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Elise Patkotak

I was a bit taken aback at the vehemence expressed by some commenters on my Jan. 13 column towards seniors in this state. Who knew some viewed us with such dislike? According to these commenters, cutting senior benefits will cause us to leave the state, thus saving the state enormous amounts of money spent on our pensions and tax exemptions. Before kicking us all to the curb, however, let’s review some of the things seniors provide that would be hard to replace...

Elise Patkotak

So if I understand the situation correctly, Alaska is deep in a financial hole due mainly to the drastic decline in oil prices. We are therefore dependent on the moral strength and integrity of our legislators to do the right thing and balance the state budget no matter the political cost. I’ll pause here for a moment to give you time to laugh hysterically. Call me a pessimist but I’m going to bet that legislators will find a way to make a few cosmetic cuts and then kick the rest of the pain down the road. After all, this is Alaska. We live with our fingers crossed that the price of oil will go up or that we’ll tap a new, equally rich resource that will continue to allow us to live rich without any pain...

Elise Patkotak

Congratulations are in order for the boys and girls Barrow Whaler basketball teams. They both did extremely well in their respective tournaments. For anyone who has lived in Alaska for longer than 10 minutes without figuring this out, let me make it perfectly clear to you that basketball is to Bush Alaska what football is to all of Texas. It is king...

Elise Patkotak

Normally I use this last column of the year to recount those people, places and things that will live forever in my own personal Hall of Infamy. Talk about an embarrassment of riches, this year politicians alone would fill that hall. So I thought I’d hand out kudos instead, the biggest and only one of which goes to Gov. Bill Walker...

Elise Patkotak

It’s Christmas Eve, so it’s only appropriate to write something uplifting and joyful in keeping with the spirit of the season. But instead of doing that, I’m going to tell you about the strangest Christmas present ever given in my family, and I’m betting yours too...

Elise Patkotak

The murder in Barrow last week is one of those horrible, horrible moments in time. Most of us can’t imagine walking into someone’s house and blasting a shotgun at another person’s face. So while psychologists may be able to help us understand the mind of someone who does, comprehension will never translate into any empathy. That action will always remain over a line the majority of us will never cross...

Elise Patkotak

Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott has ensured himself a unique place in Alaska history as the first Alaska Native to win a statewide office. As such, he holds a very singular position from which to do good for all Alaskans. Given the limited duties of the Lite Gov, I’d like to make a suggestion on a really great use of both his time and his influence...

Elise Patkotak

So Alaska, with the possible help of the feds, is going to once again attempt to banish honey buckets to a museum. Right. And as soon as that’s done, we’ll open ANWR.

My first encounter with a honey bucket occurred soon after arriving in Barrow in 1972. As a nurse, I lived in hospital housing and had a flush toilet. But the town wasn’t that lucky. I was invited to a party in the village. Halfway through the evening, two gentlemen crossed the living room carrying a bucket full of liquid. I wondered what it could be. Then the pungent smell hit and I knew. I couldn’t figure out why anyone would use a bucket instead of a flush toilet like God intended. I got the answer when nature called a little later and I found out what that bucket actually was...

Elise Patkotak

Writing a column about Bill Cosby as a probable serial rapist is not something I ever thought I’d be doing. I mean, we’re talking about Dr. Cliff Huxtable, the man who probably made President Barack Obama possible by making African-American men less scary and threatening to the nation at large. He was the first black man to star in a network TV drama ("I Spy") and the first one to show an educated black family with a professional mom and dad and a home life to which we could all relate. In fact, he showed it in such a normal light that most of us wished our family was like his. We wished our dad would talk to us like he talked to his kids. We wished our spouses would embrace us the way he embraced Clair. Now we’re finding out that behind that goofy grin of Dr....

Elise Patkotak

Let’s call this a view from the sidelines. I’m not a talking news-head, not someone who lives and breathes politics as an occupation. But I am someone who, like you, gets to live with the results of elections. So let’s take a look at our recent elections and ruminate on what these results portend to those of us who live in the real world where people don’t shower us with gifts and money in return for our votes...

Elise Patkotak

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