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SITKA — It was a banner summer for us fishermen of the north, with long, sunlit days spent pulling coho and king salmon. Anchored up at night, hands hardly able to close around a can of beer, we nodded at the usual stories: the tourist couple who lost their pug when it tried to make friends with a brown bear; the local man who disappeared, his skiff found abandoned in the rocks of Auke Bay; the black bear that fell through a skylight onto a table of cupcakes at a kid’s birthday in Juneau...

Brendan Jones

Alaskans are rightly concerned about serious allegations of abuse and misconduct within the Alaska National Guard.

While allegations surround a small number of the 4,000-member guard, we take them seriously and want to communicate what we are doing to resolve the very grave challenges we face.

This is a difficult time in our organization. We are making significant process, program, training and education changes in the guard to address the findings and recommendations in the Office of Complex Investigations report. This will take time...

Brig. Gen. Mike Bridges

​According to Dr. Robert Chaney of the Southcentral Foundation, as of two years ago, Alaska Native youth, ages 18-29 were taking their lives at 19 times the national average for their age group. The amount of human suffering and heartbreak represented by that number is unimaginable; as stated by the Alaska Natives Commission in its 1994 Final Report , it is “startling and staggering in scope.”

​It is risky, even wrong, to try to come up with a reason for any particular suicide, I believe it to be holy ground, where only God has the answers...

Harold Napoleon
Bradner right that politicians just want re-election

Great article by Tim Bradner asking if politicians have the “guts” to address Alaska’s financial crisis. As a former Alaska senator, I can say the answer to Tim’s question is “No!” The simple reason is that when candidates are honest about possible solutions to the state’s financial problems they can’t get elected. The No. 1 priority of all politicians is to get re-elected...

Alaska Dispatch News

The initiative process in Alaska is a playground for Outside bamboozlers and monied special interests that want, even need, to dodge the give and take -- the vetting, the debate, the political free-for-all of the legislative process to get their way.

Despite the progressive malarkey and populist romanticism of having the people rise up against “The Man,” initiatives are, as the late Washington Post columnist David Broder pointed out, “alien to the spirit of the Constitution.”

Ballot Measure 2, put on the Nov. 4 general election ballot by initiative, is a nifty example...

Paul Jenkins

My social media feeds are stuffed with my fellow Alaskans sick to death of political ads end-to-end on their televisions, and even the staunchest pro-deforestation people are wondering if we'll have any trees left after they've checked their mailboxes. I get emails from people asking, "Is that true?" about something they've seen or read.

Here's the kicker. Political ads, per a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, don't have to be true. I KNOW! You have to swear on a Bible when you're elected, but up until that point all bets are off. Did you know Mark Begich hates puppies? Yeah, and ice cream. Seriously, why doesn't he just join the Taliban?...

Shannyn Moore

Making a crime out of conduct that half of us don’t think should be a crime? That’s crazy. All crimes should be supported by public consensus. That’s a standard just about everybody agrees on -- until it comes to marijuana. Choose regulation, maybe, for practices about which we disagree, but stick to consensus in defining crimes.

Marijuana criminalization is a craziness that Americans have been engaged with for more than half a century. The criminal prohibition of manufacture or possession of alcohol was the last time a slight majority squeezed conduct through as a crime that half of us (or more) didn’t think was criminal. We have produced all the same negative results with marijuana criminalization...

John Havelock

It's mid-October, 118 miles from the Arctic Circle. Time for a walk to work.

Since I last wrote about my 3-mile commute through the raindrops of August, the 1,100 acres of boreal forest between my house and the university have undergone the most drastic change of the year. Ankle-deep snow covers the north campus and most of Interior Alaska.

Steps on the forest floor, which sinks like a frozen pie crust, are silent. Wet snow soaked the crunch out of leaves. It's quieter still because thousands of bodies have moved on from their temporary occupation of the spruce. The kinglets, warblers, thrushes and even the lagging juncos have made their final leaps from northern branches...

Ned Rozell

As with all tight elections these days, a small number of independent, fair-minded voters will be the ones who determine if Alaska will get marijuana retail stores under Ballot Measure 2.

I don’t think these swing voters will be persuaded by unrealistic pro-marijuana promises, such as saying pot shops would create 10,000 jobs and taxes will build new schools. And they’ll easily dismiss the conspiracy theories that long-time marijuana users often spout.

But one argument no doubt appealing to any reasonable voter is the very first sentence of Ballot Measure 2 that says police should focus on violent and property crime, rather than marijuana. A related theme is that adults with small amounts for private use shouldn’t go to prison...

Dean Guaneli

My parents were born in Cordova in the 1920s and moved to Juneau in 1953. Our home was near the governor’s house, and I fondly recall having snowball fights with Gov. Bill Egan. The governor usually tossed snow first and he always knew our names...

Bob Jacobsen

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