BREAKUP FLOOD DAMAGE TO PUBLIC FACILITIES TOPS $7 MILLION (Alaska Newspapers): At least $7.2 million will likely be needed to repair the roads, airports and other public facilities damaged by recent river flooding in several rural Alaska villages, according to a preliminary report from the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. That figure will probably grow significantly. The report also shows that 467 homes were "impacted" in 17 villages, with most of the damage occurring in Eagle, Stevens Village, Tanana, Emmonak, Kwethluk, Akiak and Red Devil. The flood destroyed 33 homes -- including 24 in Eagle on the upper Yukon. Another 57 suffered major damage.
VOLES TAKE TOLL ON FAIRBANKS LAWNS, GARDENS (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner): Munching moose usually are the predator that green thumbs in Fairbanks have to contend with, but this summer it's voracious voles that are taking a bite out of lawns, flower beds and vegetable gardens around town. "They're like little beavers, chewing through everything," landscaper Curtis Tindall said. "I was mowing the other day, and I literally saw three of them just run right in front of me and down in holes." Includes photos
PREVO VS. THE GAY RIGHTS ORDINANCE: IS THIS REALLY JUST A DEBATE OVER RELIGION? Longtime Anchorage Baptist Temple leader Rev. Jerry Prevo is again leading the opposition to another Anchorage anti-gay-discrimination ordinance, which will get a hearing tonight at the Anchorage Assembly meeting. Do the ordinance's legal details even matter, or is this just a debate fueled by religious viewpoints? Here's some local reflection on Prevo's and religion's place in the debate:
> My pastors are mightier than Prevo (Amanda Coyne, Alaska Dispatch): Anchorage, meet your powerful Christian Left. In with the old, out with the new. ...[Prevo has] a deeper voice, perhaps, a richer congregation. But he doesn't have anything on my [Immanuel Presbyterian] pastors. John Carey will testify [tonight]. Dianne O'Connell will testify next week. Both of them are mighty at the pulpit, whether they're asking for us to pray for someone's knee surgery or asking us to trust that God loves all of us, just the way we are, and wants all of us to be treated equally.
> Prevo stirs up "Trouble" (Matthew Moak, Bent Alaska): Rev. Prevo is quick to toss out the Clobber Scriptures which he interprets to be damning to homosexuality, such as Leviticus 20:13, and yet he refuses to admonish his followers for eating shellfish, which is an abomination (Leviticus 11:10), or to chastise his own male followers who get their hair trimmed, which is expressly forbidden in Leviticus 19.
> Q&A with Prevo: "I've tried to reason with these people" (Anchorage Daily News): My problem is when I take this stand and I can't minister to these people. I can't tell them that Jesus Christ died for them and will forgive them just like he will an adulterer or a murderer and they can be changed. It makes it hard for them to listen to me, because they frame me as being hateful. ... But I see it as that I'm telling them the truth.
> It's about freedom of religion (Dan Fagan, Alaska Standard): If someone for religious reasons does not want to hire someone because of the lifestyle they lead, then so be it. That business owner should be free to run his or her business as they see fit. Most agree discriminating based on race or gender or who you are should be illegal, but the freedom to discriminate based on how someone acts or the lifestyle they lead is a freedom that should be never taken away.
> Christian intolerance in Anchorage (Bill Sherwonit, AK Voices/ADN) How did the effort to end discrimination because of sexual orientation get turned around into the religious persecution of those who are righteously seeking to once more do battle with the "homosexual agenda"? The fact is that Christian institutions and zealots - like those of many other religions - particularly those of a fundamentalist bent, have across the centuries persecuted and harmed legions of people who by the Christians' narrow, black-and-white way of thinking are heathens damned to hell.
> Looking for common ground at Prevo's Baptist Temple (Julia O'Malley, ADN): It boils down to this: Laws don't change people's minds, personal relationships do. Which is probably why I wanted to sit down with Prevo. I mean, how could a guy meet me, a perfectly rational, perfectly friendly, perfectly normal person, and think I was dangerous, that protecting my rights was anything other than fair?
MOM LEARNED OF SON'S WILD TRAIN ADVENTURE FROM MEDIA (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner): Fairbanks restaurant manager Debbie Vance -- mother of Chad Vance, the 19-year-old UAF student whose wild ride clinging to a train in Australia's Outback for more than two hours has drawn worldwide attention - says her son didn't mention the incident until after a talk show host called her. "I said, ‘What train ride?' " She said she immediately called Chad, who is spending the early summer in Australia while learning to scuba dive. "He said, ‘Well, I didn't want to worry you.' ... He's never been any problem. But he likes to have fun. So once I knew he was OK, I was fine with it. It's like him to grab the rail and say, ‘We're going for a ride.'" Click here to see the cell phone video Chad made during his ordeal.
RANKING THE CAPTAINS OF ‘DEADLIEST CATCH' (Charlie Toft, Film.com): I readily concede that everyone on "Deadliest Catch," from the most grizzled captain down to the most hopeless greenhorn, is much more brave than I will ever be. I can't take a bath without getting seasick, and yet these men face discomfort and danger on a daily basis. Still, it's only natural to have preferences, which is why I'm going to take a stab at rating the stars of the Discovery Channel series.
LETTERMAN PATHETIC, PALIN SAYS (Politico): Gov. Palin called David Letterman "pathetic" today after the CBS "Late Show" host said -- in his nightly Top 10 segment -- that Palin sports a "slutty flight attendant look." Includes video
TOP TEN HIGHLIGHTS OF GOV. PALIN'S TRIP TO NEW YORK (Late Show With David Letterman, CBS):
10. Visited New York landmarks she normally only sees from Alaska
9. Laughed at all the crazy-looking foreigners entering the U.N.
8. Made moose jerky on Rachael Ray
7. Keyed Tina Fey's car
6. After a wink and a nod, ended up with a kilo of crack
5. Made coat out of New York City rat pelts
4. Sat in for Kelly Ripa. Regis couldn't tell the difference.
3. Finally met one of those Jewish people Mel Gibson's always talking about
2. Bought makeup from Bloomingdale's to update her "slutty flight attendant" look
1. Especially enjoyed not appearing on "Letterman"
PALIN IN D.C.: Head to our Alaska Politics blog for links to coverage of Gov. Palin's appearance (low-key, as it turned out) at the GOP fundraising dinner in Washington Monday and her interview by Fox News' Sean Hannity, which aired last night. Click here for ADN's lead print piece on Palin and here for D.C. reporter Erika Boldstad's preview from the fundraiser, with a photo. We also have a gallery of photos from Palin's East Coast trip here.
AQUARIUM KEEPER GOES DEEP FOR SEA LIFE (Juneau Empire): Like a sushi chef, Rich Mattson sharpens his knife with a few deft strokes. His raw-food customers are the creatures of Douglas Island Pink and Chum's visitor center aquariums, and feeding time is the best part of the week. ... Mattson had never even had goldfish before he got this job. A poor pink return in 1993 shrank the management at DIPAC, and he went from managing salmon releases to caring for the aquarium's more than 130 species and running its education program. "People ask me when I'm going to retire - I'm over 60," Mattson said. "I say, 'Oh, I don't know.'" Includes photos
PHOTO: SAND, ICE AND SUNSHINE (Juneau Empire): Some Juneau residents enjoyed a warm, sunny Sunday sunbathing on the beach at frigid Mendenhall Lake, with Mendenhall Glacier not far away.
CIRCUMNAVIGATING THE AMERICAS: SAIL EXPEDITION BEGINS (Sail World): Ocean Watch, the Sailors for the Sea's Bruce Roberts sailing boat, long in preparation, has left on its voyage to circumnavigate the Americas. The steel cutter-rigged sailboat is on a one-of-kind mission to raise ocean awareness and spread environmental activism across two continents and departed Seattle last week, right on schedule. The 64-foot sailboat plans to take 13 months to complete its 24,000 nautical mile voyage, circumnavigating the North and South American continents, a journey that would not have been possible before the phenomenon of global warming. The yacht will make its first stop Juneau, and then go on to stop in three more Alaska ports -- Dutch Harbor, Nome and Barrow. In its journey, it will visit 11 countries and make 31 port stops, if all goes to schedule.
Return to Alaska Newsreader later in the day for new links.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM RECENT NEWSREADERS:
UAF students survives Outback train ordeal (Sunday Mail, South Australia)
Base camp chronicles from Denali (Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman)
Fisheries officials to increase subsistence patrols on Yukon (The Tundra Drums)
Southcentral's natural gas dilemma (Anchorage Press)
He shall be Levi (GQ)