“North to Alaska” is where we traveled for the 2012 National Federation of Paralegals Convention in Anchorage. Upon arrival on Sept. 22, ironically, the first day of fall, we were informed that Alaska had recently received more than 5 inches of rain, which resulted in flooding rivers and lakes both north and south of Anchorage.
Wet weather was not something new to us; after all we came from Rochester! It seems like you blink and the weather changes, just like here. I will say though that we had some sun, rain, wind, fog and snow, sometimes all at the same time.
The day after our arrival we drove 250 miles north to the resort area adjacent to the main entrance to Denali National Park. The next day we boarded a tour bus for the last park tour of the season. The tour guide was an adorable “tree hugger” type just loaded with facts and minutia about the park.
As luck would have it, they received their first snow of the season the night before, which resulted in absolutely breathtaking landscapes. The views of white-capped Mount McKinley were awesome. As far as the critters that inhabit the park, the moose are rutting just like the deer are here and we were fortunate to see four of them loping along in the sparkling snowscape. One of them even seemed a tad perturbed he had to re-route his path to the stream around the rear bumper of our stationary tour bus. The tourists on the bus thought there would be tons of animal sightings but, as the tour guide explained, there are 6 million acres in Denali and only a couple thousand animals. Still, it was incredible.
After Denali, we traveled 50 miles south of Anchorage to the Aleyeska Ski Resort in hopes of seeing the infamous glaciers. The resort has a ski lift tram that swoops up the adjacent Mount Aleyeska at a rate of 4,000 feet in 4 minutes. Unfortunately, because of the high winds, we were not able (i.e. were too chicken) to ride it. However, the resort had a great salt water pool and hot tub to assuage our disappointment.
Additionally, the high winds also caused the cancellation, 2 days in a row, of our scheduled day-cruise to see the numerous glaciers in Prince William Sound. Instead, we busied ourselves taking pictures of the few glaciers you could see that drop down off of the peaks of the numerous mountains surrounding the bay. The color of these glaciers is a piercing light blue, which contrasts with the white snow surrounding them; go figure! Still breathtaking!
After returning to Anchorage we visited an infamous local eatery called “Humpy’s” and had some fantastic fish. The establishment kind of looked like a hole in the wall, but had great local food and ambiance. Another noteworthy sighting was, surprisingly, Genesee beer has prominent displays in their local spirits stores! Can you believe this, they don’t sell it in Rochester in some places but we travel to Anchorage, Alaska, and there it is!
The keynote speaker at the convention luncheon on Thursday was the Hon. Morgan Christen. In June 2012, she was sworn in as a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Christen is the first female judge from Alaska and is commuting between San Francisco and Anchorage until her office in Anchorage is finished. She was very inspirational to us all with her presentation.
As the policy meeting began, we were reminded by the parliamentarian, Betty Green, to get the newest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order that was released this past year. She noted that it has been quite a while since it was last updated.
A big discussion topic among all of the associations was how to increase membership numbers. One area of concern was that many of the firms are now not assisting with the payment of the dues required to belong to the local paralegal associations and NFPA. Everyone is tightening their belts and, just like PAR, are offering all kinds of incentives to get new members, as well as past members who did not renew, to come aboard. Most of the agenda topics dealt with housekeeping issues or timely updates to existing procedures.
The newly elected president of NFPA is Robert Hrouda from the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals. As is always discussed, taking the PACE exam and the new Core registered Paralegal exam were hot topics. If anyone wants information concerning either one of these exams, please contact Debbi King at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moving on to some follow up from the Paralegal Association of Rochester, the 8th annual kick off Chinese auction was held on Sept. 19 at the Sanibel Cottage on Empire Boulevard. The evening proved to be a winner and the food was fabulous.
There were 54 auction items for the attendees to put silent bids on, including restaurant gift certificates, massage gift certificates for the Spa at the Del Monte, a dozen long stem red roses, crafts, RPO tickets, GPS¸ Red Wings tickets, crafts, golf items — a little something for everyone. The excitement in the room as the numbers were called was thunderous to say the least.
On Nov. 1, PAR is hosting a CLE luncheon called “Googling Google.” It is being given by Elaine Knecht who is a Google fanatic and can show anyone how to find anything on Google and do great research on Google. For information contact Michele McKay at Mmckay@harrisbeach.com.
Last, but not least, is PAR’s Christmas Charity (I can’t believe I am talking Christmas but I heard, when I was in Alaska, there are less than 100 days until Christmas). We are, again, adopting two families through Alternatives for Battered Women. It was chosen based on the great response we had supporting them last year. Look for further information to follow as soon as we have details regarding our sponsored families and their needs.
Deborah King is a paralegal and PAR’s primary representative to the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.