Letters to the Editor

Letter: Stop calling it ‘termination dust’

Every year around this time, reporters throughout Alaska jump on the opportunity to be the first person to tell the rest of the population that winter is arriving. Really? Do they believe that our vision is so poor that we cannot see the blatant bright tips of winter wonder above our heads?

Every year we are subjected to the overused, tired phrase: "termination dust". Do you writers and weather persons actually know what that means? This was a phrase invented decades ago as a signal construction would be slowing down and workers would be laid off due to the hazards, and expense for continuing construction throughout the winter. Jump forward into today's world for a moment and find the workers terminated due to the termination dust surrounding Alaska.

Unlike reporters and weather people, our economy is much more diverse and inventive. Construction techniques, contractors and workers have evolved to be more efficient, and droves of snowbird workers are not sent south as if they were expendable and rehired for the next construction season. Today, Alaska contractors and business owners recognize the need to maintain an Alaskan base of well-trained workers in order to save time and expense due to an unwanted turn over of employees.

Yes, Department of Transportation projects will be mothballed into the next season, but the mass of migrating workers has been reduced significantly. So please, the next time you feel inclined to use the phrase "termination dust," just hit delete and terminate this phrase from your vocabulary. In fact, lets have a contest to see which person in Alaska can come up with the most positive and inventive term for the first dusting of snow on the mountains.
— Bob Gray

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