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Social Security: Policy, politics, fact and fiction

The misleading ads and distorted facts have not quite hit the level of the 2011 classic “granny off the cliff” political ad where an elderly woman was being foisted from her wheelchair over the edge of a cliff, which then-House Speaker Paul Ryan...

 

Slana phone hack was retro, but effective

"Where have you guys been all week?" our son, Patrick, demanded when I answered the phone one morning back in October 1999. He was calling from his home in Colorado. "We haven't gone anywhere. Why,...

 

Sourdough governor understands Alaskans

Alaska's governor from 1933 to 1939 believed that more people and more roads would help the territory achieve statehood. And John Weir Troy, who came to Alaska during the gold rush in 1897, thought a...

 
 By Nick Thomas    Columns    October 1, 2020 

'Night of the Living Dead' still lives for Judith O'Dea

When Halloween returns each October, so do the 50-year-old memories for actress Judith O'Dea who starred as Barbra in the 1968 horror classic "Night of the Living Dead" as one of several characters...

 
 By Kenneth Kirk    Columns    October 1, 2020 

To have and to hold (together) is not so easy in Alaska

Al Martinez was a longtime syndicated newspaper columnist. Toward the end of his career, he said that of all the controversial subjects he had written about (including a lot of articles about...

 

New life into old computers, unwanted alerts, iPhone security

Q. I have several old computers in my garage that are just taking up space. Before I send them to the recycler, I wonder if there is anything useful I could do with them. A. Working from home and remote learning has increased the demand for...

 

Where the two presidential candidates stand on senior issues

Major-party presidential candidates Trump and Biden have dramatically different visions for the future on health care issues. So in assessing their policy positions, it's also important to look at...

 

How does unemployment affect Social Security's solvency?

Social Security’s finances depend largely on payroll taxes, tying the strength of Social Security to the strength of the U.S. economy.  The U.S. unemployment rate was more than 13.3% through May.  That was worse than the 2009 Great Recession,...

 

Staying home doesn't have to be boring – for you or your cat

Although staying inside may be new, and a bit challenging, to us, it isn't new for our house cats. They know that inside your home is the safest place to be. While finding ways to keep yourself...

 

Ladies' nights out were rare, memorable

Every woman needs a ladies night out once in a while. I experienced one such evening in the fall of 2004 during the years my husband and I operated Nabesna House Bed and Breakfast out of our home in...

 

Alaska targets criminals running amok

Criminals dabbling in everything from prostitution to bootlegging to gambling flourished in the Alaska territory during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Believing that gold miners and other citizens...

 

Olivia de Havilland (1916-2020) – the end of an era

It's a sobering thought for fans of classic film. The passing of Olivia de Havilland in late July, just three weeks after her 104th birthday July 1, represents the loss of the last surviving big-scree...

 

Will the estate tax be an unwelcome 'comebacker'?

Baseball fans love to nickname things. A home run can be a simple “homer” but it can also be a “tater,” a “dinger,” a “jack” or “going yard”. In fact, there are dozens of...

 

Printer woes, backup settings, Facebook 'news'

Q. I can’t print from my laptop computer. When I checked if my HP5255 was connected, I found a printer email address that ended with @hpprint.com. I also do not understand why that address is different than my regular email address. A. I feel your...

 

Trump is still pushing for ACA repeal

Amid the sharp political divides over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing racial protests, the Trump administration continues its push to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through the courts – a move that could prove to be...

 
 By Susan Stiles    Columns    August 1, 2020

Virtual classes for older adults are here to stay

"I look forward to the calls each week." This comment was typical of the feedback that Peggy Schmidt received when she offered a virtual Aging Mastery "book club" to her rural constituents in...

 

Berries bring out the good in us

One morning in August 2012 I answered the ringing phone and heard "Hi, this is Kim. Gary and I have been picking blueberries in Hatcher Pass and we have more than we need. Could we bring you some?"...

 

Newspapers spread the word of Yukon gold

Glowing reports, like the following excerpt from the Aug. 8, 1897, edition of the New York World newspaper, helped fuel the stampede for gold along the Yukon River. "Mr. J. O. Hestwod, one of the...

 
 By Nick Thomas    Columns    August 1, 2020

'Tinker Bell' ties the knot at 90

What could convince a 90-year-old actress – once a model for Disney animators creating the Tinker Bell character of 1953's "Peter Pan" – to abandon her West Coast home of nine decades and fly off...

 
 By Kenneth Kirk    Columns    August 1, 2020

Putting away childish notions

You know how nice it is when you get a toy you have been wanting? If you don’t remember that far back, think about how a child’s eyes light up when it sees a toy under the Christmas tree. Or if...

 

TV slideshows, printer fix, beta software

Q. Is there a way to view personal photos on my television? A. A living room TV is a perfect venue to share your family photo collection, and there are choices to fit every budget. Many televisions built in the last decade can already display...

 

COVID-19 realities: Those here now and those likely coming soon

As the nation moves into whatever "reopening" the next phase of the COVID-19 challenge means, the pandemic's mark on American health will be a permanent one in good ways and unfortunate ones too. The...

 

Elder mental health in the time of COVID-19

COVID-19 is caused by something so small we cannot even see it, a virus known as SARS-CoV-2. This virus is causing illness and death throughout the world, and it seems to be targeting our elders especially hard. According to the CDC, 8 out of 10 de...

 

When bees and bears collide

During our first summer of trying to be self sufficient and live off the land, my husband, Gary, decided to keep honeybees. The year was 1974 and we lived 23½ miles out of Fairbanks on the...

 

Territorial days bring liquor smugglers

When the U. S. Army took over responsibility for administering Alaska in 1867, law enforcement found it had its hands full trying to stem the flow of liquor into the territory. Up until alcohol...

 

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