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Small Alaska communities are the state's backbone. Economically, if they're strong, then so, too, is Alaska.

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The fall back position might be the best to take this weekend.

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Shane Raymond Sooter, 59, died Oct. 24, 2014, in Ketchikan.
Robert ‘Rod’ Orwin Davidson, 68, died Oct. 21, 2014, in Tacoma, Washington
Mary C. Smith, 93, died Oct. 19, 2014, in Ketchikan.
9/3/2013
Allow more time

We’ve gotten used to watching out for tourists and children alike playing in our streets, as well as flaggers warning us to slow down for road construction, or to stop altogether.

Now, it’s time to add the school buses to the mix.

School starts today and that means the rest of us drivers need to allow additional time to get to our destinations at certain times of the day. We’ll be stopping for school buses with their flashing red lights, so the children can get safely on and off those vehicles.

Before the buses arrive to pick them up, the children will be waiting at bus stops. Sometimes they’ll fidget and sometimes they’ll chase each other and sometimes they’ll wind up in the road. It’s our job as drivers to be ready for them.

And it’s parents’ and caregivers’ jobs to teach children, as First Student recommends, to look twice before crossing the street. (The bus company also wants students to travel in groups and to pay attention to the bus driver — good advice, all.)

The first bus pick-ups of the day are scheduled for a little after 6:30 a.m.; some are still on their appointed rounds at nearly 9 a.m. Then the buses resume for their afternoon routes just before 3 p.m.

We’ve had a great summer. Let’s get our children off to a good start to the 2013-’14 school year.

Keeping them safe is the first step.