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Alaska editorials

October 10, 2018

Here is a sampling of Alaska editorials:

Oct. 8, 2018

Ketchikan Daily News: Much appreciated

When given a $1,600 payment, the polite thing to do is say thank you.

Thank you to the State of Alaska, to the founders of the Alaska Permanent Fund, the designers of the dividend program and those who oversee and protect it.

If not for all listed, Alaska’s oil wealth and Alaskans’ dividends might all be gone.

Imagining life without the dividends isn’t a happy thought. Alaskans are cheered every year about this time when the dividend payouts are made.

They present the opportunity to increase personal savings and investment accounts in the amount distributed; to pay bills; to buy goods and services that might not be possible without it. The dividends give Alaskans a small, but much appreciated windfall.

The distribution of the dividends also prompts businesses to offer timely sales, particularly PFD specials. This helps the economy of every community throughout Alaska.

The PFDs started coming out a week ago, and will be distributed throughout the month.

For that, Alaskans are delighted.

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Oct. 7, 2018

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: We must combat sexual assault in Alaska

The confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh have brought the issue of sexual assault back to center stage of our nation’s discourse. National media attention is certain to move past Judge Kavanaugh in the near future, but the issue of sexual assault is not going away because it remains rampant. The #MeToo movement is far from over.

Sexual assault can be difficult to discuss. The issue might make you feel uncomfortable. It may seem inappropriate. However, that is no reason to sweep this issue, or the assault survivor’s story, under the rug.

Alaska has a sexual assault problem and the state’s reputation regarding it isn’t unwarranted. The most recent Alaska Victimization Survey was in 2011. According to that survey, 3 in 10 women in the Fairbanks North Star Borough had experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. If you know 10 women here in the borough, three of them have been sexually assaulted, possibly more than that. Let that sink in.

Last week, Barbara Johnson, a graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, wrote a Community Perspective, published in the Daily News-Miner on Oct. 1, in which she stated plainly why this issue cannot be ignored by this community:

“I do not have the luxury of ignoring this reality. As a woman, like many of my friends, I know too many men who carelessly see our bodies as tools for their pleasure. Who discount our personhood, who think grabbing us, fondling us, exposing themselves to us is funny. Who perpetrate these violations without acknowledging what they are, who even likely think of themselves as nice guys. Who are considered nice guys.

“And I am mad. I am mad that my friends and I have a never-ending stream of stories of times we felt and were uncomfortable, unsafe, forced to do things against our will. I am mad that every woman does something in her everyday life to try and feel safe. And I am mad that our experiences and stories are consistently denigrated, questioned and ignored,” she wrote.

All this begs the question: What is to be done moving forward? It’s worth discussing.

What can our state legislators do to combat sexual assault? Gov. Bill Walker recently announced he would introduce legislation requiring sex offenders from other states who move to Alaska to register here. This is a good example of legislation that could cut down on offenses by making people aware of past offenders. What other legislation might remedy this situation?

Are we allocating enough crime-fighting resources toward this problem?

Could anything be done in the schools? Should the concept of sexual consent be a required topic in sex education?

What could be done in our homes? Is there a conversation you should be having with your teenagers about sexual assault?

It’s long been known that sexual assault is a problem in Alaska. But people are becoming more vocal about it, and leaders in different institutions throughout the state would be remiss to ignore it. Let’s hope Alaskans can take a serious look at this problem and start implementing solutions.

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