- Associated Press - Monday, April 27, 2015

Here is a sampling of editorial opinions from Alaska newspapers:

April 25, 2015

Ketchikan Daily News: An Alaska bear solution

Bears aren’t the problem.

It’s us - the people disposing of garbage into containers.

Well, not all of us. Some of us deliver our garbage to the landfill. But, for those who leave it in a container throughout the week before it’s picked up, it’s possible we’re the problem.

This garbage attracts bears, which pop the tops of the containers or push them over and paw through the trash. Often, they’ll grab a bag of it and drag it off to inspect it further.

Never do they return it to the garbage container when they’re done!

You might say that it isn’t your container. You have it secured with a bungee cord or the like. To that, bears guffaw, if you can imagine a laughing black bruin. It takes a rope as well, and, in some cases, with some bears, maybe even a padlock.

Black bears pawing through garbage containers is a challenge to the community this time of year. City officials and the Ketchikan Police Department begin receiving calls from residents frustrated with picking up trash strewn about our neighborhoods, especially when it isn’t our garbage.

Dealing with the mess takes time and costs both government and residents - someone has to pay for new garbage bags for the trash because the bears destroy the original ones. Plus, it really shouldn’t be asked of the police to pick up trash. It’s nice of them if they help an old lady with cleaning up after the bears, but it isn’t what they should be expected to do in one part of town or another throughout bear season. They’re paid to clean up other types of messes in the community.

A possible solution:

The city began to address the problem of bears getting into garbage cans when it supplied containers several years ago. Most of the old tin-can containers disappeared then. This made it easier for the garbage collectors, too. The containers can be rolled to the garbage trucks and can be hoisted mechanically for disposal. The containers also can be secured against bears.

Not all residents in bear-vulnerable neighborhoods secure the containers, however. The city should provide the cords and ropes with the containers and require that the address numbers be painted in large type on the containers.

Then, it would be easy for the police as they cruise through these neighborhoods to identify who isn’t securing a container properly. It would take only a citation - or maybe two - to change people’s behavior and solve the bear-in-garbage-containers problem.

When it comes to rental properties, which too often are where containers aren’t secured, the citations could be sent to property owners. They could pass the cost along to their tenants, which might induce them to secure containers, too.

The city could recoup its cost through a one-time charge for the cords and ropes on utility bills. These aren’t expensive. Even those who don’t put their trash outside, but who have to pick up others’ trash, likely wouldn’t mind such a charge if it meant relief from regularly picking up garbage.

City-organized, garbage-container security could cinch the bears-in-trash problem.


April 23, 2015

Ketchikan Daily News: Update U.S. currency

A case can be made to place the image of a woman on the $20 bill.

The idea not only is born, but has gathered support in both houses of Congress. President Obama is receptive.

It seems reasonable on at least a couple of points. First, the $20 bill is the most widely used and women are known for their ability to use it. Second, it would be appropriate to recognize women’s contributions on currency currently dominated by men.

Frankly, the men couldn’t have done it without the women.

The nation has female heroines in most walks of life - the arts, aviation, civil rights, education, entertainment, journalism, law, literature, medicine, politics, science, sports, suffrage and science, to name a handful.

Of course names of presidential wives Eleanor Roosevelt, Dolly Madison, Jacqueline Kennedy and women’s activist Susan B. Anthony will be proposed. But other names, such as aviator Amelia Earhart, poet Maya Angelou, publisher Katharine Graham, author Margaret Mead, artist Georgia O’Keeffe and journalist Nelly Bly might be considered.

Names not as widely recognized, but still deserving of serious attention:

. Jeannette Rankin, the first woman to serve in Congress. She voted to pass the 19th Amendment to give women the right to vote.

. Ida B. Wells, a journalist and leader in women obtaining the right to vote. She was active in the civil rights movement, showing resistance to bus segregation 70 years before Rosa Parks.

. Clara Barton, an educator, a Civil War nurse and founder of the American Red Cross. She served as the first president of the nation’s Red Cross.

This list is only the beginning. Women have gone to all ends to improve not only the lives of women and children, but all Americans, regardless of race, and sometimes prompted by racial treatment. Consistent among them is their intent to achieve, often improving the lives and opportunities for others.

Placing one of these female faces on the $20 bill is an easy vote for Congress. Deciding which one will be there is the challenge.


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