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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.

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

Letty Eileen Cole, 93, died on Oct. 15, 2014, in Ketchikan.
Susan Marie Mallott Patrick, 58, died Oct. 11, 2014, in Ketchikan.
Watch that pan

Even people who don’t cook much sometimes cook at the holidays, and this week, early though it seems, starts those holidays. Kitchen activities are part and parcel of what we associate with Thanksgiving.

For people who deal with fires, though, cooking and heating-related incidents account for nearly three-quarters of structure fires in our state, according to the state fire marshal.

Kelly Nicolello says there are several precautions that will prevent those fires:

• Pay attention when cooking, especially if using oil or grease. Keep appliances clean of build-up.

• Keep the kids a safe distance from cooking appliances.

• Use the stove’s back burners when you can, and keep the pot handles turned to the inside so they won’t be pulled or knocked over.

• Before you go to bed or leave the house, be sure all the burners are off.

• Keep holiday decorations (or anything combustible, like kitchen towels) at least three feet from any heat source.

The fire marshal says frying the turkey in oil isn’t recommended, but because people do, he suggests keeping it outside away from combustibles, following the directions carefully and having a fire extinguisher nearby just in case.

For pan fires, turn off the burner and put a lid on the pan. But don’t carry the pan anyplace — too dangerous in the risk of igniting your clothes or spilling something and burning someone.

Don’t pour water on a grease fire; it spreads the fire.

If the fire is in the oven, turn the oven off, and leave the door closed.

Call 911 if you have a fire.

It’s a great week with one of the finest American holidays coming up. Let’s keep it safe for everyone, with only good memories and dirty dishes as the aftermath.