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That's a nice Christmas gift. Ketchikan waits anxiously each year about this time, just like the kids do for Christmas morning, to discover what the next cruise ship schedule looks like.

With a drop in oil prices limiting revenue for state capital and operating budgets, Alaskans will have to think frugally for the time being.

A.J. Dennis, 77, of Silver Creek, Washington, died Dec. 18, 2014, after a long illness.
Phillip Dean Nehl, 59, died Dec. 10, 2014, in Ketchikan after a long battle with heart failure.

It's a halfway point.

Autumn equinox occurs Sunday at 12:44 p.m. Ketchikan time.

The equinox is the beginning of fall, when the day and the night are about equal at the equator. For those in Ketchikan, there will be a little less than 12 hours of daylight, and daylight continues to decline until winter solstice — the shortest day of the year.

Fall is when the weather changes, but that is more clearly the case in Ketchikan this year after a very sunny summer. The change has taken place here, with high winds and heavy rain appearing in recent days. Cruise ships canceled port-of-calls in reaction to the weather and will be relocating to warmer, friendlier-weather climes until Ketchikan's spring.

Next, fall activities begin in earnest— preparing boats and homes for the inclement weather, fall cleanup, stocking cupboards with supplies for the winter, and beginning to think of ideas for the holiday season.

Ketchikan will have its usual fall events. For example, First City Players will put on its big annual production in the beginning of November. This year, it's "Damn Yankees."

Fall also means the colors of certain trees will change to rich golds or auburn oranges. Deep purples and reds also are beginning to show. Then the wind will whip the leaves off their branches and away for another year.

It's the turn of one season to another. It's time for a new equinox. It's time for a change, and it's welcome.