Letter to those I love

If you read the 3 stories listed at end of this story you will see why Scammon Bay is an ANCHOR in my life.

When Bobby and I came to Scammon Bay last January it was a very significant experience for me.

1. It was a gift from Jesus our Lord. At 75 and my health issues I saw it as possibly my last visit to be with you.

2. Being able to come at anytime to Abraham and Missy’s home was a bonus gift from Jesus. I needed you.

3. Watching two heroes coach their teams; especially against each other was joy for me. Harley and Albert my two great brothers.

4. The children and parents who greeted me with a huge vocal welcome. Love the kids.

You are my history.

Harley was my bridge to Albert to all his world. To Renee to Hooper Bay. To Abraham and Missy and the Rivers life of goodness and love. To Darlene who I pray for daily and her kind husband and loyal servant, Byron. To the Charlie family. To Kiah going to Skagit Valley College. To Jacob and George and …To Hershel and 2 state championships. To Joan a fantastic mother.

To all the villages we serve in Alaska. Wow. No wonder I love you all.

Fred Paoa Suave Crowell
Spokane, WA

Coach Crowell is the former head men’s basketball coach at the U of Alaska, experienced personal and family counselor and President of NBC Camps. Coach Crowell has brought his message of basketball and life skills excellence to communities throughout Alaska. These words are written to encourage you. To get more information go to Crowell.com. Email Coach Crowell if you wish to discuss bringing his Game Changer basketball and LIFEBALL program to your community.

Now is the time to talk to your children about alcohol 

Recover Alaska is an organization working toward helping Alaskans overcome issues around alcohol overconsumption.

School’s nearly out for the summer and that means a lot of great things, especially here in Alaska. It also means that your kids are about to have much more free time on their hands, an opportunity for creativity and learning but also for risky activities. With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to open a dialogue about alcohol use with your children.

This week kicks off National Prevention Week (May 14-20), a time dedicated to increasing awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues. This goes for Alaskans of all ages, but one area of focus for Recover Alaska during this week is the prevention of underage drinking.

Here in Alaska, 14.3% of youth under age 13 have tried drinking alcohol, and roughly one in five teens reports using alcohol in the past month. Not only is drinking before age 21 dangerous and illegal, it is also harmful to the developing brains of our children. In fact, research shows that children who drink prior to age 15 are four times more likely to develop an alcohol dependence later on in life.

Prevention of underage drinking starts at home. Having the “alcohol talk” with your child can be a daunting milestone, but keep in mind that the greatest factor influencing a child’s choice is you. It is important to educate them on the potential risks of abusing alcohol and open the conversation to establish a firm foundation of trust. It doesn’t need to be a formal affair; try bringing up the subject when you see an ad for alcohol on TV or hear it mentioned in their favorite song. You don’t need to get all your points across in one talk. In fact, you are more likely to have a greater impact on your child’s decisions if it is a common topic.

There is no one-size-fits-all formula on how to talk about substance abuse with your kids, but the national “Talk. They Hear You” campaign at samhsa.gov does provide many resources for parents and caregivers on how to approach the conversation. They even have an app that lets you practice how to bring it up, learn which questions to ask, and get ideas on how to keep the conversation going.

We should also highlight and celebrate healthy behaviors! Instead of only telling your children what not to do, give them options of fun activities, and praise them for opting out of a party where there might be alcohol. Encouraging positive choices works wonders.

Finally, role model good behaviors. If you drink responsibly as a parent your child is more likely to grow up to do the same. If you are struggling with your alcohol use, take an anonymous screening at recoveralaska.org or call 2-1-1 for information and assistance.

National prevention week is an opportunity for us to rally around the idea that prevention saves lives and deserves our attention and efforts. Recover Alaska will be posting facts and resources on our social media outlets every day. I invite all of you to participate in this six-day nationwide campaign, with us or on your own.

At Recover Alaska we work to reduce excessive alcohol use and harm, and we strongly believe that early prevention is a step in the right direction. Alcohol is often cited as the number one health issue in our state, and it is up to all of us to change our state’s statistics. Our hope is that caregivers begin talking to the children in their lives about alcohol well before they start drinking. Even if it doesn’t seem like they are listening, they really do hear you.

Tiffany Hall, Executive Director of Recover Alaska
Anchorage, AK

Election investigation

The American government needs to subcontract out to the KGB or the GRU Russian Intelligence Agency to do the investigation on the connection of the White House with the Russians and the 2016 election interference? They can do it much cheaper and faster. They are the ones who have the most information on this in the first place. If we have someone from the American government do this, it will cost a lot of money, will be delayed for many years and in the end it will be a political finding instead of a real finding because the American government cannot be trusted.

John Suter
Chugiak, AK

Remember the ladies

In March of 1776 Abigail Adams made this simple request in a letter to her husband as he and our founding Fathers fought for America’s independence. As we take time this week to celebrate the women in our lives, more specifically our mothers, it is important to remember Abigail’s words.

April 4th we “celebrated” another holiday for women, equal pay day. This day symbolizes just how many more months a woman needs to work than her male counterparts did in the previous year – in this case it was just over 3 months or 25%. Thank Mom for putting in 50 hours to make what Dad does in 40.

And today, May 14th, is Mother’s Day—the single day each year that moms are formally recognized for the other 364 days spent juggling parenting and work, fulfilling duties in that most important role.

On Mother’s Day and throughout the year, we hope and expect our elected officials to show their respect for women (who comprise over 50% of their constituents) through their words, actions, and votes. It is crucial that our leaders commit to honor women and the issues that are important to us and our families.

We all remember President Donald Trump’s unfortunate statements about women, both on the campaign trail and in debates during the election cycle. America now has a President that ranks women based on appearance on a scale from one to ten, calls breastfeeding mothers “disgusting” and pregnant women in the workplace “an inconvenience.” He does not support reproductive choice or offering adequate family planning resources, and for all the lip service he has given to paid family leave, no proposed policy has come from his Administration.

On top of this, Trump’s so-called “skinny” budget—which is supported by Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan—unduly affects rural Alaska in proposing massive cuts to programs required under the Violence Against Women Act, home heating programs that disproportionately help households led by single moms, and funding for the Legal Aid Corporation which provides sliding scale legal services for married women and mothers fleeing domestic violence situations.

Alaskan mothers have another layer of challenges with Republican Congressman Don Young sitting in our only Congressional seat. Young is obsessed with efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, where approximately 90% of the offered services are preventative care. If Young had his way, moms wouldn’t be able to visit those clinics for colon cancer and diabetes screenings, breast exams and mammogram referrals, cervical cancer screenings, routine physical exams, and pap smears. Young has appeared proud in his statement that he “has voted in favor of legislation to prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds in the past and will do so again should it come before the U.S. House.” We certainly deserve better than this.

I wonder how Abigail Adams would react to such anti-woman, anti-mother sentiments two centuries following her husband’s presidency? She probably would have more colorful words to offer besides “remember the ladies.”

Casey Steinau
Chair of the AK Democratic Party