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It's time to check out emergency equipment and procedures.

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Hydropower is gold in Southeast Alaska. With that, a $20 million loan for a new hydropower project on Prince of Wales Island is like striking gold.

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12/3/2012
Changing $ saves $

The public can adjust to a $4.4 billion federal savings.

Doing away with dollar bills entirely and replacing them with dollar coins would save that much over the next 30 years, according to Congressional auditors.

The problem is that people haven't been too enthusiastic about the dollar coins. The U.S. Mint has produced 2.4 billion Presidential $1 coins and most are just being stored by the federal reserve. Production was suspended about a year ago.

But now, in addition to cutting spending in order to hopefully balance the federal budget, it might be wise for people to rethink their lack of inclination for the coin. Using it would save money; that's a significant inducement in these financially difficult times.

A House subcommittee discussed gradually moving the economy to dollar coins, and moving other coins to less expensive metal combinations, such as steel, aluminum and zinc. It costs more than 2 cents to make a penney and more than 11 cents to make a nickel; a change in metals could save nearly $200 million a year.

For dollar currency, the savings come in that coins can last as much as 30 years, while dollar bills must be replaced on average every four or five years, according to an Associated Press story. Congressional auditors believe replacing dollar bills with dollar coins could save about $4.4 billion over 30 years.

The U.S. Mint is expected to release a report this month after 18 months of reviewing a variety of metal compositions.

It's likely that after 50 years there will be changes in U.S. coins.

As long as it saves money, it's the way for the future.