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Dolly Farnsworth was one of those great ladies who bridged the transition from territorial Alaska to statehood, exemplifying the legendary character of the era. She helped to make it a dog-help-dog world, not dog-eat-dog.

Dolly came to Alaska in the late 1940s with fiancée Jack Farnsworth. They married at Fort Richardson and in 1948 they went down to the area where the City of Soldotna now thrives and homesteaded the location which became the intersection of the Sterling Highway and the Kenai Spur Highway...

John Havelock

As a lifelong Alaskan and five year Anchoragite, I was surprised and dismayed to hear that the Anchorage Assembly was considering an ordinance prohibiting the establishment of marijuana businesses. My schedule prevents me from attending the public hearing scheduled for Dec. 16, so I felt compelled to write this commentary...

Tim Hale

On Nov. 4, Alaskans voted in favor of Ballot Measure 2 -- an initiative to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. Most Anchorage voters thought that was the end of it, that the state would develop guidelines for the marijuana Industry and that a responsible, regulated industry would begin to replace the current marijuana black market. And that’s as it should have been.

Unfortunately, that’s not what is happening in Anchorage. On Nov. 18 – before the election results were even certified -- Assembly Member Amy Demboski proposed an ordinance (AO 2014-148 on the agenda for the Dec. 16 Assembly meeting) that would ban all commercial marijuana activities from the Municipality of Anchorage immediately...

Bruce Schulte

This week, one of the companies Shell Oil hired to drill in the Arctic in 2012 -- Noble Drilling -- was fined $12.2 million and plead guilty to eight felony offenses for environmental and safety violations aboard its vessels, most of which occurred when it was in Alaska. To those who followed Noble Drilling’s calamitous path through the state two years ago, the news that this company was guilty of gross negligence comes as little surprise. While much of the inner workings aboard the drill ships Noble Discoverer and the Shell-owned-but-Noble-managed Kulluk were hidden from the public eye, even the layperson on shore could see there were issues...

Carey Restino

UNALAKLEET -- On the days leading up to Christmas, mother enjoyed her time in the kitchen. “Ooh, what are you making?” I remember asking, hopeful.

“Fruitcake,” she replied.

“Why are you making that?” I asked, with a warm laugh but with conviction, too. “Nobody likes it!”

“People do. The Hinkeys like it,” she said, smiling. “They told me.”

“Liars,” I said, smiling back. “They don’t. They’re only being nice,” I quipped back with a giggle.

Understand I had the beautiful freedom to be honest with mother, and we enjoyed joking. And, oh my goodness, is she rubbing it in today...

Laureli Ivanoff
Let the sun set on daylight saving time, Gov. Walker

It was a delight to read Julie Wolfe’s letter “Anybody really know what time it is?” in last week’s ADN. Our new governor or any elected state senator or representative would be a real hero to abolish daylight saving time in Alaska. It has no place here, the land of the midnight sun. Nor is it necessary with worldwide Internet connections...

Alaska Dispatch News

At first glance, the notion of being colorblind -- or "not seeing race"-- seems like a good thing. Relatedly, the idea of a "melting pot" society -- where we all become one -- looks like a wonderful scenario on the surface. Both of these concepts sound so good, look so attractive, and are so "catchy" that they've become popular buzzwords that almost everyone has come to automatically and uncritically regard as the ideals that we should strive for. They have been easily accepted by many as our vehicle toward the realization of Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream.

In reality, however, the "colorblind" and "melting pot" ideals have done nothing but to preserve oppressive systems and hide prejudiced attitudes, essentially operating as barriers to truly achieving MLK's dream...

E.J.R. David

It is easy to shrug off the notion of federal “overreach” -- dismissing it as rhetoric or political mumbo-jumbo -- until you get a peek inside a federal agency hell-bent on getting its way, no matter the law, that uses any and every possible means to tilt the playing field.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency, it turns out, is just such an agency. It is waging a relentless, precedent-setting campaign to preemptively veto development of the Pebble project in the Bristol Bay region -- using junk science, secrecy and authority it does not have -- even before the first development plan sees daylight...

Paul Jenkins

'Tis the season for so many great things, like Christmas or holiday newsletters.

These days, they have a glossier look, with fancy fonts and graphics. I miss the older ones where you could see the Scotch tape holding down the pictures and fantastic placement of cheeky elf or poinsettia stickers. Maybe they got photocopied at the office or the corner Kinkos; either way they looked like the toner light might have been flashing.

I loved those letters...

Shannyn Moore

FAIRBANKS -- A long, long time ago, a hairy elephant stomped the northland, wrecking trees and shrubs as it swallowed twigs, leaves and bark. These mastodons left a few scattered teeth and bones in Alaska and the Yukon, reminders of an immense mammal that lived as far south as Honduras. A recent look at far-north mastodons shows the creatures vanished from the Arctic thousands of years earlier than researchers initially thought.

New carbon dates of mastodon fossils confirmed the doubts of Grant Zazula and others who study vanished landscapes of the north. Zazula is with the Yukon Palaeontology Program in Whitehorse. Co-authors on the recent mastodon paper are Alaskans Patrick Druckenmiller, Pam Groves, Dan Mann and Michael Kunz...

Ned Rozell