Air Force tankers in the sky are 'like gas stations.' The Northern Edge exercise, which began May 5 and concludes Friday and engages more than 5,000 participants and 120 aircraft, is the largest military exercise in Alaska, according to a report in Air Force Link.
Aircraft in the exercise are being refueled by the Air National Guard's 168th Air Refueling Wing, employing eight to 12 Stratotankers from Eielson Air Base. During the exercises, they'll refuel up to 18 airborne aircraft a day.
"We're one of the keys to global reach and the global capability mission as a kind of gas station in the sky," said Col. Scott Wenke, the 168th ARW commander. "We take pride in being able to get fuel to anybody, anywhere."
At the prices they're paying for jet fuel, that's coming at some cost.
U.S. and Japan search for WW II Japanese MIAs in Alaska. A team of three Japanese and 11 Americans departed Kodiak this morning aboard a C-130 bound for the U.S. Coast Guard Station on Attu. There, they'll search burial sites for the bodies of soldiers still missing from a 1943 World War II battle there, according to the Department of Defense.
In June 1942, a unit of the Japanese Army occupied Attu, capturing and imprisoning many of its inhabitants. In May 1943, American forces began to recapture the island in fierce hand-to-hand battles. Casualties were estimated at 540 Americans and 2,300 Japanese.
The Japanese government assisted an American group's 2007 visit to Iwo Jima in a similar search for missing American MIAs.
Alaska art gallery opens in Second Life. The Rasmuson Foundation's Gallery of Alaskan Artists opened in the virtual world Monday, according to PRLog. Visitors must join the cyber sphere of Second Life, and a basic membership is free. Already a member? Here's the address to visit the gallery.
For those still anchored in the physical world, here's a bit of description: The gallery is "located on a snowy hill ... (and includes) enormous paintings and photographs (that) hang in midair around the outdoor space."
The project was created through a partnership between the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Rasmuson Foundation and Moonbow Productions Inc./Cybergrrl Oh Productions, an Anchorage-based Web 2.0 strategy company.
Energy issues cause concern for government at all levels. Gov. Sarah Palin has called for a special session this summer to figure out ways to provide Alaskans some relief from high fuel prices, according to the Anchorage Daily News this morning. Meanwhile, local governments are struggling on their own.
The Fairbanks News-Miner editorial writers this morning say they support Mayor Jim Whitaker and members of the Fairbanks North Star Borough in trying to do something about high energy prices.
"The commitment of $1 million of the borough's money - our money, since it comes from property tax payers - and money from the state should be given broad support by residents wrestling with high gasoline and heating fuel prices."
Out of the Ketchikan Daily News comes the report that the city of Craig has spent $1.5 million on a wood-fired boiler heating system. It will be used to save thousands of dollars heating a community pool. (Subscription required to read the full story.)
Alaska House Speaker John Harris told APRN Monday he can understand that the public feels especially pinched while the oil industry - and the state of Alaska - are raking in high oil profits.
"It probably seems a little bit unfair to the public, and it is, that at these record high prices and record high profits for the industry and for the state, that the public is bearing all the burden," he said.
At least one effort to help homeowners with energy expenses starts up this week, according to APRN. A Home Energy Rebate grant program will provide up to $10,000 to homeowners who improve the energy-efficiency of their home. It's financed by a legislative appropriation of $100 million to the Alaska Housing Finance Program.
The theory behind the program is that energy efficiency helps an entire community. This is not a low-income program, according to the AHFC. Details available on the APRN site.
Meanwhile, a Congress split over energy proposals is set today to weigh halting the flow of oil into the government's Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an attempt to ease prices. The AP takes a spin-versus-fact look at the Democratic and Republican energy proposals.
"As millions of people approach the summer vacation season under the threat of $4-per-gallon gasoline, Congress is scrambling to respond."
Aren't we all.
Tourists can take a global warming vacation in Alaska this summer. Two Alaska organizations, the Nature Conservancy and the Alaska Native Arts Foundation, are offering a global warming/culture tour in Alaska this summer, according to the personal finance Web site mainstreet.com. The trip includes a "deep dive" into Native culture and a firsthand view of village coastal erosion sites.
The tour starts in Fairbanks and includes a stay in Barrow, then proceeds along the northwestern coast for a stop in Nome. The trip includes visits to St. Lawrence Island and Shishmaref. The late-August trip reportedly will set you back $15,000 per person.