HISTORIC BARROW WHALE RESCUE HEADED FOR BIG SCREEN (Hollywood Reporter): You mean Hollywood is just now discovering this story? Warner Bros. has picked up "Everybody Loves Whales," a script based on the story of three California gray whales trapped by ice at Point Barrow in October 1988. The subsequent rescue attempt drew massive worldwide media attention while the U.S. and Soviet governments got together to devise a plan that ultimately, maybe, was successful.
PUTTING KAKTOVIK ON THE RADAR SCREEN (Arctic Sounder): A giant white sphere dominates the skyline of this tiny village, a remote outpost on the frozen shores of the Beaufort Sea. But until this week, very few local residents had ever seen the inside of the station, built in 1953, or even had a good grasp on what exactly it was for, says an Elmendorf Air Force Base spokesman.
HAIRY AUSSIE MUSICIANS MAKE IT ON THE CHIN (The Australian): From stubbly beginnings four years ago in Adelaide, The Beards have thrived, and on May 22 in Anchorage, the hirsute rockers will achieve a dream, playing at the opening ceremony of the World Beard and Moustache Championships. "It will be good to play in front of an audience most of whom have beards for a change," says bassist Nathaniel Beard. "Normally we play to a majority of beardless people, which can be disheartening." The biennial championships will attract hundreds of international entrants; the event has been held in the U.S. only once before. (Tip: Germans love beard contests and always do well.) Beard and mustache styles, with photos of reigning champions and contenders, are here. And below are a few more sites that will help set the stage:
> '07 handlebar champ will defend title (L.A. Times)
POINT LAY LANDS FIRST WHALE IN 70 YEARS (KTUU): A small community on the Chukchi Sea coast is celebrating a big catch. The Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission lifted a restriction on Point Lay in 2008 to allow the village to catch one whale each year. This year's whale has been caught. Includes photos
UNALASKA DIVERS TAKE COMMUNITY CLEANUP TO NEW DEPTHS (KUCB, Unalaska): The Unalaska Divers Association takes a deeper approach to the traditional spring cleanup held in Alaska communities. For the second year, divers have scoured the bottom of the small-boat harbor looking for trash. And despite a visibility of at best 1 foot, they find plenty of things to haul out of the water - including "strange wooden objects" and the bodies of birds trapped in lost crab pots.
DUELING POLITICAL VIDEOS: GOING TO THE DOGS, AND THE ELEPHANTS (The Caucus, N.Y. Times): Democrats and Republicans hit each other this week with advertisements featuring dogs and elephants, feeding speculation that bipartisan dialogue in Washington has gone to the birds. Gov. Palin is featured in a Democratic spoof of a "Survivor" TV reality series promo. ALSO:
> Poll shows drop in Palin popularity in Alaska (Alaska Politics blog, ADN)
MORE GUNS, MORE GUN DEATHS: ALASKA 3RD IN NATION (Associated Press): Louisiana, Alabama and Alaska, with high firearm ownership rates and lax gun laws, are the states with the highest per capital gun death rates, says the gun control group Violence Policy Center, citing federal statistics.
BRISTOL PALIN'S NEW GIG: A TERRIBLE IDEA (Gail Collins, N.Y.Times): "Surely, when it comes to combating teen pregnancy, the Palin family has done enough damage already. What worse message could you send to teenage girls than the one they delivered at the Republican convention: If your handsome but somewhat thuglike boyfriend gets you with child, he will clean up nicely, propose marriage and show up at an important family event wearing a suit and holding your hand. At which point you will get a standing ovation." ALSO:
> Bristol, Levi debate abstinence on national TV (Associated Press)
VOTING IN CHURCH? HOW ABOUT A MOSQUE? (Steve Aufrecht, What Do I Know?): "Is it appropriate to have to enter a religious house of worship to vote in a government election in a country where people are supposed to be free to worship or not as they choose?"
Return to Alaska Newsreader later in the day for new links.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM RECENT NEWSREADERS:
Belugas return to mouth of Kenai River (Redoubt Reporter)
Native Americans descended from single ancestral group (Science Daily)
The night Bob Hope nearly died in Alaska (Pensacola News Journal)