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Letters to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, February 07, 2001

Salvation Army's efforts help hundreds of people in community

This is an open letter to the people of Alaska.

There appears to be an effort in this community by a few individuals to destroy The Salvation Army Church and all that it stands for.

The Salvation Army has helped hundreds of people in this community in their time of need.

The Salvation Army operates a commodity store to distribute foods, etc. to people in need; in addition, it distributes hundreds of boxes of food and toys during the Christmas season to people less fortunate than ourselves.

On Sundays, in all kinds of weather, The Salvation Army vans pick up dozens of children for Sunday School and Junior Church.

Thursday afternoons, The Salvation Army vans pick up pre-teens for Tiger Cubs and Sun Beams for Bible study.

Friday afternoons, The Salvation Army vans pick up teen-agers for Boy Scouts and Girl Guards and Bible study. The teens also go to camp and skating and bowling.

It would be difficult to say where these young people would be or what they would be doing if they were not at church.

I am a grandfather, and I go to The Salvation Army Church on Sunday, where I am joined by 13 grandchildren and some of their parents. Believe me when I tell you the difference the church has made in our families.

The credit for the success of The Salvation Army in Kenai goes to both Capt. Troy Trickel and his wife, Capt. Debbie Trickel. They both are dedicated to The Salvation Army and would never do anything to bring shame to the Corps. They spend their lives helping others in our communities and therefore making our communities.

Capt. Troy Trickel is innocent of all charges.

I ask the people of Alaska to pray for Capt. Trickel and his family and for our church.

Russell White

Kenai

Proposed $10 fee indicates why sportfishing licenses declining

Leave it to the true politician to find something that shouldn't be free anymore! As I read through the editorial in Sunday's paper, the one that was trying to justify Rep. Ken Lancaster's miraculous idea to charge a nice even 10 bucks to fix all the problems of the dipnetting fishery, I had to reflect back a bit to what seems to be a growing trend here in Alaska.

It seems that ever since we voted down the attack on the permanent fund dividend, we have seen an influx of fee hikes and new and "creative" ways to extort money from those Alaskans who enjoy the outdoors. Park fees, launch fees, license fees, snowmachine fees, ATV fees, boat fees and even canoe fees have all gone up or suddenly appeared.

Of all these fees, I have see little in return for the increased collections that have been made. The parks are the same, same launches, the licenses look the same, and my boat, ATV and canoe are all as they were. They just cost more now.

In another Clarion article, there is the concern as to why the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has been seeing a decline in fishing license revenues over the last couple of years. Well, this $10 fee seems to sum it up fairly well. The sport fishing and outdoors enthusiasts are easy targets. We have seen additional (excessive) user fees, increased rules and regulations, surprise closures (that often ruin once- in-a-lifetime vacations), decreased access to the river (thanks, Ken) and now another $10 to add to the outdoor-lifestyle-is-not-free attitude of people like Rep. Lancaster.

I doubt that this "new" fee will add any increase to the sales of fishing licenses. Some have it forged in their minds that it is OK to create any new ways and use whatever it takes to collect from those Alaskans who tried so hard to say please reduce government, not make it bigger!

Soon we could see fees for trout, land-locked salmon, clams, saltwater licenses and many more I have yet to think of, so that the "general fund" (and don't let them fool you, it goes right in there!) can continue to grow to support everything and anything but to the places they gather the fees from.

It is mentioned that the dipnetters have cost the city of Kenai lots of money because they go there and park to take salmon, but I notice nothing is mentioned about the amounts of money they spend while they are here. I don't hear complaints from the businesses as they shop and spend money here locally during the few weeks they visit and recently even the guides have made money from this fishery.

Solutions to the dipnet fishery don't start by collecting money and then spending it elsewhere! That's just a politician's way to justify collecting more money that we will likely never know what it really goes for.

It seems to me that an officer could just spot check permits the same as they do at Crooked Creek, Clam Gulch, The Pillars, etc. and cite those who are not in compliance. It seems to be an efficient technique, I have been checked several times at each of these places. This would be a far better way to start the correction process in motion. Of course, if permits were not checked the word would soon be out, and as things got worse, fees could be justified even more.

Is it really the Alaska way to turn away those who come to visit or "fee" them at every opportunity rather than welcoming them and finding ways to accommodate their needs while they are here enjoying the same things we love to do? What is this money supposed to do, place permanent officers at the mouth of the Kenai and Kasilof like guards overseeing prisoners? That analogy seems to go right along with the nothing's free attitude of Rep. Lancaster.

The problem with giving House Bill 93 a chance is if it doesn't work the fees will likely increase and if it does work the fees will likely increase anyway. Once a fee is in place it's permanent, and the general fund (and Ken) thanks you.

What other fees lay ahead? New ones or just more increases, again? I wonder what the real goal is here?

Kelly Johnson

Soldotna

Proposed dipnetting fee nothing more than tax on Alaskans' food

Rep. Ken Lancaster has decided that you have too much money. He came to this revelation as he discovered that Alaska residents dipnetted a couple hundred thousand sockeye salmon for their dinner plates last season.

Rep. Lancaster is from the Soldotna area and believes he is representing you as he is now proposing the below bill.

House Bill 93 proposes that it is incorrect that you are able to go dipnetting without paying a fee. Lancaster has found a way to correct this problem by requiring you to pay $10 per river.

Personal use dipnetting is a resident's way of storing up of food for the winter months; as such, a tax on this process is a food tax. This new food tax has been generated and brought to you by the commercial gillnet industry, which believes the only way you should be able to eat fish is to purchase it from them. If you would like to make your opinion known to Rep. Lancaster please write him at: Representative_Ken_Lancaster@legis.state.ak.us.

A Copy of House Bill 93:

"An Act establishing the permit fee for the personal use dip net fisheries for the Kenai River and the Kasilof River; and providing for an effective date."

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: * Section 1. AS 16.05.340(a) is amended by adding a new paragraph to read:

Personal use dip net fishing permit for

(A) the Kenai River....................................$10

(B) the Kasilof River.................................$10.

* Sec. 2. This Act takes effect July 1, 2001.

Don Johnson

Soldotna



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