July 2, 2015

First User Forum, July 2, 2015

Donie Bret-Harte represented the Toolik Management Team.  Notes by Donie Bret-Harte. 

Other people who attended: Stephen Klobucar, Helen Chmura, Jeremy May, Stephen Unger, Tyler King, Mitchell Rasmussen, Mahalia Clark, Brie van Dam, Faye Ethridge

Brie van Dam, TFS EDC Manager, opened the suggestion box to start the user forum.  Suggestions included:

1)  The new white snowmachine is really nice and well-suited to researcher use.  The lack of smoke and fumes is great

2)  The science support staff has been really helpful to our project over the past year, especially Jeb Timm and Joe Franich.  Thank you!

3)  Each mountain bike should have a kit to repair a flat tire away from camp (tube, patch kit, tire irons, and pump), or a set of kits that could be checked out from a central place.

4)  Can construction camps have a slightly delayed start on Sunday morning?  The noise is very noticeable throughout the residence side of camp.

5)  Tiki torches or citronella candles at sauna would be nice.

6)  An expresso machine would be great.

7)  How about a cook/staff appreciation day?

Helen Chmura seconded the comment about the helpfulness of the science support staff, and added that the EDC staff (Brie, Seth, and Adeline) has also been very helpful to her project.  Brie seconded the suggestion for tire repair kits for the mountain bikes.

Helen commented that the new microscopes with cameras are very appreciated.  We now have three microscopes that are camera capable, and two cameras.  She suggested that a third camera would also be helpful.  The new balances are also great.  Tyler King wondered whether there is a list of common-use equipment and descriptions available.  Brie responded that both are on the EDC website. 

Tyler noted that the Pollux carbureted helicopters can carry less weight (maximum payload 570 lbs, including passengers) than the same model that is fuel-injected (maximum payload 670 lbs).  Last year, one of each type was stationed at TFS, but this year both are the carbureted helicopters with a lower payload.  Tyler’s project (Beth Nielson, PI) has had to spend many more hours this year, and has experienced many delays because of this change in helicopters.  Tyler reported that the pilots have requested a fuel-injected helicopter, but so far without success.  While the carbureted models use less fuel, it is not more efficient when researchers have to take more trips.  Donie commented that TFS does not contract or schedule the helicopters; instead, that is done by CPS.  She will let Dana Truffer-Moudra know that this comment was raised, and she urged Tyler and Beth to write to CPS directly.  Subsequently, we were informed that Pollux will bring in one fuel-injected helicopter.

Stephen Klobucar commented that the TFS ice augurs are in varying states of repair, and there isn’t always a working backup if the main one goes down.  He also wondered if it might be possible to get an ice augur with a rechargeable battery.  Faye Ethridge indicated that she thought that there were six augurs, of which three are working.  The others need fairly extensive rehabilitation.  Joe Franich worked on them quite a bit this spring.  Faye will inventory the ice augurs and discuss the situation with Jeb.  Donie and Jeb talked about it later, and there is already a plan in place for TFS to purchase another augur.

There was discussion of the sauna hours.  The hours are OK, but there is discontent over the loss of Saturday as a sauna day.  This decision was taken because there is a shortage of wood.  With only one working stakebed truck, it is not possible to get enough wood up to support 5 sauna days per week, and Saturday is the day that burns the most wood, because the saunas always go very late on that day. As there are saunas on Friday, Sunday, and Monday, it seemed that Saturday was the best day to cut.  Brett Biebuyck is aware of the situation and is working to find a solution.  The new leased stakebed truck is not expected until the fall.  Tyler wondered whether the wood (old pallets) used in the bonfires could instead be burned in the sauna.  It can be used, but burns up quickly.

Faye asked people to comment on what is going well.  Jeremy commented that the shop is well stocked and has met all of his needs.  Tyler noted, however, that the rechargeable batteries for the electric drills should be replaced, as many of them don’t have much battery life now, even when fully charged.  Helen commented that Jeb, Molly, Brie, Seth, and Adeline have provided really awesome science support, and she really appreciates their help. 

Donie asked whether there were any other requests.  Tyler wondered whether it would be possible to get a boardwalk buggy (perhaps like a wheelbarrow, but narrower) that could be used to move heavy items along the boardwalks.  He thinks that many people could benefit from this.  Mahalia wondered whether TFS could purchase a kayak for use in Toolik Lake.  Jeremy commented that the peanut butter cookies that were served today were particularly good.  Others chimed in that the food has been generally very good.  Tyler commented that the common-use computer in the dining hall has been very slow lately.  Faye will email Ben Tucker and ask him to take a look it. 

The meeting adjourned.