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Yes, Joe, there is a Santa Claus

Patti Epler

If the Alaska Supreme Court ruling Wednesday didn't do it for you, here's another sign that Joe Miller isn't really that big of a deal anymore: The KTVA producer who was canned after an unfortunate cell phone screw-up involving Miller's campaign spokesman has been hired as press secretary for the Alaska Senate. And it's half Republican.

Carolyn Kuckertz and another producer were let go in connection with the October Affair, which actually caused most people to roll their eyes but riled conservative bloggers and gave talk show host Dan Fagan fodder for days. Channel 11 personnel had called Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto for some reason or another and then apparently didn't quite hit the "end" button on the cell phone after they got his voicemail. They then proceeded to yuck it up about how maybe someone in the crowd at an upcoming Miller rally could turn out to be a registered sex offender.

In reality, you can't really tell what the heck they're talking about (really bad audio here) but it offended DeSoto (and presumably Miller) anyway. The Miller camp put out a press release accusing KTVA of "fabricating" news about the candidate even though no stories were ever fabricated. Duh. We're surprised no handcuffs were used.

The station did a big investigation that annoyed many people over there (we hear one longtime reporter -- Matt Simon -- quit in disgust) and ended up firing Kuckertz and another producer, Clint Bennett. He's now the morning show producer at Channel 2.

At least Kuckertz won't have to work in a dilapidated studio in a creepy part of Spenard anymore. She and a new deputy press secretary, James Sullivan, start in their historic Juneau digs on Jan. 3, although she gets to come back to Anchorage during the interim.