Our daughters are celebrating two weeks on their own today; it's a big deal, moving into your first place and setting up housekeeping for the first time.
The local news has been purely of local interest lately, and it's been difficult coming up with anything that interests me, much less folks living elsewhere. But let's see what I can find, today...
* Y'all remember that incident last year where armed EPA officers stormed mining camps east of Fairbanks? This morning, there's this:
The special counsel hired by the state to look into mining investigations conducted last year by federal and state authorities in eastern Alaska found no evidence that investigators broke any laws.
In the report, attorney Brent Cole said task force members — including nine federal agents or investigators and one officer with the state Department of Environmental Conservation — acted appropriately while carrying out their investigation. In reviewing on-site conversations with placer miners taped by the state officer, none of the miners appeared to have been intimidated, though some indicated surprise at how the matter was handled, Cole said. The conversations reviewed were "cordial and friendly," he said.
But Cole questioned the need for a criminal investigation rather than a civil or administrative inquiry, calling it "ill-conceived" and saying it introduced "an unnecessary element of risk" into the process.
"Little if any" civil enforcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or state Department of Environmental Conservation had occurred in the so-called Fortymile area between Eagle and Tok in years past, he said.
"There was no evidence that civil enforcement measures would not have brought about compliance. Nor was there evidence of 'serious and knowing' violations ongoing in the Fortymile area," the report says. "Under the facts provided to us, we were unable to conclude that a criminal compliance inspection was necessary here."
~ snip~ The EPA also disputed the characterization of the action as a raid, saying investigators involved wore "civilian rough-duty field clothing," including jeans and hip waders, and wore bullet-proof vests identifying them as law enforcement. Investigators carried side arms and were either assigned a shotgun or semi-automatic rifle, which EPA said was broken down and carried in a backpack until the last day, when it was carried on a sling.
So the EPA got it's "storm trooper" on, and tried to intimidate miners for no particular reason ... and those of us here remember that there were vague allegations of "we did it because of human trafficking, blah blah" and the like. Now they say it was because of suspicion of improper dredging discharges? Uh-huh.
There seems to be entirely too many incidents where things like this happen, across the country. Others have written far more about this, but let's face it: sooner or later, somebody's going to fire a shot and start a far bigger conflict, over what they now admit was not much of anything.
* And then there's this:
Texas-based paleontologists say they've excavated the fragmented bones of a new pygmy tyrannosaur, a Tyrannosaurus rex relative and the fiercest Arctic predator in northern Alaska.
The 25-foot-long animal was named Nanuqsaurus hoglundi, and its shrunken body, scientists say, suggests adaptation at the top of the world where profound swings in light and plant growth made life a challenge. Its first name means "polar bear lizard," nanuq being the Inupiaq word for polar bear, the modern arctic predator.
I can feel a longer post percolating, but I can't really articulate it yet. Hmm. For whatever reason, I find that I can't put coherent words together unless everything is at peace around me. I have lots of little things (nothing bad) going on, and ... well, if you're a blogger, you know the feeling.