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The Alaska Marine Highway System is a critically important piece of infrastructure that links Southeast Alaska communities, funnels visitors looking to spend their hard-earned dollars into Alaska, and generates hundreds and hundreds of jobs inside the state.

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In a way, Friday’s announcement by three environmental groups was refreshing.

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Kenneth Ray Book, 92, died Jan. 30, 2016, in Beaverton, Oregon.
Lawrence Harris Milton, 79, died Jan. 5, 2016, in Ketchikan.
MaryEllen Haseltine, 91, died Jan. 239, 2016, in Ketchikan.
1/6/2014
Bad call

The Secretary of Interior made a bad call for King Cove recently.

King Cove had sought a land trade in order to build a single-lane road to an all-weather airport at Cold Bay.

The road would allow King Cove to transport patients into Anchorage and other medical hubs. This is particularly critical for emergencies, but it also is important for non-emergencies.

The road was devised mainly to address medical-transport needs, and safeguards had been proposed to protect the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge through which it would meander.

The result would be that wildlife wouldn't be affected by heavier traffic. Although, wildlife probably wouldn't be much affected by more frequent traffic because the population is slightly less than only 1,000 at King Cove.

King Cove, a commercial fishing community, is located about 625 miles southwest of Anchorage on the Alaska Peninsula. That compares to 680 air miles between Ketchikan and Seattle.

The King Cove population is really far away from help when it comes to emergencies.

The Secretary of Interior and the federal government should be working with that population to come up with a workable year-round solution to medical transport. It is the public servant's job to assist the people. Sally Jewell should know that by the time she reached the position of secretary.