What has happened to the Anchorage I love so much? - 1/15/2008
We drove the Alaska Highway in the dead of winter in 2003 to escape horrible job conditions in Oklahoma.
I fell instantly in love with Alaska. Then I slowly began falling out of love with it over the past 5 years. Next week will mark our 5th year here.
I started seeing people leaving one after another for very good reasons.
There never were murders or gangs. Now there are murders more than you would expect.
The rate of rape is one of the highest in the United States. The treatment of Alaska Natives is often disrespectful and racist.
The summers are now so crowded, we can never find anyplace to put our RV to enjoy unless we drive way out of the way.
The fishing holes are impossible to even get into when the tide comes up.
The breathtaking Turnagain Arm is almost enough to keep us here, but my husband is getting ready to retire in a few years.
Recently, Channel 2 did a story on the medical and medicare crisis in Alaska.
There's no medical school here, so doctors have to come from "outside." The malpractice insurance and costs are so high that even if you have a great insurance plan, you are constantly nickeled and dimed TO DEATH!!!!
There presently is NOT ONE doctor in Anchorage taking new Medicare patients.
My husband had a routine colonoscopy that ended up costing us over 3,000 dollars (and that is with insurance!!!!)
We are veterans, and the VA hospital is overburdened and understaffed. Care there is pitiful at best.
So, because in about 15 years we'll be close to the Medicare age and don't want to get stuck here and not able to leave, we'll be leaving in the next 3 or 4 years probably.
We've loved it here, and we live in a beautiful place north of Anchorage but the traffic from the Matsu Valley and the pigs throwing garbage on the highways on their way to work is ruining our neighborhood. We can now smell the exhaust from the traffic all the way in our backyard, and we're a LONG way away from the highway.
I love Anchorage, and I especially love filming it in the winter, but it is fast becoming a place that is not safe or enjoyable to be in.
Someone else mentioned their families can't afford to visit them. True, so true!!! I've not seen my grandchildren in 5 years.
I miss fresh fruit, as we only get fresh fruit and vegetables at certain times of the year. The rest of the time it is expensive and mushy and horrible.
The stores up here try so hard to make it like the lower 48 but the climbing cost of fuel is just making the price of shipping anything here outrageous.
The other day, I shipped a shoe box size box of clothes to my grandmother.
It cost me $18.00 to ship it!!!!! Good grief.
Our utilities are unreal, too. The cost of high speed internet is like $140.00 a month for unlimited and our gas and electric are over $300.00 a month. I know that is normal for many places, but our electric is generated by natural gas and natural gas is at a critical shortage right now in Alaska. (The reason they're rushing to try to build a natural gas pipeline now)
It's nice to get the permanent fund dividend every year, but at what cost to the environment?
I know much of what I have said here is my opinionated self, so please take it with a grain of salt.
However, many people come here with stars in their eyes and no money in their pockets and get stuck.
The job market here is very very good if you are construction but you can bet you'll be building houses in 20- degrees below zero weather at times!
The summers are beautiful and the 22 hours of daylight is awesome.
The darkness gets harder and harder the longer I live here, and even a S.A.D. light does not get me on a regular sleeping schedule. My sleep has been really messed up the past 3 years or so.
Anyway, that's pretty much it in a nutshell for me.
Thanks for listening.