At a time when economic uncertainty is front and center in our community, a visit from the International Economic Development Council is an opportune event. Today, the four-day IEDC Annual Conference, the largest gathering of economic developers in the world, is kicking off in downtown Anchorage at the Dena’ina Center. Economic development practitioners from around the globe are in town to share best practices with one another, explore trends in the profession and experience Anchorage and Alaska firsthand. Now more than ever, when our economy is in the crosshairs of low oil prices and diminished federal spending, it is advantageous for government, community and business leaders from around Alaska to learn from the successes and failures of other communities, many of whom face similar...Bill Popp
Typical Anchorage mistake, downgrading UA president Let’s step back a moment, please. Charles E. Bunnell was not “president of what became the University of Alaska Fairbanks” (ADN, Thursday). He was, rather, the first president of the (entire) University of Alaska — decades before there even existed a university campus beyond Fairbanks. Get over yourselves, Anchorage! — Daniel D Gibson Ester Enforce international law to put an end to Armenia’s Russia-funded aggression Emboldened by Russia’s military assistance to Syria where Moscow formally maintains a military base, Armenia, which has hosted Russia’s 102nd military base since the declaration of Armenia’s (in)dependence, the Sargsyan regime started using heavy weaponry to target civilian residences in Azerbaijan. This should come as no...Alaska Dispatch News
State Rep. Tammie Wilson, who is running for mayor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, has long opposed the way the borough operates programs to fight air pollution. So much that she inserted $1.3 million into the state budget in 2011-2012 to run a competing anti-pollution venture apart from the borough. The idea was to place experimental devices on 25 outdoor wood boilers, conduct research and set up a "heating appliance upgrade and replacement program." The experimental devices did not work as planned. It's not clear how much of the money was spent on how many homes and businesses by the private company hired to manage the project. That company was owned by a former campaign aide and former member of Wilson’s staff who was working for her at the time the first grant won state approval...Dermot Cole
How many times have your children witnessed moose picking their way across a snowy trail, or joined a pack of friends along a narrow alpine trail to pick blueberries? Many Alaska kids know their outdoor spaces are special, even if they don’t fully understand why. Wild places give us room to roam. They teach us new things and provide exercise. Studies from such organizations as the Children and Nature Network show real benefits from outside time, like increased attention spans, less obesity, and an increased sense of self-worth. Kids don’t necessarily know that, but they know people seem happier when outside, and the country’s leadership seems to be catching on. As part of a nationwide initiative that emphasizes lifelong health, federally managed outdoor agencies recently joined President...Erin Kirkland
Many exceptional teachers begin class with an anecdote, an illustration to real life, a good story or mind puzzle to draw their students’ interest into the lesson. With setting that hook in mind, I’ll draw on a short story as a segue into the topic of early education. My parents spent over two decades teaching low-income children in some of the smallest villages in Alaska -- remote areas of Alaska where teachers were difficult to find and retain. My mother believed in the power of literacy and making sure kids had an opportunity to develop academic skills at an early age. One of her true passions was ensuring children had the option of a preschool program –- especially because she taught kindergarten. My mother passed away this summer; however, her enthusiasm for early learning still...Todd Poage
There are some issues we Alaskans have been arguing about for a long time. Is Anchorage better than Fairbanks or vice versa? Was the fish this big, or that big? What does ADN actually stand for now anyway? And … less humorous, but no less steeped in the tradition of Alaskan argument: are we willing to ensure our gay neighbors have the same rights as our straight ones to live, work and get married in Alaska? Back in 1998, I wrestled with this argument as a newly elected state representative. The vote on the same-sex marriage ban was on the floor. I didn’t feel that government had any business telling Alaskans who they could love, just as I don’t believe government has any business telling me how many guns I can keep in the safe at home either. The conventional wisdom was that voting...Eric Croft
“It is our responsibility, as a nation, to uphold the dignity and life of the weakest.” Quotes like that have taken over my Facebook page lately. I have long been on the fence about the abortion debate, looking for a third way. I grew up hearing women share views about the right to choose. They struggled to care for babies while their “men” went out to party. Some had gone down the path of safe and legal early terminations of their pregnancy, and felt solid in their choice. Others grieved. I found myself in that situation, as a teen. I wrote about it once, and it spread like wildfire through social media. Planned Parenthood has used my story, as have college professors and others, as a way to push a pro-choice agenda. I write because I have to, not to further any particular political view...Chantelle Pence
Gov. Bill Walker sent a chill through the business community last weekend with his opinion piece that appeared in newspapers across the state, whereby he laid out his case for taxing natural gas that is undeveloped. He argued since leaseholders do not pay taxes or royalties for unshipped gas, there are no penalties for not developing them, and that’s the reason why there is no gas line. Disregarding the realities of oil-field life cycles and global market forces, Walker wants to change that through a punitive tax. What Walker does not say is for decades, gas has been immensely useful in extending the life of our oil fields. After coming out of the ground with oil and water, the gas is reinjected into the reservoirs to scour out even more of the valuable commodity – oil. Using natural gas...Frank McQueary
Opinion journals like National Review, The New Yorker and the Atlantic recently have given significant attention to a new book by Timothy Snyder, the Yale historian of Eastern Europe and the Holocaust, whose 2010 work "Bloodlands" attracted considerable note. In "Bloodlands," Snyder recounted the brutal, bloody, mid-20th century history of the lands between the eastern border of Germany and the Ukraine. About 14 million people were murdered in that area between 1933 and 1945, “mass violence of a sort never before visited upon this region. The victims were chiefly Jews, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Poles, Russians and Balts, the people native to these lands," Snyder notes in his newest book. Most of the killers were Soviets and Nazis, but locals readily joined them in the slaughter, expressing...Steve Haycox
PAXSON – I worked on the truck until late evening before getting it to run. It was O­-dark­-30 by the time I was ready. I needed get the old Ford off the Denali and on to Delta Junction. It was snowing on the Denali Highway and by all reports, the snow continued through Isabel Pass. The truck was blowing water through a bad "O" ring. There are no parts in this part of the country, and I would be putting water in the radiator every 10 miles and trying to keep it from freezing up in 25-degree temperatures. One might think it was crazy to take off in the dark and snow to travel 125 miles on a relatively deserted road but it is all a matter of being prepared. Safe winter travel along our highways and backcountry trails is mostly a mindset. One needs to take precautions based on individual...John Schandelmeier