Elise Patkotak

Now that our historic presidential visit is just about over, we can focus on the important things in life. Important things like, Will it be warm enough to grill outside on Labor Day? And let’s be honest here. Alaskans have been known to grill in below zero weather so, absent torrential rains, I’m guessing most of us will celebrate the day with something charred on a grill.

According to a government website, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”...

Elise Patkotak

In case you are wondering, what you’ve been observing on a national level the past six years is the politics of spite. Republicans announced at the beginning of Obama’s first term that their sole objective was to make his presidency a failure and they have worked to accomplish just that while failing to actually contribute to our country’s welfare. Now it seems as though our Republican Legislature has decided to emulate their national brethren. With the announcement of the lawsuit against Gov. Bill Walker for expanding Medicaid, I fear we have heard the opening salvo of four years of spite politics in Alaska...

Elise Patkotak

This Saturday, Aug. 22, Bird TLC will be holding its annual farewell to our migratory bird friends at an event called “Gone With The Wings.” I’d planned to write about the event but then another article about the North Slope Borough hit the paper, and I felt a great sense of obligation to try and explain, if possible, that things are done differently up north. It’s something I spent almost 10 years as the borough’s public information officer trying to explain to the outside world. It’s not easy...

Elise Patkotak

Anyone who watched the Republican candidates’ debate should have come away understanding why Donald Trump is beating all of them in the polls. It’s not because he’s the craziest of the group or says the craziest things. Let’s be real. In this group, that designation will be hard-fought for many months to come. No, the reason Donald Trump is so high in the polls is because he is not boring, while the other candidates make my brain explode with boredom...

Elise Patkotak

When 15-year-old Jose Vasquez found himself in a plane wreck 18 miles outside of Juneau with one person dead and three others seriously injured, he used skills he learned as a Boy Scout to save their lives . And now three people have another chance at life because he knew what to do...

Elise Patkotak

We frequently read about countries in which people walk for days to get to a polling booth and then risk death by actually voting. We’re awed by the courage it takes to vote under those conditions. Then we go back to our lattes and forget that in this country, we have basically thrown our voting privilege away by avoiding the voting booth in droves.

It sometimes seems the people who vote the least complain the most. Many justify not voting by saying no candidate pleases them completely. If they can’t have a perfect candidate, then they just won’t vote at all...

Elise Patkotak

When Donald Trump entered the presidential race, I reacted as many columnists did. We tried to suppress our glee. But he keeps crossing lines that make me feel as though the fun we’re having watching this blowhard is now tainted by the nasty, ugly content of his message and, perhaps even more troubling, the acceptance of that ugliness by way too many people...

Elise Patkotak

This is a story with disparate characters who eventually come together. The characters include me, a U.S. Marine and Alaska Airlines. Alaska Airlines gets mentioned because coming home to them after flying on other carriers is like climbing back into mom’s womb...

Elise Patkotak

If you want to know what you look like to friends and relatives when explaining that 20-below weather is not bad because it’s a dry cold, then pay close attention to their faces as they explain to you that 80-plus degrees with 3,000 percent humidity is good for your skin. No one is buying the other one’s story...

Elise Patkotak

Last week was one heck of a week, wasn’t it? The Affordable Care Act got upheld, marriage equality was extended to all people in this country, Obama sang "Amazing Grace" a cappella and actually pulled it off, and Bristol Palin proved the efficacy of the abstinence program she advocated for so long as they were paying her a lot of money. Yep, what a way to begin the summer. Alaska’s fires stopped making national headlines. Our earthquake was lost in the fog of funerals. Even Donald Trump’s insane rantings couldn’t get him front page coverage in the face of such formidable other headlines...

Elise Patkotak

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