Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Just Stuff

Happy B'Day, Billie (aka Billie Goat aka Toby)
I'll admit it, I wasn't always the kind hearted softie I am today.  While growing up my pet name for my sister Billie was frequently "Billie Goat", for no more reason than it pissed her off to no end.  Mom preferred the nickname "Toby", as she was born on the 4th day of October.  Though I picked on her pretty consistently through the years, I loved her dearly then, and still love her dearly today.    

Happy birthday, "Billie Goat".  I hope you have a great day, and still maintain a good sense of humor. 

10 years ago today one of the most stupid people I've ever encountered in my life shot a bullet hole in the pipe.  As it occured less than a month after the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, he did the deed practically under the nose of a security helicopter observer.   Danny is still languishing in prison and when he is eventually released will need to figure out how to pay back $17,000,000.00 (seventeen million dollars) in damages.  

As a result of Danny's idiocy, combined with our response to the 9/11 attack, I ended up on duty well away from home and my wife, for 9 weeks (two months and change) without a break.  The paychecks were good, but the rest of it sucked.  It seems somehow appropriate to remember Danny today, and to let him know that he's still an idiot and currently residing in a most appropriate place. 

Jury Duty:
It seems like every two or 3 years I get tapped for jury duty.  The court system draws potential jurers from among applicants for the annual permanent fund dividend, which is a smart way of doing the job.  Virtually every Alaskan resident applies for the annual dividend (after all, it DOES represent free money), and anyone who applies most likely is indeed a resident, and if they are not being unavailable is evidence that they lied on the application - a criminal violation that should be prosecuted more aggressively.

In any event, with my work schedule, the courts are good about scheduling my duty around the job schedule.  All I have to do call their recording each evening to learn whether or not I have to go into town.  It means I can't make firm plans for any given day, but it's actually rather rare for me to get "the call" into town.  

The last time I did get the call, I spent most of the day waiting to be rejected, and that's what I would expect in the future.  The nature of my job puts in in frequent contact with the troopers most likely to have made the "bust", and it's in my best interest to maintain a good relationship with those guys.  It would be pretty unusual for them to post a witness and/or involved parties that didn't include at least 1 person I know, which is also a frequent exclusion criteria.  

None the less, it's duty (a legal obligation), so I don't make firm plans, and I make the call each evening, and then I go about my business.

Election Day:
 Today is election day for municipal offices and three proposed ballot issues.  I know who I like for borough assembly and who I don't (stinking lawyers and professional politicians), and I know how I want to vote on the ballot issues.  I'll take my cheat sheet with me to the school in a bit, and cast my "say so", which probably doesn't amount to much, but it's sort of like jury duty - an obligation of a citizen who has every intention of speaking his or her mind whenever and wherever he or she chooses to do so.  

The 'relationship' between the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the people of Two Rivers isn't always friendly.  In fact, most of the time it's downright contentious.     That might be why I have cause to pick a bone.

A Bone to Pick with FNSB Animal Control Division.
More than a year ago I went down to the FNSB Animal Control Division's dog pound and submitted the paperwork to foster sled dogs needing temporary housing until they can be placed in permanent homes.  At that time I had space available for up to three dogs, which I'd train along with my own to keep them in bood psychological and physical condition.  I have experience dealing with DWIs (dog's with issues), and have access to professional advice from a highly qualified certified canine behaviorist.  My kennel is Mush with P.R.I.D.E. certified, always earning a Certified Plus rating.  I provided impecable references easily accessible to animal control division staff.

One would think that such a foster would be highly desirable to a dog pound that is frequently over populated and frequently blames sled dogs and mushers for that overpopulation.  Apparently, such thinking would be wrong.

I was told that the only step remaining would be an on-site inspection by one of the Division staff and they would get back to me to schedule that visit.  Well, it's been more than a year and they still haven't gotten back with me.  I've stopped in at the dog pound to follow-up and remind them that my application is still pending on two different occaissions, and they still haven't bothered to get with me or come out and do a simple inspection, or even just review my P.R.I.D.E. inspection paperwork.

That's a pretty good indication that they just aren't real interested.

Now, there probably is a reason for the Division blowing-off my offer.  I've been a harsh critic of the Animal Control Division in the past.  They've done some pretty unprofessional things over the years and I haven't hesitated to speak my mind about them.  On the other hand, I've also been diligent about recognizing the limitations imposed upon them by their budget, lack of adequate space and chronic understaffing.  I've made note of things they do well. 

Although those responsible for the Division's past mistakes are no longer employed there, it would appear that the new management has some issues of their own to address.   

Life moves on, and I think I can probably find a private sector sled dog rescue organization that will happy to receive my offer.  Meanwhile, the next time the borough animal control people complain publicly of their shelter being overcrowded with sled dogs, I'll use the same media to remind them of the opportunity they lost. 

It's time for me to do my morning kennel chores and start my day.  I'm watching young Cassiopeia closely as she has had some nasty diarrhea for a couple of days.  If my current approach to treatment doesn't improve her condition by this afternoon I'll need to take her into town to visit the vet. 

The sky is partly cloudy, the temperature is coolish, and I have dogs who would love to run.

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