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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.
7/24/2014
Picnic tonight
It's a grand day for a picnic.

Gov. Sean Parnell and first lady, Sandy Parnell, will be in town today (Thursday) for the Governor's Family Picnic. The picnic will be around the dinner hour — 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. — at Ward Lake.

The governor has five family picnics each summer; Ketchikan applied and, obviously, received the OK to host one of them.

The Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce, along with local individuals and businesses, made it happen.

But, even with all of that effort, the Chamber and its supporters had no control over whether the picnic would be in the sun, as most picnickers prefer, or Ketchikan's traditional and oftentimes rain.

The forecast, however, is for the former, and a pleasant temperature of 63 degrees. Even as that temperature dips in the evening, it should be comfortable to be outdoors and enjoy a meal with the governor.

This is an event that is open to all Alaskans. Children as well as adults will be welcome. Democrats, Republicans and all other parties or political persuasions — no political party affiliation will be turned away. To attend, all it takes is a desire to meet or renew an acquaintance with the governor and enjoy a dinner out.

See you at the picnic.