Celebrated Alaska Native Leader Bernice Joseph passed away after a battle with cancer. Hundreds turned out to her funeral at David Salmon Tribal Hall in Fairbanks, where tribal, university and state leaders praised her tireless work with Alaska Native communities and education.
Fr. Normand Pepin, Society of Jesus, passed away in Massachusetts at the age of 81. A born educator, he worked tirelessly in Fairbanks and Alaska to spread his love of social justice, math, and music. A prolific composer, some of his work was performed for John Paul II. He taught in Fairbanks for nearly three decades, where he also served in a variety of parishes.
Tuesday afternoon, the pilot of a small Cessna aircraft had to make an emergency landing shortly after take-off. The engine suffered a loss of power, and unable to land at the airstrip, the pilot landed the small plane in the median of Boniface Parkway.
Celebrity musher Jeff King had heard rumors of a bear that was awake in Denali National Park in January, but while mushing Wednesday he encountered a series of bloody grizzly tracks.
The Iditarod got a bit of great news when the Sportsman Channel announced that they were not only going to increase their coverage of the famous 1,000 mile race, but in their own words they were going to blow it up.
The discovery of an historic Tlingit War Helmet in an East Coast Museum sparked calls for its return to the Last Frontier. Tlingit war helms are often imbdued with sacred value, and experts in Alaskan Anthropology remark that it would be insensitive for an Outside Museum to keep the sacred item, called an at.óowu, in its possession.
Backers of a statewide referendum on marijuana use, seeking to decriminalize its use and possession, turned in nearly 50% more signatures than required to place the question on the statewide ballot. National polling groups rank Alaska as one of the states most favorable to marijuana use.
Governor Sean Parnell restricted access to abortions via Medicaid, reducing the list of conditions wherein a woman could get reimbursed for the procedure.
A state hearing on new proposed pollution regulations was met with stiff opposition in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. There, a town hall meeting turned raucous as opponents of regulation accused state regulators of theft, dictatorship, and overreaching. The Borough’s local authority to regulate emissions was removed by ballot initiative several years ago. The high price of heating fuel leaves wood and other solid fuels the cheapest form of heat for many, leading environmental conditions in winter months to rapidly deteriorate.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced new standards for emissions from wood stoves. The new rules do not apply to currently installed stoves, only ones produced after the regulations take effect; the restrictions call for decreased levels of particulate emissions from wood stoves.
Governor Parnell announced a 90% cut in state funding for the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Dam project, cutting an estimated $114 million. That left only $10 million in the budget for 2014: the cut coincided with a years delay in the final license application.
In the campaign to decide which Republican will face off against Democratic Senator Mark Begich, the Republican National Committee announced a wave of new advertising in Alaska targeting Begich over his vote on Obamacare. However, the ads amounted to hurricane in a teacup: in Fairbanks, they bought one $25 ad.
The US Army announced that it was drawing down its presence in Alaska by nearly 400 soldiers in the coming year. The cuts will happen principally at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, with the closure and realignment of several battalions.
Alaska Airlines was ranked by Yahoo as one of the best airlines in 2013, with the least frequent delays, mishaps, and the most on time arrivals. Mishandled bags are still a problem, however.
An article from Gizmodo transposes Alaska’s extremely low population density onto a *multi* global scale, with some nice graphics.
National & International
The USDA has said that its inspectors were taken off the job in a Foster Farms chicken factory, following the discovery of cockroaches on the premises. Leaving the site meant the plant was shut down, as it cannot run without them being present. The plant is now undergoing a thorough cleaning.
A US judge ruled that an unpaid intern could not bring a sexual harassment lawsuit against her employer, following accusations that he tried to kiss her. The court agreed with a previous ruling from August that unpaid interns could not count as employees, due to lack of renumeration such as benefits from the company.
Illinois could see the Northern Lights tonight-a large solar flare means that much of the Lower 48 could see the Aurora Borealis Thursday and Friday night, weather permitting.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was blindsided by emails revealing a top aide had participated in a traffic shutdown to a borough that had refused to endorse his candidacy for Governor: previously, he had denied any ties to his office. The traffic shutdown lasted for more than 4 days and was mocked by Christie’s aides as well as his appointees to the Port Authority, who participated in the plot. The emails were uncovered during a New Jersey Legislature enquiry, which is now being followed by an investigation by US attorneys. Christie has apologized.
In Pakistan, a 14 year old student is being hailed as a hero after he confronted a stranger asking for directions to his school. The stranger, wearing a school uniform, entered into a scuffle with the boy, accidentally igniting a suicide vest that he was wearing. Both were killed. The school has entered into a day of mourning for the boy, who saved the lives of dozens, if not hundreds.
The United States has challenged an aggressive new fisheries law instituted by China. Beijing claims nearly all the South China sea as its sovereign territory; the new regulations would require all vessels fishing within it to register with authorities before being able to cast their nets.