PARTY ... Earwigs report a bunch of Cowper administration people are planning a 25th reunion for former cronies of the High Plains Drifter -- two parties, apparently. Tentative dates mentioned are Aug. 15 in Fairbanks and Aug. 17 in Anchorage. Cowper was elected in 1986 after defeating Gov. Bill Sheffield in the Democratic primary, following Sheffield's non-impeachment scandal. But Cowper didn't like the job much and announced 20 months before his term was up that he wouldn't run again.
Hey, at least he didn't quit.
ON THE MOVE ... Jim Lottsfeldt is putting his Lottsfeldt Strategies ad agency on the market and moving full time to lobbying. In the past, he's mostly lobbied the Anchorage Assembly on behalf of clients like the IBEW and firefighters, but the flesh-pressing biz has taken off so he'll be flying to Juneau and putting the arm on legislators as well come January.
Earwigs know his agency's work mostly from those great ACS ads he did until ACS took its ad work out of state.
OOPS ... Earwigs who attended the Arctic Imperative Conference in Girdwood last week were amused when billionaire David Rubenstein -- co-founder of the Carlyle Group and, according to Forbes, the 148th richest person in the U.S. -- said he had a very early opportunity to invest in Facebook but decided not to when he heard it would be a social networking site where people could learn what others are doing. Nah, he figured, it'll never work. Rubenstein is married to Alaska Dispatch owner Alice Rogoff.
DO SEND A FONDU ... Earwigs report Loretta Bullard, CEO of Kawerak Inc., the tribal nonprofit for the Bering Strait region, and Roy Ashenfelter, her significant other of 30 years (yes, 30 years!), plan to marry on July 21. Hey, guys, no rush.
A QUESTION ... Does the APU fundraiser auction on Wednesday, hosted by zillionaire Bob Gillam, really include a 1933 Rolls Royce in mint condition, with a minimum bid of $55,000? And the use of a jet plane for a weekend? Earwigs say the pricey event will be held in Gillam's hangar at the airport -- the big airport.
ANOTHER QUESTION ... If you were going to promote the beauties of Juneau to tourists, would you run a photo of Anchorage to attract Web cruisers? Ear loves Anchortown but beautiful it ain't.
Check it out for yourself. It's a small photo, so maybe the Omniscient Orifice is (gasp) wrong. See the photo here.
ONCE UPON A TIME ... Rich Wooten, assistant to the executive director of the Alaska Health Care Commission, decided it was time to ask his girlfriend, Stephanie Reloza, a teacher at College Gate Elementary School, to marry him. But how to do it ... "Everything I do, I want to be original," he explained to Ear.
Wooten is a runner, one of those crazy people who run up mountains for fun. Stephanie is relatively sane. She does not run up mountains but she goes to cheer him on, which involves hiking partway up the trail where she can shout, "Go, Rich!" and take pictures.
The Bird Ridge Mountain Race was looming. Aha, thought Rich, or something equally as deep. He took his mother to shop for a ring -- really -- and lined up friends to shoot a video. He swore everyone to secrecy.
It went off perfectly, according to Steph. "He comes up the mountain, then he disappears from my viewfinder." He drops to one knee, digs the ring out of a pocket in his shorts and says, "Stephanie Reloza (gasp, gasp), will you (gasp) marry me (gasp)?"
She's stunned. She starts crying. "He had to ask me twice." The wedding is next June in Maui.
Ear has always believed that jocks are unromantic, but Rich summed up the special moment with the heartfelt passion of a Keats or Byron:
"She was totally worth sacrificing the one or two minutes I lost off the race," he said.
SAY IT ISN'T SO ... Have you always suspected our Legislature is not quite as smart as the rest of us? Well, The Chronicle of Higher Education says you're wrong. According to a published report, 32 percent of Alaska lawmakers have a bachelor's degree, compared to 17 percent of Alaska residents in general.
Frankly, Ear is depressed.
IF ONLY ... Katie Hurley, one of the few remaining players from Alaska's Constitutional Convention, turned 90 in March. Three good friends who either missed the party or didn't get enough gathered at a B&B in the Valley last weekend just to hang and reminisce -- one from Boston, one from Orlando and one from Anchorage. A great time was had by all until the second night, says Kathy Wisthoff, from Anchorage.
At 11:30 p.m., the four were sitting in their shared room chatting in normal tones when the manager or owner knocked on the door and told them "quiet hour" began at 10 and they needed to stop making a ruckus. Huh? they said. We're not making any noise. But they continued their conversation in whispers, Kathy said.
Not good enough apparently. About 20 minutes later, the manager, now visibly angry, knocked on the door and told them they were not being quiet as instructed and had to leave.
Huh? In the middle of the night? They refused to leave. The manager said she was going to call the troopers and have them thrown out.
Of course, Ear was initially suspicious. Let's face it, if Katie Hurley wants to be rowdy, she is perfectly capable, 90 or not. But this is Kathy's story and she swears there was no untoward noise.
Now here's the "if only" part: The women negotiated a truce by offering to turn out the lights and go to bed. If only they had told the manager to go ahead and call the troopers, how much fun would that have been? Can you see AST ordering four ladies, including an Alaska icon, out into the night for rowdiness?
Kathy says she regrets not calling the manager's bluff. Ear regrets not getting to write the news story -- it would have been world-class, worthy of the Unalaska police blotter.