A biotechnology company called AquaBounty Industries and a principal investor, Intrexon, are poised to become the Monsanto of salmon production. Last April, the Food and Drug Administration found “no adverse affect” for human consumption of a salmon AquaBounty created called AquaAdvantage. After public comment, it could be on restaurant menus and in supermarkets as early as next year.
March is Women’s History Month and March 8 is International Women’s Day. I hope you will join me in learning more about women in the world on Thursday and Friday. We will be exploring how people have used the oppression against women across the world to make new and wonderful opportunities for women.
An old Chinese proverb says, “Women Hold up Half the Sky.” We’re showing the film, “Half the Sky,” which features women and men who provide education, healthcare and protection against violence for girls and women across the world.
Women in Alaska may seem to fare well compared to their counterparts in other places of the world. Our strong economy means women can access jobs, and even higher paying non-traditional careers. The state provides subsidies for child care that other states do not offer or cannot afford. Alaska also helps women lacking medical insurance for cancer screenings and care. And, we receive the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend each year, a God-send when raising children that allows for purchasing groceries, clothing and paying bills.
Despite the seriousness of our nation’s challenges in what we’re facing, I think it’s fair to say that Americans have witnessed an atmosphere of perhaps unprecedented dysfunction and partisanship in Congress that has compromised our ability to govern.
The list of accomplishments out of the Senate this past year is a relatively short one. It seems we went from impasse to crisis, to kicking the can down the road — and then we would just start that cycle all over again. We have simply been unable to muster the comprehensive solutions that this country demands.
And this is a brutally honest assessment, I think you would agree. We’ve had some partial victories at the federal level but really given the enormous challenges we face, this process and progress is inadequate. And that’s why I would like to use this occasion today to renew our partnership. The discussions that need to take place in overcoming what I consider the biggest obstacles to growing Alaska’s economy.
Last week, Dr. Alan Gee, the Homer High School principal, disallowed my daughter Barae from participating in the Alaska State Nordic Ski Championships because she missed more than 10 minutes of her first period class before her team traveled to Anchorage the day before the event. As a freshman parent, I had not heard of this “10-minute rule” before. And neither had my daughter.
Barae is no slacker. Training hard, Barae excelled this ski season, representing both her school and borough positively throughout the region. She often went to 6:30 a.m. workouts on her own, and after-school ski practices. Barae is a straight-A student.
I was wrong, Not in what I said, but the way I said it.
If you read carefully what I said (In reference to the Homer Tribune Point of View Feb. 6), you will see that I did not say one negative thing about farming or farmers. Indeed, I hold them in high regard. If I had not spoken so caustically, I would not have offended one of them to the point they felt the need to respond with a letter.
I apologize for that tone.
House Bill 80 would allow large cruise ships, (those containing more than 500 passengers) to dump amounts of ammonia, dissolved copper, nickel and zinc into Alaska’s water’s that would violate Alaska Water Quality Standards and it would negate the 2006 Cruise-Ship Initiative that was passed by Alaskans.
My research on this bill included the 2003 Assessment of Cruise Ship and Ferry Impacts in Alaska report by The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. This report cites that in 1990 there were 235,000 cruise ship passengers in Alaska; in 2003 there were 800,000 such passengers and in 2007 there 1,029,000 cruise ship passengers, (nearly double the state population of 650,000). Approximately 95 percent of the current cruise ship traffic is concentrated in Southeast Alaska.
In my own defense, the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District Economic Forum was closed at least one full week before the event. I called early and asked to be put on a waiting list before the event. I showed up at the event and asked to have my number taken and be called if someone left.
There were, at that time, people who hadn’t shown up because of weather. I watched people leave, pointed out that there was room and was still denied entry. I offered to volunteer to serve as needed; to take the place of a volunteer staff member.
When refused, I was indeed rude and unprofessional. It is not my nature. It was a first for me.
While a representative for the Alaska Division of Mining Land and Water was making a presentation during Senate Resources Committee hearings on SB 26 in the State Legislature last week, the committee asked him who would be affected by the bill. Remarkably, the response was that the bill, which would limit those who are authorized to apply for an instream water right under the Alaska Water Use Code, to only state or federal government agencies, would affect only a few private individuals and several dozen non-governmental entities.
The other day, a friend was grousing about having to trench the new gas line several hundred feet to his house. “Yeah,” I said. “I’m gonna be hit for $10,000.”
“How’s that,” he says.
“I do real estate. I’ve got three places, two rentals and my own house. But we need it,” I say. “If only the hospital and the schools get it, we are saving money.”
I have never had kids in school and never been in the hospital, and I still pay those taxes. In the ‘70s, when I got here, everybody would go down to the beach to pick up coal.