Last week I wrote about snowflakes and fun things you can do with your family to enjoy the snow . In researching that piece, I came across too many family-friendly winter activities to include in a single column, so here's part two, a list of even more fun wintertime activities that will stir your curiosity and connect you with the outdoor world. If you happen to be someone who dislikes the cold and the darkness, keep an open mind. “If you go outside in the winter and you enjoy and find fun things to do outdoors, the people that do that like it up here,” said Kathryn Kurtz, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum coordinator for the Anchorage School District. Kurtz is the science wizard behind many of the ideas in this column, and provided a go-to list of activities...Jill Burke
A recent op-ed published by both the Alaska Dispatch and the Juneau Empire compared Gov. Walker’s fiscal plan with the plan advanced for several years by economist Scott Goldsmith of the Institute for Social and Economic Research. Both plans are based on the reality that doing nothing — continuing the status quo — will guarantee fiscal and economic disaster for the state. Both plans agree that the cornerstone of a strategy to solve our fiscal challenge is to use the sustainable earnings from the past and continuing production of our non-sustainable petroleum wealth: the Permanent Fund earnings and future petroleum revenues. This is what the governor means when he says we must not only balance the budget but put in place a sustainable fiscal structure. The question is how to do this in a...Randy Hoffbeck,Scott Goldsmith
Reflecting on Gov. Walker’s first year in office (Tuesday will be his one-year anniversary), he has for the most part been a real breath of fresh air after recent administrations. Walker is a true “man of the people,” a great governor to manage the current budget crisis, and has the potential to be one of the best governors in Alaska history. But while he has been progressive on many social and economic issues, his environmental policies have mostly been a throwback to the draconian bad old days. On several critical issues important to those who supported him, his first year has been a spectacular disappointment. Astonishingly, Walker has taken no substantive action on one of the most important threats facing the future of Alaska: climate change. He has ignored requests to reconvene the...Rick Steiner
TOK -- The cow moose ran out in front of him, its four ungainly legs clopping along at top speed as it crossed the road. I began braking my Harley Sportster, initially a few car lengths behind Art, knowing that this coming to rest was so much more than a frantic halt by the road. It would divide our lives forever into “before moose” and “after moose”. The ungulate hadn’t even looked real when it came out of the ditch and vaulted across the roadway. A big, brown, running moose and a big, blue, cruising motorcycle on a path toward each other, a violent impact all but certain. I saw and heard the initial solid thump, but witnessed no more of the crash as I veered around my husband and over to the side of the road, dismounting in the eerie quiet as I shut off my motor. Unclasping my helmet, I...Yonah Lempert Luecken
John Wayne would be shocked Ms. Patkotak invoking John Wayne’s name is almost anti-American in Wednesday’s (ADN, Nov. 24). She can’t possibly know what his position would be in regard to the Syrian cowards that run instead of fighting their country’s enemies, but we can know what he said when he reminded us that “Life is hard, and if you are stupid, it’s a lot harder,” or words to that effect. It is long past time when we need to start dealing with the reality of evil in this world, and start calling out the stupidity of those on the left. — Jim Lynch Palmer No place for dogma in Alaska I see a letter lamenting the fact that refugees from Muslim countries might bring sharia law to Alaska. I’m sure the letter writer is more comfortable with our own homegrown religious laws as laid down by...Alaska Dispatch News
I was born and raised in East Germany during the Communist era, when one was to follow the “only right” ideology with one's whole being. My dad was not a follower of this doctrine. He built a huge antenna on our balcony with which we were able to watch news from West Germany, the capitalist enemy. When I became older he invited me to join him, but with the warning to not ever say anything about this to anyone. Possible consequences of this behavior were removal of children from their families, jail time, and public discussions about the family’s divergence from the communist “truth.” By that time I was also aware of the fact that only those who identified 100 percent with the communist ideology would ever be able to go to college or join professions. Due to those circumstances, I grew...Steffi Kim
For close to two decades, AquaBounty, a company from Massachusetts, has been genetically modifying salmon. Apparently the whole years in the ocean, swimming back to the home creek, spawning upriver natural progression, is just too much of a pain. It takes too long. Instead AquaBounty has created a hybrid Atlantic salmon-Chinook salmon with just a sprinkle of a gene from an eel-like ocean pout, which "keeps a vital growth hormone activated rather than shutting it down after a certain point" so the fish grow twice as fast. Does it have bolts sticking out from behind its gills? It might as well have. Mary Shelley wouldn't eat this thing. This creature would be the first genetically modified animal to hit our supermarket shelves. (Lord only knows what kind of "just add water and get veal" is...Shannyn Moore
A little fudging here, a little of the ol’ soft-shoe there and the Anchorage Assembly’s left wing - kowtowing to Hizzoner Ethan Berkowitz - gave away the budgetary farm, sending the bill to property taxpayers. While pretending Berkowitz’s $481 million operating budget is $2.6 million less than last year’s - and that assertion is laughable - the Assembly’s liberal majority rejected dozens of money-saving amendments and voted 7-4 to let the mayor spend as he pleases. The majority last week voted down 48 cost-cutting amendments offered by more conservative Assembly members - Bill Starr, Amy Demboski and Bill Evans - trying to scrub the budget for even the tiniest savings. The seven approved only two amendments; both - surprise! - added spending. They refused to trim even library and fire...Paul Jenkins
On June 7, 2013, the Legislative Council approved a plan allowing state Rep. Mike Hawker, its chairman, to cut a deal for renovating the office space occupied by Anchorage legislators. After ducking the problem for years and with the lease on the downtown quarters about to expire, the 13 other members of the council handed everything to Hawker 2 1/2 years ago. The blame for the furor that followed fell mostly on Hawker. But other legislators are being too modest about their roles and should have their names engraved on the Taj next to Hawker’s. As a group, they failed to pay attention, failed to ask questions and failed to follow through. Regarding the negotiations that produced the lease extension and renovation, documents made public from a lawsuit show Hawker repeatedly tried to...Dermot Cole
Andrew Christensen founded Anchorage. He laid out the first streets and lots and he was the auctioneer in the famous photograph from our inaugural day, July 10, 1915. He started Wasilla too, with an auction held two years later. During Anchorage’s first four years, he ran the region as the federal official responsible for just about everything, including building schools and utilities, recruiting farmers and keeping a lid on bootleggers and prostitutes. But historians knew hardly anything about him personally until, well, right now. Earlier this year, I published a book for the Anchorage centennial with a chapter about Christensen. The Municipality of Anchorage posted that chapter on its website . In Cincinnati, the chapter popped up in a Google search for a family doing genealogical...Charles Wohlforth