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FTPAK Answers Why

Written by Heather Penn

Free the People AK is coming up on its 9th printing and all I can I say is Thank You!!

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors for without you this paper would never be.

Thank you to our readers and contributors who have become a part of this community we are tirelessly trying to build. To us, community is everything. As we travel on this journey of starting an independent paper many people ask why. Why did you start it? Why should people care about what’s happening in our community? Let me give answer to the why.

We at FTPAK started this paper for one reason and one reason alone, answers.

As anyone who lives here can attest, it is expensive. Staples such as food and heat can run people into poverty and considering we have a 13.1% poverty rate that may in fact be the case. Being in Alaska, one expects a higher rate for these services, but where does that higher rate stop? Oil is taken from Alaska, yet we pay one of the highest rates in the nation to use it. The dividend offered in the fall was supposed to help offset these costs but now those funds are being hijacked.

FTPAK asks why, how this can be. How it is that so many voices go unheard while those in power swoop in and take what is not rightfully theirs. If any of you are like us that dividend can be a lifeline. For us it fills the tank before the winter or gets the kids those expensive warm clothes they absolutely need or perhaps it is for a future college fund, vacation or just a savings account put away for a rainy day. Whatever your use it doesn’t matter what matters is it was done without your consent, it was done without your voice it was done and that’s it.

FTPAK asks why the cost of electric is so astronomically high compared to the national average. Sure, we could see some elevated rates in the winter but how could they possibly be just as high in the summer months. Whenever we called to ask for explanations the answer was never given. Instead we were given a vague listing of various expenses (most of which were approved without the majority of people’s consent or knowledge) culminating with, “and that’s why you owe what you owe.”

FTPAK asks why education is always on the chopping block. Are children and higher education expendable? Why is it our children, teachers and schools suffer when those higher overspend or don’t manage the boroughs budget correctly. Children and people seeking higher learning are being told they don’t matter in the form of cutting classes, sports, teachers, language, music and arts programs. We at FTPAK believe that education and our children are not expendable.

FTPAK asks why the borough makes it so hard to heat our homes with alternative sources. Touting clean air resolutions targeting only those wood stove and alternative sources as the main factor in air pollution as it couldn’t possibly be the three power plants running within a 7-mile radius of each other. Though we don’t disagree that clean air is important or essential we do disagree with the manner in which it is presented. Fines, inspections and costs associated with new wood stoves make it near impossible to for citizens to offset the cost of home heating.

FTPAK also asks why our crime rates are steadily rising and criminals are getting ever more lenient punishments. We commend local businesses, homeowners and groups who have taken it upon themselves to protect what is theirs as it seems there is no one else to do it.


These key points are just a few of the many topics we have covered and continue to investigate. A community is only as good as its people and we hope to help build a strong community full of informed citizens.


The point of this paper is not to coerce but to inform, to get one thinking and asking questions about why something is the way it is. After all knowledge is power. Not only do we cover hot-button topics but we also showcase a kid’s corner, local artists and authors, book reviews, opinion pieces, an Alaskan Native voice and scientific articles. No matter your education level, political affiliation, age, sex, race or job title, your opinion does matter. You are what makes this paper great. This paper is written by the people of the Fairbanks North Star Borough for the people of Fairbanks North Star Borough. It is time to stop the monopolization within our borough. It is time to bring the voice back to the people. Let us be your voice.


About the author

Heather Penn

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