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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 77,688

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Northern Marianas residents inspire others with their resiliency

Saipan and Tinian residents' tough living conditions now and in the coming weeks and months can be daunting after Supertyphoon Yutu brought devastation to the two islands last week.

Houses, public schools, and power and water infrastructure have been destroyed. Tourism is at a standstill and no regular commercial flights are allowed because of damage to the Saipan International Airport and hotels.

People had to line up for rationed water. Ready-to-eat food is being issued at certain distribution points.

Yet immediately after Yutu left a trail of devastation on the two islands about 120 miles north of Guam, we've seen humanity shine amid the destroyed homes and toppled trees.

There's the small group of residents who banded together and used a chainsaw to remove a tree that blocked a road, allowing a fellow Saipan resident, who had been trying to cut the tree with a machete, to take his mother to the hospital for medical care.

Read more: https://www.postguam.com/forum/editorial/northern-marianas-residents-inspire-others-with-their-resiliency/article_781cb98e-dc0c-11e8-b44c-374fa2e6404d.html

Departing Saipan tourists make room for aid workers

The Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands is working to get resorts and other tourist destinations up and running as soon as possible after the devastation of last week's Supertyphoon Yutu. Wendi Herring, co-chair of the association and general manager of the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan, said hotel operators are taking things one day at a time.

Although the Garapan resort didn't sustain any major damage, she said resorts and hotels located on the southern part of the island did not fare as well and many sustained substantial damage.

"It's a day-by-day process and all of the hotels are working as quickly as they can to restore services," she said. Herring said most of the resorts have backup power and water, "so we are taking care of our staff and our guests that still remain."

Approximately 3,200 tourists were stranded after the storm, but as of Monday only a small portion remained.

Read more: https://www.postguam.com/news/cnmi/departing-saipan-tourists-make-room-for-aid-workers/article_3d3c0332-db4a-11e8-9015-1f08e863fff9.html

Super Typhoon Yutu flattened over 500 homes

The giant monster that was Super Typhoon Yutu was so wide that, at one point, it completely enclosed the Marianas archipelago, pounding the CNMI for over eight hours with maximum sustained winds of over 180 mph and completely destroying over 500 homes, leaving over 1,000 individuals homeless.

Three days later, last Sunday, in an aerial damage assessment by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and CNMI leaders, it was determined that a total of 545 homes across the Marianas have been completely destroyed. A total of 468 homes sustained major damage.

On Saipan, 462 homes were in complete ruins. A total of 317 homes sustained major damage, making them inhabitable.

In a previous interview with John Hirsch, American Red Cross-NMI Chapter executive director, he said that over 900 individuals are in local shelters because their homes were left either completely destroyed or are so badly damaged that they are not habitable.

Read more: https://www.saipantribune.com/index.php/yutu-flattened-over-500-homes/

Zero business for rental cars on Northern Marianas Islands because of Super Typhoon Yutu

The Chevrolet Camaros and Mustang convertibles that were so ubiquitous on Saipan highways are now missing in action after Super Typhoon Yutu.

These convertible cars—with their garishly pink and fluorescent colors—can now only be seen parked and serving as displays after tourist arrivals thinned out in the wake of the Category 5 howler that devastated the island and neighboring Tinian.

“Business is not just slow but zero…I guess the rental car business is going to suffer a big loss until the tourists come back,” said QQ Car Rental president James Han.

“We are looking at one month or a month and a half before tourists come back in numbers and it really depends how soon the airport will resume regular flight operations. If the restoration takes more time, it’s going to be more trouble for us, and for the tourism industry because, once people start changing their destination, we lose,” Han added.

Read more: https://www.saipantribune.com/index.php/zero-business-for-rental-cars/
(please note that I had some difficulty with the link and it may need to be reloaded)

The once robust rental car business in the CNMI is at a complete standstill as the influx of tourists is on a halt as the CNMI continues to recover from the devastation of Super Typhoon Yutu. (Bea Cabrera)

State departments have an eye toward budget hikes

Legislative and governor candidates have vowed across the state to further cut Alaska’s budget, but many state departments drafting their budget requests for the coming fiscal year are going in a different direction.

On Friday, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute became the latest state-supported agency to warn that budget cuts have reached their limit and in some places have gone too far.

In an unusual statement, the public-private partnership said it will be requesting $3.75 million more from the state in the coming year.

“There’s only so much you can do to squeeze down on the role and responsibilities of state government, and as far as others, there’s some departments looking at increments … I guess mostly in programs that will pay long-term benefits,” said Mike Navarre, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce, which controls ASMI’s budget.

Read more: https://www.juneauempire.com/news/state-departments-have-an-eye-toward-budget-hikes/

As Galvin leads money race, spokesman for Rep. Young says he wasn't trying to hurt challenger with

As Galvin leads money race, spokesman for Rep. Young says he wasn’t trying to hurt challenger with handshake

Neither candidate wants the battle for Alaska's U.S. House seat be about a single handshake. Yet as Rep. Don Young runs for re-election for the umpteenth time, the final moments of a recent debate led to the most buzzed about encounter of the campaign.

In a video of the Oct. 19 candidate forum in Anchorage, Galvin can be seen reaching to shake Young's hand. As they make contact, Galvin says "Please don't hurt my hand" and winces, telling Young he hurt her.

Asked about the exchange, Galvin called the handshake a "cheap bully tactic" on Friday but said she does not want to dwell on it. Young campaign spokesman Jerry Hood described Galvin's reaction in the video as "a bad acting job" and said Young intended no harm.

With the election 11 days away, the candidates are fighting for voters' attention amid the topsy-turvy governor's race. Meantime, Galvin's campaign says it has quietly raised the most money of Young's many challengers. Elected in 1973, Young has been in office the longest of all current House members.

Read more: https://www.adn.com/politics/2018/10/27/as-galvin-leads-money-race-spokesman-for-rep-young-says-he-wasnt-trying-to-hurt-challenger-with-handshake/

Hillary Clinton tweets support of Begich in Alaska governor's race

Hillary Clinton tweeted her support Monday for Democrat Mark Begich in the race for Alaska governor.

The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate included Begich in a handful of tweets endorsing Democrats across the country ahead of next week's midterm elections. Clinton mentioned Begich prioritizing "schools, jobs, and affordable health care" if elected.

Oct 29
.@MarkBegich is a dedicated public servant, business owner, and former U.S. senator who has a record of cutting through bureaucracy to get things done for Alaskans. In office, he'll prioritize schools, jobs, and affordable health care.

"In one week, we have the chance to flip 17 governorships from red to blue," Clinton said in a tweet. She endorsed other Democratic candidates in Arizona, New Hampshire, Maine and Michigan.

Clinton's support for Begich came a few days after President Donald Trump tweeted an endorsement for Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunleavy.

Read more: https://www.adn.com/politics/the-trail/2018/10/29/hillary-clinton-tweets-support-of-begich-in-alaska-governors-race/

Alaska hit with largest syphilis outbreak in 40 years

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska health officials have recorded 75 cases of syphilis in the state this year, marking the largest outbreak of the infectious disease in at least four decades.

The Alaska Section of Epidemiology said in an update this week that it has requested help with response efforts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, KTVA-TV reported Wednesday.

The number of cases is the highest reported in the state since at least the 1970s, said Susan Jones, a program manager with the state Division of Public Health.

“It actually can be before that but that’s as far back as we have saved data,” Jones said.

Read more: https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/alaska-records-75-cases-of-syphilis-this-year/

Dunleavy says he'd 'look at eliminating climatologists' from Alaska state budget. A spokesman says

Dunleavy says he’d ‘look at eliminating climatologists’ from Alaska state budget. A spokesman says he misspoke.

In a TV debate last week, Republican candidate for governor Mike Dunleavy said he'd consider cutting "climatologists" from the state budget.

His comment was the most recent of at least three campaign appearances when Dunleavy cited the position of climatologist as something he would look to for cuts.

A campaign spokesman said the candidate misspoke.

The question from KTUU-TV anchor and moderator Mike Ross during the Thursday evening debate was: "In terms of specifics, name one thing that you would cut from the budget?"

Dunleavy responded with several things he would get rid of or consider getting rid of, including that he "would look at eliminating climatologists."

Read more: https://www.adn.com/politics/the-trail/2018/10/30/dunleavy-says-hed-look-at-eliminating-climatologists-from-alaska-state-budget-a-spokesman-says-he-misspoke/

Pro-Walker union money will now go to attack Dunleavy

Whatever became of that pro-Walker union money once the governor dropped out of the race? It's helping to fuel the attacks on Republican candidate Mike Dunleavy.

The independent expenditure group Unite for Walker – which received donations from the AFL-CIO, Teamsters and other unions – has given $255,000 to a group that is funding anti-Dunleavy ads. The Unite For Walker group's total spending from Oct. 22, days after Walker's announcement, to Oct. 26 aimed at opposing a Dunleavy election.

Meantime, the Begich campaign filed its seven-day report showing that the Democratic nominee raised $334,000 between Oct. 6 and Oct. 27. The money comes from about 1,500 individual donors, according to the campaign.

Dunleavy's campaign finance report is due by midnight. The campaign went into the final stretch of the election with about $171,000 cash on hand.

Read more: https://www.adn.com/politics/the-trail/2018/10/30/targeting-dunleavy-democratic-governors-association-injects-500k-into-alaska-race/
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