Thank you letters for Feb. 23, 2020

Thank you, merci, danke.

Thanks for supporting Capitol Visits program

Juneauites who haven’t been to our Capitol and court building ever, or recently, have a pleasant experience waiting for them. After spending much of the past three weeks introducing all 400 of Juneau’s 8th graders to their government as part of the Capital Students-Capitol Visits program, it is clear that we are very fortunate residents of the capital. Every person we encountered during the program could not have been more accommodating, helpful and pleasant. They turned what could be considered an interruption and bother — 45 students at a time in the halls, committee rooms, offices and court room during their workday — into meaningful encounters.

This program, now in its fifth year, is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Juneau and The Alaska Committee. The “thank yous” begin there and then to the Juneau’s legislative delegation. Sen. Jesse Kiehl and Reps. Sara Hannan and Andi Story worked together as a team and met with each group of students, shared issues and answered questions. Legislative staff were tireless in assisting in a variety of ways to help our program. Kudos to Laib Allensworth, Edric Carillo, Ann Dombkowski, Caitlyn Ellis, Matt Gruening, Mary Hakala, Arnold Liebel, Jenny Martin, Cathy Schlingheyde, Matt Simpson, Greg Smith, and Sergeants-At-Arms Grace Ellsworth and Micaela Bradner. House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, Rep. Harriet Drummond, Rep. Louise Stutes and Sen. Tom Begich helped to provide venues for the students.

The Executive Branch was ably introduced by Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s staff, Angela Hull and Jennifer Thorsteinson. Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer met with groups as did his assistant, Amy Spencer. The Judicial Branch of government featured a visit to the Dimond Courthouse where students and teachers participated in a simulated arraignment with judges and attorneys. Juneau Superior Court Judge Amy Mead, Judge Philip Pallenberg and Judge Daniel Schally were tireless as they led students through an arraignment simulation, court procedures and answered students’ questions about Alaskan’s courts. Assisting them in the simulations were attorneys Marie Anders, Teresa Bowen, Dara Gibson, Angie Kemp, Grace Lee, Christopher Orman, Eve Soutiere, Bailey Woolfstead and Emily Wright. Margeaux Ljungberg, Judicial Assistant to Judge Amy Mead, was the competent organizer of all of activities at the court. It is important to note that even the security and maintenance offices provided services for the program.

Credit for being our contact teachers at each middle school goes to Michael Heiman (Floyd Dryden); Tracy Goldsmith and Jay Lloyd (Dzantik ‘I Heeni); Jennifer Strumfeld (Community Chart School); and Bridget Braley and Thomas Schwartz (Montessori Borealis). This year, Sup’t. Bridget Weiss also attended a session. Indispensable is our team of instructors who carry out the program: Sue Baxter, Aldyn Brudie, Laurie Berg, Marian Clough, Peggy Cowan, Sally Donaldson, Anne Fuller, Brenda Knapp, Marjorie Menzi, Judith Mitchell, Frankie Pillifant, Sally Saddler, Bridget Smith, Nanci Spear, Mary Tonsmiere, and Nancy Waterman. Indeed, it takes a village to educate our children. Out thanks to everyone who helped this year.

Marjorie Menzi,


Thanks for supporting Curiosity Unleashed

Almost 600 people came out to Thunder Mountain High School Jan. 27 and enjoyed nearly 60 hands-on activities hosted by members of our community. Each fun activity was part of STEAM, which stand for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Nearly 100 volunteers supported and nurtured children’s innate curiosity and urged them to look carefully, ask questions, try new things, and discover more about STEAM ideas.

Thank you to AEL&P and Juneau Economic Development Council for their sponsorship of the third annual Curiosity Unleashed: STEAM Event. Thank you to AEYC-SEA, Artful Teaching, Juneau School District, and the Juneau STEM Coalition for hosting! We thank all of you who came and volunteered, brought your family, and helped make this event possible.

With all this help from the community we are able to keep encouraging every family in Juneau to unleash their curiosity. The event was only made possible because of the amazing depth and breadth of expertise and generosity in our community. If you loved this event, be sure to check out the upcoming STEAM Symposium, hosted by AEYC, in March.

Cherry Eckland (JSD), Elizabeth Kent (JSD), Lindsay Baranovic (JSD), Brenda Taylor(STEM Coalition), Becca Soza (STEM Coalition) and Miranda Liebsack, (United Way AmeriCorps Member at AEYC)

Steve Box leads a Crab Pot Technology Activity. (Courtesy photo | Elizabeth Allnutt)

Steve Box leads a Crab Pot Technology Activity. (Courtesy photo | Elizabeth Allnutt)

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