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Frank Gerjevic

We don’t know how candidate for governor Bill Walker would have responded to the call for help in cleaning up the Alaska National Guard. We do know how Gov. Sean Parnell responded.

And on the merits of that response alone, Walker should become governor.

Parnell’s defenders complain that criticism of his handling of the guard scandal is just politics. But good men and women put careers, friendships and reputations on the line to warn the state's chief executive and commander in chief of rape, harassment, intimidation, retaliation, fraud, drugs and gunrunning that ran to the top of the guard. They were not playing politics. They were not playing at all...

Frank Gerjevic

Slow that train down, Casey.

Alaskans are deciding between now and 8 p.m. on Election Day whether to become the third state in the union to legalize and regulate marijuana. We should decide no.

What’s the compelling reason to legalize marijuana? What do we gain?

Proponents argue that legalization is a triumph of reason over fear. Alaskans’ passage of a medical marijuana law in 1998 fit that argument. But this version of legalization that is Ballot Measure 2 is a toke or two over the line...

Frank Gerjevic

We should see through the smoke and fear and vote yes Tuesday to repeal Senate Bill 21, the oil tax cut legislation. With that vote we'll return to ACES, the previous tax regime. And that will set the stage for improving ACES in the next legislative session.

Here's why:

We're a sovereign state, not a supplicant. This referendum is about a specific bill, but also about power. The oil companies not only want to pay the least amount in taxes, they want maximum freedom to invest those gains on their own terms, with the least obligation to Alaska. That serves the companies, not us. It's absurd state policy to give breaks on faith...

Frank Gerjevic

And the nation gets a little stronger

One day last week my son Nick told me the students would attend a ceremony at Romig Middle School.

"What do you call that again?" he asked, explaining that one of the teachers and some others were going to become citizens of the United States.

"Naturalization," I said.

I helped him tie his tie. This was a ceremony to dress up for, even if his red, white and blue included blue jeans...

Frank Gerjevic

Under any circumstances, this would be a classic, crazy road trip.

Former Marines Lenny Cestaro and Aaron Showalter leave Anchorage at 5 a.m. Thursday morning to drive a hot-rod, Ford Model A 5-window coupe to Arizona. It's a rig to behold and one Cestaro spoke of with love and laughter Tuesday, the specs rolling off his tongue like military designations: 292 Ford Y-block engine from a 1956 Ford F-100, a 1958 2-speed Fordomatic transmission ("And there's a reason why they stopped producin' 'em," Cestaro says), two three-barrrel Holley carburetors. The "Rat" is a low-slung road warrior "custom fabricated through trial and error" that hits its sweet spot between 70 and 80 mph...

Frank Gerjevic

All the current talk of secession -- 750,000 signatures from 50 states on a White House website -- has me thinking about Shelby Foote and Joe Vogler.

Foote wrote a magnificent history of the Civil War. Vogler founded the Alaska Independence Party and wanted the state to leave the Union and become its own republic.

Now you might think about Foote's work as a cautionary tale about what happens with secession. But it's not that so much as a simple passage in one of his volumes in which a Yankee soldier yells across the lines to a Reb: "Hey, Secesh..."

There's a familiarity to it, as someone asking in bewilderment, "What are you doing, brother?"...

Frank Gerjevic

Raechyl Robinson e-mailed her poem with a request to publish it in spite of the fact that she figured it was too long for a letter.

Poetry, I thought. We don't publish poetry. Unless...

So I invite you to read Raechyl Robinson's verse here:

Trapped in an open cage she suffers silently.

Searching desperately for a way out,

Dying to be free.

Too terrified to tell anyone, she masks her daily pain.

Embarrased beyond belief; too proud. Too ashamed.

MAC, Avon or Mary Kay - which one ...

will best conceal?

Evidence of her secret life, proof of her ordeal.

''Why don't you just leave him?''

''Why would you stay?''...

Frank Gerjevic

Julia O'Malley's column on the treasures of Fuji Gifts, the late Art Wallace's shop on the Old Glenn Highway in Chugiak, has prompted a fair amount of comment and memories.

It was good place, and that lent something extra to the gifts bought there. Art Wallace would wrap them well as he talked with you. Or you might browse as he wrapped and chatted with another shopper. You might meditate and marvel at the pool hewn of rock, the work of Wallace's own hands, where a large Buddha smiled. The place was hand-built and owner stocked, nothing corporate about it.

Whether a picnic basket bought for an anniversary, or wind chimes for a wedding, you felt as if the gift included a touch of the classical music Wallace favored and light wind in the windsocks outside...

Frank Gerjevic

Word came this week about the deaths of pilot Cliff Hudson, 84, and journalist John Strohmeyer, 85.

Hudson was one of those Alaskans who defines this place. Mountain and bush pilot superb, he was a quiet man as legends go. Almost 30 years ago I wrote a story about him and had the good fortune to take a flight to Ruth Glacier with him. He told, in a matter-of-fact way, about rescue flights he'd made, and how he'd keep an eye on folks in remote places. His were very good wings to have on your side...

Frank Gerjevic

One of the beauties of Alaska Permanent Fund dividend is that you can argue for or against it from anywhere on the political spectrum.

Bane of the right and blessing for the left, it's a redistribution of wealth that benefits the poor far more than the rich.

Blessing for the right and bane of the left, it takes money out of the hands of government and gives it directly to individual Alaskans to use as they see fit, no matter what their station in life.

Dreaded by social workers, this October curse bankrolls liquor and drug binges, leaves kids neglected and spouses battered.

Welcomed by families, this October windfall buys winter boots and college courses, fixes cars and settles debts...

Frank Gerjevic