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It's wonderful to give — especially during the Christmas season.

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That's a nice Christmas gift. Ketchikan waits anxiously each year about this time, just like the kids do for Christmas morning, to discover what the next cruise ship schedule looks like.

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Phillip Dean Nehl, 59, died Dec. 10, 2014, in Ketchikan after a long battle with heart failure.
David Jmmanuel (Keith Gustaf Dahl), 50, died Oct. 28, 2014, suddenly of natural causes at home in Ketchikan.
Frank Chester Leask, 76, died Dec. 9, 2014, in Metlakatla.
6/11/2014
Protect the vote
Clearing the way for all Americans to vote as easily as possible is the way to preserve this great nation.

This week federal focus has been on the ease, or lack of such, in voting for Native Americans, including Alaska Natives.

One example cited the village of Kasigluk, which like Ketchikan has a bridge issue. Kasigluk doesn't have one either, and it's community is divided by a river. On voting day, the ballot machine is on one side of the river for a few hours and then transported via boat to the other side for the next few hours.

That limits the time voters have to cast their ballots.

Other examples are evident in Alaska and throughout Native reservations in the Lower 48.

Whether Native or any other race, no American should be prevented from voting. In some cases, it isn't the remoteness that discourages voting, but long lines, particularly in big cities. Voters can wait hours to exercise their right to vote. Most will wait; some won't or can't stand in line that long.

The nation has many issues. But, the basic right to vote is one of the most important to protect, and the nation must ensure that every legal voter can and does. Not voting opens the country up to change. Change as a result of non-participation in government threatens America. It can lead to a different type of government than Americans currently enjoy. It might be the first step toward the end of a democracy. The next step might be loss of freedom; not only freedom to vote, but to speak out, among others.

Indeed, voting is a basic right. It should be administered in way that all who want to vote can.