Alaska Ear: A gift (6/09/13)

A GIFT ... Who says there's no political fun during a summer without a primary election? As a Midtown earwag put it, "Christmas came early:" A battle for the lite governor nomination between Mayor Dan Sullivan and Sen. Lesil McGuire. Yippee! They can hold the debate in Sullivan's bar.

ON THE MOVE ... Jennifer Castro, a former KTUU producer and recently in public relations, is the new voice of the Anchorage Police Department. She replaces the irreplaceable Dave Parker. Is it true Mayor Sullivan insisted on making the final selection? Ear is pretty sure APD used to make its own choice.

MOVED ... Newsman Bill McAllister is gone from KTVA, having resigned after being charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly using an electronic device to put a person in fear of injury or death. Public records indicate he's out on bail. A court hearing scheduled for this past week was postponed to June 24.

MOVING ... KTVA-Channel 11, which is morphing into the new GCI three-station platform (if the FCC ever approves), has reportedly decided not to keep Staci Feger as news director after the switch. Word is they've hired Bert Rudman, a producer from ABC News on the West Coast.

They're making a lot of changes over there. Current staff is reportedly being asked to stick around until the GCI buy gets the FCC's OK.

A QUESTION ... Did Alaska Airlines send Sen. Lisa the usual model plane when she qualified for their million-mile club? And how can it have taken her this long to rack up a million?

FLYING FACTOID ... In a letter to his Sitka-Ketchikan constituents, Kid Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, a Democrat, gave credit to Republicans for helping him bring home the bacon.

BECAUSE WE MUST ... Just when we thought Bristol Palin was going to break the family tradition of mixing massive ego with minuscule TV talent, ABC announced that Bristol is starring in an episode of "Celebrity Wife Swap." She and Willow (her sister) swapped with Joan Rivers and her daughter, Melissa. (See Kyle Hopkins' story.)

The Palin women moved into the Rivers' Los Angeles home; the Rivers moved to Willow (the city). Joan and Melissa took care of 4-year-old Tripp. It's unclear what the Palins did. The show airs June 23.

OK, so what is the Omniscient Orifice missing here? Is there a "wife" in the pack? Not Bristol. Did Willow get spliced while we weren't looking? The Rivers are ex and former wives.

And of course, there's always the existential question: Why? As in, why does this show exist? Why does anyone watch it? Just FYI, the other "stars" scheduled to wife swap this season include Nia Peeples and Tiffany; and Ric Flair's girlfriend switching with Rowdy Roddy Piper's wife.

No, darlings, Retro Ear has no idea who any of these people are. Ear mentions all this because, as you know, we're legally required to keep track of the Palins.

OUT AND ABOUT ... Spotted on a flight to Hawaii Thursday, Ted Mala, headed for the big King Kamehameha celebration there this weekend. Ted explained that attendance is part of his responsibilities as the first Alaskan inducted into the Royal Order of Kamehameha. Ear is assured it's a big deal in the islands.

A former commissioner, Ted is currently director of traditional healing and tribal relations for Southcentral Foundation.

OUTSIDERS ... Virgin America airline papered the world last week with a press release about its "new seasonal flights to Anchorage." Summer only.

OK so far,

However, it goes on to promise "Mood-lit flights take off to the land of Northern Lights."

So, northern lights in the summer are, what? Sun rays? The "open" sign at Pepe's? (If they have one.) And don't you suspect that "mood-lit" was "moon-lit" until someone noticed?

How is a plane "mood lit" for summer Alaska anyhow? All the lights on bright?

Just askin'.

WOW ... Heidi Barker and Steve Carwile gave their son, Nick Carwile, a trip to NYC when he graduated from Polar K-12 last month. Nick, 18, already has a professional photography business here, Clearwater Productions. So naturally he started clicking when nature visited a massive thunder storm on the Big Apple -- along with lightening bolts from Zeus himself, crashing among the skyscrapers..

Like most born-Alaskans, Nick had never seen anything like it, said mom. He made a picture from the 16th-floor Washington Square apartment where he was staying.

Snapped just as a massive bolt caught the brand new spire of the rebuilt World Trade Center, his photo has gone viral. New York newspapers and television love it, for good reason. Check it out here. It's also at Huffington Post and many other sites.

DRESSING UP ... It's almost time for the toniest fundraiser of the season, the Alaska Pacific University Gatsby-style gala for 500 at a warehouse on the Kulis campus.

Up for grabs -- in exchange for winning bids -- a seven-day African safari that starts with a flight on Emirates to Cape Town, S.A., a private jet trip to Napa vineyards, a silver 2013 Mercede E350 with a $67,000 sticker price. Plus a wine collection, all kinds of art, a dinner in your home prepared by Kikkan Randall and her teammates, and so on. Plus a bunch of silent auction items.

It all happens June 19.

Compiled by Sheila Toomey. Message Sheila at 257-4341 or

Sheila Toomey,