Ear bids Alaska adieu

BAD ROAD TRIP . . . Legislators are used to crummy travel conditions on the annual trip to Juneau -- the session always starts in January, so what do they expect? But after their trek south this past week, Anchorage Reps. Andy Josephson and Geran Tarr may actually regret being elected.

As earwigs tell the story: Traveling in separate vehicles, they both got to Tok Sunday night. On Monday morning, Andy found his car battery frozen inert by the minus-30 temperatures -- and no jumper cables. Geran had cables and jump-started Andy's car.

Later, 50 miles south of Haines Junction, in the Yukon Territory, Andy came upon Geran, her car dead at the side of the road. He shuffled things around in his already packed vehicle and Geran, her two cats and some necessary belongings squeezed in. They made it to the Haines-Juneau ferry on time.

According to Tarr, the Haines tow truck driver who eventually rescued her car reported "30 miles of whiteout ... and when they finally got to my car it was buried under several feet of snow."

lt's a lot of trouble for our lovely lawmakers to get to the capital but we understand how worthwhile it is, especially this session, when they'll get to spend our billions to build a cool gas line and a bridge we don't need -- zillion-dollar projects from the people who gave us the Port of Anchorage, the Seward Grain Terminal, the Delta Barley Project, the Mat Maid Dairy and a long list of others. What fun!

BUM STEER . . . Early arrivals for the legislative session, which begins Tuesday in Juneau, were grateful to find that soft toilet paper is back in Capitol men's rooms. An earwig compared last year's choice as akin to "sheets of cash register tape."

POW! ... Contrary to persistent rumor, Sen. Lesil McGuire is actually campaigning for the Republican Lite Gov nomination. She's running against Mayor Dan. The senator was down in Ketchikan Wednesday, talking to the Chamber of Commerce, laying waste to "city slick" Sullivan in a hard-hitting analysis of his fitness for office. As the Ketchikan Daily News reported:

"McGuire said she loved fishing, hunting and flying, while she said Sullivan wore blue suits and owned an electric lawnmower."

FOLLOW THE MONEY? . . . Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell is ahead in votes, former Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan is ahead in money, and everyone's wondering what Honor Code Joe Miller is going to do. That's the gist of happenings this week in the Republican primary race for U.S. senator. That one gets decided in August.

An Ivan Moore poll reported that Treadwell would win if the election were held now. The results were Treadwell, 34.1 percent; Sullivan, 28.5 percent; and Miller, 19.4 percent.

On the other hand, Politico reported Tuesday that Sullivan blew Treadwell out of the water in the money hunt. Quarterly reports show he raked in $1.2 million to Mead's $327,000. Miller had $32,000 plus $288,000 already on hand.

NEVER MIND . . . So a guy's driving down a street in Turnagain and spots another guy in a pickup driving along but stopping occasionally to pull Bill Walker for Governor signs out of snow berms in front of about 15 houses. First guy finally braces the sign stealer: "I don't know who you think you are but I don't think Bill Walker would appreciate what you are doing!" he says.

At which point candidate Bill Walker introduces himself, and explains that the signs were temporary directions for people headed to his fundraiser at Ermalee Hickel's house. (And presumably chalked up another Walker for Gov vote).

NO COMMENT . . . Rasmuson Foundation CEO Diane Kaplan is taking cross country skiing lessons from Olympian Nina Kemppel, now CEO of the Alaska Humanities Forum. Nina is training Kaplan for a race around the Midtown speed skating oval against Girl Scouts CEO Sue Perles, the former North American speed skating champion.

OOPS . . . Yes, readers who pointed out that last week's Lite Gov debate took place at the YWCA, not the YMCA, were correct, and very nice about it.

OUT AND ABOUT . . . Spotted in town for the Indigenous World Film Festival Friday and Saturday at the Native Heritage Center, actress Elaine Miles, best known for her role as Marilyn Whirlwind, Rob Morro's Tlingit sidekick in the no-longer-airing TV show "Northern Exposure." The festival screened Miles' new film, "Universal VIP."

An earwig who sits in the dark a lot said it was Miles' first visit to the real Alaska, as opposed to the one invented Outside for the show.

END OF AN ERA . . . Alas darlings, the time has come for us to part. This will be the last Alaska Ear column.

What? You thought it was going to last forever? How would you like to spend 30 years swimming in Alaska politics?


To continue:

Born July 27, 1977, created by former ADN editor Stan Abbott, Ear was loosely modeled on a similar column in the Washington Star and promised "juicy tidbits you can't live without." The first column had items about pilots Red Dodge and Ace Dodson going fishing with John Denver, Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus visiting Anchorage and the exciting news that "Star Wars" was coming to the Polar I.

Reporter John Lindback took over the column for a few years, and yours truly assumed the awesome responsibility in 1983. The Divine Appendage vanished for a while in the late '90s, killed by an editor who thought it was beneath us -- but he wasn't an Alaskan and didn't understand that we ... well, never mind. He went away. Ear came back. But this really is the end.

It's been a fun run but eventually even the most omniscient orifice realizes that "everything that is happening now has happened before and will happen again" (to quote the Cylons), and it's time to move on to new adventures.

A million thanks to the scores of earwigs who contributed to the column over the decades. And, of course, it wouldn't have been possible, or necessary, without our d'Ear public servants -- so many of them served Ear so well (special thanks to Don Young, Congressman for All Alaskans Except Ear and a Few Others).

In the words of the One all Ears revere: Live long and prosper.

Compiled by Sheila Toomey. E-mail ear@adn.com. Find Ear online at adn.com/ear.