Of Bears and Ballots: An Alaskan Adventure in Small-town Politics

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Author Heather Lende found a new challenge. Her service on the school board, the planning commission, and the hundreds of obituaries written for the Chilkat Valley News held her in good stead to be elected to the borough assembly in Haines, a small town on the Alaska panhandle, “a remote rural borough the size of a small state.” No member hesitated to speak and opinions were clearly and often predictably divided on many issues, drawing in the mayor to cast the deciding vote.

With delicious humor and the more frustrating times well cloaked, she recounts her three years in office. Of Bears and Ballots boldly names real people and chronicles disputes over local concerns, funding requests granted or denied, how to resolve conflicting harbor extension plans, and the wastewater or library issues. A small town reduces commuting to about zero time, allowing Lende to keep a finger in many pies, daily walks on the beach, long cycle rides, and time to write her fourth book.

Her heart is generous, her ear keen, as she writes about the people of Haines, who are like everyone’s neighbor in their own home town. The book is a treat for everyone keen to see how being closely involved in a community makes life a joy as well being at times vexing and worrisome. She is a splendid writer showing to all who are unsure how every voice counts.

Reviewed By:

Author Heather Lende
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 288 pages
Publish Date 2020-06-30
ISBN 9781616208516
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue July 2020
Category Current Events & Politics


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