The first views of Alaska that I can remember were in Seward in the late 1940s, when I was about 3 years old. It was instant love. From our front yard on Fourth Avenue one could look out on Resurrection Bay. On winter afternoons its waters became restless with whitecaps and darker blue than the sky as seen in photos from the top of Mount Everest. Beyond the bay the eastern skyline was dominated by the rugged Kenai Mountains and 5,265-foot Mount Alice, a mountain that became woven into my dreams. That vista captivated my early childhood and probably played a part in shaping the person I would become. But in the more than half a century since then, living and working in far-flung locations across this vast state, I have amassed a repository of sights and experiences that have convinced me...Frank Baker
They may be too young to realize it, but a cooing, squealing, 6-month-old duo with Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian roots has two pairs of big shoes to fill. Newly retired Dr. Ted Mala of Alaska and Dr. Marjorie Mau, of Hawaii, welcomed the twins in May. “Life is just like the weather. It changes very quickly, but in wonderful ways,” Mala, 69, said during a phone interview from the couple's home in Honolulu, Hawaii. They also maintain a home in Anchorage. On May 21, 2015, they welcomed Ray Kevin, and his sister, Mia Lauren, into the world. The newly expanded family beat the odds first by conceiving, then by delivering not one but two healthy babies. With Dr. Mau in her 50s, the pregnancy was considered high-risk, but it went so well that some of Mau's friends have dubbed her the “warrior...Jill Burke
Be prepared for terrorism Yes, there is a rationale for terrorism (ADN, Nov. 15), and I fear the folks in Washington have not learned their lessons well. The rationale is terror. Merriam-Webster defines terror as a state of intense fear, anxiety and confusion by violent or destructive acts (as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands. Guerilla warfare or special operations conducted by the military do similar activities but do not direct them toward innocent people. In terrorism or guerilla warfare, the “enemy” is not wearing a uniform nor has red T’s tattooed on the foreheads. A well-planned terrorist attack on Anchorage or a natural disaster could leave the city in total chaos. You can dial 911 but no one will answer. The...Alaska Dispatch News
As an Alaskan, I am flattered this year’s Capitol Christmas tree comes from our own Chugach National Forest. Selected by the U.S. Forest Service for its perfect, conical shape and evenly dispersed branches, the 74-foot Lutz spruce is a statuesque symbol, for sure. But it symbolizes much more than holiday cheer. The handsome tree on the West Lawn was cut, ironically, from a forest that bans timber harvest. That’s due to the roadless rule, which prohibits construction of new roads in harvest areas and makes most federal land inaccessible to a timber industry that, like our other responsible resource industries, helped build infrastructure and industry in our state. Yet, to reach this special tree, the Forest Service built a "path" (as a road would be illegal), and authorized cutting down...Sen. Cathy Giessel
The experts got it wrong with climate change. Ever since NASA scientist Jim Hansen told Congress in 1988 that climate change posed a serious threat to life on Earth, we’ve been told a lie. The lie is simple and straightforward. It goes like this: you and me and everyone else on the planet are bad because we use oil and gas and coal, and those fossil fuels are trapping the heat that’s warming the very Earth that supports us. As we all know, the best lies contain partial truths. Yes, we all use fossil fuels. We drive cars, we fly in airplanes, and we use fossil fuels to heat our homes and to cook our food, among other things. And yes, climate change is already producing crazy changes to our weather and our landscape – and in Alaska, that means warmer salmon streams, less snowpack and...Bob Shavelson
Remember 9/11? Of course you do. It’s not a day any of us are likely to forget. Soon after it, American flags showed up on everyone’s porch and people were spotted wearing T-shirts that said, “These colors don’t run” superimposed over the red, white and blue. Sure is embarrassing to remember that now as our esteemed Republican presidential candidates and multiple governors tuck their tails between their legs and run in fear of refugees. I guess in their world, the colors do run. A certain segment of America insists on their right to pack heat in visible sight everywhere they go, from Starbucks to Wal-Mart. They act macho and tough. But you have to wonder if that gun on their hip is just a substitute for something else they have that isn’t as big. Just saying, for a group of people who...Elise Patkotak
Starting Nov. 30, Alaskans may want to keep a watchful eye on what world leaders say and do in Paris. The heads of 190 countries, including President Obama, are meeting for the United Nations Conference on Climate Change. Their goal is to reach an international agreement that will stall — or even reverse — human progress. That’s not how they see it, of course. Their stated objective is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which will require dramatically restricting fossil fuel usage. But the reality is that restricting fossil fuels, which provide 74 percent of Alaska’s electricity, means abandoning the energy source that helped make the 21st century the best time in human history to be alive — not just in America but around the world. Fossil fuels helped shape most of the technological and...Alex Epstein
In the wake of a string of terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, Kenya and Egypt, the issue over how to best help refugees displaced by the Syrian civil war, while protecting Americans at home, is being hotly debated. Alaskans are rightly concerned for their own safety as well as for the fate of refugees from the Syrian civil war. Last week, I called on Gov. Walker and President Obama to put Americans first by putting in place a failsafe system to screen out potential terrorists within the refugee population destined for transit to our shores, and to do everything in their power to ensure the safety and security of our citizens. The inadequacy of our nation’s ability to do background checks on refugees was brought to light by FBI Director James Comey, who recently expressed concern over “...Sen. Mike Dunleavy
“Christianity is a great religion,” Mahatma Gandhi is said to have remarked. “Too bad nobody practices it.” Not only standard Christianity but that core doctrine of America’s civic religion inscribed on the Statue of Liberty assert a duty to accept refugees from violence and persecution. But, religion aside, our national security interests require that accepting refugees, without differentiating Muslims, is mandatory. By rejecting these refugees, we are doing exactly what our real enemies want. The ISIS terrorists are a fanatical, pseudo-Muslim sect of the Sunni branch of Islam. By acknowledging their victory as “Muslims,” we offer a gift, since these fanatical thugs aspires to be seen as not only a part of the greater Sunni Muslim religion but as its leader. Some of us are handing that...John Havelock
Don’t blame all refugees I understand the concern that terrorists will pass themselves off as Syrian refugees and sneak into Alaska, but I don’t understand the Chicken Little paranoia regarding (building a wall around our state?) not allowing any Syrian refugees into our state. I assume some of those “ringing the phones off the hooks” of our congress-persons are gun owners since statistics indicate Alaska trails only Wyoming as the state with the highest percentage of gun owners. But as a gun owner, I have to wonder about one glaring, apparent inconsistency. As we’ve experienced far too many times around our great country, there is a great hue and cry raised by many gun owners that just because a crazy person with a gun shoots up a school it doesn’t mean all gun owners will shoot up a...Alaska Dispatch News