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March 30, 2015

  • Yellow-rumped Warbler, Spring Migration, Delta Barley Project

    Bird of the Week – Yellow-rumped Warbler

    By far the most common warbler in the boreal forest, the Yellow-rumped Warbler, the “Butter-Butt,” prefers the canopy, the tops of trees. As a result, it’s probably the most common cause of “birder’s neck,” neck strain from looking straight overhead. The species winters in the southern United States and Central America. The Yellow-rumped Warbler has two different forms: the Audubon’s and the Myrtle. They were once thought be be separate species, but were “lumped” into a single species a little while back. Alaska sees the Myrtle Warbler form. Camera geek stuff: f8, 1/640, ISO6400. For more bird photos, please visit Frozen…

  • Quiet

    Quiet, 26 Years After the Spill

    Several years ago Shannyn Moore, Jeanne Devon and I went out to Prince William Sound [read the post from Jeanne Devon] on an assignment from BBC World Service. We were sent for the odd request that could only come from a international news agency like the BBC… gather sound. They didn’t need video, or pictures, just sound. BBC had certainly been there before and had much in their catalogue to make it sound like their reporter was in Alaska – but they were looking for sound from right then. It was July 4th weekend so instead of BBQ and beer the…

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    The Weekend Off – News You Missed

    Alaska KTVA – Anchorage mayoral candidate threatens to sue media Mayoral candidate Dan Coffey has stated he doesn’t want the public to hear a private conversation he had with current Anchorage Assembly member Bill Starr back in 2008. The conversation with Starr was recorded onto an answering machine. ADN – State sells $4 billion in stocks because it may need the cash before long The state is liquidating about $4 billion of long-term investments in stocks because it may need the money soon and can’t afford the risk of a market decline. The need to draw billions from the Constitutional Budget…

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    Coffey Tape Reveals Illegal Donations (AUDIO)

    The following is a press release from Michigan public radio reporter, and former Anchorage radio personality Aaron Selbig. The audio tape is the subject of this week’s Alaska Dispatch News, and Mudflats column by Shannyn Moore. Her commentary can be found HERE. *** The audiotape of former Anchorage Assembly members Dan Coffey and Bill Starr discussing illegal campaign contributions first aired February 26, 2008 on the Aaron Selbig Show on KUDO 1080AM. It was later replayed by KUDO hosts Camille Conte and Shannyn Moore. The tape came to Selbig after it was recorded on the home answering machine of former…

  • spill_beans

    Coffey Spilled the Beans Long Ago

    Anchorage mayoral candidate Dan Coffey has a problem — a big problem. I’m not sure if it’s a medical issue that has affected his memory of events over the last decade or so, or if it’s just way easier for him to pretend some of the things he’s done or said didn’t happen. Shall we climb into the not-so-way-back machine? Oh, it was an exciting time, and I was in the middle of it. We’re only going back to 2008 — for now. There was this wonderful character named Alan Tesche. He was an assemblyman and used to get on…

Headlines

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Palin Outraged Clinton Pulled a Palin

Mar 5, 2015

Sarah Palin, whom shame and decency dictate should be hiding out somewhere in the back of a dark deep cave with a bag over her head this week, is instead standing on the tippy top of Mt. Hypocrisy with a giant bullhorn yelling, “Look at me!” Should any of us be surprised? No. Was I still a little surprised? A little. Apparently the thought of raking Hillary Clinton (whom Palin thanked in 2008 for putting “16 million cracks in the glass ceiling”) over the political coals was just too tempting, just too enticing to put in check her own conscience, or…

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The Weekend Off – News You Missed

Mar 2, 2015

Alaska ADN – Application for Russia’s Arctic shelf claim out for bid Russia has announced a tender offer for preparation of documents to back its claim with the United Nations to expand the boundaries of its continental shelf in the Arctic. The Ministry of Natural Resources has announced a tender offer for edit of the application for extension of the Russian shelf in the Arctic. The tender offer, which carries a 120 million-ruble ($1.96 million) price tag, closes on March 13, RIA Novosti reports. ABC – Canada Border Hours Worry Residents in Small Alaska Town Residents in a small southeast Alaska…

Black-billed Magpie, southwest of Delta Junction

Bird of the Week – Black-billed Magpie

Feb 28, 2015

WC is staying with corvids – birds of the crow family – a little longer, this time we’ll have a look at the Black-billed Magpie. A bird of myth and legend, like the Common Raven, the species is expanding its range, breeding in the Fairbanks area in recent years. The species readily habituates to people, in fact, when Lewis and Clark first encountered magpies in 1804 in South Dakota, these birds were bold, entering tents to steal meat and taking food from the hand. Magpies sometimes seem to WC to model themselves, showing off their flashy feathers for a photographer. How…

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The Weekend Off – News You Missed

Feb 23, 2015

Alaska ADN – Alaska cannabis prohibition ends Tuesday; if you’re celebrating, do so responsibly Ballot Measure 2 will become effective on Tuesday, and many Alaskans are wondering what will change on that date. The simple answer is: Everything, and not much at all. Fairbanks News Miner – Alaska State Troopers working out details for marijuana enforcement Marijuana becomes legal in two days, but where it will be allowed to be used remains a bit hazy. Public consumption of pot remains prohibited, but local leaders continue to debate the definition of public place. The Atlantic – Cold, Dark, and Happy: Alaska Is the New Leader…

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The Economic Freedom to be Poor

Feb 22, 2015

New kids at my high school were rare. Most of us had been together since what felt like the beginning of time — and that wasn’t always a good thing. Remember the time Eric barfed in the lunch room? Yeah. Remember when the elastic in Kim’s sweatpants surrendered during fourth-grade dodgeball? She froze like a statue. New kids were suspect curiosities. It took a while to figure out if they were going to be one of “us.” I remember one in particular. He complained constantly about how lame Homer was. He was in town to live with his relatives for…

Common Raven, Fairbanks, Alaska

Bird of the Week – Common Raven

Feb 21, 2015

You knew it would happen eventually. The Common Raven, Corvus corax, is found essentially everywhere in Alaska, all year around. A lot of folks, WC included, think that the Common Raven should be the state bird. Smart, tough, adaptable and clever. The subject of myth and legend. This is the quintessential Alaska bird. Camera geek stuff: f5.7, 1/250, ISO 125 For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.  

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The Weekend Off – News You Missed

Feb 16, 2015

Alaska NewsMiner.com – Legendary Alaska sprint musher George Attla dies George Attla Jr., unmatched sprint racing champion and one of Alaska’s most decorated mushers, died Sunday at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage at the age of 81. Washington Post – In EPA’s expected ‘veto’ of Pebble Mine in Alaska, foes see a vein of overreach Just north of Iliamna Lake in southwestern Alaska is an empty expanse of marsh and shrub that conceals one of the world’s great buried fortunes: A mile-thick layer of virgin ore said to contain at least 6.7 million pounds — or $120 billion worth —…

Gray Jay, Chena Hot Springs Road, Alaska

Bird of the Week – Gray Jay

Feb 14, 2015

This is likely the North American bird with the most nicknames: Camp Robber, Whiskey Jack, Canada Jay, lumberjack, meat-bird, venison-hawk, moose-bird and gorby. A signature bird of the Boreal Forest, the Gray Jay is also one of the species that most easily habituates to people. It has a huge repertoire of vocalizations, including the soft “cheo” and “chef chef chef” that are mostly commonly heard in the woods. A master of caching food, it’s a species that succeeds and prospers through the long subarctic winter. Camera geek stuff: f5.7, 1/1600, ISO 200 For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.  

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Speedo Sinks Alaska Gov’s Appointee

Feb 12, 2015

Amid a firestorm of gasps, giggles, and moral outrage, Alaska’s Governor Bill Walker (I) has withdrawn from consideration an appointee to the Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct. Jeff Landfield’s own conduct came under scrutiny after several Facebook photos came to light, which the governor’s spokesperson Grace Jang said were “disrespectful” and “misogynistic,” a characterization Landfield disputes. No specific images were cited, but Landfield’s personal Facebook page is a cornucopia of party pics, poolside Las Vegas romps, and boozy musings. The position Landfield hoped to take for the Walker administration handles complaints filed against state judges – an unpaid appointment which…

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Send in the GOP Clowns

Feb 10, 2015

It’s politics as usual in Juneau. As Alaska burns, Alaska Republicans bloviate. We’re staring down the barrel of multibillion-dollar state budget deficits as far into the future as we can see. Are the Republicans majorities in the Legislature acknowledging that their misguided spending and tax policies got us into this fix? Are they prepared to set a new course? Not bloody likely. Rather than rolling up their sleeves, trying to come up with constructive solutions, they’re trotting out the usual gimmicks to divert public attention from their failures. So, by the lights of legislative leaders, what’s the big problem in…