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OPINION: In Alaska, the Nome City Council is moving forward with a plan to end tax exemptions for churches, making it the first American town to tax the church.

With the city budget projected to run a deficit, the Nome City Council spent a one-hour work session last Monday looking at ways to increase tax revenue. After much debate, the council agreed to move forward with a draft ordinance removing sales tax exemptions from nonprofits and churches.

City Finance Director Julie Liew estimates the move could bring in about $300,000 a year for the small city of about 3,800 people...

Michael Stone | Patheos

In 2012, the U.S. Department of the Interior showed how to “do it right” by establishing a management plan that balanced the needs of conservation and energy development in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

Now it’s time to do it right again, as the federal government sets a precedent for how oil and gas development will occur in the reserve. Not doing so would create unnecessary oil-development sprawl, inhibit wildlife movement, harm subsistence resources, and could foul some of our nation’s most important natural habitat...

Nicole Whittington-Evans

A perennial issue is back and forth in front of the Anchorage Assembly -- access to public land...

Rosa Meehan

NOME -- It’s raining. And it’s November.

I don’t know what to think about rain in November. Or December, for that matter. Or the lack of sea ice in the fall and early winter. I don’t know what to think about new willows popping up on the hills where we pick blueberries in summer. Or cottonwoods here in Nome -- a place not too long ago described as treeless.

I don’t know what to think about my house shifting every other season and needing to hire Roger Thompson to level it. Or the 5-foot-deep hole in my backyard that I don’t want to pay to get filled...

Laureli Ivanoff

I recently wrote about a thought experiment proposed by Fairbanks scientist Jim Beget. He suggests raining down crystals of a compound that captures carbon dioxide onto a frigid plateau in Antarctica. There, the greenhouse gas might remain locked for a few hundred thousand years.

Beget will present his idea at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco next month. Alarming levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are a frequent topic of discussion at the meeting, which will pull more than 20,000 scientists to California...

Ned Rozell

I really hate pumpkin-spice-every-single-possible-product-you-can-think-of season. I guess we're down to two holidays for the last few months of the year -- Happy Pumpkin Spice and Merry Christmas. I heard Christmas music before Halloween this year. Our elections have become the same way, now starting the next round before all the ballots are counted. Before I tear into a rant about that, could we all agree to just campaigning six months out from the election?...

Shannyn Moore

A recent Washington Post article republished by Alaska Dispatch News, “ Alaska’s outdated maps making flying a peril ,” told the story of a tragic 2006 accident in which a pilot encountered bad weather and crashed while attempting to navigate Mystic Pass, near Mount McKinley. While there’s no question that Alaska’s maps would benefit from improved accuracy, there is an even more immediate danger facing Alaska’s pilots: An inadequate weather reporting system...

Tom George,Adam White,Harry Kieling
Controversy over prayer at wrestling events is silly

The comment by Carey Restino (“Founders had reason to keep church and state separate (Nov.14)” on the ridiculous, almost laughable controversy over the Anchorage Baptist Temple having an opening prayer before the hosted wrestling competition, blows the misunderstood “separation of church and state” way out of proportion...

Alaska Dispatch News

Forty-five years ago this July, the world watched in awe as the first man walked on the moon. The Apollo 11 voyage redefined where man could travel. That same summer, I had the good fortune to be part of another voyage that challenged the known limits of human transport.

In August of 1969, I boarded the icebreaking tanker the SS Manhattan in Halifax bound for the Northwest Passage.

Accompanied by both the Canadian and U.S. Coast Guard, our massive ship broke through the Arctic Ocean’s icebound passages reaching Alaska’s newly discovered oil field at Prudhoe Bay. Humble Oil was attempting to determine whether oil could be transported by icebreaking tanker instead of by a pipeline, a much more expensive alternative...

Merritt Helfferich,Kevin Harun

AMBLER -- Last month in Anchorage I had lunch with Susan Johnson -- formerly Susan MacManus . We talked about the old days, growing up at Paungaqtaugruk along the Kobuk River, and later times in the villages. We laughed a lot, as we always do, and Susan reminded me of things I'd forgotten, which these days seems like nearly everything.

A few weeks later I had dinner with my friend Tom, who was a Kotzebue-based VISTA volunteer in the 1970s for the then-newly-formed Maniilaq Association. More memories came back over that meal, too. He first came to Paungaqtaugruk 25 years ago when I was a kid. Wait, no! Thirty-five years ago...

Seth Kantner

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