Alaska Ear

OMG ... Did you catch the Frontiersman story about Wasilla Councilman Steve Menard allegedly trashing a room at the Westmark Sitka hotel during a three-night stay there this month? Ear knows the fun is usually in the details but, really, darlings: "(T)wo mattresses and a chair were urinated on, vomit on the carpet ... a burned mattress, all bedding was ruined..." Yeech!

And, to really torque people off, "there had been smoking in the (nonsmoking) room."

Trashy behavior? Based on this, Steve (yes, he's Sen. Linda Menard's son) doesn't meet minimum requirements for an acceptable indoor animal. Ear happened to be reviewing the rules for service animals allowed in Anchorage schools (don't ask), which include this: "Animal does not urinate or defecate in inappropriate locations."

Steve was representing Wasilla at the Alaska Municipal League meetings, and the Wasilla City Council is scheduled to hold an executive (meaning closed to the public) meeting Monday to discuss something. Frankly, Ear has only one question: The Westmark charged him $350 for cleaning and repair, which seems like a pittance, especially since the hotel apparently had to replace mattresses and couldn't rent the room to anyone else for three days. So why are they cutting him a break?

There's a long story with lots more detail at

DO SEND A FONDU ... to Brant McGee, former head of the state Office of Public Advocacy and an official winner (in a previous century) of the "Toughest Man in Alaska" wilderness foot race. Brant and Philomena Hausler, an archaeologist and civil rights attorney, were scheduled to hook up legally Saturday. Brant's son Riley, 17, is the best man.

After leaving OPA, Brant got a master's degree at Columbia Law School and has been doing international human rights work since, including helping set up a public defender agency in Kabul plus work in Malaysia, Jordan and Peru.

As Brant pointed out, two McGees are now married to lawyers with weird names. Sister Kim is married to Venable Vermont.

TOUCHY TOUCHY ... Earwigs report a hot Coffey moment at the Huffman-O'Malley Community Council meeting Thursday night. Dan dropped by to pitch his re-write of Title 21, done on special assignment for Mayor Dan Sullivan after Coffey left his Assembly seat. During the Q&A session that followed, according to people who were there, local resident and former Planning and Zoning Commissioner John Weddleton told the group that Coffey's presentation was "one extreme view" with "many inaccuracies." Earwigs report a clearly irritated Coffey replied that if people wanted to know what was in the plan, they could get a copy and read it themselves, then stalked out.

Hmmm. Dan, who was often the smartest man in the room on Assembly night, could always dish it out but can't always take it.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK ... During a break on Dan Fagan's morning talk show last week, Fagan asked guest Sen. Mark Begich who he thinks is going to run against him for his U.S. Senate seat in 2014.

Replied the senator: "Everyone."

OLD NEWS ... Darlings, you know Ear loves to get all the latest, hottest gossip, but please stop sending names of women (like certain state legislators) allegedly dating Lite Gov. Mead Treadwell, a widower. Earwigs in the know are quite certain his true love remains lawyer Lisa Nelson, widow of former state Sen. Tim Kelly and one of the world's good people. (Not that Ear has an opinion of course.)

PERP SPLAT ... It has come to Ear's attention that the blue Subaru smashed by a fleeing felon at Northern Lights and Turnagain Wednesday belonged to U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler. After getting assurances that Karen's brother, who was driving the car at the time (Karen was in California) was not badly hurt, Karen's friends insisted it was merely a new technique in her ongoing fight against crime, executed from 2,000 miles away.

YO, YOUR HONOR ... Wasilla attorney Robin Koutchak, who lost out in a bid for appointment as a state judge, has realized her judicial ambitions -- sort of. Robin has been chosen one of the "celebrity" judges for Alaska's Got Talent at the Palmer State Fair on Sept. 1 and 3.

As Ear understands it, locals perform the first night and, on the second night those winners and winners from regional competitions around the state compete. There's a cash prize.

Robin says she's searching for "clothes to make me look like Sharon Osbourne."

A QUESTION ... How many characters does it take to make a reality show? Think McCarthy has enough? Earwigs report the owner of the lodge out there is pitching a show featuring the town and "the problems associated with running a remote business in Alaska." Nothing negative, his email to fellow residents promises.

OOPS ... An earwig who clearly has more political insight than the Omniscient Orifice wrote to say the Koch brother Karen Knutson, former chief of staff for Sen. Lisa, took a job with is not one of the wingnut Kochs. Bill apparently broke with the family, perhaps unwilling to fall off the right edge of the earth with his sibs. Or so says a helpful reader.

FLYING FACTOID ... Is Ear the last appendage to find out there's an app for the Alaska Legislature? Ear doesn't do iPad/iPhone so you'll have to check it out for yourself. Search "Alaska Legislature" in the app store. Among other things, you can apparently stream live committee meetings. In the car. In the bathroom. In bed. Oh yippee!

DO TELL ... A bunch of earwigs who actually pay attention to what's going on journeyed to the City at the Edge of Nowhere last weekend for a live broadcast of public radio's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," a comedy-news show -- and aren't they all these days. Columnist Elise Patkotak filed the following report:

"Tom Bodett was there, of course, but given his long absence from the state, it was hard to really feel like he was a local boy anymore. But Alaskans being Alaskans and desperate for any recognition that does not include our gal Temporary Sal, we applauded crazily when he was introduced. The best surprise of all was the captain from 'The Deadliest Catch,' who was both funny and charming and very real in a wonderfully Alaskan way. He said the biggest thing the show has done to change him is to cause him and his brothers to watch their language more because their mother watches the show."

Frankly, Ear liked the part where the host mispronounced Conoco and Kenai. He preferred KaNOco and Keh-NAI. Very satisfying. Ear doesn't like Outsiders getting too familiar with our ways.

Compiled by Sheila Toomey Message Sheila at Find Ear online at