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Military costs add up

I see the sky is falling again. The conservative mantra is cut, cut, cut. We can’t afford Medicare, Social Security, health care and education. These programs suck up too much money. Right.

Now the DOD is proposing to reduce a minuscule part of their funding. Cutting personnel is what they are proposing and Alaska might have to lose some troops. You would think that the Chamber of Commerce was asked to drink the Jamestown Kool-Aid in the middle of the Dena’ina Center. I guess you can cut anything that wouldn’t hurt a businessman’s pocketbook. Twelve carrier battle groups, 1,000 various types of bases, spending five times more on our military than any other country; $3 billion to Israel, $3 billion to Egypt, etc...

Alaska Dispatch News

Fairbanks Sen. Pete Kelly wants to change the Alaska Constitution, specifically the section on judicial candidate appointment procedures. Senate Joint Resolution 3 will double the number of at-large, non-attorneys on the Alaska Judicial Council from three to six, but maintain the number of attorneys at three, and then require a majority vote to break a tie rather than vote from the chief justice of the Alaska Supreme Court. Alaskans need to reject SJR 3...

Barbara McDaniel

The snow and ice has been melting, which makes it soggy and wet outside. On top of that falls a rare February rain washing away some of the doldrums of winter.

It makes for a good time to reflect. I was born and raised here in Anchorage and attended the same high school as my mother and her siblings. I love this city. The swell of pride that many feel when they see the red, white and blue of the American flag, I feel when I see eight stars of gold on a field of blue and the symbolic anchor of Anchorage.

Many have said lately that Alaska is in decline and that Anchorage is following suit. I disagree. Certainly, Anchorage isn’t the utopia that it could be and we have some things to work on, however, I believe the state of our city is strong...

Mike Dingman

In a commentary in the Alaska Dispatch News Feb. 7, headlined "Attorney doesn't tell the whole story," Val Van Brocklin criticizes two stories by Marcelle McDannel, a regular ADN contributor, regarding the role of "truth" at trial...

Darrel J. Gardner
Pot, liquor represented on ballot by Berkowitz, Coffey

I think mayoral candidates Ethan Berkowitz and Dan Coffey have some explaining to do.

The political consulting firm where Berkowitz is a partner ran the multimillion-dollar pro-pot legalization campaign last fall and until last week, Berkowitz’s outfit was still being paid to lobby the municipality on behalf of the pro-pot group.

As a former lawyer, you’d think Berkowitz would recognize that serious conflict of interest...

Alaska Dispatch News

I was more than a little surprised at the reaction to last week’s column citing the survey showing Alaska to be the most violent state in the union. The most amazing reaction came from the person who claimed it was a liberal survey meant to pave the way for taking our guns. Considering guns were not even mentioned in the piece, I’m not sure where that came from. Also, the survey was done by the FBI , not a group known for being a bastion of liberal thought...

Elise Patkotak

The National Park Service would like to make one thing perfectly clear: “Denali is not closed in the winter.”

This is an important message, because I, like other curious would-be visitors, harbored the belief that Denali National Park shut its front gate once Labor Day weekend passed. Turns out, Denali is wide open during the non-summer months, welcoming adventurous visitors with a plethora of recreation options, as long as one is prepared for winter and possesses an independent spirit.

It is true that many aspects of Denali popular with families -- such as shuttle buses, ranger-led programs and concession services -- are closed between mid-September and May. But their absence allows the park to shine from October to April...

Erin Kirkland

On Monday, Alaska Dispatch News put out a call on Facebook for people to come forward and email us what Feb. 24 means to them. That day, in case you've been living under a rock with a set of headphones and a playlist of binaural soundscapes since November, is the day that Ballot Measure 2 took effect. Limited personal use, possession and cultivation of cannabis is now legal here.

So far, no one has sent us anything...

Scott Woodham

When the Alaska Federation of Natives recently held its winter board retreat in Kotzebue, they invited Alaska’s entire congressional delegation, as well as an array of lawmakers, leaders from municipal governments and Native corporations, and U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. I was one of very few tribal delegates in attendance.

As I considered whether to attend the retreat, I wondered, “With so many public officials invited, why was this event not open to more Alaska tribes and the public? Why is it a closed-door meeting?” As a member of the Gwich’in Nation, I knew our attendance would be meaningful but I harbored concerns that a diversity of voices would not be heard in regards to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge...

Julian Roberts

PAXSON -- A great horned owl flew out of the old metal building that used to house a military radar site. It was near dark and he looked like a C-130 as he glided over the dog team with his wings set. It is near enough springtime that the big birds are beginning to think of nesting.

The warming that has covered the state this past week has brought thoughts of spring to all of us. Will it be an early spring this year? What the heck, we only had a couple weeks of winter anyway...

John Schandelmeier