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I bet you didn’t know that there were two justice and personal accountability systems in Alaska for lawbreakers -- one for citizens and a special, secret one for us lawyers.

The first, of course, is the criminal justice system where any of us can be arrested if a law enforcement officer believes we probably committed a crime. That’s called “probable cause” and it’s a fairly low standard of proof. The next higher standard of proof is pretty much the same. If a jury in a civil case thinks that you are probably right on the law and the facts, you win. In a criminal case the prosecutor must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you committed a crime. That’s the highest standard in the law and it makes sense because your freedom is at stake...

Brant McGee

A recent opinion piece by John Pletcher raised questions about the Alaska Railroad right-of-way. Mr. Pletcher suggests the Alaska Railroad Corp. -- the public corporation that owns and operates the state’s railroad -- has overstepped its authority over the ROW and is attempting to undermine private property rights. That is not the case, and the railroad appreciates this opportunity to set the record straight...

Linda Leary
Poetic crash landing

In honor of Bad Poetry Day (Monday) and National Aviation Day (Tuesday):

Alaska pilots are bush. They fly by the seat of their tush. But the weather gets crazy. And they surely aren’t lazy. So they walk when they’re in a real rush.

— Val Van Brocklin Anchorage...

Alaska Dispatch News

Editor's note: The commentary below differs from the version that was first published here. An earlier draft was accidentally published in this space first. We regret the error.

Polling shows that Bill Walker is the only candidate who can beat the incumbent governor in November. As a result, a target has been slapped on Bill's back...

Donna Walker

About a month ago, I got hit by a car while riding my bike.

The car drove away immediately. Incredibly, I wasn’t hurt or even knocked off my bike. (Later, the only evidence I found was a cracked Tupperware in my bike pannier, which is incredible when you think about other possible outcomes of cyclist versus car.) This experience, coupled with the knowledge of three tragic bicycling deaths already in Anchorage this year, led me to reflect on what it means to safely ride a bike and drive a car in this town...

Alli Harvey

Alaska is big place that offers big opportunities, but also presents some big challenges. For too long, high energy costs have put strains on family budgets and continue to push businesses from profitability to bankruptcy. The rising price of fuel, remote locations, and lack of statewide infrastructure requires creative, reliable solutions. And while there may be no silver bullet to solve the high costs of energy, there sure is a lot of silver buckshot...

Greg Porter

This column’s deadline is before the results of yesterday’s primary are announced. So congrats to the winners, better luck next time to the runners-up and to the rest of Alaska, enjoy the brief 20 minutes of silence we will have before the onslaught of political noise leading up to the general election...

Elise Patkotak

The election is over -- well, for now at least.

Our summer has been inundated with phone calls, knocks on our doors and full-color glossy photographs with a paragraph on each one telling us why to vote for their particular candidate. At this point, we should all be experts on the very finite details of oil taxes -- instead we are likely more overwhelmed by the minutiae.

Well, it’s over, we have survived, what Alaska Dispatch News reported yesterday as the most expensive primary election in Alaska’s history , and we don’t have to do this again until November, which gives us plenty of time to enjoy the fall...

Mike Dingman

One thing Alaskans will know by the time votes from the Aug. 19 election are fully counted is this: Most people were OK with SB 21.

How will we know this? Because whether Ballot Initiative 1 passes or fails, most people won't vote for repeal. Most people simply won't vote.

Former state Rep. Mike Doogan of Anchorage crunched the numbers from past primaries and discovered primary turnouts seldom draw more than 35 percent of registered voters, if that...

Craig Medred
Indebted to rescue effort

On Monday, Aug. 11, our son was separated from our family at the peak of Mount Baldy. I am deeply grateful to all who helped reunite us. My thanks to the state troopers who coordinated the rescue, the APD officers who ran up the mountain (with gear!), the search and rescue team, the KTUU team that broadcast his information, and to the Alaska Air National Guard crew on the helicopter that located our son.

Most humbling was the community response. Thank you to every hiker and family that came out to assist. The sheer numbers and enthusiasm of the searchers was amazing.

In short, the help we received was swift, well-coordinated, and led to a happy ending. I am indebted to all who helped.

— Patricia Gifford Eagle River...

Alaska Dispatch News