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May is an extraordinary month in Ketchikan. We transform overnight from a quiet town in April to become host to thousands of visitors each day by mid-May. Local waters see commercial troll fishermen take advantage of spring fishery opportunities while the commercial net fleets begin preparing for their season. Sport anglers are readying their gear for the May 28 start of the Ketchikan CHARR Educational Fund King Salmon Derby.

State agencies and the University of Alaska spent $343 million outside of Alaska for goods and services for government operations in 2015.

Ginny Gisse, 69, died April 5, 2016, at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Alaska Day

Today is Alaska Day.

On Oct. 18, 1867, the federal government made a wise move. It bought Alaska, a territory rich in natural resources and destined to become a state of great wealth.

The feds raised the U.S. flag in Sitka, from where the land was governed, on this day 145 years ago. It was a small, but official ceremony for what would become the biggest state in the union.

The Russians decided to sell Alaska because it had become a less profitable trading outpost in the 1850s and 1860s. Concerned whether they could retain control of the territory, they figured they might as well get what they could for it.

Alaska is an American treasure, overflowing with resources and potential that promises well-being in terms of energy throughout the nation and, in some cases, the world, if only the feds would allow it to be more fully explored and developed.

But as time passes, Alaskans continue to work to develop the state, and as state and national — even international — needs for everything from oil to natural gas, rare earth elements and other minerals, seafood, and a beautiful place to visit grow, so, too, will the extraction of the resources and Alaska's economy.

Alaska is a great place to live and work. Alaskans appreciate this land, developing as well as protecting where appropriate. The arts and culture are incomparable. The schools safe, and the friendliness among Alaskans remarkable.

For $7.2 million, the feds got a bargain.