REASON FOR FAIRBANKS MAN'S KILLING SPREE UNKNOWN (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner): The city of Grand Junction, Colo., is still bewildered as to why a Fairbanks man traveled there and shot four people - possibly complete strangers - before killing himself this fall. Two of the victims were killed in the attack, and the other two were injured.
Also: Suspect refers online to spacecraft appearing today (Grand Junction Daily Sentinel)
BEGICH DOESN'T WANT STEVENS IN JAIL (The Politico): While Mark Begich stopped short of saying Sen. Ted Stevens should be pardoned by President Bush, the mayor of Anchorage and soon-to-be senator said putting Stevens in the slammer would be wrong. “I think for an 85-year-old man to serve time in jail, that’s not the appropriate thing to do. There are some real bad characters in there. There are sex offenders and people convicted of doing some pretty terrible things. I'm not sure that's the best use of space and time"
MONEGAN TALKS ABOUT TRUST, HINTS AT PUBLIC OFFICE: Former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan refused to take jabs at Gov. Sarah Palin during a luncheon talk Wednesday at UAA. (Monegan has alleged that Palin fired him in part for not firing her former brother-in-law, a state trooper Palin's family had feuded with.) He said his theme was "the importance of the integrity of our government and its leaders." Later, he tried to dodge audience questions about whether he is considering a run for public office. Then he admitted he and his wife "are talking about the possibility." Below is some blogger coverage - including audio and video links - of Monegan's talk. Read more about "Troopergate" here.
What Do I Know? - with audio/video: "Monegan talked about integrity and ethics and leadership. He spoke softly, and the words came from his heart. You could tell. And he knew what he was talking about."
Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis - with audio: "During the questions and answers about the proposals he put forward as commissioner regarding multipronged solutions to the horrendous domestic violence and sexual assault problems in rural Alaska, he became animated. It was obvious to everyone that he still feels deeply passionate on the issue."
Progressive Alaska: "Monegan's address to the students was mostly about how public safety career professionals need to develop their attitude toward their job as one of service, improvisation, learning and humility. He cited examples from his past that showed he has long created images in his mind about the importance of selflessness in the realm of public service."
Is Monegan planning a run? (ADN politics blog)
McCLATCHY EXEC AND FORMER ADN EDITOR HOWARD WEAVER TO RETIRE (McClatchy Co.): Howard Weaver, the vice president of news at The McClatchy Co. who twice led the Anchorage Daily News to Pulitzer Prize gold medals for public service, has announced his retirement at the end of the year. Weaver and his wife, Barbara Hodgin, plan to remain in Sacramento, where Weaver said he intends "to think and try to write and go camp in the desert." They also hope to spend time in Alaska.
See also: Turning the page ... (Etaoin Shrdlu, Weaver's blog): "Unlike so many of (newspapers') poorly informed critics, I do not believe our current circumstances are primarily the result of mistakes. They are, rather, the simple and inevitable result of being in a mature business that has been overtaken by transformational change that would have turned us inside-out no matter what we had done."
PALIN GOT $30K MORE IN CLOTHES (The Politico): The Republican National Committee will report that it spent about another $30,000 on clothes and accessories for Sarah Palin during her vice presidential bid, according to a GOP source.
OPEN MIKE: WHAT EXACTLY DID RENDELL SAY ABOUT PALIN? (Philadelphia Inquirer): On Tuesday at the National Governors conference, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell opined about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, praising her "very good political instincts" in a conversation picked up on an open microphone near the podium. In dispute is whether Rendell is also heard saying, "She's not a genius."
Also: Sexism sneaks in over open mike (Campbell Brown, CNN)
DECAYING ORPHANAGE READY FOR ‘ADOPTION' (Seward Phoenix Log): On a hill at the edge of Seward, the Jesse Lee Home rises up in dilapidated splendor. The roof sags, the exterior peels, the empty window sockets rot with each season. "It's a big shame," says Kevin Towsley, an equipment operator mechanic for the city.
VOLUNTEERS INSULATE HOMES OF KOTZEBUE ELDERS (The Arctic Sounder): The eyelashes and nostril hairs of 25 teams of volunteers were frosted with tiny crystals of ice, and every breath was visible from a distance. But the cold would not stop the teams from completing their mission: to weatherize 75 elders' homes in preparation for the long winter ahead.
DECADES-OLD SHERIFF'S HAT RETURNED FROM ALASKA (Muskegon Chronicle): When Muskegon County (Mich.) undersheriff Daniel Stout opened a box mailed from Alaska, he didn't know what to expect. Out came a very old railroad brakeman's hat bearing a silver Muskegon County Sheriff's Department hat badge.
DANCING TO THE WHITE HOUSE (Capital City Weekly): When Juneau's Yaaw Tei Yi Native dance group formed eight years ago, members never thought they would end up performing outside of Juneau. Now they're preparing to travel to Washington, D.C., to help celebrate the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.
PUNCH LANDS IN WRONG SPOT (Nome Nugget): Getting into a fight at Nome's Board of Trade Saloon: Bad idea. Punching a police officer when he comes to stop the fight: Even worse idea.
IKEA UNDER FIRE FOR SELLING REINDEER MEAT (The Independent, U.K.): Unlike a traditional reindeer hunt, modern Swedish ranchers buzz over the animals in helicopters, herd them with snowmobiles and truck them hundreds of miles, causing them mental and physical stress.
POLAR DINOSAURS ENDURED COLD, DARK WINTERS (LiveScience): Polar dinosaurs such as the 4.4-ton duckbill Edmontosaurus are thought by some paleontologists to have been champion migrators to avoid the cold, dark season. But a study now claims that most of these beasts preferred to stick closer to home despite potentially deadly winter weather.
Return to Alaska Newsreader through the day for new links.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM RECENT NEWSREADERS:
Wide-awake grizzlies spook Bettles (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
Game board gets subsistence perspective (Alaska Newspapers)
Bear naked: Polar puzzle (Slate)
Photo: Eagle dogfight over Homer Spit (National Geographic)
Trooper trainer promotes "art of shooting" (PoliceOne)
Alaska Natives explore 50 years of statehood (KYUK Bethel)
Papa Pilgrim's Alaska: The darkest place (Outside)