Saturday, August 30, 2008

My Little Girls

My daughter Cassandra has had to suffer nick-names from me since the day she was born. Being my only daughter I've always teased her about being my favorite daughter. Her other nick-names included Sassy Cassie, which still fits her to this day. She has always made me proud in the things that she does. She always has the drive to go after something that she wants.

I've never liked shopping with her mom or my wife Ruth, but Cassie and I always have fun. She has really good taste and I value her opinion on what clothes I buy. We call each other almost everyday, even if nothing is really going on, but it always makes my day. It's also fun when we go out for lunch or just coffee.

Well this morning at 5:49 AM AST, she made me a grandpa again. She had her own little girl and named her Trinity. 7lbs 9 oz, 20 inches. She's a keeper! Both girls are doing fine. Cassie and Trinity are exhausted after about 15 hours of labor.

We already started shopping together a few days ago getting some of those last minute things that just don't come as gifts at showers and things. We'll go again real soon as soon as they are both up to it.

My favorite daughter just gave birth to my favorite granddaughter. WOW! Her cousin Tripp is about 6 months older now She's going to have someone about her age to watch out for her. He's getting big fast too.

What a day! Love you Sassy Cassie and Trinity! I can't wait to go for lunch or coffee.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chester Creek Aquatic Habitat Restoration

You've seen my post on West Chester Lagoon here many times. Well it's time for it to get a little upgrade. The overall goal of the upgrade is to restore portions of the natural habitat, improve flood control, protect private property and to provide adequate fish passage. The project should be completed in late summer 2009.

Temporary trails and other detours have been made so the rest of the area can be used while the project is under way. The mallards seem to approve of the buoys placed to help prevent accidental contamination from the construction.

This large backhoe was in use while I was there and had little disturbance to any of the wildlife around. The mallards didn't budge. The tourist going by on the train saw the construction for about 30 seconds.

All in all I think this project will do a lot of good to the area in the time to come. This is the second hottest place in town for birding and other recreation, so maintaining it and improving on the future of it is a good thing. We just have to put up with the inconvenience for a short while.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's done and it's now open

First off let me apologize for my lack of posting. I've been bust at TLC planning and celebrating it's 20 anniversary.

Second, Cuddy Family Park is now open. They had a grand opening on Saturday. I missed it due to other commitments, but I did check it out on Friday. I'll be going back for more. I wasn't the only one checking it out early. Everything from Canada Geese to artist were there. The weather has been a little bit nicer lately and everyone is getting out to enjoy it.

I'll get back to the normal swing of things here soon, so bear with me.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Stuff at Ship Creek

Ruth and I headed down to the new trail, Ship Creek at Alaska Railroad last night. It had turned into a beautiful day and we figured we should get out in some sunshine while there was some.

Ruth spotted on what she thought was a Great Horned Owl on top of the CP building where we parked. After we decided it was too cooperative posing, we had a good laugh and moved on.

We ran into two busy beavers. At first they were a little shy of us and then must have decided that we were just more photographers and continued with what they were doing. We spent a while watching them eat and taking branches back to their dam.

A lot of the vegetation right along the side of the trail is new, but the old stuff beyond that is going strong. The fireweed bloom is towards the top of the plants. That means winter isn't far off and once the bloom has turned to seed, winter is about six weeks off. Fireweed is very abundant in Alaska. After forest fires it usually is the first plant to grow, giving it its name.

Everyone knows about cattails. You'll find them in many wetlands. It's generally the first plant to take in a wetland and the spread of cattails is an important part of the process of open water bodies being converted to vegetated marshland and eventually dry land.

There's a lot more for us to explore there at another time. What's neat is that this trail is through an industrial area. You can view the beavers right next to a towing & wrecking yard. There's trucking companies yards, construction yards, train yards, you name it. Nature is coexisting with some of our not too pretty businesses.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Return to Potter Marsh

Potter Marsh is hard to avoid if you don't have a lot of time to take a trip. It's on the south side of Anchorage right off the main and only highway that heads south. I had to have a fix, I was going crazy and the sun was out.

The place was hoping with wildlife and there were plenty of tourist to be found. There were more variety's of cameras there then at Ritz. There were more languages being spoken then I could identify.

The sun was just right to get some nice shots of all of both the Greater and Lesser Yellow Legs that were plentiful. The ducks were eating away and so were the Grebes.

The improvements that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game made to the boardwalk make it very friendly for us to view the wildlife without much disturbance to them. They even added some blinds to where you can hide from the wildlife while viewing it.

There are many future plans for the sanctuary to include more boardwalk and even possibly moving the highway further away. Whenever Bird TLC builds on its property that overlooks the marsh, the boardwalk is suppose to hook up with it.

In the meantime, there is plenty to see. The migratory birds will start there big trip before long and Potter Marsh will be a great place to view them
while stopping over on their journey.

This is the place to check out if your are visiting or plan on visiting Anchorage.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Osprey home

I found the osprey nest today. I guess there wasn't enough good trees around. They should have good radio reception.

I talked to the local biologist about it today. He says their concern is the weight on the end of the antenna.

There is one youngster in the nest.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I've had enough. I like Ted Stevens!

Everyone knows someone who is a good person, but there have been a few bad things that has happened in their life. All you here about is the bad things, not the good things. Specially if that person is in politics. Well that's happening to Ted Stevens right now.

Ted Stevens (Uncle Ted) has committed his life to public service and has represented Alaska in the U.S. Senate with distinction since 1968. There's not one person in Alaska who's life is not positively effected by Uncle Ted. Not one! He has poured more money into Alaska than any one person could even imagine and that money effects every citizen of this great state. He has brought home so much federal funding, in fact, that the cash has been given a special name: Stevens money.

I won't get into too much detail, but Uncle Ted helped bail my butt out in the early 1980's. I was recently divorced and owed the IRS $1200. I didn't have a dime in the bank and was struggling to stay afloat. I was a junior NCO and didn't make a lot of money. I worked a part time job to try to stay above water. The IRS decided to garnish my Alaskan PFD check without my approval. Back then they didn't have that luxury. As typical, anyone you talked to at the IRS was unable to help you. I needed that money for Christmas presents for my kids.

I had recently seen Ted Stevens at Elmendorf AFB, so I decided to give his office a call. His staff took my issue with interest and said they would be back in touch with me in about 2 weeks. I got a call from his staff manager 2 weeks later. The IRS wasn't getting my PFD, I was. My kids were now going to have Christmas presents from Santa. From that point on for me, Ted Stevens was Uncle Ted. He had the people in place to take care of the little people like I had heard so much about.

I could go on and on with other stories like this from other Alaskans. Ted was honored as Alaskan for the Century in 1999. We named the Anchorage International Airport after him. Stevens is far from a go-along-to-get-along senator: He is a hardball politician with a long memory about those who cross him. When faced with a tough fight on the Senate floor, he wears an "Incredible Hulk" necktie. He is both feared and loved in an institution that has been likened to a men's club.

Uncle Ted is accused of not claiming $250,000 in gifts for remodeling his home in Girdwood. For what he has done for our state and it's people, there are many who are belittling him for this mistake that has not been proven. $250K. $250K. I say the people of Alaska should write a check for $250K and tell the rest of the world to stick it where the Midnight Sun doesn't shine!

Wait, make that check for $251K and use the extra grand to send Vic Vickers back to Florida. The guy hasn't even been in the state a year and he feels he can replace Uncle Ted.