Letters to the Editor

Posted: Monday, April 30, 2001

Pratt Museum's actions defend integrity of state's visitor industry

I am grieved by the apparent attitude reflected by Mr. Owen that resulted in the news article of April 22. I have enjoyed living on the peninsula over the last three-and-one-half years. So, I am a visitor and newcomer here; I'm still learning.

I am pleased to report I have been treated very well and feel comfortable and respected on the peninsula. Since my arrival, I have been so impressed by the maturity and good will of the school children and young adults. I have on many occasions shared that impression with other people. I believe the roots of the credit for the good nature of the young people go to the parents and community leaders. I hope the business community continues to give these young people a consistent message.

Despite being a newcomer to your community, I have other knowledge and experience that I can share. I have traveled to and been a guest at over half of the Inupiat villages and a fair number of Yupik and Athabascan villages where the ulu is used. I can tell you if the ulu is still used today, and I can tell you generally the extent and the purpose and reasons why it is still used today.

It seems, from the article, that the person was asking a sincere and honest question. He deserved a sincere and honest answer. I respect the action of the Pratt Museum for their effort to protect and defend the integrity and dignity of the Alaska tourism industry.

Over the years, I have wanted to write "a letter to the editor" on different occasions; this is the first one I ever wrote. Thank you for the opportunity.

Richard Atuk, Soldotna

Borough residents should vote on prison plan before it moves ahead

The majority of our assembly representatives seem very determined to bring the prison to Kenai even though most of their constituents are opposed to it.

My concerns -- so far unanswered:

1. At a conservative estimate of $8 million in increased operating cost to the state per year (Alaska as opposed to the present Arizona location), i.e., that's $8 million in prison operating costs that can't be spent on schools, roads, etc.

2. Above and beyond that $8 million in annual operating costs is the $100+ million it will cost to build the prison (and the Legislature says it can't cut the budget?) Am I missing something?

3. The borough will need to build at least one new school to take care of the increased number of students. Why? With 200 to 300 guards, most of whom have families, and, at just two children per family, that means at least 400 new students. This is not counting prisoners' families moving here.

4. Other costs haven't been answered: a new road to the prison, a new sewer line and disposal system, more police, etc.

5. Besides the foregoing, there is a quality of life issue: pressure on the fishing, on parks, and on recreation, increased traffic, etc.

Is this really what we want? I think not and before it goes any further and any more money is spent, I request a boroughwide vote as to whether we really want a large prison with its concomitant problems here.

Stan Thompson, Kenai

If there's money for new prison, why isn't there money for schools?

How come we can afford a new prison but can't afford to maintain our schools? Kenai Central High School needs many repairs and there never seem to be enough money to take care of them.

Does the prison look like a money-maker to our politicians?

J.L. Smith, Kenai

All letters to the editor should include the writer's phone number and address.

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