Don’t blame all refugees I understand the concern that terrorists will pass themselves off as Syrian refugees and sneak into Alaska, but I don’t understand the Chicken Little paranoia regarding (building a wall around our state?) not allowing any Syrian refugees into our state. I assume some of those “ringing the phones off the hooks” of our congress-persons are gun owners since statistics indicate Alaska trails only Wyoming as the state with the highest percentage of gun owners. But as a gun owner, I have to wonder about one glaring, apparent inconsistency. As we’ve experienced far too many times around our great country, there is a great hue and cry raised by many gun owners that just because a crazy person with a gun shoots up a school it doesn’t mean all gun owners will shoot up a...Alaska Dispatch News
Snow has arrived in Southcentral Alaska, offering a blanket of light to counter the creep of diminishing daylight. Love it or hate it, there are ways to make the most of snow for either the Heat Miser or the Snow Miser in all of us. Here are four family-friendly activities for intrepid cold-weather observers and couch-loving, fireside wannabe scientists alike. If you've ever seen a sun dog -- a halo around the sun -- on a particularly cold, clear day, you've caught a glimpse of diamond dust, a thin, glittering fog-like optical phenomenon generated by ice crystals. Snowflakes, just like diamond dust, are also ice crystals. And they have a lot to tell us about the world we live in. In an interview for FrontierScientists.com , Matthew Sturm, a professor with the University of Alaska...Jill Burke
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Snow has arrived in Southcentral Alaska, offering a blanket of light to counter the creep of diminishing daylight. Love it or hate it, there are ways to make the most of snow for either the Heat Miser or the Snow Miser in all of us. Here are four family-friendly activities for intrepid cold-weather...
Jill Burke
Halloween is over, and pretty soon it will be Thanksgiving. And for many people, Thanksgiving means food. Lots of food. So let’s talk about food, the rights to food, the rights to healthy food, and the health of Alaskans. Let’s also talk about how the health of many Alaskans – today and in the future – may be influenced by access to healthy food. Access to healthy food as a right Paragraph 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states , "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being of himself and his family, including food." Unfortunately, the right to food is not always actualized in reality. For example, according to the anti-hunger nonprofit organization Food Research and Action Center, almost 12 percent of Alaska households are considered...Annie Laweryson
If you have had the opportunity to visit the villages of rural Alaska undoubtedly you had a rich cultural experience. While the skills and spirit of local residents are truly impressive, so are the problems faced in their communities. I have had the privilege to assist with the development of facilities in rural Alaska, and while the challenges are great, progress has been made. Schools, health care, sanitation, roads, boardwalks and airports have been built over the years and improvements are continuing. In my judgment the most glaring problem, for which there is no clear path to a solution, is the condition of housing. For the most part, village homes are in disrepair. Poor construction design has led to structural defects, expensive heating bills, and mold problems causing unhealthy...Jim Nordlund
For a growing number of politicians, this month's attacks in Paris mean it's time to stop bringing Syrian refugees to the United States. The risk that the Islamic State might send infiltrators in disguise, the theory goes, outweighs America's usual attitude toward taking in desperate people from around the world. "Our nation has always been welcoming, but we cannot let terrorists take advantage of our compassion," House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said Tuesday. "This is a moment where it's better to be safe than to be sorry." By the middle of this past week, more than half the country's governors had declared that their states wouldn't accept any resettled Syrians. Things had changed after Paris. In truth, they hadn't. The outcry over resettling a relatively small number of Syrian...María Cristina García | The Washington Post
JUNEAU — No matter how long I live in Alaska, it seems I'll always be a New Yorker in at least one critical respect: I'm scared of getting lost in the woods. Like, really scared. Part of the reason I live here, of course, is to be in the woods. But I like to be there in a very controlled way: When I know exactly where I'm going, exactly how to get out, and — critically — exactly when I'll get out. Really, there's only one thing that scares me more than getting lost in the woods, and that's getting lost in the woods with six children. Actually, there's one thing that scares me even more than that: Getting lost in the woods with six children when I'm scheduled to lead a Girl Scout meeting attended by 10 children two hours from the time that I'm tromping around in the woods with no damn clue...Libby Bakalar
The global refugee crisis brings to mind a sonnet written by Emma Lazarus in 1883 and inscribed on the pedestal of that gift from France -- the Statue of Liberty -- in 1903. The poem, "The New Colossus," is a tribute to the millions of immigrant families who came to Ellis Island through the port of New York in the late 19th century, of which my family was one. Here's what it says: Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With...Libby Bakalar
I know I’m the writer here, but you tell me: Is there a word to describe the abject cowardice of some Americans over the issue of admitting Syrian victims of terrorism into the U.S.? You could call them crybabies, but, really, they’re much worse. Faced with the prospect of listening to state Sen. Pete Kelly or presidential candidate Donald Trump fear-monger about Syrian refugees for no reason other than their religious faith, I’d rather sit in the last row, middle seat, between two moms with colicky babies for a 10-hour plane trip. Hell, I’d prefer a 3-inch wood screw in the temple. The terrorist attacks across the globe have been horrific and effective. They’ve been especially effective in stampeding Republican candidates and officeholders into a display of moral cowardice, bigotry and...Shannyn Moore
If Thomas Paine were alive today, instead of penning, “These are the times that try men’s souls,” he might write, “These are the times that try men’s humanity.” There is ample reason to worry. As the leading edge of a Syrian refugee flood is poised to wash into the United States early next year, the slaughter in Paris has triggered a growing fear of Muslim jihadis. In turn, that has stiffened resistance to the federal government’s allowing, first, 1,500 Syrians into the country -- joining 1,854 allowed in since 2012 -- and then another 10,000. An estimated 9 million Syrians have been displaced by civil war and murderous oppression by their government and ISIS. Europe, foundering under the onslaught, is being asked to absorb hundreds of thousands, if not millions, as they flee their homes...Paul Jenkins