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The Inupiat are the people of the whale

Let me be the first to admit that I am a total hypocrite when it comes to hunting and fishing.  If I had to do it for myself, I’d be the biggest vegetarian on earth.  I just can’t ever imagine killing something. Never have and hope to leave this world in the same condition. On the other hand, let me also state that given a caribou leg, a goose or a salmon, I will be pathetically grateful for the gift and will cook it up without a qualm.

When I first arrived in Barrow, the concept of whaling was something

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Familiar faces missing from family dinner

It was one of those dinners you sink into like an old easy chair. There was pasta with clam sauce on the stove, wine in the glasses and cousins from my childhood standing around with the easy familiarity bred of love and knowing what each other looked like in high school.

My brother made dinner, a carry over tradition from the days when my father reigned supreme in the kitchens on Sunday afternoons.  Dad had no rivals in his generation. Men left the cooking to the wives. Phil has competition. In fact, my sister refuses to cook spaghetti and crabs

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Reading with your children…do you really need me to tell you how important it is?

When I was growing up, there were certain books on my mother’s bookshelf that were forbidden to me and my best friend Grace. I always thought this was odd since my mother had been an English teacher and always encouraged reading in our home.

One of the first “big girl” privileges Grace and I earned was the right to walk the six blocks to the city library every Saturday to exchange our Wizard of Oz and Bobbsey Twins books for the next in the series.

Our library cards were the first adult ID that we possessed.  Checking a book out

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Where’s the free pen?

When I asked where the pen was, the lady on the phone sounded puzzled.  She clearly had no idea what the pen was.  Even worse, she couldn’t understand why I thought she should give it to me.

I had been on the phone with her for the better part of 30 minutes trying to understand exactly what it was that the company she represented was doing to me.  I won’t name names but it’s a major bank representing a major credit card. I had just received notice that they would no longer be carrying my type of card and were

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Foster parents, adoptive parents give kids a chance at success

It was a simple enough announcement.  I’d received many like it through the years.  Another friend had graduated a child from high school and was proudly announcing that said child is headed to college.  In an age of drugs, alcohol, and more sex in one night on TV than my mother had in her lifetime, this is quite an accomplishment.

But this announcement was special because this child was very special. This child had not been born into the best of circumstances. This was one of those children who were not supposed to have a chance. This child came from

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Children abandoned by parents shouldn’t be abandoned by state

As our legislature continues to plow through the state budget, I feel compelled to throw in my two cents about the Division of Family and Youth Services and the need to not cut out what may be the only safety net many abused and neglected children have.

Only this year, that compulsion is doing battle with my feeling that we sometimes do as much damage to the children who end up in DFYS custody as the drunken, drug using, abusive parents we took them from.

One of the sad realities of being caught up in a system that is ultimately

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Priest scandal challenges moral leadership of the church

Having been raised Catholic, I’ve followed the saga of the pedophile scandal in the Boston archdiocese with mixed emotions.  On the one hand, I grew up believing priests were as close to God as you could get on this earth – well, except for Sister Angelina but that’s a whole other story.  On the other hand, my first boyfriend was a priest. So I feel as though I know both sides of the story.

Fr. Vincent, the parish priest who saw me though my childhood in parochial school, falls into the category of God’s chosen ones. I can honestly say

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Education in the Bush has always been a hard job

I read with sadness the story of the Kivalina school.  I know how hard so many people have worked to bring quality education to the bush. And I know how much that education means to them.

I was in Barrow in 1975 when the BIA was asked to leave so that the borough could form its own school district. The late Eben Hopson Sr., then mayor of the borough, told a poignant story of being left on the beach by the BIA when the boat came to bring his classmates out to high school. He wasn’t picked up because he’d

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Dr. DiNick made house calls – what a concept!

When I was growing up, back when dinosaurs prowled the earth, there was another extinct species that prowled the earth with them – doctors who made home visits.

In our neighborhood, every child born in the 50s and 60s grew up under the soothing, if somewhat loud, ministrations of Dr. Di Nicolantonio, referred to by children and parents alike as Dr. DiNick.

His family owned the Venice Restaurant across the street from my dad’s store.  The only time anyone wavered even slightly in their belief that his appearance alone could cure all illnesses was when his nephew contracted polio. But

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Traffic circles a challenge then and a challenge now

The new roundabout in South Anchorage certainly seems to be stirring up some controversy. I’ll have to be honest and say that the first time I used it, I wasn’t quite sure what it was.  I remember thinking that it was an odd place to stick an island that blocked through traffic.

I didn’t recognize it because I am a veteran of the infamous traffic circles of South Jersey.  Clearly this roundabout doesn’t even begin to have the size and dimension needed to truly reach the level of a traffic circle as I know it.

On the Black Horse Pike

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