Apr 22, 2010

A Road to Nome

A Road to Nome is an article published in the Daily News-Miner and was published on the front page of Monday, April 5th 2010's issue. It can be found at this: link http://www.newsminer.com/view/full_story/6942052/article-Road-to-Nome-idea-gathers-support-from--Interior-Alaska-villages?

This article is about building a road from Manley Hot Springs to Nome. This would connect many out laying rural areas by an easily accessible highway. A road to Nome was proposed 10 years ago but at the point in time there economy was striving and there was no concern about increased fuel and grocery bills. With the failing economy, people living in rural villages can no longer afford to pay the incredibly high rates that come about when fuel has to be shipped 500 miles. Rural dwellers have also seen an increase in cost of shipping hundreds of pounds of groceries from Fred Meyer's a few times a year. Having a road to Nome with allow people to haul their groceries in at a severely reduced price. It would also decrease the cost of shipping fuel into rural villages which would ultimately cause a reduction in the cost of fuel which would allow more people to continue their life style in rural Alaska. A few individuals are still against the road being put in because it means easier access for city dwellers also. The rural people fear that the fish and game will disappear completely if people from urban areas can easily get to the rural areas.

I feel like this is a good mix of structural functionalism and conflict theory. Its conflict theory because people have opposed the road to Nome for decades and some still do oppose the proposal. It saddens me that people are having a road built against their wishes not because there group has lost control but simply because people who enjoy living this lifestyle can no longer afford to live in the rural areas of Alaska. I see this as structural functionalism because rural Alaska has been so inaccessible for so many hundreds of years, and building a road that connects many rural all at once to one main road greatly upsets the cogs of societal machine. All of a sudden these rural cities may not be rural any longer. More people may decide to move there because its affordable not that far from the nearest large city.

One question I thought of while reading and reviewing this article was once the main road to Nome goes in how many other villages will build roads connecting their village to the main road? And what will the repercussions of having an easily accessible community?

Rural Education Plan Advances

The Daily News-Miner printed an article titled Rural Education Plan Advances on the front page of Friday, April 2, 2010 issue. I couldn't find the link when I searched the News-Miner's website. The article is about a bill the Senate approved by a 19-0 vote to begin funding the construction for elementary, middle, and high schools in unincorporated rural communities. The money for this fund will be taken out of the budget that is usually given to schools in urban areas. The bill also address that it would cover up to 70% of the debt rural schools have due to construction. The senators that were interviewed all thought it would be a fantastic opportunity for Alaska and Alaska's children/students.

I agree with the senators that this is a wonderful thing for every qualifying rural school in Alaska and its students. Rural areas have been neglected for far too long, especially when many children are shipped out of their life long communities to attend middle and high school else where in the state. If there is adequate funding, schools, and teachers young adults won't need to leave behind the rural life style. Also, if there is no need for young adults to leave the village for school they may remain in their village or the rural setting for their lifetime which would mean that communities wouldn't decline and loose their young population to city life. To me this can be viewed as structural functionalism because the villages haven't been counting on federal money for many years now and with this new bill the cogs in the social machine have changed directions and this may revolutionize the structure of rural communities by having the minors present in the village.

While reading this article I started thinking that if this much needed and necessary money is being taken out of the budget from urban schools where will the urban schools get the money for their upkeep and other needed items? What kind of things will urban schools go without?

Apr 9, 2010

Reading assignments

Here are the readings for the rest of the semester.

April 14     Wolf control in Alaska
read: Anahita and Mix (2006) “Retrofitting Frontier Masculinity for Alaska’s War Against Wolves." I sent each of you a copy of this article by email.

April 16     Pebble Mine

April 19     Intentional communities in the rural