News from Patrick Flynn


Like all Alaskans I was deeply saddened to learn of Monday’s plane crash that claimed five lives and injured four others.  Many residents of the Last Frontier, myself included, fly throughout Alaska in aircraft large and small so each accident reminds us of the risks we accept as part of our lives.  That doesn’t make the loss of life easier to bear.

Given our state’s status as a really big small town it’s no surprise that I knew two of the victims.  While I didn’t have the close relationship with Ted Stevens enjoyed by some of my follow West High alumni (for example, my friend George Lowe worked for him in several capacities), we ran into one another numerous times over the years.  My wife and I still smile at the memory of a somewhat informal neighborhood wedding where, in order to better see the local judge guiding the happy couple through their vows, the senior Senator stood upon a chair and cast his gaze over those who would have otherwise blocked his view (a lesser man might’ve elbowed his way to the front!).

Because of my bit part in Alaska’s “phone wars” I knew Dana Tindall somewhat better.  Back in my Juneau days I recall her and Reed Stoops stopping by for a “brief” visit with then-Representative Ethan Berkowitz and me and, initially, declining to remove her jacket.  When the conversation, shall we say, heated up she said, “Okay, now I’ll take off my coat!”

I hadn’t heard from Dana in a couple years until she called last month regarding the Lifeline program, which provides for discounted phone service to folks with low incomes.  The program began decades ago with landlines and has since grown to include cell phones as an alternative.  Dana was having difficulty with federal regulators who insisted that applicants have permanent addresses to benefit from the program and she correctly figured that homeless people, especially families, needed the service to assist in their efforts to find housing, jobs and other necessities.  We didn’t figure out a solution, but I offered to author an Assembly resolution encouraging regulators to allow program applicants to use a recognized social service agency, like the McKinnell House, as an address on their application.  She never got back to me about that idea.

Dana did tell me that, after extensive research and extraordinary difficulty, she had managed to find a way to prevent her children’s cell phones from sending text messages and offered to help me do the same when my boys are old enough to have phones of their own.  Even if I didn’t miss her now, I’m sure I’ll miss her when that time comes.



This contribution was made on Friday, 13. August 2010 at 16:26 and was published under the category Other. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

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1 Comment

  1. Your first introduction to DC, at age eleven, was facilitated by Ted. He watched over you when you were in the West Wing. He also watched over your sister when she was in Abu Dhabi. And, of course, without his help, Cassie and Meredith would not have been returned to Alaska. He has blessed our family.

    Comment: hf – 13. August 2010 @ 7:38 pm

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