On June 7, 2013, the Legislative Council approved a plan allowing 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 two-and-a-half years ago. The blame for the furor that followed fell mostly on Hawker. But other legislators are being too modest about their role 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
FAIRBANKS - The oldest ski team in the 50th annual Turkey Day Relay cross-country race in Fairbanks on Friday featured the youngest knees. Susan Sugai, Bryon Broda and Bill Husby, all past 60, managed that dual distinction by skiing on their second sets of knees. "Kneed to Ski," they called themselves, as in they really need to ski to enjoy winter in Fairbanks. They have the scars to prove it. That their new joints owe more to metal and plastic than the cartilage that came with the original equipment, and that the three skiers can once again bend their knees without pain, qualifies as a miracle. They finished the course in a total elapsed time of just under an hour. Not the fastest. Not the slowest. At this age and in these circumstances, the test of success is not measured in minutes,...Dermot Cole
As a young person living in Alaska, climate change will have a strong impact on my future in this state. Alaska, as the only arctic and subarctic region in the U.S., is on the front line of climate change. The warming happening here is twice as fast as it is in the Lower 48, and with our unique systems of glaciers and permafrost we have a lot to lose. The temperatures are rising more and more each year, and so are the risks of flooding, drought, disease and other weather irregularities. These occurrences can cost millions in property and road damage, and have a devastating effect on human life. The effects of climate change will only worsen if they are left unchecked, and the futures of my peers and I, as well as our future children, will be put at risk. Every Alaskan has the power to...Hannah Hartwell
As my friends here in Alaska know, I've been to almost every long-track skating venue in North America, and many in Europe. What many Alaskans may not realize is how unique the skating oval in Cuddy Family Midtown Park is. We are very lucky to have a long-track ice skating oval, suitable for recreation and competition, in the middle of our city. First, skating ovals are a rare bird in the United States. There are currently only six in the country, and two are former Olympic venues (Salt Lake City and Lake Placid, New York). Salt Lake has beautiful views outside the oval, but its architecture is not what many would call beautiful: Eastern European apartment block comes to mind. Lake Placid has lovely views for a track stashed between a high school and an indoor ice rink. If you prefer non-...John Monroe
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
The Fairbanks I knew as a boy half a century ago does not exist any more. All is flux, all is change say philosophers, and the philosophers certainly are right about the Golden Heart City, which has grown and prospered beyond the wildest dreams of yesteryear's log-cabin Chamber of Commerce. But there is a church on First Avenue near the Chena River, within walking distance of downtown, that has not changed, St. Matthew's Episcopal. The building has not changed, the mission has not changed, and some of the parishioners, while they have aged, maintain the devotion to the church they developed decades ago in their youth. But now a big change is underway. The rector, Rev. Scott Fisher, 67, is stepping down after almost a quarter century as leader of St. Matthew's and 40 years of service to...Michael Carey
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