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Every one of our citizens of a certain age (let’s just say it: seniors!) grew up with a knowledge of WWII. Each American family participated in the war: family members served, possibly sacrificed; sugar and gas rationing; victory gardens; war bonds. We did not feel the obligation to thank ou…

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This holiday season, Alaskans can have a renewed sense of hope for good jobs, larger paychecks, stronger growth, and enduring prosperity. The reason why is today’s passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which includes two historic opportunities for our state.

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It is deeply disappointing to see that the Alaska Dispatch News is so distracted by SCF’s exaggerated allegations that it missed the real story and has misled its readers in the process. ANTHC’s leadership struggled for years with the very questions that many readers are asking – is it possi…

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It has been awhile since my last letter, and I would like to update you on the Legislature’s progress over the past two special sessions. This was a contentious year in Juneau and a difficult time for all Alaskans as uncertainty loomed in the form of a potential government shutdown, job loss…

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As we approach the finish line, I want to keep you informed with our progress. Here is an update of where stand as our constitutional session reaches its deadline.

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Greetings from Juneau. The Legislature is in the second week of an extended session as the Senate and House work to resolve differences between the two versions of the Fiscal Year 2018 operating budget. Also still in the works are the FY18 capital budget, bills pertaining to a long-term fisc…

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HB 199, “The Wild Salmon Legacy Act,” is a bill I introduced that modernizes Alaska’s fish habitat protection and permitting law, which hasn’t been updated since statehood. 

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As we reach the halfway point of the 2017 legislative session, we wish to share some thoughts about this critical time that represents a truly defining moment in our state’s history. What we do or fail to do over the next few months will send ripples through the lives of Alaskans for generations.

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Hello from Juneau. About five weeks remain until the legislature’s scheduled adjournment on April 16. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget is the major topic in the Capitol. With a $3 billion dollar budget gap, and revenue from oil production – which funds more than 85 percent of our budget – project…

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I first met Bella Hammond when she came to Valdez in the 1970s to present a First Lady Volunteer Award. That was at the inception of this volunteer recognition initiative Mrs. Hammond started that has carried on through the decades. Since then hundreds of Alaskans have been honored for their…

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At this past Thursday’s borough assembly meeting, the assembly voted 4-3 to enact the opt out (slum) ordinance, a very controversial piece of legislation that has been debated since the middle of last year and now has an unsettled future.

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This past Thursday’s bough assembly meeting was a somewhat curious one insofar as consistency. Question: In a representative democracy such as ours, does this mean assembly members should vote based on their own views and opinions or that of their constituents?

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I encourage my fellow citizens to contact members of the borough assembly and urge the assembly to oppose the opt-out provision for building codes on single-family homes built outside city limits. While this measure was defeated at the assembly meeting on Feb. 2, it has been resurrected by a…

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Flying an airplane often has been characterized as hours of sheer boredom interrupted by moments of stark terror, which over-characterizes but otherwise is a reasonable representation of last Thursday’s Sturm und Drang borough assembly meeting.

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I’m proud of Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, and I plan to shake her hand when I next see her. Alaskans across the state are taking an interest, because, as the chair of the House Fisheries Committee, Rep. Stutes is committed to sustaining the salmon fisheries that are the essence of our belov…

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On Jan. 10, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., released his 2017 Wastebook Porkémon, which highlighted the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska (PSCA) and the recent contract with Missile Defense Agency as a waste of federal funding. It is my practice to not engage in public discourse with those who disr…

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This past week saw a further step in the Otmeloi paving project, a public meeting hosted by the borough manager’s office to endorse a tentative, new design by the state of Alaska. The meeting, like all meetings, had its plusses and minuses.

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This past Thursday’s borough assembly meeting had only one item on its agenda: a presentation and discussion of the borough’s (not city’s) Marijuana Task Force recommendations for setting up commercial marijuana businesses on Kodiak. Specific areas addressed in these recommendations included…

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Gov. Bill Walker issued a proclamation designating 2017 as a “Year of History and Heritage” in recognition of Alaska’s sesquicentennial, the 150th year since Russia ceded its possessions and interests in Alaska to the United States. Gov. Walker’s proclamation encourages all Alaskans “to stud…

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 This past week KDM carried an announcement of an upcoming town hall meeting at the Bayside Fire Department on the evening of Tuesday, Jan 10, the subject of which is the Otmeloi Way paving project.

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Over the weekend I availed myself of the opportunity late one evening to settle into my overstuffed chair in the living room, place my feet up on the ottoman, and to begin reading one of the usually well-thought-out and well-written English periodicals being published today. I favor publicat…

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This past Thursday’s borough assembly meeting was the last regular meeting of the year, today’s joint meeting at 7:30 p.m. in assembly chambers with the city council being its last.

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Thursday’s borough assembly work session was one of the most productive of the year. The meeting kicked off with a semi-formal report by the marijuana taskforce, whose recommendations shortly will come before the assembly for adoption.  One of its members, Johnathan Strong, in remarks to the…

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This past Thursday’s borough assembly meeting included two politically-charged items of business.  The first was the assembly’s acceptance of a $12 million conservation easement for the establishment of two regional parks — one at Termination Point (the land opposite Ft. Abercrombie at the o…

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As borough assembly meetings go, the back-to-back ones earlier this month (Nov. 10) were both encouraging and thought-provoking.

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Last week’s election was certainly one of our more interesting ones, one which changed the United States from what it has been for 70 years into something significantly different. Which portends turbulent times ahead as the global power structure adjusts itself to a different U.S.A.

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Alaska’s Rep. Don Young seems happy to be the stalking horse for the softened Magnuson Stevens Act, the law that governs our nation’s fisheries. But the revised version eviscerates the Alaska Model of fisheries management and does not reflect the majority view of Alaskan fishermen. More impo…

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This past Monday I attended the meeting of the Kodiak Island Borough School District Board of Education following my last meeting at the high school, which was the high school’s CTE (vo-tech) community open house earlier this month. And the common theme, as far as I can tell, was that at eac…

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At this past Thursday’s borough assembly work session, the very big news was an Alaska housing developer’s request for the assembly’s support (endorsement) for he and his partner to build a 20-unit affordable housing complex along Mill Bay Road.

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This past Thursday evening I attended the borough assembly meeting and afterwards drove down to McDonald’s for an evening snack. Upon arriving there, I parked my car in the parking lot across the street, walked along the sidewalk and, using the crosswalk (which is partially obliterated due t…

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Recently, Kodiak Borough Assembly member Crow proposed an alternative ordinance that would keep the 2012 residential building code, but allow a person to opt out, and be allowed to build their own homes without having to comply with the borough’s residential building codes. He thinks the bor…

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On Nov. 2, 1986, almost 30 years ago, a Coast Guard HH-3 helicopter (No. 1473) and its crew of six were flying to Akhiok to medevac a man with a head injury. The weather was horrible: strong winds and heavy rain. Air Station Kodiak lost contact with the helicopter at about 9:30 p.m. The heli…

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The Kodiak City Council will soon hold a public hearing on proposed Ordinance No. 1359. If adopted, the ordinance will prohibit the discharge of firearms and other dangerous weapons in the city. This ordinance was brought forward due to hunting activities taking place in heavily used recreat…

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Alaskans will soon receive our annual dividend checks. This year’s $1,022 check for every qualified resident will help Alaska families with things like winter fuel, food and clothes, holiday gifts, and saving for college. These checks will boost local businesses and increase local tax revenues.

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This past week Kodiak High School announced the time and date for an upcoming town hall meeting titled “Community Voice.” The purpose of this meeting is to sound out our community’s views on what additional subjects could be taught in the seventh- to 12th-grade curriculum and any recommendat…

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This past week my wife and I traveled to Seattle, where I met with a dietician at the University of Washington Medical Center. During this meeting the subject of eggs as part of one’s diet came up. Eggs received a divergent evaluation from this adviser. I learned the nutritional value of an …

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In the final stages of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, many quit their jobs prior to the completion because they wanted to be first in line to work on the gasline. Alaska expected construction to begin that quickly. But that was nearly 40 years ago. Efforts to monetize the billions of dollars…

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This past Thursday’s borough assembly meeting produced mixed results, at least insofar as two major issues were concerned. The first of these was the assembly’s nonprofit organization funding for 2017 that slashed 40 percent off the previous year’s funding.

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What I took away from Thursday’s borough assembly meeting is that our second-class borough form of government is not working well, nor is it likely to without significant overhaul. This despite having some very competent and caring assembly members, so having the wrong people on the assembly…

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The school board meeting of Aug. 8 was a delight to attend. The high school principal, Mr. Chris Aguirre, took the floor for about two hours, during which time he enthusiastically provided an overview of the high school’s educational programs, both in overview and in detail. But more importa…