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Letter: Bring back Perfect World

Alaska News - Mon, 2018-11-12 10:17

If you’ll forgive a bit of father’s pride, Sam Holley-Kline wrote an article for the Anchorage Daily News’ Perfect World section (where high-schoolers were given a voice and a space) recounting the wreck of the Princess Sophia in the wake of its 90th anniversary. (There is no current link to that 2008 article). The article caught the attention of Hal Johnston, whose father was one of the men called in to identify the bodies after the wreck. Hal invited Sam to have a conversation with him, and they had lunch together.

Sam then produced a radio segment for the Alaska Teen Media Institute, where they recounted the story. Part of the horror is that the Sophia was grounded for 40 hours and the survivors of the grounding had time to write and telegraph their friends and family, but by the time rescue ships arrived, the ship had foundered, and all were lost — in sight of the shore.

It’s worth a listen, and I’d love to see the reconstituted ADN bring back Perfect World (or an equivalent) to give Anchorage youth the kind of experience Sam and many others were able to have.

— Dan Kline


Have something on your mind? Send to letters@adn.com or click here to submit via any web browser. Letters under 200 words have the best chance of being published. Writers should disclose any personal or professional connections with the subjects of their letters. Letters are edited for accuracy, clarity and length.

Letter: Daylight Slaving Time

Alaska News - Mon, 2018-11-12 10:14

Imagine a smooth transition of the seasons as the days shorten, the nights lengthen and, with the coming solstice in less than two months, the process is reversed. Spring forward? Fall back? Bah! Daylight Saving Time upsets the orderly rhythms of nature.

— Ken Flynn


Have something on your mind? Send to letters@adn.com or click here to submit via any web browser. Letters under 200 words have the best chance of being published. Writers should disclose any personal or professional connections with the subjects of their letters. Letters are edited for accuracy, clarity and length.

Letter: More Princess Sophia victims

Alaska News - Mon, 2018-11-12 10:12

In regards to your fine article Oct. 25 on the sinking of the Princess Sophia, three other passengers who died should be mentioned: Florence Beaton, her 6-year-old daughter Lauretta and 4-year-old son John Neil. They were the wife and children of John Beaton, whose discovery of gold on Otter Creek with William Dikeman on Christmas Day in 1908 started the Iditarod gold rush.

— Lee Poleske


Have something on your mind? Send to letters@adn.com or click here to submit via any web browser. Letters under 200 words have the best chance of being published. Writers should disclose any personal or professional connections with the subjects of their letters. Letters are edited for accuracy, clarity and length.

Florida recount: More lawsuits, accusations as Nelson calls on Scott to recuse himself

Alaska News - Mon, 2018-11-12 09:51

Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes, left, Board chair Judge Betsy Benson, center, and Board member Judge Deborah Carpenter-Toye, sign off on a sealed bin that will be sent to the capitol as ballots have begun to be sorted before counting, Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, in Lauderhill, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Wilfredo Lee/)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Lawsuits and accusations flew on Monday in the recount battle in Florida, with Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, calling on Republican Gov. Rick Scott, his opponent, to recuse himself and a judge ruling there was no evidence of voter fraud even as President Donald Trump alleged without evidence that ballots were missing and forged.

Recounts in Florida's races for governor, Senate and agriculture commissioner were ordered Saturday due to tight margins in the votes and immediately became the focus of lawsuits by candidates.

On Monday, state Judge Jack Tuter ruled against a request by Gov. Rick Scott - the Republican candidate in the Senate race - that ballots and machines in closely watched Broward County not in use in the recount be impounded. Tuter said that there was was no evidence of voter fraud and that Brenda Snipes, the county election supervisor, needs to be allowed to do her job and finish the count.

Tuter also appeared to admonish the Scott team for suggesting voter fraud without offering evidence of it.

"Everything the lawyers are saying out there at the elections office is being beamed out across the country. We should be careful what we say," Tuter said. "These words mean things these days, as everybody in the room knows."

Earlier Monday, Trump tweeted that the results from the night of the Nov. 6 election should stand, handing victories to Scott and to Republican former congressman Ron DeSantis in the gubernatorial contest.

Ballots from overseas and military voters have until Friday to arrive to be counted.

"The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged," the president said in a tweet that misstated what Florida officials have concluded. "An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!"

Ballots from overseas and military voters have until Friday to arrive to be counted.

Election administrators are racing against the clock to machine-recount ballots ahead of a Thursday deadline to present their findings, with many of the state's 67 counties beginning the task Sunday. A more logistically complicated hand recount could follow. The contest will determine the size of the GOP's Senate majority and settle an expensive fight in the nation's largest swing state.

On Monday, officials in Broward County. a Democratic stronghold, were testing machines and preparing paper ballots for a tabulation that had yet to begin. Snipes said she was confident that the machine recount would be completed by Thursday.

Tuter's ruling Monday was on one of a number of lawsuits being considered over recounts.

Scott has also sued to impound ballots and equipment in Palm Beach, though there has not yet been a hearing on that one.

On Wednesday, a court will hear a request from Sen. Bill Nelson, Scott's Democratic opponent, to reexamine the absentee and provisional ballots that were not counted because signatures did not match.

And on Monday, a new suit was filed on behalf of VoteVets, the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee asked that all mail-in ballots postmarked by last Tuesday be counted. Under current rules, ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Also Monday, Sen. Bill Nelson, who Scott is challenging for the Senate seat, called on Scott to recuse himself from the recount.

"He's thrown around words like voter fraud without any proof," Nelson said, charging that Scott can't oversee the recount "in a fair and impartial way."

In a Fox News television appearance earlier, Scott called Nelson a "sore loser" and alleged that "he's just here to steal this election."

In the Senate contest, Scott's lead over Nelson has narrowed to 12,562 votes out of more than 8 million ballots cast, or a margin of 0.15 percent, according to an unofficial tally Saturday from the state. State law mandates a machine recount if the margin is half a percentage point or less.

The governor's race also has tightened, with DeSantis, a staunch ally of Trump, ahead of Tallahasse Mayor Andrew Gillum, D, by 0.41 percent. If that margin holds, it would fall short of the 0.25 percent threshold for a more involved manual recount.

If the margin in the Senate race holds, however, it would be slim enough to require a hand recount. In that scenario, officials would have three days to inspect ballots with overvotes or undervotes - ballots on which the voter selected no candidate or more than one candidate in the race - provided there are enough to change the outcome. That could spark disputes about whether the voter intended to mark it that way.

The election results are slated to be certified on Nov. 20. Newly elected senators are expected to report to Washington this week for orientation. Scott said he has not decided his schedule yet. The Senate will swear in new members in January.

Broward and Palm Beach counties have come under legal pressure and scrutiny. Last week, judges ordered officials in Palm Beach County to open their canvass to public inspection and Broward officials to release documents the governor had demanded.

Snipes has been the subject of controversiesand criticism in the past. In 2016, she was accused of destroying physical ballots while saving digital copies during a lawsuit, a violation of a federal statute.

Last week, Scott called for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to investigate the voting in South Florida. The agency has not opened an inquiry, because the State Department has not alleged any fraud, Jeremy Burns, a spokesman for the Department of Law Enforcement, said Sunday, repeating what he had previously said.

State Attorney General Pam Bondi, R, sent a letter Sunday to FDLE Commissioner Richard Swearingen saying that she was "troubled" that he was not looking into irregularities, adding, "Your duty to investigate this matter is clear." She also wrote Detzner to remind him to report signs of criminal activity.

Sarah Revell, a State Department spokeswoman, said: "Department staff continues to observe the administration of the election in Broward County. Our staff has not seen any evidence of criminal activity in Broward County at this time." She added that the department's "top priority is a fair and accurate election."

- - -

Reinhard reported from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Wagner from Washington. Amy Gardner in Fort Lauderdale contributed to this report.

The ‘gravy lady’ needs a hand: Donation drive underway for Thanksgiving meals in Southcentral Alaska

Alaska News - Mon, 2018-11-12 08:48

PALMER — Organizations throughout Southcentral Alaska are preparing to serve Thanksgiving meals this holiday season.

But first, they're counting on the generosity of others.

Along with donations of food, Bean's Cafe in Anchorage relies on help from about 100 volunteers every Thanksgiving, including Judy "the gravy lady," who's been a longtime holiday helper, said executive director Lisa Sauder.

Bean's chef Aaron Dollison expects to serve 1,000 meals in four hours.

The day starts with breakfast burritos ferried to the Brother Francis Shelter next door, so a corps of staff and volunteers can ready Bean's for the big meal later in the day.

Aaron Dollison a chef at Bean’s Cafe, grew up in Anchorage and learned to cook from his mother. He went on to cook at Susitna Foods & Spirits, and Denny’s, but he learned how to cook in bulk in prison.

That meal, Dollison says, includes turkey, ham, stuffing, rolls, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, green-bean casserole, fruit, pies and cakes.

The stuffing recipe?

"I do it like my mom taught me. I take all the stuff from the turkey. Make plain cornbread, mix it with Stove Top, eggs, spices, bell pepper, onions, celery. Bake it for about an hour," Dollison said.

The full-time chef at Bean's, he's been serving Thanksgiving dinners for five or so years.

His favorite part of the Thanksgiving Day extravaganza is … all of it.

"Seeing that everybody's happy and they're having something good to eat," Dollison said. "Because I want the best. I don't want nothing left. I want it to be like mom made it."

The nonprofit that serves meals all year and provides a day shelter is requesting a long list of donations ranging from turkey to canned sweet potatoes.

Donations can be dropped off at Bean's Cafe at 1101 E. Third Ave. between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. any day of the week or at Tastee Freez at Jewel Lake and Raspberry roads. Monetary donations or offers to volunteer on Thanksgiving can also be made online or by calling 907-433-8601. For questions about food donations, call 907-297-5606.

Other organizations are also offering meals for the holiday.

Wasilla's Frontline Mission puts on a free sit-down community dinner on Thanksgiving at the Menard Center. People interested in volunteering can sign up at the mission's website. There will be an orientation on Nov. 16.

Volunteers prepare the Spenard Community Recreation Center on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, one of six sites in the Anchorage and Eagle River, for the annual Thanksgiving Blessing food distribution of groceries, including a turkey and all the fixings, to thousands of families in need to make a Thanksgiving meal. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Food Bank of Alaska holds events in Anchorage and Mat-Su to distribute Thanksgiving meals to an estimated 10,000 families. The Valley Thanksgiving Blessing takes place at five sites from Palmer to Talkeetna on Nov. 17. The Anchorage Thanksgiving Blessing for six locations is Nov. 19.

Families in need are directed to a distribution site according to their ZIP code and are asked to bring proof of address with them, according to a Food Bank press release. People can find out which location they should visit by calling 2-1-1 or visiting the organization website.

The event served more than 9,600 families last year.

Nobody injured when vans carrying soldiers crash on Parks Highway

Alaska News - Mon, 2018-11-12 07:48

Sixteen Fort Wainwright soldiers and other motorists escaped injury in a four-vehicle crash on the Parks Highway.

The crash occurred late Friday morning at Mile 169 about 40 miles south of Cantwell.

Alaska State Troopers said 26-year-old Logan Haga was driving a van carrying eight other soldiers. He was followed by a van driven by 23-year-old Derek Madrid carrying six other soldiers.

Haga came upon a state of Alaska mower cutting brush. He could not pass due to swirling snow and limited visibility and he slowed.

Troopers said the second van crashed into the first van, sending the first van into the mower.

The trailing van then crossed lanes and hit a fourth vehicle.

Troopers said everyone in the four vehicles was wearing a seat belt.

Miley Cyrus mansion destroyed as wildfire lays waste to celebrity-studded Malibu

Alaska News - Mon, 2018-11-12 07:42

Miley Cyrus, Neil Young and Gerard Butler are the latest celebrities to report losing their homes to deadly wildfires that have ravaged California.

Early Monday morning, Cyrus tweeted that her Malibu home - a $2.5 million mansion she purchased with fiance Liam Hemsworth in 2016 - had been destroyed by fire. The Woolsey Fire, which has been burning swaths of Los Angeles and Ventura counties in Southern California since Thursday, has forced evacuations and threatened thousands of homes from Thousand Oaks to Malibu.

“Completely devestated by the fires affecting my community. I am one of the lucky ones,” the singer and actress tweeted. “My animals and LOVE OF MY LIFE made it out safely & that’s all that matters right now. My house no longer stands but the memories shared with family & friends stand strong. I am grateful for all I have left.”

Cyrus expressed gratitude for firefighters and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and encouraged her followers to donate to a half-dozen fire aid and disaster relief organizations.

On Sunday afternoon, actor Gerard Butler posted images of himself returning to his Malibu home - or what was left of it - after having evacuated. The coastal city issued a mandatory evacuation for its residents last Friday.

Returned to my house in Malibu after evacuating. Heartbreaking time across California. Inspired as ever by the courage, spirit and sacrifice of firefighters. Thank you @LAFD. If you can, support these brave men and women at https://t.co/ei7c7F7cZx. pic.twitter.com/AcBcLtKmDU

— Gerard Butler (@GerardButler) November 11, 2018

“Welcome to my home in Malibu,” Butler could be heard saying in an Instagram video, as he walked up to what remained of the structure. Smoke and steam rose from cracks in the driveway. “Half gone ... God ...”

Butler focused the camera on the charred frame of his former home, surrounded by ash and the blackened shell of a truck.

"Wow," he said, shaking his head.

In a post on his website, singer Neil Young stated that he had just lost "another" home to a California fire. He also blasted President Donald Trump as "our so-called president" for attributing the deadly wildfires to poor forest management, and instead urged people to take action to fight climate change.

"California is a paradise for us all. We are sad not to be able to defend it against Mother Nature's wrath," Young wrote. Californians "are up against something bigger than we have ever seen. It's too big for some to see at all. Firefighters have never seen anything like this in their lives. I have heard that said countless times in the past two days, and I have lost my home before to a California fire, now another."

The celebrity-shared reports of devastation come as the death tolls from wildfires in northern and southern California continue to climb.

[With at least 31 dead in California wildfires, the grim search for more victims goes on]

The Camp Fire in and around Paradise, in the northern part of the state, over the weekend became the deadliest wildfire to hit California in 85 years. With 29 people confirmed dead and 228 still unaccounted for, the Camp Fire death toll is likely to climb, officials said.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told reporters that identifying human remains in the fire's aftermath would be "very difficult."

"The fire burned so intensely that it burned everything to the ground, and in some cases it melted the metal," Honea said. "In those cases, it is possible the temperatures were high enough to completely consume the body."

A home burned down by a wildfire sits on a hilltop overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, in Malibu, Calif. Fire officials say the lull allowed firefighters to gain 10 percent control of the so-called Woolsey Fire, which has burned more than 130 square miles in western Los Angeles County and southeastern Ventura County since Thursday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) (Jae C. Hong/)

As of Sunday night, CalFire officials estimated the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles, in the southern part of the state, had burned more than 85,000 acres, destroyed 117 structures and was at 15 percent containment.

The historic Paramount Ranch production set in Agoura Hills burned on Friday, while wildfire threatened nearby homes of a slew of celebrities, including Orlando Bloom, Cher, Melissa Etheridge, Lady Gaga, Alyssa Milano, Pink, Will Smith, Guillermo del Toro, Rainn Wilson, James Woods, and Kim Kardashian-West and Kanye West.

On Sunday, the Kardashians dedicated their E! People's Choice Award for "Reality Show of 2018" to those responding to the deadly California wildfires.

"It's been a really rough week in our home in Calabasas, Hidden Hills, and our neighbors in Thousand Oaks and Malibu," Kardashian-West said. "Our hearts are broken from the horrific shootings and those who have lost their lives and homes, as well as the hundreds of thousands of us that have been evacuated from the devastating fires that are currently burning."

As of Sunday, the six-bedroom, nine-bathroom mansion where ABC films its reality dating show "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" had survived the Woolsey Fire "unscathed," according to USA Today reporter Chris Woodyard.

On Sunday, recording artist Robin Thicke posted on Instagram that his family had evacuated while firefighters and volunteers “risked their lives trying to save our home.” It was unclear if his home was damaged or destroyed.

Trump largely alone as world leaders take aim at nationalism

Alaska News - Mon, 2018-11-12 05:29

(From L) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Morocco's Prince Moulay Hassan, Moroccan King Mohammed VI, US First Lady Melania Trump, US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove attend a ceremony the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, as part of the commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the 11 November 1918 armistice, ending World War I, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Ludovic Marin/Pool Photo via AP) (Ludovic Marin/)

PARIS — For President Donald Trump in Paris, America First meant largely America alone.

At a weekend commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, the president who proudly declares himself a "nationalist" stood apart, even on a continent where his brand of populism is on the rise.

He began his visit with a tweet slamming the French president's call for a European defense force, arrived at events alone and spent much of his trip out of sight in the American ambassadors' residence in central Paris. On Sunday, he listened as he was lectured on the dangers of nationalist isolation, and then he headed home just as the inaugural Paris Peace Summit was getting underway.

Back at the White House on Monday, Trump tweeted that "much was accomplished" in his meetings, but voiced a familiar complaint about America's allies. He said the U.S. pays billions "protecting other countries, and we get nothing but Trade Deficits and Losses." He added: "It is time that these very rich countries either pay the United States for its great military protection, or protect themselves."

His France trip made clear that, nearly two years after taking office, Trump has dramatically upended decades of American foreign policy posture, shaking allies. That includes French President Emmanuel Macron, who on Sunday warned that the "ancient demons" that caused World War I and millions of deaths were once again making headway.

Macron, who has been urging a re-embrace of multinational organizations and cooperation that have been shunned by Trump, delivered a barely veiled rebuke of Trumpism at the weekend's centerpiece event: A gathering of dozens of leaders at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the base of the Arc de Triomphe to mark the passage of a century since the guns fell silent in a global war that killed millions. Bells tolled across Europe's Western Front and fighter jets passed overhead to mark the exact moment the devastating war came to a close.

With Trump and other leaders looking on, Macron took on the rising tide of populism in the United States and Europe and urged leaders not to turn their backs by turning inward.

"Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism," Macron said, adding that, when nations put their interests first and decide "who cares about the others" they "erase the most precious thing a nation can have ... its moral values."

After Trump was gone, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who recently announced that she will not be seeking re-election, made an impassioned plea for global cooperation at the peace forum, saying World War I had "made clear what disastrous consequences a lack of compromise in politics and diplomacy can have."

Trump, who has made clear that he has limited patience for broad, multilateral agreements, sat mostly stone-faced as he listened to Macron, who sees himself as Europe's foil to the rising nationalist sentiment, which has taken hold in Hungary and Poland among other countries.

Trump did engage with his fellow leaders, attending a group welcome dinner hosted by Macron at the Musée d'Orsay on Saturday night and a lunch on Sunday. He also spent time with Macron on Saturday, when the two stressed their shared desire for more burden-sharing during a quick availability with reporters.

But Trump was terse during some of his private conversations with world leaders, according to people with direct knowledge of his visit. One of the people described the president as "grumpy." They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private conversations.

The symbolism during Trump's visit couldn't have been more stark.

Trump was missing from one of the weekend's most powerful images: A line of world leaders, walking shoulder to-shoulder in a somber, rain-soaked procession as the bells marking the exact moment that fighting ended — 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918 — finished tolling.

The president and first lady Melania Trump had traveled to the commemoration separately — White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited security protocols — from the other dignitaries, who had traveled together by bus from the Élysée Palace.

As Trump's motorcade was making its solo trip down the grand Champs-Élysées, which was closed to traffic, at least one topless woman breached tight security, running into the street and shouting "fake peace maker" as the cars passed. She had slogans, including the words "Fake" and "Peace," written on her chest.

Police tackled the woman and the motorcade continued uninterrupted. The feminist activist group Femen later claimed responsibility.

Also traveling on his own was Russian President Vladimir Putin, who shook Trump's hand, flashed him a thumbs-up sign and patted Trump's arm as he arrived. Trump responded with a wide smile.

National security adviser John Bolton had said at one point that Putin and Trump would meet in Paris, but they will instead hold a formal sit-down later this month at a world leaders' summit in Buenos Aires. A Kremlin official said later that U.S. and Russian officials decided to drop plans for the Paris meeting after French officials objected.

Trump, who ran on an "America First" platform, has jarred European allies with his actions. He has slapped tariffs on the European Union, pulled the U.S. out of the landmark Paris Climate Accord and the Iran nuclear deal and suggested he might be willing to pull the U.S. out of NATO if member counties don't significantly boost their defense spending. Trump's eagerness to get along with the Russian leader — in spite of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and numerous other aggressive moves in recent years — has alarmed those who view Russia as a growing threat.

Trump has also repeatedly branded himself a "nationalist," despite criticism from some that the term has negative connotations. At a news conference last week, Trump defended his use of the phrase. "You know what the word is? I love our country," he said, adding: "You have nationalists. You have globalists. I also love the world and I don't mind helping the world, but we have to straighten out our country first. We have a lot of problems."

But Trump did not broach the divide as he paid tribute Sunday to U.S. and allied soldiers killed in World War I during "a horrible, horrible war" that marked America's emergence as a world power.

"We are gathered together at this hallowed resting place to pay tribute to the brave Americans who gave their last breath in that mighty struggle," Trump said at the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial in the suburbs of Paris, where more than 1,500 Americans who died in the war are buried.

"It is our duty to preserve the civilization they defended and to protect the peace they so nobly gave their lives to secure one century ago," he said after spending a moment, standing alone amid the cemetery's white crosses, holding a black umbrella.

The Veterans Day speech came a day after Trump was criticized for failing to visit a different American cemetery about 60 miles (100 kilometers) outside of Paris on Saturday because rain grounded the helicopter he had planned to take. A handful of senior administration officials, including White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, went in the president's place, while Trump remained behind at the ambassador's residence with no alternate schedule for hours.

Trump delivered the speech as other leaders were gathered for the Paris Peace Forum, which aims to revive collective governance and international cooperation to tackle global challenges. Afterward he flew back to Washington.

France was the epicenter of World War I, the first global conflict. Its role as host of the main international commemoration highlighted the point that the world mustn't stumble into war again, as it did so quickly and catastrophically with World War II.


Associated Press writers Robert Burns and Julie Pace in Washington and Lori Hinnant and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.

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

Alaska News - 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.”

The blue wave was big — and significant — in state legislatures - Washington Post

Legislative News - Mon, 2018-11-12 03:01

Washington Post

The blue wave was big — and significant — in state legislatures
Washington Post
Democrats took functional control of an additional seven state legislative chambers, while Republicans took control of only one, the Alaska House. In addition, Democrats gained enough seats to deprive Republicans of supermajorities in Michigan, North ...
Republicans Remain in a Strong Position in State LegislaturesYahoo News
Democrats make big gains in state racesThe Albany Herald

all 439 news articles »

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at JBER during Veterans Day stopover

Alaska News - 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

Alaska News - 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

Alaska News - 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.

Alaska News - 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

Alaska News - 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

Alaska News - 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

Alaska News - 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’

Alaska News - 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

Alaska News - 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.

Alaska News - 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.

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