Hickel on Stevens: "His time is over." Bloomberg.com managed to get former Gov. Wally Hickel on the phone for an update on Alaska's corruption trial, and Hickel didn't hold back.
"He has served Alaska for 40 years, but his time is over,'' said former Gov. Walter Hickel, who launched Stevens' Senate career by appointing him to a vacancy in 1968.
Hickel, now 88, says he appointed Stevens because he was young at the time and could help Alaska -- which became a state only in 1959 -- during a long Senate career.
"We were a young state, and I learned we needed seniority, and Ted was a survivor,'' said Hickel, who later served as secretary of the interior in the Nixon administration.
Now it's time for a change, he said. ``He's just doing what those big economic interests want done,'' Hickel said. ``I don't care if I appointed him. That was a long time ago.''
Bush Alaska rallies to Stevens. The Bloomberg.com piece quotes former Cordova Mayor Margy Johnson:
``He has that clout to make things happen. The senator is a giant, and we all stand on his shoulders.''
``He has never lost this personal touch with Alaskans,'' Johnson said.
The Tundra Drums covered a hospital picnic that Stevens asked to attend during a whirlwind stop in Bethel last week. Support for Stevens was strong and deep but not universal. A sampling of views:
Longtime tribal leader Myron Naneng: "Who has done more for the region and the villages? Can you find anyone else?"
Tony Vaska, state House candidate: "I do believe him. He's been around for 40 years and he's never lied to us."
Roy Allen Moses, former village public safety officer: "Everyone makes mistakes. He's done his best for Alaska."
Ida Stevens, retired state worker who is changing her vote: "I think it might be time to get a new senator. Somebody with new blood, new energy and new ideas, but the same drive."
19 bears down and counting in Cooper Landing this year. The Peninsula Clarion reports on a bear gone bad that met its end at the transfer station there, despite the station's bear-resistant equipment.
"I thought the only thing we had to worry about would be if the bears figured out how to use an acetylene torch," said Tim Navarre, Kenai Peninsula Borough chief of staff. "Unfortunately, he found a chink in the armor."
The bear had torn through the expanded metal grate at the top of the dumpster, fallen in and couldn't get out. An ear tag determined he was one of two bears that had been caught earlier in a local horse trailer, darted and released. No such luck this time.
Our goose-bump summer could repeat for decades. A Baltimore Sun reporter who blogs about weather took a question about Alaska's chilly July and interviewed Gary Hufford, the regional scientist for the National Weather Service in Alaska.
Hufford has been hounded for the answer and offered it quickly. The facts: June and July in Anchorage both averaged 2.5 to 3 degrees below the long-term temperature averages. July in Fairbanks averaged 60.6 degrees, almost two degrees below normal. And August is averaging 51.4 degrees, a whopping 7.7 degrees below the long-term norms.
The cause: A shift to what climatologists call the cold phase of a cycle in the North Pacific Ocean called the "Pacific decadal oscillation," or PDO. The arctic low, a persistent feature of the far-northern atmosphere that usually hangs out near Greenland, has shifted west to the northeast corner of Siberia, bringing cloudy skies, three summer snowfalls, bad blueberries and slow salmon returns.
One last sobering note: "When these PDO phases shift, they tend to do so for decades, not the 4- to 7-year cycles typical of the El Nino/La Nina cyclings in the tropical Pacific. The Icebox State could be in for a long haul."
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner got in a full-throated whine over its sixth-wettest July ever.
U.S. Coast Guard starts Arctic sea floor-mapping trip Thursday. Reuters reports that U.S. and University of New Hampshire scientists aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Healy will leave Barrow Thursday for a three-week voyage to create a three-dimensional map of the Arctic Ocean floor in an unexplored area called the Chukchi borderland. Canadian scientists will join them on an icebreaker.
The Alaska continental shelf may lie up to 600 nautical miles from the coastline, far beyond the 200-mile limit where coastal countries have sovereign rights over natural resources.
Canada.com reported the story from a Canadian perspective, noting that the joint operation will avoid a potential area of conflict between the two nations, confirmed earlier this year by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration official. He said if Alaska goes north and Canada reaches west in a drive for sovereignty, their interests would overlap. This is a triangle-shaped, 12,000-square-kilometer stretch of ocean north of the Yukon-Alaska border.
"We will stay out of the area that is disputed," said Jacob Verhoef, head of Canada's sea mapping project.
Bush proposes radical overhaul of the Endangered Species Act. APRN Washington reports that the Bush administration is proposing the biggest revision in 20 years to a law that protects threatened wildlife.
Interior Department Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said he'll release details later this week, but he called the revisions "common-sense changes."
The revisions would allow agencies to cut out some of the environmental review process and would also affirm that it is not possible to link greenhouse gases to any impact on wildlife.
Cory Cogdell is a "mouse hunter?" The Olympic bronze medalist braved a cliffhanger final round only to be identified by an Irish games commentator as a "mouse hunter," or so reports the Irish Times. That sent the writer on a riff.
Shooting mice, surely, is an excessive response to any threat they might pose, although perhaps kinder than guillotining them as they nibble on an Easi Single.
As it proved, though, Cory is, in fact, a "moose" hunter, which is precisely what Caitriona had said in the first place, meaning our ear-syringing ordeal might be more imminent than we first feared.
A native of Alaska, Cory has been limbering up for the Olympics for the last three years by blowing the heads off any innocent moose she happens to encounter, having been taught her shooting skills by her da, Dick.
"I harvested my first moose a couple of years ago," she said dispassionately, just as if moose weren't real people.
Sometimes we forget how others see us.
In other headlines of interest to Alaskans:
> Ernie Piper becomes Alaska Railroad COO(Seward Phoenix Log)
> Jewel weds (KTUU)
> Alleged Sitka stabber Jason Abbott may get mental exam this week (Juneau Empire)
> Hundreds honor St. Herman on Spruce Island (Kodiak Daily Mirror)
> Tlingit "cultural champion" Andy Hope remembered (Juneau Empire)