Alaska editorial: The other fire season

This editorial first appeared in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

The news pages have featured regular articles about house fires in recent weeks as the weather has cooled. While not all the blazes have been investigated conclusively, the extra demands placed on heating systems probably caused some of the fires.

The news reports should remind everyone to clean their chimneys, get their furnaces checked and peruse their premises for overloaded electric wires.

Fires can sprout in all sorts of odd and unexpected ways, but most problem areas can be spotted with a little advance work.

When was that chimney last swept? Did the mice, squirrels or insects get into the roof and deposit debris inside the stovepipe jack? Is the garage filling with fumes from gasoline used to clean snowmachine parts? Are there old, pinched or blanket-covered electrical cords attached to heaters?

These are just a few of the potential hazards. Each person should take a few moments to scrutinize their home or business with such possibilities in mind. It would be time well spent.

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Sun, 01/22/2017 - 07:48

Letter: Let the homeless stay

As a lifelong Juneau resident I, too, have been concerned about the rise in high profile homelessness in downtown. When I was growing up, it was very rare to see people sleeping out in doorways and on sidewalks — but I think this should elicit empathy and compassion on our part as citizens rather than a knee-jerk initiative to drive a group of people out of downtown.

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Sun, 01/22/2017 - 07:48

Letter: Gov. Walker’s decision on Juneau Access the right choice

I want to applaud Gov. Bill Walker’s recent decision to support ferry service and stop spending money on the extremely costly and dangerous Juneau road. Even if the state of Alaska was not in a difficult budget crisis, the move to use the money allocated for this project is better spent on more important transportation endeavors.

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Sun, 01/22/2017 - 07:47

Letter: On income tax

Have you wondered about the person putting all the commercials on TV and in the newspapers opposing an Alaska income tax? His name is Robert (Bob) Gillam, and according to Forbes Magazine, he was the wealthiest person in Alaska in 2016. Sounds to me like “Don’t tax me” and “What $3 billion budget crisis?”

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Sun, 01/22/2017 - 07:47

Letter: Encourage Alaska’s Congressional delegation to protect, fund Alaska’s parks

When I was 27, I was hired as the captain of Glacier Bay National Park’s tour boat, Thunder Bay. It wasn’t until that summer that I really took in the mysteries and wonders of our natural world. I sat with a Park Service naturalist right next to me for 97 days, 12 hours per day that summer.

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