30 September 2014

To See the Northern Lights, Before He Goes Blind

Nine-year-old Ben Pierce of Dallas was born four months early and weighed just 22 ounces.
"We were warned that he may be blind and deaf and have cerebral palsy among some of the other challenges," said his mother, Heidi.

The boy has overcome many challenges but is quickly losing his eyesight, and realizing his vision is worsening, the family decided to create a list of things to see before he is blind.
Alaska was high on the list, and on the trip here he has seen the Aurora and ridden on a dog sled with Iditarod racer Aliy Zirkle.

"It's really beautiful and pretty," Ben said of the Northern Lights. "It's like water colors going across the sky."

The family plans trips to Turner Falls, Oklahoma, to see Native American dancing, and to visit London and Paris next year.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light. ~ Dylan Thomas

29 September 2014

Boozy, Bellicose, Snockered, & Bibulous

Drunk Disturbance- Bartender requested assistance with an uncooperative and highly intoxicated patron who refused to leave the bar. The suspect, who had many choice words for the responding officers, eventually left the area in a taxi.

Suspicious Person/Activity - Second-hand report of a trail of blood in front of the Russian Orthodox Church. An officer followed the trail to its origin on the banks of Iliuliuk River, at which location multiple fishermen and their bleeding catch were observed.

Traffic Crime - Complaint about a vehicle hindering traffic on Raven Way. Officers responded and found that strong winds had blown the vehicle, which had not been placed in “park,” into the roadway.

Drunk Disturbance - Officers responded to a bar regarding a boozy, bellicose patron with a proclivity for other patrons’ drinks. An intoxicated witness who fell face-first from his stool to the floor helped identify the suspect, who had already fled the bar. Officers found the grubby and bloody suspect wandering about the CEM and advised him he could be charged for his behavior at the bar.

Assistance Rendered - Officers responded to the residence at which a snockered sibling had reported that his bibulous brother was “freaking out” and crawling across the floor, and stood by with the creeping, gaseous patient, who refused all offers of assistance, until EMS arrived.

FAA Says Aircraft Mechanics Must Retake Exams

From the Alaska Dispatch News:

According to a formal notice issued last month by the Federal Aviation Administration, all individuals holding mechanic certificates with airframe or powerplant ratings (or both) who were tested by Designated Mechanic Examiner (DME) Marty James Simmons of Anchorage must be re-examined. Simmons' DME designee status was terminated after investigators conducted interviews with "numerous" airframe and powerplant mechanics who received testing from him. The interviews presented compelling evidence raising doubts as to the adequacy of the testing, according to the agency. FAA investigators determined there was "reasonable basis to question whether airmen who received a certificate from Marty Simmons possess the qualifications to hold their certificates."

There were 151 total mechanics affected by the termination of Simmons' DME designation -- approximately 60 of them in Alaska.
... All aircraft the affected mechanics have worked on previously are not affected by this re-examination process. Only if the affected mechanics fail to respond to the letters or subsequently fail their re-examination will they suffer a certificate action that affects their ability to perform work on aircraft.


28 September 2014

Sunday: Earthquake, Survival Kits, and More

We had another, brief earthquake Friday evening around 8pm. The 4.9-magnitude shaker lasted only a few seconds, and most were thinking "aftershock!"

But most were wrong: geologists said it was a different fault line, and in a completely different place from the 6.2 'quake on Thursday.

However, a strong 'quake in one place frequently triggers minor shifts from neighboring faults, so there. :)

* * * * *

Have you ever wondered what an Alaskan should pack in a survival kit? Here's a list from Anchorage's Office of Emergency Management:

1.Water, 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
2. Food, at least a five-seven day supply of non-perishable food
3. Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
4. Flashlight and extra batteries
5. First aid kit
6. Whistle to signal for help
7. Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
8. Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
9. Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
10. Manual can opener for food
11. Local maps
12. Cellphone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Now you know.

* * * * *

Anchorage had a comic-con last weekend. Apparently it's called Senshi-Con - who knew?

You can see some of the cosplay outfits here. And here's a sample:

27 September 2014

A Short Drive in the Mountains

We headed north this time, and stopped first at the Arctic Valley Ski Resort.

At a wide spot in the road, on the way up.


Looking 80 miles to the west toward the the snow-covered Tordrillo Mtns (10,300 ft elevation at highest point) to the left, and Mt. Susitna (the "Sleeping Lady", 4,000 ft, 40 miles west) on the right.
A closer view of the Tordrillos

A view toward the east, still heading uphill

the snow-covered peak in the distance, from the above picture

Later, we stopped at a favorite place: The Pizza Man in Eagle River.

When you're on the road, you must have road food. :)

After lunch, we drove on to Palmer, up the Old Glenn Highway through the farm country, and explored some back roads. Nothing beats a drive through mountain country with my wife for conversation. It was a good day.

And now, to put my feet up and watch Doctor Who.

Come to think of it, it was a very good day!