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We often remark over Ketchikan’s kindness and generosity.
Not because of its infrequency; it’s anything but.
The First City is first class when it comes to watching out for its own.
This is the fourth week of a historical federal government shutdown, a result of a power struggle between President Donald Trump and those opposed to him and his agenda for the United States. It’s with these elected officials that the buck stops.
The bucks stopped last week when many federal employees didn’t receive paychecks. Alaska has about 15,000 federal workers and nearly 6,000 are financially affected by the partial shutdown.
Their checks likely aren’t coming in the next week, either.
In Ketchikan the federal workers are mostly with the U.S. Forest Service, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Those whose positions aren’t classified “essential” may be furloughed, and some might be looking at other work, given that no one knows when the shutdown will end. Their financial obligations didn’t cease with their jobs.
Ketchikan is responding, however, particularly when it comes to necessities, such as food, shelter and utilities. A little entertainment might be included, too.
Ketchikan’s largest grocery stores all indicated an interest in helping this week.
Tatsuda’s IGA and Alaskan & Proud Market both are offering federal employees affected by the shutdown temporary lines of credit for purchasing basic groceries, according to Tatsuda’s owner Bill Tatsuda and A&P manager Sabina Blackwell. Federal identification and a valid driver’s license are required to set up temporary charge accounts.
Tatsuda’s also is offering a 15-percent discount on specific groceries. The discount excludes such items as gift cards and tobacco products.
Safeway supermarket has elected to provide gift cards to organizations that typically distribute food and goods to the needy, Mayra Gonzalez, the store’s assistant store director, told the Daily News.
Both First Bank and Wells Fargo have decided to accommodate federal workers affected by the shutdown as best they can.
First Bank will work with its individual customers throughout the region who are affected, says First Bank Vice President Matt Hagan, because every customer’s circumstances differ somewhat. Bank officials will discuss challenges with fees, loans or whatever concerns a customer has. Customers only need to stop by or call any of the bank’s branches.
Wells Fargo Bank indicates it also will be working with the affected federal employees, reversing fees and other charges that might have been applied to accounts where direct check deposits didn’t occur. For workers who don’t have direct deposit, David Kennedy, a bank communications officer based in Seattle, encourages customers to talk with the bank.
Kennedy also says the bank will work with federal employees who didn’t get paid when it comes to mortgage and other loan payments and possible late fees.
Credit Union 1 and Alaska USA also are encouraging federal employees affected by the shutdown to contact them with their financial concerns at this time.
Considering all of these financial institutions’ response, it’s likely most of them are making the same recommendations. That can be confirmed by federal workers contacting their banks and credit unions.
Meanwhile, Ketchikan Public Utilities is aware of the situation affecting federal employees and federal facilities during the shutdown. Kim Simpson, KPU’s division manager for sales and marketing, says customers should contact KPU and make arrangements for continued service and billing accommodations before the due date on their bills.
That takes care of food, housing and utilities concerns. But the show of compassion and generosity goes on.
First City Players is among many smaller entities trying to accommodate federal employees. Its annual jazz and cabaret show is scheduled for performances this weekend. Elizabeth Nelson, FCP’s artistic director, says she doesn’t want any federal employees to bypass the show because of inability to spend extra dollars on entertainment at present. FCP will allow federal employees to pay whenever they can. Plus, since that’s been made known, some local folks have donated tickets for federal employees to utilize.
These examples of generosity and kindness are just that, examples. It isn’t our intent to leave anyone else out of this listing. If there’s an interest to share an example, you are welcome to call the Daily News or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your information. It might be included in whatever is written next on this topic.
In the meantime, it’s nice to know that Ketchikan still has what it takes to deal generously and kindly with unforeseen circumstances.