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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.

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

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Ginny Gisse, 69, died April 5, 2016, at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
2/28/2014
Celebrate 'folly'

We're always willing to celebrate.

And the state will be celebrating in 2017.

That's when the Alaska marks its 150th anniversary.

The state Senate will be considering Resolution 17, which will recognize the anniversary of the Alaska Purchase and encourage communities to organize celebrations. Schools, libraries, museums, businesses, civic and historical groups, governments and their agencies and Congress are some of the possible organizing celebrants.

The Alaska Historical Commission, chaired by Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, has asked for the resolution, which Sen. Lesil McGuire introduced. McGuire describes William Seward, the former U.S. secretary of state responsible for Alaska's purchase, as a visionary. At the time, however, Seward was chided, and critics of the purchase referred to Alaska as Seward's Folly.

Russia sold Alaska to the United States in 1867 for $7.2 million — about 2 cents per acre. Today, that seems like a pure genius deal, with all of Alaska's beauty and natural resources.

The purchase of Alaska a century and a half ago might have been a laughing matter then, but no one's laughing now. It's proven to be one of the most wise purchases as the nation expanded its territory.

The resolution that would set the celebration of the purchase in motion should pass the Legislature this session, and with the blessing of Alaskans, who are always willing and ready to celebrate.