Dumping a new dump: The controversy over dumping shredded, unrecyclable construction waste in an old Palmer area gravel pit moves closer to an end. The borough assembly voted 4-3 to deny an application by Central Monofill Services (CMS) to create a new pile of trash along the Glenn Highway.
Trimming the fat: The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that Alaska's efforts to reduce its youth obesity rate are getting some government attention. The most recent data in the Center for Disease Control's pleasantly-named Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report notes a decline in the overall obesity rate in Anchorage and Mat-Su students from its peak in the early 2000s. Alaska Dispatch reported on similar statistics about a year ago. While the decline good news, the bad news is that Alaska Native students and students from lower socioeconomic classes didn't see a drop in obesity with the rest of the population.
Puzzle Master: Will Shortz, whose work you've probably seen, has been making the rounds in Alaska and blogging about his experiences at the travel site Gadling. Shortz, who has for decades edited perhaps the world's most famous crossword puzzle at the New York Times, is also apparently a fanatic for another type of game: table tennis. Gadling notes that Shortz is a ping-pong "fanatic," and his blog is a weird trip from Juneau to Anchorage and Homer with stops along the way to get some paddle-work in. Apparently Alaska has a surprisingly robust table tennis scene. Who knew?
Be on the lookout: Anchorage police report that video evidence has revealed the vehicle responsible for a recent hit-and-run on an Anchorage couple was a mid-size red SUV, not a red sedan, as had previously been reported. "The suspect driver has been described as a black male adult, about 5'7" around 30 years of age, with short 'buzz cut' hair," the APD said. "The passenger was an adult male, his race unknown." Call APD at 907-786-8900 or Crime Stoppers at 907-561-STOP if you have any information.
Tier One, Tier Two, Tier Buckle My Shoe: The state of Alaska has picked two new companies to administer its employee insurance plans, according to the Department of Administration. Aetna gets the health insurance plans for PERS, TRS, JRS, and EPORS retirees and certain state employees, and Moda Health, formerly Oregon Dental Service (ODS), gets the state's dental plan.
Vanishing glacier: Though much of Alaska's ice might be stubbornly clinging near shore after this year's unusual spring, elsewhere in the state the ice is on the decline. Check out this NASA image of the retreat of Bear Glacier on the Kenai Peninsula over the last 20 years or so. It took about 140 years -- between the early 1800s and the mid 1900s -- to recede only 400 meters. In the 15 years between 1995 and 2010, three kilometers of glacier disappeared.
Contact Alaska Dispatch editors at info(at)alaskadispatch.com