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Gov. Bill Walker says that education is still a high priority for his administration. According to Alaska Dispatch News, at the Dec. 15 Anchorage Chamber of Commerce meeting, the new governor said, “We will figure out how to have the absolute best education (for) our students at a cost we can afford.” That’s good news.

I know that Gov. Walker is committed to K-12 education, but I wonder if his commitment extends to university education, which includes community college, career and technical education. They are all keys to Alaska’s future...

Dr. Alex Hills

As you’re out shopping this holiday season, someone wielding a clipboard might approach you and ask if you want to save king salmon. Don’t be fooled. The petition being peddled by professional signature collectors throughout the state won’t save Alaska’s iconic king salmon. In fact, it will hurt our great salmon runs and result in smaller harvests for everyone except a small group of Kenai River sportfishing guides, lodges and private landowners...

Andy Hall

Alaskans have the opportunity to receive federal support for our uninsured by accepting Medicaid expansion. Right now, this is the tool available to our new governor. We strongly support Bill Walker’s plan to get insurance for Alaska’s most vulnerable residents. As doctors, we know what a profound impact health care policy has on Alaskans’ quality of life and economic security...

Robert Lieberson
Roundabouts a sociological test

One of the aspects about roundabouts that is seldom, if ever, mentioned is that they are, in fact, experimental devices for the study of human behavior. What they test is how quickly humans can learn a new skill and how adaptable they are when a new object is placed in their cage. The unvarnished results of these experiments are self-reported and provided in the letters section of this newspaper. As one expects some humans appear to be adaptable quick learners and others do not...

Alaska Dispatch News

Watching the garbage truck’s mechanized arms grab and raise my fully loaded plastic garbage can off the street, hungrily ingesting its contents, I thought about a winter long ago when I was a “swamper” on the back of one of those trucks -- a job that like so many jobs in today’s automated world -- is now obsolete.

With subzero temperatures and biting wind, it wasn’t the most pleasant job I ever had, but it paid well, and I made a lot of friends along the route -- people who would often proffer tips and gifts. All considered, however, it was a job I’m glad I only held for a few months...

Frank E. Baker

Nothing strikes fear into my heart like seeing my children pull out a pen and paper and start writing their Santa wish list. This year, my 6-year-old’s list included a pony and “somthig rully big.” Nothing like knowing expectations weren’t going to be met to set you into an overcompensating buying frenzy. It’s even worse for my older child, who wants a computer -- not gonna happen -- and camping gear, which, given the current price structure, must be laminated with gold.

Luckily, a friend reminded me the other day about his Christmas memories from childhood. They did not include lavish gifts but rather handmade holiday decorations, wonderful food and, of course, the annual adventure of acquiring a Christmas tree...

Carey Restino

Our election process is in deep trouble. No cause is more important today than salvaging our democracy, which slides toward plutocracy through increased big-money control of political campaigns. Understandably, much of the focus of both the governor and Legislature these days is on the budget but this is one of several tasks requiring legislative action without spending. Good answers to Alaska’s fiscal problems will not come from elected officials who owe their election to giant donors without a push...

John Havelock

I’m excited about sending Dan Sullivan to Washington, D.C., as Alaska’s new junior senator. Alaskans of any political persuasion can agree that we should get to name our own state’s highest mountain, currently misnamed Mount McKinley. And Sullivan is uniquely positioned to do something about it.

Mount McKinley was named after Ohio Gov. William McKinley, who subsequently became the 25th president of the United States. Most Alaskans still prefer Denali, the name given by the Koyukon Athabaskan people living north of the mountain. Denali means “the high one” or “the great one.”...

Rick Sinnott

NOME -- I didn’t notice them at first.

Sure, I have my excuses: I was new to town, it was summer and there was so much new to see. But I didn’t notice them until someone started explaining to me why there are so many ravens in Nome. “I heard it’s because of the dump; they can feed there all winter, so they don’t need to fly south. Just drive out to the dump and look. Just wait until winter.”

After that, I started seeing ravens more and more frequently: huge black birds circling in the distance, walking sideways along an electrical wire across the street, one hanging out on a pickup truck with a chunk of flesh in its beak. And I started to understand why some people might not like living in close proximity to ravens...

Courtney Cousins | KNOM
Capital budget still has good portion of pure pork

I take issue with the article (ADN, Monday) stating Gov. Walker has chopped the capital budget. Just go to the governor’s website. The capital budget, including federal dollars, is more than $1.3 billion. Most seems to be pure pork.

— Ron West Anchorage

Liberal media is blind to torture of Clinton era

Isn’t it strange how this paper, all the liberal media and the Senate report says not one word about the torture that took place (and started) under President Bill Clinton? He was the first president to have prisoners rendered to foreign countries where their torture makes waterboarding look like getting tickled with a feather. Or is it only “bad” if Bush did it?

— Russell Holmes Wasilla...

Alaska Dispatch News