We won awards, I swear

Matt here. 

Looked through an obscure filing cabinet the other day, and I came across a stack of awards dating back to 1993. Yes—TNL has been winning awards since I was three years old. I counted them and have calculated the following (These are all from the Alaska Press Club)

  • 11 in reporting
  • 11 in design
  • 8 for columns
  • 8 for photography
  • 4 for general excellence

If anyone’s interested in seeing them, I’ve dusted the cabinet and placed them in a new manilla folder called Awards. Feel free to take one, white out the name, and give it to someone as a Christmas gift. 

Paris, Berlin to push for treaty changes

PARIS (AP) — France and Germany plan to push for fundamental changes to the European treaty governing the euro in order to save the currency, President Nicolas Sarkozy said Thursday.

Sarkozy said in a speech in the southern port city of Toulon that during their meeting in Paris on Monday he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will unveil proposals to try to lift Europe out of its debt crisis and “guarantee” its future.

"France will push with Germany for a new European treaty refounding and rethinking the organization of Europe," Sarkozy said. "The Maastricht Treaty has revealed itself to be imperfect," Sarkozy said, referring to the pact that led to the creation of the euro currency in 1999.

"There can be no common currency without economic convergence without which the euro will be too strong for some, too weak for others, and the eurozone will break up," the French president said before an audience of several thousand sympathizers of his conservative party.

Changes in the treaty would have to be approved by all 27 EU members, 10 of whom don’t use the euro currency.

Sarkozy said the process of reforming the treaty “will be long and difficult” but is necessary to protect Europe’s place in the world.

Speculation is mounting that EU leaders will align their spending policies more closely to bring government debt levels under control in the future. This is seen as a necessary measure before the European Central Bank or other institutions can take more aggressive steps to help prevent the debt overload from destroying the euro and wreaking havoc in the global financial system.

Sarkozy, who is widely expected to seek a second mandate during France’s April and May presidential election, brushed aside the balloting, saying he must focus on the dire financial situation.

I know what I will be rocking this summer: The rival wolf tank from everythingwolf.com

Looking for a good gift this Christmas?  TNL’s copy editor officially endorses this product. Also buy: http://www.amazon.com/Three-Mountain-Junior-Sized-Adult/dp/B004WFX312/ref=pd_sbs_a_3

And this wolf shirt with an American flag in the background: http://www.animalshirts.net/wolfshirts/wolfflag.htm I may make a separate post for this one. 

Giant mound of tires in SC visible from space

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The sprawling pile of hundreds of thousands of tires isn’t easy to spot from the ground, sitting in a rural South Carolina clearing accessible by only a circuitous dirt path that winds through thick patches of trees. No one knows how all those tires got there, or when.

But, Calhoun County Council Chairman David Summers says of this giant rubber menace, “You can see it from space.”

Authorities have charged one person in connection with the mess of roughly 250,000 tires, which covers more than 50 acres on satellite images. And now a Florida company is helping haul it all away.

Litter control officer Boyce Till said he contacted the local sheriff and state health department, which is investigating who had been dumping the tires. But the worst possible penalty that could be imposed locally? A single $475 ticket for littering.

Full article: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_ODD_ILLEGAL_TIRE_DUMP?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-11-19-11-59-36

USUAA update

Student groups are already preparing for finals week.

Student Union Manager Lyle Moor-Kroll asked for an extra 500 dollars for the late night study week during finals. The funds are to be used as a “cushion” for student activities sponsored during that week. Activities include late night films, snacks, and tutoring.

The program will expand the week of finals. In past years it lasted for two weeks, but Kroll hopes to consolidate resources for the week of finals. USUAA still plans to keep tutors for students the week before finals.  They have budgeted 3,000 dollars for the student tutors, who will be available for every subject, according to Administrative Assistant Anita Bradbury.

  • The Green Fee Referendum passed 167-122. With over 400 votes cast this year for media board, concert board, and senator positions, it was the largest voter turnout in 5 years, according to Paula Fish, Assistant Director of Student Life and Leadership
  • Senator Johnny Templeton is working on bringing eco-reps to UAA. The federal government funds a small portion of the program that pays some students to be “EcoReps” in their respective dorms.
  • Concert Board representative Alejandra Buitrago said organizers were pleased with the turnout for the Andrew Bird concert.
  •  Resident Life representative Drew Lamish said that Friday Fright Night raised 500 dollars, which was donated between the Make a Wish Foundation and Kids Kitchen.

Last Friday’s USUAA meeting saw the departure of two active senators, Daniel Ribuffo and Ashley Vanderwall. Ribuffo said he had to resign for personal matters, but has received nominations to participate in two other governance groups, including University Assembly, next semester.

91 whales die in New Zealand :(

Rescuers were unable to save the last surviving sperm whale from mass strandings in Australia and New Zealand in which 91 whales have died since the weekend. In all, 24 sperm whales and 2 minke whales died in a stranding at Ocean Beach, in Tasmania. In New Zealand, 65 pilot whales died. Australian authorities had been trying to guide the sperm whale to open water when it died late Wednesday.

Pissed off professor was denied tenure

Cherie Northon was pretty happy when the Dean of Engineering, Rob Lang, was fired this August. Her 155 word comment on TNL’s website however did not include the fact she was denied tenure for being rude to other faculty, according to former Associate Dean Grant Baker and court documents from 2003. Here’s her full comment:  

http://www.thenorthernlight.org/2011/09/07/engineering-school-deans-missed/

Having worked with both Lang and Baker until I resigned from the Department of Geomatics in 2005, I’m surprised that both of them lasted this long. Lang’s M.O. was to keep “dossiers” on faculty and then try to turn faculty against faculty during “private” meetings where he shared information about one person to another. Baker always kept the faculty and UAA intimidated because he is an expert at filing law suits against them. He started this back at UAF. I viewed Lang as spineless the minute I met him when he was applying for the dean’s position initially. I have not heard any good things about the area that I was teaching in for years. I hope this helps those students who are foundering especially in the GIS program, the one that I created classes for and a certificate in. What goes around, comes around! Yes, and let’s hear about those “internal” issues, hear, hear!

63K pot present.

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) — Ohio troopers making a traffic stop say they found a pot present: a gift-wrapped package containing 25 individually wrapped packets of marijuana.

The driver, from Washington state, has been charged with trafficking and possession of marijuana and possession of criminal tools, both felonies, and a misdemeanor count of driving under suspension.

The State Highway Patrol says the 28 pounds of pot discovered in the car’s trunk is valued at more than $63,000.

Thirty-five-year-old Robert Gomez of Bremerton, Wash., is being held in the Clark County jail. Jail officials didn’t know whether he had an attorney, and none was indicated in court records.

Page 2 of crime log for Nov 11 to Nov 17

Page 2 of crime log for Nov 11 to Nov 17

Crimes at UAA from Nov 11 to 17. Thank you UPD for keeping us informed! We kinda of love you….is that alright? 

Crimes at UAA from Nov 11 to 17. Thank you UPD for keeping us informed! We kinda of love you….is that alright? 

Gonorrhea is dying!

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — State health officials are reporting a 23 percent drop in gonorrhea cases.

The Alaska Section of Epidemiology says during the first three quarters this year, there have been 770 cases confirmed by a laboratory.

That compares to 1,005 confirmed cases over the same time period last year. All areas of the state saw decreases except the Interior.  :(

The state says in a release that the decrease is being credited in part to both the increased knowledge of the gonorrhea epidemic and efforts to notify sexual partners.

The state’s HIV/STD program manager, Susan Jones, says the numbers are encouraging, but everyone needs to remain “vigilant about controlling the spread of sexually transmitted disease.”

She says Alaska still has one of the highest rates of gonorrhea infection in the country.

Fort Wainwright soldier killed in Afghanistan

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska-based soldier from Arizona has been killed in Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense in a release Monday identified the soldier as Sgt. 1st Class Johnathan B. McCain of Apache Junction, Ariz.

The 38-year-old McCain died Sunday in Kandahar province from injuries he received from a roadside bomb while on mounted patrol.

McCain was stationed with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks.

Utah mayor used alias to write upbeat news stories

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Like his counterparts across the country, Mayor Mike Winder unabashedly promotes his community. But the style is unorthodox: He uses an alias and freelances upbeat articles about West Valley City, Utah.

Winder, mayor of the state’s second-largest city, said he took the approach because the media spent too much time on crime coverage.

He unapologetically revealed himself this week, insisting the balance was needed.

"I thought about all the people just reading about crime in our city and nothing better," Winder said Friday. "I’m trying to stand up for us because we do get the short end of the stick - negative stories."

Winder had been writing under the name Richard Burwash, an alias he actually swiped from a real man - a one-time professional tennis player from California - that he found on the Internet.

He said getting stories published by the Deseret News, KSL-TV’s website and a community weekly was as easy as setting up a Gmail account and Facebook page. He communicated with editors by email and phone, never showing his face.

As an unpaid writer for several months earlier this year, the so-called Burwash even quoted himself as mayor in some stories. In one published piece, he wrote about the opening of a Buddhist Temple in his Salt Lake City suburb, quoting himself as saying, “We applaud any time a group builds a place to celebrate peace and to encourage people to live better lives.”

"I was an easy source," he quipped Friday.

He even let his sister write one story under his alias. But he maintains all the stories were “100 percent factually correct” - except for the byline, of course.

Executives at the Deseret News, one of Salt Lake City’s two daily newspapers, were not amused.

"While we appreciate that Mayor Winder would, of his own accord, quit writing under the assumed name and then detail the error to us, we remain highly concerned that someone would purposely misrepresent himself," Clark Gilbert, president and CEO of the Deseret News and Deseret Digital Media, told the newspaper. "We deeply regret that Mayor Winder would do this."

Gilbert didn’t return messages left Friday by The Associated Press.

The Deseret News said it has published about 5,500 articles by 2,000 contributors in the past year. The paper began accepting contributions after cutting its newsroom staff and consolidating operations with affiliated television and radio stations.

More charges filed against ex-Ketchikan official

KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — Authorities have charged a former Ketchikan city councilman with 81 additional counts of possessing child pornography.

Ketchikan police say two additional charges were filed after a homemade video was found showing John “Jack” W. Shay with a pre-pubescent female.

The Ketchikan Police Department says in a release that the other charges stem from images found on Shay’s computer.

Shay was arrested last Friday and charged with 10 counts after he took his computer and printer to a repair shop. Employees of the shop called police after they said they found pornography.

Ketchikan Deputy Police Chief Josh Dossett says in an email to The Associated Press that Shay turned himself in Thursday, per a judge’s order. Bail was set at $100,000.

Shay’s attorney, Christopher Boyette, declined comment through his receptionist..

Huge Alaska storm passes, leaves widespread damage

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A massive storm that battered Alaska’s western coast with hurricane-strength winds and towering sea surges has passed out of the region in a much weaker state, but it left behind widespread damage and worries that a man may have been swept out to a churning sea.

So far, 37 communities have reported some form of damage, said Jeremy Zidek, spokesman for the state’s emergency management agency. Most of those communities have opened emergency community shelters, Zidek said.

The strongest storm to hit the state’s western coast in almost four decades also left behind tales of human endurance.

In one remote village that lost heat and power early Wednesday, about 20 vehicles lined up along an airstrip and used their headlights to guide in a plane carrying repair workers.

Other residents there came together and did traditional Eskimo dances used during whaling season to seek good weather.

On Thursday, rescuers searched for a 26-year-old man who authorities said may have been washed into the Bering Sea during the storm.

Kyle Komok, of Teller, was last seen at 4 p.m. Wednesday as he headed toward a jetty where waves were cresting as high as 10 feet, Alaska State Troopers said.

Komok’s sister, Maggie Christofferson, of Kodiak, told The Associated Press that her brother is an experienced mechanic.

"We’re hoping he’s just stuck somewhere, and we’re just praying that he’s safe."

Emergency responders called the storm an epic event that displaced residents, flooded the shoreline, ripped up roofs and knocked out power in many villages.

The process of gauging the full extent of the damage will begin soon, officials said Thursday. They noted some of the hardest-hit communities are in areas where winter daylight comes late in the day and mornings are in pitch darkness, which slowed down inspections.