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Friday, November 12, 2004

Alaska's VPSO Program safe for another year

Well it seems the Village Public Safety Officer Program dodges a bullet, no pun intended, as the State of Alaska announced its readiness to renew contracts with several Regional Non-Profits.
The issue at hand is, and quite correctly, the indirect rates charged by the non-profits.
Public Safety Commissioner Bill Tandeske said today that the State is looking for an across the board rate that will allow the State to save some money, and put more VPSO's to work.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Kill 'em all- Let God sort 'em out!

No Skeeters, No Problem? Not So Fast

Published: June 22, 2004
The New York Times

Elizabeth Willott is the kind of professor who gives the ivory tower a good name.

She is an entomologist and environmental ethicist at the University of Arizona, and I called her to ask a simple question: What good are mosquitoes?

Dr. Willott seemed like a good person to call because she has spent some time thinking about these issues. She has an article in the current issue of Restoration Ecology titled "Restoring Nature, Without Mosquitoes?"

In it she notes that in planning wetland restoration, people sometimes fail to give enough thought to one inevitable consequence - more mosquitoes. In the bad old days, not all wetlands were drained to build hotels. Another motivation was the real fear of death and disease, as spread by mosquitoes.

So, I asked, what about mosquitoes? Would everything really collapse if we got rid of them? Well, she said, no. The web of life is not that fragile. "If you take a snip, it won't unravel."
In fact, she said, there is "quite a bit of ecological research now showing that removal of a species doesn't make a huge difference." If the species of mosquitoes that are intimately connected with human beings were made to disappear, there might be some ecological disturbance, but "you probably could remove them without catastrophe."

Do they do anything of value, then? That depends on your point of view, she said. The philosophical arguments about intrinsic value versus instrumental value can get quite complicated. In essence they ask whether a mosquito, or a tree, or anything, has a value in and of itself, apart from what human beings think.

This is the sort of discussion that may be intriguing in an air-conditioned classroom, but seems absolutely incomprehensible at dusk near a marsh. If there's a chance that our children might get encephalitis, then we're ready to wipe mosquitoes off the face of the earth.

One small step beyond this "me, me, me" approach is to think about the value of any given organism to environmental balance. This is still not intrinsic value, since environmental balance is useful to people, but it is a bit less self-centered. Step outside the anthropocentric view of life and one possible value of mosquitoes is population control. Mosquitoes have historically kept human populations down worldwide, and still do in much of the third world. The problem is that they do this by facilitating pestilence and death, so this is not going to enhance their status, among human beings at least.

Mosquitoes may also keep some other animal populations down by spreading disease - something we might be able to see the value of. And other creatures - some fish, frogs birds and bats - eat them. It's possible that if we were able to wipe out mosquitoes, some other species might either suffer from lack of food, or explode in numbers because the burden of disease was lifted.

Another value of mosquitoes, perverse to some, obvious to others, is that they "keep out the riffraff," meaning human beings. Concentrations of pests offer protection to wilderness areas. The tsetse fly, which causes livestock disease as well as human sleeping sickness, has kept humans away from some wildlife refuges and has been called "Africa's best conservationist." Of course, this view has been described by others as ecological imperialism.

In any case, the reality, said Dr. Willott, is that "we're not going to get rid of the mosquitoes." It's just impossible, particularly if we want to use methods that don't kill off everything else. DDT is very effective at mosquito control, but it can be disastrous for birds of prey.

When I asked Dr. Willott if she thought it was immoral to try to make a species go extinct, assuming you could do it without hurting other organisms, she thought the question was significant enough to require a formal statement. "Striving for the unachievable is not an appropriate use of resources," she said. "If one acknowledges that eradication is highly unlikely to work or might have serious side effects, the moral thing to do would be to find another way." In other words, don't be stupid.

What she suggests is that we take the middle ground and try to kill some of the mosquitoes some of the time.

I mentioned to her at the end of our conversation that although mosquitoes were not that much fun to be around in reality, I shared her fascination with them. As a subject to talk and write about, they are irresistible.

Yes, she said, "and they find us the same."

Monday, May 24, 2004

Alaskans Fighting CAPPS II - Count Me In

Planes Are For Flying, Not Spying.
This isn't communist Russia: we have no 'papers' to show. We walk through metal detectors and put up with TSA security rifling though our stuff, shouldn't that be enough? As long as we don't have anything on us that can cause harm to the plane or our fellow passengers, we should be left alone.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

ACLU Was Forced to Revise Release on Patriot Act Suit

Justice Dept. Cited Secrecy Rules

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 13, 2004; Page A27

When a federal judge ruled two weeks ago that the American Civil Liberties Union could finally reveal the existence of a lawsuit challenging the USA Patriot Act, the group issued a news release.

But the next day, according to new documents released yesterday, the ACLU was forced to remove two paragraphs from the release posted on its Web site, after the Justice Department complained that the group had violated court secrecy rules.

One paragraph described the type of information that FBI agents could request under the law, while another merely listed the briefing schedule in the case, according to court documents and the original news release.

The dispute set off a furious round of court filings in a case that serves as both a challenge to, and an illustration of, the far-reaching power of the Patriot Act. Approved by Congress in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the law gives the government greater latitude and secrecy in counterterrorism investigations and includes a provision allowing the FBI to secretly demand customer records from Internet providers and other businesses without a court order.

The ACLU first filed its lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of such demands, known as national security letters, on April 6, but the secrecy rules of the Patriot Act required the challenge to be filed under seal. A ruling April 28 allowed the release of a heavily censored version of the complaint, but the ACLU is still forbidden from revealing many details of the case, including the identity of another plaintiff who has joined in the lawsuit. The law forbids targets of national security letters to disclose that they have received one.

ACLU lawyer Ann Beeson said the court order also means that she "cannot confirm or deny" whether the ACLU is representing the second plaintiff. The group is the only counsel listed in court documents.

The dispute over the ACLU's April 28 news release centered on two paragraphs. The first laid out the court's schedule for receiving legal briefs and noted the name of the New York-based judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero.

The second paragraph read: "The provision under challenge allows an FBI agent to write a letter demanding the disclosure of the name, screen names, addresses, e-mail header information, and other sensitive information held by 'electronic communication service providers.' "

Justice lawyers said that both paragraphs violated a secrecy order and that the ACLU should be required to seek an exemption to publicize the information, court records show. Justice spokesman Charles Miller declined to comment yesterday.

"It simply never occurred to us that this information would be covered by the sealing order, because it's completely non-sensitive, generic information," Beeson said.

The dispute was partly resolved yesterday. Marrero ruled that the briefing schedule could be publicized, along with edited versions of other court filings. But the paragraph describing the information that can be sought remains absent.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

What the FBI can ask for in a National Security Letter

"The provision under challenge allows an FBI agent to write a letter demanding the disclosure of the name, screen names, addresses, e-mail header information, and other sensitive information held by 'electronic communication service providers.' "

This paragraph was removed from filings by the American Civil Liberties Union against the FBI's powers under the USA PATRIOT Act.

Islamic Militants Murder Tower Professional

Nicholas Berg killed and videotaped for the world to see

(Baghdad, Iraq) - May 12, 2004 - Nicholas Berg, a 26-year-old tower and infrastructure professional from Philadelphia, PA was brutally murdered by Islamic fundamentalists this week in a revenge killing that was seen and reported throughout the world.

Mr. Berg, a member of the Tower Pro List Serve and last employed by Prometheus Towers, left the United States for Iraq as an independent contractor. His parents said he was an entrepreneur who left home to jump start his career by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by Iraq's massive reconstruction - although he did not have contract work already lined up. He was also supportive of the administration's mission in Iraq and believed he could help with the reconstruction.

His mother told reporters that all he wanted to do was help rebuild the communications towers and upgrade the communications systems throughout Iraq. That goal ultimately cost Mr. Berg his life.

Islamic militants, with ties al-Qaida network, murdered Mr. Berg and videotaped the gruesome killing. The tape was published and promoted on a website and the murder was said to be in retaliation for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers in Abu Ghraib prison.

The five killers, covered in shrouds and dressed in black, forced Mr. Berg to state his name, tell where he was from and name his family members shortly before they brutally murdered him. The tape was shown on every major U.S. news network and was edited to end right before Mr. Berg's slaying.

In a final show of humiliation, Mr. Berg's killers put his body on the side of a road in Baghdad where it was discovered by the U.S. military.

Mr. Berg's parents lost contact with their son on March 24, 2004 and did not hear from him again until April 11. He was detained by U.S. officials while he tried to find tower work. It appears that he was captured by his killers shortly after his release from U.S. custody.

The White House immediately condemned the killing of Berg by saying that "it shows the true nature of the enemies of freedom. They have no regard for the lives of innocent men, women and children."

The Berg family was devastated when they received official news and said that their son had visions of building and servicing cell phone towers throughout Iraq.

Wireless Infrastructure News Service

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


I just watched the video of the beheading of American free-lance technologist Nicholas Berg.
It is horrifying to watch as his executors read, in sing-song Arabic, and he rocks on his ankles, surely unaware that these moments are his last.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Poor Ben Stevens

They giggled at him on the Senate Floor tonight and he had to take a point of personal privelege to complain.
Hey Benny-boy, news flash- everyone is tired of your self-serving whining. You ain't your old man and never will be.
So, get over it.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Anchorage Daily News Letter 'O the Day

"Mike Miller is no true conservative; he's a true 'knee-jerk reactionary'

Now that Mike Miller has drawn his reserves into his fight for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, a clear picture has emerged. With Sarah Palin and Tom Fink having publicly endorsed him, Miller is plainly the chosen instrument of the extreme right of the GOP.

His mailings tout him as a "trusted conservative," and dismiss incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski as "too liberal" and "not sufficiently conservative." It is more accurate to describe Mike Miller as a "knee-jerk reactionary" on every issue discussed in his mailings.

He stands firm against enacting a state income tax, and for lowering federal taxes, without uttering a word on ways to meet our deficits. He stands firmly in defense of "Second Amendment rights," suggesting that Lisa Murkowski opposes these rights. He chafes at "federal restrictions on using public lands," without a word about protecting the environment from despoliation. He argues for parents having "the greatest number of choices" in educating their children, saying nothing about strengthening our public schools.

This man is not a true conservative, a guardian of the best from our past. He is simply a reactionary who cannot stand others who show some independence and flexibility."

-- Alden Todd


Friday, April 30, 2004

The Northern Center perspective on Pogo

The Northern Center perspective on Pogo
By Dan Adams
Apr 28, 2004, 11:30 PST

For every story that is reported by the media, several stories go untold. Here's one story that hasn't made headlines: The Northern Alaska Environmental Center says let's go ahead and build the Pogo mine. Yes, this from the nonprofit organization perhaps best known for campaigns to conserve Alaska's incomparable natural areas.

The NAEC recognizes the need for jobs and a viable economy in Interior Alaska. Any implication that NAEC wants to shut down the Pogo mine is false. Just build it in compliance with the law. That is the very least Alaskans ought to demand from Teck-Cominco, a foreign company that will profit so richly from our gold.

In that light, NAEC has accepted an invitation from Gov. Murkowski to work with state, federal and Teck-Cominco officials to find a solution to the wastewater pollution issues raised in the permit appeal.

The Clean Water Act was enacted more than 30 years ago, for good reasons. We believe that Alaskans, as people everywhere, prefer their rivers and streams free of arsenic and other toxic chemicals--especially those deposited by foreign financial interests who are paying back little or nothing for the privilege of extracting the state's resources. It is simply unacceptable that a mining company is allowed to use a stream as its unregulated private toxic waste dump.

In a recent op-ed piece, an official of the Department of Natural Resources missed the point when he stated, "The project cannot simply be redesigned to address NAEC's concerns. ... A four-year process, in which NAEC was a participant, determined that the current location was environmentally preferred." Our appeal addresses how wastewater from the mine is managed to ensure that the state's rivers are not contaminated, not the location of the mine or its waste-rock facilities.

As the state of Alaska and Teck-Cominco know full well, it is entirely possible to redirect Pogo Mine pollution away from rivers. It is standard mining industry practice to control and regulate the pollution runoff and seepage from mine waste dumps. It is done throughout the western United States, and it can be done here.

From the beginning, NAEC has tried to make sure its appeal would not raise a legal barrier to continued work on the project. When EPA informed us that sewage treatment for construction workers might be affected, we started working with EPA to resolve that problem and allow construction to proceed during the appeal. Why Teck-Cominco stopped all work on the mine while we were in the middle of addressing this problem is puzzling. Teck-Cominco has been operating without a permit (but in anticipation of getting one) since January. All indications are that necessary modifications can be made in the mine design to resolve the appeal. The NAEC is glad now to have the opportunity to discuss with the company and the agencies how we can resolve the wastewater issues and put the disputes behind us.

Properly managing discharges probably will cost money. But let us put things into perspective. Teck-Cominco is a foreign company that plans to extract 5.5 million ounces of gold worth more than $2 billion from the Goodpaster River drainage. Do you know who owns that gold? You do. It's on state land. Do you know how much of that $2 billion will go to help the state of Alaska with its budget troubles? Probably nothing, if past accounting practices from other large mines are any indication.

People get it when it comes to oil: We don't give that stuff away for free. The oil companies have to make a deal with us for our oil. And the state's interests are part of the deal. That's why income from oil accounts for 80 percent of the state's operating budget. And that's why you get a permanent fund dividend check. But somehow, when we talk about mineral extraction, we do not stand firm and demand our share. Instead, all of the proceeds will go directly to Teck-Cominco and its investors.

We at the Northern Alaska Environmental Center can't do much about how the state gives away the public's wealth. But we can keep an eye on the mining companies to make sure that they use some of the profits from developing our resources to comply with our laws. We hope that Teck-Cominco will use this opportunity to make this site a model for environmentally responsible mining.

Dan Adams is president of the board of directors of the Northern Alaska Environmental Center.

© Copyright 2002 by

Monday, April 26, 2004

It's Just No Fun being a Kid Anymore

I wonder if they showed him their guns?

Secret Service Questions Washington State Student About Anti-War Drawings
The Associated Press
Published: Apr 26, 2004

PROSSER, Wash. (AP) - Secret Service agents questioned a high school student about anti-war drawings he did for an art class, one of which depicted President Bush's head on a stick.

Another pencil-and-ink drawing portrayed Bush as a devil launching a missile, with a caption reading "End the war - on terrorism."

The 15-year-old boy's art teacher at Prosser High School turned the drawings over to school administrators, who notified police, who called the Secret Service.

"We involve the police anytime we have a concern," Prosser Superintendent Ray Tolcacher told the Tri-City Herald newspaper.

Secret Service agents interviewed the boy last Friday. The student, who was not arrested, has not been identified.

The school district disciplined him, but district officials refused to say what the punishment was. Tolcacher said the boy was not suspended.

The artwork was apparently part of an assignment to keep a notebook of drawings, according to Kevin Cravens, a friend of the boy's family.

The drawing that drew the most notice showed a man in what appeared to be Middle Eastern-style clothing, holding a rifle. He was also holding a stick with an oversize head of the president on it.

The student said the head was enlarged because it was intended to be an effigy, Cravens said. The caption called for an end to the war in Iraq.

A message left by The Associated Press with an after-hours duty officer with the Secret Service in Washington, D.C., was not immediately returned on Monday.

"If this 15-year-old kid in Prosser is perceived as a threat to the president, then we are living in '1984'," Cravens said.

Tolcacher insisted it was not a freedom of speech issue, but a concern over the depiction of violence.

"From what I saw, (school officials) were right to be concerned," Prosser Police Chief Win Taylor said.

AP-ES-04-26-04 2348EDT

Now, THIS Is a Bear Story!

Young man fights off brown bear

By MARY PEMBERTON, Associated Press Writer

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (April 26, 6:20 pm ADT) - A 15-year-old boy on a wilderness expedition for emotionally troubled youths woke up to find a 400-pound brown bear with a bad attitude sitting at his feet.

The Barrow boy thought at first it was a camp counselor rustling around at the foot of his tent Saturday morning on Deer Island in Southeast Alaska. But when he figured out it was a bear, the young man - keeping his wits about him - tried to quietly slip away.

The bear would have none of it.

"It seems that pretty calmly he wriggled his way backward out of the back of the tent as the bear was going over the top of the tent," Alaska State Trooper Adam Benson said Monday. "They kind of met up at the back of the tent. The bear came down, mouth open, toward him."

Benson said the boy put up his right arm to fend off the sow, and she bit his forearm, leaving two puncture wounds.

The boy decided to fight back, a risky approach to take particularly with a brown bear, the trooper said.

"He told me he punched the bear half a dozen times with his left hand," and the bear let him go, Benson said.

When the teenager got up and tried to run, the bear bit him again on the right side of his torso, right below his ribs, this time leaving a half-dozen puncture wounds on his back, Benson said.

The boy punched the bear again a couple of times, and again she let him go.

"He jumped behind a little cluster of trees and kind of played keep away with the bear," Benson said.

During one of the turns around the trees, the young man remembered that he had an air horn in his gear and grabbed it on the run. He blew the horn in the bear's face. The sound woke up the other counselors and boys in the camp, said Steve Prysunka, director of the six-week "Crossing Wilderness Expeditions for Youth" program.

Prysunka asked that the boy not be identified in news reports.

Prysunka said counselor Willy Hollett stepped between the boy and the bear and hit her with some pepper spray. The bear reared up and he sprayed the bear again, and the bear reared up again. In the meantime, another counselor fired a flare at the bear's feet, causing her to finally turn and run.

The boy was taken to the program's floating camp - a barge with a lodge anchored about one-eighth of a mile away. An emergency medical crew arrived by float plane about 30 minutes later to take him to Ketchikan General Hospital where he was treated and released a few hours later, Prysunka said.

Benson said he was at the hospital when the teen was brought in on a stretcher. He was sitting up and looked relaxed.

"He told me it didn't hurt. I would attribute that to a pretty good shot of adrenaline," Benson said.

Late Saturday afternoon, another trooper and a couple of U.S. Forest Service employees returned to the campsite area, found the sow and killed her. There were no signs she had any cubs with her.

Benson said the counselors the evening before had checked on the campers to make sure there was no food left out to attract bears.

The boy had some Rice-A-Roni he wanted to keep.

"He said, 'No, don't take this. I'm going to eat this in a little while.' Apparently he fell asleep before he got it done. There was some food left at the foot of his tent," Benson said.

The boy was being sent home to give his wounds time to heal, Prysunka said.

"I think he is the biggest, baddest thing in the woods. He punched the bear," Prysunka said.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

The Tripod Falls, Again

Ice Moves in the Nenana Ice Classic

By Rachel D'oro Associated Press Writer
Published: Apr 24, 2004

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Mother Nature picked the winning numbers for the 88th Nenana Ice Classic on Saturday, melting the ice on the Tanana River enough to move it downstream.

Organizers of the popular yearly game of chance said there were six correct guesses for the winning time of 2:16 p.m. Each $2.50 ticket is worth a sixth of $301,000 jackpot - $50,166.66, or $36,120 once federal taxes are taken out.

A tripod erected on the ice is connected by wire to a clock on shore to detect the ice movement in Nenana, a community of 500 about 55 miles south of Fairbanks.

Organizers did not release the names of winners, but said they bought tickets in Anchorage, Juneau, North Pole and the Fairbanks area.

The jackpot, determined by the number of tickets sold, has reached $300,000 for the last several years. At least 50 percent of gross ticket sales is placed in the jackpot, with the rest going to expenses and to charities or nonprofit organizations in Nenana.

Last year, a pool of 19 winners shared a $301,000 jackpot when the ice went out at 6:22 p.m. on April 29.

The earliest the ice has gone out is April 20, in 1940 and 1998. The latest is May 20, 1964.

AP-ES-04-24-04 2215EDT

Ummm...Wouldn't this be characterized as torture?

"Only after such time as Padilla has perceived that help is not on the way can the United States reasonably expect to obtain all possible intelligence information from Padilla," from a declaration by the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby, stating that Mr. Padilla was unlikely to cooperate if he thought a lawyer was trying to free him.
Read the New York Times story on Jose Padilla (remember him? The "dirty bomb" guy?)American Terror Suspect's Path From Streets to Pentagon Brig and form your own conclusions.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Mystery of Marshall crucifix is an article of faith

By Jeffrey Hope
Updated: 4:46 a.m. ET April 23, 2004

April 21 - Some say it's a spiritual awakening. Others are calling it a miracle. Ever since an Easter vigil service, things haven't been quite the same in the small Yup'ik village of Marshall. Whatever happened, a statue of the crucified Christ is changing lives.

Marshall, a village of a few hundred year-round residents, sits on a quiet slough of the Yukon River. There are no roads to get to it. The few trucks in town came here by barge. One store serves the entire village, and there are two churches -- a Russian Orthodox church and a Catholic church. That's where things haven't been quite the same since Easter.

"Some people think this is a miracle, which is good," says Angelina Coffee, a Eucharistic minister.

Miracle or not, the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church has become as busy as a post office. A crucifix of Jesus has always been respected, but now it's the talk of the village.

Church members say it started during an Easter vigil service. Someone thought they saw the painted blood on the statue turn to real blood. Most missed it, but, after the service, church members crowded around the crucifix. Even longtime members agreed it looked different.(more)

The Marshall, Alaska Crucifix

Photo courtesy of Sophie Jacob. It was taken on a Sony MVC-CD400 on April 21, 2004 in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Marshall, Alaska.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Thursday, April 01, 2004


Borrowed from Slashdot

Many colleges and business's tend to strip the last name down to 6
characters and add the first and last initial to either the beginning or end
to make up an e-mail address..

For example, Mary L. Ferguson = mlfergus or
fergusml. They are just now beginning to realize
the problems that may happen when you have a
large and diverse pool of people to choose from.

Add to that a large database of company/college
Acronyms and you have some very funny addresses.
Probably not funny to the individual involved, however:

Top ten actual E-mail Addresses

10. Hellen Thomas Eatons (Duke University) -

9. Mary Ellen Dickinson (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) -

8. Francis Kevin Kissinger (Las Verdes University) -

7. Amanda Sue Pickering (Purdue University) -

6. Ida Beatrice Ballinger (Ball State University) -

5. Bradley Thomas Kissering (Brady Electrical,
Northern Division, Overton, Canada) -

4. Isabelle Haydon Adcock (Toys "R" Us) -

3. Martha Elizibeth Cummins (Fresno University) -

2. George David Blowmer (Drop Front Drawers & Cabinets Inc.) -

but at No 1, it had to be...

1. Barbara Joan Beeranger (Myplace Home Decorating) -

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Griz 'Et Greenie and Girl Left Goodies in Tent

Deadly ending
Treadwell, girlfriend may have argued about dangers

Anchorage Daily News

(Published: March 28, 2004)

The mauling deaths of Californian Timothy Treadwell and girlfriend Amie Huguenard at Alaska's Kaflia Bay in October may have begun with something as simple as the celebrity bear-man leaving his lunch to shoo away a wandering grizzly.

After more than a decade of summers spent hanging out among the bears of the Katmai coast, Treadwell considered himself a friend and companion of these bears. But Alaska State Troopers and other people who have reviewed evidence gathered after the couple died believe Huguenard was becoming increasingly nervous about life among the bears.

Newly released reports from troopers hint the two may have been arguing about the danger.

Nearly 70 pages of troopers memos, on-the-scene reports from National Park Service rangers, property records and maps were obtained by the Daily News in response to several Freedom of Information Act requests over a span of almost six months.

The records confirm that Treadwell, 46, and Huguenard, 37, were attacked just after 1:45 in the afternoon on Oct. 5 -- not at night, as originally believed -- and shed new details on what the couple might have been doing before the attack. Among the many documents in the report is one detailing the small amount of food that had earlier been reported found in the couple's flattened but otherwise undamaged tent.

The food, according to the report, consisted of:

• A small Butterfinger candy bar.

• A bottle of juice.

• A "hot dog or bratwurst.''

• Chips.

Given that menu, the time of day and a pictureless videotape said to record the sounds of rain hammering the couple's tent just before the bear attack, John Hechtel, an authority on bears with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said it is reasonable to conclude the couple had ducked into their only shelter in the brushy but treeless landscape to escape the weather and enjoy lunch.

Then they either saw or heard a bear approaching their camp. A videotape containing the sounds of what happened next indicates Treadwell went out into the weather to confront the bear. Troopers reports indicate Treadwell was dressed for going outside, not spending the day lounging inside the tent. Over his normal clothing, he wore nylon overpants made by Patagonia, one of several companies that supported Treadwell's annual summer sojourns among the bears on the coast of Katmai National Park, and a "nylon-lined, polyester insulated'' shirt or jacket.

Friends of Treadwell say it was his norm to try to chase bears out of his camp. Many professional bear biologists say they have done likewise but add they would be reluctant to confront the sort of mature, 1,000-pound adult boar that Treadwell apparently met that day.

Big grizzly males -- animals accustomed to ruling the wilderness in which they live -- "make me a lot more nervous than any others,'' Hechtel said, echoing the words of just about every scientist who has worked around Alaska grizzlies. Even Treadwell, in his 1997 book "Among Grizzlies,'' admitted to the potential danger posed by these bears. He described a chilling encounter with one such bear in the alder thickets that surround Kaflia Lake.

"This was Demon, who some experts label the '25th Grizzly,' the one that tolerates no man or bear, the one that kills without bias,'' Treadwell wrote. "I had thought Demon was going to kill me in the Grizzly Maze.''

The Grizzly Maze is what Treadwell called the area around Kaflia Bay and two small lakes that drain into the bay. The lakes support a late run of salmon that attracts the bears and attracted Treadwell. He usually spent the month of September there. Last fall, he was staying unusually late in the maze with Huguenard, and the troopers report indicates that things were not going well between the couple.

"I read the last several entries of the journals" kept by Treadwell and Huguenard, trooper Chris Hill wrote in one report to superiors. "They did not indicate anything unusual other than some arguing amongst Treadwell and Huguenard. Excepts (sic) of the Huguenard's journey (sic) did indicate that she was more or less afraid of the bears.''

If Treadwell and Huguenard were arguing over the dangers presented by the bears at Kaflia, and if Huguenard was growing increasingly nervous about the bears, Treadwell might have had even more incentive than normal to drop his lunch and chase the day's intruder out of camp.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Larry Van Daele, who viewed some videotapes that Treadwell and Huguenard recorded before their deaths, said it was obvious the woman was uneasy about being in the maze.

One "video shows Ms. Huguenard within three meters (10 feet) of a sow with cubs as they fish,'' Van Daele said. "One of the cubs came even closer to her while (Treadwell) filmed. She seemed uncomfortable but did not move. Some journal entries suggest that she was not as comfortable with the situation as he was.''

Treadwell, Van Daele said, in one video described "his campsite as (in) a potentially dangerous location, but he expresses his confidence that he understands these bears and they will not harm him.''

The videotapes and journals themselves were not available to the Daily News. Troopers say they were turned over to the executor and sole beneficiary of Treadwell's will -- Jewel Palovak of Malibu, Calif. Palovak was the co-author of "Among Grizzlies'' and Treadwell's partner in a nonprofit organization called Grizzly People.

Grizzly People, according to its Web site, "is a grassroots organization devoted to preserving bears and their wilderness habitat. Our goal is to elevate the grizzly to the kindred state of the whale and dolphin through supportive education in the hopes that humans will learn to live in peace with the bear, wilderness and fellow humans."

The organization claimed all donations it collected were used to fund:

• Annual four-month expeditions to protect the bears and other wild animals of Alaska.

• Photographic wildlife studies.

• Educational wildlife videos.

• Educational campaign in North American schools.

• Sharing of Grizzly People's photographs with other preservation organizations.

All of those activities were conducted by Treadwell, but usually in close communication with Palovak. In fact, only seven hours after troopers and park rangers had first gone to investigate a possible bear attack at Kaflia Bay -- more than 24 hours before the attacks would become public knowledge -- Palovak was on the phone to troopers in Kodiak trying to confirm a report from local air-taxi operator Dean Andrew that Treadwell might have been killed by a bear, according to troopers reports.

According to a memo from Hill, she offered help in contacting Treadwell's parents, volunteering that he "was estranged from his family so he didn't talk with them often." And she noted she had "power of attorney for Treadwell and would like to receive his belongings, to include his journals.''

Within days, Palovak also had a Los Angeles legal firm asking Alaska officials that "to protect the interest of the family of the decedent, we request that you refrain from further public dissemination of private information and materials, including, without limitation, the content of audiovisual tapes.''

Shortly after getting that letter, troopers imposed an information blackout. When the Park Service convened a Technical Board of Investigation in December to try to determine what had transpired to lead to the two deaths at Kaflia Bay two months earlier, it still couldn't obtain any information from troopers. It wasn't until after the board had completed its initial report, based on the assumption the attack happened in camp at night, that it learned troopers had known for some time that the attack actually came at midday.

According to the documents obtained by the Daily News, trooper Sgt. Maurice I. Hughes Jr. on Oct. 9 -- three days after Treadwell was discovered dead -- talked to a friend of the author and filmmaker in Malibu who explained how to retrieve the date-time stamp in Treadwell's digital video camera. Hughes said he subsequently discovered that the tape of Treadwell and Huguenard being mauled ran from 4:47:23 p.m. to 4:53:44 p.m. -- a span of 6 minutes, 21 seconds -- but that the camera was set to record the time for a time zone three hours ahead of Alaska.

Troopers knew then that the attack had occurred from 1:47 to 1:53 p.m. Alaska time on Oct. 5, but they were publicly saying there was no date-time stamp on the video. Not only in Alaska, but nationally and internationally, that led to widespread speculation that Treadwell and Huguenard had been attacked by a marauding grizzly at night.

The troopers reports shed no new light on what was on that pictureless videotape. Van Daele and others who have heard the audio have said there are the sounds of heavy rain, shouts from Huguenard to Treadwell to "play dead,'' pleas from Treadwell to Huguenard for help, including his request she hit the bear with a pan, and lastly Huguenard wailing.

There had been speculation that Treadwell, who often wore a microphone to record sounds when getting close to bears, might have been "miked up" when the attack started, but the new troopers documents indicate that was unlikely. An evidence report says his remote microphone was found in the same protective box with the camera inside the tent where he and Huguenard had apparently been lunching.

The reports do, however, suggest a new reason Treadwell might have gone back to the Grizzly Maze at a time when he was normally gone from there. Palovak told troopers, according to the reports, that Treadwell "was originally gonna do a driving trip to Denali Park for some different photo footage. (But) he was worried that one of his favorite bears wasn't sighted on an earlier trip to Kaflia and (he) wanted to go back.''

Hughes reported finding information in Treadwell's journals that put a different spin on things.

"It appeared Treadwell returned to Kaflia Bay because he realized that was where he wanted to be,'' Hughes said. "He canceled a driving trip around Alaska with Huguenard because he became angry with an airline employee about the cost of a change fee for their flight from Kodiak.''

Biologists and bear-viewing guides who knew Treadwell and watched his behavior along the Katmai coast for years said such an action is not out of character. Treadwell, said U.S. Geological Survey bear researcher Tom Smith, often displayed strange behaviors, sometimes fleeing at the site of other people, sometimes confronting them.

Treadwell sometimes liked to brag about how he protected bears at Kaflia by confronting poachers, though no evidence has surfaced that such confrontations took place or even that there were any poachers operating in the area. Park Service officials have no reports of poaching problems and add that it is hard to believe poachers would try to operate in one of the state's most heavily visited bear-viewing areas. Thousands of people now go to view the Katmai bears every summer, and the air-taxi companies that have made a big business of bear viewing are highly protective of the animals.

Still, Treadwell had told enough tales of poachers to California audiences that Hill, according to one of his reports, "received a telephone call from Rosemary White with the Sierra Club. She expressed her insight of the events regarding Treadwell's death being most likely committed by a hunter, due to Treadwell's past reports of having run-ins with poachers and Treadwell's acceptance by the bear population.''

An autopsy later confirmed both Treadwell and Huguenard had been killed by a bear. Troopers and park rangers who investigated the deaths of Treadwell and Huguenard believe they killed that bear -- a 1,000-pound male -- after it threatened them. The air-taxi pilot who'd first reported problems at Kaflia said the dead bear appeared to be the same one he saw sitting on a food cache from which some of Treadwell's remains were recovered. More of Treadwell's body, along with some of his clothing, was found in the bear when Van Daele performed a necropsy to see if there was anything wrong with the animal.

"We know we got one right bear, or there's very strong evidence of that,'' said acting medical examiner Franc Fallico. Fallico noted, however, that it would have been impossible to specifically match bite marks from the bear with the remains because of the damage done by the animal trying to eat the people.

Other than being 28 years old -- old for a grizzly -- and having bad teeth, Van Daele said the animal appeared to be in good condition. It was a little lean, he said, but nowhere near what might be considered starving. Why it decided to attack, kill and then partially consume two people is clearly never going to known, Hechtel said.

The bear's behavior will forever remain almost as much of a mystery as Timothy Dexter, the man who became Treadwell.

Hill said his father, Valentine Dexter, "informed me that Treadwell had actually changed his last name from Dexter to Treadwell, a stage name he had used while pursuing an entertainment career.''

Treadwell never made the big time in Hollywood. But he wrote a book, made the "The Late Show With David Letterman," starred in a couple movies about bears, put on his one-man shows for schoolchildren and environmentalists and acted as an adviser to the Disney Co. on the animated feature film "Brother Bear.''

"Brother Bear" opened three weeks after Treadwell's death, and quickly faded.

The legend of Timothy Treadwell, however, remains.

Daily News Outdoor editor Craig Medred can be reached at

Friday, March 26, 2004

Tickling the Dragons Tail

Dr. Louis Slotin
Canadian Hero of the Manhattan Project

from this roof people have been looking at beautiful shining

"from the first look ghosttown seems like a normal town, someone put their washing hungs on a balcony, some windows open, other clothed, here is taxi stop, there is grocery store... then, you read this slogan on building- "party of Lenin lead us to the triumph of a communism"- that helps to realise that clothes hung on balcony for 18 years and that town is empty.."

THIS is what I call REPORTING

Mike Miller for Senate? Why not just HAND the election to Knowles?

According to recent reports the heir to the North Pole Santa Claus House fortune, Mike Miller (baby brother of the late Lt. Governor Terry Miller) has designs on the Republican nomination for United States Senate. Something about "I'm more conservative than she is," she being, of course, Senator Lisa Murkowski.
The question is begged: Does it matter how "conservative" Alaska's junior Senator is? I think not.
The real problem with conservatives is they are boxed into a couple of issues and really don't have any imagination. And if we need anything in our elected officials, it is imagination.
As Commissioner of Administration, Miller held the telecommunications portfolio, but to all appearances didn't do squat. Once more, oportuntiies lost. Oh yeah- he did toss the master contract with ACS. What a great move.
Mike, take it from this voter. Sit it out, no matter what that hot valley girl Sarah Palin says to you.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

NYT: " Alaska the age-old war on wolves has resumed with all its age-old savagery — the savagery of humans, that is."

Wolf 'Control' in Alaska

Published: March 14, 2004

In Alaska, the wolf wars have taken a sobering turn for the worse. For 30 years hunting lobbyists have campaigned for what is euphemistically called wolf "control." Thanks to the compliance of Gov. Frank Murkowski and the state's official game board, the legal protections for Alaska's 7,000 to 9,000 wolves have been seriously eroded. In nearly 20,000 square miles of the state it is now legal for private citizens to shoot wolves from airplanes and helicopters. In one district the limit has been increased from 10 wolves a year to 10 wolves a day.

In these districts, the new regulations call for an 80 percent "temporary" reduction in the wolf population. But a reduction on that scale is merely likely to be the first step towards the total elimination of wolves. This isn't sport hunting — there's nothing sporting about deploying an air force to hunt animals. The real spirit of hunting has always been about working within the balance of nature. But not in Alaska.

There is already a hunting and trapping season for Alaskan wolves, and some 7,500 wolves have been legally killed in the past five years. But hunters want more moose meat on the table, and the state has promised them unnaturally high numbers. Instead of setting sustainable limits for the moose hunt, the game board has decided simply to kill the animals that prey on moose — wolves and bears. According to the game board, "moose are important for providing high levels of harvest for human consumptive use." In other words, moose are important, wolves are not.

Wildlife biologists disagree, and so do most Alaskans, who have voted against aerial shooting twice, in 1996 and 2000. But now the extremists have taken over. Any notion that wolves and moose are part of a functioning ecosystem has been abandoned. The hunting lobby demands that moose be managed as livestock destined for harvesting by hunters — the more the merrier, with anything that gets in the way destined for destruction. In Alaska, wolves are now merely competitors seizing valuable human resources.

Elsewhere in this country, biologists have devoted themselves to protecting and restoring wolf populations. Most Americans have welcomed wolves' return not only as symbols of wildness but as critical players in the pattern of nature, helping balance the population of deer and elk. Anyone who has visited Yellowstone since wolves were reintroduced has a vivid sense of their role in the ecosystem and in the human imagination. But in Alaska the age-old war on wolves has resumed with all its age-old savagery — the savagery of humans, that is.

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Hey, Treadwell Fans!

Thanks for making BOTH BARRELS Number One in searches for "human remains found inside bear"
You're the best!

Bunde to Rural Alaska: Die, I could care less.

Girl says lawmaker upset her
SEN. CON BUNDE: Visiting 16-year-old of Klukwan says his remarks made her cry.

Anchorage Daily News

(Published: February 25, 2004)

JUNEAU -- A 16-year-old Haines girl is telling lawmakers that Anchorage Republican Sen. Con Bunde made her cry by telling her "he didn't care if the rural towns die out."

Katharina Harrop, a junior at Klukwan School, said Bunde offended her with that and other comments when she spoke to him after Bunde gave a speech to school officials in Juneau.

"It really hit me," Harrop said.

Bunde, known for his bluntness as well as a wry, sharp-edged sense of humor, appeared a bit chagrined by the high schooler's charges. He said that she took his words out of context and that he didn't mean to make her cry.

On Tuesday morning Harrop wrote a letter describing the incident and walked the Capitol with copies in hand, stopping off to deliver it in the offices of all 60 legislators.

"I was shocked that an elected official would say this," she said in her letter.

Bunde said it all started when he gave a speech Sunday to the Alaska Association of School Boards, which was meeting at a Juneau hotel.

Schools across Alaska are lobbying the Legislature for money to help with a budget crisis that could mean teacher layoffs and an end to school sports. Bunde, an education policy leader in the Legislature, said he told the school board members the state would need to start spending earnings of the $28 billion Permanent Fund.

That would mean smaller dividend checks than if the fund were left alone. Harrop said she feels the fund would be endangered.

Bunde said Harrop approached him after the speech, upset about what would happen to the annual Permanent Fund dividend checks. She "was very emotional," he said, talking about the dividend checks.

"Her tears were, I thought, about the Permanent Fund dividend and the fact it might be diminished," Bunde said. "Apparently that's very important for her family."

Speaking to her briefly as he was leaving the room, Bunde said the conversation turned to how important the dividend was in Alaska's small communities.

Bunde said he told her small towns have come and gone in Alaska over the years, as economic conditions have changed. He didn't deny telling her he didn't care if rural towns die out.

"I think the more complete statement was, I can't ask one part of the state to subsidize small towns so they can continue to exist if they aren't financially viable," Bunde said, adding he doesn't want towns to disappear.

Harrop's letter also said that Bunde told her "to move away from my community because it cannot support my school." Bunde disputes that.

"I don't ever remember saying she should move away," Bunde said.

Harrop said the local community does a lot to support its school and that's one of the points she wanted to make by circulating the letter at the Capitol.

This isn't the first time a state legislator has drawn public outrage from a high school student. In the 2002 legislative campaign, a student representative on the Anchorage School Board said in a television advertisement that then-Anchorage Republican Sen. Dave Donley had been rude and abusive during a visit from school officials. Donley lost the election.

Harrop said she was in Juneau to represent Klukwan School at the Chatham School District Leadership Conference. She is with of a group of school board members talking to legislators about school needs and accomplishments.

Klukwan is about 15 miles from Haines, which also has its own schools. Harrop lives in Haines but attends Klukwan School, which has 45 students, from pre-school through high school. She said she is one of two members of the junior class.

News of Harrop's letter came as a surprise to Tom Keough, a teacher and student council adviser at Klukwan School. He described Harrop as a good student and somewhat of an activist, who has "pretty strong feelings about things."

So does Bunde.

"My style of communication is, I'd rather be forthright and realistic. The easy thing would have been to tell her, sure, sure you can have whatever you want and go away kid. Just kind of mollify her," Bunde said. "That's not my style. Nor was it my intent to intimidate or frighten her. But apparently I have."

Reporter Sean Cockerham can be reached at

New York Times reports on basketball in Bush Alaska

In Alaska, Getting There Is Half the Fun


Published: March 1, 2004

BETHEL, Alaska — It took 90 minutes at sea in a small boat, five hours driving in two vans and 75 minutes on a commuter jet before the boys and girls basketball teams from Seldovia reached Bethel, a remote town in western Alaska.

When the players stepped off the jet onto the Bethel tarmac, as flat as the tundra enveloping it, the late-afternoon temperature was 38 degrees below zero.

Seldovia's players would stay for four nights, sleeping on classroom floors at the local high school, to play three basketball games in a round-robin tournament.

Joining them were teams from Unalakleet, a village of about 800 people on the Bering Sea, and Homer, a port town like Seldovia in the state's south-central maritime wilderness.

"I feel sorry for those kids back East who just have to drive 20 minutes to the next suburb for a game," said Nikki Dill of Unalakleet. "How boring."

And so went another typical week in Alaskan high school sports, where to play something as routine as a basketball or volleyball game, hundreds of teams habitually crisscross a mammoth state on jets, marine ferries, vans and even caravans of snowmobiles. (more)


Ahhh, loyal readers, I'm still alive...just looking for some stuff to post.
Frank Murkowski is supposed to be in town this week...I am sure he will get a warm welcome.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Must Reading

America's Empire of Bases

It's Race Time!

Dee Dee Jonrowe will lead the pack as mushers head off on the frosty Kuskowkim River tonight as the 25th Annual Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race starts at 8 p.m. in Bethel.
I'm waiting for them to leave so I can watch the fireworks!

Saturday, January 03, 2004

And a Treadwell shrine page compliments of Leonardo DiCapria

Bear eaten Treadwell STILL in the news

Bear Advocate an Enigma in Death

By JEREMIAH MARQUEZ Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Timothy Treadwell's death came just the way he had predicted. Treadwell and his girlfriend were mauled by a 1,000-pound grizzly bear last October in a remote section of Alaskan wilderness that Treadwell knew well after years of living among its bear population.

That Treadwell was killed doing what he loved did not surprise many of those who knew him. He had acknowledged his forays into the backcountry were tempting fate.

He had started an environmental group and received donations from celebrities such as actor Leonardo DiCaprio, in part by saying the bears he loved were in jeopardy. He spun colorful stories about his adventures for the Discovery Channel, David Letterman's late-night audience and the Walt Disney Co.

What few knew about Treadwell was that much of his life was an invention.

Interviews with associates and reviews of public records reveal Treadwell as a complex character - part wildlife enthusiast, part showman, part educator, part impostor.

The organization he said was dedicated to saving bears did find an outlet educating school children. But some experts said the bears he professed to be saving didn't need his protection.

His tales of being Australian or an English orphan, later rescuing himself from a life of drugs and alcohol through his fascination with bears, only made his story more compelling.

Only after his death did some friends learn that he was born under a different name as the middle-class son of a Long Island phone company foreman.

Charismatic in life, Treadwell had become an enigma in death.


Grizzlies, known as brown bears along the Alaskan coast, are more likely to attack people than the smaller black bear. More than 400 grizzly attacks on humans have been documented in Alaska since 1900, a fraction of them fatal, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Science Center.

Treadwell refused to see the bears as "savage beasts." He spent nearly a dozen summers living among grizzlies, primarily in the Katmai National Park and Preserve on the Alaska Peninsula, videotaping many of his encounters.

Despite the concerns of wildlife authorities, Treadwell, 46, won national acclaim for his daring and devotion. He published a book, "Among Grizzlies: Living With Wild Bears in Alaska," in 1997, and more recently talked with filmmakers working on Disney's animated feature "Brother Bear" about bears.

Treadwell made regular visits to schools after returning to Southern California from his annual trips to Alaska.

"His passion for the bears and wildlife was just infectious, and the students loved his stories," said Phil Cott, principal of Webster Elementary School in Malibu, where Treadwell lived in a rented condo.

Not everyone embraced Treadwell's views.

Critics said Treadwell's forays into bear country could encourage copycats and worried the mauling death of Treadwell and his girlfriend, 37-year-old Amie Huguenard, would turn public opinion against them.

"Bears are bears, and the sooner we treat them as bears instead of humans in a bear suit it will be less dangerous," said Tom Smith, a biologist at the Alaska Science Center.

Stephen Stringham, a bear biologist and professor with the University of Alaska system, defended Treadwell's work. Treadwell, he said, kept meticulous diaries of bear genealogy, mating patterns and maternal behavior that will be valuable to researchers.

"The details he has, no one's got anything like it. It's extremely valuable to science," said Stringham, who had planned to collaborate on several papers with Treadwell.


During a middle-class upbringing on Long Island, Treadwell - born Timothy William Dexter - nurtured a passion for animals and the outdoors.

In high school, he was a swim team member and later earned a scholarship to Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.

In what his father, Valentine Dexter, called the start of a downward spiral, Tim injured his back while diving, lost his scholarship and dropped out in 1977.

Back home in Ronkonkoma, his troubles worsened: He crashed the family station wagon and was arrested on charges related to drunken driving.

"That led up to his leaving," said his father.

He moved to Long Beach in 1978, and soon began a personal transformation.

He legally changed his last name to Treadwell in 1987 after using it informally for years, Los Angeles County records show.

He also told friends of being Australian or of growing up a British orphan. People magazine in 1994 quoted him as claiming to be a native of Australia who moved to California as a teenager.

Supporters defended Treadwell's shifting persona, noting that in his book he said he was raised in New York.

Sunset Beach friends described Treadwell as a fun-loving eccentric, but he recalled his early years in Southern California as some of his darkest.

In his book, Treadwell wrote of an ongoing battle with alcoholism and drugs and carrying around a gun. He appears to have been in trouble with the law at least twice.

In 1984, a Timmy Treadwell was accused of illegally discharging a firearm, according to court records in Beverly Hills. Three years earlier, a Timothy Winthorpe Treadwell of Sunset Beach was booked on suspicion of assault, Orange County records show. Treadwell was living in Sunset Beach then and had used the middle name Winthorpe, those who knew him said.

Re-evaluating his life after a near-death experience from a drug overdose, he wrote, Treadwell decided to seek out bears in Alaska.


Treadwell's environmental crusade began slowly but quickly gained attention, propelled by his outsized personality.

He and friend Jewel Palovak started the bear-advocacy group Grizzly People in the mid-1990s.

To raise money, the group increasingly turned to the most obvious source of charitable giving in Southern California - celebrities. The list of Hollywood stars who either attended his fund-raisers or gave him money included DiCaprio, Bundchen and actor Pierce Brosnan.

Darlene Malott, who until recently was a representative for DiCaprio's foundation, said the actor met with Treadwell about three years ago after seeing him on Letterman's show. The foundation gave Grizzly People nearly $25,000, said Malott and DiCaprio's publicist, Ken Sunshine.

Bundchen met Treadwell at one of his events a year ago and contributed money, although she wasn't sure how much, said her manager, Anne Nelson.

Brosnan and his wife, Keely, also attended Treadwell's fund-raising events.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and admired environmental warrior," Brosnan and his wife said in a statement to the AP.

Robert Towne, the screenwriter whose credits include "Chinatown" and "Mission: Impossible," said he and his wife wrote Treadwell a check he recalled was in the thousands of dollars.

"However eccentric he was ... I think his work should be valued and honored," Towne said.

Treadwell told Towne and other contributors he was terrified the bears would be killed by poachers without his presence.

A Grizzly People statement distributed to supporters last year said the bears "are attractive targets and without Treadwell's care would be easy to poach."

Some Alaskan wildlife experts discounted that, saying sporadic poaching isn't jeopardizing Alaska's grizzly population of 35,000. The animals aren't listed as an endangered species in Alaska.

Treadwell's supporters insist he videotaped poacher campsites and chased away hunters, adding he never claimed to protect all bears, just those in his area of Katmai.

"I don't think it's mischaracterizing," Palovak said.

Treadwell's approach helped Grizzly People average about $30,000 in annual contributions over the past several years, said Tisha Bedrosian of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit umbrella organization that funnels tax-deductible donations to Grizzly People.

Despite Grizzly People's written claim that it was a nonprofit, the organization is not registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a nonprofit, said Victor Omelczenko, an IRS spokesman. The group was, however, eligible to receive donations through its nonprofit sponsor.

Warren Queeney, an actor in Los Angeles and a friend of Treadwell's for 10 years, said Treadwell would have reveled in the attention his life and work have generated since his death.

Queeney only learned his friend was from Long Island when he met Treadwell's father at a memorial service, but he said he felt more amused than duped.

"He was a con artist, but boy, he pulled it off," Queeney said. "The man was truly a riddle wrapped in a sleeping bag. I don't know if any of us will ever know who he really was."

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

What do you call an Israeli Yu'pik? (send answers to your blogger)

Israel's first Eskimo soldier
By Raffi Berg
BBC News Online
The Israeli army has inducted into its ranks one of the most unusual recruits in its history - an Eskimo girl from Alaska.

Eighteen-year-old Eva Ben Sira is training to become a squad commander in the Negev desert - a far cry from the frozen wastes of her homeland.

Eva was born to a Yupik Eskimo mother and a Cherokee American father before being adopted by an Israeli couple.

Her twin brother, Jimmy, will become the army's second serving Eskimo, when he joins the force next year.

Culture clash

The twins' remarkable journey to Israel began when their mother, Minnie, found herself unable to support Eva and Jimmy after their father walked out. Their story came to public attention in a recent article by the Israeli daily Haaretz.

Alaskan social services stepped in and, at the age of two, the twins were sent to live with their grandmother, who struggled to raise the children herself.

Their plight came to light when an Orthodox Jewish couple, Meir and Dafna Ben Sira, came to visit Minnie's neighbour - Dafna's mother - a Swiss Catholic woman, who had emigrated to Alaska from Israel in 1989.

The Ben Siras offered to adopt Eva and Jimmy, but had to overcome a welter of religious and cultural obstacles to get the adoption approved by both tribal elders and an Alaskan Orthodox rabbi.

"We got to know the children and they needed a home," Dafna told BBC News Online.

"We wanted to have a family and the children had no place to go," she said.

They remained in Alaska for five years until the adoption process was completed.

'People are curious'

Eva and Jimmy were brought to Israel (they learned to speak Hebrew in three months), converted to Judaism and integrated into Israeli society among the Orthodox community of Nir Etzion, a village near Haifa.

The twins attended religious schools and had bar- and batmitzvahs - Jewish coming of age ceremonies.

"Their culture wasn't a problem, but they did ask a lot of questions when they were growing up," Dafna said.

After nearly a decade in Israel, Eva has forgotten the smattering of Yupik she spoke as a child, but with her long black hair and almond-shaped eyes, she has retained her ethnic looks.

"People are very curious," said Dafna.

"When I take the children shopping and people ask which parent the children look like, I tell them they take after their father because he's not there.

"When my husband takes them shopping and people ask, he tells them they look like me because I'm not there."

Dafna said Eva has no wish to delve too deeply into her past and is very happy living in Israel.

Jimmy, however, is more intrigued and wants to go back to Alaska, if for only a visit.

Note: Their pictures are on the BBC website- follow the link above.