Wednesday, March 22, 2006

146. Living on Standby

Travel around here is iffy because of the weather. Planes don’t fly if it is very stormy, windy, having low visibility, etc. The problem is, we don’t know in advance how stormy or whatever it will be. So sometimes we have to just pack our bags and wait.

I took a class on using technology in teaching science. It was given by the University of Alaska at Fairbanks out of Kotzebue. Most of the lessons were by videoconference. We had to meet once in Kotzebue for two days of actually working together. The plan was for everyone to fly out of their villages to Kotzebue on Wednesday after school. That way we could meet early Thursday morning and work for Thursday and Friday, flying back Friday afternoon. I had my suitcase packed and with me at school Wednesday, and lots of work for a substitute to distribute. Well, Wednesday afternoon the weather would not cooperate. The backup plan was for everyone to fly in on Thursday morning and we would just start and end late on Thursday. Thursday, the weather did not cooperate. We all ended up flying in Friday, staring late Friday, ending Saturday afternoon and going home Saturday evening. If the weather had stayed bad, we would have had to just cancel it because a woman who was teaching it had flown in from Beaverton OR to demonstrate the machinery from Vernier and she could not stay. (Vernier makes great stuff. They have stuff that hooks up to a moniter that hooks into the USB port and you can graph the information on the computer. The stuff they have includes a motion detector, a microphone, a heart rate monitor, magnetic field sensor, something that measures leves of different gases, etc. I went to a similar class when I lived in Portland and could just drive to the Vernier offices in Beaverton. I enjoyed it there too, but the thing I remember the most was that the guy teaching the class let me ride his Segway through the building’s hallways.)
There was a major middle school and high school basketball tournament in Kotzebue. Teams were flying in from the whole NWABSD (Northwest Arctic Borough School District). The weather did not cooperate. Everyone did end up getting there, up to a day late, and they had the games.
Besides not knowing when you will get OUT is not knowing when you will get home. I got a call a while back from a co-worker. She had gone to Kotzebue for two days. Those two days had ended three days ago, and weather had cancelled all flights since then. Could I feed her cats and clean their litter? Fortunately she was able to stay with one of the school’s administrators whom she knew because he taught here last year; Kotzebue is the hub for this area, no flights were flying out, and the hotel was full. (Alaska airlines flies jets to Kotzebue. They are divided in half between passengers and cargo. So often AA will fly into Kotzebue, but then passengers can not get the puddle hoppers to the villages because they are more likely to be cancelled due to the weather. That makes the hotel likely to fill up. Even if it is not full, the hotel charges about $160 / night and does not take pets.)
Mark is a school counselor who works for the NWABSD, traveling between the school. He has gotten stuck here a few times for many days at a time because the planes out are cancelled. There is no hotel in Deering so he sleeps on a cot in the school. Connie and I lend him whatever DVDs we have from Netflix.
On a different topic - am I now the only one with credit from both Hebrew University of Jerusalem and University of Alaska at Fairbanks?

Mark is a school counselor who works for the NWABSD, traveling between the school.

Is something missing from the above sentence?
the "s" on the end of "schools"
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