Bore tide bummer: Alaska does indeed have surfers -- and apparently at least one Surf Nazi. A video making its way around YouTube shows a local surfer trying to catch a recent Turnagain Arm bore tide. The unidentified man soon gets in a gesture-laden, expletive-laced argument with someone already riding the wave nearby. The second man ends the argument by saying, “I was born here, this is my fucking wave.” Sad proof that society has forgotten the age-old wisdom of Jeff Spicoli, of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” fame. Words to live by, brah: “Surfing is a way of looking at that wave, and saying, ‘Hey, bud. Let’s party!’”
Fly away: Frontier Airlines is back with airfares several hundred dollars cheaper than usual from Alaska’s two largest airports into the Mile High City of Denver International Airport. Flights from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Denver the week of July 3-10 were going for $358 roundtrip for those who act fast, fast, fast, says Travel Guru Scott McMurren. Flights from Anchorage to Denver were priced around $366 roundtrip for travel July 2-24. Frontier flies between Alaska and Colorado through Sept. 16.
Adding insult to injury: A Juneau man reportedly used bear spray, a pepper-based liquid generally used to end unwanted bear encounters in the Alaska wilderness, to snatch a purse in Alaska’s capital city. The 28-year-old female victim reported to Juneau police that she was outside an apartment building with other people nearby when a man drove up in a brown truck, sprayed her in the face, stole her purse and sped off, the Juneau Empire reported. The woman, who refused medical assistance, said she knew the man, but they’re not in a domestic relationship, and the police are continuing to search for the pepper spray perpetrator.
Police officer who shot, killed man in Fairview named: The Anchorage Police Department has released the name of an officer who shot 26-year-old Kenneth John during a traffic stop on Monday. Senior patrol officer Christopher Simmons, a 10-year veteran of the Police Department, shot and killed John in the neighborhood of Fairview after the Anchorage resident, originally from the western Alaska village of Grayling, allegedly confronted the officer with two bladed weapons. The incident is now being reviewed by the Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals, and what prompted the confrontation with the officer is all the more curious because John was close friends with Detlef Wulf, who officers shot and killed about two months ago in the very same neighborhood. Wulf and John were also cousins.
Indigenized gaming: Cook Inlet Tribal Council, the regional nonprofit corporation that serves the inlet, is not only the first Alaska Native organization to start its own video game company, but also the first indigenous group to do so, as it has invested millions and partnered with an Outside company called E-Line to form “Upper One Games.” Its initial game already is in production and will feature an Iñupiaq girl who faces Arctic challenges. CITC’s president told KTVA the game will be used to teach people about the traditions of Alaska’s First People, but gamers will have to wait till 2014 to play the game that a columnist at Forbes magazine suspects could be so innovative as to help drive the next evolution of video games.
Dentures that make you go rawr!: The University of Alaska Museum of the North is home to plenty of interesting artifacts, but one set of dentures caught the special attention of graduate student Kirsten Olson. Olson discovered a set of dentures in the archives belonging to Erwin A. "Nimrod" Robertson, an Alaska pioneer from Maine who settled near Eagle in 1898. These dentures aren't just any old set of teeth, though: Robertson fashioned them out of a forged aluminum pot lid, embedded with teeth from sheep, caribou and bear. According to Olson, there was even a "tall tale" circulating that Robertson killed the bear, made the teeth, and made sure to eat the bear with the teeth, just for good measure.
A 4.4 earthquake rocks Anchorage: A magnitude 4.4 earthquake just 5 miles north of Anchorage shook Alaska’s largest city early Thursday morning. The quake, measured at a depth of 31 miles, hit at 3:41 a.m., and the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer reported that there was no tsunami danger. It was the second shake in a just a few hours. A 3.6 quake was recorded at 9:10 p.m. Wednesday, centered 27 miles south-southeast of Anchorage. It was also felt in Girdwood, Eagle River and Cooper Landing.
Claman in the House?: Matt Claman, a former assemblyman and short-lived Anchorage mayor, told Alaska Public Radio Network that District 19 has been Democratic for years – nothing’s changed but the loyalties of his one-time lawmaker, Lindsey Holmes. Her post-election/pre-legislative session party switch -- from Democrat to Republican -- gave the GOP a House supermajority and left Democrats seriously wounded. Claman announced he’ll run for the House seat in 2014, presumably against Holmes, though she could face an earlier recall vote if a signature gathering effort is successful.
Dig deep?: In a press release announcing the signing of legislation to "modernize" Alaska's procurement code, Sen. Anna Fairclough, R-East Anchorage, said Senate Bill 12 will spawn competition and save the state money. Then she said this: “With declining oil production, we are facing revenue shortages in Alaska. We must dig deep into state government and look for areas where we can find cost savings." It's worth noting that the state would have hundreds of millions of dollars more to spend next year if Fairclough and other lawmakers didn't slash taxes on the oil companies earlier this year.
New council on Native American Affairs: President Obama signed an executive order Wednesday establishing the White House Council on Native American Affairs, tasked with making recommendations to the president on policy that would benefit Native Americans. “We cannot ignore a history of mistreatment and destructive policies that have hurt tribal communities,” Wednesday’s press release states. “The United States seeks to continue restoring and healing relations with Native Americans and to strengthen its partnership with tribal governments.” The council, made up of head officers of 30 federal agencies, including the Alaska-based Denali Commission, will meet three times a year.