Legislators are bought and paid for by NRA
Imagine my surprise, or actually, my disgust, when I read the headline: "Gun control bill stalls in Alaska House committee amid opposition from NRA." The bill in question, HB75, aims only to limit access to guns for people deemed dangerous by police officers or judges. This bill does not punish law abiding gun owners nor infringe on Alaska's hunting heritage. And nowhere in the bill does it state anything about ending the Second Amendment. It does, however, help protect victims of domestic violence.
For any member of our Legislature having to defer on passing a bill for our state until they get approval from an Outside organization — in this case, the NRA, — is a bit disconcerting. Who are our elected officials representing? I thought the role of the members of our Legislature was to do the work of the people of Alaska, for the people of Alaska, and not special interests. Are our elected officials bought and paid for by special interests? If so, how much does a private citizen need to pay them to do what "we the people" need them to do?
Hospice volunteers help others die with dignity
April 15-21 is National Volunteer Week, a time to recognize and celebrate the thousands of men, women and young people who volunteer in communities across the country. I am a hospice volunteer at Providence St. Joseph Health and I salute all those who give of their time and talents — particularly to people at the end of life's journey.
I first joined the hospice team in 2010, visiting patients and their families in their homes. Today, I continue to visit patients — often in the assisted-living facilities which patients now call home. My visits include reading, singing with patients, painting fingernails and just enjoying each other's presence. For me personally, being a hospice volunteer fulfills a genuine desire to give comfort, peace and care to patients, caregivers and families during the end of life. Each person I meet teaches me something about life and death. People often say "Oh that's so sad," but I respond "Oh, but it's so rewarding!"
I decided to become a hospice volunteer after experiencing the wonderful care my grandmother received before she died. By volunteering for hospice, I'm not only giving back to the community but I'm honoring Grandma Edna's memory.
There are people that mistakenly think hospice is about giving up — it couldn't be further from the truth. Hospice is about living as fully as possible, even at the end of life. At the center of hospice is the belief that each person has the right to die free of pain and with dignity, and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.
I encourage others to learn more about hospice by contacting Providence Hospice, 907-212-4400.
More money isn't going to help our students
Alaska is ranked near the bottom in academic testing compared to the rest of the United States. Alaska is at the top when it comes to funding per student. The problem is not a lack of funding. The schools are being funded more than most nationally but we are producing failing results. Only something run by the government can be an inadequate system and think more money will solve the issues. The teachers should not receive pay cuts. They should receive support from the administration on new creative ways to educate the students. There are school districts getting good results. Emulate what is working in other districts. Do not keep doing the same thing expecting different results.
Unfortunately, Alaska does emulate where the United States ranks compared to the rest of the first-world countries — spending near the top per student but producing students with average to below average competency.
A graduation rate of at least 90 percent should be expected. That will only come with more accountability from the administration, schools and parents. Parents being active parents could go a long way to improve our education system.
— Cory Gove