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AK Beat: Todd Palin to host Sportsman's Iditarod series

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

Iditarod Unleashed gets Todd Palin to host: Sportsman Channel is set to debut its Iditarod Unleashed series Tuesday and it's getting a little help from none other than Iron Dog champ Todd Palin. Palin, the husband of half-term Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, is hosting a one-hour special introducing the race to fans. The network, which is also set to begin a show with Sarah premiering in April, is using Todd to draw viewers in to its 12 hours of Iditarod coverage. Palin cites his connections with Iditarod mushers like Martin Buser and Rick Swenson as cred for hosting the show, as well as his experience as a champion snowmachine racer. The Sportsman coverage is set to begin Tuesday at 3 p.m. Alaska time Tuesday and airs throughout the rest of the week.

March poll weighs Republican primary candidates against Begich: A poll of 750 likely Alaska voters conducted by the New Jersey firm Rasmussen Reports on March 19 and 20 found that Republican primary contender Mead Treadwell was the most favored candidate. In a hypothetical U.S.Senate election between Treadwell and incumbent Sen. Mark Begich, 47 percent of people said they would vote for Treadwell, with 43 percent for Begich. Nine percent would either vote for another candidate or were undecided. In a hypothetical general election between Dan Sullivan and Begich, results were split, with 44 percent for each candidate. A race between Joe Miller and Begich showed 38 percent for Miller and 49 percent for Begich. 

Exxon Valdez reminds Sierra Club to protest offshore drilling: The Sierra Club is citing the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez spill in an action alert urging supporters to oppose offshore Arctic oil development. Concerned citizens should mark the anniversary, the Sierra Club said, by sending a message to President Barack Obama, urging him to end offshore Arctic drilling and cancel oil and gas leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas issued to Shell and other companies. “From the Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Prince William Sound, to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, the oil industry has proven time and again it is incapable of dealing with a major oil spill -- even under the best conditions,” the alert said. But Sen. Mark Begich, a supporter of offshore Arctic drilling, said in his statement marking the Exxon Valdez anniversary that the spill was a catalyst for dramatic safety improvements. “Since that time, the oil industry in Alaska, with help and guidance from thoughtful community members from around the state, has implemented rigorous spill protection and inspection protocols.  Oil is shipped in double-hulled tankers and spill technicians stand ready to respond to any threat of a spill," he said in his statement.

Former Nanook signs with Tampa Bay: Cody Kunyk, a former center for the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Division I hockey team Alaska Nanooks, will be moving on to the professional leagues after signing a contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. The Nanooks released a video March 20 of an interview with Kunyk, who said he “couldn’t be happier” to join the team. Kunyk had multiple offers, he said, and after a “crazy” couple of days he settled on Tampa Bay. He signed a 1-year contract with the team based out of Tampa, Fla., and calling the opportunity “everything that I’ve ever dreamed of.” And he won't be the only one in the Lightning organization with Alaska connections, either. Defenseman Matt Carle and center Nate Thompson, both of Anchorage, also play for Tampa.

Don Young ain't cryin' over Steven Tyler: Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler apparently didn't want to miss a thing during his latest visit to Capitol Hill, taking time to stop by all-Alaska Congressman Don Young's office Monday to take a good look at Young's 1,300-pound stuffed Alaska brown bear. Young shared the picture on his Facebook page, sadly sans the bear or bolo ties.

Presiding judge appointed for Third District: Anchorage Superior Court Judge William F. Morse has been appointed as presiding judge of the trial courts in the Third Judicial District, according to a press release sent out by the Alaska Court System Monday. The district encompasses Southcentral Alaska, from the Canadian border to the tip of the Aleutian Islands and comprises 15 court sites, including Anchorage, which handles nearly half of all the Alaska Court System workload, the release states. In addition to his regular judicial duties, as presiding judge Morse will take on the review of budgets, supervising the assignment of cases, reviewing the operation of all trial courts, and other administrative duties. His one-year appointment will begin April 15, replacing Presiding Judge Sen K. Tan, who is heading into retirement this summer.

 

 

Black bear wolfs down egg: Life on the beach is a bitch in Alaska, at least if you're a nesting bird. A remote camera in Kenai Fjords National Park last summer captured dramatic footage of what happened to the young of a black oystercatcher nesting on a beach there. Mom strays from her nests for just seconds, but in that time, a black bear appears, wolfs down the eggs and disappears. The poor mother bird returns and looks lost as she searches for her eggs.

CORRECTION: An early version of this story mistakenly placed the events in the video in Katmai National Park and Preserve, not Kenai Fjords National Park. This story has been updated to reflect the correct location.

2014 Akiak Dash winner: On Sunday evening, John George won the 2014 Akiak Dash, bringing home $3,400 as he pulled into Bethel with seven sled dogs. The Akiak Dash, one of the series of races held by the Kuskokwim 300 Race Committee, ran from the Southcentral community of Bethel to Akiak and back to Bethel. George finished with a time of 6 hours, 39 minutes and 51 seconds. Coming in second was George Manutoli with a time of 6 hours, 45 minutes and 46 seconds. Herman Phillip took third with a time of 6 hours, 51 minutes and 24 seconds. Total purse for the race was $12,100, split between the top 10 finishers.