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Cop Draws on Divine Backup in Anchorage Streets

Luke Bowe can’t guarantee that you’ll sleep at night, but, Lord willing, he does his best to keep you and your neighbors safe as an officer with the Anchorage Police Department. Unfortunately, there’s plenty of work for Bowe, 37, and the nightlives of others often take him to the ragged edges of humanity during the course of his 12-hour shift.

The tall, lean officer — married with three young children — is on duty the night of Anchorage’s first appreciable snowfall. He pulls away from the APD headquarters and leaves the brightly lit parking lot behind. An array of electronics hangs from his headliner, and his armrest is crowded with a locking vertical rack that holds his AR-15 rifle and a shotgun at the ready.

OUTSIDE THE SAFE ZONE

The screen of his laptop refreshes every few seconds with updated information, as the radio blares incessantly with the voice of a dispatcher and officers responding to calls of sexual assault, violations to restraining orders, domestic violence, gunshots to a vehicle, people lying on the highway.

By any measure there is a lot going down. But most Anchorage residents live in a protected sphere, rarely if ever encountering what Bowe and his fellow officers face as they drive through residential areas in response to calls.

“It’s our job to make it so people can go to bed and not see all of that,” he said.

In his nine years with the APD, he has had to break up countless domestic and public disturbances, haul inebriates to the warmth of shelters, discover dead bodies and everything else under the rubric of keeping the law. He has been shot at twice, been spit upon, threatened with every imaginable weapon. More than a few times he has had to tighten down on the trigger of his own gun in the sober task of taking down a gunman who’s threatening harm to fellow officers.

‘SPIRITUAL READINESS’

Night after night Bowe shoulders the duel task of enforcing the law and offering compassion, the demands of which often find him using words of consolation and handcuffs during the same household visit.

The most severe crimes demand drawing from within himself to treat hardened criminals with the same respect as any other citizen. That’s where his Catholic faith provides perspective.

“Were it not for my faith,” Bowe said, “this would be a pretty bad job.”

He and 380 other officers sworn into duty with APD have committed to protecting the safety of Anchorage’s civilians. In upholding the law, several of his colleagues and a first cousin have paid the ultimate price through the years.

That the possibility of death lurks but a radio call away provides impetus for “maintaining a spiritual readiness,” said Bowe, a cradle Catholic. In addition to keeping his spiritual life aimed at eternity he said he embraces a strong sense of resignation to God’s will. So far that arrangement has worked out well and he returns each morning to his wife Lisa, 36, son Leo, 4, and daughters Regina, 2, and Yvette, 8 months.

“God knows when it’s my time to go,” Bowe reflected.

Equally daunting in the spiritual health of a Catholic cop is the split-second decision to use deadly force to take the life of another. Involved in more than one shootout during his tenure with APD, he has not had to pull the trigger on a killing shot. Still, he well remembers his first time being among officers who did.

“The first thought that went through my mind was for the repose of his soul,” Bowe recalled, adding that he prays for perpetrators in crimes of all kinds.

DIVINE GRACE AMID EXCRUCIATING PAIN

“When you respond to a sexual assault call and (the perpetrator) turns out to be a relative (of the victim), seeing Jesus in any way, shape or form can be difficult,” he said. “Or when somebody with an alcohol addiction hits the bottom of the bottle, and I pick them up and they’re cursing me and urinating all over themselves in the back seat of my patrol car it can be hard to find Jesus.”

“They’re not Jesus in their actions,” Bowe observed, “but they are the image and likeness of Christ.”

He has responded to much worse: “I think across the board most of us would agree that a baby not breathing is the most difficult call,” he said. “We deal with the loss of life all the time; that’s a natural occurrence on the job, but when you arrive and it’s a baby there isn’t going to be anything optimistic to come out of that.”

He explained that in cases where caregivers or parents are not perpetrators and there has been no crime, the line of questioning can be excruciatingly painful.

“It’s bad enough that these poor people have just lost their baby, and then I have to ask a bunch of questions that makes it sound like they are suspects in a homicide.”

While it’s no secret that the night-to-night intensity of the work causes some police officers and other emergency workers to burn out and quit their jobs — or find less-than-healthy ways to cope with stress — Bowe relies on his connections with God and the saints to provide courage, wisdom and strength on his patrols.

“It’s God’s support that I get from him,” he said. “I think that there are definitely graces we get from those who are interceding for us in heaven.”

As for Bowe’s days off, you’ll find him singing in Holy Family Cathedral’s schola choir or serving as lector, attending eucharistic adoration, participating in a Catholic men’s group and spending time with his young family.

At 5 a.m. the calls coming from the dispatcher diminish in frequency, and at one point there is an eerie silence of several minutes. Bowe explains that Anchorage’s nightlife is winding down and that the majority of dispatcher calls will involve motor vehicle accidents with the coming of commuters in the new day.

He parks the cruiser, flips open his notepad and finishes typing up the night’s reports. It will be daylight soon. He will park the cruiser, head home for some rest and patrol the same streets the next night. (For more from the author of “Cop Draws on Divine Backup in Anchorage Streets” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Did Social Issues Sink Republican in Anchorage Mayoral Race?

Alaska_flag_mapOne of the most important and yet difficult things to do in our faith journey is to trust God in all circumstances. Elections come and go but His purposes are never thwarted. It often takes loss to bring that in to clarity.

The numbers on the scoreboard Tuesday were obviously a disappointment for those of us living in the Anchorage area. At the same time, what happens here often has a rippling effect throughout the state so all Alaskans were impacted. The fact is Amy Demboski was always the underdog on this playing field, as measured by fund-raising and name familiarity.

But I am grateful that Amy entered this campaign, because she gave Anchorage voters a clear, conservative alternative to an opponent who basically seemed to be running for the 3rd term of Mark Begich.

Thankfully, Amy will remain on the Anchorage Assembly – and her role there will be even more crucial, as a conservative check against the liberal agenda of Ethan Berkowitz. I believe that Amy Demboski has a bright future ahead of her in local politics. Expect to see bumper stickers in the near future: “Don’t blame me! I voted for Demboski.”

Though the outcome was a disappointment, I’m indeed proud of the independent campaign that Alaska Family Action undertook to help a conservative candidate for mayor. I’m especially grateful to all of the donors and volunteers of AFA who made that effort possible.

Perhaps you’ve heard this saying from Teddy Roosevelt:

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

That’s a good thought to embrace in the realm of political campaigns. Over the last eight years, AFA has been involved in numerous political campaigns, for issues and candidates alike. We’ve won more than we’ve lost – but make no mistake, we know the taste of both victory and defeat.

At the beginning of each campaign, we always start with the knowledge that the outcome is affected by a hundred different variables – and only a few of them are within our control. But the essential truth is: for those variables that we can control, we have a moral responsibility to engage. You give it 100 percent of your time and energy, you leave no stone unturned, you strive for excellence. And then the rest is in God’s hands.

I predict one of the accusations that will be made is that Amy Demboski lost the race because she and her supporters focused too much on “controversial” social issues. As usual, this is a one-sided analysis.

Andrew Halcro, when he ran the Anchorage Chamber, was constantly grandstanding about how pro-gay he was – yet nobody ever accused him of being “obsessed” with social issues. When Halcro lost the Mayoral race on April 7, did anyone in the liberal media say, “Oh, he lost the race because he was crazy-liberal on social issues?” Of course not. Such thoughts are not in keeping with the liberal narrative of reality. Yet there is no question that social conservatives avoided voting for Halcro precisely because of his liberal record, and that lack of support was decisive in causing him not to make the run-off election.

What about Ethan Berkowitz? He was endorsed by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s No. 1 abortion profiteer, and he was also endorsed by a local gay rights organization, precisely because he opposed the will of 57 percent of Anchorage voters who rejected Proposition 5. Berkowitz proclaimed, “I would like to be the first Anchorage mayor to officiate a gay wedding.” Wow – does that kind of rhetoric indicate that you’re too obsessed with social issues? Not in the view of the liberal media. You only get branded as being “obsessed” with social issues if you come down on the conservative side.

Let’s not forget Dan Coffey. Remember him? The guy who entered the race first, spent more money than everyone else, and finished dead last among the major candidates. The Republican establishment rallied around Coffey as the “electable” candidate who had the best chance of winning. Oh yes, and Coffey studiously ignored the social issues – isn’t that what “smart” candidates are supposed to do?

Coffey proclaimed at one debate, “My politics is fiscal conservatism. On social issues, what you do and how you do it is your own business. It’s not a concern of the government.” Ah yes – music to the Establishment’s ears. Yet Coffey struggled mightily to finish with barely more than 14 percent of the vote. Did you recall anyone in the political “chattering class” saying that maybe Coffey lost because he ignored social issues – thereby losing the votes of both social conservatives and social liberals? Not a chance. That would require discerning reality in a novel way, and many in the liberal media and the Republican Establishment have proven themselves incapable of doing that.

So the bottom line is: be wary of all the political “spin” that you will hear in the coming days, especially as it relates to social issues. The primary reasons that Ethan Berkowitz won this election is because he had a 2 to 1 fundraising advantage, an adoring local media, and higher name ID from running three previous statewide campaigns and serving 10 years in the Legislature. (See “Did Social Issues Sink Republican in Anchorage Mayoral Race?”, originally posted HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

It’s Time for Ethan Berkowitz to Man Up! [+video]

ethan_b-300x300Politics is notorious for dirty tricks. But the one Ethan Berkowitz and his team pulled off last week, with the full cooperation of the mainstream media, takes the cake.

The Tuesday April 28th edition of the Bernadette Live show on KFQD was guest hosted by the former morning host Casey Reynolds. What Reynolds didn’t disclose at the time was that his long-time girlfriend was a paid staffer of the Berkowitz campaign.

Two days earlier, Anchorage Baptist Temple pastor Jerry Prevo had publicly called Ethan Berkowitz out for his public stance on gay marriage, and more particularly for comments he made on KFQD regarding his libertine views back in the fall of 2014.

During that broadcast, the Democrat mayoral candidate went so far as to say that it was alright with him if a father wanted to marry his own son as long as they were consenting adults. But at the time Jerry Prevo raised the question about Berkowitz’s statement, no one seemed to have the podcast of the radio show in question.

What came next is one of the most sinister political stunts I have ever seen.

Reynolds invited Anchorage mayoral candidate Amy Demboski on the show, purportedly to talk about the mayor’s race and her vision for the economic future of the Municipality.

But it appears Reynolds’ primary motive was to ambush Demboski with the incest question in an attempt to divide her base and exonerate Berkowitz.

The problem is, Demboski didn’t cooperate. Instead she affirmed that she too had heard the conversation in question, and wouldn’t presume to speak for Berkowitz.

Repeatedly, Reynolds pushed Demboski to affirm that Ethan Berkowitz didn’t really mean what he said. She continued to decline and referred Reynolds to Berkowitz for an interpretation of his own comments. Reynolds responded by accusing Demboski of implying that Berkowitz approved of incest.

The next day, Alaska Dispatch News ran a story with the headline “Demboski stuns radio host by implying opponent might approve of incest.” It was a complete fabrication.

Until the Reynolds interview, Amy Demboski had never mentioned Ethan Berkowitz’ obscene comments, and declined to editorialize on them when they did come up.

Fast forward five days. Berkowitz’ co-host on that fateful October day has now come out with an op-ed affirming that Ethan did indeed make the comments, the station manager at KFQD, Joe Campbell, has also confirmed that the conversation happened, and a number of other witnesses who recall hearing it have come forward.

And now, a copy of the podcast has found its way into the public sphere.

But the media continues to coddle Berkowitz, refusing to demand answers. A KTVA guest columnist on Sunday evening even went so far as to call his conduct in the campaign “gentlemanly.”

How is it gentlemanly to sit silently by while someone else is punished for your crimes? For days, Berkowitz was silent while Amy Demboski was pummeled by the media and subjected to verbal abuse on social media just for having the audacity to admit she heard the Berkowitz conversation, and refusing to comment on it.

The truth is, Ethan Berkowitz dragged the public through the gutter, and blamed Demboski for it.

Berkowitz has serially sought to mislead the public by deflecting, saying only that he wasn’t going to dignify the question with an answer.

When finally Berkowitz was forced out of the closet by his co-host, he would only say that he does not support father-son marriages, calling the substance of his earlier comments on talk radio an “obscene accusation.”

On the May 4th edition of Bernadette Live, Mr. Berkowitz opined, “It’s incredibly sad that people put me in a position where I have to deny things that are false and obscene, but those accusations are false and obscene.”

But who made the accusation? According to witnesses – and now the podcast itself – it obviously came out of Ethan Berkowitz’ own mouth. Not only is Ethan Berkowitz not squaring with the public, he has compounded his error by feigning virtue.

And that gentlemanly thing – apparently marriage isn’t the only thing he wants to redefine.

Where I grew up, a gentleman acted out of noble motives, took personal responsibility, and told the truth.

Ethan Berkowitz has missed the mark on all counts. Not only has he failed to do the right thing, he has sought to transfer the blame for his own words to his opponent.

It’s not for Amy to defend Ethan’s indefensible comments, as the media would have her do. Nor is it her responsibility to absolve him, as though she had the power to do it.

It’s time for Ethan Berkowitz to stop hiding behind Amy Demboski’s skirt, man up, and take responsibility for his own actions. The public deserves an explanation.

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Surprise: Anchorage Mayoral Candidate Ethan Berkowitz Really Did Support Disgusting Father-Son Marriage

Ethan_BerkowitzOn Sunday, April 26th, Dr. Jerry Prevo, the pastor at Anchorage Baptist Temple, made the comment that Ethan Berkowitz had once said on his radio show that he ‘would not be opposed to a father marrying his own son.’

Roughly 24 hours later, the fill-in for my radio show on KFQD asked candidate for mayor, Amy Demboski, to comment on Pastor Prevo’s statement.

Laying in bed with a newborn in my arms, my phone began to ring – family, friends and media outlets… ‘Ethan Berkowitz was co- hosting the show with you, you were there. Is it true?’

It was a debate I had preferred not to engage in, but a conversation I remember well and a day I will never forget.

It was Monday, Oct. 13, 2014, Columbus Day. The topic was same-sex marriage. As I sparred with my co–host Ethan Berkowitz, I brought up the topic of incest. If the argument against incest was grounded in reproduction, and if reproduction was not a consideration in a same-sex marriage, then could a father marry his son?

Yes, a father should be able to marry his son, Mr. Berkowitz informed me. Surely, I thought, he could not be serious. Mr. Berkowitz went on to explain that ‘love is love’ and if it is through a marriage that a father felt he could best provide for, and exemplify his love for his son, then who are we to judge?

After more of an explanation than I could possibly wrap my thoughts around, I interrupted him and suggested he was crazy. Not appreciating the interruption or the labeling of his judgment, my co-host, who had been a friend and confidant, got up and walked out of the studio. It was a conversation I remember well and a day I will never forget.

To be clear, we were not talking about pedophilia. We were talking about a hypothetical regarding two grown men.

Individuals will draw their own conclusions and assign motivations. Did Mr. Berkowitz mean it? Did he get too far ahead of himself? Did he choose his words poorly? Those are questions Mr. Berkowitz must answer.

I don’t doubt that the audio file from that day’s radio show has been captured. And if and when it is released, you might just realize, Mr. Berkowitz’s comment, ‘I’m not going to dignify that with a response’, probably says and explains it all right there, perhaps even better than any audio.

The comments that Mr. Berkowitz made on Oct. 13, 2014, belong to him – and only he is in a position to explain them. It is not ‘politics of personal destruction’ nor should it be below him to offer clarity to voters regarding any issue, his values or his thought process.

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Bernadette Wilson is an Anchorage talk radio host.

Joe Miller-Endorsed Amy Demboski Pulls it Off, Will Face Liberal Berkowitz in Run-Off Election for Anchorage Mayor

Amy Demboski-Campaign photoWith 99% of the ballots counted in the Anchorage mayoral race, Amy Demboski and Ethan Berkowitz are the top two vote getters and will face a run-off election in May as neither candidate passed the 45% threshold to win outright.

Ms. Demboski, a current Anchorage Assembly member, and Mr. Berkowitz, a former Democratic state legislator, are near-polar opposites with respect to a number of political issues. Anchorage voters will have a clear choice between a strong advocate for limited government and fiscal restraint versus a traditional, big government liberal.

On election night, Ms. Demboski stated that, “I truly believe the people of Anchorage were galvanized behind a truly fresh message. It’s going to be either big government and more taxes or less government and lower taxes.”

Mr. Berkowitz (37%) was endorsed by liberal Mark Begich in the race. One of Ms. Demboski’s (24%) first endorsements was from conservative firebrand Joe Miller, former U.S. Senate candidate.

The other top vote getters, Andrew Halcro (22%) and Dan Coffey (15%), were both registered Republicans but were not considered traditional conservatives. Halcro, who won a miniscule portion of the statewide vote in his bid for governor several years ago, has aligned himself with leftist issues and politicians for years, while ex-lobbyist and former assembly member Coffey had only been a registered Republican since this past January.

Undoubtedly, this will be a challenging race for Ms. Demboski. Given the low turnout anticipated in the run-off election, Ms. Demboski’s get-out-the-vote effort will be critical, and she must retain and expand her conservative base.

Anchorage Mayoral Candidate Open Carries, Catches Sign Vandal [+videos]

On Friday evening, Anchorage mayoral candidate Amy Demboski encountered an apparent vandal preparing to destroy one of her 4×8 campaign signs.

What happened next may surprise you.

The 38 year-old Assemblywoman confronted the would-be perpetrator, despite the fact that he was obviously aggressive, and armed with a box cutter.

[Editor’s note: the first part of the video includes surveillance footage of the vandal. Watch until the end for pictures of the destroyed and defaced signs]

What the video may not show clearly is the reason why the vandal may have thought better of carrying out his plan.

Demboski was exercising her right to open carry. I bet the press didn’t tell you that.

Here’s the evidence, a photo taken by someone who witnessed Demboski talking with the police on site.

Amy Sign and Gun

Anchorage Police are investigating, and have apparently pressed charges.

Listen to why Joe Miller and other conservatives are supporting Amy Demboski for mayor:

UPDATE: There is some confusion as to whether mayoral candidate Amy Demboski actually drew her gun during the confrontation with the apparent sign vandal. During this interview today, Ms. Demboski confirmed that the gun remained holstered, and was never drawn or touched during the encounter.

Man Dies From 1,000 Foot Fall in Alaska

Alaska State Troopers say an Oregon man died while climbing Mount Yukla.

Dasan Marshall of Portland, Oregon, was climbing with a friend Sunday when he fell about 1,000 feet, troopers said.

Because of the terrain in the Chugach Mountains about 6 miles from the Eagle River Nature Center, a helicopter was used to recover Marshall’s body. The body was taken to the state medical examiner’s office.

No foul play was suspected. (Read more about the man who died from the 1,000 foot fall in Alaska HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Not a Day Below Zero in Anchorage this Year

Photo Credit: Mark Newman Stock Connection Worldwide/Newscom

Photo Credit: Mark Newman Stock Connection Worldwide/Newscom

The coldest it has been on this day in Anchorage, Alaska, since 1954 is 20 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. The coldest it has been on New Year’s Eve in that same time period is even colder: -25. But this year, the lows are expected to be 33 and 27 degrees respectively — meaning that 2014 will be the first year on record that the temperature didn’t drop below zero.

As Alaska Dispatch News notes, the last time the temperature was below zero (again: in Fahrenheit) was Dec. 26, 2013. That was the tail end of a cold snap, of the kind not uncommon in winter — particularly in Alaska. But ever since, temperatures have been above zero according to readings taken at the airport, with low temperatures reaching zero only once, on February 11.

Complete annual records from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration begin on Jan. 1, 1954. Since then, the number of days Anchorage went below zero each year has dropped from an average of 33.2 in the 1960s to 16 in the 2000s. The year with the second-fewest below-zero days was 2002. (Read more on how there wasn’t one day below zero in Anchorage, Alaska HERE)

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Temps plunge U.S. into deep freeze, with snow for Las Vegas

By Mark Guarino. As colder-than-average temperatures locked large swaths of the United States into a deep freeze Tuesday, snow was likely in an unlikely place – Las Vegas. . .

The NWS said Las Vegas temperatures fell below freezing Monday and would continue through Thursday at an average low of 30 degrees. Up to 3 inches of snow was expected by Tuesday night.

“Many tourists who come to Las Vegas may be unprepared for the true winter-like conditions this storm could bring with it,” the NWS said in a statement. “Travel conditions could be difficult, if not impossible, on area roads.”

Las Vegas does not have snowplows but the Nevada Department of Transportation said it has six snowplows at the ready if the snow poses a significant threat to roads. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is expecting about 340,000 visitors for New Year’s Eve celebrations, it said. (Read more from this story HERE)

Follow Joe Miller at Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Anchorage Tea Party Endorses Joe Miller for U.S. Senate

Photo Credit: National Review

Photo Credit: National Review

Today Joe Miller announced that the Anchorage Tea Party has endorsed his candidacy for United States Senate. The group’s endorsement reads in full:

“Although all three Republican candidates are saying things we want to hear, ATP believes that Joe Miller is the only one who can be trusted to take action consistent with his promises.”

“While all of the three Republican candidates will be more attuned to ATP values and principles than is the incumbent, ATP is not convinced that their values and principles will not “evolve” over time. Mr. Miller, in all respects, has consistently demonstrated that he will not accede to globalist and corporate pressure to go along to get along.”

“ATP sincerely believes that Mr. Miller is the best person to represent the State of Alaska in the United States Senate. ATP is convinced that Joe Miller is one of us, the People, who will take his oath of office to defend and support the Constitution very seriously and bear true faith and allegiance to the same to remove the yoke of an overreaching elitist government from the People it was intended to serve.”

“I am honored by the Anchorage Tea Party’s endorsement of my candidacy and their trust in me to stay true to the principles I espouse,” said Miller. “I am committed to going to Washington and joining those reformers in the Senate and the House, who want to restore our nation to its constitutional foundation, and with that, the liberty and opportunity which have been the birthright of all Americans.”

Explosive Device Found at Anchorage Airport Said to be for Avalanches

Photo Credit: Wonderlane/flickrThe employer of a man whose carry-on bag was found to contain a small explosive device at the Anchorage airport said Monday he was carrying avalanche-control equipment.

The device triggered an hour-long shutdown of security screening at the airport Sunday afternoon.

A statement issued Monday by ConocoPhillips Alaska said the device was for avalanche control and there was no ill will intended.

Conoco spokeswoman Amy Burnett told The Anchorage Daily News (http://bit.ly/1eJKOuv ) she could not release any personal information about the passenger or say if he faces any criminal charges.

Shared Services, a co-venture between Conoco and BP, transports more than 20,000 employees and contract workers between Anchorage, Fairbanks and the North Slope every month, Burnett said.

Read more from this story HERE.