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Last October the Forest Service awarded the Big Thorne timber sale to Viking Lumber of Klawock. The action came after more than a year's delay. The sale’s implementation is still held up by an environmental lawsuit challenging the Big Thorne contract.

The Big Thorne stewardship timber contract awarded to Viking would allow harvesting of 97 million board feet. The irony is that the current management plan for the Tongass as prepared by the Forest Service calls for harvesting up to 267 million board feet. Nevertheless, this reduced figure would allow Southeast Alaska’s only remaining medium-sized sawmill to continue operations. (In the 1970s and '80s, Southeast Alaska had two pulp mills and eight sawmills. Now only one medium-sized sawmill remains.)...

Frank Murkowski

A few weeks ago, I saw "Selma," a remarkable movie about the unbreakable persistence and moral leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the struggle to secure voting rights for African-Americans in the Jim Crow South.

But what the movie didn’t reveal was the role played by the labor movement in the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery and its part in propelling the civil rights movement forward at so many pivotal moments. As we mark Dr. King’s 86th birthday, it is my hope that Americans will remember another less-celebrated element of his dream -- a belief in the importance of unions, labor rights and robust worker voice...

Thomas E. Perez

Alaskans are generally pretty aware of the importance of keeping their waters clean. Not surprising when you consider that our 6,640 miles of coastline span an area greater than all the other states combined. Far more than just an economic engine, our oceans are the source of much of our subsistence harvest, a practice that for some is about far more than just storing food for the winter. So it’s safe to say Alaskans are by-and-large interested in protecting the water, especially in the rural communities located along the coastline...

Carey Restino

I noticed a glaring omission in Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s Jan. 13 commentary about the new Congress : Any mention of oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Murkowski touts the new Congress’ priorities, yet the Republicans’ top priority -- literally, it is entitled “Senate Bill 1” -- is to permit a pipeline for development of Canadian oil from Alberta’s tar sands. Murkowski needs to start representing Alaska, not just take orders from D.C. power brokers...

Mike Wenstrup

UNALAKLEET -- He turned the lights off. I had been in that church thousands of times from not long after I was born until I graduated high school, but never like that. It felt irreverent. The pews were full and the lights were off. There were elders in there, and I wondered what they were thinking...

Laureli Ivanoff
Guidance of common law should prevail in Alaska

Weighing in on the Discreet Deliveries controversy, the common law developed over centuries, wrests protections for individual rights from governments. Alaskan law is based on common law. Under common law, a crime has two elements: injury and intent. To be arrested for a crime, you must cause an injury and intend that injury. In these twilight days between passage of the pot initiative and implementation of the law, Alaskans should adhere to the common law. Is Discreet Deliveries causing or intending any harm or injury?

No. No injury, no crime. Leave the businessman alone...

Alaska Dispatch News

Peter Dunlap Shohl: Three myths about the Charlie Hebdo murders...

Peter Dunlap-Shohl,Michael Carey

Newly elected Gov. Bill Walker and his attorney general and former law partner, Craig Richards, find themselves neck-deep in a messy, complicated ethics dilemma as they try to break new ground in the halls of power.

Walker and Richards in 2012 filed a public interest lawsuit challenging the state’s hard-won settlement with ExxonMobil for development of the long-delayed and problematic Point Thomson oil and gas field so pivotal in Alaska’s dream of marketing its vast North Slope gas reserves. In an opinion piece later, Walker called the settlement the "worst, dirtiest backroom deal in state history."...

Paul Jenkins

You may or may not know who Paul Allen is. He's kind of a big deal. He is the co-founder of Microsoft, and more importantly, owner of the Seattle Seahawks. You may have heard of them. They play football.

I'm going to ask you to imagine something that isn't true. (I'm telling you this so you don't freak out.)

Imagine if this week, Mr. Allen found out that his head coach, Pete Carroll, and Tom Cable, his offensive line and assistant head coach, were writing plays for the Green Bay Packers.

Again, Mr. Carroll and Mr. Cable did not do this. We are pretending -- to make a point.

As the owner, what do you think Mr. Allen would do? I'm guessing his first question would be "Why?! How could you possibly let your owner, team and supporters down so badly?"...

Shannyn Moore
Idiots abound at Kincaid

After 46 years of utilizing the Kincaid Park trail system/facility for running, skiing, biking, disc golf, etc., I have only had a few close calls with moose. In every situation, it was my responsibility to understand the situation and react accordingly. I placed myself in those situations, not the moose.

I do not support any moose hunt in this park.

I see a lack of judgment on the part of users in their preparation and use of the park, which seems to be a consistent theme in many of the “incidents” relevant to close calls with moose...

Alaska Dispatch News