Alcatraz Weekly

Staff Meeting Notes - 24 Oct 2013

Weekly Discussion Topics

Welcome back. It’s really rewarding to see everyone back on the rock and especially being able to see you do what you do best: share your passion and knowledge with the thousands of visitors each day.

A great video to watch about being a park ranger. It was developed by the NPCA during the shutdown:

Bridge Awards. New date for 5 Nov. 2 Pm at the General’s Residence (FOMA)

Also, the NPR story on former AZ inmate Bill Baker is out. Check it out here.

Speaking of which, Bill will be in the bay area for the month of November.

Thank you Cortney for getting our SIR report done.

All areas closed to bird nesting are now open - including the pathway behind the Laundry Building. We can also open the New Industries building on both sides. This creates a nice flow of visitors through the building.

Performance evaluations are due soon. Please schedule with Marcus.

New Tram times are up and posted. Note that the first two trams have a short turn around time to get up the hill. Short dock announcements for the first two docks are critical.

This Saturday is the 40th year anniversary of the first Ranger Tour on Alcatraz. John will be hosting a group of former rangers from these early days. This includes our general superintendent, Frank Dean and CEO, Greg Moore. Several other superintendents are coming from Gettysburg, Redwood, and Whiskeytown.

As part of our ongoing experimentation with improving dock announcements, yesterday we did our entire day of dock announcements on the boat. The purpose of the experiment was to see if there are benefits to broadcasting short dock announcements to the boat as it is approaching the island. Pros include: great for having captive audience for announcement. Especially useful during rainy days and during fly season when we don’t want to hold people up on the dock. If we time programs we can increase number of people attending programs. Also can have more opportunities for short programs. Also can better time tram with boat departure and arrival. Cons include: hard to point at areas like point to smoking area. Lose face to face. May be harder to sell other programs such as the exhibits or programs in the cell house. Other considerations: visitors are getting many announcements on the boat. Is this too taxing and information overload? Next steps: Continue discussion with partners about value of implementation. Need to also evaluate cost of equipment and practicality of installing equipment.

We are now using the new winter program schedule. Note that there are some minor differences from the last one to clarify when people are needed at docks.

Weekly Safety Message

Also, a variety of safety programs are being offered: Upcoming Safety Classes

Oct 29 Hazard Recognition @ GOGA POC: Thomas Meyer 415-561-4970

Nov 19-20 Operational Leadership @ PORE POC: Thomas Meyer 415-561-4970

Visitor Comments

10/20/13 “The Alcatraz Cruise Experience was excellent due to the outstanding customer service of a Park Ranger (can't recall his name). He took the time to explain and give back ground information and stories, that truly made the "average" tour so much more enriching. He made the difference. Without him sharing his knowledge, the Alcatraz experience would have been a bit disappointing. The tour is self guided so one is left to wonder and tour. Many areas were restricted and the facility is really in very bad shape. We hope that more funds will be put into preserving this historic point of interest. If not, it will wither away and be just another disappointing tourist trap. Thank you for considering my feed back. Anna Morris”

10/22/13 Dear Alcatraz Rangers,

I'm so happy that you are all back at work! Shutdowns cost a lot of many and result in many missed opportunities to learn.

My wife and I took a night tour of Alcatraz a few weeks back on September 23. We both enjoyed the tour very much, especially getting to see the prison hospital, which is usually closed to visitors. By far, though, the highlight of our tour was hearing the story told by one of the rangers about "Obsession and Murder at Alcatraz." Sadly, I don't recall the Ranger's [Jim Breeden] name who told the story, but hearing the tale is an experience I will remember for many years to come. The amount of research that went into the presentation was most impressive and I thought the ranger handled the potentially difficult subject of homosexuality with an outstanding degree of sensitivity and understanding. I was genuinely moved by hearing the story as I know many around me were as well. It's rare that a historian or teacher succeeds in conveying the emotions of historical figures, much less shares his or her own in the telling of a story. The ranger who spoke that night touched us all with his vivid depiction of the people and events involved, as well as sharing his own personal insights and feelings about the story. Please extend my gratitude to the ranger who told us the story. His is a wonderful example of the power that storytelling and history can have on people when it is presented from the head and from the heart.

Upcoming Leave (Annual, Sick, Off-Site Training)

30 Sept Cristal last day

6-9 Oct Nancy AL

18-31 Dec Marcus AL

Calendar of Events

10/26/13 Alcatraz 40th Anniversary Event – Former Rangers on the island to reminisce. John Cantwell/John Martini.

10/26/13 Also 20-30 artists on the island from the Stanford Project. Ranger Laura to get them into the hospital and chapel.

10/30/13 Stanford after hours SPUG program. Frank and Howard on island. Marcus.

11/1/13 University of San Francisco Eco-Tourism Students with Dr. Pavlίna Látková, Ph.D. Need Ranger

11/2/13 Alcatraz Junior Ranger Day. Lead: Ranger Kelly.

11/5/13 Bridge Awards. 2 pm.

11/9/13 Alcatraz Junior Ranger Day. Lead: Ranger Kelly.

11/11/13 Wiss Janney and associates doing monitoring on cell house. Will be rapelling from roof. Need ranger to give them a ride with equipment to the roof.

11/14/13 Joint NPS/PC Staff Retreat. Rangers Durgarian and Combs on the island. Location: SAFR. 9 Am – 3 Pm. Potential Topics include:

- How do we talk about Native Americans and the occupation?

- How do we make our behind the scenes tours more consistent?

- Methods of working with youth.

- How do we reach out to underserved communities?

- What are good ways of using humor to address sensitive or controversial topics?

11/19-20 Operational Leadership Training.

11/20/13 All Supervisors Mtgs 1-3 pm

11/28/13 Thanksgiving Sunrise Ceremony

12/11/13 Interpretive Get Together 9 – 11:59 am (Alcatraz is hosting all GOGA Interp Rangers).

2/2014 Health and Safety Week.

3/22/14 Living History Day

3/28-29/14 Bio-Blitz. All hands on deck to help out throughout the park.

9/27/14 Living History Day

Exhibit Calendar

Exhibit Calendar (*Approved by Arts in the Parks Committee)

Band Room:

2/15 – 8/28 Restorative Justice Comic and Table of Voices

8/28 - 12/31 Flower Painting Display*

2/14 – 8/14 Tentative: San Quentin Prison Arts Project*

5/15 – 9/15 Tentative: Community Works West*

New Industries:

3/21/13 - 3/20/14 Anniversary of Prison Closing Exhibit

7/15 – 12/15 Tentative: Prisoners of Age* by Ron Levine

Bldg 64 Casemates:

4/28 - ? Native Nationalism and Red Power: Historicizing the 1969 Alcatraz Occupation venue: Building 64/Theater/China Alley AZ lead: Teresa

Other Proposed Exhibits

Fall 2015 Proposed: We Players "Hamlet".

10/14 – 4/15 Proposed International exhibit. Various locations around the island.

Date TBD California College of the Arts Graduate Seminar. Artists on island at various time. Exhibits at various locations at end of Graduate Seminar. Lead: Patrick Gillespie.


Closures (Updated 8/28/13): Off limits areas include: Cell House Roof, Citadel, QM Lower Level, Bldg 64. Upper floors, area past cable by power house. All Bird Closure Areas including Agave trail, parade ground. Model Industries ground and below Sally Port now open.

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