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Posted: Sunday, November 4, 2012 11:32 pm | Updated: 4:16 pm, Fri Jan 25, 2013.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Editorial

Thumbs up: Election forums this year offered Fairbanks-area residents numerous opportunities to hear and even meet candidates in Tuesday’s election, and the organizations that created these events all deserve thanks. So do the candidates who attended.

The forums required a lot of thought and effort to create. As we learned this past week, sometimes they generate controversy in themselves as people who care passionately about the election take issue with execution of the events.

Every organization — such as the AARP, the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce and others — has a membership and therefore will draw an audience that tends to share certain concerns and viewpoints. The forums, if they take audience questions, will reflect these tendencies. The crowd’s reactions to answers also will be influenced by their shared views. That’s not said to excuse rude behavior, though, so moderators at these events need to remember they can moderate interaction not only between candidates but also between the audience and candidates.

While there were a few examples of inappropriate behavior, the forums staged this year were helpful and informative. We’re glad organizations continue to create them and that candidates participate.

Thumbs up: Researchers who studied the Nov. 3, 2002, Denali Fault earthquake have produced some valuable information for bridge designers. The 7.9-magnitude quake, with an epicenter about 100 miles south of Fairbanks, was the strongest temblor in 150 years on the North American continent.

Because it occurred in early winter, the top layer of soil was frozen. That allowed researchers to study what such soil does in an earthquake. They found it puts much greater stress than expected on bridge supports just below the ground surface. The information has led to new construction standards across the U.S.

Thumbs up: The United Way of the Tanana Valley, as of last week, was a quarter of the way to completing its fundraising goal of $1.5 million, thanks in part to Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. employees. Alyeska workers donated $168,000. That’s more than 10 percent of the United Way’s total goal, an amazing contribution for a single organization.

Thumbs down: The tragic effects of poor king salmon runs on the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers were on display in Bethel last week, as fishermen who violated the rules began contesting the charges in court.

 Some of the fishermen argued they weren’t aware of the new restrictions on king fishing and the state failed to notify people effectively. The court will have to judge that.

 Some fishermen also argued they have a God-given right to fish as they want. That would be nice, but it’s not practical in today’s world. Unfortunately, resources are limited and, to sustain those resources, limits must be placed on their use. One can always argue that someone else ought to be limited, based on history, impact, biology or even race. But the management system designed to resolve those issues has done so and, unless that system changes the rules, they should be followed for the good of the king salmon.

Thumbs down: State forestry managers say they’ve received reports of illegal firewood cutting in several areas around Fairbanks. They closed the Rosie Creek logging road last week because it got so bad. Someone was cutting large white spruce in an area where the trees had already been sold by bid to a private business. Given that one large tree can be worth $100 or more for firewood, that’s some serious theft.

Obviously, demand for firewood is high, but there is no reason for this behavior. The state has numerous areas available in which people can cut firewood.

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