Medicaid and PFD cuts

I’m very concerned about how our Medicaid and PFD are being cut. This is already hurting our people. Our Native hospitals are giving us cheap medication that don’t even work! So far I was given three cheap medication that I’m allergic to. They were looking for another cheap one which cost more money now, than the one I usually get. We need this fixed before someone dies from an allergic reaction.

Also taking our peoples main source of income to survive in our villages, the PFD not only that hurts Alaska’s businesses. We need to change these people who are hurting us today! God said one day at a time! What about us today? If we are not in good shape it will affect our kids. The next generation. We Natives put him there and have the power to change it. There are other ways to fix how much we owe, hurting the people is so wrong! God bless our villages and the Great state of Alaska.

Darlene Otten
St. Michael, AK

The Prognosis for Depression

The tactics used to get rid of ghosts in movies is never the same. Likewise, depression is unique to each person. Therefore, getting out of the deep black box one has built requires personalized plans for recovery and Lifeball joy.

Diagnosis of depression

Some have the DNA depression gene

Some have the DNA anxiety gene

Some have the DNA alcohol gene

Some have the DNA drug gene

Some have the DNA anger gene

Some have the DNA lazy gene

Some have the DNA perfection gene

Some have the DNA “I am a loser” gene

There are more of them…

Any and all of these, if not identified and guarded against, can lead to depression; especially as one grows older and does not have the physical inertia to power through with pure “guts ball” will power.

As I present ways that have worked for me, please be clear, I am a basketball coach who loves people; especially people who want to get up off their backs and fight to find joy, peace, and freedom. The Psalmist talks about this in Psalm 23.

These are the ways I beat depression. These are the ways I suggest to those who seek my wisdom to win the depression war:

Prognosis for depression – The Hope

1. Brutal honesty. Confess it to only those who can help you.

2. Find a trusted mentor who is wise and has a PTR (proven track record) and are WOBI (worthy of being imitated).

3. Read Words of Hope’s two articles on depression:

Dealing with Depression

Depression is a Ghost

If you are depressed for long periods of time, get proper medication. Find a trusted friend who can guide you. Don’t take just any prescribed meds.

4. Change your self-talk. Make cards with positive statements; I love life, etc.

5. Have a spiritual mentor who is qualified.

6. Live in the moment. Just win the moment. Then win the minute.

7. Gratitude – write five gratitude’s daily.

8. Live in the beautiful, healing Psalms.

I live in Psalm 63, 103, 8, 1, 51, 23, 20 and others. Some are memorized.

Depression is real. It is part of life; it is not to be feared. It is not to be ashamed of because chances are pretty good the people you think have their stuff together are in some sort of depression.

My experience working on commercial fishing boats in Alaska and the Puget Sound gave me profound respect for the oceans. There is a lesson to be learned from the seas in beating depression.

My boyhood friend, Brian Rockom; a very wise man, has a successful career in drug enforcement and is a master seaman.

I asked Brian, “What do you do when you get in storms that threaten the safety of your boat and you can’t run away from high seas?”

Rockom answered: “You better be able to trust your boat. You must go into the storm, however, not head on. Approach at an angle; head on you will tip over.”

Seems logical to me! If you are not depressed, just discouraged, then run from it. When life smacks you down, believe in your boat, you, and in your trusted others and in your God.

When you are in the storm of depression, do as the wise boat captains do. Go into the storm at an angle. Trust as never before in yourself. Get HELP, get another angle on your situation. Form and trust in your game plan. I hope some of the 8 ways I coach beating depression work for you, and those you serve with your encouragement/oxygen.

This is from Words of Hope by Fred Crowell. 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. This message is timely this time of year as the dark days of winter are difficult to the mind and heart. These words are written to encourage you. Email Coach Crowell if you wish to discuss bringing his Game Changer basketball and LIFEBALL program to your community.

Fred Crowell
Spokane, WA

What would the first ever Chief of AVCP do?

A few Mondays ago an elderly lady from the village of Akiachak called in on Yuk-to-Yuk and briefly talked about our respected first ever Chief of our great delta. It’s too bad that we do not have many more of Traditional Chief Eddie Hoffman demeanor like him.

I must a been 5 or 6 years old. Aside him helping our YK Delta he was a businessman and had a fuel business. We use to gas up close to where his home was. Anyways long story short. I clearly remember one of those trips down from Akiachak. We had done our routine of shopping in Bethel and was time to head home. We stopped at Hoffman’s Fuel to gas up. Boy, unleaded fuel was so cheap then. $1.75 I think around there. But after fueling up I followed my parents when they went to pay for the fuel. As soon as we walked in he glanced at my mother and said, “What the hell you upriver people doing down here?”

I’ll cut to the case here. Tribes and tribal leaders of 56 tribes. We cannot continue to let, depend and rely on our “aipaiqs”. I have been trying to be as vocal as I can be. What would our first ever chief do? I think he would have been balling out every tribal leader. Whether they are AVCP, YKHC and whatever organization they may be from. And especially tribal councils.

I say that because a few times they had Yupiit Nation at my hometown of Akiachak I went to check on my grandfather where they were having a meeting. He was speaking his mind out. I encourage tribes it is time we unite as one and for a regional governance structure. Design it to benefit our people and region.

Steven M. Alexie
Napaskiak, AK

Fake News Prevalent in Alaska

During this legislative session, fake news has been prevalent in Alaska. We’ve heard our state budget cannot be balanced without an income tax; we must cap the PFD and restructure the Permanent Fund to create a long-term budget plan; Alaskans don’t understand enough about our fiscal situation to be able to vote on a solution; and state government has already been cut to the bone and more reductions are unreasonable. Well don’t believe it—it’s all fake news.

I know it’s all fake because I’ve done the math. You see, I work for the state legislature. This piece is not being written in any formal capacity as part of my position as an aide to Senator Mike Dunleavy. These views are my own and my boss doesn’t even know I’m writing or submitting this. But I can’t sit idly by and let Alaskans hear only fake news. I worked extensively on fiscal plans with data provided by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation and the Legislative Finance Division. Their data—real data. So I recognize fake data and news when I see it.

We worked through and found multiple fiscal scenarios which balance our budget long-term without an income tax. The reason we have a “revenue problem” is because we created a spending problem. The lack of spending restraint has prompted some to greedily call for an income tax—the more they collect, the more they can spend! But economists are clear: making those who work pay a penalty for working is never good. It hurts families and the economy. And since the numbers show we can pull ourselves out of this without one, let’s take an income tax off the table. Don’t believe the fake news. We do not need an income tax.

“We must take your PFD to save your PFD,” is what I hear when legislators proclaim they must restructure the Permanent Fund. Alaskans created the Permanent Fund to keep politicians hands off it. I’ve seen models which do not restructure the Permanent Fund and yet the dividend is kept intact and keeps growing, all within the confines of a 10-year balanced budget. It pencils out with basic math. So don’t believe the fake news. We do not need to restructure the Permanent Fund or cap the PFD to save it.

While Alaskans were smart enough to create the Permanent Fund, some legislators appear to believe we aren’t smart enough to vote on a solution to the fiscal mess they have put us in through overspending. Legislators have gone on record stating that we the people can’t understand. They think it’s too complicated to be on the ballot. Oh, how it must feel to be endowed with special understanding once one is in the ivory tower of the capitol. It’s funny that some of those same legislators think we were super smart when we voted “no” on repealing SB21. So we’re smart enough to understand complicated oil taxation structure. Maybe we just lost our smarts since that vote in 2014? Don’t believe the fake news. We are smart enough.

To be clear, the fiscal scenarios I’m referring to require budget reductions. But fake news tells you that there’s nothing left to cut. When Alaska spending (per capita) is nearly double every other state in the union, do you think that’s true? Many reductions can be made simply by eliminating redundancies and creating efficiencies. Will it be hard? Oh yes—many legislators think it is even harder than simply taking your PFD, so they’ve chosen the latter. Don’t believe the fake news that budget reductions aren’t doable.

We can all be winners in these budget struggles if we are armed with the truth. We should get out our calculators and use simple math; the alternative is to believe the smoke-and-mirrors of moving money amongst funds and accounts to disguise actual facts. It’s time to stamp out fake news. It’s time for Alaskans to know the truth.

Bethany Marcum, former Vice President
Anchorage Republican Women’s Club