The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

Rocking the Boat


The following is from the editorial page of the Feb. 16, 1989 Seward Phoenix LOG.

AVOIDING NEEDLESS DEATH AND BODILY INJURY... One of the surest ways to prevent an untimely death is to buckle up every time you hop into an automobile. By wearing your safety belt, you reduce the likelihood of fatal or serious injuries by 40 to 55 percent. That’s reason enough to make wearing your seat belt the law of the land. There’s a bill in the state legislature that would make it so.

Senate Bill 59 would allow law enforcement officers to issue citations only if drivers are stopped for another offense. The proposed fine is $15, a small price to pay for insuring safety, which could be waived if donated to emergency medical services.

There are many reasons to support SB 59. Among them: seat belt laws motivate people to buckle up; seat belts cause few motorists to kill or injure others; seat belts prevent diver loss of control; the cost of needless fatalities are paid by all Alaskans; unbelted occupants can cause injury to other occupants by becoming “unguided missiles;” and a safety belt use law is good incentive to establish the safety habit in those who otherwise wouldn’t buckle up.

Some of the opponents of the bill see it as an attack on personal liberties. But, when you take into account airline regulations requiring all passengers to buckle up (and we all know that highway fatalities and injuries are greater than air travel), we respond with, “Where’s the beef?”

TIME LEFT TO MAKE PREPARATIONS... It’s already the middle of the month. That leaves us with three months to go to make plans for our busy visitor and commercial fishing season. We ought to be looking forward to a better than average year.

Tourist-wise, we’ll be hosting Alaska Railroad passengers five days a week and we’ll be visited by a few more cruise ships than in 1988. And, if the chamber and city get together on a promotional campaign centered in Anchorage, we can expect more independent travelers arriving by automobile.

On the local processing front, Seward Fisheries and Seward Marine Services, will be processing some of the pinks expected to arrive in huge numbers in Prince William Sound. Both firms are expanding. They will be joined by Inlet Fisheries, a Kenai processor relocating to the Fourth of July Creek area. All three companies will be hiring more than usual numbers of workers and with three competing plants, there’ll probably be more fishermen and tenders using our services and accommodations.

While we’re projecting visitor and worker numbers, let’s not forget about the increasing impact of Spring Creek. We expect more of the correctional officers to relocate permanently to the Seward area. Also at SMIC is the Chugach Alaska sawmill. By July 1, the mill is expected to be fully operational with at least 50 people employed. Chugach’s work force doesn’t include those on the barges and tugs who will be transporting the logs to the mill, nor the buyers and corporate officials who can be expected to visit the site.

Finally, with all this going on, let’s try to take into account a major construction project – the new $9 million elementary school. The project will take at least two years to complete.

So, with tourists, and construction, sawmill and cannery workers around and about town, it looks like a good year and way better than 1988.


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