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News that Ucore Rare Metals is proceeding to the next step in its process toward developing a mine at its Bokan Mountain/Dotson Ridge property on the southeast coast of Prince of Wales Island should be viewed positively — despite coming at a difficult time for the rare earth element mining sector.

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Creating a healthy and safe environment inside the Alaska National Guard is an endeavor that should be free from political games.

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Letty Eileen Cole, 93, died on Oct. 15, 2014, in Ketchikan.
Susan Marie Mallott Patrick, 58, died Oct. 11, 2014, in Ketchikan.
10/7/2013
Parks shutdown

Alaskans can deal better than most when it comes to federal parks being shut down.

We live in a land that looks very much like a park and know how to be prepared and exist in the great outdoors.

We know to visit the bathroom at home before taking a walk in the wild. We know, if we're going to be gone THAT long, then we better be prepared for bathroom emergencies.

So, when it comes to closing the bathrooms at Ward Lake, we can deal with that. For years — maybe decades — we didn't have the nice bathroom facilities we do at the lake. That didn't stop us from walking around the lake, which, depending on one's speed, takes less than a hour. For the really quick, maybe half an hour.

That's why barricading the road to the lake seemed silly for the federal government shutdown, if only for less than a day. Wise Alaskans — probably wise federally employed Alaskans — removed the barricade.

And, if it comes to it, Alaskans likely will volunteer to clean up at the lake's campsites during the shutdown. It's just a matter of cleaning up after ourselves or taking a garbage bag along on our walk around the lake to pick up what someone might have accidentally dropped or left behind in terms of trash.

We can work it out. We know how to cooperate and get the job done here in Ketchikan.

We note also Alaskans appreciate what we have here. Washington, D.C., in all its disfunction, needn't worry about us.