Letters to the editor (8/13/12)

Feeding children who are hungry means a better future for all

The difference between a good meal and the ache of hunger can be a game changer on any given day for any of us. For children who experience hunger and poor nutrition on a daily basis, the impact can be a life changer.

The research is unequivocal: Hungry students are absent more, have lower academic achievement levels, experience more behavior problems and suffer poorer overall health.

Good health and nutrition is part of the basic foundation for youth success and good educational outcomes. Supporting Anchorage youth in every way we can, from setting high expectations to easing the ache of hunger, takes all of us -- families, schools and community.

We salute the Anchorage School Board for approving increased nutrition for low- income students. It'd be great if all parents were able to provide for their children. But until then, we are committed to work with ASD and the community to end child hunger. Feeding a child today will immediately improve attendance, academic achievement, and behavior, and will feed a better future for all of us.

-- Michele Brown, United Way of Anchorage;

Diane Kaplan, Rasmuson Foundation


Brits earn praise for Olympics

I love it when the host country of the Olympics does well. To the Brits: Well done!

-- George Ellis


Repaving of Birch Road is great, but bike trail could use it too

Like many Hillside residents, I am enjoying the beautiful new asphalt put down last week on Birch Road between Abbott and O'Malley roads. The pavement recycling and replacement was done in two days. What's unfortunate is that the crew didn't take a third day and similarly rehabilitate the adjacent paved multi-use trail.

Before last week's work, I'd rate the surface quality of the road as a "C-" and that of the trail a "D." Under these conditions, most cyclists took their beatings on the rough multi-use path because the road wasn't much better. An unintended consequence of last week's partial improvement of Birch Road is that many cyclists, including myself, will now chose to ride with traffic in the narrow road lanes rather than on the adjacent path.

What happened to "complete streets"? This problem is not unique to Birch Road. Please watch out for cyclists!

-- Todd Logan


Babble of campaign ads fails to say what candidates will do

Dollars in the billions are being spent on the current presidential campaign. What is all that money getting us? An interminable babble about what one candidate has done right in the past and what the other candidate has done wrong. Almost nothing is said about what the candidate plans to propose to be done in the four years beginning on Jan. 20, 2013.

What changes do they propose for the national budget, taxes, the military, Social Security, health care, immigration, job creation, etc.?

Any significant change in national government policy results in winners and losers. The candidates certainly don't want to identify losers, thus try to make us believe all will be winners. When the presidential debates come around, hopefully the debate questioners will demand answers about the future and not allow much gibberish about the past.

-- Elliott Barske


Superintendent is overdue to get Alaska vehicle tags

Alaska Statute 28.10.121(a) states in part that "if a person becomes gainfully employed in the state ... the person shall comply with the licensing and registration provisions of this chapter within 10 days of commencement of employment ..."

If Ear's implication in Sunday's ADN that school Superintendent Jim Browder is still driving a vehicle without of state plates is correct, he is way overdue for getting Alaska plates.

-- Patrick Hames, AST Retired


Wound, don't kill, assailant

I have always had great respect for the Alaska State Troopers and APD. They provide Alaskans with exceptional service. Police officers have justificatory grounds to fire their guns with the intent to kill when assailants are shooting their guns at the police. However, I do not consider shooting an assailant holding a "bat" defensible. Even if they were trained to shoot with the intent to inflict death, a logical option would have been to shoot him in the leg instead. Although we have not heard the trooper's side of the story yet, I feel this case warrants an out-of-state investigation with a neutral third-party panel.

-- Elaine M. Bales


No to school lunch program

I agree with Don Smith about the school lunch program. Parents need to be responsible and accountable for feeding their children. Don't rely on the government to feed your children.

Parents who send their children to school and bed hungry need to be held accountable for this neglect. I also question why the welfare system provides Quest (food assistance) cards to addicts who then sell them to buy alcohol and drugs. All this money, paid by taxpayers, should be for families in real need, not for addicts or people who are now relying on the government to feed their children.

-- Monica Mellish


Young, Larsen put aside petty partisanship to help clean oceans

Sometimes at night, out of the glare of the media, Congress works in a real bipartisan manner. When that happens, we ought to notice and applaud. On Aug. 1, Republican Don Young and Democrat Rick Larsen from California worked closely together to pass a bill that will help a federal program reduce and clean up trash in the ocean and along our beaches.

Every week there is a new report finding bits of plastic somewhere else in our oceans. Thousands of marine mammals including seals, sea birds, and sea turtles die every year from eating plastic and being entangled in debris. The House bill is a good small step in dealing with this global problem that injures and kills sea life, smothers the bottom, litters our beaches, and costs money to clean up.

So let's thank these congressmen who worked in obscurity. After all, cleaning up ocean trash and reducing some of the 14 billion pounds of trash added to our oceans every year should be a bipartisan concern.

-- William Chandler, vice president for government affairs, Marine Conservation Institute,

Washington, D.C.

An open letter to Chief Mew and the police officers of Anchorage

I write this because of the unfortunate negative press APD has been getting over the deaths resulting from officer involved shootings.

I am not an Anchorage resident. However, I do work in the Municipality. I have the opportunity to see and chat with some of APD's officers, whom I have great respect for. The service APD's officers provide is very much needed. No officer want to have to pull their weapons, let alone fire them, knowing that the possible consequence of doing so may be the death of the antagonist.

Bad press, like complaints, is all too common, while good press and praise is way too lacking. What gets overlooked, or even ignored, are the poor choices those people made when confronted by law enforcement officers.

I offer this as my public support for all the officers in your department. They should know that there are far more people in and outside of the community in which they serve that respect and support what they do for all of us.

-- Paul O. Loughman


Abuse won't fix muddle

I am very upset right now, but here it goes. MLP is working in front of my home. They have my road blocked off. They have up signs telling you how to get around the construction. I could not figure out how to get to my house this evening so I went through one of the closure signs and drove across some new pavement.

I tried to explain the gentleman that I was not able to figure out to get to my house. He immediately became very hostile and raised his voice with me so I told him to just shut up and forget it. He stood in the middle of the road yelling at me that I was just lazy. I asked him again to look at the signs because they are confusing. He told me he put them up and he was not going to look at them and again yelled that I was just lazy.

Is this the kind of treatment I should have to endure from our city service workers?

-- Dawn Lowrey


Moore correct about medical plan

Becky Hultberg, Alaska Department of Administration, claims, essentially, that Shannyn Moore lied and is "absolutely incorrect" when saying the Parnell administration will force those on the state's medical plans to go to the Lower 48. Then Ms. Hultberg convicts herself. She states she has documented many medical procedures charged at several times the rates charged in the Lower 48, then says having to travel "would be voluntary ... if the overall cost ... is equal or less than the Alaskan cost." Only the expensive procedures are costly enough to meet that criteria -- which means most of the important ones -- total knee replacement, by-pass surgery, etc. So Ms. Hultberg is stating we will be required to travel to the Lower 48. So who is twisting the facts, here?

Nor is Ms. Hultberg finished with deception. The state's plan only pays for a round trip air ticket -- not the required follow-up visits for major surgery, nor the cost of staying in Seattle.

-- Leif Jenkinson


Barry an ADN Olympics winner

Kudos to the Anchorage Daily News for printing Dave Barry's daily "observations" from the London Olympics. I was sorry to see his Sunday column disappear from the ADN awhile back. Now here he is again, giving me a much-needed daily chuckle. Thank you!

-- Beverly DuBos


Bring back missing man flyover

We go to the event at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson every year on Memorial Day to visit my father and the other fallen soldiers who have fought for our freedom. They did not have the missing man flyover this year because of budget cuts. But the Air Force did have an air show.

My question is, could the Air Force cut one flyover from the air show and still do the missing man flyover on Memorial Day? What is more important -- entertaining the public or respecting and honoring out fallen heroes that gave their lives so we can have the freedom to watch the air show?

-- William Johnston


GOP gives short shrift to candidate

I attended the Alaska Republican Party barbecue last week at lovely Kincaid Park in Anchorage. It was a beautiful day despite the high winds.

But it was bad day for those of us who observed how our party treated write-in candidate Barbara Bachmeier. Col. Bachmeier was not allowed table space in the chalet like all the other Republican candidates were provided. The coordinator told her there was no room for her inside. Why was there significant space for non-candidate Lisa Murkowski? And why was an unknown bookseller allowed to take up table space in order to loudly market his book at no charge?

It's good to see that the current party chairman is on his way out. But he shouldn't be permitted to sabotage candidates who appear to be out of his favor. Or does Randy Ruedrich have some other reason?

-- M. Chris Meadows