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Updated: 1 hour 6 min ago

Hong Kong protesters fight off police with fire and arrows

15 hours 38 min ago

Protestors hurl molotov cocktails as armored police vehicles approach their barricades on a bridge over a highway leading to the Cross Harbour Tunnel in Hong Kong, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. A Hong Kong police officer was hit in the leg by an arrow Sunday as authorities used tear gas and water cannons to try to drive back protesters occupying a university campus and blocking a major road tunnel under the city's harbor. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) (Kin Cheung/)

HONG KONG — A Hong Kong police officer was hit in the leg by an arrow and protesters set an overhead footbridge on fire Sunday as they fought to keep police using tear gas and water cannons from advancing on their university campus stronghold.

Police said the arrow struck a media liaison officer in the calf and he was taken to a hospital. Photos on the department’s Facebook page show the arrow sticking out of the back of the officer’s leg through his pants.

As riot police moved in from all sides, some protesters retreated inside Hong Kong Polytechnic University while others set fires on bridges leading to it.

A huge blaze burned along much of a long footbridge that connects a train station to the campus over the approach to the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, a major road under Hong Kong’s harbor that has been blocked by the protesters for days.

The use of bows and arrows, along with a gasoline bombs launched with catapults, threatened to escalate the violence in the more than five-month-long anti-government movement. Protesters are trying to keep the pressure on Hong Kong leaders, who have rejected most of their demands.

The protests were sparked by proposed legislation that would have allowed the extradition of criminal suspects to the mainland. Activists saw it as an erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy under the “one country, two systems” formula implemented in 1997, when Britain returned the territory to China.

The bill has been withdrawn, but the protests have expanded into a wider resistance movement against what is perceived as the growing control of Hong Kong by Communist China, along with calls for full democracy for the territory.

Several hundred people formed a human chain Sunday in central Hong Kong in a peaceful rally in support of the movement.

Azaze Chung, a university student, said the government should respond to the protesters’ demands, not just use force against them.

Protestors stand amid smoke on a bridge over a highway leading to the Cross Harbour Tunnel in Hong Kong, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. A Hong Kong police officer was hit in the leg by an arrow Sunday as authorities used tear gas and water cannons to try to drive back protesters occupying a university campus and blocking a major road tunnel under the city's harbor. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) (Vincent Yu/)
Protestors rush to extinguish a tear gas canister fired by police on the campus of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. Police fired tear gas Sunday at protesters holding out at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as overnight clashes resumed in the morning. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) (Ng Han Guan/)
Protestors toss tear gas canisters fired by police at Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. Police have fired tear gas at protesters holding out at Hong Kong Polytechnic University as overnight clashes resumed in the morning. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) (Vincent Yu/)

Police and protesters faced off all day outside Polytechnic after a pitched battle the previous night in which the two sides exchanged tear gas and gasoline bombs that left fires blazing in the street.

A large group of people arrived in the morning to try to clean up the road but were warned away by protesters. Riot police shot several volleys of tear gas at the protesters, who sheltered behind a wall of umbrellas and threw gasoline bombs into nearby bushes and trees, setting them on fire.

The protesters held their ground for most of the day, as water cannon trucks drove over bricks and nails strewn by protesters to spray them at close range — some with water dyed blue to help police identify protesters afterward.

Protesters began retreating into the university near sunset, fearing they would be trapped as police fired tear gas volleys and approached from other directions. The protesters have barricaded the entrances to the campus and set up narrow access control points.

They are the holdouts from larger groups that occupied several major campuses for much of last week.

Another group threw bricks in the street to block a main thoroughfare in the Mongkok district, as police fired tear gas to try to disperse them. The disruption to Nathan Road traffic may have been an attempt to distract police during the standoff at Polytechnic.

Opposition lawmakers criticized the Chinese military for joining a cleanup to remove debris from streets near Hong Kong Baptist University on Saturday.

Dozens of Chinese troops, dressed in black shorts and olive drab T-shirts, ran out in loose formation and picked up paving stones, rocks and other obstacles that had cluttered the street

The military is allowed to help maintain public order, but only at the request of the Hong Kong government. The government said that it had not requested the military’s assistance, describing it as a voluntary community activity.

The Education Bureau announced that classes from kindergarten to high school would be suspended again on Monday because of safety concerns. Classes have been canceled since Thursday, after the bureau came under criticism for not doing so earlier.

Anchorage School District wants nearly $40 million to repair and improve Gruening Middle School

15 hours 48 min ago

Temporary supports prop up the walls at Eagle River Elementary School, which was severely damaged in the Nov. 30, 2018 earthquake. On Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, the Anchorage School District announced both Eagle River Elementary and Gruening Middle School will be closed for the 2019-20 school year. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)

Anchorage voters may be asked to spend around $39 million to repair and upgrade earthquake-damaged Gruening Middle School — a price tag that’s $12 million more than the school cost to build in the early 1980s and $15 million more than recommended by a committee of community members who studied the issue earlier this year.

The now-shuttered school is the costliest item on a nearly $80 million school bond package currently being considered by the Anchorage School District for placement on the April election ballot. The reason for the increase is the desire by district officials to make additional needed upgrades that aren’t related to damage caused by the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that struck the Anchorage area on Nov. 30, 2018.

“The logic behind it is, yes we can do the minimum and put kids in a school that still needs and has been earmarked for these improvements for a number of years, or for an extra cost we can take the time to really give it the sound makeover that it’s due,” Anchorage School District spokesman Alan Brown said Thursday.

In March, the Anchorage School Board endorsed a plan to spend around $24 million to fix Gruening, the cost estimated to replace a roof and stairwell, as well as other repairs and seismic upgrades. According to Brown, the additional spending would allow the district to give the school “a total reset” and would be more efficient to complete at the same time as the earthquake repairs.

Among the other needed improvements are new flooring, upgraded electrical systems and an improved and more secure front entryway, Brown said.

Gruening Middle School, photographed on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. The school was damaged during the Nov. 30, 2018 earthquake and will remain closed through the 2019-2020 school year. (Loren Holmes / ADN) (Loren Holmes / Anchorage Daily News/)

The bond being considered by the board — which is still in the discussion phase — would borrow than $70 million for earthquake repairs districtwide, the bulk of which would be spent in the Chugiak-Eagle River area. More than $42 million would be used for repairs at Gruening and Eagle River Elementary, the two schools that have been closed since the earthquake. An additional $27 million would be used for earthquake recovery projects at 12 schools, including five in the Chugiak-Eagle River area.

The School Board will vote on what to include in the bond package during its meeting on Tuesday. It would then be up to voters to decide whether to approve the proposal in April. The federal government is expected to pay for some of the quake repairs, but it’s still unknown how much disaster money will go toward the projects.

This spring, School Board member Elisa Vakalis of Eagle River chaired an ad hoc committee of community members that recommended fixing Gruening Middle School for $24 million rather than replacing the building — which would have cost about $73 million, district officials said.

When she first heard the new cost estimate, Vakalis said, “That one hit me really hard.” But while the new price tag is high, she said, she believes the school needs to be repaired in a way that makes it safe and usable for decades to come.

“This will add 25 years plus of life to this building,” she said.

The troubled facility has long had issues with design and construction deficiencies and cost overruns, with its opening delayed by a year due to problems with the roof design. Initially projected to cost $15 million, by the time it opened in 1984 the middle school had cost taxpayers more than $27 million due to additional repairs, litigation and consulting fees.

Since the two-story school on Lee Street in the Eagle River Valley has been closed, Gruening’s roughly 600 seventh- and eighth-grade students have been attending classes at Chugiak High under an arrangement that’s expected to remain in place through at least the 2020-21 school year.

UAA men’s basketball team is off to a 5-1 start

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 21:59

The UAA men’s basketball team is off to its best start since the 2013-14 season thanks to Saturday night’s win over Sonoma State in Rohnert Park, California.

The Seawolves got rebounds from everyone in the lineup and points from nine out of 10 players in the 81-69 victory.

Leading the way was Niko Bevens with 15 points on 50 percent shooting, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range. Seven others had seven or more points as UAA improved to 5-1.

“This was a great team win,” UAA coach Rusty Osborne said in a release from the school. “Everybody contributed in some way, whether scoring, defense or facilitating the offense.”

Tobin Karlberg scored in double figures for the sixth straight game with 11 points and Oggie Pantovic added 10 points and six rebounds for the Seawolves.

UAA got 33 points off the bench as all but one player registered at least 18 minutes. Tyrus Hosley and Amari Hale each provided nine points and and Hosley added five rebounds.

Sonoma State (1-3) was led by Isaac Davidson’s 25 points.

The win was UAA’s second straight against an NCAA West Region opponent at Sonoma State’s Ron Logsdon Tournament. On Friday, the Seawolves beat San Francisco State 81-69 behind Jack Macdonald’s 20 points. Macdonald handed out six assists on Saturday.

The Seawolves took excellent care of the ball all weekend, recording four turnovers Saturday and six Friday. They’re off for nearly two weeks before returning to action at the Seawolf Thanksgiving Classic, where they will play Michigan Tech on Friday and Northern Michigan on Saturday.

Eve Stephens returns from injury to lead UAA volleyball team to another win

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 21:23

After missing two matches with an injury, Eve Stephens didn’t miss a beat Saturday when she returned to action for the UAA volleyball team.

Stephens, a sophomore from Palmer, smashed 22 kills and added 12 digs and five blocks to guide the Seawolves to a four-set victory over Simon Fraser in Burnaby, British Columbia.

With the 25-20, 25-23, 22-25, 25-16 win, the Seawolves locked down second place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. And with two matches remaining in the regular season, they still have a shot at first place – league-leading Western Washington is 16-2 and UAA is 15-3, and if there’s a tie, UAA would win the tiebreaker.

The win capped a strong week for the Seawolves, who on Thursday ended Western Washington’s 39-match home-court winning streak in a five-set thriller.

Simon Fraser (16-10 overall, 12-6 GNAC) crafted late leads in each of the first two sets, but UAA came back both times.

“It’s terrific to have Eve come back with such a dominant offensive performance,” UAA coach Chris Green said in a press release from the school. “This should give us a lot of confidence going into our last home matches next week.”

The Seawolves got good all-around play from sophomore Ellen Floyd (48 assists, 15 digs, 5 blocks, 5 kills) while improving to 20-6 overall.

Vanessa Hayes posted 13 kills, Jalisa Ingram – who emerged as a force during Stephens’ absence – was good for six blocks and seven kills, and Anjoilyn Vreeland and Talia Leauanae each added double-figure digs for the Seawolves.

Stephens, the GNAC kill leader, registered a .408 attack perentage, getting her 22 kills on 49 attempts with only two errors. Ingram had zero errors and seven kills on 12 attempts for a .583 percentage.

UAA plays its final two regular-season matches at the Alaska Airlines Center, where the Seawolves will host Saint Martin’s on Thursday and Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

Wolverines show resiliency in return to Class 4A volleyball supremacy

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 21:00

South celebrates a point Saturday in its chammpionship victory over Bartlett. (Loren Holmes / ADN) (Loren Holmes/)

Things looked grim for the South Wolverines early in Saturday night’s championship match at the Class 4A state volleyball tournament.

They were blown out in the first set by a Bartlett team that was still riding the momentum of a big victory earlier in the day against powerhouse Dimond, the four-time defending state champion.

Not to worry. The Wolverines weren’t done yet.

Led by libero Kylie Hurd’s 30 digs, South came back to beat Bartlett in four sets and claim its first state championship since 2014.

Camryn Houser slammed 13 kills and Sarina Gribbin had 10 to help the Wolverines prevail 14-25, 25-19, 25-21, 26-24 at the Alaska Airlines Center. The title is their seventh since 2005.

Bartlett, which started the day with a sweep of the Dimond Lynx, raced to a 20-5 lead in the first set in pursuit of its first state title in 1976. But South didn’t panic.

“One of the core covenants at South is resilience,” coach Amy Mestas said. “We had a good team-bonding event after regions, after losing the region title, and they all believed that they could come and do this after that loss.”

Bartlett's Sierra Fainuulelei puts up a block against South's Sarah Robinson. (Loren Holmes / ADN) (Loren Holmes/)

Hurd, whose backrow play earned her player-of-the-game honors, said the first-set loss was a bit unsettling.

“It had me a little bit scared,” she said, “but we picked it up and worked as a team and worked through it together.”

The championship continues an impressive run for South High, which so far this school year has won championships in football, flag football, cross country, gymnastics and volleyball.

The volleyball title came with a bit of revenge. At last week’s Cook Inlet Conference tournament, South entered as the top seed but dropped a four-set decision to Dimond in the championship match.

In Friday’s winners-bracket match between South and Dimond, South retaliated by sweeping the Lynx.

“That was a pretty good deal for us,” Hurd said. “And then we came out today and we were into it and ready to win.”

Josh Reed contributed to this report.

South's Camryn Houser and Makenna Besch team up for a block. (Loren Holmes / ADN) (Loren Holmes/)

ASAA/First National Bank state volleyball tournament

Alaska Airlines Center

Class 4A

Saturday’s results

Bartlett def. Dimond 3-2 (25-18, 25-20, 16-25, 15-25, 15-13)

South def. Bartlett 3-1 (14-25, 25-19, 25-21, 26-24)

Friday’s results

Winners bracket

South def. Dimond 3-0 (27-25, 25-20, 25-20)

Losers bracket

Palmer def. Juneau-Douglas 3-1 (20-25, 25-17, 25-11, 25-17) (loser out)

Soldotna def. North Pole 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-21) (loser out)

Wasilla def. Palmer 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-21) (loser out)

Bartlett def. Soldotna 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-17 (loser out)

Bartlett def. Wasilla 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-18) (loser out)

All-tournament team

Leeanna Atafua, Bartlett

Hahni Johnson, Dimond

Laralynna Atafua, Bartlett

Makenna Besch, South

Ainsley Smith North Pole

Jada Schultz, wasuilla

Kristen Beames, Palmer

Josephine Schachle, Wasilla

Sarina Gribbin, South

Kylie Hurt, South

Ituau Tuisaula, Soldotna

Bartlett fans cheer their team. (Loren Holmes / ADN) (Loren Holmes/)
South's Sarina Gribbin and Hanna Henrie try to block a spike by Bartlett's Natasha Togagae. (Loren Holmes / ADN) (Loren Holmes/)
The South High Wolverines celebrate their championship. (Loren Holmes / ADN) (Loren Holmes/)

No. 17 Bowling Green completes sweep of Seawolves

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 19:59

Bowling Green pulled off a sweep of the UAA hockey team Saturday by shutting out the Seawolves 3-0 at the Seawolf Sports Complex.

The 17th-ranked Falcons scored twice on the power play while holding UAA scoreless on three chances with the man advantage in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association game.

Eric Dop registered a 29-save shutout to lead Bowling Green, which got a first-period goal from Alex Barber and third-period strikes from Cameron Wright and Taylor Schneider.

Wright, who also scored in Friday’s 3-1 victory, finished with a goal and an assist to help his team to improve to 7-4-0 overall and 4-2-0 in the WCHA. Max Johnson had two assists.

UAA got 31 saves from goaltender Kris Carlson.

The Seawolves struggled to generate shots in the first period, when the Falcons outshot them 14-4. They picked it up after that and finished with 29 shots on goals. Bowling Green had 34.

UAA, which heads to Minnesota State in Mankato for two games next weekend, slipped to 2-6-2 overall and 2-3-1 in the WCHA.

Testimony ties president closer to pressure on Ukraine

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 19:46

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2019, file photo, Tim Morrison, the top Russia official on President Trump's National Security Council, gets off of an elevator as he returns to Capitol Hill in Washington, to review his testimony before the House impeachment inquiry last week. Transcripts released Saturday, Nov. 16, show Ambassador Gordon Sondland playing a central role in Trump’s effort to push Ukraine to conduct political investigations as a condition for receiving needed military aid. The fresh details come from hundreds of pages of testimony from former top official Morrison. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) (Susan Walsh/)

WASHINGTON — Gordon Sondland, President Donald Trump’s emissary to the European Union, had a message when he met with a top Ukrainian official.

Sondland said vital U.S. military assistance to Ukraine might be freed up if the country’s top prosecutor “would go to the mike and announce that he was opening the Burisma investigation," a U.S. official told lawmakers. Burisma is the gas company in Ukraine where Democrat Joe Biden’s son Hunter served on the board.

Sondland relayed the exchange moments later to Tim Morrison, then a National Security Council aide. In his private testimony to impeachment investigators made public Saturday, Morrison recounted that Sondland also told him he was discussing the Ukraine matters directly with Trump.

Morrison’s testimony ties Trump more closely to the central charge from Democrats pursuing impeachment: that Trump held up U.S. military aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigations into Democrats and Biden’s family. Morrison’s testimony also contradicts much of what Sondland told congressional investigators during his own closed-door deposition, which the ambassador later amended.

Both Morrison and Sondland are scheduled to testify publicly next week as part of the historic, high-stakes impeachment proceedings into the nation’s 45th president. Democrats charge that Trump abused his office for personal political gain, while the president and his allies argue that the process is politically motivated and that nothing in the testimony so far meets the bar for impeachment.

Transcripts from the closed-door testimony from Morrison, a longtime Republican defense hawk in Washington, and Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence on Russia and Europe, were released Saturday as investigators accelerated and deepened the probe. They provided another window into the alarm within the government over Ukraine pressure.

Immediately after the exchange with Sondland during an international gathering in Warsaw, Morrison called his boss, John Bolton, then Trump’s national security adviser.

“Stay out of it,” Bolton told him, “brief the lawyers.”

For Morrison, Burisma was a catch-all for a “bucket” of investigations — of Democrats and the family of Joe Biden — that he wanted to “stay away from.” They had nothing to do with “the proper policy process that I was involved in on Ukraine,” he testified.

Morrison said Sondland and Trump had spoken approximately five times between July 15 and Sept. 11 — the weeks that $391 million in U.S. assistance was withheld from Ukraine before it was released.

While some, including Trump himself, have begun to question Sondland’s knowledge of events, Morrison told House investigators the ambassador “related to me he was acting — he was discussing these matters with the President.”

Pressed by Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the Intelligence Committee leading the probe, as to whether Sondland had actually spoken to the president, Morrison said he had verified it each time.

Pence, so far, has been a more unseen figure in the impeachment inquiry, but testimony from Williams raised fresh questions about what Pence knew about Trump’s actions toward Ukraine.

Pence was also at the Warsaw gathering. For the new government of Ukraine, situated between NATO allies and Russia, the security aid Congress had already approved was a lifeline to the West.

Williams was among the staffers in the White House Situation Room who listened and took notes during Trump's July 25 call when he asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for “a favor.” A whistleblower’s complaint about that call helped spark the House impeachment investigation.

Williams testified that Trump's discussion on the call of specific investigations struck her as "unusual and inappropriate" and seemed to point to "other motivations" for holding up the military aid.

After the call, Williams told investigators, she put the White House’s rough transcript into the into the vice president's daily briefing book.

"I just don't know if he read it," she said.

Williams corroborated the testimony of a previous witness, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an NSC aide on the call, who said the White House dropped the word “Burisma” from the transcript. She said in an addendum to her testimony that Zelenskiy had mentioned the word “Burisma” in the call.

Vindman and Williams at scheduled to testify together during a public impeachment hearing on Tuesday morning.

The White House’s decision to put the transcript of the July 25 call on a highly classified server has drawn keen interest throughout the probe. But Morrison said the unusual move was unintentional.

Morrison said he was concerned if the call got out it would be politically damaging. He talked to White House lawyer John Eisenberg and they agreed that access should be restricted, he testified.

But Morrison said Eisenberg later told him that he did not intend for the call summary to be placed on a highly classified server. Eisenberg's staff apparently put it there by mistake, he said.

As the transcripts were released, impeachment investigators wrapped up a rare Saturday session interviewing Mark Sandy, a little-known career official at the Office of Management and Budget who was involved in key meetings about the aid package.

Sandy’s name had barely come up in previous testimony. But it did on one particular date: July 25, the day of Trump’s call with Zelenskiy. That day, a legal document with Sandy’s signature directed a freeze of the security funds to Ukraine, according to testimony.

Throughout Morrison’s account, he largely confirmed testimony from current and former officials about what has been described as a shadow diplomacy being run by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, often at odds with U.S. national security interests.

A few days after the Warsaw meeting, Sondland was on the phone telling Morrison Sept. 7 he had just gotten off a call with the president.

Morrison said Sondland related that Trump assured him there were no strings being attached to the military aid for Ukraine.

“The president told him there was no quid pro quo, but President Zelenskiy must announce the opening of the investigations and he should want to do it,” Morrison testified.

Morrison had what he called a “sinking feeling” that the aid may not ultimately be released. About that time, three congressional committees said they were launching inquiries into efforts by Trump and Giuliani to investigate the Bidens.

At a Sept. 11 meeting at the White House, Pence and GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio “convinced the president that the aid should be disbursed immediately,” said Morrison, who said he was briefed about the meeting but did not attend it. “The case was made to the president that it was the appropriate and prudent thing to do.”

Democrats hold on to Louisiana governor’s seat despite Trump

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 19:32

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards listens to pollster Zac McCrary, left, and David Turner, Communications Director of the Democratic Governor's Association, as results arrive at his election night watch party in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton) (Matthew Hinton/)

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has stunned Republicans again, narrowly winning a second term Saturday as the Deep South’s only Democratic governor and handing Donald Trump another gubernatorial loss this year.

In the heart of Trump country, the moderate Edwards cobbled together enough cross-party support with his focus on bipartisan, state-specific issues to defeat Republican businessman Eddie Rispone.

Coming after a defeat in the Kentucky governor’s race and sizable losses in Virginia’s legislative races, the Louisiana result seems certain to rattle Republicans as they head into the 2020 presidential election. Trump fought to return the seat to the GOP, making three trips to Louisiana to rally against Edwards.

The president’s intense attention motivated not only conservative Republicans, but also powered a surge in anti-Trump and black voter turnout that helped Edwards.

Democrats who argue that nominating a moderate presidential candidate is the best approach to beat Trump are certain to point to Louisiana’s race as bolstering their case. Edwards, a West Point graduate, opposes gun restrictions, signed one of the nation’s strictest abortion bans and dismissed the impeachment effort as a distraction.

Still, while Rispone’s loss raises questions about the strength of Trump's coattails, its relevance to his reelection chances are less clear. Louisiana is expected to easily back Trump next year, and Edwards’ views in many ways are out of step with his own party.

In the final days as polls showed Edwards with momentum, national Republicans beefed up assistance for Rispone. That wasn’t enough to boost the GOP contender, who wasn’t among the top-tier candidates Republican leaders hoped would challenge Edwards as they sought to prove that the Democrat’s longshot victory in 2015 was a fluke.

Rispone is a longtime political donor who was little-known when he launched his campaign, had ties to unpopular former Gov. Bobby Jindal and offered few details about his agenda. Edwards also proved to be a formidable candidate, with a record of achievements.

Working with the majority-Republican Legislature, Edwards stabilized state finances with a package of tax increases, ending the deficit-riddled years of Jindal. New money paid for investments in public colleges and the first statewide teacher raise in a decade.

Edwards expanded Louisiana's Medicaid program, lowering the state's uninsured rate below the national average. A bipartisan criminal sentencing law rewrite he championed ended Louisiana's tenure as the nation's top jailer.

Rispone, the 70-year-old owner of a Baton Rouge industrial contracting company, hitched his entire candidacy to Trump, introducing himself to voters in ads that focused on support for the president in a state Trump won by 20 percentage points.

But the 53-year-old Edwards, a former state lawmaker and former Army Ranger from rural Tangipahoa Parish, reminded voters that he’s a Louisiana Democrat, with political views that sometimes don’t match his party’s leaders.

“They talk about I’m some sort of a radical liberal. The people of Louisiana know better than that. I am squarely in the middle of the political spectrum,” Edwards said. “That hasn’t changed, and that’s the way we’ve been governing.”

Rispone framed himself in the mold of Trump, describing himself as a “conservative outsider” whose business acumen would help solve the state’s problems.

“We want Louisiana to be No. 1 in the South when it comes to jobs and opportunity. We have to do something different,” Rispone said. “We can do for Louisiana what President Trump has done for the nation.”

Rispone poured more than $12 million of his own money into the race. But he had trouble drawing some of the primary vote that went to Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, after harshly attacking Abraham in ads as he sought to reach the runoff.

Rispone also avoided many traditional public events attended by Louisiana gubernatorial candidates and sidestepped questions about his plans when taking office. He promised tax cuts, without saying where he’d shrink spending, and he pledged a constitutional convention, without detailing what he wanted to rewrite.

Both parties spent millions on attack ads and get-out-the-vote work, on top of at least $36 million spent by candidates.

Homer Mariners capture first volleyball crown since 1990

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 19:25

Homer celebrates after defeating Kenai Central for the Class 3A state volleyball championship at the Alaska Airlines Center. (Loren Holmes / ADN) (Loren Holmes/)

Three decades after winning their first state volleyball championship, the Homer Mariners captured their second.

Homer came through the losers bracket Saturday to claim the Class 3A state title at the Alaska Airlines Center.

Once they reached the finals, the Mariners defeated Kenai Central in five sets to force the if-necessary game, and won it too.

Homer coach Stephanie Carroll said her team didn’t know until recently that so many years had passed since the school won its first state volleyball championship in 1990.

“When we realized that … it had been that long, we realized this is the year — we’re putting another banner up. Thirty years is too long,” Carroll said. “That was our goal, to come and get one.”

Homer's Kitri Classen bumps the ball. (Loren Holmes / ADN) (Loren Holmes/)

The Mariners ended the long drought by beating a Kenai Central team that was looking for its first championship.

Marina Carroll ripped 30 kills and Laura Inama slammed 20 against the Kardinals. Kelli Bishop handed out 40 assists to help Homer get past Kenai Central 11-25, 25-14, 25-16, 12-25, 15-8 in the championship match and 30-23 in the if-necessary game.

“We actually did expect it to go to an if-game today,” Stephanie Carroll said. “We knew it would be a battle against Kenai and Nikiski. We just fought, and I’m so proud they never gave up and just stayed in it the whole time.”

Homer swept Nikiski earlier Saturday, 25-20, 25-16, 25-23, to advance to the final match against the Kards.

Bishop and Marina Carroll are among four seniors on the Homer squad, along with Karmyn Gallios and Kitri Classen.

Kenai's Chelsea Plagge and Abby Every try to block an attack by Homer's Marina Carroll. (Loren Holmes / ADN) (Loren Holmes/)

“I started off as an assistant coach with these seniors,” Stephanie Carroll said. “They had a different head coach every year and this year it was me.”

The seniors have played at the varsity level since they were sophomores, Stephanie Carroll said, “so they’ve been through rough patches where they were the underdog.”

The eight-team, double-elimination tournament was a showcase for the Southcentral Conference. All three teams that were still standing after two days of competition — Homer, Kenai and defending champion Nikiski — come from that conference.

Eight of the 12 all-tournament picks also came from the Southcentral Conference — Carroll, Inama and Bishop from Homer; Abby Every and Bethany Morris from Kenai; and America Jeffreys, Kaitlyn Johnson and Kaycee Bostic from Nikiski.

Homer's Tonda Smude defends a shot by Kenai's Bethany Morris. (Loren Holmes / ADN) (Loren Holmes/)

ASAA/First National Bank state volleyball tournament

Class 3A

Saturday’s results

Homer def. Nikiski 3-1 (25-18, 25-22, 23-25, 25-14)

Championship — Homer def. Kenai 3-2 (11-25, 25-14, 25-16, 12-25, 15-9

If-necessary game — Homer 30, Kenai 23

Friday’s results

Winners bracket

Kenai def. Nikiski 3-1 (25-9, 25-18, 23-25, 25-19)

Losers bracket

Barrow def. Valdez 3-0 (26-24, 25-18, 27-25) (loser out)

Monroe def. Kotzebue 3-0 (25-22, 25-14, 27-25) (loser out)

Homer def. Barrow 3-0 (25-6, 26-24, 25-6 (loser out)

Sitka def. Monroe 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-20) (loser out)

Homer def. Sitka 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-23) (loser out)

All-tournament team

America Jeffreys, Nikiski

Abby Every, Kenai

Bethany Morris, Kenai

Chloe Maynard, Monroe

Chloe Morrison, Sitka

Marina Carroll, Homer

Jenicee Donovan, Barrow

Kaitlyn Johnson, Nikiski

Kelli Bishop, Homer

Kaycee Bostic, Nikiski

Laveah Makisi, Kotzebue

Laura Inama, Homer

The Mariners celebrate a point during the title match. (Loren Holmes / ADN) (Loren Holmes/)

Stuck with an annoying airline seatmate? Here’s what you can do about it.

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 17:40

iStock / Getty Images (

Airline passengers can be so annoying. How annoying? Just ask Retha Charette, a tour guide from Arlington, Vemont.

On a recent flight from Newark to Amsterdam, her seatmate opened her tray table, placed her infant on it and began to change the baby's diaper.

"It's the most disgusting thing I've ever seen on a plane," Charette says. "I didn't know what to do."

It's hard to find someone who doesn't have a story like hers to tell. Charette, who writes a blog called Roaming Nanny, says she tries to keep her cool when a seatmate does something irritating.

"I think the number one thing to remember when something weird starts happening is not to lose your temper," she says. "I firmly believe that when most people travel, they don't think about those around them. We're all worried about our comfort."

Jacquelyn Youst, a frequent traveler and president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, agrees that maintaining your composure is the golden rule when it comes to passengers seated behind you, in front of you, or next to you. Losing your cool is counterproductive, considering that you're trapped with them in a pressurized tube for the foreseeable future.

"Don't yell," she says. "This will only make the rest of your travel experience tense."

So what are the most aggravating things passengers do - and what can you do about them?The problems are as numerous and varied as the solutions. If there's a common thread, it is this: Stay above the fray. Otherwise, you could end up starring in a viral video - or worse.

I asked Marianne Perez de Fransius for her thoughts on babies in flight.

"A crying baby can be annoying," says Perez de Fransius, the CEO of Bébé Voyage, a site for parents who travel with young children. "But the absolute wrong reaction is berating the parent or caretaker for having a crying baby. Parents want their baby to stop crying more than the other passengers."

Instead, offer to help or try distracting the baby. "Maybe you have a cute video on your phone you could show the baby, or you have something entertaining like a colorful keychain," Perez de Fransius says.

Infants are hardly the only passengers who can grate on your nerves. Consider the situation Lisa Cortez found herself in on a recent flight from Los Angeles to Rome. Soon after the flight attendants served a snack, a passenger seated across the aisle calmly removed his shoes and began clipping his toenails. His seatmate, her face buried in a book, didn't react.

Cortez, a frequent air traveler who runs a tour company in Phoenix, waited in vain for the seatmate to react. "I grabbed my tablet computer from the side pocket of my seat and set it to a standing position as a barrier between flying toenails and my yummy midflight snack," she says.

Sometimes, that's all you can do - protect yourself from whatever a fellow passenger sends your way.

And then there are the seat-reclining passengers. Oh, those seat recliners! Kat Koppett, an actor and improv consultant from Albany, New York, had one on her last flight.

"It would have been easy to react mindlessly," she says. "I could have passively aggressively bumped her seat a lot."

Instead, she applied the principles of improv and used the moment as an opportunity to stretch her performance range, cycling through possible responses.

"I could tap her on the shoulder, politely explain that I had a deadline and ask her to move up," she says. "I could see if the flight attendant might help me. I could choose not to work and find out how that decision might lead to other options, like meditating or listening to music."

She could also vow never to fly on an airline with such a scarcity of legroom again. Or book a ticket on an air carrier that limits seat recline, such as Delta Air Lines.

In the end, she suffered in silence, as most of us do.

If you are going to address the problem, it's better to do so sooner rather than later. That's what Gregorio Palomino discovered when a passenger boarded late and took a middle seat next to him.

"He sat down next to me and pushed me and the other seatmate off [the armrests] after we had settled in," says Palomino, an event planner from San Antonio. "He looked at me and said, 'Are we going to have a problem here?' "

Palomino stood up, walked to the front of the cabin and asked if he could move to a different seat. Instead of reseating him, the attendant called the airport police, who ushered Palomino and the aggressive passenger off the plane. The airline gave Palomino a ticket on the next available flight. But it could have been much worse.

Imagine if Palomino had waited until the aircraft had reached cruising altitude.

Snow arrives in Anchorage and Matanuska Valley, with a total of 5-9 inches expected

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 17:05

Vehicles travel on Tudor Road during a snowfall on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (Loren Holmes / ADN) (Loren Holmes/)

After an unusually warm fall with little or no snow, the Anchorage area saw its first measurable snow accumulation Saturday, with slick roads and several inches of accumulation around the city by late afternoon.

The National Weather Service to issue a winter weather advisory for Anchorage and the Matanuska Valley through early Sunday morning.

On-again, off-again snow showers could produce a total of 5 to 9 inches of snow in Anchorage, with the Hillside seeing even more snow, meteorologists from the National Weather Service said. The weather service was forecasting daytime highs in the mid-30s with overnight lows in the mid- to high-20s.

“A fast-moving, low-pressure system moving up the Cook Inlet is bringing moisture and cold air to the Anchorage area,” meteorologist Pam Szatanek said. She was excited about the large, quarter-sized snowflakes that had started falling near the weather service’s Anchorage office south of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

Several inches of snow to light dustings were reported across the Anchorage Bowl Saturday afternoon, with intermittent white-out conditions on the Glenn Highway, Szatanek said.

There was a slight chance of snow on Sunday, she said.

Snow falls near Westchester Lagoon as a runner passes on the Chester Creek Trail on November 16, 2019. (Marc Lester / ADN) (Marc Lester/)
Snow falls on a spruce tree Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 in Midtown Anchorage. (Loren Holmes / ADN) (Loren Holmes/)
A person runs along Elmore Road during a snowfall Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (Loren Holmes / ADN) (Loren Holmes/)
People walk through snow outside the Alaska Airlines Center on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (Loren Holmes / ADN) (Loren Holmes/)

“People in Alaska have a recreational response to snow,” Szatanek said.

A second storm was expected to move into Southcentral Alaska over the next few days, Szatanek said. An eastward-traveling storm from the north Pacific Ocean will grow in intensity near Adak and will push into the Anchorage area Tuesday, she said.

It was too early to tell if the storm would bring more snow, freezing rain or a wintry mix, Szatanek said.

A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for #Anchorage through 1am Sunday and the #MatanuskaValley through 5am Sunday for an additional 3-6" of snow. Please see for more information. #Snow reports are appreciated. #AKWx

— NWS Anchorage (@NWSAnchorage) November 17, 2019

Fairbanks school district suspends West Valley ski coach

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 16:57

FAIRBANKS — An Alaska high school skiing head coach was suspended Friday after school officials discovered allegations were made against him in a domestic violence protective order petition, school district officials said.

The ex-girlfriend of West Valley High School coach Nick Crawford requested a renewal last week for a one-year protection order she obtained in November 2018 citing continued safety concerns, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Friday.

The ex-girlfriend accused Crawford of sexual misconduct while she was incapacitated at his home in October 2018, court documents said. They were both employed at the University of Fairbanks at the time, officials said — Crawford was the school’s head coach for skiing and cross country running.

“We were notified earlier today about a potential issue. He has been suspended pending contact with UAF to get more details regarding the situation,” school district spokeswoman Yumi McCulloch said. “The team and parents have been notified that he will not be there (for time trials) this weekend.”

Crawford coached the UAF cross-country running and ski programs from 2015 until earlier this year, officials said. He was placed on administrative leave a year ago and a Title IX investigation is ongoing, university officials said. As of Friday, he was still listed on the university website as coach, the newspaper reported.

University spokeswoman Marmian Grimes declined to give details about personnel issues but said the university evaluates all reports of sexual misconduct.

“The first step is to look at the information we have and assess any potential safety concerns and make sure we take steps to provide a safe environment for our employees, students and the public,” Grimes said.

The suspension was due to “an unresolved Title IX investigation that they said would be over in 60 days. It’s not been completed in 60 days, and that’s why the school district is now waiting, too, because they’re waiting on UAF,” Crawford said Friday. “I passed the background check no problem.”

It was unclear if a background check was done on Crawford, McCulloch said.

In response to the protective order petition request, Crawford’s attorney asked that the hearing be rescheduled and that public access to the hearing be limited. A judge approved the request and a closed hearing was scheduled for Dec. 11, court officials said.

Crawford was named the head coach and skier development director for the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks in September but his status with the organization is currently unknown, the newspaper reported. Club president Chris Puchner had no comment when contacted by the Daily News-Miner on Friday.

Driver over 3 times the legal alcohol limit causes ‘chain reaction collision,’ Anchorage police say

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 14:19

A suspected drunken driver crashed into police cars parked on Lake Otis Parkway for a separate traffic investigation early Saturday morning, ultimately causing a five-vehicle collision that left one officer injured, Anchorage police said in an alert.

At around 4 a.m. Saturday, three police officers responded to a report of a potentially impaired driver asleep in an SUV in a southbound lane of Lake Otis Parkway near Tudor Road. Two officers parked behind the SUV — one directly behind the SUV, and the second farther north to block the lane to other drivers as a safety measure — while another officer parked in front of the stopped vehicle, police said.

As they were investigating, the driver of a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox heading south on Lake Otis Parkway failed to switch lanes and crashed into both police vehicles parked behind the SUV, causing a “chain reaction collision,” police said. The police car directly behind the SUV struck the SUV, which then crashed into the police car in front. Police said the emergency lights for all three officers’ vehicles were on at the time of the crash.

An officer inside the vehicle directly behind the SUV was treated for minor injuries at the scene, police said. The other officers and the drivers of the SUV and the Equinox were not injured, according to the alert.

The Equinox’s driver, 21-year-old Danielle Agnus, was charged with operating under the influence, third-degree assault and passing an emergency vehicle, according to police. Agnus’ blood alcohol level was greater than three times the legal driving limit, police said.

Police determined that the driver of the stopped SUV was not impaired. An officer drove him home because his SUV had to be towed due to damage from the crash, according to police.

Big study casts doubt on need for many heart procedures

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 12:54

In this Feb. 16, 2017 file photo, surgeons perform a non-emergency angioplasty at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) (Mark Lennihan/)

PHILADELPHIA — People with severe but stable heart disease from clogged arteries may have less chest pain if they get a procedure to improve blood flow rather than just giving medicines a chance to help, but it won’t cut their risk of having a heart attack or dying over the following few years, a big federally funded study found.

The results challenge medical dogma and call into question some of the most common practices in heart care. They are the strongest evidence yet that tens of thousands of costly stent procedures and bypass operations each year are unnecessary or premature for people with stable disease.

That's a different situation than a heart attack, when a procedure is needed right away to restore blood flow.

For non-emergency cases, the study shows "there's no need to rush" into invasive tests and procedures, said New York University's Dr. Judith Hochman.

There might even be harm: To doctors' surprise, study participants who had a procedure were more likely to suffer a heart problem or die over the next year than those treated with medicines alone.

Hochman co-led the study and gave results Saturday at an American Heart Association conference in Philadelphia.

"This study clearly goes against what has been the common wisdom for the last 30, 40 years" and may lead to less testing and invasive treatment for such patients in the future, said Dr. Glenn Levine, a Baylor College of Medicine cardiologist with no role in the research. Some doctors still may quibble with the study, but it was very well done "and I think the results are extremely believable," he said.

About 17 million Americans have clogged arteries that crimp the heart's blood supply, which can cause periodic chest pain. Cheap and generic aspirin, cholesterol-lowering drugs and blood pressure medicines are known to cut the risk of a heart attack for these folks, but many doctors also recommend a procedure to improve blood flow.

That's either a bypass — open-heart surgery to detour around blockages — or angioplasty, in which doctors push a tube through an artery to the clog, inflate a tiny balloon and place a stent, or mesh scaffold, to prop the artery open.

Twelve years ago, a big study found that angioplasty was no better than medicines for preventing heart attacks and deaths in non-emergency heart patients, but many doctors balked at the results and quarreled with the methods.

So the federal government spent $100 million for the new study, which is twice as large, spanned 37 countries and included people with more severe disease — a group most likely to benefit from stents or a bypass.

All 5,179 participants had stress tests, usually done on a treadmill, that suggested blood flow was crimped. All were given lifestyle advice and medicines that improve heart health. Half also were given CT scans to rule out dangerous blockages, then continued on their medicines.

The others were treated as many people with abnormal stress tests are now: They were taken to cardiac catheterization labs for angiograms. The procedure involves placing a tube into a major artery and using special dyes to image the heart's blood vessels. Blockages were treated right away, with angioplasty in three-fourths of cases and a bypass in the rest.

Doctors then tracked how many in each group suffered a heart attack, heart-related death, cardiac arrest or hospitalization for worsening chest pain or heart failure.

After one year, 7% in the invasively treated group had one of those events versus 5% of those on medicines alone. At four years, the trend reversed — 13% of the procedures group and 15% of the medicines group had suffered a problem. Averaged across the entire study period, the rates were similar regardless of treatment.

If stents and bypasses did not carry risks of their own, "I think the results would have shown an overall benefit" from them, said another study leader, Dr. David Maron of Stanford University. "But that's not what we found. We found an early harm and later benefit, and they canceled each other out."

Why might medicines have proved just as effective at reducing risks?

Bypasses and stents fix only a small area. Medicines affect all the arteries, including other spots that might be starting to clog, experts said.

Drugs also have improved a lot in recent years.

Having a procedure did prove better at reducing chest pain, though. Of those who had pain daily or weekly when they entered the study, half in the stent-or-bypass group were free of it within a year versus 20% of those on medicines alone. A placebo effect may have swayed these results — people who know they had a procedure tend to credit it with any improvement they perceive in symptoms.

Dr. Alice Jacobs, a Boston University cardiologist who led a treatment-guidelines panel a few years ago, said any placebo effect fades with time, and people with a lot of chest pain that's unrelieved by medicines still may want a procedure.

"It's intuitive that if you take the blockage away you're going to do better, you're going to feel better," but the decision is up to the patient and doctor, she said.

The bottom line: There's no harm in trying medicines first, especially for people with no or little chest pain, doctors said.

When told they have a problem that can be fixed with a stent, "the grand majority of patients in my experience will opt to undergo that procedure” to get improvement right away, said Dr. Jay Giri, a cardiologist at the University of Pennsylvania with no role in the study.

Maryann Byrnes-Alvarado is not among them. The 66-year-old New York City woman said she joined the study six years ago after having trouble walking, which "scared me to death," but so did the idea of a heart procedure.

She was relieved when she was assigned to the medication treatment group. Her doctor altered her blood pressure medicine, added a cholesterol drug and aspirin, and adjusted her diet. Now her risk factor numbers are better and she can walk again without difficulty.

“I believe I got the best care that I could get” and avoided an operation, she said.

White House budget official with knowledge of delay in military aid to Ukraine testifies

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 12:42

Mark Sandy, a career employee in the White House Office of Management and Budget, arrives at the Capitol to testify in the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry about President Donald Trump's effort to tie military aid to Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents, in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (J. Scott Applewhite/)

WASHINGTON — Impeachment investigators met Saturday with a White House official directly connected to President Donald Trump’s block on military aid to Ukraine, the first budget office witness to testify in the historic inquiry.

In a rare weekend session, lawmakers drilled into Trump’s decision, against the advice of national security advisers, including John Bolton, to withhold funding from the ally, a young democracy bordering hostile Russia.

It’s a sign of a deepening of the constitutional showdown, bookended by public hearings this week and next, that is testing the system of checks and balances in the U.S. government.

“It seems clear to me from everything that I've seen that the president had no interest in the defense of the Ukraine and the security of the Ukrainian people,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., during a break in the closed-door proceedings.

Raskin said it’s important for lawmakers “to trace the bureaucratic steps” that allowed money Congress had already approved to be upheld by the executive branch. “We're in the process of chasing that down.”

The witness Saturday was Mark Sandy, a little known career official at the Office of Management and Budget who was involved in key meetings about the nearly $400 million aid package Congress had already approved for Ukraine.

Sandy’s name has barely come up in previous testimony. But it did on one particular date: July 25, the day of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the core of the impeachment probe.

[How a CIA analyst, alarmed by Trump’s shadow foreign policy, triggered an impeachment inquiry]

That day, a legal document with Sandy’s signature directed a freeze of the security funds, according to testimony from Defense Department official Laura Cooper. Investigators had shown her a document as evidence.

Trump on the call had asked Zelenskiy for a “favor,” to conduct an investigation into Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son.

The link between Trump’s call and the White House’s upholding of security aid is the central question in the impeachment inquiry.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls it “bribery.”

Trump, who says he only wanted to root out corruption in Ukraine, says he did nothing wrong.

The weeks that followed sent officials in the U.S. national security and foreign service apparatus scrambling to understand why the aid was being blocked, despite their consensus view that Zelenskiy needed the money as a show of U.S. support for his new government facing down President Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

“We were trying to get to the bottom of why this hold was in place, why OMB was applying this hold,” Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an Army officer at the National Security Council, told investigators. He is scheduled to testify publicly on Tuesday.

Bolton derided the swap as a “drug deal” he wanted no part of, according to closed-door testimony from Fiona Hill, the former White House Russia expert. She is set to appear Thursday.

Sharpening the arguments, both sides are preparing for an intense lineup of public hearings in the coming week. Americans are deeply split over impeachment, much as they are over the president himself.

For Ukraine, a former Soviet republic situated between NATO-allies and Russia, the $391 million in aid is its lifeline to the West.

The money is symbolic, the ousted U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified this week, but also substantial.

It includes $250 million in Pentagon funding for military hardware: sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, counter-artillery radars, electronic warfare detection, secure communications, night vision capabilities and military medical aid.

An additional $141 million in State Department funding covers many of those systems as well as about $10 million to increase maritime awareness and $16.5 million for maritime security in the Black Sea, aimed at identifying and tracking Russian ships and aircraft.

“Supporting Ukraine is the right thing to do,” Yovanovitch testified. “If Russia prevails and Ukraine falls to Russian dominion, we can expect to see other attempts by Russia to expand its territory and influence.”

Sandy was the first official from the Office of Management and Budget to defy Trump’s instructions not to testify. Like others, he received a subpoena to appear.

“When people come in, we learn more,” said Rep. Eric Swawell, D-Calif., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, as he arrived for Saturday’s session.

Rep. Mark Meadows, a top Trump ally, said he did not expect to hear much from Sandy, a career budget official.

“All I expect him to say is he doesn’t know why the aid was held and wished that he did,” said Meadows, R-N.C. “But I may be surprised.”

In a speech Friday night, Attorney General William Barr said congressional Democrats were pursuing “scores of parallel investigations through an avalanche of subpoenas” that are “designed to incapacitate the executive branch.”

Barr, who favors an expansive view of executive power, said “the cost of this constant harassment is real.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the impeachment panel, returned home Saturday to California where thousands of Democratic activists greeted him like a rock star at the state party's fall convention.

"It's been an eventful week," he told the crowd before saying that his remarks about impeachment were no cause for celebration.

"There is nothing more dangerous than an unethical president who thinks that he is above the law," Schiff said. "This is a time of great peril."


Associated Press writer Kathleen Ronayne in Long Beach, California, contributed to this report.

My boyfriend can’t pay his rent, but still won’t stop buying rounds of drinks for our friends

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 12:32

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

I guess my problem is a good problem to have, but I still need advice. In simplest terms, my boyfriend is just too generous.

Anytime we are out with a group of people, he insists on buying a round of drinks, even if no one else does. Often times on a night out with friends, he will buy a round of shots, on him, which can easily come up to $50 or more. When we have lunch or dinner with people, as soon as the bill comes, he throws his card down — he doesn’t even give anyone a chance to consider paying. And if anyone does offer, he always insists.

If he had tons of money, this wouldn’t be such an issue. But he doesn’t. I know for a fact he’s in debt and has several credit cards near their limit. There have been months when he couldn’t quite cover his share of the rent so I covered for him. We have lived together for a few years and generally speaking, he often comes up short on his end of expenses — yet he never hesitates to pay for huge groups when we’re out with our friends. He doesn’t see how the two are connected. But I think it’s crazy he continues to pay for our friends — who can afford their own drinks and who have perfectly fine jobs!! — when he sometimes struggles to pay for basic expenses.

We are going on a trip soon with three other couples and I can just imagine it now, my boyfriend paying for drinks and dinners night after night. It will bankrupt us! How can I explain that this is a huge deal to me? We talk about getting married when we’ve saved enough to start our lives together, but he isn’t presently saving any money, at all. Help?

Wanda says:

In the business world, there’s something called principled negotiation and practicing it can do great things for relationships. In layman’s terms, the idea is when two people negotiate, they typically dig in on their stated position, and things fall apart. In this case, your boyfriend’s position is, “I will keep buying things for my friends!” Yours, contrarily, is, “Stop buying everything for everyone!” Where’s the deal to be made?

Principled negotiation encourages us to look past our stated positions to what our interests are to find mutual ground. Imagine two people fighting over a lemon; each wants the lemon for himself. That’s their position: “I want this lemon for me!” But discussing this further, and getting past the “what” to the “why,” it turns out one wants the lemon zest for a pie, and the other wants the juice for a cocktail. See? They can share the lemon! They just had to get past positions to figure out what their interests were and find a mutual win.

So what are your boyfriend’s interests? I’m guessing being broke isn’t one of them, nor is having to ask you to cover his bills every month. That’s just embarrassing. We could guess his interests are around making people happy, being generous, and doing nice things for his friends. Yours are around not blowing the budget, and having long-term sustainability to meet your #couplegoals.

Discussing these interests at the heart of your positions (and behaviors), you can hopefully find a middle ground. Maybe instead of so many nights out, you can co-host an awesome dinner party once a month? Or agree that a round of shots is a great way to make people happy, and just as effective as footing an entire dinner tab. The bottom line: nagging will not stop your man from playing Santa at tab-paying time, but getting into his generous head to understand the motivation behind his generosity just might.

Wayne says:

When Wanda gives you lemons, I give you relationship advice lemonade. And your boyfriend, apparently, is buying every cup at my stand! Sweet!

Whether your boyfriend is a people pleaser, a party person or a lush who loves living lavishly really doesn’t really matter anymore. Ultimately, if you two are going to be partners in money, mortgage and marriage, his spending issue is your spending issue, too. Binge spending and drinking. Drowning in debt and denial. Not exactly the foundation of a fruitful future. He needs to truly appreciate that every time he makes it rain for the homies, your already porous partnership springs a larger leak.

How serious is this? So serious that the next time party night rolls around, he’s going to have to sit at boring home with you, open an Excel spreadsheet, tap the calculator app on his phone, and make a couple’s budget with you. Whoop whoop! Scour the past few months of bills and purchases. Look at the income and expected spending over the months ahead. Factor in all the debt. Heck, make a special tab for a savings goal: your wedding.

I’m hope the number-crunching is a sobering moment of clarity for your lit little dude. But don’t let him get depressed or discouraged. Spend time online researching savings tips. See if your bank or credit union offers financial adviser time for even more personalized insight. Hopefully, less impulse spending, fewer nights out, and smarter saving will put you both in a better space fairly quickly. And then, when you can see some progress, tell him it’s cool to buy one round for the crew.

Peace through strength in the Arctic

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 12:25

A Marines F-35 from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, takes off from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Tuesday, May 2, 2017 during the Northern Edge training exercise. (Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News) (Loren Holmes/)

In September, the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard participated in a major amphibious exercise where Marines stormed the beaches of Adak. It was the military’s first return to Adak in more than 30 years. This exercise is one of many examples of how the Alaska congressional delegation is working closely with the Pentagon to ensure that our military is prepared for future operations in the Arctic.

The issue is imperative. This once-stable region has become increasingly contested and militarized by America’s adversaries. Russia has conducted a Cold War-like buildup of its military in the Arctic with the hope of exploiting resources and controlling sea lanes vital for global commerce. Meanwhile, China has taken to calling itself a “near-Arctic nation” and is executing a long-term strategic plan for the region.

Unfortunately, because of the previous administration’s severe cuts to the U.S. military’s budget—25% from 2010 to 2016—our military’s readiness to keep pace with these threats plummeted. When I arrived to the Senate in 2015, only three of the Army’s 58 brigade combat teams were at the highest level of readiness. The Obama administration sought to cut an additional 40,000 Army troops from the ranks, including Alaska’s 5,000-person brigade combat team at JBER. As the only airborne brigade combat team in the entire Asia-Pacific and Arctic, this was a strategically dumb decision that would have wreaked havoc on Southcentral’s economy.

My staff and I devoted countless hours advocating for the reversal of this misguided policy with fellow senators and Pentagon officials, including placing a hold on the confirmation of the Secretary of the Army and the four-star general in charge of the Army. We convinced them to keep the brigade fully intact in Alaska, while laying the groundwork for the broader rebuilding of our military nationally and in Alaska that is taking place today.

I never tire of educating my colleagues on Alaska’s strategic location and how we constitute three pillars of America’s military might. We are the cornerstone of our nation’s missile defense, an expeditionary platform for some of America's best-trained troops, and the hub of air combat power for the Asia-Pacific and the Arctic.

In the past few years, our congressional delegation has secured nearly $1.4 billion in military construction investments for Alaska to build up these pillars. In fact, this weekend, I’m in Texas with Fairbanks and North Pole leaders to watch the first of 54 F-35 fighter jets headed to Alaska coming off the assembly line.

This story of progress is the same for the Coast Guard. As chairman of the subcommittee in charge of this service, I was surprised to learn of plans in 2015 to draw down Coast Guard assets in Alaska. Through relentless advocacy and placing a hold on the Coast Guard Commandant’s confirmation, we convinced Coast Guard leadership to bring more assets and tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure funding to Kodiak and Southeast.

And we’re finally making progress on icebreakers. In last year’s defense bill, I secured a provision that authorized the scheduled purchase of six polar-class icebreakers. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s hard work on the Appropriations Committee ensured that the Coast Guard has the money to build the first of these, which is happening now.

Similarly, we are mandating that the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security designate a strategic Arctic port in Alaska that can handle Navy ships and polar-class icebreakers.

This administration is beginning to understand the strategic importance of our great state. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently said that we are entering “a new age of strategic engagement in the Arctic,” and that, through diplomacy and increased military investments, we must “sharpen” our focus on the Arctic. And Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, who recently made his second visit to Alaska in two years to observe the Adak amphibious exercise, has been a staunch advocate for a greater Navy and Coast Guard presence in the Arctic.

To be clear, our vision for the Arctic remains one of cooperation and opportunity. We want the best scientists working to study our unique climate and ecosystem. We want our people in the Arctic to have the leading voice on development in the area. Above all else, we want a peaceful region. But history has taught us that peace is most effectively achieved through strength and strength is shown—in part—with forward and consistent American presence. I am working relentlessly to this end by ensuring that we safeguard our nation’s strategic interests in the Arctic with more military ships, aircraft, personnel and infrastructure in Alaska. Together, we are beginning to make this vision a reality.

Sen. Dan Sullivan, elected in 2014, is Alaska’s junior U.S. senator. He is also a colonel in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, serving with the Marine Corps Special Operations Command.

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 commentary(at) Send submissions shorter than 200 words to or click here to submit via any web browser. Read our full guidelines for letters and commentaries here.

After Tahlequah and her calf, an anthology dedicated to orcas and their world

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 12:19

For Love of Orcas: An Anthology

Edited by Andrew Shattuck McBride and Jill McCabe Johnson. Wandering Aengus Press, 2019. 178 pages. $20.

Last year, when an orca (killer whale) known as Tahlequah carried her dead calf for 17 days and a thousand miles around Puget Sound and nearby waters, the public and media worldwide were riveted by the spectacle. The event brought renewed and fervent attention to the endangered orcas known as the Southern Residents; these fish-eating whales have been in trouble for years, principally due to the decline in the region’s chinook salmon but affected as well by noise, disturbance, ship strikes, and pollution.

"For Love of Orcas: An Anthology," edited by Andrew Shattuck McBride and Jill McCabe Johnson.

“For Love of Orcas” grew from the story of Tahlequah and her calf, as a way for poets and writers to bring even more attention to the plight of the whales and to larger issues about caring for our planet and its creatures. Co-editor Jill McCabe Johnson writes in her introduction, “This book is not a how-to for saving the planet. Instead, it’s a reminder of the complex and exquisite beauty surrounding us. Our hope is that readers will care enough to coalesce and bring our interactions with and effects on that beauty back into balance.”

As with any anthology, the selections here are varied and uneven. Ninety-two poets and writers, mostly from the Northwest, are included, some more than once. A few contributors are scientists as well as writers. A few are activists. Poetry greatly outnumbers the short prose pieces. Alaskans are represented by the late Eva Saulitis, former poets laureate Peggy Shumaker and Ernestine Hayes, and Fairbanksan Daryl Farmer.

There is and has always been debate about whether art can also be political. The famed writer Toni Morrison spoke emphatically about this: “The best art is political and you ought to be able to make it unquestionably political and irrevocably beautiful at the same time.”

Not everything in this volume is great or even mediocre art, but it is all heart-felt, genuine expressions of human concern for the world in which we live. Likely because the impetus for the book was the one whale and her dead calf, references to Tahlequah (also known as J35) abound, with the same details repeated again and again. The rawness of the event surely influenced emotions and the urge of so many to respond in words of grief, guilt, loss, and outrage. If there’s a surfeit of earnestness here, maybe that’s what’s necessary to drive change.

More complex and language-rich selections are presented by writers with deeper connections to orcas than simply having watched them from a boat or shore (the most common experience shared here.) These also invite readers into questioning and conversation, as opposed to instructing and admonishing. They include two pieces from the scientist-poet Eva Saulitis, who spent decades studying the orcas of Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Both are excerpts from her book “Leaving Resurrection: Chronicles of a Whale Scientist.”

Tahlequah pushes her dead calf on the second day of her long, sad journey. (Ken Balcomb / Center for Whale Research) (Ken Balcomb/)

One of these, “Halfway Down an Alder Slope,” perfectly captures the joy of careening down a hillside to nearly leap into the water among orcas; it ends with a naming: “The killer whales are called aaxlu, tukxukuak, agliuk, mesungesak, polossatik, skana, keet, feared one, grampus, blackfish, orca, big-fin, fat-chopper. Whale killer. From the realm of the dead. Orcinus orca.” The second Saulitis excerpt, “In the Tlingit Language,” discusses the dilemma of scientists who love what they study but, also, need to be intrusive in some of their research. “And the more we know, the longer we stay, the more we care, and caring, like anthropomorphism, is tricky ground for that detached creature, the scientist.”

Another prose piece, “Dio,” by biologist and writer Paula MacKay, brings fascinating new information into the orca discussion. MacKay accompanies researchers training dogs to detect orca scat so that it can be collected from the water and analyzed not just for diet but for other health indicators. We learn from this that analyses of hormones collected from hundreds of Southern Resident orcas indicate a 69% pregnancy failure rate.

Other work here might be appreciated for other types of witnessing and for finding beauty in our troubled world. Several poems don’t mention orcas at all but celebrate salmon or the natural world that contains salmon, orcas, and humans. Others angle in at our connections and responsibilities from sidelong directions or arrest us with startling imagery.

For example, the poem “Landscape with No Net Loss” by Jenifer Browne Lawrence speaks with the voice of someone working at a river’s mouth with survey tools and cables. “Longfin smelt change direction midair, belly-slap/to avoid the Chinook or shake loose eggs/or just for the hell of it, who knows, we are all/bouncing off one body and into another.”

Another poem, “Interlude,” by Tina Schumann, merely suggests the two whales with its imagery of “spark and falter,” “ignition and idle engine,” comparisons of music to lapping water and “this small body and the painting of a body.”

The impassioned work in “For Love of Orcas” makes clear that orcas hold a special place in human lives and imaginations. These animals, identified as individuals by their markings and relationships, elicit concern and compassion, even love, as no mussel or candlefish or any other marine species smaller than a whale ever will. That is something to celebrate.

When it comes to displays of hunting culture, a roadhouse or farmhouse can fare well against big-city museums

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 12:08

A harpoon gun, one of many items that celebrate the Alaskan outdoor life, is displayed in Steve Meyer's favorite restaurant. (Photo by Steve Meyer) (Steve A. Meyer/)

The ethereal light, reminiscent of the last light over the marsh, brought life to subtle colors and textures. The silence provoked my imagination to listen to the haunting sounds from the past.

I heard the short harpoon swishing through the cold air and finding its mark with a thud, followed by the soft padding of mukluks running across a skiff of snow to the rent in the ice. I heard the fire-hardened knife slicing through to hot blood and the primordial chewing of life-sustaining blubber, sounds of celebration in the hunter’s success.

I imagined the sharp pop as a needle, crafted of bone, punctured the intestines and drew the sinew thread tight to form the waterproof joining that would become a hunter’s parka. There would be cooing from the child, bundled against the cold in the bassinet made of luxurious furs, lying next to the maker of the parka.

Metropolitan museums have always scared me a bit. I think of folks standing around, a glass of wine in hand as they muse over the meaning of a painting that might have been made by an infant crawling through spilled paint. I couldn’t imagine myself in such a scene.

The hustle of city life, with its busy sidewalks and events that draw crowds, has been a daunting environment for me. It took me years to figure out why I could never enjoy the great indoors where others seem to thrive. I discovered it isn’t a dislike of people. It is an upbringing that insisted if one wasn’t contributing, being useful, then it was best to stay away.

But when Alice Green, the curatorial and exhibitions assistant at the Anchorage Museum, asked Christine and me to do a presentation for the “What Why How We Eat” series, I had a purpose. An odd twist in my personality is that I enjoy public speaking. An opportunity to speak to a crowd gets my blood flowing. It’s the useful aspect, I guess — if I’m asked to do it, then it must have some value, and I embrace the opportunity. In sharing our hunting life with folks, I would get to talk about Winchester, so, yeah, sign me up.

That’s how Christine and I found ourselves in the east wing of the museum, in the Arctic Studies Center, among the fabulous displays of Alaska Native culture. As we looked at each collection, representing indigenous culture from Southeast Alaska to the far north, we both noticed how much the displays reflected a celebration of the hunting culture.

The garments and tools of survival, fashioned with elaborate decorative items from nature, spoke in silence to the celebration. One could imagine the gatherings of people at the successful return of hunters with game, and everyone pitching to process it and consume it so that life could go on.

They were reminiscent of the celebrations of the hunting, fishing and outdoor lifestyle I have seen in rural America, without the benefit of museum glass, lighting and pristine examples.

A favorite memory of my younger days is hunting with my dad and friends when we stopped at the farms and ranches of other hunters. Most often it was to talk hunting or help with a chore that needed a few extra hands.

Somewhere at each of these places, there was an area where artifacts and memorabilia were displayed. Sometimes it was in a barn, shop or, most often, in the house. There weren’t many mounted animals in those days because few could afford taxidermy, and seeing one was a special treat. But there were always antlers, sometimes a lifetime of them stacked in a tall pile in the corner. There were old hunting clothes, boots, knives, arrowheads, spent bullets retrieved from animals, feathers from game birds, and always old leather items and cookware. Gun scabbards, moccasins, horse and wagon tack, Dutch ovens and cast-iron frying pans.

In those days, the company we kept always had some sort of gun cabinet prominently displayed in the living room. There were spent shells, loaded shells, feathers and knives arranged as a backdrop to the firearms, all gleaming from gun oil and hand-rubbing.

One old rancher had an upstairs he would take my dad to while I hung out with one of his sons. One day when I was a bit older he let me go up to this loft, through a door set into the ceiling. The first thing you saw as your head cleared the floor was an 1874 Sharps “buffalo” rifle.

That Sharps was an enormous rifle, with a heavy, 30-inch barrel. The old fellow saw my fascination with the old rifle and offered to let me hold it. He insisted I take it in both hands, and even then I nearly dropped it. Then he showed me the cartridge that went with it, which was the size of a cigar. It was a high point in my young life.

The rest of the loft was covered in old guns, saddles of all sorts, many more than 100 years old. He had a feather headdress, Indian arrows, a buffalo robe and a spear with feathers hanging from it. The contents of that room would be worth a fortune today. But for him, it was a place to revel in a life he loved and to share that love with his friends.

These shrines are still out there, in all sorts of forms. When traveling to hunt, Christine and I enjoy stopping at small stores and out-of-the-way restaurants to see what the locals want the public to know about them. It seems there is always something that embraces the outdoor life.

Our favorite restaurant is one of those places. With its display of Alaska taxidermy, hunting art, fish mounts, guns and tools used in the late 1800s and early 1900s, it is as comfortable an environment to enjoy a meal that we’ve found. There is even a harpoon gun on display, one used years ago to harvest a beluga whale for the annual community whale feed.

As we stood in the museum admiring a skin kayak that appeared as seaworthy as anything you might see in store, I wondered. The overwhelming majority of Americans don’t hunt, yet the majority still approve of hunting. Perhaps when people see the obvious love of a lifestyle, a love that has been displayed in all cultures since humans started sticking things with sharp sticks, they understand that something as timeless as the hunting lifestyle is necessary.

Maybe it is something we need in a world that can be a bit enraged and disconnected, knowing there are still places, and still healthy populations of animals, that allow us not to forget what got us here.

Steve Meyer is a longtime Alaskan and avid shooter who lives in Kenai.

Whether you’re tracking animals or flying cross-country, you can learn a lot just by paying attention

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 11:55

“I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,” says songwriter Joni Mitchell. Me too.

On a recent flight from Chicago to Anchorage, I was able to look down through a broken cloud cover at the terrain below. We were high above the clouds. It looked as if I should be able to reach down and brush the thin fog aside to get a better view of the terrain below.

We were flying over the middle of Canada, one of the most remote areas in North America. There were a couple of stretches where there was no sign of human activity below for nearly an hour, and we were going 500 mph or a little faster. Granted, we were cruising six miles above the trees, and I likely missed a few things. However, when I could see, there were no roads or trails visible.

Somewhere — north and east of Whitehorse — we passed over a good-sized lake with many bays and islands, plus numerous creeks. “I bet that would be a great place for a trapline,” I thought. No sooner than I had that thought, a snaky trail appeared as a faint cut through the timber below.

For more than 10 minutes the 737 traveled over the trail as it coiled its way around swamps and paralleled tiny watercourses. The pesky clouds finally obscured my view, but the trail was still going.

Who was down there? Where was the closest town? What did the trapper catch? Since landing in Anchorage and returning home, I have tried to triangulate the exact location of that lone trapper. No concrete answers, but I am discovering this new guessing game from the sky is similar to tracking animals on the ground.

We seldom know if we are right, but we can make educated guesses based on what we see. Our time in the air coupled with aircraft speed and the published route put the trapper somewhere east of Mayo or Keno, Yukon Territory. The trapper is probably a single man, because there are not many women who head out on the trapline. He has a long line, thus he is unlikely to have a family at the home cabin.

The country he is in lends itself to cats, wolves and marten, plus some water animals such as mink and otter. Those of you who trap might think this sounds like paradise.

Carrying this guessing game further, the area is about a degree of latitude south of Fairbanks, similar to Delta Junction. Fairly good daylight. The terrain is rolling hills and lakes. Cold. The average January low temperature in Mayo is minus-20, so I’d bet he doesn’t have a four-cycle engine in his snowmachine — although being Canadian, he calls it a skidoo.

The trapper doesn’t run dogs, because he is not on a major river to access enough fish to feed dogs, plus the trapline was far too long for dogs on a single day’s run and there were no visible cabin clearings in the 50-plus miles of line I tracked. He is a man in his late 30s or early 40s — old enough to have established a line, or to have worked somewhere long enough to afford to buy into good country.

We could go on with this guessing game, but at this point we are beginning to make conjectures on top of earlier suppositions.

There is a point I am making here. Whether we are trappers, hunters, fishermen or just people who enjoy being out doors, we should make an effort to look beyond what we can see with our eyes.

The trapper who is truly successful will learn much about his prey from a few hundred yards of tracks, and hunters who are consistently productive know much about the habits of their game. Information is gleaned from observation and tracks. Fishermen who always come home with big fish in their creel understand the feeding habits of their target species, even though they can't swim under the surface themselves.

People who depended on hunting, fishing and trapping for their survival would tell you the trail of an animal is a thread attached to the animal they seek. Pick up the thread carefully and you will find the animal still connected. Sort of like clouds. Brush them aside and see what you find.

John Schandelmeier is a lifelong Alaskan who lives with his family in Paxson. He is a Bristol Bay commercial fisherman and a two-time winner of the Yukon Quest.