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It's been a tumultuous spring and summer business season for the Alaska Marine Highway System, and with the state's financial predicament, it needs to modernize quickly.

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Hikers have been all over the news this weekend for all the wrong reasons. In the Sierra Nevada wilderness, a woman was stranded for nine days after breaking her leg. She spent two of those days slowly crawling toward a creek for water. In Alaska, a stranded hiker was rescued on Friday by Juneau Mountain Rescue and Southeast Alaska Dogs Organized for Ground Search.

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11/1/2012
Welcome news

It was bad news to hear last week that the U.S. Postal Service substation downtown is closing at the end of the year.

And it is good news, now, to learn that the post office plans to replace the substation.

The last day of service at 422 Mission St. will be Dec. 31. Downtown is the ideal location for the substation for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the brisk seasonal trade during the summers. Downtown businesses and government agencies alike, not to mention the employees of same, all avail themselves of the convenience of a local post office. So we hope the next incarnation of the substation will be downtown.

But the post office can’t make that downtown location happen on its own. It does not build a building to provide a substation; rather, the substation is a contract with a private entity, a contract of indefinite duration. That means that during the two weeks to make proposals to the post office, downtown venues need to make their availability known.

The post office has been in drug stores, tourist shops and kitchen-supply stores over the years, not to mention way back when, when the main post office was in the Federal Building downtown. Those who might have the space to accommodate a postal substation should familiarize themselves with the agency’s requirements so they can get proposals in on time.

We were relieved to hear that there will be another substation in Ketchikan when the current one closes. We’ll be relieved, too, if the new one is also downtown.