The Copper River is the second largest river in the state of Alaska. That’s saying something in a state where you can throw a rock in any direction and hit one. It’s actually the 10th largest river in the United States (but I think that first statistic is more impressive.) From it’s birth at the base of Mount Wrangell, this beast runs some 200 miles of Alaska’s toughest country at about 56,000 cfs (give or take) before it graces our doorstep at the Million Dollar Bridge, aka “the end of the road”. You could say that if the mountains are the backbone of Cordova, the Copper River and her delta are its lifeblood.
I recently watched the movie “Roger & Me“, a documentary by Michael Moore about a town called Flint Michigan that was desolated when a the largest auto plant (and main industry) in town moved their manufacturing to cheaper labor in China. Some would blame General Motors then-CEO, Roger B. Smith (the namesake of the movie) for this malicious act. But, although I acknowledge his misdoings in the matter, I don’t know if it was all his fault. We’ve all heard the stories of small towns being eaten alive when Wal-Mart moves into town. But it’s not always an army of big-box stores that beats up small-town economies. Most the time, it’s a series of little choices that you make, and I make, and our aunt’s cousin’s boyfriend makes. Just like in Flint, Michigan, communities can grow exponentially or wither into oblivion simply based on our buying trends.
This is a scary thought, isn’t it? You start a life somewhere: lay down some roots, enroll your kids in a school system you trust, maybe buy a house, pay your taxes… Then, next thing you know, your neighbors are moving, the community center is going under due to low tax revenues, and your favorite coffee shop just closed down.
Last Saturday marked an important day in the lives of 30 young Cordovans, possibly one of the most memorable days they’ve had. The ceremony began with the horn, woodwind and percussion sounds of the CHS band as the graduates entered 2 by 2. It was reminiscent of a Prom procession, especially since graduates could pick their “walking partner”. Keegan Irving and Shannon Lindow were especially cute as they walked down the aisle together (fore-shadowing, you think?).