A New Call for Investigating Suspected Soldier Suicides in Alaska

Three soldiers assigned to Fort Wainwright, Alaska, have died so far this year. One was found dead in his off-post home, another in his company arms room, and another died of his injuries a week after being found in his on-post home. . .

Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young has asked, in a letter to Army surgeon general Lt. Gen. Nadja West, to send a team to Wainwright to investigate deaths of soldiers.

“As the number of military suicides continues to climb in Alaska, it is clear that the battle is far from over,” he wrote in the letter dated Tuesday. “Therefore, I request that you send [an Army Medical Command] team to Fort Wainwright to examine the situation on the ground and provide us and the installation with solutions for a path forward.” . . .

Deaths at Wainwright this year that have been under investigation and unexplained include: Sgt. Jorden Williams, a working dog handler found dead in his off-post home in January; Spc. Ashvin Slaughter, whose body was discovered in his company arms room later that month; and Sgt. Brian Sawyer, who was discovered in his on-post home and transferred to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, before dying of his injuries.

Additionally, in September 2018, another Fort Wainwright soldier, Pvt. Mason Jeremiah Heimer, was found dead in his truck at a nearby campground parking lot, a week after he had gone missing. The following month, a Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson soldier, Sgt. Andrew Washington was found dead in his Anchorage home. (Read more from “A New Call for Investigating Suspected Soldier Suicides in Alaska” HERE)

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Alaska’s Budget Crisis: We Can’t Just Kick the Can Down the Road

The last letter to the editor I wrote was on the general principle of the Governor coming forth with the budget that he had promised the people of Alaska. In this article I want to make some specific talking points on the budget itself. This of course is knowing that smart legislators will make some deals with the Governor and conservative colleagues to payout more money working with him to get the main pieces of legislation passed that are important to Alaskans and a sustainable future. The Governor has line-item veto authority, so the intended balance of our representative system will be in full force.

Let’s start with the University, which has proposed cuts of around 17% of its current budget. There have been third-party reports that have shown in the past that the University of Alaska system has much more middle and upper management than similar universities around the country. I went to the University for thirty years, some full-time, most part-time to acquire my degrees. Every year I was there the bureaucracy increased and there was always more paperwork and unnecessary process that had to be dealt with. It’s an interesting question as to whether creating more bureaucracy requires more rules and process to justify the jobs, or whether unnecessary rules and processes force the institution to hire more people to enforce them; either way it’s a vicious circle that never stops unless there is some economic pressure brought to bear.

I’ve learned over the years through my involvement and observation of government entities that they never get lean and efficient with budget pressures, they always spend what they are given, creating the structure to spend the money. Keep that in mind with ALL of the budget issues, that years of overspending has created inefficient entities that until now had no reason to restrain themselves. One practical example of what the university could do is to combine all the campuses into one. Not physically of course, but management-wise. Currently they duplicate a lot of management running each campus as an independent entity. This would be a great first step to becoming a more efficient university and would result in the end in better education as resources would be more focused on educating instead of managing. Another easy to implement step is to move some of the satellite campuses back to the community college model.

The K-12 system is another great example of inefficiency. Currently Prince of Wales Island has four school districts that encompass it. In Fairbanks, the place I have the numbers for, the school district over the last 28 years has decreased in student count, the number of teachers has stayed pretty flat, but staff has more than doubled, and administration has gone up over 40%. So it would be nice if they didn’t use teachers as weapons to try and get more money from the State. Please remember that large pot of money that the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District has squirreled away, which came because we taxed more for them than they needed. They’re actually ashamed enough of their budgeting that they stopped the Fingertip Facts publication a few years ago that showed the public where the money came from and went in a nice simple layout. Last year they started giving the School Board an incomplete budget document, so that they don’t even have all the information they need.

There are many right now in the public sector hammering on the legislature to take most or all of Alaskan’s PFDs. Something you should know about is the presentation that economist Ed King gave to House Finance last week. He said if we didn’t cut spending and just used the POMV (Percent of Market Value) method and only paid dividends under $500, after two years the entire POMV will be entirely used by the increase that naturally occurs in the budget due to wage and other cost increases. The prior governor had attempted an income tax and found that at best it would bring in about $350 million, about a fifth of the deficit. The lesson to be learned here is that you can’t run away from the problem by taxing the PFD or any other tax, if you don’t decrease the budget you will never be sustainable. The last administration ignored that reality, and now the situation is a little more advanced. Wherever the legislature ends this year on the budget, they have to keep moving it downwards so we can one day have a sustainable budget.

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You’re welcome to use the byline: Lance Roberts is an engineer, born and raised in Fairbanks. He is a former member of the FNSB Assembly.

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The Most-Below-Average Temperatures Anywhere on Earth Are in the U.S. Right Now

If you think it’s cold for this time of year in the United States, you’re right. The most-below-average temperatures anywhere on Earth are in the U.S. right now.

The map … from the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine shows the departure from average temperature – that is, how far the temperature is above or below average – around the globe on Tuesday. Below-average temperatures are depicted by the blue and purple shadings, while above-average temperatures are depicted by the orange and red shadings. . .

The first five days of this month brought the coldest March outbreak in years, breaking daily records and a few monthly records in parts of the Northwest, Rockies, Plains and Midwest. . .

This arctic block has also been responsible for abnormally mild weather in parts of Alaska, including record warmth at America’s northernmost city, Utqiaġvik, formerly known as Barrow. (Read more from “The Most-Below-Average Temperatures Anywhere on Earth Are in the U.S. Right Now” HERE)

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Murkowski Backs Bill to Undo Emergency Declaration

By Breitbart. Tuesday Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) told reporters she would vote for the bill against President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration on the U.S. Mexico border. . .

A reporter asked, “Do you support terminating that, this resolution, to terminate the emergency declaration?”

Murkowski answered, “Yes, I will be.” (Read more from “Murkowski Backs Bill to Undo Emergency Declaration” HERE)

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Murkowski to Vote for Resolution Blocking Trump’s Emergency Declaration

By The Hill. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Tuesday that she will support a resolution blocking President Trump’s emergency declaration to construct the U.S.-Mexico border wall. . .

The House is expected to pass a resolution of disapproval to block the national emergency declaration later Tuesday, kicking the vote to the Senate.

Democrats will need four Republicans to vote with them to pass the resolution through the Senate, where they need only a simple majority.

So far, three GOP senators are viewed as “yes” votes: Murkowski and Sens. Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Susan Collins (Maine).

Collins told reporters in Maine last week that she would support a clean resolution to block Trump’s emergency declaration. Tillis wrote in a Washington Post op-ed released on Monday night that he would also vote for the resolution. (Read more from “Murkowski to Vote for Resolution Blocking Trump’s Emergency Declaration” HERE)

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Military Specialists Destroy Live WWII-Era Mortar Shell Found at Alaska Museum

Military explosive specialists destroyed a World War II-era mortar round found at an Alaska museum after determining the munition was live.

The device was destroyed by detonating it at a safe place, said Capt. Brandon Browning of the 716th Explosive Ordnance Disposal.

A staff member found the Japanese mortar round last week while sorting through the collections vault at the Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center in Haines, the Anchorage Daily News reported Thursday. . .

Explosives specialists from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage later determined the device was still live, the newspaper said.

The museum was considering using the shell in an upcoming exhibit featuring World War II battle art, but the item’s donation paperwork did not indicate if it had been deactivated, said Helen Alten, the museum’s director. (Read more from “Military Specialists Destroy Live WWII-Era Mortar Shell Found at Alaska Museum” HERE)

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The State of Free Speech in America is in Crisis; Please Contribute TODAY

2018 has been a banner year in Fake News, with the mainstream media feeding the American public with lie after lie. Their main focus was Trump-hate, using Russian collusion as their theme. Mueller cooperated. But just like tales of Hillary’s sainthood, all tangible evidence was omitted.

The state of free speech in America – without reasonable question – is in crisis. Most Americans now turn first to the Internet for their news, but almost every source is controlled by the Establishment.

What’s left for freedom? Only independent news sources like Restoring Liberty. But we cannot continue to exist without your generous help. Please donate HERE to fund us in the coming year.

Years ago, before the fascists at Google banned advertising on our website, Restoring Liberty was able to help cover basic costs through our ads. Now, we are totally dependent on you and our limited sponsors for financial support.

And this is the first time in a year that we’ve asked you, one of our loyal readers, to directly help fund Restoring Liberty. We are asking that you donate whatever you can to help us continue to aggressively push the Liberty agenda in 2019.

Although most of those working on Restoring Liberty are purely volunteers, we do pay one lead editor a small monthly stipend, pay our mail service several hundred dollars per month, and have other substantial expenses including Internet server fees, cloud hosting, and other costs. Please help us meet our expenses for the coming months HERE.

Your investment in Restoring Liberty will result in solid returns for liberty-minded Americans. Millions of page views each year continue to be produced by Restoring Liberty. Only your financial support makes this possible. Please donate $50, $100, or even $500 HERE today.

May God bless you in the coming year,

Joe and Kathleen
Publishers, Restoring Liberty

INCREDIBLE PHOTOS: Major 7.0 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Anchorage, Alaska, Felt Statewide; Massive Damage

(Image credit: Facebook) According to the United States Geological Service, Anchorage was struck by a major 7.0 magnitude earthquake. The epicenter was just a little less than 8 miles to the north of Anchorage and was relatively shallow, less than 20 miles down.

A tsunami warning also issued for the Kenai and other areas on the coast, but was subsequently canceled.

(Facebook)

On Facebook, longtime Alaskans are reporting that this was the worst-felt earthquake since the gargantuan 9.2 magnitude, 1964 earthquake that struck the 49th state.

(Facebook)

Some say it was almost as bad as ’64: “Folks this shaker was like the one in 64. Just not as long. Stay safe.”

(Facebook, Anchorage)

One lifetime Alaskan from Anchorage reported, “Prayers would be much appreciated. We just experienced the worst earthquake of my life and our house is trashed. We have 4 little very scared kids, too …”

(Facebook, Wasilla)

One Alaskan from Wasilla said, “Checking in after the biggest earthquake I’ve ever felt. All of my children are also safe. Power is out, broken stuff every where at home, I’m sure it’s the same at the shop and at the market we’re setting up for the weekend. I’ve heard most people have property damage and there’s a tsunami warning as well as aftershocks.”

(Facebook, Anchorage)

The quake was so intense, many Alaskans feared for their lives: “It’s been about 20 minutes since we experienced the biggest earthquake in my memory and I’m still sitting under my desk with three terrified boys. Not gonna lie – I wasn’t sure we’d all make it. But we did and now waiting to see what the tsunami warning turns into. Hope you all are ok!”

(Joe Miller’s nephew at his school in Anchorage)

Damage reports are also pouring in: “7.2 magnitude earthquake in AK. Broken pipes, bridges, no power… Praying for everyone there!!!!”

(broken water main, Anchorage)

Another Alaskan exclaimed, “Holy Moly … that was the biggest quake we’ve ever experienced…. the house is a mess with all the things that fell. Everyone safe out there?”

(Facebook, Carrs grocery, Anchorage)

Major aftershocks are continuing to rock the area, with a 5.8 hitting two miles from Anchorage, and a series of 4+ magnitude quakes hitting north of Alaska’s biggest city.

(Editor’s note: The United States Geological Service initially pegged the earthquake at 6.7, and an Australian station marked it at 7.2. USGS has since confirmed that it was a 7.0 magnitude earthquake.)

(Facebook, Eagle River)

Anchorage Battered Women’s Shelter Is Being Investigated for Turning Away a Drunk, Injured Man

A battered women’s shelter in Anchorage, Alaska, is being investigated by the city’s Equal Rights Commission because it didn’t allow a drunk man, who came to the shelter after hours and was bleeding from an injury, to sleep in the same room as women.

Attorneys speaking on behalf of the Downtown Hope Center have repeatedly stated this man, who identifies as a woman, was not turned away because of his gender, but was sent to a hospital that night in January to get the medical treatment he needed. Shelter officials even paid for his cab fare to ensure that his wounds could be treated in a timely fashion. Yet the commission is investigating the shelter’s actions, arguing that it violated a city ordinance that was amended in 2015 to include a prohibition on discrimination based on “sexual orientation and gender identity to the grounds of discrimination.”

The Hope Center serves meals, gives away clothing, and offers job skills to both men and women during the daytime hours, but at night offers a space for women, many of whom have suffered from sexual and physical abuse at the hands of men, a safe space to spend the night.

Attorneys at the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the faith-based women’s shelter, say the ordinance specifically exempts shelters from having to comply with the amended version of the ordinance, which means the Hope Center has not broken any laws. (Read more from “Anchorage Battered Women’s Shelter Is Being Investigated for Turning Away a Drunk, Injured Man” HERE)

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Did Alaska GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Mike Dunleavy Promise to Keep Joe Miller Out of State Government in Exchange for Establishment Support?

This past week, “Must Read Alaska,” an Establishment-controlled website, suggested that the Alaska GOP nominee for governor had received mainline Republican support -specifically, Lisa Murkowski’s – in exchange for certain promises. Such promises supposedly included commitments “that Joe Miller won’t be allowed in state government” and that Mike Dunleavy would make “no attack on Planned Parenthood or other women’s reproductive health providers.”

Restoring Liberty, of course, immediately reached out to the Dunleavy campaign for comment. Mike Dunleavy’s response was unequivocal: “There have been absolutely no deals. No discussion of deals. No insinuation of deals. She does what she wants to do and so do I.”

So why the rumor? It’s probably just another sorry effort to help Mark Begich into power by peeling off “Joe Miller” voters concerned that Dunleavy has cut a deal with the devil.

It’s a sure-to-fail tactic. Senator Dunleavy’s past financial support for Joe Miller’s U.S. Senate campaign against Murkowski as well as his repeated statements of support for positions espoused by Miller – especially regarding preservation of the PFD and Life – reflect his commitment to the People.

Could it all be a charade? Sure, only the Lord knows the heart. But every indicator is that Mike is one of us. Make sure your vote counts this Tuesday.

Alaska Race: After Walker Withdraws, New Poll Says Race Is a Veritable Toss-Up

A new poll on the Alaska gubernatorial race shows that it could be an extremely tight race between Republican candidate Mike Dunleavy and Democrat Mark Begich.

Incumbent Gov. Bill Walker (I) withdrew from the race last week just days after Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott (D) abruptly resigned from office amid confessions that he’d made unspecified “inappropriate comments” to an unspecified person.

Walker said he opted to withdraw from the race because he felt Begich would have better odds of beating Dunleavy, who had been leading in several polls.

“This week I have talked to many Alaskans to determine whether I or Mark Begich had a better chance of running a competitive race against Mike Dunleavy,” Walker said. “The determination was made that, at this point, Begich has the better odds. Alaskans deserve a competitive race.” . . .

In a two-way race between Dunleavy and Begich, Dunleavy would receive 54.5 percent of the vote, Begich would receive 40.8 percent of the vote, and 4.6 percent of respondents would be undecided. (Read more from “Alaska Race: After Walker Withdraws, New Poll Says Race Is a Veritable Toss-Up” HERE)

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