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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.

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

Ginny Gisse, 69, died April 5, 2016, at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
It doesn't mean that

An Associated Press reporter covering the race to the White House wrote in a story this week:

"So much for Mitt Romney's plans to compete for Democratic-trending Michigan or Pennsylvania. And what about President Barack Obama's early hopes of fighting it out for Republican-tilting Arizona, Georgia or Texas? Forget them.

"The presidential battleground map is as compact as it's been in decades, with just nine states seeing the bulk of candidate visits, campaign ads and get-out-the vote efforts in the hunt for the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory."

Now here's the clincher: "That means just a fraction of Americans will determine the outcome of the race for the White House."

Wrong. Every vote counts.

Anything can happen before election day that could tilt blue-leaning states to the red and vice versa. Voters could still surprise all of the pollsters and pundits, and some day they will.

Just because they have been able in recent years to calculate the presidential election down to red states (Republican) and blue states (Democrat) before voting day doesn't mean that will always be the outcome.

One day all that prognosticating is going to be turned upside down by voters. It's likely to occur in an election when the polls show a very tight race. Then they will see blue states turn red or red states turn blue, showing that every vote counts.

Never should the media or the politicians dismiss the value of a vote. It is the hammer on the nail, and until it comes down, there's not a 100-percent chance it will land as predicted. Even the best of builders land one on the thumb once in a while.

When it comes to elections, that's the way it should be in a nation that relies on voters to set its direction. A fraction of Americans won't decide who will be president; all Americans will, whether they vote or not. Choosing not to vote also affects the election.