Letters to the editor

Alternatives to smoking unfairly discouraged

I am writing this letter today in hopes it gets published and gets the attention of millions of Americans who have been lied to by those who govern this country. We all know that smoking is not only bad but its long-term effects are fatal to users.

I am a vaper. I chose to leave Big Tobacco behind for an alternative that is deemed 95 percent less harmful than smoking. However, at this time, my choice is being attacked as well as millions of others who have chosen this safer alternative.

Why would the federal government attack and end an industry that is helping to end smoking and its damaging effects my friends? The answer is really simple. The excise tax dollars collected from Big Tobacco outweigh public health. We have also heard there is no money in a cure; and in this case, there is not. In fact, the money is making sure we keep sick and dying from the effects of cancer causing cigarettes. The facts are printed and being argued in court at this very moment to be exact. If a person is a 2 pack a day smoker, and has an estimated 30 years of life left, their health care costs would be $766,000 over the course of their rest of their lives. Since the average person will not incur most of these costs during their working years, it will fall in their senior years while they are in the Medicare system. This system is funded by each and every taxpayer through taxpayer dollars.

Currently there are an estimated 42 million smokers in America with an estimated 100 million smokers in the next generation. I am sure if you do the math as I have you will see as I stated above; money is in the medicine, not the cure. I find it offensive that the state and federal governments would want to end a lifesaving alternative just to keep tax dollars flowing; even at the expense of my children, your children, and future generations.

I have reached out to elected officials on this matter, however I guess my phone calls do not carry the weight that Lobby Dollars from the Big Tobacco and Big Pharma industries carry when they contribute to their campaigns.

My friends, our health, our children’s health, and our lives are being used in a manner no differently than cattle being prepared to be profited on at a livestock auction.

Steven Mapes


In my opinion …

The best thing my parents did for me was to say, you just graduated from high school, where you going? I was 17. I did not have a clue, but I realized that it was time to find my own way in this life. I moved to Georgia and stayed with my brother for 3 months, worked for him and had a full time job, waiting for tech school to start. I went to school for two full courses and worked during the time I was going to school at night as a dishwasher, prep cook and became the lead cook.

The teacher at tech school got me a job welding. The first course I was taking was auto mechanics, but I realized it was not my calling. Made A’s and B’s but something just didn’t feel right. I have always been more of a builder of things, asphalt equipment and cement drums for trucks. I went to work for myself at 21 and never looked back. Built more, fixed more and remodeled more than I can remember. I never asked my parents for a dime.

The point to all this is that everyone has a gift. Find it, apply it. Find something you that you enjoy because work is a lot of time we use in our life. Do ourselves a favor and enjoy life. Go fishing or whatever you enjoy. Life is short. Happiness is but a breath away. Make your own destiny. It’s no one else’s responsibility, nor can they find it for you.

That’s my opinion.

Carlos Cody


Many hands help with Kenai River cleanup

The fourth annual Kenai River Cleanup was held May 11-12 and it was a huge success. Over 650 students from the Kenai Borough School District and Cook Inlet Academy cleaned up trash along the Kenai River at Izaak Walton, Bing’s Landing, Rotary Park, Centennial Park, Swiftwater Park, Soldotna Creek Park, Moose Meadows Access, Soldotna Visitors Center, and the Kenai River Center. The event collected over 3,000 pounds of garbage and debris from the Kenai River and included community members and volunteers. In the last four years this event has removed over 12,500 pounds of garbage and debris from the Kenai River and recreation sites along the river.

This event would not have been possible without the partners, volunteers, and support of the community. Event chair Mark Glassmaker and committee members Keith Baxter and Cindy Glassmaker volunteered a significant amount of time to make this happen. Event partners included Kenai River Sportfishing Association, Kenai River Professional Guide Association, City of Soldotna Parks &Recreation Department, Alaska State Parks, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, and Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.

Sponsors and businesses that contributed to this event included A&L Construction, Alaska Fishing with Mark Glassmaker, Alaska Sea Life Center, Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, Alaska West Air, Arby’s, Batir Construction, Big Daddy’s Pizza, Blockbuster Video, Bub’s Pizza, Charlie Pierce Campaign, Charlotte’s Restaurant, Dairy Queen, Dale Bagley and Redoubt Realty, Elks USA- Soldotna Chapter, Everything Bagels, GF Sherman Signs, Homer Electric Association, Hutchings Auto Group, Jersey Subs, Jumpin Junction, Ken’s Alaska Tackle, Kenai Peninsula Republican Women, Kenai Riverbend Resort, Linda Hutchings Campaign, Magpie’s Pizza, Odie’s, Petco, Pizza Boys, River &Sea Marine, Safe Kids Kenai Peninsula, Safeway, Soldotna Professional Pharmacy, Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware &Fishing, Spenard Builders Supply, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Sweeney’s Clothing, The Moose is Loose, and Wilderness Way.

I’d like to thank all the participants, volunteers, partners and businesses that helped with this event! The event was a great success and helps to improve fish and wildlife habitat along the Kenai River.

Jack Blackwell

State Parks Superintendent

Kenai/Pring William Sound Area