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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

Of all the things that Gov. Bill Walker might say about the state of Alaska’s finances, I’ll bet that he won’t say “All bets are off.”

Not that he couldn’t find a reason to quote the memorable 1986 words of Gov. Steve Cowper, uttered at a news conference three weeks after Cowper became governor.

“There was a lot bigger deficit than we had reason to believe before we got there,” Cowper said from Texas in a phone interview about his offhand comment about campaign promises. “There wasn’t enough money for me to keep every promise. Of course everybody screamed and yelled and said I was a thief and a liar, but that’s the way things are.”...

Dermot Cole

It is unsurprising Bill Walker would rejigger an election with his new union pals and Democrats to finally pocket the keys to the governor’s mansion. The surprise is that he did it willingly -- without a gun to his head.

Who in his right mind, given Alaska’s grim fiscal reality, would want the job? A normal person would dodge it like ringworm. Perhaps Walker should follow the late Gov. Wally Hickel’s lead and have his noggin examined to prove he is not nuts.

What does Walker win? In his own words, “lean times” -- a laughably optimistic assessment...

Paul Jenkins

As the new governor’s leadership team starts to take shape, it is obvious that the partnership between Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott is different.

Who knows what agreements were made when Mallott, a longtime Alaska Native leader, agreed to join forces with Walker, relinquishing his own bid as the democratic candidate for the state’s top post. But if these early days are any indication, Native Alaskans and rural Alaskans will have more voice in this state administration than any since, perhaps, the late Gov. Jay Hammond...

Carey Restino
Accurate headlines, please

Writer Kim Dahnke was probably correct as to the frequency of my alternate scenarios occurring in Ferguson, although that makes my questions no less valid.

The headline to that reply inferred my original letter was “hot air,” which was never implied in Dahnke’s very civil letter, and is a good example of the liberties sometimes taken by the editor of the “letters” column. Perhaps more care should be taken that the headlines more accurately reflect the opinions expressed.

— Don Neal Anchorage...

Alaska Dispatch News

The Mat-Su Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership, representing 55 organizations that share an interest in sustaining salmon in the Mat-Su, hosted a conference in November. During the two days of the 2014 Mat-Su Salmon Science & Conservation Symposium, speaker after speaker gave detailed descriptions of recent and ongoing projects that are providing baseline data and documenting the scope of impaired salmon habitat in the Mat-Su basin...

Erik Huebsch

In early November the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that could profoundly hurt Alaskans who purchase private health insurance. Currently, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides subsidies to individuals, based on their taxable income, to help defray the cost of insurance premiums. For a state like Alaska, where health insurance premiums are two to three times more expensive than in other states, subsidies can reduce the cost of insurance by thousands to tens of thousands of dollars per year. Depending on how the Supreme Court rules on this case, these subsidies could be taken away and Alaskans forced to pay much higher insurance premiums...

Randall Plant