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Updated: 1 hour 33 min ago

Big 3-point shooting carries UAA women to first-round win in Shootout

3 hours 4 min ago

For the first time in two seasons, there will be a UAA team playing in a GCI Great Alaska Shootout championship.

The UAA women's basketball team used solid 3-point shooting by a pair of seniors and a clutch performance on defense to defeat Maryland-Eastern Shore 69-59 on Tuesday and advance to Thursday's championship at the Alaska Airlines Center.

Senior forward Shelby Cloninger went 5 of 6 from 3-point land, including 4 of 4 in the first half, and scored a career-high 19 points to lead the Seawolves.

Senior guard Kaitlyn Hurley added four treys and 16 points and junior guard Kian McNair tallied six assists and seven of UAA's 14 steals.

"I think Shelby kept us in the game, kept us around and (Hurley) put the nails in the coffin there when the game started to get close and hit some big 3s for us," UAA coach Ryan McCarthy said.

The Seawolves won despite playing without their second-leading scorer, Rodericka Ware, who McCarthy said is suspended for the Shootout for a violation of team rules. The senior transfer from the Academy of Art was averaging 15.4 points per game through UAA's first five games.

With Ware out, Hurley stepped up with her biggest game of the season. The 5-8 senior filled out the stat sheet with five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal and she went 3 of 5 from beyond the arc in the second half.

"Coach always tells us shooters that the averages even themselves out," said Hurley, who was 5 of 18 from 3 entering the game. "We put in the work so that's going to show eventually. Fortunately tonight was the night."

In the game's opening moments, the Seawolves' up-tempo "mayhem," defense garnered two quick steals and a block by junior forward Hannah Wandersee and UAA went up 5-0 on a Cloninger triple that rocked the 1,974 fans at the Alaska Airlines Center.

But the Hawks quickly stole the lead on back-to-back 3s by Alexus Hicks (10 points) and Maryland-Eastern Shore led for most of the first half.

UAA trailed 30-31 at halftime despite shooting 29.7 percent from the field.

In the second half, the shots started falling.

With the Hawks leading 37-33, a pair of freshmen helped kick start a 15-2 UAA run. Guard Nicole Pinckney nailed a 3-pointer and guard/forward Sala Langi made an old-fashioned 3-point play that put UAA up 38-37 and the Seawolves never trailed the rest of the way.

UAA expanded its lead to nine points on a Hurley 3-pointer that made it 48-39 and things started to get chippy on the court.

Langi and a Hawks player got tangled up on a held ball and after the whistles blew, players on both sides bumped shoulders and a double-technical was called.

UAA's largest lead was 12 points with six minutes to go in the fourth quarter and the Seawolves' lead hovered around the double-digit mark from there.

"I thought UAA kind of outplayed us and was a little tougher, a little more aggressive," said Maryland-Eastern Shore coach Fred Batchelor. "Their enthusiasm and their energy I thought was the difference in the game."

Freshman Bairesha Gill-Miles led four Huskies in double figures with 17 points on 8 of 15 shooting from the field. Most of her shots came from close range and the Huskies outscored UAA 30-18 in the paint.

Langi tallied nine points and Wandersee added six points and seven rebounds for UAA.

The Seawolves will play Tulsa, which beat Binghamton 60-55 in Tuesday's early game, in the championship on Thursday at the Alaska Airlines Center.

McCarthy said it's special to be playing in the championship in the 40th and final edition of the Shootout. UAA last played in the championship in the 2015 Shootout. The Seawolves beat Pepperdine 94-61 in opening round before losing to Western Kentucky 62-58 in championship.

"I know for me as a kid, Thanksgiving revolved around the Shootout and coming with my dad and watching (teams like) UCLA and UMass," McCarthy said. "It's where I fell in love with the game of basketball."

Young Tulsa team uses late-game defense to win Shootout opener

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 22:57

If the first game is any indication, the final edition of the GCI Great Alaska Shootout should be a good one.

The 40th and final Shootout tipped off Tuesday with a down-to-the-wire finish in a women's game between the Binghamton Bearcats and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.

Tulsa held Binghamton scoreless in the final five minutes and ended the game on an 8-0 run to win 60-55 in the first meeting between the two schools.

"Really proud of the way our group handled the last five minutes of the game," said Tulsa coach Matilda Mossman, who coached Arkansas to a fourth-place finish in the Northern Lights Invitational in 1982, 17 years before that tournament became part of the Shootout.

"The lead kept going back and forth in the fourth quarter and at one point we had to get three or four stops in a row and we came back down on our end and made three throws."

The victory puts Tulsa (3-2) in Thursday's 2:30 p.m. championship against the winner of Tuesday's late game between UAA and Maryland-Eastern Shore. Binghamton (3-2) plays the loser at noon.

Binghamton led 55-52 with five minutes to go before sophomore guard Shug Dickson started Tulsa's run with a layup and a pair of free throws that put Tulsa ahead for good, 56-55.

Dickson led a young Golden Hurricane team — its roster features two seniors — with 14 points and nine rebounds.

In the final minute, Binghamton had a chance to take the lead, but couldn't get an Alyssa James shot in the post to roll in.

"We beat ourselves by not scoring, but I thought we got some good looks," Binghamton coach Linda Cimino said. "If that ball could've bounced the other way, we could've won."

Tulsa pulled away by making four free throws in the final 13 seconds — two by senior guard Erika Wakefield and two by Dickson.

Sophomore forward Kendrian Elliott added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Golden Hurricane.

The Bearcats were led by senior guard Imani Watkins, who scored 17 points on 7 of 14 shooting from the field.

This is the first Shootout for both teams.

Anchorage Assembly passes $521 million budget with more money for snowplowing, firefighters and prosecutors

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 22:21

The Anchorage Assembly passed an operating budget of about $521 million Tuesday night that spends more on snowplowing, firefighters, homelessness initiatives and city prosecutors, while cutting some city jobs and services, including Sunday hours at the Loussac Library.

Homeowners will pay about $130 less in property taxes next year on average, but drivers will pay a new local gas tax, starting in March. Mayor Ethan Berkowitz proposed the 10-cent-per-gallon gas tax as a way to rely less on property taxes to pay for city services.

In a two-hour debate Tuesday night, the Assembly, which is mostly aligned with Berkowitz, authorized close to $1 million in additional spending. That included tapping city savings to pay for more workers to clean up homeless camps, and a grant to Four A's, the state's largest needle exchange program.

Assembly members who voted in favor of the budget said it reflects the city's focus on public safety and homelessness.

"Who are we as a city if we don't help people on the edge?' said Assemblyman Felix Rivera of renewed city spending on homelessness initiatives.

The more conservative members of the Assembly, Fred Dyson and Amy Demboski of Chugiak-Eagle River, said the budget was outsized. The two voted against the budget and the additional spending.

Here's a broad overview of what ended up in the budget.

Where is more money being spent?

— Twelve new full-time firefighters to staff a new ambulance ($4.6 million). The budget also includes $750,000 in overtime to run two backup ambulances in the meantime.
— Paying off the city's massive business software upgrade, known as SAP ($4.5 million).
— Winter maintenance and snowplowing ($500,000)
— Homelessness projects, including money for more emergency overnight shelter space in the winter and for the housing of homeless elders ($500,000)
— More prosecutors ($300,000)
— Clean-up money for blighted and nuisance properties ($200,000).
— A police academy to replace retiring officers and maintain the size of the Anchorage Police Department.
— A vote-by-mail local election in April 2018 ($300,000)
— A grant for the Four A's needle exchange program ($50,000)

What's being cut or delayed?

— The Loussac Library will reduce its hours on Sundays.
— While staffing in the Fire Department will grow, 17 other jobs citywide will be cut, a mix of layoffs and retirements, according to city budget director Lance Wilber. Eleven additional positions will be left vacant next year.
— Most city departments cut budgets by 5 percent overall.
— City executives won't get cost-of-living raises next year.

What's bringing new money in?

In addition to the gas tax, which is projected to raise $11.7 million next year, the budget draws revenue from:

— A $100 hike in ambulance fees.
— New fees within the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department, including fees for research on land use permits and for temporary access to parkland for construction and utility projects.
— Local marijuana taxes.

What does this budget mean for property taxes?

The initial budget from Berkowitz amounted to a $131 reduction in property taxes for the average homeowner in 2018.

Berkowitz also wants to ask voters to approve a higher tax break for homeowners in the spring.

At the same time, Berkowitz's gas tax, which directly affects the size of a property tax cut, may face a challenge at the ballot box next year. David Nees, a retired teacher who has run for public office, filed an initiative application earlier this month to ask voters to repeal it.

What's the size of the budget?

Anchorage's general government budget is growing by about $12 million from the current year. City budget director Lance Wilber has said that fixed costs, like labor and health care, as well as changes in the economy, legal settlements and state spending, contribute to the size of the budget.

What does the city want to build next year?

Berkowitz and the Assembly added to a list of priorities for capital projects Tuesday night. Here are some examples of projects on the list, which could go to voters for bond approval in April:

— Close to $1 million to replace a walking bridge at the south end of Westchester Lagoon
— $3.3 million for a new treatment facility for stormwater sediment
— $2.5 million for road and drainage improvements in Campbell woods
— $2.2 million for upgrades to Alaska's public safety radio communications network
— $2.1 million for a new storm drain on 82nd Avenue, west of the Old Seward Highway
— $2.1 million to rebuild an emergency storm bypass system in Sand Lake

Think you know your Shootout history? This quiz will test you.

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 19:55

The night before the Shootout tipped off, UAA boosters Jim and Bobbi Olson hosted a reception for past tournament chairmen and chairwomen. Twenty-three were on hand, and they were put to the test by Jim Olson, who created a 40-question trivia quiz for the occasion.

The winner was Steve Hagedorn, who answered 21 questions correctly to beat a strong field that included Shootout historian Tom Soper and trivia guru Roger Nerland.

So put down your smartphone and your souvenir program and see how you compare to the so-called experts. We tossed out a couple of questions that were specific to the Monday night party-goers, so consider yourself worthy of the all-tournament team if you can answer 18 of these in their entirety. (No points for partial answers.)

1) When was the first tournament played?

2) How many games have the UAA men won?

3) Which school has the record for most appearances (not counting UAA)?

4) How many appearances has that school made?

5) Which men's team has gone undefeated in three Shootouts?

6) Which men's team has NOT played in exactly 12 tournament games? Washington, North Carolina, Pacific, Arizona, Texas A&M;, Washington or Iona

7) How many championships have the UAA women won?

8) How many games have the UAA women won in 37 tournaments?

9) Name the five men's teams that have been in three finals.

10) Which team has more Shootout appearances, Oregon or Oregon State?

11) Which of those two teams has the better Shootout record?

12) Which team from the Big Sky Conference has not played in the Shootout? Eastern Washington, Portland State, Montana State, Southern Utah or Idaho State

13) What conference has won the most men's championships?

14) Name the Pac-12 player who owns the men's single-game scoring record?

15) Who holds the men's tournament scoring record?

16) Who holds the men's single-game assists record?

17) Which UAA men's player made the all-tournament team at the first Shootout?

18) Two UAA men made the all-tournament team three times. Name them.

19) Six UAA men made the all-tournament team two times. Name them.

20) Five UAA women have been named Most Outstanding Player. Name them.

21) Which women's team has won the most championships?

22) Which men's team has the most runner-up finishes?

23) Which team does not belong in this group? Purdue, Kansas, Marquete, North Carolina, Duke, Indiana.

24) Name one women's team, other than UAA, in this year's field

25) Name two men's teams, other than UAA, in this year's field.

26) Which of these women's teams has gone 6-0 in tournament history? Georgia, Tennessee, Minnesota, South Carolina, Iowa.

27) Which men's head coach brought three different schools?

28) What UAA player holds the men's record for most field goal attempts in one game?

29) How many athletic directors have hosted the Shootout?

30) Which AD hosted the most Shootouts?

31) What team had a player who crashed a snowmachine?

32) Which player did not make the all-tournament team? Len Bias, Tim Duncan, Steve Kerr, Kerry Kittles, Danny Manning, Damian Lillard.

33) Which group of three teams has the UAA women's team defeated in the championship game? Utah State, Georgetown and Long Beach? Or Santa Clara, Syracuse, Cincinnati?

34) Which one of these men's team is not undefeated in Shootout games? Butler, Charlotte, Colorado State, St. John's, Harvard, Murray State.

35) Which men's team had a player show up at Martin Buser's cabin after getting lost on a snowmachine?

36) What year did the Shootout move to the Alaska Airlines Center?

37) Your opinion: What was the greatest Shootout game in history?


1) 1978

2) 38

3) Louisville

4) Five for the men, three for the women

5) North Carolina (1980, 1985, 1997)

6) Arizona (with 6)

7) Six

8) 36

9) Louisville, Marquette, Purdue, Duke, North Carolina

10) Tied with six apiece.

11) Oregon State is 3-3, Oregon is 2-4.

12) Montana State

13) ACC (7)

14) Klay Thompson of Washington State (43 in 2009)

15) Suki Wiggs (98 in 2015)

16) Luke Cooper of UAA (16 in 2006)

17) Bo Jackson

18) Hansi Gnad (1984, 1985, 1986), Peter Bullock (2001, 2002, 2003)

19) Theo Mayhue (1991-92), Jason Kaiser (1993-94), Ryan Williams (1995-96), Ed Kirk (1999, 2000), Carl Arts (2006-07), Taylor Rohde (2010-11).

20) Diane Dobrich, 1990; Kamie Jo Massey, 2003; Rebecca Kielpinski, 2006, 2007, 2008; Nicci Miller, 2009; Megan Mullings, 2014.

21) UAA (6)

22) Duke and Kansas (2 times apiece)

23) Indiana is the only one that didn't win a championship

24) Binghamton, Maryland Eastern Shore, Tulsa

25) Cal Poly, Central Mich, Idaho, College of Charleston, Sam Houston State, Cal State-Bakersfield, Santa Clara

26) South Carolina is 6-0 with wins at the 1988 and 1995

27) Eddie Sutton (Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State)

28) Jesse Jackson, 30 in 1986

29) Eight (Lew Haynes, Gene Templeton, Ron Petro, Harry Larrabee, Tim Dillon, Steve Cobb, Tim McDiffett.

30) Steve Cobb (11).

31) Bryant Reeves, Oklahoma State

32) Tim Duncan, Wake Forest

33) Santa Clara, Syracuse, Cincinnati

34) St. John's (5-1); the others were all 3-0.

35) Kentucky in 1996.

36) 2014

37) Jim Olson called this an opinion question. But if your answer isn't the 1998 championship game between Duke and Cincinnati (Cincinnati 77, Duke 75), dock yourself a point.

Farmers markets have ham, seafood, vegetables and dessert this week for your Thanksgiving table

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 18:37

Dannon Southall of 10th & M Seafoods knows seafood "takes a backseat this week to the king/queen of the poultry world."

But that doesn't mean a stop at the fishmonger isn't in order.

Southall says he has "some great options this week to accompany the feast." He starts with live mussels, clams and Alaskan oysters. "These bivalve treats make great starters while waiting for the main course to finish," Southall says.

Also in the store are shucked oysters in 10-ounce jars, perfect for stuffing. Cooperative weather is allowing fresh cod to be in the store for $6.95 per pound.

The report from Southeast Alaska isn't positive. "The weather has not been so nice in Southeast; it's not allowing the boats to get out and target winter kings," he says.

Center Market

Head to the market at the Mall at Sears for just-before-the-holiday shopping options, including plenty of Alaska items that might make the meal perfect.

"I just picked up fresh ham from my butcher," Alex Davis says, and he has a wide selection of storage vegetables that would go nicely on a packed table.

Vegetable options include green cabbage, kohlrabi, red and golden beets, carrots in a variety of colors, potatoes and Brussels sprouts. He also has eggs, along with raspberry jam, pumpkin butter and apple butter.

In addition to the fresh hams, Davis' pork options include chops, loin roast, fresh side, ground pork, sausage, fat, feet and hocks.

Davis also will have sprouts, micro greens, tofu and basil from Alaska Sprouts; barley products from Alaska Flour Co.; Evie's Brinery's kimchi and krauts; Windy River Farm's grass-fed beef; and Tonia's Biscotti items.

Monica's Confection Connection will be at the Center Market on Wednesday and Saturday with a huge selection of holiday sweets. The treats include gourmet brittles, caramels, salted caramels, gummies and fudge. This week's fudge flavors include dark chocolate salted caramel, chocolate, chocolate walnut, peanut butter chocolate, pumpkin pie and maple walnut.

Rempel Family Farm will be at Saturday's market with carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, collards, daikon, kale, sugar pumpkins, jumbo pink banana squash, acorn squash, tomatoes, spaghetti squash, snow apple turnips, kohlrabi, four varieties of beets, green cabbage, purple onions and several varieties of potatoes.

The Rempels also have yak meat.

Also look for Wild Child fermented salsa; Alaska Fisherman Seafood Direct with smoked black cod, shrimp, halibut and more; Mosquito Mama balsamic vinegar; Northern Lights Mushrooms; Doggy Decadence; Jonsers, with hand-crafted nectar; Monica's Convection Connection; and Earthworks Farm.

Center Market will be open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Friday the market opens at 9 a.m.

Sweet time at the Museum

Earthworks Farm, one of the regular vendors at the Center Market, will be at the Anchorage Museum this weekend for the Crafted in Alaska event.

Dee Barker says Earthworks Farm will feature its Abeille Alaska bath and skin care line, which contains beeswax and/or honey from the farm.

"The highlights of our offerings include our beeswax and honey moisturizing cream and body care lotions," she says. "These emollient creams and lotions have gathered local popularity for protecting and nourishing the skin on these dry and blustery winter days. For the bath, we offer our honeycomb soap gift pack, which includes our honey-spiked soap poured into a 'honeycomb' mold and our hand-crocheted washcloth of natural-flecked cotton yarn, embellished with a lampwork glass bee bead."

Earthworks will have a variety of other gift items and "gourmet honey from hives on our farm. Our honey comes from a floral mixture of sunflower, anis hyssop, aster, campanula, and 'mallow cultivated flowers as well as Alaskan wildflowers," Barker says.

It's always macaron time

Sweet Caribou is featuring macaron gift boxes, as shoppers are looking for gifts.

"These treats are gluten free, sure to please that special guest and provide a delicate and delicious option after your Thanksgiving meal," says owner James Strong.

Seasonal flavors include pumpkin cheesecake, bourbon pecan pie, hot buttered rum, apple cider, pinot noir and chocolate and cranberry orange. Traditional Sweet Caribou favorites include passionfruit, chocolate birthday cake, triple lemon and snickerdoodle.

Thankful Thursdays

The group of farmers/vendors at the Thursday market at the Mall at Sears will be "thankful" at home this week. They will be at the market on Nov. 30.

Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. Contact him at

Local farmers markets

Wednesday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street

Thursday in Anchorage: Thankful Thursdays market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street

Friday in Anchorage: Center Market, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 333 W. Fourth Ave.

Saturday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 333 W. Fourth Ave

Sunday in Anchorage: Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 333 W. Fourth Ave.

Making of Mayhem: An inside look at the Seawolves’ signature defense

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 18:30

When Ryan McCarthy first received an email from Championship Productions asking if he'd be interested in making some videos showcasing the UAA women's basketball team's signature fast-paced defense, he sent it straight to the trash.

McCarthy figured it was a promo email offering him a discount for buying so many Championship Productions videos over the years. He never even opened it.

It wasn't until he received a call from a Championship Productions employee that he realized they weren't trying to sell to him — they wanted to feature him and his team.

"I was like, 'Oh my gosh, they want me to do something?' " McCarthy said. "Very few coaches on the women's side do anything with this company. They mainly do big-time coaches."

McCarthy and the Seawolves — who branded their defense "mayhem" because often that's what it creates for opponents — made two videos for Championship Productions. One discusses their 2-2-1 press and their other explains their amoeba-style defense.

The Seawolves are ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division II heading into this week's GCI Great Alaska Shootout, but their videos were No. 1 for a time on Each is sold for $39.99.

"It ended up being a best-seller for a while," said McCarthy, whose DVDs are for sale along with those featuring Kansas men's coach Bill Self and UConn women's coach Geno Auriemma. "The only DVD that's selling better … is Mike Brey at Notre Dame."

UAA's defense is fast, chaotic and a big reason the Seawolves were 103-7 the last three seasons and led the nation in steals the last four.

Chalk talk

So what is mayhem?

McCarthy, who became UAA's coach in 2012, got the idea for the name of his defense from watching Shaka Smart and Virginia Commonwealth make a Cinderella run to the Final Four in 2011 as a No. 11 seed. Smart, now the head coach at Texas, preaches an aggressive press defense he calls "havoc."

At the time, McCarthy didn't know exactly what "mayhem" would look like, but it has evolved into two main components: an amoeba style half-court defense and a 2-2-1 full-court press, which are demonstrated in the DVDs.

The amoeba defense was made famous by former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian, who amassed nearly 1,000 wins with the Runnin' Rebels from 1973-92.

The defense mixes man-to-man and zone defenses and emphasizes putting pressure on the ball-handler.

"The amoeba defense … can change shape or function during the middle of a possession or depending on how the offense aligns itself," McCarthy says in the video. "But it's also a defense that uses man principles, and we really like that."

Mixing man-to-man defense with the positioning of a zone means the Seawolves are often in position to trap the ball-handler or force her to pick up her dribble with two defenders in her face.  And that can cause turnovers.

The Seawolves also force turnovers with a full-court press that they adjust depending on who they're playing.

For new players, the amoeba and the full-court press can be tricky to learn.

"It was overwhelming at first," said point guard Yazmeen Goo, a redshirt sophomore. "In amoeba, there's a lot of rotations and a lot of 'fix-it situations.' That (can) be kind of frustrating at first to learn it."

Goo said she benefited from playing behind former UAA point guard Kiki Robertson, whose 382 career steals are school and Great Northwest Athletic Conference records.

This season, it's Goo's turn to help eight newcomers get up to speed, especially fellow point guards Sydni Stallworth, a junior transfer, and Nicole Pinckney, a freshman.

"Our main responsibility is just keeping the ball handler in front 'cause the rest of the defense kind of feeds off what we allow," Goo said. "If we get beat, then the whole defense has to fix it."

Creating mayhem

The first-time UAA showed success with the amoeba defense was a 2013 exhibition game against Kansas State in McCarthy's second year at the helm.

McCarthy and assistant coach Alex Carlson decided to open the game in amoeba, thinking it might throw the Division I Wildcats off their game plan.

A couple of quick steals and solid defensive possessions led to a fast 11-1 lead for the undersized Seawolves, who led 37-33 at halftime.

"We're going into the tunnel and I just remember Alex putting his arm around me … like I'm his little brother and he's like, 'We're ahead at Kansas State,' " McCarthy recalled. " 'We're gonna be good.' "

Kansas State fought back to win the game 73-65, but UAA went on to finish the season 19-9 and earn its first NCAA tournament bid under McCarthy.

McCarthy credits Carlson, now the women's coach at Southern Oregon, with helping him put together the initial ideas for mayhem.

"We'll call each other all the time and talk about things we can improve on or things we see in each other's system," McCarthy said. "This is a style we're comfortable coaching in and we both understand. We both kind of put our own signature on it in terms of cracking the code."

Drill, drill, drill

Before McCarthy busts out the whiteboard and starts explaining the Xs and Os of his system, he has to prepare players mentally and physically for the demanding defense.

Every practice is a battle.

"Everything we do is competitive," McCarthy said. "(T)hey don't even learn (the defense) until we feel like they're ready to compete."

In one drill, two players line up on the baseline and sprint to a line of cones, grabbing one cone at a time and bringing it back to build a stack on the baseline. Whoever stacks the final cone first earns a point for her team.

"Kids are just diving and they'll get into a wrestling match because they don't want to lose," McCarthy said. "That is the kind of mentality in our defense that you have to have."

The losing team has to run sprints or do wall sits. Then, it's onto the next drill.

McCarthy said he's never had the same group of players win every drill at a single practice. The losing team always rallies back.

"It's just like in a game — if you get down, you have to dig yourself out and it's not going to get any easier," he said. "So if you lose your first (drill) and have to do your punishment running, you have to dig down to win that second round.

"It shows you the power of mental toughness."

McCarthy gives away some of his secrets in his DVDs, but he said he's more than happy to help other young coaches. He said he has gotten emails from coaches in Vermont, Louisiana, Texas and other places, asking him what he'd do in certain scenarios.

"It was always a dream of mine to have a DVD for mayhem," he said. "I just never even imagined this, man. When I got (the UAA job) I just didn't want to screw it up. I never imagined that all of this would happen."

With blessing from bosses, Anchorage cops grow mustaches for ‘Movember’

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 18:17

Things at the Anchorage Police Department got a little hairy this month.

Possibly for the first time ever, APD has relaxed its formal grooming standards for Mustache November, or "Movember" — an annual practice of growing out facial hair for a month to draw attention to men's health issues, like prostate cancer.

Almost all of the officers who showed up to work the 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. shift this week — more than two dozen — had a mustache.

"Like a Fu Manchu with a couple of bells on it," said officer Gabriel Brown, describing his mustache, which ran down both sides of his lips.

Grooming standards help the agency maintain a "uniform, neat, presentable" public image, said spokeswoman Nora Morse. Beards and goatees aren't allowed. Normally, mustaches have to be short, neat and regularly trimmed. But last month, an email went out from commanders, saying there would be some wiggle room in the mustache policy during November.

APD Chief Justin Doll (who has stayed clean-shaven) said his administration is okay with letting officers participate in Movember to promote men's health.

"It's also a fun excuse for them to grow wildly inappropriate mustaches," Doll said.

There are a lot of younger cops working what's known as the "swing shift," and many were happy to take the excuse. On Tuesday, the group stood outside APD headquarters, kidding each other about whose mustache was the least visible.

Brown, who has been at APD for a year and a half, noted that the email from his bosses didn't specify just how much mustache an officer could have.

"So I decided to push the envelope a little bit."

His wife hates it, he said. But by Dec. 1, it's all supposed to be gone. Brown said he'll miss his face being warm.

David Cassidy, heartthrob and ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 18:11

David Cassidy, the actor and teen heartthrob best known for his role as the musician with the green eyes and the feathered haircut on the 1970s sitcom "The Partridge Family," died Tuesday. He was 67.

His death was confirmed by his publicist, Jo-Ann Geffen, who said he had been suffering organ failure.

Cassidy rose to fame on "The Partridge Family" playing Keith Partridge, the oldest of five children in a family that forms a band and goes on tour. His character, a high school student, was periodically swooned over by young women as he learned to navigate his newfound fame.

The series ran from 1970 to 1974 and turned Cassidy into a star with hordes of adoring fans. But the young actor and musician struggled with the paradoxical isolation of a life lived in the spotlight.

"Oh, they're cute. They get flustered and I get flustered, and it's all kind of fun," Cassidy said of his devotees in 1972, when he was 21. "But it's no fun when they rip your clothes and take rooms next door in hotels and keep pounding on the door and slipping notes under it."

In an attempt to spice up his squeaky-clean image, Cassidy posed provocatively in a photo shoot for Rolling Stone in 1972. In the cover story, he said he was already dreaming about the end of his acting career.

"I'll feel really good when it's over," he said. "I have an image of myself in five years. I'm living on an island. The sky is blue, the sun is shining. And I'm smiling, I'm healthy, I'm a family man."

Cassidy was also a musician, performing in concert as a guitarist as recently as this year. His solo songs never matched the chart-topping popularity of his earlier work as a part of "The Partridge Family," including the 1970 hit single "I Think I Love You."

In later years, Cassidy wrote books about the toll stardom had taken on him, and about his own struggles with substance abuse. He revealed this year that he had dementia.

After watching his mother struggle with dementia, he worked with organizations to educate others about Alzheimer's disease.

Cassidy was born in New Jersey to the actors Jack Cassidy and Evelyn Wood and moved to California as a teenager. He struggled in school but began taking small parts in plays and on television, eventually leading to his big break on "The Partridge Family."

Cassidy worked on several other television series. A 1978 appearance on "Police Story" earned him an Emmy Award nomination, and he was fired by Donald Trump on "The Apprentice" in 2011.

Cassidy was married and divorced three times. He is survived by his son Beau, a musician; his daughter Katie, an actress; his Partridge Family co-star and real-life stepmother, Shirley Jones; and three half-brothers: Patrick, Ryan and Sean.

Mantha nabs 2nd Goaltender of the Week honor

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 18:02

UAA goaltender Olivier Mantha backstopped the Seawolves to two ties and a four-point weekend against Michigan Tech to earn his second Western Collegiate Hockey Association Goaltender of the Week honor this season.

The senior from La Tuque, Quebec, racked up 73 saves and allowed four goals, two of which came on power-plays, finishing the series with a 1.85 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage.

The Seawolves took four points against the Huskies despite being outshot 77-38 over the two games.

In Friday's 1-1 draw, Mantha finished with 36 saves through 65 minutes, tallied two more stops in the 3-on-3 overtime period and collected four saves in the shootout, which the Seawolves won in the fifth round.

On Saturday, Mantha stopped 37 shots in a 3-3 draw, including five in the 5-on-5 overtime session. That set the stage for Trey deGraaf, who netted a goal in the 3-on-3 period to give UAA the extra WCHA point.

Alaska Legislature’s special session ends with no action on taxes

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 17:22

The Alaska Legislature's special session on crime and taxes officially ended on Tuesday, with state lawmakers taking no action on a new tax proposed by the governor to help close the state's multibillion-dollar deficit.

Lawmakers took up no legislation at their final, formal meeting of the special session, held in Juneau on Tuesday morning. House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, gaveled into the floor session at 10 a.m., with three of the chamber's 39 other members in attendance, then gaveled out one minute later.

Senate President Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, joined only by Juneau Democratic Sen. Dennis Egan, convened his chamber's final meeting Saturday.

Tuesday was the 30th day of the special session called by Gov. Bill Walker — which was the constitutional deadline for the session to finish.

Lawmakers essentially finished their work November 10 — the 19th day — when the Senate approved legislation rolling back big portions of last year's criminal justice overhaul, Senate Bill 91.

[Related: Alaska Senate passes House's beefed-up version of SB 91 rollbacks, quits special session]

The Senate tried to formally adjourn from the special session that day.

But the largely-Democratic House majority wouldn't leave. Members said they wanted senators to stay in Juneau to fix a possible constitutional problem with the crime bill and to take up Walker's wage tax proposal, which would have raised some $300 million toward Alaska's $2.7 billion deficit.

The Republican-led Senate majority refused, arguing that it can fix the constitutional problem when the regular legislative session convenes in January. Its members also say that the $63 billion Alaska Permanent Fund generates enough cash to balance the state budget, when combined with oil revenue, without turning to taxes.

But a few senators still had to be present in Juneau for the past 10 days, since the Alaska Constitution doesn't allow one chamber to end a session for more than three days without the other chamber's approval.

Lawmakers held no committee hearings last week — just "technical session," in which they did no formal business.

On Tuesday, the joint House-Senate Legislative Council — a bipartisan committee of legislative leaders — held a meeting in Juneau, with topics that include the establishment of a group that will work on the Legislature's sexual harassment policy. But the first three hours were in an "executive session" that was closed to the public.

The special session that ended this week was the fourth of the year, and Tuesday was the 211th day that lawmakers have spent in session in 2017. That's two-and-a-half times the 90-day limit that voters placed on the length of the regular legislative session in a 2006 citizens initiative.

Walker told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner last week that he won't be calling a fifth special session before the regular session starts in January.

"More time I don't think is the solution," he said. "They've had plenty of time to do what I think is the right thing to do and it has not been done."

Asked about the special session's conclusion Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the governor responded with a prepared statement from Walker: "Continued inaction on solving the state's fiscal crisis jeopardizes the health, safety and well-being of all Alaskans and the Alaska economy."

She didn't directly respond to a question asking when he plans to sign the crime legislation.

The legislation, Senate Bill 54, was still in possession of the state Senate and hadn't yet been sent to Walker's desk as of Tuesday morning, according to the Legislature's bill-tracking system.

A spokesman for Kelly, the Senate president, didn't respond to a request for comment Tuesday morning. But by the afternoon, Kelly had sent the bill to Walker for his signature.

Meet the University of Alaska’s first Rhodes scholar: An Aleut woman from King Cove

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 17:04

Samantha Mack, a 24-year-old Aleut woman, has become the first University of Alaska student to receive a Rhodes scholarship, one of the most prestigious academic honors in the world.

Mack learned Saturday night that she was one of the 32 top-ranking American students named 2018 Rhodes scholars and, she said, "I immediately started crying."

"I was in complete shock and disbelief," Mack said. "I think every time someone said 'congrats' to me I cried a little bit harder."

Mack was selected from a pool of 866 candidates nominated by their universities. While other Alaskans have received Rhodes scholarships in the past, none of them attended UA.

The Rhodes scholarship program, which started in 1902, finances students' graduate studies at Oxford University in England.

Huge congrats to my former D.C. Intern, Samantha Mack for being named a 2018 Rhodes Scholar. Originally from King Cove, Samantha has not only excelled in her academic career at UAA, but she is now their 1st student to receive this prestigious scholarship. Best of luck at Oxford!

— SenDanSullivan (@SenDanSullivan) November 21, 2017

Mack said she plans to pursue either a Master of Philosophy or Doctor of Philosophy degree in politics at Oxford next year.

"It will be the first time I'm studying where I won't have to work part-time or full-time," Mack said.

Since starting school at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Mack said, she has always had a job on campus — as a research assistant, assistant manager at the art gallery and, most recently, as a teaching assistant.

In May, she will receive her master's degree in English from UAA. She earned her bachelor's degree from the university in 2016. She majored in political science and English and minored in Alaska Native studies. She was the first person in her family to earn a bachelor's degree.

At UAA, Mack has yet to earn any grade but an "A."

"She's an amazing student," said Jennifer Stone, an associate professor of English at UAA. "What I love about her is she's incredibly smart, but she's also a well-balanced person and an engaging person to have in class."

Mack grew up in the remote village of King Cove on the Alaska Peninsula. Her father worked as a commercial fisherman. At her grandmother's home, she said, the shelves lining the hallways were always crammed with books. Mack said she has always loved reading.

"I was a massive, massive bookworm growing up," she said.

Mack lived in King Cove until age 6, when she and her mother moved for school.

"It's a much smaller schooling system there," Mack said. "So there's a lot less, I think, opportunities educationally."

They eventually landed at the Anchorage School District, where in second grade Mack tested into the district's gifted program

In college, Mack started to focus on indigenous studies — in the classroom, in her research and in her papers. It's the consistent thread woven through her studies at UAA, she said.

"I knew very little about indigeneity until I reached the college level," she said. "I learned so many things that I had no idea about, about the history and the legacy of trauma and of subjugation."

"It sort of sparked a fire in me."

Mack said she ultimately hopes to become a university professor and work on issues including the high attrition rate for Alaska Native students.

While her studies will take her out of Alaska, she said she plans to eventually return.

"My whole family is here. My culture is here. My people are here," she said. "It has a special place in my heart."

Uber concealed cyberattack that exposed 57 million people’s data

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 15:21

Hackers stole the personal data of 57 million customers and drivers from Uber Technologies, a massive breach that the company concealed for more than a year. This week, the ride-hailing company ousted Joe Sullivan, chief security officer, and one of his deputies for their roles in keeping the hack under wraps.

Compromised data from the October 2016 attack included names, email addresses and phone numbers of 50 million Uber riders around the world, the company told Bloomberg on Tuesday. The personal information of about 7 million drivers were accessed as well, including some 600,000 U.S. driver's license numbers. No Social Security numbers, credit card details, trip location info or other data were taken, Uber said.

At the time of the incident, Uber was negotiating with U.S. regulators investigating separate claims of privacy violations. Uber now says it had a legal obligation to report the hack to regulators and to drivers whose license numbers were taken. Instead, the company paid hackers $100,000 to delete the data and keep the breach quiet. Uber said it believes the information was never used but declined to disclose the identities of the attackers.

"None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it," Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over as chief executive officer in September, said in an emailed statement. "We are changing the way we do business."

Hackers have successfully infiltrated numerous companies in recent years. The Uber breach, while large, is dwarfed by those at Yahoo, MySpace, Target, Anthem and Equifax. What's more alarming are the extreme measures Uber took to hide the attack. The breach is the latest explosive scandal Khosrowshahi inherits from his predecessor, Travis Kalanick.

Kalanick, Uber's co-founder and former CEO, learned of the hack in November 2016, a month after it took place, the company said. Uber had just settled a lawsuit with the New York attorney general over data security disclosures and was in the process of negotiating with the Federal Trade Commission over the handling of consumer data. Kalanick declined to comment on the hack.

Sullivan spearheaded the response to the hack last year, a spokesman told Bloomberg. Sullivan, a onetime federal prosecutor who joined Uber in 2015 from Facebook, has been at the center of much of the decision-making that has come back to bite Uber this year. Bloomberg reported last month that the board commissioned an investigation into the activities of Sullivan's security team. This project, conducted by an outside law firm, discovered the hack and the ensuing cover-up, Uber said.

Here's how the hack went down: Two attackers accessed a private GitHub coding site used by Uber software engineers and then used login credentials they obtained there to access data stored on an Amazon Web Services account that handled computing tasks for the company. From there, the hackers discovered an archive of rider and driver information. Later, they emailed Uber asking for money, according to the company.

A patchwork of state and federal laws require companies to alert people and government agencies when sensitive data breaches occur. Uber said it was obligated to report the hack of driver's license information and failed to do so.

"At the time of the incident, we took immediate steps to secure the data and shut down further unauthorized access by the individuals.," Khosrowshahi said. "We also implemented security measures to restrict access to and strengthen controls on our cloud-based storage accounts."

Uber has earned a reputation for flouting regulations in areas where it has operated since its founding in 2009. The U.S. has opened at least five criminal probes into possible bribes, illicit software, questionable pricing schemes and theft of a competitor's intellectual property, people familiar with the matters have said. The San Francisco-based company also faces dozens of civil suits. London and other governments have taken steps toward banning the service, citing what they say is reckless behavior by Uber.

In January 2016, the New York attorney general fined Uber $20,000 for failing to promptly disclose an earlier data breach in 2014. After last year's cyberattack, the company was negotiating with the FTC on a privacy settlement even as it haggled with the hackers on containing the breach, Uber said. The company finally agreed to the FTC settlement three months ago, without admitting wrongdoing and before telling the agency about last year's attack.

The new CEO said his goal is to change Uber's ways. Uber said it informed New York's attorney general and the FTC about the October 2016 hack for the first time on Tuesday. Khosrowshahi asked for the resignation of Sullivan and fired Craig Clark, a senior lawyer who reported to Sullivan. The men didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

The company said its investigation found that Salle Yoo, the outgoing chief legal officer who has been scrutinized for her responses to other matters, hadn't been told about the incident. Her replacement, Tony West, will start at Uber on Wednesday and has been briefed on the cyberattack.

Kalanick was ousted as CEO in June under pressure from investors, who said he put the company at legal risk. He remains on the board and recently filled two seats he controlled.

"While I can't erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes," Khosrowshahi said in the emailed statement.

Uber said it has hired Matt Olsen, a former general counsel at the National Security Agency and director of the National Counterterrorism Center, as an adviser. He will help the company restructure its security teams. Uber hired Mandiant, a cybersecurity firm owned by FireEye, to investigate the hack.

The company plans to release a statement to customers saying it has seen "no evidence of fraud or misuse tied to the incident." Uber said it will provide drivers whose licenses were compromised with free credit protection monitoring and identity theft protection.

Anchorage woman charged in toddler’s malnutrition death is in custody, police say

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 13:46

An Anchorage woman charged with criminally negligent homicide in the death of her 2-year-old daughter has been arrested, police said Tuesday.

Stephanie Hamburg was taken into custody late Nov. 15 after police received a tip that she was at a mobile home park on the 9500 block of Brayton Drive in South Anchorage.

Hamburg, 36, and boyfriend Timothy Hulsey, 41, have been charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in the death of Hamburg's daughter, Gabriella Marlow. The toddler was found unconscious and not breathing May 10 by officers called to a South Anchorage home, police said in October.

The girl died at an Anchorage hospital. Police say an autopsy showed the cause of death was severe malnutrition. The child's main food source was whole milk and sometimes Dr Pepper soft drinks, according to police, and she had not been taken to a doctor in more than a year.

[Anchorage mother, boyfriend charged with homicide in toddler's malnutrition death]

A warrant was issued for Hamburg's arrest in October after a months-long investigation. The Anchorage Police Department asked the public for help finding her.

Police spokeswoman Renee Oistad said Tuesday that the delay in notifying the public of Hamburg's arrest was unintentional. It happened the same day as an officer-involved shooting, Oistad said, and police were focused on that.

Hulsey was arrested in late October. He pleaded not guilty to the charges, KTUU reported.

On Tuesday, Hamburg was in custody at the Hiland Correctional Center. Hulsey had posted bail and was no longer in custody, online records show.

The trial is scheduled for Jan. 8.

NANA sells Anchorage hotels to focus on other business sectors

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 12:29

An Alaska Native corporation said this week it has sold off four Anchorage hotels to focus on other sectors of its business.

NANA Regional Corp. said Monday that, along with joint owner Sodexo, it sold the Courtyard, Midtown Springhill Suites and Residence Inn — all Marriott hotels — to Anchorage real estate firm JL Properties. NANA also sold the University Lake SpringHill Suites, of which it was the full owner, to JL Properties. The sales were effective Nov. 7, NANA said in a statement.

Selling off nearly all of its hotels will allow NANA to focus on resource development, including the Red Dog Mine, and other areas, the company said.

"The NANA board of directors set a goal to increase profitability at NANA," NANA Regional President Wayne Westlake said in the statement. "Part of that strategy, as I shared at NANA's 2016 annual meeting, is to sell certain assets when the time is right. This was the right time and the right deal for NANA."

Last year, Moody's Investors Service downgraded NANA Regional's business arm, NANA Development Corp. Amy Hastings, NANA Regional spokeswoman, said last November that the regional corporation had "a bad couple years financially."

NANA and Sodexo opened the three jointly owned hotels in the late 1990s, and NANA opened the University Lake SpringHill Suites in the mid-2000s, the company said.

NANA did not disclose the sale prices. The corporation still owns the Nullagvik Hotel in Kotzebue.

Trump defends Alabama Senate candidate Moore despite sexual misconduct allegations

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 12:27

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump defended embattled U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore on Tuesday, saying the Alabama Republican had denied allegations of sexual misconduct and emphasizing that he did not want Moore's Democratic opponent to win.

Trump has previously said that Moore should step aside if the allegations were true.

Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House before leaving Washington for Florida, left open the possibility of campaigning for Moore, saying he would make an announcement on that next week.

Trump's position is a break from other national Republicans, who have called on Moore to step aside.

Moore's campaign has been in turmoil since the Washington Post published a story detailing the accounts of three women who claim he pursued them while they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. More women have since spoken out with allegations of their own.

Moore, 70, has denied any wrongdoing.

Before the allegations came to light, Moore was heavily favored to defeat Democrat Doug Jones, a former federal prosecutor, in the special election on Dec. 12.

Trump said he did not want Jones to win. "We don't need a liberal person in there, a Democrat."

He added: "Roy Moore denies it. That's all I can say. And by the way, he totally denies it."

Don’t bite the hand that feeds the homeless

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 11:58

I am proud and encouraged by the many positive steps being taken toward ending homelessness in Anchorage. However, the ordinance proposed by Amy Demboski and Dick Traini that would fine nonprofit organizations for an "excessive amount of 911 calls" is a misstep from progress. This ordinance was proposed at the Homelessness Committee Meeting and was to be introduced to the Anchorage Assembly on Nov. 21.

In an article published by KTUU on Nov. 15, 2017, Dick Traini explained that the ordinance is meant to "limit the number of emergency resources to areas that overuse the resources." A review of several incidents at nonprofits serving the homeless can provide some insight into this problem. In 2015, a wave of increased use of the drug Spice led to 110 medical transportations to hospitals for known or suspected use, as reported by the then-Alaska Dispatch News. In 2016, the Municipality of Anchorage began evicting homeless individuals from local woods and parks for camping illegally.

The leadership from a nonprofit organization reported to Alaska Dispatch News that they were having to turn away dozens of individuals due to being over-capacity. Many of these displaced campers set up makeshift camps around the premises. In 2016, two stabbings occurred at a nonprofit serving the homeless. With machete attacks, people being struck by vehicles, and overdoses, the work continues in tumultuous environments for nonprofits devoted to serving the homeless.

[Increasing violence at downtown shelters puts responders at risk]

It may be more helpful to view this "overuse" of emergency resources as a symptom of the lack of more fundamental ones. We can reasonably expect poorer physical and mental health in the homeless population, a population where the severity of risk factors can include exposure to the elements, malnutrition, extreme poverty and prejudice. Similarly, we can reasonably understand how a high-needs population in high-risk environments may access more emergency services compared to those in more stable circumstances. The issue of increased use of emergency services appears to be more a symptom of an ailing system rather than the failings or mismanagement of nonprofits.

Creating punitive ordinances for nonprofits is unlikely to create the effective change toward our common goal of ending homelessness. This ordinance would be implementing a first-order change. First-order change in systems refers to doing essentially the same activities in a slightly altered way, leaving the system basically unchanged. Second-order change refers to a strategic change where the system itself is redefined or is itself changed. This can include making housing more affordable and working to eliminate prejudice. Fortunately, there are many dedicated professionals, legislators and citizens committed to and actively working for second-order change — real change.

[Bean's Cafe forced to close nighttime shelter]

Doing system-level change is complex and difficult, and I am deeply grateful for those in our community who remain committed to system-level work. I also honor the real challenges of trying to balance multiple legitimate interests and issues. An example of this tension was ironically portrayed in the statements by the Municipality of Anchorage on the issue of panhandling. The municipality website has a page providing information on why encouraging panhandlers is illegal. That ordinance emphasizes a public safety issue caused by panhandling, but it is unlikely to have any significant impact on the problem of homelessness.

At the same time, the page also declares that "Real change — not spare change — is the best way to help out panhandlers." It encourages citizens to donate money to nonprofits instead of directly to panhandlers, and among its recommended nonprofits are Brother Francis Shelter, Bean's Café, Downtown Soup Kitchen, Homeward Bound, Covenant House and United Way. The municipality asserts the value in providing funds for these nonprofits serving the homeless.

This newly proposed ordinance would further hinder an already overburdened and underfunded system. As a community, we need to stand and continue working toward real change, and the proposed ordinance is not in line with our common mission.

Ali F. Marvin is a doctoral student in the UAA Clinical-Community Psychology Ph.D. program with a rural indigenous emphasis. She is Tlingit Indian, and is interested in serving Alaska Native and homeless populations.

The views expressed here are the writer's and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email Send submissions shorter than 200 words to or click here to submit via any web browser.

Second federal judge halts Trump administration’s proposed transgender military ban

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 11:32

A second federal judge has halted the Trump administration's proposed transgender military ban, finding that active-duty service members are "already suffering harmful consequences" because of the president's policy.

The ruling Tuesday from U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis in the Maryland case comes just weeks after another judge in Washington blocked the administration's proposal that would have stopped military recruitment of transgender men and women and possibly forced the dismissal of current service members starting in March.

The preliminary injunction issued by the judge in Baltimore on Tuesday goes further than the earlier ruling by also preventing the administration from denying funding for certain medical care.

In his 53-page order, Garbis said the transgender service members challenging the ban have "demonstrated that they are already suffering harmful consequences such as the cancellation and postponements of surgeries, the stigma of being set apart as inherently unfit, facing the prospect of discharge and inability to commission as an officer, the inability to move forward with long-term medical plans, and the threat to their prospects of obtaining long-term assignments."

In July, President Donald Trump surprised military leaders and members of Congress when he announced the proposal in a series of tweets. The challenge from six active-duty service members in Maryland was filed days after Trump issued a formal order reversing an Obama-era policy allowing transgender men and women to serve openly and to receive funding for sex-reassignment surgery.

Justice Department lawyers told the court this month that the lawsuit was premature because the policy is on hold pending a review by the Defense Department. No decisions have been made, government lawyers said, about whether to discharge active-duty service members solely because they are transgender.

Even though U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington had already put the broad outlines of the proposal on hold, her October decision did not explicitly rule on whether the administration could stop paying for sex-reassignment surgeries.

Lawyers in the Maryland case told Garbis that two plaintiffs are actively trying to schedule transition-related surgical care and will not be able to receive surgery before the policy's March start date.

Estimates vary widely about the number of transgender military members.

One recent study by the Rand Corp. put the number on active duty at about 2,500, while another from the Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law estimated that there were 15,500 on active duty, in the National Guard and in the reserves. Eighteen other countries allow transgender troops to serve.

Pelosi calls for ethics investigation into alleged Conyers sexual harassment

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 11:28

WASHINGTON – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called for a formal ethics investigation into Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., following allegations he sexually harassed female staff and reached a settlement with an aide who claimed she was fired for rejecting his advances.

"As Members of Congress, we each have a responsibility to uphold the integrity of the House of Representatives and to ensure a climate of dignity and respect, with zero tolerance for harassment, discrimination, bullying or abuse," Pelosi said in a statement Tuesday.

"As I have said before, any credible allegation of sexual harassment must be investigated by the Ethics Committee," she said.

Pelosi is the most senior lawmaker yet to call for an ethics probe into Conyers' behavior. She did not address whether Conyers, the ranking member of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, should step down from that position.

Conyers confirmed the existence of a settlement Tuesday but stressed he did not admit fault in the case, first reported late Monday by BuzzFeed.

"I expressly and vehemently denied the allegations made against me, and continue to do so," Conyers stated Tuesday.

"My office resolved the allegations – with an express denial of liability – to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation. That should not be lost in the narrative," he stated.

A growing chorus of Democrats has called for an ethics investigation into the matter.

"The allegations against Ranking Member Conyers are extremely serious and deeply troubling," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, Judiciary's second most senior Democrat, in a statement.

"Obviously, these allegations must be investigated promptly by the Ethics Committee. There can be no tolerance for behavior that subjects women to the kind of conduct alleged," Nadler stated.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., a leading voice on the problem of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill, drew attention to evidence that Conyers handled the settlement by placing his accuser back on his payroll.

"Beyond the sexual harassment allegations are allegations that call into question the amount of money that is used to settle sexual harassment cases, and whether some Members are using their tax payer-funded office budgets to make settlements under the guise of severance payments," Speier said in a statement, also calling for an ethics investigation.

Citing documents from the case, BuzzFeed News reported late Monday that Conyers settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with an unidentified woman who alleged that he "repeatedly made sexual advances to female staff that included requests for sex acts." The report included other allegations of harassment by Conyers.

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called the report "extremely troubling" in a statement. He noted a recent rules change requiring members and staff to undergo anti-harassment training and said the House Administration Committee is reviewing congressional workplace policies.

"Additional reforms to the system are under consideration as the committee continues its review," Ryan stated Tuesday. "People who work in the House deserve and are entitled to a workplace without harassment or discrimination."

Pelosi denied knowledge of the alleged settlement in a statement first shared with BuzzFeed, citing the requirement that the parties keep their agreement confidential.

RDC does stand for salmon – and jobs and communities

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 10:46

The Resource Development Council for Alaska Inc. is proud to support all responsible resource development across the state, including tourism, fishing, mining, forestry, and oil and gas, and have been since we were founded in 1975.

This last week, RDC hosted over 30 speakers at our annual conference, many with optimistic news from all resource sectors, as well as Alaska Native executives, labor leaders and elected officials.

The message of optimism, moving forward, and responsibly developing Alaska's natural resources was at the forefront for the hundreds of Alaskans who attended.

But on the first day of the conference, a fellow Alaskan, Art Bloom, wrote an opinion piece that, in short, said "RDC should stand for salmon." To be clear, RDC does stand for salmon, as well as jobs, communities and the Alaskan way of life.

I agree with Mr. Bloom. Salmon and all fish and marine species are vital to Alaska and the people who live here.

I also agree with Mr. Bloom that the Alaska seafood industry is one of the best-managed in the world, a fact we often tout.

What Mr. Bloom failed to do in his opinion piece is provide an example of why he thinks RDC isn't standing for salmon. Instead of pointing to facts, he points to our support for Stand for Alaska, a diverse group of Alaskans that came together in October to inform fellow Alaskans about the negative consequences of the deeply flawed, proposed fish habitat initiative.

[Judge overrules Mallott, sides with ballot group on salmon initiative]

The initiative, 17FSH2, is a response to a problem that simply does not exist.

Mr. Bloom neglected to give an example of how, or when, a fish habitat permit in Alaska has failed. Given the drastic impacts the proposed initiative will have on community and resource development projects across the state, Alaskans are right to be concerned.

Mr. Bloom did state that the Board of Fish requested updates to the habitat permitting law in January 2017. What he omitted was the actual ask by the board, which was to add a public comment opportunity and a method of accountability in the fish habitat permit process. The proposed initiative goes way beyond that simple request, and represents extreme overreach that could put Alaska's resource-extraction based economy in the deep freeze and kill future opportunities for Alaska and its residents while providing no added benefits to fish habitat.

As Alaskans, we brag about responsibly developing our natural resources, building and expanding our communities, and living in Alaska while protecting wildlife and the environment.

[Bristol Bay Native Corp. takes stand against Stand for Salmon initiative]

Let us celebrate the sustainable seafood industry, the growing tourism industry, the year over year increase in oil production, the increases in mining exploration investment, and the optimism in reviving a healthy timber industry. All of these industries have coexisted for decades.

After all, RDC and its thousands of members spanning all of Alaska's resource sectors DO stand for salmon, jobs and communities. Insinuating otherwise is offensive. It is possible to support healthy fish habitat in our state while simultaneously fighting against a job-killing initiative that is opposed by a broad coalition of businesses, labor unions, Alaska Native corporations and many other Alaska-based organizations.

When the time comes, Alaskans who want to see a future filled with jobs, opportunities and salmon protections should Stand for Alaska, and vote no on the flawed fish habitat initiative.

Marleanna Hall is executive director for the Resource Development Council for Alaska Inc., an Alaskan nonprofit, membership-funded organization composed of individuals and companies from Alaska's oil and gas, mining, timber, tourism and fisheries industries, as well as the 12 Alaska Native corporations. An Inupiat Eskimo and lifelong Alaskan, Hall also serves as chair for Stand for Alaska, a group formed in October 2017 to defeat the proposed fish habitat initiative in 2018.

The views expressed here are the writer's and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email Send submissions shorter than 200 words to or click here to submit via any web browser.

Another Bering Sea storm threatens Western Alaska with flooding and ‘major erosion’

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 10:17

Weather forecasters warned Tuesday that swaths of Western Alaska could face severe erosion and flooding after a storm makes landfall later in the day packing 55-mph winds.

"Major erosion is expected with this storm," the National Weather Service in Alaska said.

The warning spells out specific threats to some villages, including Golovin and Unalakleet off the Bering Sea, and Kivalina and Shishmaref, perched on barrier islands in the Chukchi Sea.

Rick Thoman, climate science and services manager for the agency, last week said storms that were once run-of-the-mill are increasingly dangerous in Western Alaska.

With ocean temperatures well above normal, coastal sea ice no longer shields the coast as it once did this time of year, he said. Without the sea ice, wave action is stronger.

The coastal flood warnings and advisories, posted on the agency's Facebook page, are in effect starting 3 p.m. Tuesday and lasting until 6 p.m. Wednesday. They generally extend from the Yukon River mouth to Point Hope in the north.

The biggest surge is expected south of the Bering Strait, with sea levels expected to rise up to 12 feet above the high-tide line. But surges will also be strong in the Chukchi Sea to the north, with winds ranging from 35 to 55 mph.

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A strong weather system will bring coastal flooding to portions of the west coast of Alaska through Wednesday. Several...

Posted by US National Weather Service Alaska on Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The storm originated in the Bering Sea and is moving to the northeast, said Joe Kryston, a meteorologist with the agency in Fairbanks. It could track toward Barrow on Wednesday, he said.

The threat of coastal flooding in Western Alaska should diminish in December once sea ice grows thick enough, he said.

A storm and flooding a little more than a week ago severely damaged a road to the landfill in Shishmaref, prompting the village to seek a state disaster declaration. And a late-September storm surge damaged roads and other property in Utqiagvik, formerly Barrow, causing costly damage and leading to a state disaster declaration there last week.

[Colder weather forecast in Southcentral, but warmer in regions lacking sea ice.]

In the Unalakleet region, the storm surge will push sea levels 9 to 12 feet above the normal high-tide line, the agency said Tuesday. "Low-lying areas around the fish-processing plant" and the Alaska Commercial grocery store in Unalakleet will probably be inundated, the agency said.

In Golovin, sea levels will rise 7 to 9 feet above the normal high-tide line, forecasters say. All areas northwest of the post office, including the school, will be affected by high water, the agency said.

In Kivalina, Tuesday's storm will plow water into the lagoon, causing "significant wave run-up and erosion along the beach" and flooding along one side of Channel Street, the agency said.  Shishmaref could see flooding in low-lying areas, and the road to the dump might be struck again.

In multiple villages in Western Alaska, "residents should prepare by moving boats and other valuables" far above the normal high-tide line, the agency warned.