Expanded school suicide training a positive step

New legislation from the state will mean expanded training to more Kenai Peninsula Borough School District teachers who interact with at-risk youth and that's a plus for our community.

Senate Bill 137 requires all KPBSD personnel receive annual suicide prevention training which is especially important considering 8.7 percent of Alaska high school students have attempted suicide at least once, according to a 2011 survey.

Alaska has the highest rate of suicide per capita in the country, particularly among teens, young men and Alaska Natives.

Making a difference starts with education and discussion. When youth are made aware of depression's signs and root causes they can better guard themselves, help those who may succumb and further eliminate the stigma surrounding the subject. The school district should also seek to beef up non-personal resources on the subject such as access to online information -- www.crisischat.org -- printed literature and knowledge of suicide and crisis hotlines -- 1-800-SUICIDE, or 1-800-273-TALK.

We would also encourage teachers who receive this training to not just keep it to themselves -- share what you know with neighbors and friends. The more we can talk about the subject the better we are defended against it.

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Op-ed: Trump won the news conference

Donald Trump should do press conferences more often. Not for the country’s sake, certainly not for the media’s sake, but for his. He really shouldn’t have waited 167-plus days to hold one, because the man gives great sound bite. Although I’ve participated in probably thousands of these staged encounters as a reporter, they’re not my favorite way of getting news — you almost never get any. The guy at the podium controls the proceeding. He can get his message out with little challenge from the assembled journalists who are limited to a question and a follow-up, maybe. Politicians can bob and weave through that without any of us landing a blow. And that’s our job: to penetrate the canned responses to their version of the controversy du jour and get at whatever truth they are hiding. Besides, Trump — who uses contempt for the media as a weapon, his preferred way to discredit reporting that displeases him —has a wonderful forum to do that. At the very least he should hold these confrontations as a supplement to his Twitter tirades. And frequently. It’s his opportunity to hold the media hostage as they cover live his rain of abuse on them.

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Good luck in Juneau

The 30th Alaska Legislature gavels in on Tuesday, and we’d like to take a moment to wish our Kenai Peninsula legislators good luck over the coming months in Juneau.

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Ready to weather the storm

If there’s a bright spot in the recent headlines regarding Alaska’s economy, it’s this: on the Kenai Peninsula, the bad news isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.

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Letters to the editor

Chuitna mine threatens Alaska way of life

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