Alaska News

Alaska Ear

GO TEAM ... Elmendorf Air Force Base is one of two finalists for the Air Force's "Installation Excellence Award," neck-and-neck with Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. The brass came north to inspect Elmendorf last week but Public Affairs Specialist Stephen Lee says there's no firm date to announce the winner.

There are seven criteria, Lee said, things like productivity, improvement and quality. So, why is this a big deal?

Because the prize is $1 million.

Alas, they can't spend it on a giant party, Lee said. It's for a "quality-of-life project." Hmmmm. Quality of life. Winter in Alaska. The airmen ought to take another look at that big party idea.

HIS DUDENESS ... MSNBC finally got those e-mails it FOI'd from the reign of She Who Was Governor. They report nearly 3,000 pages are messages to and from Todd. MSNBC's conclusion: The e-mails "draw a picture of a Palin administration where the governor's husband got involved in a judicial appointment, monitored contract negotiations with public employee unions, received background checks on a corporate CEO, added his approval or disapproval to state board appointments and passed financial information marked 'confidential' from his oil company employer to a state attorney." Well, at least someone was paying attention.

HIS DON-NESS ... Earwigs dressed up and partied hardy last week in celebration of "Don Hunter Day." Well, maybe not. But Jan. 27 was officially so designated by Mayor Dan Sullivan to note the retirement of Hunter, a Daily News icon who began his reporting career 33 years ago covering Dan's father, Mayor George Sullivan.

The mayor appreciated that Don was always "approachable, reliable and objective." See the full proclamation below.


FOR SALE, MAYBE ... TVNewsCheck is reporting that KTVA-Channel 11 is for sale. The local CBS affiliate's parent company, Affiliated Media, is in Chapter 11 and is putting its broadcast properties on the block. (It's mostly a newspaper outfit, i.e., the Denver Post and San Jose Mercury News, among others.) Alarmed at a possible threat to "The Mentalist," "The Good Wife," various NCIS's and, of course, Letterman, Ear called general manager Jerry Bever, who seemed pretty calm. Affiliated wants to reorganize and get out of Chapter 11 as quickly as possible, he explained. Dealing with FCC licensing regulations just slows things down. So KTVA and a couple of radio stations in Texas are being put in something called a "liquidating trust" that will look for buyers and, well, we'll see what happens. Meanwhile, local management will keep running things.

DIFFERENT POT ... Sen. Lesil McGuire's office wrote to straighten out Ear on who's paying for her trip to the Winter Olympics. The state won't buy the tickets. True, the state gave $50,000 to a joint venture of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (Lesil is president) and the Vancouver Organizing Committee (Ear is told Oregon gave $100,000, and Washington $75,000), but that money is to help get Alaska's message out to the vast audience that watches the Olympics. It's actually PNWER that's paying Lesil's way, her staff says, not the state.

POLITICAL WET WORK ... An earwig doing time at the Capitol reports the urinal in the fourth floor men's room was shut down on the first day of the legislative session. "It is a busy location," he told Ear, "especially in the hour after the first pots of coffee get poured."

On Thursday he was told to find out why it was still shut down. When he inquired, he was told the urinal pipes were leaking onto the third floor, where the governor's offices are.

To which he replied -- he swears he did -- "Why is that a problem? We've been pissing on them for years."

OUT AND ABOUT ... Dan Fagan hosted his $25-a-head "town hall" meeting over the lunch hour Thursday and buried nay-sayers who predicted it would be a bust. "We sold out," reports Dan. The format? Dan cruised the floor with a mic and everybody argued about energy.

ON THE MOVE ... Long-time reporter Margie Bauman has parted company with The Alaska Journal of Commerce. Margie isn't saying why, but a friendly earwig says it was over editorial differences.

THE BAND PLAYS ON ... Ira Perman and Bob Bell co-sponsoring a fundraiser for the same politician? Somebody's head will surely explode. The event is called "Left, Right, Center." It's for former Democrat Ernie Hall, now trying to unseat Anchorage Assemblyman and current Democrat Matt Claman. It's Thursday at a "center" house belonging to CPA Carla Bassler.

TAKING THE BAIT ... Fishy earwigs from Kodiak report Bill Walker, Republican candidate for governor, and Ethan Berkowitz, Democratic candidate for governor, are the first pols to commit to the big fisheries debate that takes place on the Big Island during Crab Fest in May. The debate is always a test of who knows what about commercial fishing, one of Alaska's economic big three. Locals have been known to find the candidates' fish knowledge, shall we say, amusing.

Compiled by Sheila Toomey. Find Ear online at Contact Sheila at 257-4341 (message phone) or e-mail

The mayor's proclamation

WHEREAS, Don Hunter, venerable, long-time reporter at the Anchorage Daily News, spent 33 years reporting on city government; and

WHEREAS, Don Hunter was a cub reporter under Mayor George Sullivan, and learned the ins and outs of local government while making a name for himself as a tough but fair reporter; and

WHEREAS, the citizenry of Anchorage came to know and trust Don's reporting as balanced, unbiased and comprehensive; and

WHEREAS, employees of the Municipality of Anchorage, regardless of political affiliation, have always found Don to be an approachable, reliable and objective member of the media; and

WHEREAS, Don has likely attended more Assembly meetings than anyone else in Anchorage; and

WHEREAS, Don will retire from the Anchorage Daily News today; and


WHEREAS, the community will miss Don's reporting but nonetheless wishes him well in his future endeavors,

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Dan Sullivan, Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, do hereby proclaim January 27, 2010 as


in Anchorage, and hereby urge citizens to recognize and appreciate Don's hard work, which has made for a more informed public.