Alaska editorial: Karluk Manor death

This editorial first apepared in the Anchorage Daily News:

If Karluk Manor, the motel for chronic alcoholics, means nothing more than death in a warm bed, then it’s still an act of kindness and humanity.

It’s more than that, of course. Karluk Manor is Anchorage’s version of “Housing First” projects in other cities that allow street drunks to keep drinking but give them a safe, warm, supervised place to do it. The idea is to get this group of homeless people off the street where they cause trouble for themselves and others and cost taxpayers small fortunes in emergency care that becomes as chronic as their drinking.

And the hope is that some will step from shelter to a better life, a life of recovery.

But some are likely to end their lives at Karluk Manor, fatal victims of a powerful addiction.

So it apparently was with 54-year-old John Kort, found dead New Year’s Day. Kort was one of the first people to live at Karluk Manor, which opened Dec. 8. He was the first to die there.

Melinda Freemon, who runs the manor for Rural CAP, told the Daily News the agency expects some of the manor’s guests will die there. Their chances may be better in supervised housing, but the odds are still against them. Some live with minds, bodies and spirits so ravaged by drinking and drug abuse that a room at Karluk Manor will be the most a caring city can do for them, a last mercy.

Karluk Manor remains a controversial proposition. Some nearby residents have raised questions about “wet housing” becoming a draw for alcoholics to the neighborhood, with attendant risks of violence and drunks stumbling into traffic. Concerns are valid. We don’t have any answers down pat.

And we don’t know much about John Kort’s death. But we do know that he didn’t die out in the cold and had a place to lay his head because some people could see past the misery to the man.

That says something good about the community. And that says Karluk Manor is at least worth the benefit of the doubt.

For one man, Karluk Manor was a last act of mercy.


Thu, 01/19/2017 - 09:41

Letter: A pro-life presidency is something to be thankful for

​On Jan. 20, we will see the inauguration of a new president. From the pro-life perspective, this is something to be thankful for. That day represents the departure from the White House of one of the most pro-abortion presidents we have seen to date. His replacement is a man who has voiced support for a number of pro-life, pro-family initiatives that will protect the rights of the unborn and their mothers. Read more

Thu, 01/19/2017 - 09:22

My Turn: Alaska’s national parks need infrastructure support

In 2016, the National Park Service celebrated its centennial anniversary. 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Denali National Park, one of the many crown jewels in Alaska’s collection of our national parks. These parks represent the very best and most treasured public lands in our country. As we hear about badly needed infrastructure improvements to our roads, bridges and utilities nationwide, it’s important to remember that our national parks are not immune to these challenges. Denali National Park alone faces an infrastructure repair backlog to roads and facilities of $53 million.

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Thu, 01/19/2017 - 09:22

My Turn: Reflecting on why I love Alaska

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 study, teach, reflect upon our past, and apply its lessons to a brighter, more inclusive future.”

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Thu, 01/19/2017 - 08:47

Outside Editorial: NATO and the EU: Mend them, don’t end them

The following editorial first appeared in the Chicago Tribune:

In lamenting President Barack Obama's foreign and military policies, Republicans have frequently offered a concise summary: "Our allies don't trust us, and our enemies don't fear us." They didn't imagine the day would come when the same might be said of a Republican president. But that's the prospect Donald Trump raises. Read more


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