Voices

As the new mayor prepares to step into his role, it is worth reflecting on how far we have come in one critical area over the last six years. Among the initial challenges faced by my administration, securing a stable and reliable energy future for Anchorage, and all of Southcentral Alaska, was perhaps the most important...

Mayor Dan Sullivan

Setnets have been a part of the Bristol Bay fishery since man first figured how to catch fish with something besides a pointed stick. The people of Western Alaska caught salmon to eat. They boiled fish, dried fish, and buried fish in efforts to preserve them. White men showed up and began to cure fish with salt. Salmon soon began to be salted and then canned for export.

The newcomers soon figured how to catch larger numbers of salmon with traps and drifting nets. The local residents were, for the most part, cut out of these high-volume market fisheries. However, the setnets still operated. They were mostly manned by the women and kids...

John Schandelmeier

I’ve made a habit, over many years, of buying used cars. My dad is in the habit of helping me fix those cars when they inevitably break down. I can’t visit the man without being greeted with a question...

Scott Christiansen

Every person who wasn't born and/or raised in Alaska has a story of how they got here: a job, a partner, a vacation that turned into real life, whatever.

In August 2003, I wrote my mom a long, handwritten letter on the plane back from Bethel, a rural city off the road system and the only place I had lived in the state up to that point.

I cried as I explained why I was in love with Alaska and why I was going to live there no matter what. Fat little tears smudged the ink on the page, and I knew I wasn't ever going back to the East Coast or anywhere else "Outside."

Not if I could help it, anyway...

Libby Bakalar

As a teenager some 40 years ago, I spent the summer with an aunt in rural Texas. My aunt worked as the administrator of a local hospital in a small town. A former Army nurse, my aunt was a no-nonsense, capable woman, and widely admired for keeping the town’s tiny hospital running. She lived on a quiet dirt road about a mile from the local public swimming pool, to which I took myself most days while she was at work. I was a competitive swimmer back then, and swimming was a big part of my life...

Barbara Hood

I have watched closely the discussion and debate regarding Medicaid expansion and reform in Alaska. It has been quite the show; although I remain uncertain whether I am watching comedy or tragedy, and I pray that I am not watching farce.

What intrigues me most is that while Berta Gardner and Wes Keller, among others, duke it out with competing commentaries in Alaska Dispatch News , they are both right on this topic. And they are both wrong...

John C. Laux

I know Alaskans like to talk about how big we are. It's a distinction -- the biggest state. I flew over the pass from Homer to Lake Clark this week. Yes, it was bumpy and I didn't like that, but the mountains just seemed to go on forever.

There was lots of smoke even those many miles away.

Many of our fellow Alaskans weren't headed out fishing, they were trying to save their homes, sled dogs, pictures, belongings -- or worse, trying to itemize all they had lost. So many of our challenges are local ones. It takes something like fire or flood for us to take up the mantle for each other...

Shannyn Moore

It is hard not to chuckle when you read political satirist P.J. O’Rourke’s observation about the nation’s health care system as Bill and Hillary monkeyed with it: “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free.”

He could have been talking about Obamacare or Medicaid, the latest break-the-bank effort to “fix” the system. Since 2010, Barack Obama has lied to Americans about his signature achievement -- taking the first, long step toward socialized medicine in an unending, unconstitutional game of three-card monte...

Paul Jenkins

Robin Barker, a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Bethel, struggled with chronic illnesses for years that kept her from working. Her only option for health insurance cost nearly $800 a month for a policy that came with a $15,000 deductible. Prescriptions alone set her back $12,000 a year.

“Money was just pouring out of our retirement savings,” she said.

For her, the world changed after Congress approved the Affordable Care Act five years ago. She qualified for a federal subsidy and a policy that cost her $42 a month. “I just sat down and cried when I realized what it was going to be. It was such a relief,” she said. “The subsidy saved our lives. I don’t know what we would have done without it.”...

Dermot Cole
Anchorage’s original bicycle guru

With the recent celebration of our parks and trails, one person has been left out. Until the push for bike trails and the more recent arrivals of REI, Sunshine and others in the bicycle market, Mike Shoup, owner of Mike’s Bike Shop, was the only game in town. Starting in a tiny building on Fireweed Lane, now on Northern Lights and a big new place on Dimond, Mike developed not only a great business, but ministered to those of us who wanted to ride to work and play. Mike sold me a five-speed Schwinn in 1969 and, over time, three kid seats, new tires, regular tune-ups and lots of advice. Lots of miles and two kids on that bike....

Alaska Dispatch News