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In Kentucky, an alleged hate crime shakes a black church and a white community

Mon, 2018-11-12 05:06

Congregants leave a Sunday service at First Baptist Church of Jeffersontown in Kentucky, where authorities say Gregory Alan Bush attempted to enter before driving to a Kroger and killing two black shoppers. Photo for The Washington Post by William DeShazer (William DeShazer/)

JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. -- He came here first, to the front door of this historically black church 15 miles east of Louisville.

A white man tried to enter the First Baptist Church of Jeffersontown on a fall afternoon, not long after its Wednesday noonday Bible study had ended.

Surveillance video showed the man - later identified by police as Gregory Alan Bush - banging on the doors, which have been kept locked ever since a white supremacist killed nine black people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

First Baptist administrator Billy Williams still shudders to think what might have happened if he had heard Bush, 51, knocking. "I would have welcomed him in," Williams said.

Instead, Bush, who had a black ex-wife and a history of domestic violence, left the church and drove to a nearby Kroger supermarket, where police say he gunned down two African-American shoppers.

The Oct. 24 Kroger shooting was quickly overshadowed by the discovery of pipe bombs mailed to more than a dozen critics of President Donald Trump and a rampage at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 people dead. But the burst of racial violence in Jeffersontown has left this church and the predominantly white community around it deeply shaken.

That dread was still palpable on a November Sunday, as more than 200 church members arrived for the 11 a.m. service. A security guard waited outside, atop the steps to the brick church, which was founded 185 years ago by free blacks and freed slaves.

Inside, light streamed through the stained-glass windows as worshipers held hands and prayed. "Please don't let the spirit of fear dominate our lives, but have a spirit of love that conquers fear," the minister intoned.

The Rev. Kevin Nelson says goodbye to church members after Sunday service. Photo for The Washington Post by William DeShazer (William DeShazer/)
A member of the First Baptist congregation raises her hands in prayer. Photo for The Washington Post by William DeShazer (William DeShazer/)

Ushers smiled and greeted visitors. The choir sang. The minister preached. But there was one chilling difference about this Sunday service.

Before the Kroger shooting, which is being investigated by the FBI as a possible hate crime, church officials had been opposed to any of their 1,600 members bringing firearms into the sanctuary. But after it, Williams sought permission from First Baptist's pastor, the Rev. Kevin Nelson, to ask members who work in law enforcement or have permits to carry weapons to bring their guns inside the church during services and Bible study.

"They used to leave them in the car," Williams said. "No longer are they leaving them in the car.

"We are armed now."

‘It was so deliberate’

On the day of the shooting, Maurice Stallard was in the school supply aisle with his 12-year-old grandson when Bush entered the Kroger at about 2:46 p.m., according to Jeffersontown police.

He walked past dozens of white shoppers in the 50-aisle supermarket, police said, before he spotted Stallard kneeling in the rear of the store.

Stallard, a 69-year-old retiree, was shot in the back of the head as his horrified grandson watched. The boy was able to escape into the parking lot.

Pam King, who is white, was two aisles away buying Halloween candy when she heard the gunfire. She had no idea that it was Stallard, her longtime neighbor, being targeted.

"I couldn't believe I was hearing gunshots because I was in a grocery store," said King, who lives down the street from Stallard. "I was expecting the store to make an announcement to disregard the noise."

Then she heard three more shots. "It was so deliberate," she said. "It wasn't bang, bang, bang. He stood there and looked at that man and shot him three more times with his grandson standing there."

Police said Bush holstered his semiautomatic handgun and walked out of the store, where he fatally shot Vickie Lee Jones, a 67-year-old black woman, in the back of the head.

The Kroger Marketplace where Maurice Stallard and Vickie Lee Jones were shot and killed. Photo for The Washington Post by William DeShazer (William DeShazer/)
A gun lies on the ground inside a police barricade following a shooting at a Kroger grocery that left two people dead and a suspect in custody, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, in Jeffersontown, Ky. A male suspect fatally shot a man and a woman at a Kroger grocery store on the outskirts of Louisville, Kentucky, and then exchanged fire with an armed bystander before fleeing the scene, police said. He was captured shortly afterward. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) (Timothy D. Easley/)

Bush walked by more white customers in the parking lot - allegedly telling one, “Whites don’t shoot whites” - before shooting at a black couple. Dominic Rozier and his wife, Kiera Rozier, had just arrived at the store to buy cupcakes for their son’s birthday.

Dominic Rozier, who police said has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, drew his gun and shot back at Bush.

The two exchanged gunfire in the parking lot, with bullets shattering car windows, before Bush fled in his car, police said. Neither Bush nor Rozier was injured in the shootout. Minutes later, Bush was stopped by police and arrested on a street adjacent to the shopping center.

Inside the store, King ran to a stockroom and called her husband, who works as a meat cutter at a different Kroger and happened to be off that day. "Her voice cracked," Tim King, 59, recalled. "She said, 'There is somebody shooting up here.' "

A Kroger employee wipes away tears following a shooting that left two people dead, and the subject in custody, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, in Jeffersontown, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) (Timothy D. Easley/)

He raced to the store. It took hours for his wife and the other customers inside to file out, as police checked to see what each had witnessed.

"The lady was laying in the parking lot the whole time," Tim King said. "It was so long you could see the blood soaking through the sheet."

‘No guns!’

On Nov. 2, relatives of Stallard and Jones gathered in the back of a Jefferson County Circuit courtroom, where Bush was being arraigned.

He had been indicted by a grand jury on two counts of murder, one count of criminal attempt to murder, and two counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree. Prosecutors said Kentucky could not charge Bush with a hate crime because the state's limited statute does not apply to murder. But the FBI may bring federal hate crime charges against Bush.

FBI data shows hate crimes are on the rise. In 2016, there were 6,121 crimes motivated by bias against race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender - the highest number since 2012.

When Bush walked into the courtroom in an orange jumpsuit, with his hands and feet shackled, a man seated in the back stood up and yelled, "You piece of [expletive]."

Gregory Bush is led into a courtroom for an arraignment on murder charges in Louisville, Ky., on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Dylan Lovan) (Dylan Lovan/)

In a hearing that took fewer than three minutes, Bush did not speak. His public defender, Andrew daMota, entered Bush’s plea of not guilty. The judge accepted the plea and continued Bush’s $5 million bond. Then Bush walked out of the courtroom surrounded by guards.

According to court records, Bush has a history of domestic violence against his parents, his brother and his ex-wife, who is African American.

Sheryl Bush married Gregory Bush in 1997, according to court records. They had a son in 1998, before separating in 1999. According to divorce records, Gregory Bush attempted suicide in 2000 while his 2-year-old son slept in a bed in the next room.

In 2001, Sheryl Bush filed a domestic violence petition, telling a court that when she went to pick up her son from Bush's home, he threatened her and called her the n-word.

In 2009, Gregory Bush's father, William Bush, filed a restraining order against his son, telling a court that Gregory Bush "put his hands around my wife's neck and picked her up by her neck and put her down."

The court ordered Bush to comply with mental health treatment and prohibited from him possessing a weapon. A judge wrote on the order, "No Guns!"

Vickie’s last song'

The funeral program for Vickie Lee Jones. MUST CREDIT: Handout obtained by The Washington Post (Handout/)

Mourners wearing pink and white walked earlier this month into the Church of the Living God Temple #45, where a sign outside declared: “Rest in Peace Vickie Jones. Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.”

A police car sat guarding the intersection.

Inside, bouquets of white and pink carnations decorated the casket, where Jones lay. The words "Trust in the Lord" were pinned inside the casket - as well as a pink ribbon, signifying that she was a breast cancer survivor.

Jones, who was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1951 and grew up amid segregation and the civil rights movement, had one daughter and two sons and 12 grandchildren. Her husband, George Lee, to whom she was married for 36 years, died in 2010.

Jones, who was a member of the Church of the Living God all her life, was one of the sponsors of the church's annual breast cancer awareness program.

"Vickie loved everybody. She touched everybody in a positive way. She loved her family. She loved the Lord. She loved the church," the Rev. Keith Smith told mourners.

In a sermon entitled "Vickie's last song," Smith told the congregation that "hate had struck the city of Louisville, Kentucky, in a major way - Louisville, Kentucky, home of the Kentucky Derby and the home of Muhammad Ali."

Amid a chorus of "Amens," Smith continued: "This is not the 1940s, this is not the 1950s, this is not the 1960s, this is not the Jim Crow law days. These are the days where people of all races, all nationalities, all religions stand up together. We will not tolerate hate crimes anywhere."

Pallbearers carry Vickie Lee Jones' casket out of the Church of the Living God in Louisville, Kentucky, on Nov. 3. Photo for The Washington Post by William DeShaze (William DeShazer/)

‘Our neighbor, our friend

In the integrated Louisville, Kentucky, neighborhood where Stallard lived, the streets are lined with orange ribbons tied to mailboxes with notes that read: “We will miss you Maurice, our neighbor, our friend.”

Stallard used to stand in his driveway and greet neighbors - black and white.

"When we moved in 20 years ago, Maurice and Charlotte were one of the first families in the subdivision," said the Rev. Charlie Davis, pastor of Hunsinger Lane Baptist Church. Stallard's wife, Charlotte, "was our kids' school counselor," said Mendy Davis, who is married to the pastor.

Stallard retired from General Electric more than a decade ago. "He cared about his family, all his kids, and grand kids, and nieces and nephews," Charlie Davis said. One nephew played basketball at Morehead State, a two-hour drive from Louisville.

Stallard "was at every game," Davis said.

Pam King sat at her kitchen table last week, still horrified that she had heard her neighbor being gunned down - the beginning of a week of hate-fueled violence.

"I don't recall anything like it in my lifetime: The [pipe] bombs. The Jewish center," King said. "It was a 1-2-3 punch."

Stallard and Jones, she said, “were killed because they were black. Someone goes to the grocery, and a family is planning a funeral because of the color of his skin.”

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at JBER during Veterans Day stopover

Sun, 2018-11-11 18:28

Vice President Mike Pence has his picture taken with Airman First Class Christopher Larry-Lewis and Airman First Class Prastashia Bowden while visiting with troops at the Iditarod Dining Facility on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Veterans Day on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, while on a refueling stop on his way to Tokyo. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Vice President Mike Pence told a crowd of soldiers and airmen at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Sunday that the Trump administration was working to improve health care and benefits for service members.

Vice President Mike Pence visited with troops on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson during a refueling stop on Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Pence stopped in Anchorage for a brief on-base appearance as his plane was refueling en route to Asia for a weeklong trip that will include stops in Japan, Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski greets Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson during a refueling stop on Veterans Day on Sunday. Lt. Gen. Thomas Bussiere, center, is the senior military officer in Alaska. (Bill Roth / ADN)

"No matter the passage of time, we will never forget the service and sacrifice of our men and women in the armed forces," Pence told the crowd gathered at JBER.

Pence stressed changes to the Department of Veterans Affairs meant to give veterans more choice in health care.

Selfie with Vice President Mike Pence during his visit with troops on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson during a refueling stop on Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Bill Roth / ADN)

"We are once again giving our veterans across this country access to the world-class, real-time health care you earned in the uniform for the United States," he said.

Vice President Mike Pence visited with troops on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson during a refueling stop on Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Bill Roth / ADN)

UAA women’s basketball team moves to 2-0 with another blowout

Sun, 2018-11-11 18:12

Nothing like a 19-0 run to erase a slow start.

The UAA women's basketball team raced to another victory Sunday in San Francisco, using 17 steals, double-figure scoring from four players and a monster run to take down San Francisco State 86-54.

The Seawolves, who led by three points after the first quarter and by nine as halftime neared, scored 19 unanswered points in a stretch that began in the final seconds of the second quarter.

That's when senior guard Tara Thompson drilled a 3-pointer to lift UAA to a 40-28 halftime lead. UAA (2-0) opened the second half with 16 straight points to breeze to its second blowout win at the Gator Invitational. UAA, the nation's sixth-ranked team in Division II, beat Holy Names University by 40 points on Saturday.

Thompson and Sydni Stallworth led a balanced offense with 14 points apiece, Yazmeen Goo added 13 and Sala Langi had 10.

Thompson swished four of five shots from long range and Stallworth hit two of four, helping UAA shoot 42.3 percent from 3-point range (11 of 26). The Seawolves were especially dangerous from long range in the third quarter, when they buried 7 of their 15 3-point attempts.

"We played well after the first quarter, but we cannot afford a slow start against our opponents (this) week, and certainly not when the league season gets under way," UAA coach Ryan McCarthy said in a release from the school. "I'm pleased that we are sharing the scoring load, however, and our new players are fitting into the system better every day."

Goo and Langi, who were a combined 13 of 15 from the foul line, turned in solid all-around efforts. Goo contributed four steals, three assists and three rebounds and Langi provided five assists, three rebounds and two assists. Hannah Wandersee chipped in eight points, six rebounds and three assists.

The Gators of the California Collegiate Athletic Association were led by Isabella Lamonea's 10 points.

The Seawolves play their first home games of the season this weekend in the Seawolf Hoops Classic at the Alaska Airlines Center. They face Cal State East Bay on Friday and Cal State Dominguez Hills on Saturday.

Camp Fire kills 23, becoming California’s deadliest wildfire since 1991

Sun, 2018-11-11 17:50

People watch as the Woolsey fire burns houses and the hillside in West Hills. (Photo for The Washington Post by Kyle Grillot) (Kyle Grillot/)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Already the most destructive wildfire in California history, the Camp Fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills has become the state’s third deadliest - killing 23 people in three days, with more than 100 people unaccounted for in a charred swath of land larger than Detroit.

A map of the Chico Fire, California

Although the fire had been 25 percent contained by Sunday, high temperatures and gusty winds made the weather optimal for the Northern California fire to spread for at least another day.

As of Saturday, the Camp Fire had destroyed nearly 7,000 structures in and around the mountain town of Paradise and has been blamed for most of the last week's fire deaths. Two people were also killed as a result of separate fires in Southern California.

But the bulk of firefighter resources were focused on the Camp Fire, the deadliest in the state since 1991. The 1933 Griffith Park wildfire in Los Angeles County killed 29.

"This event was the worst-case scenario," Butte County Sheriff Kory L. Honea said, referring to the Camp Fire. "It's the event that we have feared for a long time."

[Death toll rises as 200,000 flee fires in California, the worst in state’s history]

Honea, who is also the county coroner, told the Associated Press that he had to add a fifth search-and-recovery team to help find bodies. Authorities have not released the names of victims and have continued to search for more.

His office has also ordered an additional DNA lab truck and received help from anthropologists at California State University at Chico for a time-consuming and daunting task: In some cases, investigators have found only pieces of bone.

The Woolsey Fire burns above Malibu, Calif., on Nov. 10. (Photo for The Washington Post by Kyle Grillot) (Kyle Grillot/)

The smoke, like orange fog, that enveloped Chico and surrounding towns Friday gave way to a low-lying haze that spread all the way up to Redding over the weekend, thanks to a shift in winds. As the fire moved on, displaced residents were allowed to return to whatever was left of their homes, in some cases finding only ash and charred foundations.

Gov. Jerry Brown, D, requested a presidential major disaster declaration, which would make the hardest-hit communities eligible for housing, unemployment and other support programs and allow state and local governments to repair or replace fire-damaged facilities and infrastructure. FEMA has already granted a state request for emergency aid.

President Donald Trump has alternated between offering sympathy for displaced people and firefighters, and lashing out at California's leaders over what he deemed poor forest management.

"With proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California. Get Smart!" he tweeted Sunday morning, echoing a criticism that he has frequently leveled at California officials and threatening to withhold federal money.

Officials shot back that increasingly destructive fires are a result of global warming, which dries out vegetation and turns large swaths of grassland into a tinderbox.

A spokesman for Brown said that more federal forest land has burned than state land, adding that the state has expanded its forestry budget while the Trump administration has cut its budget for forest services.

Brian K. Rice, president of the California Professional Firefighters association, chided Trump, calling his words "ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines."

As the argument intensified, state firefighters found their resources divided between a historic fire in the north and a pair of fires in the south.

A map of Thousand Oaks, California

Near Los Angeles, about 200,000 people were displaced by the expanding Woolsey Fire, which began midafternoon Thursday near Simi Valley, even as fire departments were responding to a second wildfire, the Hill Fire, just west of Thousand Oaks.

The flames raced from the Conejo Valley to the Pacific Ocean, across Highway 101 and the Santa Monica mountains, at speeds that shocked veteran fire officials.

Authorities said two bodies were found, both burned, in Malibu in a vehicle that had been in the path of the wildfire, though homicide investigators are still working that case and have not officially declared a cause of death.

Fire crews, including many from out of state, were deployed throughout areas projected to be in the path of furious Santa Ana winds. The goal is to stamp out any new fires before they expand rapidly, and to continue to try to contain the Woolsey Fire, which has burned more than 83,000 acres, destroyed at least 150 houses and created a massive mandatory evacuation zone in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. But fire officials working in steep terrain that's hard to reach say they are short of crews and equipment, with many resources deployed in Northern California to fight the Camp Fire.

In Oak Park, a community 40 miles from Los Angeles, Richard Gwynn, 75, and his wife, Lynda Gwynn, 70, surveyed the burned landscape of what used to be their home. She became emotional, looking at a canyon where her children had once played, now blackened by fire.

"Winds are coming back tonight, and they're going to blow all day Monday," Richard Gwynn said. "But there's nothing left to burn."

The Woolsey Fire burns above Malibu, Calif., on Nov. 10. (Photo for The Washington Post by Kyle Grillot) (Kyle Grillot/)

Fire officials warned that the winds would be back Sunday morning, and they were right. The Santa Ana winds surged down from the high country just as local and state officials held their 9:30 a.m. news conference. The officials pounded home a warning to residents: Don’t go back into the mandatory evacuation zones. Stay away. It’s not safe. The destructive wildfires are nowhere near extinguished and remain exceedingly dangerous.

As they spoke, a massive plume of smoke appeared to the south, toward Malibu, where dozens of homes had been lost in the Woolsey Fire.

"We're concerned about the fire jumping out, coming behind us, burning a lot of the territory that has not burned," said Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby.

He said the footprint of the Woolsey Fire contains many unburned areas that are vulnerable to embers stoked by gusts that could reach 40 mph. The fierce winds, which may last for three days, could make drops from firefighting air tankers less effective.

And with the Woolsey Fire only 10 percent contained, it could roll south along the Pacific Coast, from Malibu to Topanga Canyon and on to Pacific Palisades, to the doorstep of Santa Monica.

"The only thing we're not concerned about is the ocean," Osby said.


Wootson reported from Washington, D.C.

Why did Ballot Measure 1 get crushed? Opponents outspent backers – by a lot – but other factors were also at play.

Sun, 2018-11-11 17:13

Connor Toohey carries a Vote No on 1 sign as people gathered to wave campaign signs at the corner of Northern Lights Boulevard and Seward Highway on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (Bill Roth / ADN)

The business-backed group Stand for Alaska poured more than $10 million into the campaign against Ballot Measure 1, eclipsing spending by the competition in one of the costliest campaigns ever seen in Alaska.

The Stand for Salmon forces, which raised less than $3 million to support the measure, pointed to the financial disadvantage as a key reason their side lost heavily Tuesday.

"We couldn't overcome their messaging and misinformation," said Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, a measure sponsor, as election results streamed in Tuesday night.

But campaign observers said the defeat didn't necessarily turn on money, a view shared by Stand for Alaska's political consultant, who said the opposition group didn't spread lies.

[Map: How Alaskans voted on Stand for Salmon initiative]

The eight-page measure would have rewritten state law, setting new regulations for activity affecting salmon habitat.

The measure won in just six of 40 House districts — downtowns Juneau and Anchorage, and Southwest Alaska. It lost by nearly a 2-to-1 margin, receiving 85,553 yes votes, and 148,130 no votes, as of Friday.

Political consultants and others say a key handicap was the measure's complexity, leaving it subject to interpretation by the opposition.

Meantime, a broad coalition of influential groups, including Native corporations, a labor federation, and oil and mining giants, sprang up to fight it.

"This was so far overreaching it had something all of us could hate," said Vince Beltrami, president of the Alaska AFL-CIO, a labor federation representing more than 50,000 Alaskans.

"This wasn't the case that the superior money won," said Marc Hellenthal, a longtime Alaska political consultant who didn't work for either side. "(Stand for Salmon) had enough money to get their message out. But obviously, their message wasn't effective."

Ryan Schryver, head of the Stand for Salmon campaign, said his side received much of its support as non-monetary contributions from conservation groups. That provided workers doing person-to-person outreach such as door-knocking.

But cash for media ads was limited to the hundreds of thousands of dollars, not millions.

"One lesson learned is it's a lot to overcome a tidal wave of commercials, when you're trying to communicate on a micro-level," he said.

Confidential polling showed the measure was doomed weeks before the election, said Willis Lyford, Stand for Alaska's political consultant.

His side slowed ad-buying with a month left. "We'll give back some of the money to our donors," Lyford said, declining to specify the amount.

Stand for Alaska raised $12 million, spending $10.3 million, the latest reports show. It spent about $70 a vote.

Pro-measure groups, led by Yes for Salmon, raised and spent $2.7 million, about $32 a vote.

The overall spending — at $13 million — dwarfed the top-ticket races in Alaska for Congress and governor.

As ballot-measures go, the spending might trail only the $15 million war over oil taxes in 2014, won by industry with a 53-47 margin. Oil companies and partners spent about $145 for each supportive vote. The losing side spent about $7 a vote.

Spending was also high in the 2008 battle over the Clean Water initiative, viewed as a threat by mines. Those records weren't accessible this week from the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

"We were definitely outraised and outspent by quite a bit," said Paula DeLaiarro, Yes for Salmon treasurer. "Money isn't everything, but it allows you to get a message out, and they clearly did a lot of TV,  which is expensive."

The pro-measure groups focused on cheaper radio and social media ads, she said.

Jerry McBeath, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said the decisive issue was prominent opposition.

The congressional delegation, Gov. Bill Walker, Native corporation executives and other leaders, concerned about impacts to development, stood against the measure.

"I don't think it's simply a question of money," McBeath said. "It came down to the attentive public and the leadership of the attentive public."

The measure got "drubbed" because it was an expansive overhaul of state law affecting projects big and small, said Beltrami, with Alaska AFL-CIO.

The group joined employers to fight the measure, an unusual union, he said.

"We don't always agree, but when something impacts jobs, we line up," he said.

Quinn-Davidson, a sponsor, said the measure was detailed for a reason: "If you're going to change the law, let's change it right the first time."

Bob Shavelson, with Cook Inletkeeper, a donor to the Stand for Salmon campaign, said the measure's complexity was an issue. It allowed the other side to spread a message of fear, distortion and doubt, he said.

“In hindsight, the KISS principle should have been applied — keep it simple stupid,” Shavelson said.

Stand for Alaska didn't spread lies, Lyford said.

Instead, he said, the group interpreted and explained the measure's potential impacts, after polling showed confusion among voters.

"I mean, this was eight pages of legalese," Lyford said. "You needed a lawyer and an accountant to help you understand what it was about."

The language generated widespread concerns over its potential effects, he said. Native corporations and hunting groups feared it would hurt backcountry access. Others worried even residential projects near creeks could be slowed or halted.

"We took the opportunity to define what this was," said Lyford, a veteran of Alaska's ballot-measure fights.

Lyford acknowledged his side had a hefty financial advantage, but not overwhelming. The other side had "real resources" — sizable contributions — to work with.

Many of those donations came from nonprofit organizations outside Alaska, part of a new fundraising strategy for these types of campaigns, he asserted.

"They had a powerful message about salmon, but didn't communicate it effectively enough," Lyford said.

Schryver said Stand for Salmon was thrown on the "defensive," knocked off its core message of protecting salmon for future generations.

"We did have an effective message early on," he said.

"But that was drowned out in conversations about the details of the initiative," he said. "They were able to pull out an artificial bogeyman and convince people the sky was falling. That forced us to go in and prove it wasn't."

Veterans honored during JBER ceremony

Sun, 2018-11-11 17:04

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Linzi Hargraves placed red roses during a Fallen Warrior ceremony.  (Bill Roth / ADN)

Maj. Gen. Laurie Hummel, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard and commissioner of the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, was the keynote speaker during the Veterans Day ceremony at the Alaska National Guard armory on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Sunday.

Hummel shared stories and photographs of 10 family members who served their country and were "influencers in my life."

The ceremony honored men and women who have served in the armed forces.

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Originally called Armistice Day, it became Veterans Day in 1938.

Maj. Gen. Laurie Hummel, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard and commissioner of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, was the keynote speaker. (Bill Roth / ADN)
Purple Heart recipient Gordon Severson, a combat wounded veteran during the Korean War, attended the Veterans Day ceremony at the Alaska National Guard armory on Sunday. (Bill Roth / ADN)
American Heritage Girls attended the Veterans Day ceremony at the Alaska National Guard armory.(Bill Roth / ADN)
Veterans Day ceremony at the Alaska National Guard armory on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Bill Roth / ADN)
Ian White with the Crow Creek Pipes and Drums played the bagpipes during the Veterans Day ceremony. (Bill Roth / ADN)
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, placed a wreath during the Veterans Day ceremony at the Alaska National Guard armory on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Support our young people and their teachers

Sun, 2018-11-11 16:58


We live diverse and complex lives in an era of complex and difficult times. I have been very fortunate to have lived most of my life in what seems to have been the best of American times. I am ending up feeling very grateful for my life and all the benefits I have experienced.

Those benefits did not just happen. Those benefits happened because of the hard work by public school teachers, students, school administrators, school workers, school board members, taxpayers, legislators, parents and members of corporations.

Currently we are coming off the 2008 recession and the more recent crash of oil prices and their effects on all of us. Money, budgets, savings, revenues  and the Permanent Fund are, by necessity, our current focus. My concern is that our current focus does not emphasize two of our most important resources: our young people and their teachers, and their well-being. Failure to focus on the needs of students and teachers is I believe at the heart of the high opioid use, the high crime rate, our high suicide rate, our high domestic abuse rate and many other problems.

Not helping matters, our national government is expanding our military's budget by $65 billion dollars this year while blaming our schools and teachers for our future problems. The debt incurred in the latest tax cut will be paid by us and the young people currently being shortchanged. Instead of supporting the education of young people, we are cutting their budgets. Evidence of the validity of that statement may be found in the report, "Decade of Neglect," by the American Federation of Teachers.

Now is the time to address our students' and teachers' needs to prepare them for a better future. The media can help educate us for what is needed. Time magazine recognized the importance of this goal and gave time and space to the needs of teachers in their Sept. 24 issue.

I recommend reading about these teachers to learn why teachers recently walked out in six states, including Arizona to Oklahoma. We need to be pushing to settle contracts in Alaska and avoiding the waste of time and energy in arguing. Alaskan young people and teachers deserve better. I hope we can make a better future happen for all of us.

Hugh R. Hays, Ph.D., worked as a science and math teacher from 1977-1987 at Kenai Central High School and Soldotna High. He was president of the Kenai Peninsula Educators Association from 1980-1981.

Archaeologists discover dozens of cat mummies in an ancient Egyptian tomb

Sun, 2018-11-11 14:35

Mummified cats inside a tomb, at an ancient necropolis near Egypt's famed pyramids in Saqqara, Giza, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. A top Egyptian antiquities official says local archaeologists have discovered seven Pharaonic Age tombs near the capital Cairo containing dozens of cat mummies along with wooden statues depicting other animals. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty) (Nariman El-Mofty/)

Ancient Egyptians were serious cat people, if a discovery in a tomb near Cairo is any indication.

On Saturday, Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities announced that a team of archaeologists had uncovered dozens of mummified cats, along with 100 wooden cat statues and a bronze bust of Bastet, the ancient Egyptian goddess of cats. The artifacts, found in a tomb in a cemetery in what would have been the ancient city of Memphis, are about 6,000 years old.

Members of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities tweeted several pictures of the finds.

It was part of an effort, they said, to draw visitors back to Egypt after tourism nose-dived following the Arab Spring. Those working to excavate the tomb hope to "show the exceptional richness of the Egyptian civilization and to attract the attention of the world towards its magnificent monuments and great civilization so that it becomes the focus of the world as it deserves," according to the ministry's release.

Ancient Egyptians were often buried with mummified animals and animal statues, experts say. It was seen as a way for the dead to bring pets with them to the afterlife, archaeologist Salima Ikram, a professor at the American University in Cairo, wrote on her blog.

There were other incentives as well: Animals were buried in tombs "to provide food in the afterlife, to act as offerings to a particular god and because some were seen as physical manifestations of specific gods that the Egyptians worshiped," she wrote.

In an interview with NPR, Ikram said animal mummification was the ancient-world equivalent of lighting a candle in church to ask for a blessing.

Antonietta Catanzariti, a curator at the Smithsonian, said scientists have found hundreds of thousands of cat mummies over the years. The ancient Egyptians were drawn to felines' hunting prowess and their ability to protect their young. Catanzariti said the Egyptians saw those qualities as signs of divinity.

Along with the cats, researchers uncovered gilded statues depicting a lion, a cow and a falcon. There were also wooden snakes and crocodiles and a handful of mummified scarab beetles. Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, called the bugs in particular unique.

“It is something really a bit rare,” he told Reuters. “A couple of days ago, when we discovered those coffins, they were sealed coffins with drawings of scarabs. I never heard about them before.”

Mummified scarabs on display in a glass case found in a newly discovered tomb, at an ancient necropolis near Egypt's famed pyramids in Saqqara, Giza, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. A top Egyptian antiquities official says local archaeologists have discovered seven Pharaonic Age tombs near the capital Cairo containing dozens of cat mummies along with wooden statues depicting other animals. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty) (Nariman El-Mofty/)
The leader of the excavation holds a statue found in a newly discovered tomb, at an ancient necropolis near Egypt's famed pyramids in Saqqara, Giza, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. A top Egyptian antiquities official says local archaeologists have discovered seven Pharaonic Age tombs near the capital Cairo containing dozens of cat mummies along with wooden statues depicting other animals. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty) (Nariman El-Mofty/)
Artifacts on display in their glass case in front of newly discovered tombs, at an ancient necropolis near Egypt's famed pyramids in Saqqara, Giza, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. A top Egyptian antiquities official says local archaeologists have discovered seven Pharaonic Age tombs near the capital Cairo containing dozens of cat mummies along with wooden statues depicting other animals. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty) (Nariman El-Mofty/)
An archaeologists works on an artifact inside a tomb, at an ancient necropolis near Egypt's famed pyramids in Saqqara, Giza, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. A top Egyptian antiquities official says local archaeologists have discovered seven Pharaonic Age tombs near the capital Cairo containing dozens of cat mummies along with wooden statues depicting other animals. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty) (Nariman El-Mofty/)

In remembering WWI, world warned of resurging ‘old demons’

Sun, 2018-11-11 13:55

A Republican Guard blows a bugle that signaled the Armistice in 1918 before a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Benoit Tessier/Pool Photo via AP) (Benoit Tessier/)

PARIS — World leaders with the power to make war but a duty to preserve peace solemnly marked the end of World War I’s slaughter 100 years ago at commemorations Sunday that drove home the message “never again” but also exposed the globe’s new political fault lines.

As Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and dozens of other heads of state and government listened in silence, French President Emmanuel Macron used the occasion, as its host, to sound a powerful and sobering warning about the fragility of peace and the dangers of nationalism and of nations that put themselves first, above the collective good.

"The old demons are rising again, ready to complete their task of chaos and of death," Macron said.

"Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism," he said. "In saying 'Our interests first, whatever happens to the others,' you erase the most precious thing a nation can have, that which makes it live, that which causes it to be great and that which is most important: Its moral values."

Trump, ostensibly the main target of Macron’s message, sat stony-faced. The American president has proudly declared himself a nationalist. But if Trump felt singled out by Macron’s remarks, he didn’t show it. He later described the commemoration as “very beautiful.”

As well as spelling out the horrific costs of conflict to those with arsenals capable of waging a World War III, the ceremony also served up a joyful reminder of the intense sweetness of peace, when high school students read from letters that soldiers and civilians wrote 100 years ago when guns finally fell silent on the Western Front.

President Donald Trump sits in front of headstones during an American Commemoration Ceremony, Sunday Nov. 11, 2018, at Suresnes American Cemetery near Paris. Trump is attending centennial commemorations in Paris this weekend to mark the Armistice that ended World War I. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (Jacquelyn Martin/)

Brought alive again by people too young to have known global war themselves, the ghostly voices seemed collectively to say: Please, do not make our mistakes.

"I only hope the soldiers who died for this cause are looking down upon the world today," American soldier Capt. Charles S. Normington wrote on Nov. 11, 1918, in one of the letters. "The whole world owes this moment of real joy to the heroes who are not here to help enjoy it."

The Paris weather — gray and damp — seemed aptly fitting when remembering a war fought in mud and relentless horror.

The commemorations started late, overshooting the centenary of the exact moment when, 100 years earlier at 11 a.m., an eerie silence replaced the thunder of war on the front lines. Macron recalled that 1 billion shells fell on France alone from 1914-1918.

As bells marking the armistice hour rang across Paris and in many nations ravaged by the four years of carnage, Macron and other leaders were still on their way to the centennial site at the Arc de Triomphe.

Under a sea of black umbrellas, a line of leaders led by Macron and his wife, Brigitte, marched in silence on the cobbles of the Champs-Elysees, after dismounting from their buses.

Trump arrived separately, in a motorcade that drove past three topless protesters with anti-war slogans on their chests who somehow got through the rows of security and were quickly bundled away by police. The Femen group claimed responsibility. French authorities said the three women faced charges of sexual exhibitionism. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited security protocols for the presidential motorcade's solo trip down the grand flag-lined avenue, which was closed to traffic.

Last to arrive was the Russian president, Putin, who shook Trump's hand and flashed him a thumbs-up. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was positioned in pride of place between Trump and Macron, an eloquent symbol of victors and vanquished now standing together, shoulder to shoulder. Overhead, fighter jets ripped through the sky, trailing red, white and blue smoke in homage to the French flag.

French President Emmanuel Macron re-lights the eternal flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Benoit Tessier/Pool Photo via AP) (Benoit Tessier/)

The geographical spread of the more than 60 heads of state and government who attended, silent and reflective, showed how the “war to end all wars” left few corners of the earth untouched but which, little more than two decades later, was followed so quickly and catastrophically by the even deadlier World War II.

On the other side of the globe, Australia and New Zealand held ceremonies to recall how the war killed and wounded soldiers and civilians in unprecedented numbers and in gruesome new, mechanized ways.

Those countries lost tens of thousands of soldiers far away in Europe and, most memorably in the 1915 battle of Gallipoli, in Turkey. In central London, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, clad in black, watched from a balcony as her son Prince Charles laid a wreath on her behalf at the foot of the Cenotaph memorial that honors the fallen. Britain had 880,000 military dead in the war.

The gulf between Trump's "America First" credo and European leaders was starkly underscored again later Sunday, when Trump went his own way.

He visited an American cemetery outside Paris at precisely the moment that Macron, Merkel and other dignitaries were opening a peace forum where the French leader again sounded the alarm about crumbling international harmony as he ruminated about the legacy of the morning's commemorations.

"Will it be the shining symbol of durable peace between nations or will it be a picture of a last moment of unity before the world goes down in new disorder?" Macron asked. "It depends only on us."

While praising France for "a wonderful two days," Trump described his rainy stop at the American cemetery at Suresnes as "the highlight of the trip."

On Saturday, Trump drew criticism for canceling a separate commemorative visit to the Belleau Wood battleground northeast of Paris because of rain.

The US flag flutters at half mast prior to a ceremony at the Aisne-Marne American cemetery and memorial in Belleau, eastern France, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. President Donald Trump cancelled his visit due to bad weather. More than 60 heads of state and government are converging on France for the commemorations that peaked Sunday with ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, exactly a century after the armistice. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) (Francois Mori/)

Remembered for brutal trench warfare and the first use of chemical weapons, WWI pitted the armies of France, the British empire, Russia and the U.S. against a German-led coalition that included the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. Almost 10 million soldiers died, sometimes tens of thousands on a single day.

The U.S. came late to the war, in April 1917, but over 1½ years it became a key player and tipped the scales for the allies. At the war's end, the U.S. had 2 million troops in Europe and another 2 million ready to cross the Atlantic if needed, a force that turned the United States into a major military power whose soldiers then fought and died again for Europe in World War II.

Even though Germany was at the heart of provoking two world wars over the past century, the nation has become a beacon of European and international cooperation since.

With so many leaders in Paris, the commemoration also provoked a flurry of diplomacy on the sidelines, with conflict in Yemen and Syria among the hot-button issues.

On Sunday, Merkel met with the head of the United Nations, an organization born from the ashes of World War II, and the president of Serbia. It was a Serb teenager, Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated the Austro-Hungarian crown prince in Sarajevo in 1914 to set off events which led to the outbreak of war.


Associated Press writers Angela Charlton, Sylvie Corbet, Elaine Ganley and Thomas Adamson contributed to this report.

Alaska Native language summit in Juneau will celebrate fluent speakers

Sun, 2018-11-11 13:00

An upcoming summit will bring together the last remaining speakers of three indigenous languages of Alaska, organizers said Friday.

Sealaska Heritage Institute President Rosita Worl at her office in Juneau. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, file)

Nearly 70 speakers of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian are expected to attend the three-day event in Juneau that begins Tuesday, according to Sealaska Heritage Institute officials. The institute has counted 133 speakers of those languages who live in the region or who are affiliated it.

The summit is among multiple language revitalization efforts by the nonprofit organization, institute President Rosita Worl said in a phone interview.

The event follows a September action by Gov. Bill Walker, who declared an emergency for Alaska Native languages. The order was prompted by a report this year that warned the languages could become extinct by the century's end.

Worl, however, said she refuses to say the languages are dying. Much work has been done and is being done by Native people to ensure their languages survive, she said. The summit will honor and recognize those who have held on to their languages.

"People might think that we are in mourning because we are losing our fluent speakers," Worl said. "I want to celebrate our fluent speakers. I want to celebrate that they were able to retain our Native languages even in the face of all of the forces to suppress Native languages."

Other participants will include specialists who learned and teach the languages, advanced language learners and people who understand the languages but don't speak them. The free event will be open to the general public to observe, but not participate, in the proceedings.

Language speakers will be able to converse in their Native tongues. For that reason, language learners observing the communication will benefit as well, Worl said.

"The other objective is to be able to hear conversational — natural conversational — Native languages spoken," Worl said. "More often in the schools, you know, they're learning vocabulary, they're learning phrases. But here, they'll be able to actually hear it in conversation."

The summit will be live-streamed and videotaped for the institute's archives.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is the nonprofit cultural and educational arm of Juneau-based Sealaska Corp., a regional Native corporation.

Consider a lung cancer check. It could save your life.

Sun, 2018-11-11 12:41

(File photo)

November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer for men and women in the U.S., accounting for about one in four cancer deaths. In Alaska, only 18.4 percent of those diagnosed with lung cancer will be alive five years later. Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer, and although smoking rates have fallen nationwide to 17.5 percent in men and 13.5 percent in women, rates in Alaska, according to the CDC, are higher at 21.2 percent and 16.6 percent for men and women, respectively.

It is important for everyone to be proactive about knowing their risk for lung cancer, and this is especially true for former smokers. As a medical professional, I'm always proud to celebrate the determination of patients who have quit smoking. For many people, however, concerns about the health risks associated with smoking fade in the years after they quit. It is important to remember that smoking has lasting effects and I encourage former and current smokers to discuss lung cancer screening with their health care provider.

This is personal for me. My grandfather passed away from lung cancer, and he kept his smoking hidden from the grandchildren. I never knew he smoked until he was diagnosed. Here was my grandfather, a larger-than-life and physically strong dairy farmer, the patriarch of the family, lying in a hospital bed during the last days of his life. He suffered from treatments designed to slow down the cancer. I was in college at the time, long before I became a physician and a radiation oncologist treating lung cancer patients on a daily basis. I wish I knew then what I know now. I wish I could have one more day with my grandfather. He smoked for most of his adult life, and I wonder if he may have been cured had he undergone lung cancer screening and subsequently been able to receive modern surgical or advanced radiation therapy treatments. I will never know, but I do know we now have the ability to perform lung cancer screening, and importantly, we know that this screening saves lives through the curative treatment of lung cancers detected at earlier stages.

The American Lung Association offers an easy lung cancer screening eligibility quiz online. Through lung cancer screening, we have a powerful opportunity to save lives and turn the tide against this disease. Please take a moment to assess your risk and discuss this with your health care provider… it might just save your life!

Dr. John S. Yordy, M.D., Ph.D., is a radiation oncologist. He practices in Palmer.

The views expressed here are the writer's and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at) Send submissions shorter than 200 words to or click here to submit via any web browser. Read our full guidelines for letters and commentaries here.

Dead, wounded, missing: In the final hours of World War I, a terrible toll

Sun, 2018-11-11 12:39

In this photo taken on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, the grave marker of French WWI soldier Augustin Trebuchon in Vrigne-Meuse, France. His tiny plot is almost on the front line where the guns finally fell silent at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, after a four-year war that had already killed millions. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo) (Virginia Mayo/)

VRIGNE-MEUSE, France — Augustin Trebuchon is buried beneath a white lie.

His tiny plot is almost on the front line where the guns finally fell silent at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, after a four-year war that had already killed millions.

A simple white cross says: "Died for France on Nov. 10, 1918."

Not so.

Like hundreds of others along the Western Front, Trebuchon was killed in combat on the morning of Nov. 11 — after the pre-dawn agreement between the Allies and Germany but before the armistice took effect six hours later.

His death at almost literally the eleventh hour only highlighted the folly of a war that had become ever more incomprehensible to many in nations drawn into the first global conflict.

Before Nov. 11, the war had killed 14 million people, including 9 million soldiers, sailors and airmen from 28 countries. Germany came close to a quick, early victory before the war settled into hellish trench fighting. One battle, like the Somme in France, could have up to 1 million casualties. The use of poison gas came to epitomize the ruthlessness of warfare that the world had never seen.

For the French, who lost up to 1.4 million troops, it was perhaps too poignant — or too shameful — to denote that Trebuchon had been killed on the very last morning, just as victory finally prevailed.

"Indeed, on the tombs it said 'Nov. 10, 1918,' to somewhat ease the mourning of families," said French military historian Nicolas Czubak.

FILE - In this file photo from Nov. 1918, the German and French delegations speak as they wait in Rethondes for the start of the train to the Armistice conference in the Forest of Compiegne, France. (AP Photo, File)

There were many reasons why men kept falling until the call of the bugler at 11 a.m.: fear that the enemy would not abide by the armistice, a sheer hatred after four years of unprecedented slaughter, the ambition of commanders craving a last victory, bad communications, the inane joy of killing.

As the hours ticked down, villages were taken, attacks were thwarted with heavy losses and rivers were crossed under enemy fire. Questions remain whether the gains were worth all the human losses.

Historian Joseph Persico estimated the total dead, wounded and missing on all sides on the final day was 10,900.

U.S. Gen. John J. Pershing, who had been bent on continuing the fighting, even had to explain to Congress the high number of last-day losses.

Other nations also were not spared such casualties.

With two minutes to go, 25-year-old Canadian Pvt. George Lawrence Price was slain by a German sniper.

About 150 miles away in France, a 23-year-old American, Henry Gunther, was killed by German machine-gun fire one minute before the armistice.

Trebuchon, 40, also was shot minutes before the cease-fire. He was running to tell his comrades where and when they would have a meal after the armistice.

All three are considered their nations' last men to fall in active combat.

In this photo taken on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, a memorial to US World War I soldier Henry Gunther perched on a hill where he died in Chaumont-devant-Damvillers, France. Henry Gunther's time of death was recorded at 10:59am and was recognized by General John Pershing as the last American to die on the battlefront. Hundreds of troops died on the final morning of World War I _ even after an armistice was reached and before it came into force. Death at literally the 11th hour highlighted the futility of a conflict that had become even more incomprehensible in four years of battle. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo) (Virginia Mayo/)

‘The futility of the larger war'

Anti-German sentiment ran high after the United States declared war in April 1917, and Gunther and his family in Baltimore were subjected to the kind of prejudice and suspicion that many of German descent faced at the time.

"It was not a good time to be German in the United States," said historian Alec Bennett.

Gunther had little choice when he got drafted. He was given the rank of sergeant, but he later was demoted when he wrote a letter home critical of the conditions in the war.

Soon after, he was thrown into the biggest U.S. battle of the war, the Meuse-Argonne offensive in northeastern France.

There were reports he was still brooding over his demotion right on Nov. 11. When he emerged from a thick fog in the valley around Chaumont-devant-Damvillers, he and his comrades faced a German machine gun nest on the hillside.

Indications are that the Germans fired one salvo over his head as a warning, knowing the war was almost over. But he still charged onward.

FILE - In this file photo taken on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, the sun begins to rise behind barbed wire next to a re-constructed WWI trench in Ploegsteert, Belgium. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File) (Virginia Mayo/)

“His time of death was 10:59 a.m., which is just so haunting,” Bennett said. Gunther was recognized by Pershing as the last American to die on the battlefield.

Questions remain whether it was a suicide run, an attempt at redemption or an act of true devotion.

"It is just as puzzling now as it was 100 years ago," Bennett said, adding that one thing is clear: "Gunther's act is seen as almost a symbol of the futility of the larger war."

But there was one more cruel twist for his family: They were unaware he had been killed.

Upon his expected return "they went to the train station to meet Henry — not there!" said Bruce Malone, superintendent of Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, the final resting place for 100 Americans who died Nov. 11.

‘A need to kill one last time’

There was no mystery surrounding the death of Price, the Canadian. It was an utterly senseless loss of life.

He was a farm laborer in Saskatchewan when the swirl of history plucked him off the land in October 1917 as the Allies sought ever more manpower for the Western Front.

The summer after he was drafted, he was part of the surge of victories that seized villages and cities right up to Nov. 11. By that time, Canadians were retaking Mons in southern Belgium, where soldiers from the British Commonwealth had their very first battle with the Germans in August 1914.

It was especially sweet for the Commonwealth commanders to retake the city, bringing the war full circle where they lost their first soldier, English Pvt. John Parr, on Aug. 21, 1914.

In this file photo taken on Saturday, July 26, 2014, wooden crosses and Canadian flags adorn the grave of World War I Canadian soldier Pvt. George Lawrence Price, center, at the St. Symphorien Cemetery near Mons, Belgium. Price was recorded as the last Canadian soldier to die on the Western Front during the First World War. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File) (Virginia Mayo/)

Price decided to check out homes along the canals while civilians in the center of Mons had already broken out the wine and whiskey they had hidden for years from the Germans to celebrate with the Canadians.

Suddenly, a shot rang out and Price collapsed.

"It really was one man, here and there, who was driven by vengeance, by a need to kill one last time," said Belgian historian Corentin Rousman.

The final minutes counted not just for the casualties but also for the killers.

"There are rules in war," Rousman said. "There is always the possibility to kill two minutes before a cease-fire. Two minutes after, the German would have had to stand before a judge. That's the difference."

At the St. Symphorien cemetery just outside Mons, Price, the last Commonwealth soldier killed in the war, lies a stone's throw from Parr, the first.

"He is not forgotten," Rousman said of Price. "It's a soldier whose tomb is often draped in flowers."

In this photo taken on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, a photo of French WWI soldier Augustin Trebuchon hangs on a wall outside a cemetery in Vrigne-Meuse, France. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo) (Virginia Mayo/)

‘Part of this great patriotic momentum’

Trebuchon's grave stands out because of the date, underscoring the random fortunes of war.

He was a shepherd from France's Massif Central and could have avoided the war as a family breadwinner at age 36.

"But he was part of this great patriotic momentum," said Jean-Christophe Chanot, the mayor of Vrigne-Meuse, where he died.

Trebuchon knew misery as part of France’s most brutal battles — Marne, Somme, Verdun. He survived right up to his last order, to tell soldiers where to gather after the armistice.

Instead, his body was found with a bullet wound to the head. He was recognized as "the last French soldier killed during the last French attack against the Germans," Chanot said.

The date on his grave — Nov. 10, 1918 — remains controversial, even if it was meant to soothe a family's sorrow.

"It was a lie, without a question," said Czubak, the French historian.


Photojournalist Virginia Mayo and video journalist Mark Carlson contributed.

In this file photo taken on April 3, 2017, the bones of soldiers are piled in a crypt at the Douaumont Ossuary in Verdun, France. Hundreds of troops died on the final morning of World War I -- even after an armistice was reached and before it came into force. Death at literally the 11th hour highlighted the futility of a conflict that had become even more incomprehensible in four years of battle. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File) (Virginia Mayo/)

Finding hope in a dark time

Sun, 2018-11-11 12:21

A Pittsburgh police officer walks past the Tree of Life Synagogue and a memorial of flowers and stars in Pittsburgh on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, in remembrance of those killed and injured when a shooter opened fire during services Saturday at the synagogue. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

It's been two weeks since the heartbreaking massacre at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue, and days since the Thousand Oaks massacre. Unlike equally horrific atrocities, this time I just can't seem to grieve and move on. Do I value one group of victims over others? Are Jewish elders a greater loss than young people at a bar? Of course not. So where lies the discord? Every society since the beginning of time has suffered irreconcilable loss, but in my grieving mind, the distinction seems to fall into three categories: accident, mental cognizance and intent.

As a society, accidents happen. So we work to foresee, forewarn and strengthen our defense mechanisms. We also have neighbors who lack mental capacity to understand the consequences of thought and action. And sadly, the majority of incidents triggered by mental disability have years of red-flag moments which, through foresight and intervention, could radically reduce pain and suffering for all. Like minimizing accidents, we're working on mental health intervention, but lack of unity and easy access to life-threatening weapons indicate we have a long way to go. But a society with unified values can manage predictable inevitability with mutual respect, grace and powerful results.

Just as the Judeo-Christian admonition to love your neighbor as yourself is a reasoned, intentional choice, so is hate. Both can be fueled by action, both can be overpowered, and both start at the top, with women and men in positions of power and influence. Like the values that form through years of parental guidance, and the influence that transcends a teacher's classroom, leadership shapes the character of a nation in one direction, or another. Organized hate based on race, sex and religion has reared its ugly head throughout our history, but we've always overcome through the power of moral leadership and unified expression.

Recent expressions of hate-fueled political discourse from the highest pinnacles of power appear, in my mind, to be energizing expressions of disunity and degradation that we, as a nation, had tempered to manageable levels until the last few years. As the midterm elections become our new reality, my hope is that our neighbors will join in a unified voice and organized demand for politicians to humble themselves and seek a road to recovery from the direction we're headed.

Like Martin Luther King Jr., I had a dream that on the day of the Pittsburgh massacre, our president canceled his political rally and called Congress into special session for a unified, soul-searching period of introspection and commitment to reunification — a unified "we've had enough" declaration, national apology and commitment to something more than a bad hair day.
Love can overpower hate. It simply requires action.

Frank Prewitt is a former Alaska State Trooper, forensic social worker, Assistant Attorney General, Director of Alaska Psychiatric Institute and Commissioner of Corrections.

Healing totem in Juneau channels a higher voice to strengthen survivors of domestic violence and sex assault

Sun, 2018-11-11 11:56

In this photo taken Oct. 31, 2018, Wayne Price, master Tlingit carver and associate professor of Northwest Coast arts and sciences, works on a healing pole at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire via AP)

JUNEAU — Even the wood chips in Wayne Price's ongoing project have meaning.

The master Tlingit carver and University of Alaska Southeast faculty member is deep into the process of creating a healing totem pole for Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies, Juneau's gender-inclusive shelter for survivors of gender-based violence. The finished totem will tell a story created by Price's wife, Cherri, but the cedar chips carved off the main log are symbolic, too.

"This came about when I had a vision in a sweat lodge, which led to my own personal recovery," Price told the Capital City Weekly after putting some painting on pause in his UAS workshop. "In that sweat, I was granted a vision and told I had to create a healing totem or dugout, and I asked, 'How does it become a healing totem or dugout?' I was told by my creator, that keeps me sober, that each chip that comes off this totem represents a life that's been affected by domestic violence or sexual assault. Of all the chips that come off this totem, there won't be enough. That helps to bring awareness through my art to a pretty serious situation."

Since his vision 15 years ago, Price has made four healing totems and five healing dugouts that have raised awareness for causes including boarding school atrocities against Alaska Natives, and misuse of alcohol and drugs.

"Every healing totem and healing canoe that I've been involved with has led to the creation of another one," Price said. "I've gone from one healing project right into another one soon after, which tells me we're involved in a great time of healing, that we in the human race want to deal with a great healing in our lives."

He said the work for AWARE feels particularly necessary.

"If there's ever been a healing totem that's been needed, it's really been this one," Price said. "One in three women are involved or know someone involved in this crime."

Mandy Cole, deputy director for AWARE, said Price's history with recovery also adds an element that may make the work extra relatable for survivors who sometimes turn to substances to cope with traumatic events before starting their healing journey.

"I think working with the dimension of survivorship and recovery tells a fuller story that I think will make a lot of sense to the people we're serving," Cole said.

Cole also said she's been pleased by the collaboration between AWARE and Price, and impressed with the artist's work.

"Wayne is an incredibly special person, and we found each other in a way that's kind of larger than maybe any of us understood," Cole said. "One of the things I'm learning from him is healing is a journey, and you can't necessarily predict what it's going to look like. I think we're learning from Wayne, and he's learning from us, and that process is incredibly meaningful. Having someone who's a master ask you what you think or feel about things is incredibly validating, and you don't get that all the time. I think we're so lucky to have found him."

[A healing totem rises in Douglas]

Logging long hours

The 22-foot totem pole has been a work in progress for more than a year.

Price was first approached by AWARE about the possibility of creating a healing totem when he was working in Haines, and the project soon ran into a complication.

"First, the log we selected that came from the shelter site proved to be rotten, and we had to secure another log, and we did," Price said. "We secured a log from Thorne Bay, and brought it up to Haines, and that was not this last August, but it was the August before."

Price worked on the totem until winter chased him inside. He resumed work in spring, and then continued to work through summer in Haines.

"Then we got involved with being a professor here at UAS, we brought the Jibba dugout as well as the healing totem to the Egan Library site, where I've been working on it off and on as I learn the ropes for teaching my classes here," Price said.

In the next few weeks, Price said he expects to finish the totem, and it will be erected in the spring.

The location of the totem remains undecided as does the exact date that it will be put up.

"We're trying to get the people invited who we wanted to honor as well, so right now, it's kind of an amazing, complicated logistical progress in work," Cole said. "The reason it's not set in stone is that it's really about the people who care. We're trying to really make it meaningful for the community."

The design and the story

Cherri Price came up with the concept of the totem's design, which contains a lot of AWARE-specific symbolism.

The pole is named "Kaasei," which is a Tlingit word that means "higher voice," and is also the name of an AWARE transitional housing building. The story told by "Kaasei's" design deals in themes connected to domestic violence and sexual assault.

Cherri Price shared the story told by the pole with the Capital City Weekly.

"A strong calm Tlingit woman wearing a traditional fringed dress and wooden hat bearing her name 'Kaasei,' is the prominent figure. In her right arm she holds a happy baby boy. Next to her heart she holds a feather, the symbol of her voice and empowerment.

"A young girl lovingly hugs the woman, feeling safe at Kaasei's side and secure under her arm.

"Kaasei stands on the top of a tear box. The tear box sits above oppressive paths of violence and abuse littered with pain, wounds, brokenness, sadness, torment and fear. They spiral down to empty darkness and despair.

"Above Kaasei's head are healing paths of peace and safety, bright with hope, happy faces, songs of peace, words of kindness, gentle healing hands and symbols of traditional values. The AWARE logo is on the higher path. A large dove, the symbol of peace, sits on top of the totem."

Wayne Price said the various healing projects have a positive affect, and he hopes bringing awareness to this particular cause can help stop domestic and sexual abuse.

"I do believe in the long run it does help," Wayne Price said. "A lot of times we as humans don't really know how to take the first step in a healing process. We're very capable of doing it, we just don't know how. What I do as an artist, is I provide a monument that does just that. It provides a step in that direction. It's wonderful to be involved in such a project."

If someone needs to take a step, Cole said, anyone struggling with gender-based violence can call AWARE at 907-586-1090.

Sloppy mix of snow and rain to persist through most of Sunday in Anchorage

Sun, 2018-11-11 11:29

A soggy grab bag of snow, rain and freezing rain is likely to stick around Anchorage for most of Sunday, bringing with it high winds to some areas of town.

After 2 to 5 inches of snow fell overnight, the temperature warmed enough to prompt the National Weather Service to issue a warning about freezing rain lasting until early afternoon.

After that, a steady mixture of rain, snow and freezing rain is expected to fall until late afternoon or early evening, said NWS meteorologist Dave Percy.

Winds are expected to reach up to 50 mph on the Anchorage Hillside and along Turnagain Arm on Sunday night.

Temperatures should stay above freezing overnight, so the roads should be more wet than icy by the Monday morning commute, Percy said.

"Real slushy slop," he said.

Bowling Green jumps on UAA early for 3-0 hockey win

Sun, 2018-11-11 11:28

Bowling Green struck early and UAA struck out on the power play Saturday night at Sullivan Arena.

The 10th-ranked Falcons scored two first-period goals and held UAA scoreless on eight power-play chances to grab a 3-0 victory in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association game.

The game ended a scoreless weekend for the Seawolves (1-6-1 overall, 0-5-1 WCHA). They scraped out a tie on Friday night but the game was a scoreless draw — the Falcons earned an extra point in the standings by scoring a goal in the second overtime period, when teams skate 3-on-3.

A crowd of 2,269 watched Bowling Green jump to a 2-0 lead on first-period goals by Lukas Craggs and Connor Ford.

Craggs scored first on a rebound during a power play. He batted the puck out of the air and past UAA goalie Kris Carlson, who had stopped the initial shot by Cameron Wright.

Ford made it 2-0 with 12 seconds left in the period. It was the first of two goals for the sophomore, who scored again early in the second period on Wright's second assist of the night.

The Falcons (7-2-2, 2-1-1) outshot UAA 26-25. Carlson finished with 23 saves and Bowling Gree goalie Ryan Bednard had 25.

The series was the last home appearance for the Seawolves until Jan. 4-5. They begin a long stretch of road games this weekend when they travel to Northern Michigan.

State begins replacing WWII-era Alaska Highway bridge over Tok River

Sun, 2018-11-11 11:01

The World War II-era, truss-style bridge at Mile 1309 of the Alaska Highway near Tok. The bridge has been replaced by a temporary detour bridge and a permanent replacement is scheduled to be in place by October 2019. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities via AP)

FAIRBANKS — A World War II-era bridge on the Alaska Highway is nearing its last days.

The truss-style bridge over the Tok River has been replaced by a temporary detour bridge and will be permanently replaced with a new bridge by October 2019, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

The old bridge had exceeded its design life of 50 years, said Danielle Tessen, spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

"The cost for inspection and maintenance would exceed the cost of a new bridge," she said.

The old bridge is at Mile 1309 between Tok and the Canadian border. It was built between 1943 and 1944 and was the last truss-style bridge remaining between Canada and Anchorage.

The bridge at Mile 1309 of the Alaska Highway near Tok. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities via AP)

Tessen suspects the federal Alaska Road Commission hired a contractor to build the bridge. DOT hired a historian to document it.

Crews began its demolition Oct. 26. Lead paint covers the bridge. Alaska has no facility to deal with that hazard, Tessen said, so scraps will be sent to the Lower 48 for abatement.

A detour was required so the new bridge could be built in the same location, keeping the road straight and reducing construction delays.

The new bridge will require foundation, piling and abutment work. It comes with a cost of $9.9 million and a projected 75-year life span. HC Contractors was awarded the contract.

The new overpass will eliminate height restrictions for oversize loads. The previous clearance was 15 feet, 8 inches because of trusses.

The bridge also will be bigger: 360 feet long and 43 feet wide, up from 250 feet long and 30 feet wide.

Amid deep grief over whalers’ deaths, Utqiagvik celebrates end of whaling season

Sun, 2018-11-11 10:51

UTQIAGVIK — People in the nation's northernmost community are celebrating the end of a successful fall whaling season, but it also has been a time of mourning after the recent deaths of two whale hunters.

The season wrapped up in Utqiagvik in late October, Alaska's Energy Desk reported. Subsistence hunters in the town formerly known as Barrow brought in their full quota of 19 bowhead whales.

The last whale was brought ashore by whaling captain Ross Wilhelm and his crew, with help from others. A few days later, Wilhelm and his wife hosted a gathering at their home to share the whale meat.

In early October, whaling Capt. Roxy Oyagak Jr. and crew member Ron Kanayurak died when their boat capsized while they were towing a bowhead home.

Their deaths are being reviewed by the Barrow Whaling Captains Association.

At the recent gathering at the Wilhelm home, people joined hands to pray in Inupiaq and voice their gratitude for the bowhead.

The prayer was broadcast over VHF radio. The broadcast also announced the whale meat was ready for serving. That prompted a stream of people who showed up at the home.

"It's just what puts us together, is the whale, the bowhead whale. Just gets us all together," Wilhelm said.

The deaths of his peers shook Wilhelm, he said.

"I'd make myself look bad if I said it doesn't scare me," he said. But he added he's not deterred from whaling.

Many in town are mourning the deaths, but the dedication to continue whaling remains strong, according to whaling Capt. Crawford Patkotak.

"For the most part our people are able to rebound and continue our life, our culture," he said. "And knowing that Roxy and Ron would have it no other way, they would want us to continue our culture."

It’s a four-peat for Dimond Lynx volleyball team

Sat, 2018-11-10 21:41

The Dimond Lynx celebrate their fourth straight Class 4A state volleyball championship. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

Try as they might for four years running, no one's put a dent in the volleyball dominance of the Dimond Lynx.

Bolstered by a senior-laden roster led by Mia Ekstrand, Alissa Pili and Madde Shockey, Dimond needed only 76 minutes to dispatch upstart West in three sets at the Alaska Airlines Center.

The 25-23, 25-23, 25-21 victory gave the Lynx their fourth consecutive Class 4A state championship and their 10th under longtime coach Kim Lauwers.

"A team of best friends, I trust them with my entire heart," said Ekstrand, who delivered the match-point kill from the middle of the net on her way to matching Pili with a team-high 12 kills. "We've felt a lot of pressure these last few years because it seemed not everyone wanted to see us do well.

"I'm so proud of the way we all were able to channel that pressure, put it on to the court and make it into something good. Not everyone who plays this game is capable of doing that."

Dimond won all four of this week's matches in three-set sweeps, beating Colony, South and West twice. The Lynx completed their campaign with a 23-0 match record against Alaska opponents.

Ekstrand's final kill landed untouched deep in West's side of the court. Within seconds, the Lynx piled joyously together on the gym floor. Then they formed a large circle with their fellow classmates — many with faces painted in Dimond maroon and gold — and sang the school's fight song.

Pili, one of Dimond's 10 seniors, finished with 11 digs and continued to add to her impressive high school resume. She's a four-time champ in volleyball and a one-time champ in basketball, and she owns five individual state titles — three in shot put, one in discus and one in wrestling.

The 2017-18 Max Preps Sports national female athlete of the year, Pili will take her talents to the University of Southern California next year to play basketball for the Trojans.

Lynx junior Hahni Johnson totaled 24 assists and 10 digs, and Shockey added six kills and seven blocks.

West’s Savrina Paul spikes the ball past Dimond defenders Gwenna Nichols, left, and Hahni Johnson. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

West, playing in its first state tournament since it finished second in 2005, gave Dimond all it could handle, especially in the first two sets.

The Eagles, who last won a state championship in 1984, led the first set by as many as six points and registered the first four points of the second set while jumping to an early 11-7 advantage.

The title match capped an eventful stretch for the Eagles. First, they won a marathon five-set match over Bartlett in the Cook Inlet Conference tournament to earn third place and a state berth. Earlier Saturday, they slipped past South, the CIC's second-best team most of the season, in five sets to reach the finale, losing powerful senior outside hitter Alize Taliauli to injury in the process.

"Like most teams, we battled a lot of different injuries and played with a lot of different lineups," said West coach April Stahl. "It means the world to me to see the way this team trusted its coaches and each other to come out and accomplish all of this.

"It's huge."

The Eagles received huge contributions from seniors Brooke Dexter and Kelsey Ross and should have a bright future with the likes of freshman Hazel Allen in their lineup for the next few seasons.

Ekstrand was more than happy to credit West on its state tournament run.

"West always plays strong against us," she said. "They have a really big blockers and know how to keep us out of systems. They didn't let us come out super strong and we kind of had to chase ourselves.

"Finding a way to win against that team felt really good."

So does leaving a legacy. Dimond is the third team in Alaska history to win four straight state titles, joining Service (1989-1992) and Valdez (2001-2004).

Ekstrand credited Lauwers for the success. Lauwers has been Dimond's coach for 29 seasons, which she sandwiched around her stint as the head coach at UAA, where she coached Stahl in the late 1990s.

"We had some great former players to look up to and I hope future Lynx look up to us," Ekstrand said. "All of us have one of the best coaches anyone could ever ask for in the entire state.

"Always listen to Lauwers. Every idea or suggestion she has, take it and utilize it because she's a wise woman."

ASAA/First National Bank Class 4A volleyball championships

Saturday's results

Consolation semifinal — West def. South, 25-17, 25-14, 19-25, 17-25, 15-13

Championship — Dimond def. West, 25-23, 25-23, 25-21

All-tournament team

Alissa Pili, Dimond
Audrey Welling, Thunder Mountain
Brooke Dexter, Thunder Mountain
Erin Doner, South
Danika Brown, West
Hahni Johnson, Dimond
Hallee Yundt, Colony
Isabel List, Colony
Ituau Tuisaula, Soldotna
Kelsey Ross, West
Kylie Hurd, South
Reilly Plumhoff, Dimond

Prep riflery: Eagle River, Service, East take CIC victories

Sat, 2018-11-10 20:38

Eagle River 7, Bartlett 0

Kayla Reifel shot a 290 to lead Eagle River past Bartlett in a Cook Inlet Conference riflery meet Friday in Eagle River.

Four other Eagle River shooters fired scores of 280 or better.

Eagle River 3,341 Bartlett 2,883

A team

Eagle River (1,138) — Kayla Reifel 290, Emma Mackenzie 284, Maddie Bidinger 283, Ava Perkins 281.

Bartlett (1,049) — Katherine Vuocolo 266, Victoria Arnold 265, Aeryn Maze 262, Briana Cook 256.

B team

Eagle River (1,115) — Sierra Wanca 280, Lindsey Foshee 279, Zachary Keith 278, Abigail Foger 278.

Bartlett (974) — Jesyka Clayton 248, Joshua Johnson 245, Nahmiyess Newmen 241, Dakota Brown 240.

C team

Eagle River (1,088) — Rylee Price 275, Jonah Wegener 275, Avery Caldwell 270, Cayden Shade 268.

Bartlett (860) — Nicksen Vang 237, Curtis Harris 230, Robert Schmitt 200, Mason Street 193.

Service 7, South 0

Rachel Rohwer's match-high score of 289 included a perfect 100 in the prone position, an effort that sparked Service's 7-0 win over host South.

Service 3,281, South 3,149

A team

Service (1,139) — Rachel Rohwer 289, Matthew Ross 287, Wrangle Kruckenberg 285, Josephine Baty 278.

South (1,128) — Grace Fernandez 288, Michael Stoddard 285, Faythe Morris 282, Madison Thompson 273.

B team

Service (1,094) — Theodore Chau 277, Gabriela Zych 274, Alanna Curtis 272, Stefani Martinez 271.

South (1,063) — Kylee Wagendorf 270, Roman Snyder 266, Kimberly Jettenberg 266, Carsen Myren 261.

C team

Service (1,048) — Gabriella Ximenez 267, Valentina Gutierrez 267, Aidan Cooper 261, Jordan Racicot 253.

South (958) — Darin Hanley 261, Logan Custer 259, Travis Hemstreet 222, Eric Marshall 216.

East 4, Chugiak 3

East took two of three matches to earn a 4-3 home-range win over Chugiak.

The Thunderbirds got a 279 from Laurel Scheel to key the A team's win. East also won the B team match, with Chugiak getting the win in the C team competition.

Owen Crumley shot a 271 to lead Chugiak.

East 3,006, Chugiak 2,925

A team

Chugiak (1,063) — Owen Crumley 271; Otis Eads 266; Ruth Taygan 263; Michael Sorensen 263.

East (1,104) — Laurel Scheel 279; Jen Johnson 278; Maiger Yang 276; Ceezenger Yang 271.

B team

Chugiak (1,017) — Braden Shackleford 260; Dahlia Hicks 255; Abby Raynes 251; Robert Weber 251.

East (1,033) — Allison Klebs 268; Colin Ede 259; Eva Easton 255; Connor MacInnis 251.

C team

Chugiak (926) — Colton Sinerius 250; Anthony Van Weel 240; Tanner Betts 225; Callie Gates 211.

East (788) — James Higgins 234; Courtney Kofoid 234; Jonathan Gates 204; Debra Schwenke 116.