The Patriot Act “Burned My Onions” in Tok

First, the thing about burning onions: This is what the Head Start teachers taught my 3 year old to say when she is irritated. She loves to say “You’re burning my onions, Mom” with a big exasperated sigh.

Second, I am a patriotic American, I’m sure I am. And I know why the Patriot Act is in place, of course. But when I’m put through a stupid, ongoing rigamaroll in the name of the Patriot Act, well, it burns my onions.

The situation that has been going on for over a week now:

I’m trying to get overdraft protection for my personal checking account with Key Bank. I already have a business checking account with them, a business credit card, a commercial loan, a personal savings and personal checking. I’m told I’m considered a “preferred customer” for having multiple accounts with them.

So the hitch is not a financial one. The hitch is that I live in Tok, Alaska and we do not have numbers on our houses.

My friend Betsy of Small Biz Survival saw my tweet on Twitter complaining about yet another call from Key Bank looking for further proof of residence and that I am who I say I am. I had already sent them scans of my drivers license (which has my PO Box as the address) and my social security card to prove I’m a U.S. citizen and a bill from Alaska Power & Telephone which shows my PO Box as my address – but with some puzzling letters or an abbreviation above the PO Box and under my name.

“The underwriters want to know what that means,” said the kind woman at Key Bank who was getting an earful from me for putting me through the ringer for a small overdraft account. “This is because of the Patriot Act,” she said as way of explanation for the hoops they’ve had me jumping through.

I called AP&T while still on the phone with Key Bank to learn that the abbreviation stood for the code they used to identify the house where the service for power and telephone was rendered because we do not have house numbers in Tok.

Turns out, it was AP&T’s own abbreviation that stood for Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge Rental. Yes, I guess I forgot to mention that my husband works for US Fish and Wildlife which is part of the Department of Interior for the United States Government. My husband is a U.S. federal government employee. We are living in government housing. And THEY don’t even have numbers on their houses here.

Betsy had some advice:

Of course, I knew all about address tricks for when you don’t have a number on your house and blogged about it here.

I have no idea if I’ll get the overdraft protection or not. Because I live in Tok Alaska where they don’t have numbers on houses. This is not just Rural America – this is more like Frontier America. These places still exist and they are part of the U. S. of A. It is a shame that the Patriot Act causes such as hassle for real Americans in real communities in the actual United States. I’d hate to see what would happen if I had a more ethnic-sounding name or a strong accent on top of living in rural parts.

I shudder to think.

How has the Patriot Act worked for — or against — you? Just curious.

UPDATE  13 April 2010

Today Key Bank underwriters said that the power bill and social security card and driver’s license was NOT good enough. Still rejecting me as a U.S. citizen with a verifiable USA residence. I now need to locate and send one of the following.

Mind you: No matter how you slice or dice it, we still have no PHYSICAL ADDRESSES for our houses in Tok, Alaska. I’ve even given them miles from the Alaska Highway which some people use (.4 miles) and the fake address (using post office box number as a pretend house number – this was advice given to me by the USPS i.e. United States Postal Service i.e. US GOVT. Take THAT Patriot Act.)

1. Social Security award letter containing social security number

2. Utility Bill associated with physical property location (i.e., gas, water, electric, sewer, water, cable and phone line)-bill, invoice or statement may not have date older than 60 days old.

3. U.S. license (may or may not contact social security number

4. Social Security administration signed letter

5. IRS tax reporting W-2 or 1099

6. U.S. state ID card (may or may not contact social security number

7. Native American tribal ID card

8. Voter Registration Card (valid registration card must have correct physical address and name)

9. Real estate tax bill-not older than one year

10. Real estate rental or lease agreement

11. Insurance coverage or statement (commonly required in real property and commercial equipment/inventory lending)

12. Real property deed

13. Student ID, letter/invoice from school admissions or grades/transcripts from school records (these should not be older than 90 days)

14. Current letter from employer regarding 24/7 moving and/or remote work assignments (used to verify long haul truck drivers, commercial fishing boat, cruise boat and freighter hands, field scientists and researches)

15. Letters from long-term heath care providers such as nursing/retirement homes


16 April 2010

Finally sent them the 8 page lease agreement with USF&W, part of the United States government, of course. That document did not have an address other than the abbreviation for Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge, the word “Rental” and a number with 7 zeros in front of it. That was it. The underwriters could have balked at the total lack of address, however, I think they saw the seal of the U.S. government and realized the error of their ways. Whew.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Watercolor Workshop in Tok in May?

Please contact Sharon Young if you are interested in the following:

Sharon Young is trying to get the word out about the 3 day watercolor workshop that is scheduled for May 21-23 with Fairbanks artist Vladimir Zhikhartsev, here in Tok.

She took a class from Vladimir in Fairbanks in February ,and says he is an excellent instructor as well as a great artist.

She is excited about the prospect of having something like this right here in Tok. He’s offered to do a 3 day workshop, although he said it’s ok if folks come for less if they can’t do the whole three days. He would charge $210 for the whole 3 days, and $70/day for less time. We need a guarantee of 4 people to make the class.

Duck Flats Valdez

Duck Flats Valdez by Vladimir Zhikhartsev

If you don’t already have your paints he also sent a link where you can order the kind of paints he prefers for a good sales price. The company is Daniel Smith and they have a 24 color set ($99 value) on sale for only $34.95. Pretty good deal.  You might want to check around their site too for brushes and paper, although you could probably pick up what you need at Michael’s in Fairbanks, pretty easily.

Materials List

Recommended Material List
for Vladimir’s Watercolor Workshop May 21;22;23, 2010 in Tok, Alaska

“ Yarka “ Watercolor Professional(Original ) Set of 24 ONLY

( FREE SHIPPING on orders over $300.00 – good for group order) and/or your personal favorites.

Brushes: 3/4-1″ sabeline or blend one-stroke flat; #8 pointed round; 2″ flat wash; 1/2″ stiff bristle or scrubbing set; #4 or #6 or small rigger for details.2

2 -3 full sheets of 140# or 300#( more expensive ) cold-press watercolor paper, block, or pad (Arches, Fabriano or Canson); cut 11″x14″ or larger

White watercolor palette– 12″ or larger.

Twowater containers;

Tissue or paper towels,

Pocket knife, HB drawing pencil, white plastic eraser,

Sketch pad, small natural sponge, spray bottle,

Artist or masking tape

Any reference photographs

Please contact Sharon Young if you are interested!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Alaska Singer/Songwriter Marian Call Crowdsources a Tour

I recently had the pleasure of having breakfast in Anchorage at the Snow City Cafe with the ultra-talented singer/songwriter Marian Call. Marian is a self-professed geek girl on top of being a powerhouse singer based in Alaska. She is about to embark on a unique and incredibly smart DIY musical tour of the Lower 48 called 49 > 50 as in “coming from the 49th state to the rest of them.” Oh yeah, she will end up in Hawaii at the end of the tour to get some much-needed rest.

I’d love to get her to Tok on her way back to Alaska although that won’t be until sometime at the end of year. Would love to get her here before she leaves the state but that is only weeks away, and as we know in Tok – and in everything else in life – timing is everything.

So in the meanwhile I’m just shouting from the social networks my support for what Marian is doing. She is crowdsourcing her music tour.

What is crowdsourcing, you ask? In a nutshell, crowdsourcing is going to the “crowd” or the public using social media to glean information or get ideas or get feedback. Sourcing the crowd for their thoughts and opinions. Social media is the perfect set of tools to do this with and it is smart for any company or individual to tap into the crowdsourcing power of our Social Web.

So what this means for Marian is pretty exciting. GET INFO HERE ABOUT HOW TO BOOK HER IN YOUR TOWN.

Here is how Marian defines the types of shows she will do:

There are two kinds of shows: House Concerts and Venue Concerts.  House concerts I set up directly with you (even if they’re not at a house, or not at your house).  For venue concerts, such as cafés, bars, farmer’s markets, and music halls, I collect information about a venue that you think is really a perfect fit and has dates open, and I contact them myself (unless the manager happens to be your brother-in-law or something, in which case you introduce us).

You can book a performance date for either type of show directly with her (instructions here). And you can see how her tour is shaping up on her site.

Her last show is in Anchorage on 10 April! If you are lucky enough to be in Anchorage or in nearby parts, you must go see her before she spends the rest of the year bringing her fantastic music to the rest of the country. You can buy tix on her web site!

I can’t begin to tell you how important it is what Marian is doing. Besides the fact that she is a smart, savvy, talented woman coming out of Alaska who can represent the State of Alaska in a positive, empowering way, she is also tapping into the power of crowdsourcing and empowering her fans with the ability to bring her to their towns – and their homes. So suddenly fans of music are not at the mercy of a venue or a music booker or booking agency. If you want to see her and hear in person, you just reach out and try to make it work.

My own company Conversify is working with several companies that are crowdsourcing on products including wine and perfume. This is the future. I’m so thrilled to see it happening.

Follow Marian on Twitter or on her Facebook Page.

Power to the People!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]