Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Alaska Editorials

Associated Press Updated: August 18, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Here is a sampling of editorial opinions from Alaska newspapers:

Juneau Empire: Juneau's secondhand shops have chance to be heroes

Operators of Juneau's secondhand stores have the opportunity to be heroes, even if they're the reluctant kind.

The 7-2 passage of an ordinance by Assembly members this week will require shops that re-sell electronics, jewelry and gold valued at more than $50 to hold those items for at least 30 days. The reasoning is that if stolen goods are sold to secondhand shops, the wait will allow crime victims time to retrieve their valuables.

With the exception of Juneau Gold Buyer owner Dylan Hammons, the businesses that will be most impacted aren't in favor of changing the rules. Holding merchandise for a month will hurt business, they say. These individuals are looking at the situation from the wrong angle.

What's bad for business is when a community knows a local shop is used to fence stolen goods but the owner does nothing to prevent it. When any store puts the almighty dollar ahead of what's right, the perception that spreads from one resident to the next is that the business, its owners and employees shouldn't be trusted. In short, it's bad for a shop's image and its community relations.

On the other hand, if these businesses can reunite community members with their precious — and sometimes irreplaceable — belongings, imagine the kind of goodwill and community endorsement an act like that will lead to. It's the kind of PR you can't buy with an advertisement.

Instead of being viewed as the villains who bought someone's stolen property and resold it for a profit, Juneau's secondhand stores now have the chance to play the role of hero.

___

Aug. 17, 2014

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Fort Wainwright again on list of military facilities studied for cuts

Almost as soon as the Interior has dealt with each event that has the potential to threaten the placement of military service members at nearby bases, another seems to inevitably arise. Close on the heels of the welcome news that Eielson Air Force Base is at the top of the list to receive two squadrons of F-35 fighter jets, an Army-wide reduction of 120,000 troops across the country has the potential to remove up to 5,800 personnel from Fort Wainwright. For local officials and advocates for a strong Interior military presence, it's time to lace up the boots again.

The planned reduction in the Army's force strength is part of a planned reduction from a wartime peak of 570,000 soldiers to 450,000 that will remain come Fiscal Year 2017. Thirty bases are being considered for potential reductions, from Fort Bragg to Fort Wainwright and almost everywhere in between where at least a full brigade's worth of troops are stationed.

The situation could become more dire if effects of sequestration extend to FY2016 and beyond, at which point the Army will seek to reduce its strength to 420,000 soldiers by FY2019. The additional cut of 30,000 troops nationwide would be made in a round which, if history is a guide, would very likely include Fort Wainwright on the list of facilities contemplating cuts. The difference between the Army at the peak of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Army that would be in place in 2019 would be stark — a 26 percent overall reduction.

The Army is seeking to make these sizable reductions in force size with as little impact on effectiveness as possible. To this end, they are seeking to cut entire brigades rather than making smaller cuts to a great number of brigades that would decrease fighting strength — as they put it, they are trying to prevent a "hollow Army," the fighting strength of which would be far less than its numbers would suggest. That means that Fort Wainwright might see a great number of troops leave — the entire 1-25th Stryker Brigade — or be spared altogether.

On the bright side, Fort Wainwright's chances may be better than a coin flip. The installation was studied as part of a 2013 assessment tasked with making the Army's initial reductions from 570,000 troops to 490,000, and escaped without cuts. There's certainly no guarantee the facility would be spared again, but clearly the Army saw value in the base that they might consider when looking a second time.

As to what locals looking to weigh in on the process can do, local officials and community leaders are asking residents to make statements of support, which the Army is accepting until Aug. 25. Those statements of support can address both endorsements of Fort Wainwright's military value — factors like training space and unique environment — as well as socio-economic impacts on the community should soldiers leave. Those statements may be sent by email to usarmy.jbsa.aec.nepa@mail.mil.

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