State chamber working to make things happen, revitalize Alaska's spirit What others say

Posted: Tuesday, November 11, 2003

There are, believe it or not, people in Alaska who are working to restore the spirit of what this state used to be about but sadly isn't any more.

You may not be aware that such an effort is under way. Of course not. It's not a theme that resonates in today's media, in Anchorage or elsewhere in Alaska.

Crime, murder, mayhem, hate, vilification, political name-calling, controversy those are the things that make headlines here. It's a pretty dismal slate that is served up daily in the local newspaper and on the local television newscasts. All of this paints a demoralizing picture of Alaska life, and saps the energy and outlook of even the most hearty advocate of the prospect of good things for the 49th State.

Alaskans deserve better. They need to know that every day, in countless ways, men and women of all ages in Anchorage and throughout the state really do have an upbeat attitude and are working to achieve good things for themselves and their communities.

Take, for example, the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce. Read much about that organization lately? Seen any very big headlines about its activities? Noticed a lot of TV news time given to its activities. Of course not. Chamber members don't rate much attention from today's reporters or editors. Chamber? Boring, right? Business people only interested in lining their own pockets, eh? Providing jobs and helping the economy? That's not news, is it?

Well, as a matter of fact it is.

The state chamber, it's worth noting, staged its annual convention in Kodiak last month. Every year the chamber takes its meeting to a different city around the state, exposing local communities and local interests to delegates who otherwise might not know what is going on in Kodiak or Fairbanks, or Ketchikan, or wherever it convenes.

And in the process, it puts a spotlight on issues that truly are critical to Alaska's future. At rainy and windy Kodiak, chamber members participated in a program with an important theme: ''Reclaiming Alaska's Spirit: A New Attitude for Making it Happen.''

The title alone should be exciting to Alaskans fed up with the gloom and doom dished up every day elsewhere. Everybody needs news that lifts the spirits. There is plenty going on in Alaska to change our attitudes and provide the spark that indeed will reignite the spirit of Alaska that once propelled this state forward.

This is a great place to live and work.

We need to remind ourselves of this every day, and not let ourselves be bogged down by depressing events that are overplayed by media people who have forgotten, or have never known, what Alaska used to be like.

The Voice of the (Anchorage) Times - Nov. 9

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