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.

Friday, June 24, 2005

High court OKs personal property seizures

CNN reports that The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses -- even against their will -- for private economic development.

At issue was the scope of the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property through eminent domain if the land is for "public use."

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been a key swing vote on many cases before the court, issued a stinging dissent. She argued that cities should not have unlimited authority to uproot families, even if they are provided compensation, simply to accommodate wealthy developers.

The erosion of our rights continues. Only 6 states allow taking, Alaska has no laws either way.

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Raven chicks saved from compost heap at landfill

Three raven chicks likely would have been ground up for compost, along with the pile of brush in which they were found, if they hadn't been squawking for food.

The racket got the attention of Ketchikan landfill scale operator Laura Huffine who found the chicks Sunday in an intact nest.

Huffine said Tuesday that she heard "this horrendous noise coming out of the brush pile as we passed." When she checked she said, "all I saw were huge pink mouths. It was a little startling, to tell the truth."

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Mat-Su officials reject proposal concerning police force

Borough officials have rejected a proposal by Mayor Tim Anderson that allows voters to decide whether the borough should have a police force. This story was posted here: Saturday, June 11, 2005 Matanuska-Susitna Borough-The Emerging Police State?

The sales tax is, likewise, postponed. At least for now. The carrot on the stick is property tax and the new cigarette tax. We'll see on July 12th.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Alaska's wealthiest local government -- is shutting down Barrow's public bus system

The borough includes the North Slope oil fields and northern segments of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline in its industrial property tax base. Its tax is assessed at about $10 billion.

Packer said much of the revenues are quickly absorbed in running the 88,800-square-mile borough -- the largest in the state.

"People forget this was third-world conditions just 30 years ago," he said. "We've been bringing it up to present-world conditions, with a basic level of amenities. So it's a little condescending for people outside to say, 'Oh, you're the richest.' It's very expensive in the Arctic." Alternate transportation-Click to enlarge

Barrow is the northernmost town in the United States, with a population of 4,300 people.

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Higher metals prices mean boom times for Alaska

Higher metals prices proved particularly beneficial for Alaska's mining industry as substantial funding was made available for mine developments and exploration.

In a recent presentation at the Minexpo in Elko, Nevada, Richard Hughes, Development Specialist for the State of Alaska Office of Mineral Development estimated that 20% of the U.S. exploration dollar is now targeted for Alaskan projects. He estimated that six new mines were under development while at least 15 exploration projects had budgets of at least $1 million.

The total value of Alaska's mining industry, which had been fairly stable at around $1 billion for the past nine years, increased to $1.47 billion in 2004, for a 32% increase over the previous year, according to Hughes. He estimated that $67.8 million was spend for exploration, more than double the $27.6 million spent in 2003, while $187.7 million was spent on development last year.

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Alaska homeless shelter stops serving bear meat

A Juneau homeless shelter has stopped serving donated bear meat after learning the state prohibits nonprofit groups from accepting wild game meats such as bear, fox and walrus.

"We didn't know that it is illegal," said Jetta Whittaker, executive director of the Glory Hole.

For years, the Glory Hole accepted bear meat to supplement its meals for the homeless. The meat went into many recipes, including burgers, casseroles and spaghetti.

But last year, Whittaker learned that serving it was contrary to rules set by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. This year, it has meant turning down five offers of bear meat.

"That was 250 pounds of ground meat I could use for spaghetti sauce," said Bob Thompson, operations manager of the shelter. "We are protein-poor."

The Glory Hole rarely gets offers of deer because venison is more palatable to most people while bear meat has a stronger, wild smell, Whittaker said.

Some of the people served by the Glory Hole said they miss meat of any kind. David Kelley, who is staying at the shelter, said he appreciates the three meals a day but he is tired of eating starchy vegetables.

"I will eat whatever you put in front of me," Kelley said. "But you cannot live by starches alone."

Organizations such as the Food Bank of Alaska cannot accept bear meat because of the same regulation.

State food safety officials said even if the organizations could get bear meat from hunters for free, eating it could make people sick.

Domestic pigs and certain carnivorous animals, including bears, might be infested with the larvae of a species of worm called trichinella. That can cause trichinosis, which can result in diarrhea, vomiting, breathing problems and even death in severe cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People may question why the state allows the distribution of pork but not of bear meat, but state officials said there are differences in how pork and bear meat are processed.

"Pork is raised commercially, slaughtered, inspected and processed under the regulatory guidelines of the U.S. Department of Agriculture," said Ronald Klein, program manager of the DEC's food safety and sanitation program. "Wild game and bear meat are not."

Whittaker would like to see the agency create a method to test for trichinosis or relax the regulations.

"We serve a lot of guys who need protein to get their days going," Whittaker said.

A nonprofit with a yearly budget of $193,000, the Glory Hole has only $4,500 to churn out 54,000 meals a year for the homeless.

Dan Rasmussen, who cooks at the Glory Hole five days a week, said meat is the most popular item on the menu.

"When you serve oatmeal, probably six people show up," Rasmussen said. "The day I mixed 6 pounds of bacon with 10 dozen eggs, it was gone in 10 minutes."

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Alaska men should hit the trail for breasts

In the news: "I decided to run in the 5-mile Alaska Run for Women on June 11 because I thought it would be a good training run for the Mayor’s half-marathon, because my grandmother was a breast-cancer survivor and because I like breasts.

"That’s right. I like breasts. Even though our society has a hang-up about breasts, I don’t see anything wrong with anyone saying they like breasts. What’s not to like? Big, small, firm, soft – all breasts are great. They are cultural signs of femininity and maternity. We cloak them behind garments like secret treasures. They nourish our young.

"The east and west Spanish Peaks in southern Colorado rise from the Great Plains to over twelve-thousand feet. The local Indians revered them and called the twin peaks “Wahatoya,” or the breasts of the Earth. The springs that flow from these peaks brought life to the dry plains just as breasts bring life to all people."

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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Warm Atlantic water comes to call on Arctic Ocean

Late last summer, Igor Dmitrenko and a few other scientists returned to Alaska from the top of the world with information about an immense pulse of warm water that had entered the Arctic Ocean. The scientists believe the warm stream of Atlantic water visiting the Arctic might affect the entire planet. "It's as if the planet became warmer in a single day," Polyakov said.

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Thousands of Alaskans Face Hardship

In what is supposed by many to be the most advanced country on Earth, thousands of Alaskan Citizens are struggling to enjoy the basics of life enjoyed and taken for granted by the rest of the United States.

Villages in Alaska are about to be cut off from electricity in one of the richest states of the U.S. This will mean an end to the already substandard chronic medical, dental, and basic standard of living already suffered by many Alaskans.

While the usual news outlets are focused and concerned by the plight of climbers on North America's tallest peak, Denali (AKA Mt McKinley), it is again a situation of the few versus the many.

Seven villages in Western Alaska and the Aleutian Islands are in jeopardy of losing electricity to their public buildings and water and sewer utilities this year because they cannot pay their bills.

The Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, which provides electric service to 52 communities in rural Alaska, sent a letter to state lawmakers and the administration earlier this month informing them that 17 villages are severely delinquent in payment of the electricity bills.

AVEC President and CEO Meera Kohler said 10 of the villages have paid or made arrangements to pay since the letter was sent. But the western villages of Chevak, Emmonak, Koyuk, Shaktoolik, Shishmaref, Wales and the Aleutian Island village of Gambell still owe tens of thousands of dollars in some cases.

"The unprecedented increase in the cost of heating fuel and gasoline in recent years coupled with the loss of state funding has left most of the municipal governments that AVEC serves struggling to pay for their electrical services," AVEC Board Chairman Robert Beans wrote in a June 8 letter to the Murkowski administration. "These communities are in serious need of assistance and in jeopardy of losing vital community services."

AVEC already has turned off one account in Chevak, a village of about 900 on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, about 20 miles inland from the Bering Sea.
In February, the utility cut electric service to about 12 housing units in the village for unpaid utilities.

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