My Turn: Will you help us look out for our vulnerable neighbors?

Winter will be here soon. The season can be hard on adults who are vulnerable for some reason – such as a disability, health condition, or old age.

More than 5,600 vulnerable Alaskan adults were at risk for abuse or were victims of self-neglect, neglect, or physical, emotional, and financial abuse last year.

If you know an adult who is unable to care for him- or herself properly, or may be being harmed or exploited, please contact Adult Protective Services at 1-800-478-9996.

We work to protect the independence and physical, financial and emotional wellbeing of adults 18 and older. Our services are voluntary; Alaska law protects the right of mentally competent adults to choose liberty over safety, and we’ll honor their decision while offering support.

So don’t hesitate to “SPEAK UP” for at-risk adults if you see any of these warning signs:

• Sudden change in behavior, finances or lifestyle

• Physical injures, dehydration or malnourishment;

• Extreme withdrawal, depression or anxiety;

• Absence of basic care or necessities;

• Kept away from others;

• Unsanitary living conditions;

• Personal items or money missing.

You don’t have to be certain that a situation is abusive or neglectful; we will look into it. Your report is confidential, and can make all the difference in someone’s world.

Brenda Mahlatini, program manager, Adult Protective Services, Division of Senior & Disabilities Services, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.


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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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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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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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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