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A new state capitol?

Whatever happened to that idea of building a domed capital? Not a domed capital building, but a completely domed capital city. 

I always liked that concept. It somehow seemed fitting to put people who often seemed to be working in isolation from reality actually into a city that was physically isolated from reality. Politicians always seem to be screaming that the sky is falling and that’s why we need to enact whatever their latest quick fix is. They could use the fact that they are in a domed city as their excuse for not realizing that, in fact, the sky

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War on pot just getting stupid

Sometimes life bewilders me.  In fact, I sometimes feel as bewildered as my old dog looks when I wake him up to go out before he goes to sleep.  You can almost see that little wizened brain of his thinking, “God, lady. What did it look like I was already doing?”

When I read that Governor Murkowski was introducing a bill to once again make the possession of pot totally illegal in Alaska, I felt that bewilderment.  I wondered how many times we could travel down the same road, come to the same ending and not accept that we are

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We need dental health aides

When I first arrived in Barrow in 1972, dentistry was an “almost there” service.  One dentist, usually paying off a government loan by working in an underserved rural area, handled the whole North Slope.  What this meant in reality was that dental care in villages outside of Barrow was pretty much non-existent and dental care in Barrow consisted of the fill it or pull it variety.

I’d never seen the results of poor dental hygiene until I saw my first almost toothless 20 year old. I had no idea what baby bottle mouth was until I saw the first child

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You can always spot an Alaskan

My sister tells me that no matter how many legs her plane trip to Alaska entails, she can always tell without even looking at her ticket when she’s on the final leg that will take her to Anchorage. According to her, people start looking different at that point. They dress differently and have an entirely different air about them.

I’ve often wondered if the Carharts weren’t just a dead giveaway. But surprisingly, not that many Alaskans wear Carharts on plane trips anymore. Go figure. I guess that’s what happens when we get all citified.

After I went to the Sports

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Wildbird rehab sign of humanity

When I first read Craig Medred’s column in the Sunday paper a few weeks ago, I decided the best course of action would be to give myself some time and distance from it to make sure I could deliver a reasoned response as opposed to the somewhat scatological one that originally came to mind. I’m pretty sure that even in today’s climate, certain words are just not considered appropriate outside of x-rated publications.

I’m referring to the column where he questions the efficacy of the International Bird Rescue group’s efforts to save oiled birds from our most recent spill. In

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Perc pots a thing of the past

There stood my godchild, the innards of a 40 cup coffee percolator upside down in her hands, insisting she’d read the instructions to the coffee maker and it was just a big French press.  Her mother, meanwhile, was filling the huge pot with water in which swirled finely ground Starbucks Christmas blend.  Mom had a quizzical expression on her face.  I was struck with the thought that the soon to arrive 70 guests were probably not planning on drinking campfire coffee.

So as Emily vainly tried to explain that you plugged in the coffee pot and let it steep for

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Weird things I learned about myself in 2004

On the one hand, I think the approach of the New Year is an appropriate time for me to reflect on some of the weird things I’ve learned about myself in 2004. On the other hand, I keep waiting for the year when these revelations seem more normal than weird. That hasn’t happened yet.  It seems as though I am doomed to be weird till I die.

The first new thing I learned about myself this year is that TV has finally become nothing more than white noise in my life.  I turn it on and pick up my book

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Let society see what happens to children

Christmas is for kids. So lets talk about kids.  Not the happy ones gathered around your tree or holiday table but the ones we’d prefer not to think about right now. The ones state officials have been talking about the last few weeks. The ones society tries, and often fails, to help and protect.

Maybe this isn’t what you want to read right before Christmas, especially if you’re feeling a little guilty about going overboard to get your kids everything on their list.  But the poignancy of remembering those kids staring at an institutional tree in an institutional setting whose

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When children murder

It’s been a rough week for my old hometown of Barrow.  The tragedy of the taxi driver’s murder there has resonated throughout the community with dramatic force. Not only is this the second murder in a little over two months, but the accused are just kids. They should be getting ready for homecoming. Instead, they are preparing for a murder trial.

And the community that lived in fear since the murder that there was an unknown monster in their midst must now come to grips with the fact that this “monster” was not really a monster at all, but two

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Life after gastric bypass

Those of you who are regular readers of this column know that I have written a few times over the past five months about my journey towards gastric bypass surgery.  After fighting my insurance company, switching surgeons once when it was clear that the surgeon and I had a different definition of the initials M.D. (he thought they stood for major deity, I didn’t), and going through every medical and mental test known to man, I finally received word that surgery had been approved and scheduled. I immediately panicked.

I panicked because I was sure those mental health evaluations had

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