Bright, shiny objects: Rescues, jobs, a missing precinct - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, September 18, 2021
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Bright, shiny objects: Rescues, jobs, a missing precinct

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Avirgan, screenshot.

Jody Avirgan, screenshot.


FiveThirtyEight podcaster comes to Juneau. Gets stuck on mountain. Is rescued. Tweets about it: “It was quite an ordeal. We can’t say enough about how impressive the rescue operations folks were. Ever grateful.”

Jody Avirgan, who is a broadcasting host for the political pollster and prognosticator website of Nat Silver, was in Juneau this week for kayaking and other soft adventures that probably involved folks from KTOO, the local NPR station.

Avirgan was hiking with a companion from New York, who apparently left the trail on Mount Roberts, which is Juneau’s most accessible climb. The companion could not navigate the steep terrain, so Juneau Mountain Rescue and the SEADOGS were flown to the area by Temsco Helicopters. The two New Yorkers were escorted to safety.

Argivan has that NPR voice on his podcasts; we know this because we stuck with one of the tapings for a full four minutes before it became too intellectually steep and we had to be rescued by our dogs.


Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in July, unchanged from June. The national unemployment rate was 4.9 percent, same as the previous month, and Alaska has the highest unemployment rate of the 50 states.

The highest area of unemployment in the state is in the Kusilvak Census Area, formerly known as the Wade Hampton Census Area, where more than 23 percent of the employable population is jobless.

Alaska employment dropped  1.3 percent in July compared to 2015. Oil, gas, construction and professional services took the biggest hit. Health care jobs grew substantially. State jobs are reported to be down, but Juneau’s joblessness actually decreased from 4.2 percent in July, 2015, to 4 percent in July, 2016.


Alaska has highest unemployment in nation.

Alaska has highest unemployment in nation.


Nearly three days after the polls closed, the small village of Mekoryuk has yet to turn in its vote totals to the Division of Elections. Of the 31 precincts in House District 38, 30 of them have reported and have given Zach Fansler a huge lead over incumbent Bob Herron, 1099 to 839 votes. Both are Democrats.

The Alaska Democratic Party targeted Herron for removal because he was part of the bipartisan majority, which is mainly Republicans.

Mekoryuk has 147 registered voters. No results are listed on the Division of Elections web site as of 3 pm Friday.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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