Abuse commentary misses the mark on important topic
I am the lead author of the new study examining current and alternative measures of repeat child abuse in Alaska. The Alaska Dispatch News reported on that study on Dec. 15, and on Dec. 29 a commentary by Richard Wexler (of the Virginia-based National Coalition for Child Protection Reform) was published, asserting that the study is based on faulty assumptions and questionable data. In fact, Mr. Wexlers commentary does not address the studys content or its findings. Instead, he uses it as a prop for a general discussion about a longstanding debate in child protection: whether it is better to remove children from their homes or to intervene with families and keep children at home.
Our study did not address that complex issue or propose any solutions. We dont understand what assumptions Mr. Wexler is referring to, and the data we used were from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) and the Alaska Office of Childrens Services. All major limitations of the data are mentioned in our paper, and several more limitations are listed in the associated documentation on NCANDS website. The most important thing is to recognize that child abuse in Alaska is significant and very serious. We urgently need to do better at keeping Alaskas children safe. While Mr. Wexlers commentary was off the mark in discussing our study, we welcome anything that raises awareness about potential ways of better protecting Alaskas most vulnerable citizens.
assistant professor of public policy,
Institute of Social and Economic
University of Alaska Anchorage
Help preserve Denali's wolves
I am writing in support of creating a permanent protective buffer for Denali wolves on state lands along the northeastern border of Denali National Park. The preservation of this important wildlife resource is important to the economy of the state of Alaska, directly affecting tourism dollars; it is also a critical resource to keep nature in balance and for the satisfaction of wildlife viewers such as myself.
I ask the state of Alaska to transfer a permanent, no-take, buffer conservation easement east of the parks to the federal government in exchange for the federal government transferring a like-value easement to the state of Alaska. Such easement transfer can help sustain the wolves in Denali National Park.
It's not just the murres
that are dying
I know and love murres from time spent on boats in Prince William Sound, so Ive been following the murre die-off story with sadness. Then, a couple days ago, I found a dead murre in the woods near Earthquake Park in Anchorage.
Human-caused climate change seems to be magnifying the natural cycles that already exist, from droughts to wildfires to storms. Now there seem to be more frequent and intense die-offs as well. It isnt just the murres. Sea stars, auklets, fin whales, fur seals and tiny red crabs have all been in the news lately, suffering extreme mortality events. The warm-water blob in the Pacific, now combined with El Nino, may be contributing or causing these die-offs by way of reductions in feed fish, greater toxicity from algal blooms and/or the spread of marine diseases.
We care about this, right? And about the people who depend on healthy oceans, which is all of us! Support a carbon fee and dividend as recommended by Sandy Henschel (ADN letters, Jan. 8). Learn ways to make our lives more energy efficient as outlined by Dr. Tom Marsik (ADN commentary, Jan. 8). Join the Alaska Youth for Environmental Action for a potluck and letter-writing session focused on climate change solutions. (Jan. 18, 6-8 p.m., 921 W. Sixth Ave.) Lets protect what we love.
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