Heads and Tails: News gleanings from around the state

Statue carver and artist, David Rubin’s rendering of the Seward Statue in front of the Capitol.

SEWARD STATUE TO BE UNVEILED: A bronze statue of William Seward will be unveiled in front of the Capitol at 3 pm on Monday. By all reports, the sculpture is being well received because of its artistry, appropriateness, and because the artist didn’t do cosmetic surgery on Seward, who had suffered from a broken jaw and other disfigurations relating to an attempt on his life by a knife-wielding man. More about the project at the Juneau Community Foundation.

CHIEF LEAVES JPD: Juneau Police Department Chief Bryce Johnson has resigned to take a police chief job in Idaho Falls. Deputy Chief Ed Mercer will serve as interim police chief after Johnson’s last day, July 28. Johnson has been chief in Juneau for four years.

NEW CHIEF IN ANCHORAGE: Anchorage Police Chief Chris Tolley announced in April that he’d be leaving in June, and Justin Doll, previously a captain, has been promoted to chief. Tolley had been chief for two years. Doll served in the U.S. Marine Corps for several years before going into police work.

FUN FOURTH WITH DEM-SOCS: Anchorage Democratic Socialists invite Alaskans to a socialist feminist workshop on Sunday, so they can learn about “Socialist feminism is about more than ending sexism – it is also about ending all interconnected systems of oppression that affect different people in different ways. Join Anchorage DSA in presentations and discussions pertaining to how gender, race, and class privilege are tied to issues of oppression and to collectively organize for liberation for all.”

A great way to spend your Fourth of July weekend?

TRANSGENDER DELAY FOR MILITARY: On Friday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis approved a six-month delay in allowing transgender recruits to join the U.S. armed forces. Under President Barack Obama, the Pentagon ended its ban on openly transgender people serving in the U.S. military and was to allow enlistments this year for recruits who had been “stable” in their new gender for 18 months. That has been pushed back to Jan. 1, 2018. The transgender advocacy community protested the action.

CLIMBING DENALI: The summit rate for Mount Denali has been about 36 percent this year, with 359 people making it to the top of America’s highest mountain as of June 30. There are still 179 climbers on the mountain, according to the National Park Service, but the season will quickly wind down as temperatures warm and conditions deteriorate. In a typical season, about 50 percent of climbers are able to summit.

MURKOWSKI TWEETS TO TRUMP: JUST STOP: Sen. Lisa Murkowski usually has a dozen “likes” and a few “retweets” for her run-of-the-mill Twitter feed. But last week one of her messages went viral. It was obviously aimed at the Commander in Chief, and it was shared over 8,300 times by Saturday.

PERATROVICH COIN: The U.S. Mint will put Elizabeth Peratrovich’s likeness on $1 coins, along with designs honoring a 1945 anti-discrimination law that passed the Territorial Legislature, 20 years before the U.S. Civil Rights Act.

The new coin is scheduled for release in 2020. The Mint will be honoring other Native Americans on coins as well. The final design has yet to be settled on, but one side of the coin will continue to feature Sacagawea, who was a guide for the Lewis and Clark expedition.

WALKER ONBOARD FOR ENERGY DOMINANCE: Gov. Bill Walker, three other governors, and tribal leaders discussed energy issues with President Donald Trump last week. The president spoke for several minutes about the importance of Indian Country and helping tribes get access to resources on their own lands. He returned to the topic of energy dominance.

“I applaud President Trump’s vision for the United States to gain global energy dominance. In order to achieve that goal, it’s important that Alaska has full access to its rich reserves of oil and gas,” Walker said.

There’s no indication as to what he says when alone with his Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, who keeps traveling the state and talking about how we need to get used to the end of oil in Alaska.

MOUNT MARATHON: The 90th running of Mount Marathon in Seward on July 4th must go on, although the 2016 winner, David Norris, runner-up Nick Elson, and Alaska Dispatch News political reporter Nat Herz, who is on crutches, will be skipping this year. (No, not skipping up the mountain.)