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Prisoners should live like the poor, not in Taj Mahal jails

I heard the other day, that the state needed more jails. Wow. I would like to recommend to our big money spenders, legislators, building contractors, lobbyists, and all the others who will benefit from the construction the following: Jails do not have to be built to better specifications than the worst structures poor people live in, like some huge Quonset-style buildings. They are roomy; with insulation, they are as warm as the Taj Mahals, which have been built around the state and better than most jailbirds now live in; they would feel right at home. Just my wee mind working overtime. — Paul D. Morrison Kenai...

Alaska Dispatch News

I really like "Buy Local" campaigns. I liked it when, in his State of the State speech, Gov. Bill Walker talked about supporting our local small businesses every chance we can because goodness knows those businesses are the ones that support our local youth sports programs. I listened to a radio broadcast this week updating folks on the fundraiser at the Chapman School in Anchor Point. A young girl and her mother were both injured badly on Christmas Day in a car accident. The girl lost both her legs. She's 11 years old. So many local businesses had donated to the cause of helping their family with their financial burdens. This concept isn't really new for me. We take care of our own. About 10 years ago I was on a flight to my grandmother's funeral....

Shannyn Moore

Our budget deficit today is a result of low oil prices, low oil production and overspending, not oil tax reform.

A group of Native leaders, unions, businessmen and thousands of Alaskans who care deeply about Alaska's long-term economic future led a three-year campaign to reform oil taxes to stop the decline of oil production.

We spent an additional year defending against a referendum to repeal the new law, called SB 21 (Senate Bill 21, passed in 2013). If we had not been successful, Alaska's current deficit could be substantially worse.

Here's why:...

Jim Jansen

“No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” -- Mark Twain

Readers might recall that just before Christmas state legislators told the governor how to start cutting his new administration’s budget. The advice itself was tough but not unfair. The letter seemed odd, however, coming from the Legislature, a government group whose own budget tells a different story...

Mike Bronson

If it looks like a fiscal crisis, walks like a fiscal crisis, quacks like a fiscal crisis, is it really a fiscal crisis? Or is it a downturn? Or a glitch? How about a fiscal situation? A bump in the road? Or is it any of those?

In Alaska, it depends on who is doing the looking -- and sometimes, when they are looking.

The facts are clear: A proposed Alaska budget of about $5.7 billion combined with projected revenues of $2.2 billion -- and dropping like Bill Clinton’s pants -- equals a projected deficit of somewhere between $3.5 billion and $4 billion.

The state gets 90 percent of its revenues from oil -- stable at about $110 a barrel from 2010 until the middle of last year -- and the commodity has lost half its value over the past six months...

Paul Jenkins
We can’t ignore chronic alcoholics

As a hotel employee in the downtown area I want to thank you for the Jan. 21 front page article on the problem of chronic alcoholism. I have dealt with most of the same problems that are stated in the article. I in the past was never a fan of the dry-out motels and centers but for the past few years my views have changed. We as Americans should not behave like a Third World country but rather be a light of change and hope to the whole world, and that includes the downtrodden few who haunt our streets. If we ignore the problem we will have dead people in the streets, and good luck explaining that to your children....

Alaska Dispatch News

It’s Alaska high school basketball season once again. Although big in all of Alaska, high school basketball is especially huge in our state’s rural towns and villages. When it comes to rural Alaska basketball, it probably cannot get any bigger than Barrow basketball (maybe Nome too).

And right now you cannot get any bigger, more “Barrow-er” and more “basketball-er” than the Barrow Whalers’ Kamaka Hepa. He is 6 feet 8 inches tall, so he is literally big. He is Inupiaq, Hawaiian, Filipino and white; that’s definitely Barrow right there. And he is already dominating the entirety of Alaska high school basketball -- including larger and more historic basketball programs in Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks -- despite just turning 15 a few days ago...

E.J.R. David

One of the first acts of Sen.-elect Dan Sullivan when he arrived in Washington was to sign on with a caucus of Republican climate change deniers in the U.S. Senate.

Sullivan was Gov. Sean Parnell’s pro-oil and mining development Commissioner of Natural Resources (think HB 77) and his opposition to the concept of anthropogenic climate change is not new. On Aug. 18, he made an astonishing observation when he told the Fairbanks News-Miner : “The last few years clearly show, though, that there is no concrete scientific consensus on the extent to which humans contribute to climate change.”...

Alan Boraas

When columnist Shannyn Moore and and Alaska Democratic Party chair Michael Wenstrup attacked Sen. Murkowski for her leadership in support of the Keystone XL pipeline they blithely ignored the role the Democrats have played in blocking the development of ANWR....

Peter Goldberg

In an effort to hype its phony reality TV show "Ultimate Survival Alaska,'' the National Geographic Channel has come up with a nifty list of nine of the 10 accidents least likely to kill people in the 49th state...

Craig Medred