Today I was moved by a greater fullness of his life than I had been aware, thanks to an obituary provided by his loving family.
For example, I knew of only one of Milton's educational positions and accomplishments before his move to Alaska.
Yet, in my defense, how would I know of every accomplishment of a truly private and serious man who seemed always engaged, not with the past, but on the next project in Alaska's future.
I also learned that while my father, Col. Dave Harbour, had been an Air Force fighter pilot in New Guinea during WWII, it turns out Milton was there with the U.S. Army...for the same, dangerous years.
I wish we had spent more time comparing notes. But I am also thankful for the time we did have working in parallel on many projects mentioned in the narrative below.
I'll miss you, Dear Friend, as many do, and we all join in thanksgiving for having known you. -dh
Dr. Milton Byrd
Physically spent but mentally alert, Milton Byrd, 92, accepted his fate with the words, "It's time to complete the cycle." Within a few hours, on March 6, 2014, he died peacefully in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Milt was born January 29, 1922 in Boston, Massachusetts. He was a graduate of Boston Latin School, a traditional classical high school, and received both his A.B. Cum Laude in 1948 and his M.A in 1949 from Boston University. He then left Boston to study at the University of Wisconsin, where he received his Ph.D in American Studies in 1953. In 1961 he was awarded a Carnegie Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for the study of University Administration at the University of Michigan. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and an honorary member of Phi Delta Kappa.
He married Susanne J. Schwerin of Sheboygan, Wisconsin on August 30, 1953.
Between 1942 and 1946 he served in the United States Army Air Corps as a meteorologist in the Philippines and New Guinea.
Milt began his academic career at Indiana University in 1953 as a faculty member in the humanities. From 1958-1962 he was on the faculty at Southern Illinois University, Alton, where he became Associate Dean of Instruction and helped oversee and direct the construction of a new library. He was Vice President for Academic Affairs at Northern Michigan University from 1962-1966. As President of Chicago State University from 1966-1974, he oversaw the creation of a new $65 million campus. He met with and managed large crowds during highly sensitive political environments and campus strikes. Ultimately he converted a neglected and despondent municipal college into a thriving urban university. He was Provost of Florida International University from 1974-1978. There he planned and implemented a second major campus. He served as President of Adams State College, in Alamosa, Colorado from 1978-1980, before joining the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C. as Senior Consultant. He also served as a member of their Board of Directors. He liked to boast that he never sought tenure.
In 1981 Milt and Sue moved to Anchorage, Alaska. Milt left the academic world to become Vice President for Corporate Development at Frontier Companies of Alaska, a company that provided transportation, civil construction and oil field services for the large oil companies on the North Slope.
With the development of the word processor and limited training opportunities for its use, and with academia still in his blood, Byrd resigned from Frontier in 1985 to found Charter College. He opened the college with seven students and a faculty and staff of eight in September 1985. When he retired as its president in 2005, Charter College had become a fully accredited four-year college with a faculty and staff of over 70 and a student body of over 700. He was President Emeritus until his death.
Dr. Byrd, as many addressed him, served on numerous boards and civic organizations. Four successive governors - Tony Knowles, Frank Murkowski, Sarah Palin and Sean Parnell appointed him to the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education. He served on the Commission from April 1994 to October 2013, the longest tenure served in Commission history. He sat on a number of Committees and served as Vice Chair of the Commission.
He was active in many organizations in various capacities. In Alaska he served on the boards of the Alaska World Affairs Council and the Support Industry Alliance and was a past President of each. He also served on the board of Commonwealth North. He was formerly Vice President of Common Sense for Alaska, Inc. and on the board of the Resource Development Council of Alaska.
He was a member of the Alaska Community Foundation, the Anchorage Rotary, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, the Alaska Press Club and the Advisory Committee of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Alaska at Anchorage.
During his long academic career and prior to coming to Alaska, he was President of the Florida Association of University Administrators and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. He was a member of the Chicago Council for Urban Education and the Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities;
He wrote with Arnold L. Goldsmith a Publication Guide for Literary and Linguistic Scholars, published in 1958.
Milt was a generous contributor to a number of Anchorage organizations and supported many of their projects. Among them are Anchorage United Way, Anchorage Rotary, Commonwealth North, The Support Industry Alliance, The Anchorage Museum, The World Affairs Council, The Alaska Community Foundation and The Salvation Army. Contributions in his memory may be made to any of these or personal favorite organizations.
Milt was an avid reader with a particular interest in American and world history. He was an eternal optimist - his glass was always full. He enjoyed a good lecture and when necessary was prepared to engage the speaker. He also enjoyed traveling, cruising, swimming, walking and seeing a good movie. He particularly enjoyed engaging his children in substantive discussion or debate. He never raised his voice, but quietly and logically presented his views while carefully placing all of his facts into historical perspective. They enjoyed that exchange and cherish those memories.
Milt's younger sister, Frances Sanderson preceded him in death.
He is survived by his wife, Sue, of 1122 Golf Club Road, Las Cruces, NM 88011, three children: D. Toni Byrd of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, Leslie G. Byrd of Apex, North Carolina, and David T. Byrd of Hudson, New York, one grandson, Gabriel A. S. Byrd of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania and one sister, Thelma Sterling, of Monsey, New York.
A celebration of Milt's life is scheduled for Sunday, June 29, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. at the Petroleum Club, 3301 C Street # 120, Anchorage, Alaska, 99503. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/adn/obituary.aspx?n=milton-byrd&pid=170...
While the live event is sold out, NGP readers can attend the virtual event on line by going here. The Prayer Breakfast coverage begins at 8 this morning, which is noon EDT.
We have attended and covered these events in the past.
Question. Why would we do that? Answer. We make occasional reference to the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent creator of the Universe here because we are lost in the chaos of temporal issues without Him.
American and Canadian energy projects, family plans, company investments, government coordination and all other human endeavors can only go well in the long run with men and women of faith who seek God's wisdom and petition Him to direct our paths.
The alternative, with apologies to Thomas Carlyle for use of his term, can only lead one, one's family, one's project or one's nation into a life of "dismal science". -dh
On another but somehow related subject is a video designed solely to inspire and entertain the many loyal followers of "Northern Gas Pipelines". Sit back, hold onto your chair, take a deep breath and listen to this Italian angel whose voice seems -- but is really not -- inconsistent with her uniform:
Alaska Dispatch. A Californian withdrew his name from an Alaska board on which membership is reserved for Alaskans, but a Texan is still seeking confirmation to another Alaska board. ... Seeking confirmation now to a seat on the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. is Richard Rabinow of Houston, Texas.
What Does This Week's Gas Pipeline Effort Have To Do With The August Primary Election?
by Dave Harbour
Point of Personal Privilege:
We celebrate the life and mourn the passing of our great friend, Dr. Milton Byrd (NGP Photo). (See our later update and obituary on March 3, 2014)
Interested readers may contact us personally here, for more information as the Byrd family releases it.
For over three decades, Milton has contributed tirelessly to the growth and improvement of Alaska and her people.
We first met upon his arrival.
Tennessee Miller, the iconic Alaskan owner of Frontier Transportation (i.e. of North Slope 'Cat Train' fame), was his first Alaska boss.
"I've hired this bright, young college president," he once said proudly, "to come up here and help me handle my business affairs."
Milton called soon thereafter and he said mine was the first business call he had made.
We met for lunch at Sheffield's old "House of Lords" downtown. This was about a week after he hit town.
We became lifelong friends and he seemed more excited to come to Alaska than any newcomer I've met over the years.
Following his career with Frontier, Milton organized Charter College, which he led during another career, as president (i.e. his fourth college presidency, as I recall).
He remained active throughout his Alaska adventure with Commonwealth North, the World Affairs Council, Rotary International and the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, among many other charitable and public interest pursuits.
He and his beloved wife, Sue, moved to Las Cruces, N.M. where he passed away recently.
Our dear friend, Dr. Milton Byrd, was a serious man with a wry sense of humor punctuated with a twinkle in the eye. He was a man of honor, grace, wisdom and dedication.
He made the world better.
Thank you, God, for letting this great one to have been among us.
A mutual friend, Ken Martinson, summed it up best: "The news about Milt's passing is in sorrow, but his Life's accomplishments and contributions are full of joy." -dh
That action led to roughly 20 years of tax stability, massive industry investment and more production than had been earlier envisioned.
Then, in 2006-07, the production tax was massively increased, leading to continuing declines in production and action in the last legislative session to again reform taxes.
Tax reform did pass (SB 21) last Spring, but it was immediately attacked by minority legislators and a group of environmental activists and mostly democratic grass roots operators. They succeeded in gathering enough signatures last summer to place on this coming August primary ballot a proposition that, if a majority vote "yes", would repeal oil tax reform.
This week's major focus (scroll down to review stories and commentary) in Juneau has been on legislation intended to advance an Alaska North Slope gas pipeline/LNG project that would both provide intrastate gas supply and gas for export.
We can easily surmise that if a majority elect to repeal tax reform, Alaskans will see diminished oil industry investment, a faltering economy and little hope for a gas pipeline/LNG project during this generation's watch.
Deputy premier Dave Hancock was chosen interim premier of Alberta during a Tory caucus meeting at the legislature Thursday morning.
“I think what we need is some stability as we go through the process of leadership selection,” Hancock said when asked what qualities an interim leader should posses. “Government obviously has to continue to do its job. Ministers have to continue to do their work. The budget needs to get passed, the rest of our session needs to be dealt with, so it’s steady as she goes through that process while potential leadership candidates are getting their campaigns together and going out.
San Francisco Chronicle/AP by Becky Bohrer.
The Alaska Senate on Tuesday passed legislation aimed at advancing a major liquefied natural gas project, over nagging concerns about the role of TransCanada Corp.
Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash had hoped for a resounding approval as a message to the other project partners and markets about Alaska's resolve in pursuing a project. Tuesday evening, Gov. Sean Parnell thanked the Senate for passing his bill and said he looked forward to working with the House to pass legislation "on Alaska's terms and in Alaskans' interests."
Now in its second decade, the Inuvik Petroleum Show or “IPS” takes place every June in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Host to over 500 participants including delegates and exhibitors from across Canada and beyond , this three day tradeshow and conference is a must-attend event for the oil and gas sector. (NGP Photo: author chaired 2002 oil & gas presentation. Don't miss local restaurant specialties, surf and turf: musk ox and char! The nighttime sing-alongs in lounges and friendly locals will make the trip memorable!)
|North Slope Borough and ConocoPhillips develop Alaska North Slope emergency response transportation process to safeguard village residents. (Photo: NSB Mayor, Charlotte Brower)|
Supporting Both Academic Freedom and The Right to Criticize Academic Activists
Last Thursday, University of Alaska - Fairbanks (UAF) Chancellor Brian Rogers (NGP Photo) addressed members of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance in Anchorage on the subject of the University's Fairbanks coal fired power plant. (We have an interesting personal story to tell here for readers who may be interested.)
Following the presentation, a member asked Rogers about the policy of professors signing a controversial letter/petition "applauding" the EPA's assessment of a proposed Pebble mine project (here) -- while identifying themselves with the University (For those interested, we explain the controversy here). Rogers said that of the many who claimed a University of Alaska relationship, less than half were actual university professors. The rest had honorary titles or persons who might have taught a class one time and one signer who was not affiliated with the University at all.
We have written extensively on the subject of the Pebble project's constitutional right to file for permits to operate on state leased lands--and the catastrophic effect on the public interest were activist organizations and federal agencies to preempt that project before it is availed the guaranteed right of due process. We think the rule of law evaporates if due process can be denied in this case and that determined activism will have precedent for stopping all natural resource, construction, agricultural, industrial, or housing projects anywhere in America. We also believe the EPA, with support from its supporters, has attacked the Constitution and Sovereignty of the State of Alaska by denying due process to a project lawfully granted leases on Alaska state lands. And, we think that a citizen can personally oppose the Pebble project for any reason but strongly support our call to protect "due process".
- Integrity. Having served as a university vice president, a high school and university English teacher; a regulatory commission chairman; a spokesman for oil, gas, mining and pipeline companies; an Army officer and a Washington Post newspaper delivery boy, I would never have thought of hiding behind some supposed, "Free Speech" defense while trumpeting a political viewpoint and pretending to represent my employer. Professors, like others, who use their official affiliations to give credence to their personal, political convictions have deviated from science and fact into the world of politics--at the expense of their own reputations and that of the institution(s) they presume to represent. On the other hand, we respect the integrity of some signers of the attached letter who represented themselves as retired or who did not otherwise use current state or university titles to enhance the impact of their petition signature. While we may oppose their politics, we do not criticize those who exercised their freedom of speech to sign the political petition--only those who seek to enhance their importance at the expense of their claimed affiliation. (I have to insert that it seems really amazing how some Academics can so blithely create a double standard. When one of them publishes a research paper, the "Academy" is expected to "peer review" it, to vigorously test it for scientific validity. But when a politician writes a letter on an environmental subject, a professor who works every day demanding peer review of scientific methodology, doesn't hesitate to sign his or her name ... even while invoking the unapproved use of his institution's name ... even when he or she has a degree totally unrelated to the letter/petition subject ... and even when he or she has not necessarily ever studied the topic in greater detail than skimming the contents of the biased letter/petition. In my farewell remarks before the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, I identified this same difficulty with other 'professionals', like regulators.)
- What's a governor to do? Some suggest that university systems throughout the country are heavily influenced by leftist professors. In fairness, others deny the allegation. In any case, one observes that money motivates much human action, including the actions of professors. Accordingly, one almost always finds it useful to "follow the money". If, as UAF professors have testified, Alaska Arctic OCS oil, gas and other human development should be suspended for a decade or so, until they get funding to complete a base line inventory of Arctic coastal and ocean ecology, one sees at least one motivation for professorial researchers who oppose development. It takes a great deal of money to prove or disprove the thesis that development should be permitted. One can, therefore, sympathize with excellent university leaders going back to Dr. William Wood, and more recently, Brian Rogers, Generals Mark Hamilton and Tom Case and Pat Gamble. How do they keep peace in the academic family and run an institution by taking a stand against activist professors who advocate under cover of university titles -- and who, presumably, are inculcating their own version of "Science" to impressionable students? Furthermore, the University of Alaska some years has leveraged about $6 in research grants from outside sources for every $1 of Alaska budget contributions. This has brought in hundreds of millions of dollars to the Alaska university systems and those benefiting from them. This gives incentive to professors to support federal government and private granting agencies politically. It gives perverse incentives to administrators to support professors who bring home the grant bacon. In turn, Legislators' constituents and campaigns are partly funded by such activity. And, what's a Governor to do?
- What we can do? We note that several of the letter/petition signers profess to represent Alaska's private university, Alaska Pacific University (APU). APU thrives on private contributions, particularly those originating from natural resource extractive industries and those affiliated or doing business with them. We note that if University of Alaska and Alaska Pacific University professor advocates named in the letter/petition got their way, there would be no money in Alaska to support either a public or a private university. Therefore, truly, we also observe that while we do not oppose a professor's right to speak against Alaska's economic survival, we do not have to pay for his or her right to do so. What can we do? We can tell the public and private institutions when they come calling for donations that we do not support their anti-development activist professors whether they officially or unofficially represent the institution. We can say, "Not this year". We can suggest to Legislators and the Governor when university lobbyists go to Juneau that we do not want to give them funding for research that produces armies of Academics intent on destroying the economy. We can say, "Not this year". Lastly, we can be a little more courageous about telling it like it is. All of us have the freedom of speech. If someone or some institution is contributing to the economic death of Alaska, each one of us has the right if not the responsibility to object. Right?
Personal comment: During the Great Eastern Blackout of 2003 your author was taking courses at the University of Michigan in Lansing on principles of utility and pipeline, economics and regulation. On the late afternoon of August 14, classmates (NGP Photo, 8-8-03) were walking from the parking garage to our graduation dinner/ceremony when the lights all over town began going dark as the sun began to recede. Everywhere ... except where we were, in the middle of the University Campus. Ironically, a day or two earlier, campus guides had taken us on a University tour, including a detailed briefing of the University's coal fired power plant. The University was quite comfortable with having this facility on campus because as our guide said, "we can use the grid in an emergency, but if the grid has an emergency, we remain independently powered." So on the related question of whether or not the University of Alaska should maintain an ageing coal fired powered plant on its far north Fairbanks campus, we would say: "the rationale for doing so is compelling, especially in view of the fact that the Campus is close to a nearly infinite supply of coal!" -dh
Q. Why is it so controversial for University of Alaska and Alaska Pacific University Professors to 1) sign this attached letter/petition, and 2) to do so while using their own university titles, presumably without permission from their universities to do so?
A. The letter/petition is controversial because professors advocating the EPA position are supporting a major violation of the American Constitution and of the rule of law; because they are doing so with the presumed support of the institution whose name they boldly use without approval; and, as Alaska educational service providers, the unlawful practice they condone erodes the economy of Alaska upon which their own and other great and small institutions and enterprises survive.
As we have explained, we support the Constitution's guarantee of free speech. We further support the freedom of all citizens, including professors, to 'petition their government'. We also agree that, citizens have the right to personally support and/or express opinions for or against projects, such as the proposed Pebble Mine in Southwestern Alaska.
However, we also embrace other, traditional principles:
- When an institution depending on public financing, permits activities designed to harm the public, the public has the freedom to withdraw financing of that institution.
- When employees act against the interests of the employer or taxpayers, they may be censured or dismissed if they use unapproved titles, resources, time and affiliations of the employer.
- When America's rule of law is threatened, all Americans are threatened and those threatening it, even while engaged in the act of speaking freely are subject to criticism and censure.
- With freedom comes responsibility.
- Those endangering the public interest must be willing to accept responsibility for loss of public support.
Note: Some of Alaska's most influential leaders whose businesses and eleemosynary activity would be harmed by liberal and/or misguided professorial activism serve on the Alaska Pacific University Board of Trustees and the University of Alaska Board of Regents. We sympathize with these public spirited, well intended citizens -- many of whom are dear and respected friends -- who also face difficult challenges when overseeing the policies of their institutions.
"I will observe a caution that I have for my colleagues regarding NARUC and urge them to watch the organization closely. Look, the job of regulatory commissioners is to carefully adjudicate proceedings based on a legal record with an absence of tainting, tarnish, bias. But somehow, when finding themselves in a public setting like a national organization, commissioners are sometimes led or tempted by a siren call of some group of Commissioners that wants the rest to take political positions based, not on a record, but on the emotional issue du jour. And that is inappropriate in my view. NARUC--just like a local Commission--ought to be taking positions based on a record even though it is a modified record."
As our faithful readers prepare for tonight's State of the Union Speech, we also await rationale justifying the continuing overreaching jurisdiction of the White House. Please review our editorial written two years ago. We briefed readers on a big change: this president was altering the authority to take over the economy. Former administrations planned to exercise broad economic powers only in the face of a national emergency. The current White House added a provision enabling it to take dictatorial powers in 'peacetime' as well. Perhaps a reading of our Executive Order analysis in combination with a hearing of tonight's speech will keep us all up to speed. -dh
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Gavel/APRN by Alexandra Gutierrez. It took Gov. Sean Parnell three years to get his oil tax overhaul through the Legislature. Now, the goal is to pass a bill setting the terms for a massive natural gas pipeline in 90 days. Hearings on the project started today, and a half dozen more are scheduled through this week alone.
The gasline bill that Gov. Sean Parnell (NGP Photo) produced Friday is long and detailed. So detailed in fact that the title alone takes up two pages.
The bill is slated to be heard in the resource and finance committees in both chambers, as well as the House Labor & Commerce Committee.
Watch the committee meeting:
See the original article
Our dearly departed friend, Mark Singletary.
Marcus K. "Mark" Singletary
1929 - 2014 | Obituary | Condolences
Marcus K. Singletary, who loved adventure, learning experiences and new interesting locations, has made the greatest and glorious journey to join loved ones who have preceded him. Mark passed away at home in Granbury on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, after a brief illness of cancer. Memorial service: After interment in Austin, Mark's life will be celebrated with a service at 2 p.m. Thursday at First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth with the Rev. Lamar Smith officiating. Memorials: For those wishing to remember Mark and in lieu of flowers, memorials may benefit The Herbert F. and Vivian Singletary Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Law in care of the University of Texas Law School Foundation, 727 E. Dean Keeton St., Austin, Texas 78705; the Salvation Army in any city of choice; the Hamilton General Hospital Healthcare Foundation, Box 788, Hamilton, Texas 76531; or a charity of choice . Hook 'Em Horns! Born to Vivian and Herbert Singletary in Henderson on March 30, 1929, Mark graduated from South Park High School in Beaumont, Texas, attended Lamar University in Beaumont and received a bachelor of business administration from the University of Texas at Austin. Upon an honorable discharge from the United States Air Force, Mark entered the University of Texas School of Law from which he received his LLB (now doctorate of jurisprudence) in 1956, at which time he became associated with the former law firm of Tilley, Hyder and Law in Fort Worth. In February 1957, Mark and Shirley Tompkins were married at University Methodist Church in Austin. Interested in pursuing a career in energy and corporate law, Mark joined Honolulu Oil Co. in Midland in 1959. When Honolulu was sold, Mark chose to return to Fort Worth with Sinclair Oil and Gas Co. for which he continued to work in Tulsa, Okla., and New York. Shortly after Atlantic Richfield Co. purchased Sinclair and during the period energy companies were striving to obtain permission to construct the Trans-Alaska pipeline, Mark assumed the position of division attorney and lobbyist for ARCO in Anchorage and later held legal and governmental affairs management positions with ARCO in Denver, Colo., and Dallas. He was a member of the Texas, Oklahoma, New York and Alaska Bar associations. Mark volunteered his time to various community and civic organizations, including the Salvation Army which he served on its advisory committee in Anchorage, Denver and Austin. After retiring from ARCO, Mark and Shirley moved to Lakeway, where Mark cheered long and hard for the Texas Longhorns at football games, enjoyed playing golf, reading and traveling. After a few years, there was need for a new experience in his life and he began ranching on a small ranch near Hamilton, raising "pasture art longhorns." Mark and Shirley moved from Lakeway to Hamilton and resided there for several years before moving to Granbury. Mark was preceded in death by his parents, Vivian and Herbert Singletary; brother, Jerry Singletary; brother-in-law, Paul Brown; other relatives; and good friends. Survivors: His wife of 57 years, Shirley, son, Dan Sumner Singletary; son, Clay Stuart Singletary; grandchildren, Samantha Joy Singletary and Austin Marcus Singletary; sister, Jane Brown; brother, Don Herbert "Tony" Singletary and wife, Raynell; and sister-in-law, Mary Lynn Singletary. Many loving nieces and nephews, their families and all of Mark's good friends will miss him.
Published in Star-Telegram on Jan. 28, 2014
CBC News. TransCanada investigating cause of pipeline blast.
|Parnell's LNG project challenged by rival Walker and some ...Anchorage Daily News - Sean Parnell's newest proposal for bringing Alaska's North Slope natural gas to commercial markets finds a biting .... Sarah Palin's gas line legislation, ExxonMobil's Marty Massey testified "we are willing to take geologic risks, we are ...|
Point of personal privilege: ADN, Now in its 25th season of hosting concerts, plays, musicals and other spectaculars in its three main halls, the PAC has undergone regular renovation and repair over the years, most famously a $5 million roofing job needed to fix leaks in 2005. No one likes seeing a play with water dripping over their heads.
Likewise, no one wants to hear a concert accompanied by the hum of fans or other equipment. Everyone expects bathrooms to work. The seats mustn't wiggle and the air should be neither too hot nor too cold, nor should it smell funny. The house lights should go down when the stage lights go up. Set changes, curtain action and such should go so smoothly that you don't notice them. What patrons are paying for is to notice nothing, in fact, except the musician, actor, dancer or singer they've paid to see -- in as much comfort as can be reasonably expected.
To make that happen requires an efficiently operating infrastructure that few ever see. The ACPA occupies a city block, stands 200 feet tall and extends more than two storeys under the ground. Perhaps two-thirds of its space -- backstage, mechanical, storage, dressing rooms -- is out of view from the public areas.
"It's a very complicated and interesting building," said ACPA President Nancy Harbour (NGP Photo) as she took a reporter on a behind-the-scenes tour this month.