Alaska News

Alaska Ear

CHECK WHISPERER . . . It's the best quote of the year, so far. Yes, it's only April, but still hard to imagine anyone besting this gem from Rep. John Harris, R-Valdez, for the 2010 trophy.

Harris is apparently able to commune with the recently departed, and reports they're happy. Here's his comment on a new law letting some dead people get a PFD:

"I've had six or seven people in my district that have died just in the last year that wanted to qualify and couldn't," Harris told reporter Sean Cockerham. "They'll be very pleased that this bill passed."

Check Sean's story at for details.

NONE OF OUR BIZ . . . Rep. Charisse Millett, R-Gorgeous, apparently has a sense of humor about her colleagues' obsessive interest in her personal life, including feverish speculation about whether she and Rep. Kyle Johansson, R-Ketchikan, are going to get married to each other. Last week she flashed a big smile and a humongous "diamond" ring for a camera -- a "diamond" that was too big to be anything but glass -- or one of the Queen's crown jewels. Or?

ON THE BUS NOW . . . John Bitney, who was instrumental in getting Sarah elected, then survived very nicely after she tossed him under the bus, is reportedly in line to run Lisa Murkowski's senatorial re-election campaign. Or so Valley earwigs report.

Bitney, currently chief of staff for Rep. Harris, politely declined to say one way or the other.


REALITY TV . . . Speaking of humor: Lawmakers and staff waiting in their offices Monday night for a much-delayed floor session to get started were treated to a little of what can happen when people forget the cameras are still running.

The scene on TV screens for hours all over the Capitol building was the empty House chamber. Suddenly, amused earwigs report, Rep. Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks, appears, alone. He sits in Rep. Beth Kerttula's chair, which is at the front of the chamber.

She's House Minority Leader.

That's enough of a no-no. Then, to make matters worse, he takes out a bunch of food and starts eating at her desk. By now, everyone in the building not in a caucus is glued to their TVs.

In maybe one minute, Kerttula, D-Juneau, shows up, admonishes Kawasaki "dramatically" (Beth obviously knew about the cameras), shooshes him out of her chair and walks him by his ear to his own desk in the back of the room.

It was a good laugh for Earwigs who had to sit around waiting for a 9 p.m. floor session. Presumably "Gavel to Gavel" has the tape if you're interested.

ANOTHER QUESTION . . . Is it true that the music played in the final days during recesses at the House Finance Committee was the theme from "Titanic," apparently in honor of the cruise ship tax bill?

LEGISLATURES PAST . . . For a depressing moment, check out a video produced by Alaska Dispatch featuring Andrew Halcro and actor Dick Reichman re-enacting a June 5, 2006, phone call from then-state Sen. Ben Stevens to still unconvicted Veco boss Bill Allen. The transcript is taken from recent court filings in the interminable Vic Kohring appeal.

Kohring's appeal point is not obvious, except that maybe no one mentions his name. At one point, Allen complains to Ben that "The only two guys I can really trust down there is you and Pete Kott."

DO SEND A FONDU . . . to John Letourneau, accountant to the stars, and attorney Donna Goldsmith. Earwigs say the wedding is set for July.

OUT AND ABOUT . . . Anchorage First Lady Lynette Sullivan was a big hit at the museum fundraiser last weekend when she showed up with snaky silver necklaces from Portfolio for all the ladies at her table, which included artist Marieke Heatwole. The theme was Star Wars. The invitation advised "Sci-fi black tie."

• Spotted Friday having dinner at the Double Musky in Girdwood, ex-Sports Illustrated super model Elle Macpherson. Earwigs say it's true, that she was here for the skiing, with Chugach Powder Guides. But that can't be right, right? Winter's over. Right?

OUTSIDE STARS . . . Former Daily News writer and editor Kim Severson, now a food critic for The New York Times, has taped an appearance for the popular Rachael Ray show to talk about Kim's new book, "Spoon Fed." The book chronicles Kim's battles with her personal demons, including drinking, and focuses on how eight women, mostly famous chefs, helped her deal.

It's hard to tell from the Rachael Ray website, but it looks like the segment will air Friday.

FLYING FACTOID . . . Mary Louise Rasmuson turned 99 on April 11. As proof that she still has all her faculties, and then some, she celebrated it in Palm Springs instead of here in endless winter, slush and gloom.

D-LESS . . . Assemblyman Patrick Flynn and wife, attorney Tina Grovier, report agreement on whether their new son's name should be Kylan or Kyland. The "d" lost. It's Kylan Antony Patrick Grovier Flynn. No "h" in Antony either.

Is Ear the only one who thinks this kid has too many names? Imagine him filling in the little boxes on applications or computer forms.


POLICE BEAT . . . From the best-written police briefs in Alaska, probably the best in the world. Almost makes Ear yearn to get arrested in Unalaska.

"Tue - "0033 - Liquor Law Violation - Officer advised a bar patron who was having difficulty getting his glass to his mouth that he was not allowed to remain on the premises. The inebriate, after determining that the officer was speaking English, agreed to leave.

"0603 - Disorderly Conduct - Officer assisted Westward Security with a boor whose continued racial epithets had evolved into threats towards coworkers whose looks were dissimilar to his own. The xenophobic oaf was terminated from his employment."

Compiled by Sheila Toomey. Message Sheila at or 257-4341. Find Ear online at