Time to consider a time change

  • Friday, March 13, 2015 9:27am
  • Opinion

Keep military intact in Alaska

It’s no time to reduce the military.

And given the current global volatility and Alaska’s geographic location, neither should this state be targeted for military base reductions.

Alaska has its eye on Arctic development, some of which would be beneficial to Ketchikan’s economy, but it isn’t alone. Russia, too, is eyeing the Arctic, and with the intent of militarizing its presence there.

Alaska and the nation need to be prepared in the Arctic to protect Alaskan interests and that of all Americans.

Fort Richardson and Fort Wainwright, two of about 30 bases being considered for troop reductions, should experience anything but. Instead, the troops should be increased at those two bases.

If the federal government insists on troop reductions, it should proceed strategically. Reducing shouldn’t be based on the popularity of the Army presence in a particular community or the number of Alaskans and Americans who make a case for reductions at one base or another, according to Alaska’s congressional delegation.

Military strategy should be the key determinant of where the Army should base.

Alaska’s proximity — over the North Pole from most of the world’s conflict zones — is the principal reason military folks have long regarded Alaska as a highly desirable and necessary base for the nation. Watching events in Asia, the Pacific and Russia only reinforces that reasoning.

This is the time to build up the military, particularly in Alaska.

— Ketchikan Daily News

March 10

Time to consider a time change

Southeast came out in force against eliminating daylight saving time statewide this week.

A bill to eliminate daylight saving time in Alaska is moving through the state Legislature. While many Alaskans outside of Southeast support the bill, this region does not. Testimony before legislators reinforced that point of view.

If Alaskans wish to stop the back and forth of switching clocks in the spring and fall to theoretically save daylight, then Alaska should adopt Pacific Standard time — or at least let Southeast be in the Pacific zone while other parts of the state stay on Alaska time and eliminate daylight saving.

For the past at least 25 years, Ketchikan businesses, in particular, favored the region being on Pacific time.

The argument boiled down to the intricate ties Ketchikan and Southeast have with Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.

The region conducts much business in the Pacific; likely much more than it does with points in the northern regions.

It’s already an hour behind the Pacific, which means ordering goods and taking advantage of services in the Seattle area already cease an hour before businesses close here. If Alaska only ended daylight saving time without making another adjustment, Ketchikan and Southeast would lag two hours behind the Pacific Northwest time, costing local business two hours in valuable commerce in the spring and summer.

This commerce includes the transport of goods and providers of services into the region, as well as giving Southeast Alaskans the means to quickly and efficiently travel and send products to Seattle and the Pacific.

But all of the commerce isn’t strictly business. Seattle is the travel hub for Ketchikan and Southeast to most places. Southeast Alaskans often don’t go visit relatives or vacation without traveling on flights through Seattle. Flight connections with a two-hour time difference could become problematic.

Given that argument, it’s also important for Alaskans to the north of Southeast to be time-coordinated with the state capital. To accomplish this and eliminate all of the clock switching, most of the state — particularly the population centers of Anchorage and Fairbanks — also could come along on the switch to Pacific time.

Points north also conduct considerable business in the Pacific Northwest.

And, for the federal offices and others who interact with other places in the Lower 48, adoption of Pacific time would increase the ease of doing both professional and personal business.

This isn’t a new idea. Local businesses pursued it with Gov. Walter J. Hickel and the state Department of Transportation in the early 1990s. Time has been an Alaska topic other times, too. But, now, it perhaps is an idea whose time has come: Place Southeast on Pacific time.

But, in the meantime, be sure to switch clocks forward Sunday morning. This is the weekend when Alaska moves to daylight saving time.

— Ketchikan Daily News

March 7

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