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Be aware: Not everyone is safe at home today

Posted: February 5, 2012 - 9:00am

It's a big day today, as the New England Patriots and New York Giants kick off this afternoon for the title of NFL champion.

But there's another athletic event slated for today, and we'd like to draw your attention to it because of the issue it seeks to draw attention to.

The She Can Ski event, staged at Tsalteshi Trails behind Skyview High School, starts with a classic ski and, new this year, a snowshoe race, at 11 a.m., and a skate race at noon. It is open to skiers of all ages and abilities. Gentlemen are invited to ski with the ladies, and there is even a "drag race" category for those guys who come dressed as the fairer sex.

With the early start, participants will have more than enough time to get home for the coin toss. More information may be found on the Tsalteshi website, www.tsalteshi.org.

One of the beneficiaries of the event is the LeeShore Center in Kenai, which provides emergency shelter, transitional housing and resources for victims of domestic violence.

Domestic violence is a topic that has received a great deal of attention over the past several months. It's been a focus of  Gov. Sean Parnell, and his administration has launched the Choose Respect campaign in an effort to curb the numbers here in Alaska. The administration's proposed budget includes money for prevention, more law enforcement and support for shelters.

Alaska's numbers aren't good. According to LeeShore Executive Director Cheri Smith, the facility saw a 15- to 17-percent increase in the number of people seeking help last year. Local law enforcement officials say that in any given week, multiple arrests for domestic violence are not out of the ordinary. While they may make up a small percentage of calls for service, state troopers say domestic violence cases involving serious injury can account for 30 to 40 percent of their workload.

She Can Ski, and other events like it, are scheduled for Super Bowl Sunday, a time when the incidence of domestic violence can be high. It's a good time to draw awareness to the issue, and help those caught in the cycle to break it.

So, get out and enjoy the trails this morning, and the big game this afternoon.

But there are people for whom the thought of home evokes fear and pain. As we allow ourselves to be swept up in the emotions of the day, let's keep that in mind, too.

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