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Reduce. Reuse. Reap a little cash on the side? One of the unpleasant indignities of living on an island in Southeast Alaska is that we are forced — in a very tangible way — to confront how much waste we create. That confrontation comes in the form of a bill. With space at premium, we pay to bale, ship and dispose of much of our trash inside Washington state.

Alaska is proud of its parks, especially the Gates of the Arctic, thank you very much.

Ronald Shaw, 82, died Feb. 27, 2015 in Anchorage.
Robert Eugene Chapman, 60, died Feb. 14, 2015, in Ketchikan.
Frances “Pat” Bailey Koons, 82, died Feb. 22, 2015, in Ketchikan.
Here to help

When disaster strikes, Alaskans aren't far behind with a helping hand.

Severe flooding in Colorado has left nearly 500 people unaccounted for and at least four dead. Heavy rain continued Sunday, which caused search-and-rescue operations to be suspended. Today, Coloradans expected a break in the rainfall.

But it could be weeks before rescue operations reach some of the small towns isolated by the flooding. People in those towns might be going without electricity and other necessities for an extended time. The lucky ones will have their homes — many houses washed away — but the cleanup will take months, if not longer in small and large communities.

The military has responded. City and state workers are on the job. Churches and organizations, such as the American Red Cross, are in the midst of the devastation trying to help with shelter. The Red Cross sheltered 700 people the day after flooding began last Wednesday. It also provides supplies and assistance in other ways, such as getting messages to loved ones outside of the flooded area who are worried about their family and friends in Colorado. All of this and more is what the Red Cross was established to do.

Ketchikan has its participants in supporting the Red Cross. Alaska has a Red Cross office, and Alaskans annually support the Red Cross through volunteering, donating, fundraising and teaching emergency-response classes.

For those who've helped the Red Cross, it's a time to see that help in action. For others in Ketchikan and the surrounding area who want to help the Coloradans or in another disaster, connecting with the Red Cross is one of the most effective ways of doing it. The Red Cross is easy to locate through the Internet. The address is: www.redcross.org.

We're glad there's a way to help — even from way far off in Alaska.