In his Alaska Dispatch News commentary (“ Alaska must do a thorough, independent review of oil tax regime ,” July 25), former Alaska Attorney General John Havelock suggests petroleum industry profits are unreasonably high now that the state has huge revenue shortfalls. The state’s current tax regime greatly remunerates oil and gas companies, while Alaskans are being deprived of important public services...

Jan Konigsberg

How can we expect people to pick themselves up when all we do is constantly keep them down by kicking them in the face?

In the 1970s and '80s we cultivated the “War on Drugs,” a comprehensive plan, including military operations and domestic public relations campaigns aimed at teaching our youth to “Just say no.”

Regardless of how you feel about the war on drugs and Nancy Reagan’s “Just say no” campaign, the problem we have now is much more complex...

Mike Dingman

GIRDWOOD -- For the fifth summer in a row, Alyeska Resort has turned its mountain slopes into a lift-assisted bike park for the few months skiers and snowboarders aren’t cutting turns in powder.

Three lifts provide 2,500 vertical feet of downhill biking on Mount Alyeska, filling in for a lack of Southcentral trails where it’s legal to push your bike up and then ride back down. Chugach State Park bans bicycling on its half-million acres, except for a dozen exceptions noted in the park’s administrative code .

Many riders seem thrilled about the park...

Lisa Maloney

With a strong Kenai River red salmon run in progress, biologists at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game have doubled anglers’ bag limits to six per day, 12 in possession downstream of Skilak Lake. Two of the six fish may be silver salmon.

So far, 733,427 sockeyes have been counted in the Kenai, and biologists are predicting more than 2.3 million will return, with Fish and Game's escapement goal achieved.

On the Russian River, a tributary of the Kenai, the late run of red salmon has started slowly, with only 9,325 past the weir below Lower Russian Lake. Biologists seek an escapement of 30,000-110,000 sockeye.

At the same time, the personal use dipnet fishery at the mouth of the Kenai River will be open 24 hours a day until it ends at 11:59 p.m. Friday...

Alaska Dispatch News

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 shook Southcentral Alaska Tuesday night around 6:35 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Alaska Earthquake Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks put the center of the earthquake at 9 miles south of Mount Iliamna and 140 miles southwest of Anchorage. The depth was recorded as 73 miles and it was felt across Southcentral, from Kodiak to Fairbanks, according to the center...

Alaska Dispatch News

I write this in support and encouragement of the state of Alaska taking immediate action to secure a permanent no-take wildlife conservation easement on state lands surrounded by Denali National Park.

Gov. Bill Walker and Alaska Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten can help ensure long-term viability of park wildlife populations in a critical area for wolf viewing by facilitating an easement purchase by the U.S. Department of Interior. The easement could either be purchased directly or created through a transfer of an equal-value asset located elsewhere...

Michael Johnson

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

I did a double-take while sorting through the farmers market information last week when I ran across Peanut Butter Chicken Gizzard Cookies. “Hallelujah!” I thought. “Someone finally figured out how to combine the two best ingredients in the world!”

Turns out that the delicacy is intended for dogs. It comes from Drool Central , which makes canine treats that include Alaska vegetables and barley when they can get it, no salt, refined sugar, corn, soy or wheat.

“Can you taste these products yourself? Sure,” writes owner Daisy Nicolas. “They’re all human grade, clean and safe. I dare you to... so I can post in Facebook.”

The courageous can find out for themselves at South Anchorage Farmers Market on Saturday. Which brings us to people food...

Mike Dunham

Two aging natural gas fields in Cook Inlet that help provide power to much of Southcentral Alaska, the state’s most populous region, are up for sale, owner ConocoPhillips Alaska announced on Tuesday.

The Beluga River and North Cook Inlet fields account for nearly all of ConocoPhillips’ natural gas production in Alaska, but output has been declining for years and, according to company spokeswoman Amy Burnett, they are no longer a central part of the company’s Alaska operations.

“The company regularly reviews its assets to ensure the asset portfolio is optimized and this is an ongoing part of managing the business,” the company said in a statement...

Jeannette Lee Falsey

The University of Alaska Board of Regents announced Tuesday that it had appointed Jim Johnsen , a senior vice president at Alaska Communications, as the 14th president of the UA system.

Johnsen, a former UA vice president, will succeed Pat Gamble, who became president in 2010 and announced his retirement this past December. Johnsen will take over as president of the UA system, which encompasses 16 campuses across Alaska, on Sept. 1, about a month into the fall semester, according to a release from UA...

Tegan Hanlon