Skagway doesn’t need a pot smoking area

The Remedy Shoppe and an outdoor smoking license …. why not say yes? 

Especially if you don’t live next door to Remedy or own a business on 3rd Avenue. It’s illegal to smoke on cruise ships or out-and-about town, so what’s a poor tourist to do? As I live within 300 feet of the Remedy Shoppe, I was asked to give input on the outdoor smoking license issue. 

In fact, I live right next door and my balcony is just a few feet above their backyard. The 8-foot fence is no barrier to sight, sound or smell. The previous business incarnation as a bed and breakfast with a barbecue grill on the back deck kept me entertained for years.

I get lots of sunshine, which translates to heat so my patio doors are usually open 24/7 through the summer. I could hear every outdoor conversation from my living room inside and it took real effort not to invite myself over for dinner when tantalizing aromas drifted into my apartment.

Of course, I not only smelled food whenever guests cooked outside on the grill, I was well aware when guests smoked dope. Years of bartending in the “good old days” have left me overly sensitive to all smoke. I didn’t always care for the music that occasionally drowned out my TV or radio but, hey, that’s what earphones are for. 

It’s a tough summertime life as I sit on my deck these days and smell the appetizing aromas of grilled salmon and fries, courtesy of the outdoor fish barbecue a block north on 4th  Avenue, elephant ears from Rocky’s Fry Bread across the street from Remedy, sometimes the triple-chocolate brownies Christine puts out and coffee from Glacial Smoothies or the reindeer and bison dogs at Sasquatch.

These places are all farther away than the Remedy Shoppe and, let me tell you, a good cigar can wipe them out in a flash. Even a cheap cigarette can be a temporary pain to the olfactory system. 

Personally, as long as they build a smoking lounge in their backyard with a super smoke-grabbing fans, so that outdoor food aromas remain in the air, I’m OK. Oh, right. That’s indoor smoking, not outdoor. 

As a business person, I find the idea of allowing an outdoor smoking license in any business area in Skagway ludicrous. Hundreds of tourists walk this block on a daily basis for five months of the year. Do we really need to add a “High” street to our cramped, crowded, Disneyland, jewelry store Mecca? Will that make Skagway more appealing to the average tourist family? 

Betsy Albecker 

Alaska needs taxes to pay for services

It was my understanding that the Alaska Permanent Fund was originally created to help operate our state when we ran out of oil money to pay our bills. Our Alaska forefathers had foresight.

Gov. Jay Hammond was afraid the Legislature would overspend, so he put forth a plan to share money with residents (the Permanent Fund dividend) while the Legislature stopped taxing our wages.

At the time we became a state, Congress was hesitant and wondered if Alaska could support itself and gave us control over a lot of natural resources. It takes money to bring natural resources to market. Until our state develops our resources, with value added, we will continue to be used. We need affordable energy and transportation for value-added. It takes money to address any of these issues, but we are short of money and we are still expected to give money away?

Our present governor is willing to sacrifice our children, our senior citizens, eliminate six months of ferry service a year and compromise our environment so he can keep his promise to the carpetbaggers who have spent the past 60 years stealing the state’s money.

Our state has lots of expensive, unique problems. We are an extremely spread out territory with few residents to work to support it. A good number of our residents have little to no monetary income. Their cash income consists of National Guard pay and the Permanent Fund dividend. They need some cash for their subsistence lifestyle. Your dividend came from oil from subsistence areas of the state, however the Alaska idea is to share ALL our natural resources for all our mutual benefit.

Before oil money, we who lived in the state of Alaska paid taxes on our income. I feel that is a fair tax and our state needs taxes to help pay for our needs like any other state. The Legislature needs to pass a tax law. We need to try and pay our way for all the benefits we receive from our state and properly develop our resources for all Alaskans.

Mavis Irene Soldin Henricksen