SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Oil Rich Alaskans Struggle to Heat Homes
By Melissa O'Bryan


March 03, 2008
Monday AM

It's refreshing to see how Alaskans are depicted in the media. This is a copy of a letter I sent to Senator Tom Wagoner, Kenai regarding his comments in an AP article.

Dear Senator Wagoner,

I just finished reading the article by Associated Press writer Anne Sutton titled Oil Rich Alaskans Struggle to Heat Homes. I was deeply disturbed by your comments.

"Republican Sen. Tom Wagoner is proposing a $750 credit for every household to be applied to utility bills, paid by the state in lump sums to power companies. It's more direct, he says. "It's fair and equitable and it doesn't give out a cash payment that can be turned into bottles of whiskey, tobacco, bingo parlors or whatever." Wagoner said."

While I understand that you may be looking at an alternative to a direct payout, it is frankly none of your business what the money is spent on. Many of these checks will not go to whiskey, they will go to groceries, or towards a credit card that may have been used to offset the difference between the budgeted amount for fuel and the actual amount we may have paid. Your comment was disrespectful and depicted Alaskans as a bunch of irresponsible drunks.

I would invite you to look at the Alaska State Troopers dispatch record for Ketchikan to see what this rise in fuel is also costing us. Many homeowners as well as one of our fire departments have reported fuel being stolen from them. Our community has experienced a rash of thefts which have been up to 275-300 gallons of fuel stolen. Do the math, Senator Wagoner. I sincerely doubt the fuel is being sold on the black market but merely to heat these desperate peoples homes. How nice for the people who have to replace the stolen fuel. Surely they will use that check to buy whiskey or possibly partake in our weekly bingo game offered in Ketchikan.

I am not sure where the money should come from, I don't claim to have a broad knowledge of the subject but I do know that for many Alaskan families this will simply be a little boost to a way of life that we may one day be priced out of.

Melissa O'Bryan

On another note, Sitnews readers let's try to keep our eyes on our own tanks as well as watching out for your neighbor, report suspicous behavior. Hopefully, we can help keep these fuel burglaries from continuing.

Melissa O'Bryan
Ketchikan, AK


Received February 29, 2008 - Published March 03, 2008


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