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Confession time. I bought a $16.95, Chinese-made LED headlamp back in October. Every night it's used, I feel a little guilty as an America-first kind of guy. But this light is hands down one of my best gear purchases in years.

In fact, I just returned home from a night out on snowshoes above treeline in the Chugach Mountains. It is near 1 a.m. Up high, the snow was close to knee deep in places, despite Anchorage's snow-sparse winter. It was dark. The wind was gusting to 30 mph or so at times. Some snow was moving around. In places, the old snowshoe track I was trying to find was drifted in...

Craig Medred

I caught my first coyote when I was 10. I was running a trapline just above the Rabbit Creek flats in Anchorage. There weren’t any houses there back then. At that time I had never seen a coyote in the wild, just photographs and the Road Runner cartoon. I was pretty psyched to catch such a big, unknown animal. After all, there weren’t many coyotes in the area in the 1960s.

Coyotes were first noted in Alaska about 100 years ago. The population peaked in the 1940s before being nearly eradicated by poisons used by the Alaska Game Commission, which referred to them as “obnoxious animals.”...

John Schandelmeier
Roundabouts do not improve traffic

Reading about the proposed DOT changes to South Anchorage roads, I was upset by the planners’ intentions of putting up more roundabouts. Roundabouts cause more traffic backups, confusion, hesitation and close-call scares than any other intersection type I’ve experienced. For some reason, the city just loves putting them up. Stop it already. Nobody I have ever spoken to about them says, “Wow, I just really love that roundabout.”...

Alaska Dispatch News

Dear Governor Walker:

You are at least our fourth governor to promise management of Alaska’s fish, wildlife and habitat resources based on the best available science.

The wisdom of that should be as obvious as assuring that if our kids need medical operations, key decisions will be made by top flight physicians, not by insurance adjusters. It's like assuring that when we fly in a plane, its maintenance and piloting will done by expert mechanics and pilots, not PR staff...

Stephen F. Stringham
With warming, more drilling

Alaska is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the country, but oil is even more available to drilling companies. This is a safety crisis waiting to happen in the Chukchi Sea. Companies such as Shell Oil do not have plans to prevent or effectively contain any oil spills that occur in the Arctic. I have lived in Kodiak most of my life and can remember Shell’s blunders of 2012. It’s 2014, two years after the drill rig was washed ashore near my home, and Kodiak’s beaches, sea creatures and wildlife are still affected.

-- Ashleigh Roe Kodiak...

Alaska Dispatch News

The late Gov. Wally Hickel, in a speech to the United Nations, once posed the question, “Why war, why not big projects?” He went on to call for larger investments in infrastructure development, especially in the Arctic, where lack of infrastructure is a barrier to prosperity. This grand vision included stronger co-operation with Russia and other northern regions...

Nils Andreassen

Our planet is a place of ongoing evolution, with ecosystems under constant shift as we adapt in relationship to one another and to the global climate that sustains us.

So how do we put the realities of ocean acidification into perspective? How do we describe a fundamental change in the chemistry of the water covering more than 70 percent of Earth’s surface?

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Shallin Busch put it this way at a recent Anchorage workshop on ocean acidification: the last time the ocean was at the pH levels we’re currently seeing, Earth was experiencing the dawn of horses. It’s been eons...

Hannah Heimbuch
Change grand jury system

A letter to the editor and a commentary contained words to the effect, “White people didn’t riot when O.J. Simpson was acquitted.” O.J. wasn’t a police officer and he was found innocent by a jury in a court of law. But we all know how that worked out for O.J...

Alaska Dispatch News

SITKA -- Clear, cold fall day: There is frost on the ground. The docks are slick. Hunters are out this Veterans Day looking for deer, though snow has not driven the animals down to the beaches yet. The sky is a hazy blue and the humpback whales are diving in Sitka Sound, feeding on the krill and herring, fattening up before their trip to warm waters to breed...

John Straley

Dear Reader: From the time I crossed Kachemak Bay to Homer, drove to Anchorage and caught the flight to Juneau for the inauguration of Bill Walker and Byron Mallott, I tried to remember every detail. I wanted to be the one to share it all with you -- this moment of renewal and hope for Alaska -- before we get busy with our looming financial disaster (thank you, Sean Parnell and legislative Republicans). I’ll skip ahead. I missed my flight home. Partly due to mechanical issues and partly due to celebrating. Alaska Airlines was lovely about putting me on the next plane. (Not a milk run, thank you, Club 49.) I sat next to a charming lobbyist (yes, they exist) and in front of part of the first family -- also charming....

Shannyn Moore

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