Alaska's King

This site is for the exploration and discussion of a Constitutional Monarchy, as well as important Alaska news and information. Feel free to post your comments.

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Location: Alaska, United States

Welcome from the King of Alaska.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Alaskan seabird emits citrusy fresh natural insect repellent

Crested auklets are small birds that in colonies of more than 100,000 on islands near Alaska and Siberia. They emit a citrus-like substance that effectively repels mosquitoes and other pests, researchers report in this month's Journal of Medical Entomology.

The birds seem to produce the odor in a gland and then preen the chemicals into their feathers, but it is not yet clear how they accomplish the feat.

Scientists believe some sort of fatty-acid synthesis is going on that makes the pleasant, citrus-like odour similar to the smell found in tangerines, oranges, and other fruits.

The odor is so distinctive that the bird colonies can be smelled more than a kilometer away.

The chemical may also be used as a pheromone, helping single auklets find a suitable mate. The chemical is similar to one produced by other creatures, including stinkbugs.

The discovery raises the prospect of new, all-natural insect repellents, but more research is needed to determine if the scent is suitable for human use.

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Marijuana Group Sues Over ONDCP Montana, Alaska Visits

Submitted by Anon: The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a Washington, D.C.-based group that backed marijuana-related ballot items in Montana and Alaska, has gone to court with allegations that visits to the state by federal anti-drug leaders violated state campaign-finance laws.

The Billings Gazette reported July 15 that MPP filed a complaint in Helena District Court asking that the state's commissioner of political practices launch an investigation into a 2004 visit by Scott Burns, deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). MPP contends that Burns violated Montana's campaign-finance law by speaking out against Initiative 148, the medical-marijuana referendum later passed overwhelmingly by state voters, and not disclosing how must taxpayer money was spent on his visit.

MPP said that ONDCP was acting as a de-facto political-action committee. "We're not trying to say the drug czar can't campaign," said MPP government-relations director Steve Fox said. "It's merely a fact that if a federal official chooses to come to the state, they should respect the state's regulations."

In Alaska, the Associated Press reported July 14, MPP filed a similar complaint related to Burns' 2004 visit to oppose a measure calling for marijuana legalization. The group filed the suit in Anchorage Superior Court.

A previous request for the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) to investigate the Burns visit was rejected in March. "I think APOC had denied the complaint because it's a federal agency involved and it didn't have jurisdiction," said Alaska Department of Law spokesman Mark Morones.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Planning Commission public hearings

Hello Everyone, I've been on a short vacation, and now it's back to work:

The MSB Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the following items on Monday, July 18:

PUBLIC HEARING (to begin at 6:30 p.m. - three minutes per person)

A.Resolution 05-36:Naming of an unnamed lake in the Big Lake and Houston Area as Serenity Lake, the lake is approximately 37 acres in size.

B. Resolution 05-29:MSB Title 17 language addressing flood hazard study requirements for proposed platting actions.

C.Resolution 05-28:Amendment to Title 17 (Zoning) by adding Chapter 17.xx to regulate Under-21 Entertainment Venues within the Matanuska-Susitna Borough

D.Resolution 05-01:Creation of a new Borough-wide Interim Materials District

E. Resolution 05-02: Establishing a conditional use permit for Earth Materials Extraction in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough

F.Resolution 05-03: Creating a new section MSB 17.125, Definition

Here is the full agenda for the meeting:

Here is the staff report on the Under-21 Entertainment
Venues ordinance:



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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

In Celebration

We had quite a celebration yesterday. In addition to the usual fireworks, food, and other points, the main topics of discussion was the erosion of our rights, the failure of the Judicial System, the distance of the Federal Government, and the lack of representation.

For those still not up to speed, what we are proposing is not, I say again NOT, a violent overthrow or sedition of any type or kind. What we ARE proposing is the initiation of a Constitutional Monarchy for the Empire of Alaska. To say that we are displeased with a broken system of representation would be an understatement. Our honorable Founding Fathers must be rolling over in their graves.

Stay tuned for progress reports.

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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Alaska Yellow Cedar as Mosquito Repellant?

Massive Alaska yellow-cedar trees contain natural preservatives that repel mosquitoes, kill ticks, and prevent diseases from attacking other trees.

Alaska yellow-cedar has the strongest wood of any in the state, and grows on coastlines from Prince William Sound to northern California. In recent years, yellow-cedar have been dying of causes other than old age on more than 500,000 acres of Southeast Alaska, and scientists aren't yet sure why. Some think it may be warm winters and springs that are limiting snowfall accumulation, exposing shallow root systems to blasts of lethal cold air. As the trees' cause of death is investigated, scientists have come up with an innovative way to utilize the dead trees.

When Alaska yellow-cedars die, they often remain standing for more than a century. Rick Kelsey and Nick Panella are two scientists who are finding uses for the mass of dead trees, beyond lumber and firewood.

Kelsey, who works for the U.S. Forest Service in Corvallis, Oregon, traveled with Paul Hennon of the Forest Service in Juneau to collect heartwood samples from live and dead yellow-cedar trees in Southeast Alaska. From those samples, Kelsey and others looked at 16 compounds within the trees' essential oil. They tested a few of those compounds, nootkatin and carvacrol, in the lab and found they killed spores of Phytophthora ramorum, the fungus that causes sudden oak death. Sudden oak death has killed thousands of oak trees in California.

The anti-fungal compounds in Alaska yellow-cedar persist in the heartwood for up to a quarter-century after the trees die. Kelsey thinks that shavings or chips of Alaska yellow-cedar could prevent the spread of sudden oak death in some areas. He envisions spreading the chips over pathways in recreational areas where hikers and bicyclists pick up the spores that cause sudden oak death and carry them without knowing it. The chipped pathways might kill the spores before the disease can get established in a new area.

Panella is a biologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Vector-borne Infectious Diseases, based out of Fort Collins, Colorado. He and his coworkers' search for all-natural pesticides led them to check out the virtues of dead Alaska yellow-cedar. In a lab where his agency raises about 10 different species of mosquitoes for use in experiments, Panella coated the inside of bottles with the essential oils from yellow-cedar heartwood and dropped 25 to 50 mosquitoes into each bottle. He found that the compounds carvacrol, nootkatone, and valencene-13-0L were effective at killing Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, and that the compound nootkatol was a repellant. Both compounds did the job in many cases after being in the bottles for up to six weeks. Aedes aegypti don't occur in Alaska, but the mosquitoes carry dengue and yellow fever in other parts of the world.

Panella and his colleagues have mixed up a repellant from the Alaska yellow-cedar compounds and it has worked for several hours. Yellow-cedar compounds also work against ticks and fleas, Panella said, and have low toxicity to mammals. The researchers have filed patents on their mixtures as repellants and insecticides, and are talking with businesspeople who are interested in developing and selling the final products. Some day in the near future, Alaska's most valuable lumber export may also repel its worst summer pest.



This column is provided as a public service by the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, in cooperation with the UAF research community.
Ned Rozell [nrozell@gi.alaska.edu] is a science writer at the institute.

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Saturday, July 02, 2005

NOAA ISSUES PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF ACMP AMENDMENT

Governor Frank H. Murkowski announced today that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) has issued preliminary approval of the State's amended Alaska Coastal Management Program (ACMP).

"This is a victory for State's rights. Securing preliminary approval of the state's program amendment has been a long process," said Governor Murkowski. "By asserting our vision of what is in the best interest of the state, we finally have a coastal management program that works for Alaska, and that's a huge success."

Alaska began implementing the ACMP in 1979. Dissatisfaction with the program's outdated and increasingly unwieldy and complex requirements grew until a bill was introduced to repeal the ACMP in 1997. Though that bill was never passed, in 2003 the Alaska State Legislature passed HB 191, mandating reform of the ACMP and calling for a simplified program that eliminated duplication of laws, while ensuring protection of coastal uses and resources.

Since passage of HB 191 in 2003, the state has been working with OCRM to finalize and describe the amended ACMP in a manner that satisfies the federal requirements of the Coastal Zone Management Act, while meeting Alaska's needs for management and protection of the state's coastal uses and resources. On June 2, 2005, the State submitted a formal request to OCRM to approve the program amendments. The submission of that request and program description concluded an arduous, detailed, comprehensive, and collaborative effort by the State and OCRM on the approvability of the state's coastal program.

In a letter to DNR Commissioner Tom Irwin dated June 27, 2005, OCRM responded to the State and issued preliminary approval of the amendments to the ACMP, confirming that Alaska has satisfied the procedural requirements and is likely to satisfy the applicable program approval standards of the federal Coastal Zone Management Act. With preliminary approval, OCRM will initiate the process to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, and expects to complete that process and issue final approval of the ACMP amendments by December 31, 2005.

"This has been a tremendous effort on all accounts," said Commissioner Irwin. "It took the leadership of Governor Murkowski to kick-start this process, and the willingness of folks in the coastal areas to assist in the final push to get this preliminary approval."

"The ACMP program is valuable to our coastal communities," said Murkowski. "I am pleased that OCRM recognized its role to 'assist the states' in managing their coastal resources. Their preliminary approval of our amended ACMP plan is a significant victory."


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Where Cabbage Is King

Vegetable growing is big in Alaska. We mean really big: 39-pound turnip big, 75-pound rutabaga big. And then there's the cabbage....

It's a Bunyanesque stretch of a core truth that belies Alaska's frozen-north image: Alaska's an ideal place to grow really, really big vegetables.

As in, a 75.75-pound rutabaga. A 63.3-pound celery. A 39.2-pound turnip. World records, all.

With rich, glacier-ground volcanic soil and summer days that have 20 hours of sunshine — a lot of photo to go along with the synthesis — the fertile valleys here attract big-veggie growers the way Mt. Everest attracts climbers.

Alaska's agricultural industry is tiny. It took in about $50 million last year, ranking last among the 50 states. California grossed $27.8 billion.

But what it lacks in size, Alaska makes up for in, well, size.