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Published on NewsOK Modified: November 21, 2014 at 4:47 pm •  Published: November 21, 2014

Here is a sampling of editorial opinions from Alaska newspapers:

Nov. 19, 2014

Ketchikan Daily News: Graceful exit

Much can be told from how one handles loss in an election.

The same is true in victory.

Gov. Sean Parnell has conceded to Bill Walker, who challenged him for the governor's office in the Nov. 4 election.

Parnell graciously conceded as soon as it became apparent Friday that uncounted ballots wouldn't result in him overcoming Walker's narrow lead.

Walker himself called Parnell's concession gracious, and the two Alaskan leaders met Saturday to discuss a smooth and cooperative transition.

For his part as the victor, Walker also refrained Friday from claiming victory. He awaited Parnell's announcement.

Clearly, this is the way it should be done. While the two politicians disagree somewhat on the direction for Alaska over the next four years and beyond, they both remain Alaskans and likely will encounter each other again.

As a politician and Alaskan, Parnell has sought seats of public service. It doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility that he will do so again. Once, he aspired to be a congressman.

Also, after the counting of absentee and questioned ballots on Friday, Republican Chere Klein called House District 36's apparent winner, independent Dan Ortiz, not delaying the process any more than the already 10 days since election day.

Then by Monday, Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, promised the Republican winner Dan Sullivan a smooth transition into Alaska's junior senator seat in Washington, D.C.

With Klein and Begich's political abilities, it's likely we'll see one or both of them in politics again.

But, in the meantime, the transitions are under way, with all parties on the tickets accepting the voters' choices and moving forward.

As voters, it's satisfying to see when it's being accomplished with grace.


Nov. 18, 2014

Juneau Empire: Empire Editorial: Our need for more icebreakers keeps getting cold shoulder

America's only active heavy-duty icebreaker, the Polar Star, is mission-ready once more. The problem: The elderly vessel should have been decommissioned in 2006, and even with its current repairs, its life has only been extended 5 to 20 years.

Of the top five ice-breaking nations, Russia has more icebreakers — 18 in all — than Finland, Sweden, Canada and the U.S. combined. The U.S. has only two active icebreakers: the medium icebreaker Healy and the Polar Star. The Polar Star's sister ship, the Polar Sea, needs $100 million in repairs before it can leave dock, and building another heavy icebreaker would take about 10 years and cost more than $850 million. The problem is there aren't any plans to finance or build another one, which according to the Department of Homeland Security is a big problem.

A report commissioned by the Coast Guard in 2010 found that the service needs six heavy and four medium icebreakers to operate effectively. The cost of adding those vessels to the existing fleet is about $3.2 billion, a Congressional Research Service report found.

The Coast Guard needs to add to its icebreaking fleet or else it will be "unable to accomplish its Arctic missions," says a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's inspector general.

The U.S. is the least-prepared of all Arctic nations despite having so much to gain and lose in terms of resources, logistics and scientific discovery. Today's problems will only be exacerbated in future years as our existing ships age.

Why do icebreakers matter? Look to the Healy's actions in 2011 when it escorted an oil tanker to Nome as that town was running short on oil. Look to the annual scientific and mapping missions in the Arctic, where the Coast Guard is America's leading service in scientific research afloat. Look to the south, where private and foreign icebreakers now escort supply ships to Antarctica, a role American icebreakers once played.

We're not interested in an icebreaker race with Russia — they've clearly won. Russia has six nuclear-powered icebreakers and is building another nuclear heavy icebreaker (at a cost of $1.1 billion) that is expected to be the world's biggest.

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