Voices

Now that our historic presidential visit is just about over, we can focus on the important things in life. Important things like, Will it be warm enough to grill outside on Labor Day? And let’s be honest here. Alaskans have been known to grill in below zero weather so, absent torrential rains, I’m guessing most of us will celebrate the day with something charred on a grill.

According to a government website, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”...

Elise Patkotak

A year after my youth group from Tanana made the presentation at the 2014 Alaska Federation of Natives annual conference that went viral across Alaska and beyond , I asked the children, "What has changed since we walked on stage and brought forth the issues of child abuse, molesting, alcohol, drugs, losing hope, lack of family and suicide?"

They didn't answer right away. Then they slowly answered, “NOTHING!”...

Cynthia Erickson

With oil prices close to $50 per barrel, oil production taxes trickle into the state at close to a half-million dollars a day. Add in the rest of oil revenue and other taxes and the state is still withdrawing about $8.5 million a day from its savings.

While some legislators hope that this too will pass, the risk of postponing action is too great to ignore.

Siphoning billions from savings every year without developing a transition plan is reckless. It endangers the state’s bond rating , weakens investors' confidence and limits options for Alaska’s future on everything from the gas pipeline to schools and roads...

Dermot Cole

As anyone who lives in Alaska knows, a three-day whirlwind tour isn't enough time to learn a great deal about a state as vast and diversely populated as Alaska is. But every summer, visitors from around the world prove that it's enough to satisfy a life-long dream and gain some understanding. As of this writing, President Barack Obama is giving it a shot, and given the kind of itinerary possible for a sitting president, probably will fare better than most...

Alaska Dispatch News

Ahead of President Obama’s visit to Alaska, we asked Alaska Dispatch News readers to register their own thoughts on two questions. Answers ran the gamut, and there was so many of them that publishing a representative sample of the most notable responses will take more than one installment in print. A selection of the most instructive comments sent via social media have been collected in full online . Great thanks to readers for being so thoughtful and so frank. So, then, Alaska, what should the president know right up front if he wants to best understand this place and its people? And what do you hope he’ll learn during his visit?...

Alaska Dispatch News

There’s no other bike trail quite like it. The Eklutna Lakeside Trail – a relatively flat, gravelly trail ringed by mountains – hugs the pristine, preternaturally turquoise waters of Eklutna Lake for 8 miles.

The lake is both a boon and a bane to the trail. Despite offering stunning views and occasional close encounters with wildlife, Eklutna Lake has been known to turn on the trail with vengeance...

Rick Sinnott

Confusion over the potential airspace restrictions during the President’s upcoming visit has presented a case study in how little understood Alaska’s aviation environment remains to many in the Lower 48.

With little information coming from official sources at first, rumors about what might happen reverberated through Alaska's aviation community, fueling worries over how businesses and long-planned trips could be affected...

Colleen Mondor

I would like to address the issue of oil spills in the Chukchi Sea lease areas offshore Barrow in the fall. Federal rules require that drilling cease by Sept. 28. This is based on the idea that sea ice will encroach on the drilling site by Nov. 1 and the one month between the two dates will provide sufficient time for a relief well to be drilled. That is an inaccurate interpretation of ice edge behavior. There is not a one-month window for drilling a relief well but a window that starts closing Oct.1 and is closed by Nov. 1. On average one might expect a 15-day drilling opportunity and not the entire month of October...

Bill Stringer

Twelve presidents have visited Alaska while serving in office, going back to Warren G. Harding in 1923, who made the journey to drive the golden spike for the Alaska Railroad, the first major federal public works project in the territory.

While President Barack Obama's plans to visit Alaska next week are founded on the science, geography and politics of climate change, past presidential visits have been mere pit stops, with the exception of the 1971 meeting of President Richard M. Nixon and Emperor Hirohito of Japan in Anchorage and the 1984 meeting of President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II in Fairbanks...

Dermot Cole

The president’s visit to Alaska this week highlights the economic opportunity and concern for the future of Arctic people’s cultures and the environment in the face of changing climate and increased human activity. Recognizing that nations like Russia and China are moving forward with Arctic economic development, facilitating exploration and development in Alaska would enhance national, economic and energy security, benefit the people of the north and the United States as a whole and position us well to exercise global leadership.

While these benefits are clear, there remain diverse views on how to balance opportunities with environmental stewardship...

Jan W. Mares