Juneau’s 8th graders visit the Capitol

Juneau’s 8th graders visit the Capitol

Thank You letters for March 10, 2019.

• All of Juneau’s 8th graders (305 students) had an opportunity to interact with their newly elected legislators, executives and recently appointed judges during Capital Students-Capitol Visits. Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Juneau (LWVJ) and The Alaska Committee, this civics education program introduces young people to the role of citizens in a democracy.

Students and teachers alike called the program an “awesome” experience. Thanks go to all the individuals who volunteered their expertise and time to make the program a success. Instructors who led students in the daylong sessions were Sue Baxter, Marian Clough, Peggy Cowan, Sally Donaldson, Anne Fuller, Brenda Knapp, Marjorie Menzi, Judith Mitchell, Chris Niemi, Sally Saddler, Bridget Smith and Nancy Waterman. Teachers Amy Lloyd (Dzantik‘I Heeni Middle School) Rebecca Goertzen (Floyd Dryden Middle School) and Jennifer Stromfeld (Juneau Community Charter School) also participated in the planning. Capitol Visits would not have happened without these key individuals.

Visits to the Capitol were personalized by sessions with the Juneau legislative delegation: Sen. Jesse Kiehl, Rep. Sara Hannan and Rep. Andi Story, all of whom made time to meet with the students. Thanks to legislative staff, particularly Edric Carrillo, Cathy Schlingheyde, Ann Dombkowski, Hunter Meachum, Caitlyn Ellis, Greg Smith, Nichole Bearden and Helen Phillips. Also, to House Sgt. of Arms Micaela Bradner and Senate Sgt. of Arms Grace Ellsworth, who, along with the Pages, made visits to the House and Senate galleries truly educational experiences.

The role of the executive branch was ably explained by personnel from the office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy: Jered Goecker, John Espindola and Rob Corbossier. The governor and Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer visited with a group of the students in the cabinet room, a special treat. Support staff for executive branch visits were Julia Mesdeg, Janice Mason, Juliana Melin, Victoria Schoenheit, Suzanne Cunningham, Josh Applebee, Dianne Prince, Amy Spencer and Kady Levale.

Observations of court arraignments and arraignment role playing were highlights with Superior Court Judge Amy Mead, Judge Philip Pallenberg, and Judge Daniel Schally and District Court Magistrate James Curtain presiding. Thanks also to Carol Peterson, Margeaux Ljungberg, Selina Marvin and Keitha Kolvig who helped facilitate students’ attendance in the court.

The LWVJ is working to institutionalize Capitol Visits, now in its fourth year, to ensure every Juneau student has knowledge of state government and a personal connection with what it means to live in the state capital.

Marjorie Menzi,

League of Women Voters of Juneau

• The fourth annual halibut dinner and silent auction fundraiser for Family Promise of Juneau was a wonderful success. Guests enjoyed a delicious halibut meal thanks in part to Alaska Glacier Seafoods with side dishes courtesy of Breeze In. The fabulous Thunder Mountain High School National Honor Society and 9th grade health class students set up, served the meal and cleaned up. And we all were entertained by the very talented trio of TMHS musicians, calling themselves 24/7. The trio thanks Subway for their gift cards.

The Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall was the perfect setting for the event and we are most appreciative of staff for their kind assistance and to the Tlingit and Haida office of the president. The hall was decorated beautifully by Michelle Strickler and each table made inviting by the lovely centerpieces donated by Martha’s Flowers.

Both the dessert and silent auctions were successful thanks to all the generous bidders who were rewarded with delicious confections and awesome items and adventures that were bountifully donated by a small army of supporters including Alaska Airlines, Wings of Alaska, the Shrine of St. Therese and Orsi Organic Produce.

The Richard L. and Diane Block Foundation offered a grant if funds raised from local businesses for this event were able to match it. The goal was achieved because the Juneau business community responded generously: State Farm Insurance Reuben Willis, Dr. Tingey, DMD, Marine Exchange of Alaska, Coeur Alaska Inc., Stellar Financial Services, Merril Lynch, Shattuck & Grummett Insurance, Alaska Seaplanes and Chiropractic First.

Family Promise of Juneau is a community response to families experiencing homelessness currently using 17 hosting and supporting faith congregations in Juneau. We are a volunteer driven organization and we are most grateful for all the support we receive. Our next volunteer training will be on Tuesday, March 12, 6:30-8 p.m. at Chapel by the Lake and you are invited. You can keep up with the program via our Facebook page and online at familypromisejuneau.org.

Pat McLear,

Family Promise of Juneau

• Southeast Alaska Food Bank wants to thank SeaShare for donating more than 10,000 pounds of fish to the Southeast Alaska Food Bank to help us relieve the stress placed upon the food bank during the recent government shutdown.

Founded in 1994, SeaShare is a non-profit organization based on Bainbridge Island, Washington. They are the only non-profit in the U.S. dedicated to bringing bycatch seafood to food banks. Their mission is to help the seafood industry donate to hunger relief efforts across the country. To date, SeaShare has donated over 220 million servings of seafood to food banks across the U.S.

Each year SeaShare aims to donate 800,000 servings of seafood throughout Alaska. Thanks to community groups, food banks, seafood, cold storage, and transportation partners, they are able to reach 35-plus communities in Alaska each year. SeaShare’s donations include wild Alaska pollock, salmon, and halibut and provide vital nutrition for people in Alaska who struggle with hunger.

In Juneau, members of the military, federal employees, and contractors, through no fault of their own, faced the very real prospect of having to turn to the food bank, as well as food pantries and other social service agencies, to help get them through uncertain times.

On behalf of the Southeast Alaska Food Bank board of directors and our volunteers, we’d like to thank SeaShare for their generosity and for your continued support of the Southeast Alaska Food Bank and the work that we do. This generous donation will allow us to continue our work of helping those families and individuals who otherwise might not be able to access much needed food.

Last year, the Southeast Alaska Food Bank provided over 400,000 pounds of food to local food pantries, nonprofit organizations, and members of the community, and we are on pace to distribute more than 500,000 pounds of food by the time this fiscal year ends in June.

The goal of the Southeast Alaska Food Bank is to continue to make a difference in the quality of life for those who need help in providing food their families in times of need. This very generous donation from SeaShare will help us continue to provide healthy and nutritious food for those in our community who need our assistance, and is greatly appreciated.

Darren Adams,

Southeast Alaska Food Bank

• We would like to thank Intuit, the Mountain View, California based business and financial software company, for their recent donation of $5,295 to the Southeast Alaska Food Bank.

This was part of a $2 million donation Intuit made to food banks in Alaska, Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Virginia, Washington D.C. and West Virginia. These donations were focused on the regions that were most impacted by the recent government closure, supporting federal workers and the communities where they live and work.

Over 800,000 federal employees, along with countless contractors and small business owners living in these communities, were financially impacted by the closure.

On behalf of the Southeast Alaska Food Bank board of directors and our volunteers, we would like to thank Intuit for their generosity and for their support of the Southeast Alaska Food Bank and the work that we do.

Darren Adams,

Southeast Alaska Food Bank

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