Home News Roundup News Roundup: May 16, 2014

News Roundup: May 16, 2014


News Roundup


Five same-sex couples have filed suit in U.S. District Court challenging Alaska’s constitutional amendment prohibiting marriage equality. The lawsuit is the first of its kind specific to Alaska, alleging the ban violates the 5th and 14th Amendments. [ALASKA COMMONS]

Fairbanks Mayor John Eberhart released a statement about recent findings in the case of the Fairbanks 4, expressing disappointment that law enforcement didn’t investigate an undocumented murder confession. [KTVF]

National Weather Service forecasters in Alaska are known for creative forecast discussions — at least, as much as anyone can be known for such things. This week, a Juneau forecast approached the weather in speed dating format. [MASHABLE]

Among the highlights of a new Public Policy Poll, Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan is trouncing State Senator Lesil McGuire, 53-27 (slavery comments and all). Joe Miller is fading in his second bid for the U.S. Senate, and Parnell continues to enjoy the advantages that come with a three-way race. [AMANDA COYNE]

Richard Mauer reported this week on a voting rights lawsuit which alleges state ballot translations were wrong. Representing the plaintiffs is Walkie Charles, an assistant professor of Native languages at UAF. Charles says he couldn’t understand the Yup’ik translation of the 2010 ballot. [ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWSPATCH]

Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage will soon feature “sleeping pods” for travelers stuck waiting for flights. The pods will be charge-by-the-hour bunk beds, complete with wifi, and the concept absolutely terrifies me. [ALASKA DAILY DISPATCH]


The Lower 48

Stephen Colbert’s replacement has been announced! The Daily Show “Senior Black Correspondent” Larry Wilmore will take the reins, and the show will be renamed The Minority Report With Larry Wilmore. [HOLLYWOOD REPORTER]

Sarah Blair won her first election to political office before completing high school. The West Virginia senior beat Republican state delegate Larry Kumpby 144 votes. What have you done lately? [JEZEBEL]

14-year old Huntsville, Alabama student Alyssa McKinney keeps refusing to take Whitesburg Middle School’s standardized tests. She keeps getting standardized suspensions. [AL.COM]

A U.S. District of Idaho judge has ruled that denying same-sex marriage violates the 14th Amendment. If upheld, Idaho will become the 18th state to recognize marriage equality. [LOCAL NEWS 8, ABC]

American Idol alum Clay Aiken was, up until Tuesday, running in a contested primary against Democratic rival Keith Crisco. Crisco, a 71 year old former North Carolina secretary of Commerce unexpectedly died after an accidental fall. [USA TODAY]


News of the Weird

New round of predictive disaster porn shows what iconic U.S. locations would look like after 12 feet of sea level rise — the rise scientists believe would likely occur as a result of the West Antarctic glaciers collapsing. Good news for the San Francisco Giants: splash hits into McCovey Cove are going to be a lot easier, but one will need to tee up on a boat. [RAWSTORY]

A new research paper published by Harvard environmental biologist Chenshen Lu confirms that neonicotinoids — a form of insecticide that damages insects’ brain functions and cripples their nervous systems — is likely the culprit for the colony collapse disorders threatening the world’s bee population (and, thus, our food supply). [i09]

The U.S. Patent Office has granted “Photography Against a White Background” patent to Amazon. So, basically, they now own the patent for every other photo created in history. [TECHDIRT]

ABC announced this week, via Good Morning America, that the network will be picking up the tab for all marriage licenses and City Hall wedding costs for couples who married in New York City this past Monday. The publicity stunt aims to promote Modern Family‘s two-episode season finale. So, that’s kind of awesome. [GAWKER]

For probably the first time pigs and whiskey were used in the same sentence outside of a depressing police blotter, an Iowa Distillery has announced plans to raise pigs that taste like whiskey. I think I’ll stick with my Jameson. [JEZEBEL]


Special Thanks

Last year, the Alaska community lost a truly remarkable and loving man in Stephen Gingrich. Gingrich was a dedicated political activist and volunteer. Many of the large signs you see during campaign season were hand-built and erected by him, including those used by the Begich campaigns. Today, Senator Mark Begich dedicated his first campaign sign in Anchorage to Stephen.

Stephen was a close friend, as he was to members of our staff here at Alaska Commons, and many of our readers. We would like to take a moment to remember Stephen, and to thank Sen. Begich for honoring him. He would have blushed something fierce.