No Third Liquor Store

I think alcohol and marijuana should not be sold in stores in Bethel because they are the cause of money being wasted, and there are already enough of them open. Alcohol is not our culture either and we were taught that by our elders. Both marijuana and alcohol ruins friendships and relationships between your families.

Alcohol and marijuana really affects your communities and your families. People in your community will see you as a bad influence as well as an alcoholic. It affects them by how your personality changes from drinking or smoking too much. You may become easily angered as a sign of wanting to do more drugs, or you may be bitter when you are drunk. Alcohol also allows you to be more aggressive.

Drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana also affects yourself within your mind and body. Drinking and smoking too much can cause liver and kidney failure, seizures, coma, memory loss, and more. It can also lead to depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

Alcohol and drugs are not part of our culture. Elders have told us not to drink or smoke because it would hurt us and our family and friends. They also told us that it’s the “Devil’s supplies.” I don’t want there to be a third liquor store open because it affects not only the customers but everybody around them such as their community and their families and friends.

Mikey Asicksik, KLA
Bethel, AK

First Lady’s Volunteer Awards: Recognizing Alaska’s Unsung Heroes

I first met Bella Hammond when she came to Valdez in the 1970’s to present a First Lady Volunteer Award. That was at the inception of this volunteer recognition initiative Mrs. Hammond started that has carried on through the decades.

Since then hundreds of Alaskans have been honored for their charitable contributions through volunteerism. Highlighting the commitment and character of these fine Alaskans shows our appreciation for their sacrifices and encourages others to help build up their communities through giving of their time and talents.

I invite you to participate this year by nominating someone who demonstrates a dedication to volunteer service and who has had a significant impact on the lives of Alaskans. We are hoping once again to receive nominations from all throughout Alaska for all types of volunteer work.

Last year’s recipients ranged in age from 12 to 80. They came from urban and rural areas. Their volunteer commitments included: raising thousands of dollars for cancer patients and research; building recreational programs and facilities; cultural preservation; using a therapy dog to bring joy and hope to many; village leadership and service; and, working to end homelessness, suicide and opioid addiction.

A core value of helping others is the one consistent thing they had in common.

The volunteer work that Alaskans like these do, day in and day out, often goes unheralded. These are not the kind of people who wait for things to change, wish for conditions to be different, or get involved simply seeking recognition. So many Alaskans are change agents with the highest motivation – rolling up their sleeves because they are determined to improve the lives of people in the community.

In these challenging fiscal times, our volunteers will play an even greater role in helping those in need and in strengthening their communities. It is often said that volunteers don’t necessarily have the time, they have the heart, and it is a heart that cares deeply about community and fellow Alaskans.

Nominations will be accepted through March 6 at VolunteerAwards.Alaska.Gov. Thanks to our generous sponsors – Alaska Airlines, Bering Straits Native Corporation, ExxonMobil Alaska and Dateline Digital Printing – awardees will receive a trip to Juneau and will be honored at a luncheon and ceremony at the Governor’s House in Juneau in May.

Awardees are chosen by a committee of Alaskans. The committee members and I are excited to read about the good works of Alaskans who make our state so strong, so vibrant, and who keep volunteerism alive. Hosting the recipients in Juneau and honoring their contributions is a time honored tradition and an annual highlight which we all are looking forward to.

First Lady Donna Walker
Juneau, AK

U. S./Mexican proposed wall

The proposed building of a wall between the U. S. and Mexico is somewhat akin to the Berlin Wall intended to keep East Germans from going to West Germany–Communism to freedom. The Hispanic people of Mexico are North Americans and must be able to travel freely anywhere in the United States. I am an Alaskan Native from Nunivak Island in the Bering Sea and would not appreciate any travel or movement restrictions placed upon myself by anyone. The migrant workers from Mexico contribute significantly to the well-being and the economy of the United States. The proposed wall is simply Donald Trump’s racist views which will cost the U. S. taxpayer considerably–we are paying deeply for Donald Trump’s internal racism.

Gilbert Keywehak
Mount Pleasant, MI

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