Voices

Sadly, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has yet to put the Walrus Islands Sanctuary back in its budget. Thankfully, other entities came through last season to pay for the budget that F&G opted out of. Doesn’t seem a good plan to wait and see if a donor will be found. F&G needs to put Round Island back into the budget. Once budgeted, they can then seek out donors and then re-allocate those funds to other walrus research, perhaps. The funds should be used for our states walrus population and should be set aside as that. The budget needed to keep Round Island staffed in the summers is relatively small considering the overall budget...

Betsy Palfreyman

More vessels are crossing the Arctic than ever before. Traffic through one passage, the Northern Sea Route in Russia, increased from just two vessels in 2009 to 71 vessels in 2013. Experts forecast that the volume of cargo coming through that route is likely to increase from 1.36 million tons in 2013 to 4 million tons this year and 65 million tons by 2020. But despite some recent progress, ships are not yet required to follow strong safety and environmental standards in the Arctic.

Yes, the movement of ships, crews, and cargo through the area brings economic opportunity, but it also exposes people and the environment to potential harm...

Henry P. Huntington

This past week has been a tough one for Alaskans.

On Tuesday, we learned that heavy rainfall had triggered six landslides in Sitka, and three men — beloved residents — were missing.

The next morning, I headed to Sitka. The devastation was staggering. Family members and friends were on-site, hoping for a miracle and fearing the worst.

I listened. I wished I could do more to ease their pain.

I felt some of the same emotions when I visited several villages in the past few weeks. One community is on the verge of losing its school because so many young people are leaving their ancestral home for urban areas, where the cost of energy is lower. In another community, there is not a single flushing toilet...

Gov. Bill Walker

While the left revs up its propaganda machine to decry the Legislative Council’s correct -- sublimely correct -- decision to sue the pants off Gov. Bill Walker for embracing Barack Obama’s penchant for ignoring constitutional strictures and playing overlord, the rest of us should be thanking our lucky stars.

Perhaps the folks in black robes can pound a stake into the heart of Walker’s misbegotten drive to bankrupt Alaska by expanding Medicaid, a program that eventually will cost billions, just as the state wades through its cash reserves and teeters above a very deep fiscal abyss -- although that is not what they will be asked to do...

Paul Jenkins

The big political news this week is that Republicans in the Alaska Legislature announced plans to spend at least $450,000 to sue the state of Alaska for accepting $150 million in federal Medicaid funds.

In a press conference, they took care not to say they also planned to kill jobs and deny health insurance to some Alaskans. No. They claim they’re all about protecting the Alaska Constitution, don’t you know? (And if you’ll buy that, pilgrim, have I got a deal on a bridge, dam or high speed ferry for you!)...

Shannyn Moore

I urge Gov. Walker to appeal the lower court Akiachak decision and oppose Indian Country (reservation) lands in Alaska. I urge him to keep the broad interests of all Alaskans in mind...

Mary Bishop

With the date approaching for Gov. Bill Walker to decide if the state of Alaska will pursue an appeal against the decision in Akiachak v. Department of Interior, we need to understand what the case is about and what would result if the decision were to be overturned...

Jenny Bell-Jones

Across the state, children are returning to school this month, shoes laced, lunch boxes in hand. But not in Bethel. There, a group of childhood vandals allegedly managed to inflict an extraordinary amount of damage on the school, tearing through the kindergarten classroom leaving a wake of destruction in their path.

The photos are disturbing. It’s hard for any parent of a 10-year-old to imagine a child doing that much damage intentionally. It goes way beyond childhood pranks. That level of destruction seems like it could only come from a place of rage...

Carey Restino
May Chenault, Meyer be quashed by courts

The leadership of the Alaska Legislature is at it again: railroading Alaskans and wasting money. Polls show the majority of Alaskans have enough information and want Medicaid expansion, and that the majority of legislators would vote for it. Instead of listening, the leadership quashes public input and quashed a floor vote on the governor’s Medicaid bills while attending expensive special sessions ($880,000 wasted). Now the Legislative Council (the same leadership again by the way), without public input, decides to sue the governor to the tune of $450,000. And in Sen. Meyer’s and Rep. Chenault’s Aug. 19 ADN opinion piece, they say they are now ready to listen to Alaskans, don’t have enough information, and want to uphold the legislative process....

Alaska Dispatch News

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan should reverse his stand on the Law of the Sea treaty. For guidance, he need look no further than the reasonable positions taken during the second Bush administration by a guy named Dan Sullivan.

Sullivan has used his first half-year in the Senate to explain why the U.S. needs to show leadership in the Arctic, build icebreakers, respond to the Russians and take an active role in deciding the future of the region...

Dermot Cole