State bird watching: And you thought the mosquitos were bad in your part of Alaska? Take heart Alaskans! No matter where you live, chances are, the bugs aren't as numerous as they are along the Haul Road. A picture posted on Alyeska Pipeline Service Company's Facebook page shows a worker for Houston Contacting Company, quite literally, covered in mosquitoes. A full face net and thick sweatshirt don't seem to be deterring the bugs, as they swarm the unidentified man near Atigun Pass, the highest point on the Dalton Highway as it snakes its way north toward Prudhoe Bay and Alaska's oil patch.
Alaska Airlines hikes its checked-bag fees: Beginning Oct. 30, Alaska Airlines will raise checked-bag fees to $25 for the first two bags, and $75 after that. That's up from the current price of $20 a bag. The airline also said it was raising fees for ticket changes to $125. The addition fees are expected to increase the company's revenue by $50 million, but Alaskans can still check two bags free of charge, for travel to and from the Last Frontier -- if they sign up for the popular Club 49 program.
Will Army blame Fairbanks fire on global warming, too? Don't say we didn't warn you. The liberal think tank, ThinkProgress, looks at the Stuart Creek 2 fire through the lens of climate change, focusing on Alaska's epic run of warm weather last month as a cause instead of the human hubris that's believed to have sent morethan 80,000 acres of Interior Alaska up in smoke. True, it was warm in Alaska last month, record-breaking warm, but that followed the snowiest winter in history and a seriously chilly summer, last year, which of course transitioned into a winter so long, so cold and so weird that snow was still falling the third week of May.
SC newspaper reports on Alaska aviation tragedy: The State newspaper out of Columbia, S.C., looks into what the victims in Sunday's deadly plane crash at Soldotna Municipal Airport were doing in Alaska, where they were going and how they came to be aboard the Rediske Air de Havilland Otter. The McManuses and the Antonakoses of Greenville were heading to Bear Mountain Lodge on Chinitna Bay in Lake Clark National Park with high hopes of bear viewing, according to the paper. The Antonakos family had chosen Alaska over their usual vacation destination, Myrtle Beach, Fla. The McManus clan's patron, Dr. Chris McManus, was a past president of the American College of Radiology's South Carolina chapter.
Meanwhile, the New York Times notes media focused on San Francisco: What's up with the lack of national interest in one of the deadliest airplane crashes in Alaska for decades, in which nine people from South Carolina were killed? Alaska residents in Soldotna and Nikiski, grieving the death of local pilot and airplane charter owner Willie Rediske, can thank Asiana Airlines for putting an untested pilot "in training" at the helm of the San Francisco-bound Boeing 777 that's become a national media obsession. The Gray Lady's Lede blog notes that the Alaska crash had five times as many fatalities. Of course, there's infinitely more media to report on the watery plane spectacle in California's tech Mecca.