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The Ketchikan City Council missed an opportunity for good public relations with the community earlier this month when it decided against operating a shuttle service to the Ted Ferry Civic Center for two popular arts events.

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In other words, they want to rationalize it or don't want to talk about it at all.

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2/11/2014
2-1-1 Day

Today is 2-1-1 Day.

Never heard of it? Neither had we.

But, it sounds like a good one, and of course, every day is what we make it.

Alaska 2-1-1 is a resource and referral service available at the touch of the fingertips via the telephone.

The call will lead to information about essential community services, such as an after-school program, a food pantry, help for an aging relative and other services designed to address challenges. The number can lead to job training options or a free tax-preparation service, too.

Alaska 2-1-1 is a free call. The number is easy to remember, which makes it convenient for Alaskans who are under stress because of challenges such as lack of food or shelter.

Any organizations, religious entities and government agencies providing health and human service programs are eligible to be listed; it only takes a call to 2-1-1 to be listed. 2-1-1 also offers free materials, such as business cards and flyers, which it will provide to organizations for display and easy access for their customers.

Alaska 2-1-1, operated by the United Way of Alaska, lists 3,200 resources and organizations.

Last year 2-1-1 received 26,570 calls and made 38,100 referrals. The majority of calls (37 percent) were for food and shelter; followed by health and mental services (13 percent) and employment assistance (11 percent), according to the United Way’s statistics.

This is a valuable service to Alaskans, particularly the most vulnerable.

Through such a service no Alaskan has to go without food or shelter, and can receive a hand up to a better quality of life.

That's as it should be in Alaska.

The telephone number may be called from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Alaska 2-1-1 website at www.alaska211.org is accessible 24/7.