her request, Ms. Martin's story was verified.

Staircase which helps recycling effort disappears; return sought

Since 1993, the Baha'is of the Central Peninsula have collected aluminum cans and recycled them through the borough waste management system, which has been run by Peninsula Sanitation. All the proceeds from these tons of aluminum cans have been sent to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District for use in extra-curricular activities.

Peninsula Sanitation has been kind enough to provide a large metal container ("Dumpster") at the Ridgeway Baha'i Center on Knight Drive in Soldotna where the bags of cans are purged of garbage by the hands of youths and adults and then placed in the container. A side window in the container is convenient for filling the lower half but once we reach about midway, all filling occurs from the top at a height of about 7 feet.

In the past, we have used a step-ladder to empy the cans into the top of the container, but the step-ladder ultimately disappeared. More recently, we have used a homemade, wooden staircase to allow the volunteers to more safely empty cans into the top of the container. Unfortunately, during a recent two-week absence of the Dumpster while the cans were being recycled at the landfill, even this wooden staircase disappeared.

We can only hope that passers-by thought that this staircase was discarded or of no use to anyone and, hence, felt free to avail themselves of it. Obviously, this staircase facilitates this community service activity and we would greatly appreciate its return.

Dr. Byron McCord

for the local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Ridgeway



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