Letters to the Editor

Readers write: Letters to the editor, September 11, 2017

Weakened EPA hurts Alaskans

A well-funded Environmental Protection Agency means healthy children and strong communities for Alaska. The president has proposed devastating budget cuts that threaten clean air and safe drinking water. If these cuts are approved, no one stands to lose more than Alaska — especially rural Alaskans.

If the proposed 31 percent cuts are approved, here are just a few of the things Alaskans could lose:

• Safe drinking water and sewage treatment in rural Alaska.

• Air quality monitoring and the Code Red alerts to warn us of poor outdoor air quality so kids and people with asthma can safely stay indoors.

• Cleanup of Alaska's 10 Superfund and brownfield hazardous waste sites.

• Alaska's most vulnerable residents, such as pregnant women, children and people who live in the Arctic, will lose protections against exposure to toxic contaminants.


And Fairbanks: Good luck with the seventh worst air quality in the nation. That corrective action plan you've anticipated for so long? It's going to be delayed. Again. The city will be on its own if these cuts go through.
Please contact Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and tell them that breathable air and drinkable water are good for Alaskans' health.

— Marshall V. Clymer

Hats off to Alice, ADN staff for local news, print edition

I am usually moved to write the newspaper when I'm complaining (like most people). But now I want to thank the Alaska Dispatch News for a really great job.

I love your local news (including the far reaches of Alaska), and the national and international bits (yes, they do affect us too). I very much appreciate the new sections — especially Arctic Now, plus Ideas and the revived "We Alaskans;" and the Outdoors columnists, and even the Sunday surfeit of advice columns.

And I sure appreciate reading an actual printed newspaper at breakfast.

I'm very sorry it's become necessary for ADN to change owners. Again, I want to thank Alice Rogoff, the editors and staff for providing a wonderful small newspaper. I hope the new owners will be able to follow her example and retain the great editors and reporters.

— Vivian Mendenhall

Alaskans rescue Hall of Famer

The people of Alaska are used to taking care of all of us Lower 48 visitors and do such a good job helping us have a good time — and keeping us in line. We come to have fun and participate in all your great state has to offer. I write to give a very personal thanks to all, for something that happened last week.

I came last week to fish the Kenai, joining Denny Crum, our Hall of Fame basketball coach at the University of Louisville. I am a professor at the university's medical school. He had introduced me to this area years ago and a group of us have been coming to fish every September. He has been coming here annually (without missing a year!) for over 40 years, between coaching basketball and fishing trips.

Last week, our coach had a serious medical problem while fishing the Kenai River. Due to the alertness and quick action of guide Stacy Corbin of Mystic Waters Fishing, the problem was recognized immediately and action was taken that was critical. Interestingly, Stacy was alone with Denny and his wife Susan on the boat while the rest of our group (three doctors, including his personal physician) were en route that very afternoon to join them. Stacy, with superhuman rowing effort, got him off an isolated part of the Kenai expeditiously, while his partner Simmons Adickes, in an adjacent boat, called and worked with EMS over the phone.

The boat arrived at Jim's Landing on the river shortly before an ambulance arrived and then a helicopter landed a few minutes later. Due to the nature of the problem (a possibly evolving stroke) the helicopter had been alerted and responded as well, in case it was needed. The EMS rescue team was superb. They determined they needed the helicopter and about 18 minutes later, our coach arrived at Providence Alaska Medical Center.

In the ER, a stroke team took over. After rapid assessment and a CT scan, they began administration of drugs that averted the evolution of a more permanent and devastating stroke.

Denny flew home to Louisville this past Sunday and has made a complete recovery with resolution of all symptoms. As a surgeon myself, I can't tell you the number of times we say to ourselves in a backroom how much more we could have done, if only we had received the patient sooner. In this case, due to the alertness and preparedness of the fishing guides, the well-practiced skills of a great EMS team and helicopter ambulance service, along with excellent medical professionals, all went well. Our special friend and the hero of so many in Louisville doesn't have to spend the rest of his life in a disabled situation. For a man who has given so much of his life to others in basketball, support of innumerable charities and fundraising for the university, this is truly an outstanding and blessed outcome.

Thanks to all of you in Alaska who stand ready to help all of us who come here and place ourselves in remote situations with unknown dangers in your great wilderness. I write this with emotion because I know the man. Thank you so much for your preparedness and fast actions to preserve his health and save his life. You never know who you will be called upon to help. Also, Denny and Susan send their heartfelt thanks to all involved and to their many Alaska friends and "expatriate" Kentuckians who offered their help, and even their homes, during the situation.

— Gary Vitale, MD
Louisville, Ky.


Biker has privileged mindset

This is in reply to Angela Ramirez's "Bikes and bears" commentary, (ADN, Sept. 7). Ms. Ramirez's rambling, semicoherent "argument" merely reflects that selfish "fad" bikers don't have any arguments that rationalize their presumed "right" to place Alaska wildlife and (other) human users of our rapidly fragmenting wilderness at risk, via their irresponsible behavior.

Typical of the entitlement-mentality crowd, it's all about them. Fact is, once a bear has been aggravated into attacking a person, it's almost always destroyed because of the entirely rational concern the bear will subsequently be less afraid of humans, since it had attacked one and came away unscathed (which is usually the case if the bear's not killed).

Ramirez's solution? She'll wear a "don't kill the bear" tattoo. Yay. That ought to help.

"Never underestimate the power of human stupidity." — R. A. Heinlein

— al-Hajji Frederick H Minshall

The views expressed here are the writers' own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a letter under 200 words for consideration, email letters@alaskadispatch.com, or click here to submit via any web browser. Submitting a letter to the editor constitutes granting permission for it to be edited for clarity, accuracy and brevity. Send longer works of opinion to commentary@alaskadispatch.com.