Alaska Ear: Coded message? (3/3/13)

CODED MESSAGE? . . . Darlings, wasn't it nice of the local Division of Elections office to send "a note of thanks" to people who worked at the polls? In addition to a normal thank you, the letter offered this little poem: So, as a token of our appreciation (but without much fuss) we want you to relax and enjoy a cup of tea on us!

Enclosed in the letter was a real tea bag. Nothing touchy-feely. Just Lipton's. A cute gesture, right?

Sorry -- this is Alaska. The guy who runs elections is running for the U.S. Senate and twisting so far right he's giving himself a hernia. As was inevitable, the debate rages: Was this a not-very-subtle invitation to a "tea party?"

Maybe yes, maybe no. Maybe it's just further proof that no good deed goes unpunished.

OUT AND ABOUT . . . Ben Nageak, the new representative from Barrow, spotted in the halls of power proudly sporting a polar bear claw necklace.

Pointing out that Kodiak bears have bigger claws: Rep. Alan Austerman, R-Kodiak.

MIRACLE CURE? . . . Ho-hum, darlings. Some people are all bent out of shape about the mayor not showing up for a meeting with Anchorage-area legislators from both parties. The assembled group was apparently told His Honor was sick with a case of laryngitis.

Alas, it's a small town, d'Ears. Any number of earwigs reported seeing the mayor partying later that day, not seemingly sick. On the other hand, a person can party without talking, right?

QUESTION . . . Ever wonder what soldiers have on their minds when they get home from war? Fort Wainwright issued the following notice Tuesday: "More babies are expected to be born on post in the first half of this year than all of 2012. The baby boom coincides with the return of the 1st Stryker Brigade, 25th Infantry Division last spring. The post-deployment baby boom was anticipated by hospital staff and confirmed when the lab recorded 90 positive pregnancy tests in one day."

THAT'S OK, THEN . . . After a gas leak was found last week in the East Barrow field, one of several that provide the city with natural gas, a North Slope official reassured the populace. "The levels are low enough that there's no risk for an immediate explosion," he said.

FLYING FACTOID . . . A state lawyer told Ear that if called upon to brief the Legislature on a state law attempting to outlaw enforcement of federal gun laws, he would point them to the court decision that settled the issue: Grant v. Lee, Appomattox Court House, 1865.

THE BALD TRUTH . . . Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka, who is 24 and basically bald, is apparently dissatisfied with the House Minority Caucus and wants one of his own. Here's an excerpt from a letter to Sen. Hollis French -- also follicly challenged: "I invite you to join the inaugural Hair Caucus. This week's agenda: (1) "Shine: Angelic or Distracting?" (presentation by Rep. Isaacson), (2) "Staying Warm: Tips & Tricks" (Rep. Gara), (3) "Bald Eagle: Great National Emblem or Greatest National Emblem?" (Sen. Bishop), and (4) advanced seminar from 'hair' celebrities Vic Fischer and Mr. Clean."

Alors, will somebody please give this guy a committee assignment!

END OF AN ERA . . . The big white Atwood mansion in Turnagain has been sold, reportedly to an oil company executive for $1.25 million. It was owned by the Atwood Foundation, which used it for public events after Bob Atwood died. The final public event was Wednesday, a good-bye and fundraiser for the UAA Atwood journalism chair.

About 60 people showed up. Among the speakers were David Tobin, son of Atwood right hand Bill Tobin, UA regent Fuller Cowell and current Atwood professor Mike Doogan.

Professor Doogan? How cool is that?

GET WITH THE PROGRAM . . . Bill Walker, the in-state gas line advocate who actually knows what he's talking about, has signed up to do a weekly show on the state's three ABC TV stations -- Channel 13 here. The show is called "On Point" and will be about -- you guessed it -- energy. Catch it Sundays at 10, starting tonight.

To quote the announcement from news director Lori Tipton, the program "will be politically driven, centered around both federal and state governments' efforts, or lack thereof."

Bill is a lawyer, a former Valdez mayor and gubernatorial candidate.

If he really does his thing, this could be fun.

BAND OF BROTHERS . . . Well, not technically. Spank the Dog, a group that plays surprisingly good music for a bunch of politically connected friends, played at the Hangar Ballroom in Juneau Wednesday for a Wounded Warriors and American Heroes fundraiser. The band's members change but it's usually lobbyists John Bitney and Paul Fuhs, lawmakers Dan Saddler and Pete Kelly, and whoever else shows up.

The surprise show-up for this one was UA President (and former general) Pat Gamble, who claimed to not have played in a zillion years.

(Earwigs in attendance offered no reviews of his performance.)


Compiled by Sheila Toomey Message Sheila