Readers write: Letters to the editor, May 8, 2016

Thanks to school helpers

The school year is coming to a close. This is a long-overdue thank you to the school bus drivers who pick up and drop off kids along DeArmoun Road. These bus drivers have been so courteous and attentive to other traffic along their route this year and it is much appreciated. Kudos to school bus drivers.

Thank you also to all the schoolteachers, principals and staff in the ASD who do so much for the kids of Anchorage, particularly Principal Michelle Prince, 1st grade teacher Christina McSorley and Bear Valley staffer extraordinaire Christine Schlegel. Thank you for a wonderful school year.

And last but not least a hearty thank you to Superintendent Ed Graff for all his years of service to the Anchorage School District. I wish him well in his future endeavors.

— Dagmar Mikko


More children, mothers should live long enough to celebrate

I am preparing to celebrate my first Mother's Day as a grandmother. I never imagined the joy that my grandson's smile and many little accomplishments would bring. As I watch my daughter care for him, I'm just filled with happiness. Or almost filled. As I observe this loving mother, I am reminded of other loving mothers around the world who must face the illness and death of children from preventable, treatable diseases. Diseases to which we no longer give much thought with our access to health care.


Health care in impoverished countries has improved since 1990 when the number of children younger than 5 dying of preventable diseases topped 12 million a year. That number has decreased by over half, much of which has been due to global efforts to work together to improve access to vaccines, quality nutrition, prenatal care. The U.S. has been a leader in this effort through USAID (US Agency for International Development), but it has become apparent that more can be done by streamlining planning and decision-making, increasing its effectiveness.

At this time there is bipartisan legislation in both the House and the Senate, the Reach Every Mother and Child Act (REACH Act), which proposes reforms that hold USAID accountable for a smarter and more effective approach to saving more lives. It does not require more funding but does require that the Senate and the House take up this bill and pass it. While USAID's goals of saving 15 million child lives and 600,000 women's lives by 2020 and ending preventable child and maternal deaths by 2035 may seem bold and ambitious, they are goals for which it is well worth striving. My grandson and his mother have shown me that.

— Patricia Kennish


Alaska leaders follow blindly

Lo the poor politician, what are they to do? I guess all Murkowski, Sullivan and Young can do in their support for Trump is to acknowledge their support for his agenda. I am reminded of the saying, "Mine is not to question why, mine is but to do or die." This is a Tennyson quote from "The Charge of the Light Brigade." Well these three politicians are leading the charge for misogyny, racism and division in Alaska.

I am looking forward to their wiggling and squirming as they justify their support of all this hatred, especially while Murkowski and Young ask minority voters to support them.

— Jay Cross

Big Lake

Trouble with North Carolina's transgender restroom law

A North Carolina law makes it illegal for transsexual people to use public restrooms appropriate to their identity. Rather it requires them to use the restroom that accords with the sex on their birth certificate. What's the problem with that?

Among other things, my friend Deirdre McCloskey — a renowned economist who also happens to be transsexual (and who memorably wrote about her experience in Crossing: A Memoir) — would be required to share a public restroom with men.

When young, Deirdre — then Donald — was a football-playing athlete. For Donald, using the men's restroom would have been no problem.

But Deirdre has had sex-reassignment surgery and has been dressing and living as a woman for twenty years or more. For her to be forced to share a restroom with men would be decidedly uncomfortable — especially for the men, if they're the kinds of bigoted people who would support this law in the first place — and that would endanger Deirdre. North Carolinians should think again.

— Rick Wicks


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