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People line up for free. Even people who have no business receiving a handout.

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This is no time to mince words. Republican Gov. Sean Parnell will be in town today to take on challenger Bill Walker, an independent candidate, and Libertarian Carolyn Clift in Ketchikan's 2014 Alaska gubernatorial debate.

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Anne (Davidson) Caskey, 73, died Sept. 27, 2014, in Ketchikan.
Don L. Scruggs, 86, died July 15, 2014, in Sun City, Arizona.
Christine Marie Edenso, 70, died Sept. 22, 2014, in Ketchikan.
Karl Emory Steward, 86, died Aug. 11, 2014, in Bullhead City, Arizona.
8/14/2014
Expensive tree

From the view of the Tongass National Forest, it's amusing the University of Michigan would spend $400,000 to move a tree.

But, apparently, not just any tree. It's a 300-year-old burr oak, and it weighs 350 tons.

The tree stands in the way of expanding the university's business school.

The Arborlift will involve hoisting the 44-foot-in-diameter root ball from a hole dug around the tree, according to a Fox News article. While it will be a heavy load, it also will be a short trip — just a block away the tree will be replanted and treated with tender loving care in hopes it will survive.

This is a truly amazing undertaking on several levels. First, moving the tree will need to be done delicately with heavy duty equipment. Second, it will cost $400,000 at a time when the university is increasing student tuition.

Finally, the school has raised $135 million for the business school expansion, which when compared to the price of moving the tree, it puts the whole project in better perspective. Not perfect perspective, but perhaps a more understandable one.

The tree might be described as a valuable antique. But from the perspective of a community in the midst of a national forest, the idea of the Arborlift is amusing.