STOW, MA — “This weekend as you change your clocks, check your alarms,” said State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey. “Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can save your life. Replace aging alarms, and unless they have a 10-year sealed battery, replace the alkaline batteries now,” said Ostroskey.Replace Aging Smoke Alarms“Smoke alarms, like other household appliances, don’t last forever,” said Chief Timothy J. Grenno, President of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts. “Every ten years the entire alarm needs to be replaced, not just the batteries.”The state fire code requires replacement battery-operated smoke alarms to have 10-year, sealed, non-replaceable, non-rechargeable batteries in older one- and two-family homes.Manufacturers generally recommend smoke alarms be replaced after ten years and carbon monoxide alarms after 5-7. Newer models with 10-year sealed batteries are designed to last longer and do not require replacement batteries.“Fire officials see too many disabled smoke alarms in fires when people really needed them to work. We hope that if smoke alarms are easier to maintain, people won’t be tempted to disable them,” said Chief Grenno.Time Is Your Enemy in a Fire“Time is your enemy in a fire and working smoke alarms give you precious time to use your home escape plan before poisonous gases and heat make escape impossible,” said Ostroskey. “Remember: smoke alarms are a sound you can live with.”Senior SAFETwo hundred forty-two (242) fire departments across the state have grant-funded Senior SAFE Programs. Seniors who need help testing, maintaining or replacing smoke alarms should contact their local fire department or senior center for assistance.“Four out of every ten of the people who have died in fires last year were over 65,” said Ostroskey. “We want our seniors to be safe from fire in their own homes.”Working Smoke Alarms Are a Sound You Can Live With“No one expects to be a victim of a fire, but the best way to survive one that does occur is to have working smoke alarms,” said Grenno. “Take a few minutes to protect those you love by changing the batteries in your smoke alarms this weekend. Then take a step stool and some 9-volts to your parents or older neighbor’s and ask if you can refresh their smoke alarms.”In the average house fire, there are only 1-3 minutes to escape AFTER the smoke alarm sounds.(NOTE: The above press release is from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedFire Officials Ask People To Change Your Clock, Check Your Alarms This WeekendIn “Government”State Fire Marshal: “Change Your Clock, Change Your Smoke Alarm Battery”In “Government”Massachusetts State Fire Marshal: September Is Campus Fire Safety MonthIn “Police Log”
Others weren’t at all keen on the squirrel at all. Although climate change is rapidly destroying the biodiversity of the planet, wiping out adorable species like the Bramble Cay Melomys and pushing others, like the northern white rhino, to the very edge, the Malabar giant squirrel is ranked as species of “least concern”.Hopefully that means we will be seeing a lot more of the tricolored forest wonders in the future. I just learned about these giant Malabar Squirrels that are so colorful! I’ll bet their fellow squirrels think they’re AMAZING! pic.twitter.com/DJ87piDh24— AlesiaXO (@AlesiaXOXOXO) April 3, 2019 Malabar giant squirrels are my new queer icon. pic.twitter.com/6fpElnrZvX— Jacob J. Erickson (@jacobjerickson) April 3, 2019 Can we splice giant Malabar squirrel genes into humans, so I can stop paying to turn my hair these colors? https://t.co/QD3hbyGKeu— Seanan McGuire (@seananmcguire) April 2, 2019 How have I only just heard about the Indian Malabar giant squirrel. I thought it was a late April fools photoshopped image pic.twitter.com/k4qdxtFN7n— rowen (@row3n_) April 3, 2019 Of course, that could be because we’ve just past April Fools’ Day and there have been a ton of sneaky hoaxes that caught us off-guard. Share your voice Getty/iqbalsiddiqui Step aside, cute cats that play piano. The internet has a new viral sensation: The Indian giant squirrel.The squirrel is a three-tone behemoth native to the forests of India — and now entirely adored by Twitter. It can grow to around 14 inches in length, which is just a little smaller than a full grown cat and can jump to a height of around 20 feet. It’s got all the necessary features required to become an internet icon.And so, after an amateur wildlife photographer’s snaps caught fire online, the squirrel has done just that.Kaushik Vijayan was trekking through the Indian forest when he spotted the creatures in their technicolor dream coats, posting images to his Instagram account. Although they were originally posted in 2018, media distributor South West News Service posted them to Twitter on Tuesday.Suddenly Viyajan’s snaps of the furry red, blue and gold flyers are everywhere. Tags 15 creatures that could disappear with Great Barrier Reef Squirrels, in turns out, come in rainbow colors. India’s Malabar squirrel makes the world a more beautiful place.#squirrels pic.twitter.com/P3pTnWgYA9— Dr. SunWolf (@WordWhispers) April 3, 2019 0 15 Photos Vijayan told CBS News he found the squirrel “drop-dead gorgeous” and that he was “overwhelmed” by the response that his photos were receiving. The responses on Twitter have largely been unadulterated joy, because it’s simply wonderful such a thing exists in this cruel, cold world.The squirrel isn’t an incredibly new discovery — in fact, they appear in early classification records of mammals by German naturalist Johann Erxeleben from 1777 and several subspecies have been discovered in the past two centuries. Still, they’re a surprise to many and an icon to others. Post a comment Nope RT @nypost: Multicoloured Malabar Giant Squirrel photographed in India https://t.co/WRqhN5cHV7 pic.twitter.com/6lZXHLBj2Z— ✨Princesa✨ (@AyeeMami001) April 3, 2019 Online
Comments Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar says threats against her life have increased since President Trump shared a video that appeared to show Omar using flippant language to describe the 2001 terrorist attacks. Getty Images Twitter allowed tweets threatening Rep. Ilhan Omar’s life to remain publicly visible on the platform over the weekend so law enforcement could investigate them.Omar said Sunday that threats against her have increased since President Donald Trump shared a video Friday that purports to show the Muslim congresswoman being dismissive of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The video coupled her comments from a recent speech in which she said “some people did something” with images of the hijacked airplanes striking the World Trade Center.Twitter typically removes tweets that violate its terms of service when they’re reported, but the social media platform temporarily left the tweets up to aid potential law enforcement investigation of the tweets, a person familiar with the matter said, confirming a BuzzFeed report. Capitol Hill police are investigating the threatening tweets, the source said.”Death threats, incitement to violence and hateful conduct are absolutely unacceptable on Twitter,” a Twitter spokesperson said. “Accounts spreading this type of material will be removed and coupled with our proactive engagement, we continue to encourage people to report this content to us. This behavior undermines freedom of expression and the values our service is based on.”For some time, critics of Twitter have attacked the social network over a perceived failure to respond quickly and appropriately to reports of troubling tweets and harassment on the site. At the end of 2017, after a #WomenBoycottTwitter protest, the company overhauled its rules on how it handles abusive behavior.However, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told Congress last year that Twitter should’ve acted faster to remove a doctored image that had appeared on the site the previous week, following Sen. John McCain’s funeral. The tweet showed a gun pointed at McCain’s daughter while she wept over her father’s casket.Some considered the “some people did something” comment to be disrespectful or flippant language to describe the terrorist attacks. But Omar’s comment quoted in the tweet actually came from a speech before the Council on American-Islamic Relations in which she was defending the rights of Muslim Americans. “Far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen, and frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it,” she said at the event. “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.” (CAIR was in fact founded in 1994.) Rep. Omar couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.Updated at 8 p.m. PT to correct image of Rep. Omar. Twitter 6 Tags Share your voice Tech Industry Internet
Share your voice Tags Davey G. Johnson Automotive journalist Davey G. Johnson was found dead on Thursday, following a widespread search throughout parts of Northern California. He was 43 years old.David Gordon Johnson was initially reported missing on Friday, June 7, and was last heard from on Wednesday, June 5. His motorcycle — a press bike on loan from Honda — was recovered at a rest area near Mokelumne Hill, California. Police later found many of Davey’s belongings near the Mokelumne River, where he had stopped to send a photo to a friend.The massive recovery efforts, led by the Calaveras County Sheriff, continued until Monday, at which point officials announced they would be scaling back the search. The police found Davey’s body in the Mokelumne River on Thursday. The cause of his death is said to be accidental drowning.”He is so full of life and I’ve just never met anyone like him,” Jaclyn Trop, automotive journalist and Davey’s girlfriend, said in an interview with CBS This Morning earlier this month. “There are just so many questions.”Davey Johnson and his girlfriend, automotive journalist Jaclyn Trop. Instagram Remembering our friendI first met Davey Johnson when he wrote for Jalopnik, arguably during the site’s heyday. He was funny and irreverent and we found an immediate rapport. We liked the same music, we liked the same cars. We would bum each other’s cigarettes outside auto shows and debate whether Bivouac or 24 Hour Revenge Therapy was Jawbreaker’s best album. In the 13 years I knew him, Davey never once called me by my first name, greeting me with the same nod and “Mr. Ewing” every time.After establishing his name — and voice — at Jalopnik, Davey wrote for Autoweek and Car and Driver, where he published some of the best stories I’ve ever read. I always wanted to hire him someday.Most recently, Davey and I talked about him falling in love with Jaclyn, and how he’d never been happier. He made her a mix tape (yes, on cassette and everything) and sent me the playlist. He told me he never felt so overwhelmingly in love with someone. Davey Johnson “He was going to propose with a ring in Sloane Square today or tomorrow,” Jaclyn told me via text message on Wednesday.”This is so wrong. A dreamer, wanderer, punk and poet like Davey isn’t supposed to go out like this,” writes executive editor Chris Paukert. “Guys like Davey are supposed to shoot through astride a set of well-worn wheels set aflame, pulsing three-chord soundtracks at their back. Not cold and alone in a river.””Conversations with Davey were like a frenetic game of ping pong, with obscure references from art and music and cars coming at you so fast that it was best to just go with it or be left behind,” writes reviews editor Emme Hall. “I wish I’d had the opportunity to know him better.””I owe so much to Davey,” says news and features editor Kyle Hyatt. “He’s the reason I get to write about cars and motorcycles for a living. Davey casts an impossible shadow and while I’ll never be half the writer he was, I will spend the rest of my life trying to live up to the kind of man he was: Kind, generous, open, weird, funny, fearless and free. We all should.” 4 2020 Kia Telluride review: Kia’s new SUV has big style and bigger value 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous More From Roadshow 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better Comments Roadshow
DisplayPort is getting a new spec just in time for 8K displays. Josh Miller As companies continue to announce higher, richer and sharper displays the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) has decided to update its DisplayPort spec. The first major update in over three years, the group on Wednesday introduced DisplayPort 2, a new spec designed to take on the new displays of the future. New features of the updated spec include support for resolutions beyond 8K — including 10K and 16K, higher refresh rates and high dynamic range (HDR) support at higher resolutions and “improved user experience with augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) displays.” A maximum payload delivery of 77.37 Gbps, three times more powerful than the current DisplayPort 1.4a spec, allows for support of a feed at 8K resolution with a 60 Hz refresh rate, full-color 4:4:4 resolution and 30 bits per pixel to support HDR10. The group says the performance boosts can be delivered over the native DisplayPort connector or through USB-C. According to VESA the first products to support the new spec are “projected to appear on the market by late 2020.” 2 Computers TVs Monitors Comments Share your voice Tags
James Martin/CNET One German state has told schools it’s now illegal to use Microsoft Office 365 under data protection laws. The Hesse Office for Data Protection and Information Freedom ruled that using the cloud platform could expose student and teacher personal information to access by US officials.The decision follows several years of debate in Germany over whether Microsoft software should be used in schools, CNET sister site ZDNet reported, due to the company’s practice of sending user and telemetry data back to the US. It also comes after Microsoft closed down a German cloud service, which had originally caused Hesse to allow Office 365 to be used in local schools. Angela Lang/CNET Sarah Tew/CNET $155 at Google Express See It Now playing: Watch this: Read the AirPods review $999 See at Turo TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. Computers Software Applications Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) $520 at HP Turo Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) Dutch government report says Microsoft Office telemetry collection breaks GDPR Tech giants are about to pay more taxes despite US investigation Microsoft denies it will move production out of China An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. 37 Photos $210 at Best Buy 0 $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express See It $6 at Tidal Apple iPhone XS Sarah Tew/CNET 7 $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. Turo: Save $30 on any car rental Investigators in the Netherlands last year found that the data being transmitted by Microsoft Office 365 could include sentences from documents and email subject lines, in addition to the usual software diagnostics. This is a breach of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, the Netherlands said.”We’re thankful the [Hesse] commissioner raised these concerns and we look forward working with [them] to better understand their concerns,” a Microsoft spokesperson told ZDNet. Read DJI Osmo Action preview Post a comment $999 Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). $59 at eBay Chris Monroe/CNET 35 best battery life laptops Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) Sarah Tew/CNET The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. Read Google Home Hub review Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. Read Lenovo Smart Clock review JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) Share your voice Sarah Tew/CNET Boost Mobile See at Amazon Share your voice $60 at Best Buy Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Best Buy HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Microsoft and data privacy I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. See it Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) Amazon $999 Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) Read the Rylo camera preview Rylo $299 at Amazon Sprint 6:14 Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. Microsoft may support Android apps Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. Tags CNET may get a commission from retail offers. $999 What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. Microsoft Office Microsoft,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. See It Comments Tags The Cheapskate Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30.
The 30th annual Elders and Youth conference began Monday in Anchorage. The conference is held each year at the beginning of the same week as the Alaska Federation of Natives convention. The gathering is an opportunity for youth to discuss an array of issues relevant to Alaska Natives with support from their elders.Download AudioThe conference got off to another impressive start this year. 17-year-old Devlin Anderstrom was chosen to give the youth keynote address. Not only did he introduce himself in his Tlingit language, he gave his entire speech in it. For nine minutes Anderstrom spoke Tlingit to the audience, never once slipping into English until he gave the speech a second time. After the first few minutes, people in the audience turned to each other with wowed faces, they nodded and smiled. Anderstrom’s keynote speech was no small feat. There are only a few hundred Tlingit speakers left and most of them are over the age of 60. Anderstrom, who is a senior at Yakutat High School, learned some of the language when he was young. He moved out of Alaska as a young boy and returned when he was 12.“I’ve lived in downtown Denver, the suburbs in northern California, even a small rural community in Nebraska,” Anderstrom said. “When I left home I knew the entire time that home was where I belonged and it was my place to be.”Growing up, Anderstrom says he spent a lot of time around elders who spoke the language fluently. He began his study of Tlingit in earnest after he moved back home to Yakutat. Just this year – he started taking Lance Twitchell’s Tlingit language class through the University of Alaska Southeast. Anderstrom says one of the reasons he has been so dedicated to learning Tlingit is because some cultural values and ideas can only be truly expressed in their original language. “One of them would be haashagoon,” Anderstrom said. “So, haashagoon, it’s our ancestors and at the same time it’s the future generations, like, everything that we were and everything that we will be. It’s just kind of a hard concept to explain.”And it’s not just the Tlingit language that Anderstrom feels compelled to learn. He’s also Iñupiaq, Ahtna and Tanacross Athabaskan. He’s trying to learn all of those languages.“Right now Tlingit is the language I know best,” Anderstrom said. “It’s the only language I could have made a speech like that in. But I’ve also started to learn other languages as well, Eyak, Ahtna and Inupiaq. My goal is to learn as much as I can. I want to try to help preserve everybody’s language because I think everybody in the state deserves that, everybody that’s Alaska Native.”True to the spirit of his role as a youth at the conference, 17-year-old Anderstrom brings optimism to the conversation. He’s doesn’t think that Alaska Native languages can ever be truly lost. “I think language is a big part of culture, for me, and it’s really a hard hit for any culture to take to lose their language,” Anderstrom said. “But I don’t think it’s necessarily the necessarily the end game, I don’t think it’s game over when a language is lost because like Eyak, a lot of language can be brought back at least partially through all the documented resources that we have. We just have to pull together and I think we can avoid language death all together.”Anderstrom gave the youth keynote address after elder Fred John Jr. this (Monday) morning. The conference room at the Dena’ina center had 1,300 chairs set up and nearly all of them were full within a hour of starting the conference.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly approved a measure that allows the area school district to keep $800,000 that it would’ve been required to give back to the borough. Assembly members say the action was a small step toward helping the district cope with personnel and program cuts that district officials have proposed to deal with an $11 million state funding shortfall.Download AudioAssemblywoman Diane Hutchison sponsored the measure, along with Presiding Officer Karl Kassel, to waive a provision in the borough code that requires the district to give back $800,000 at the end of each school year to go into a fund that helps pay for school maintenance.Hutchison says it was a small but earnest gesture to help the district at a time when it’s struggling to deal with state funding cuts due to both plummeting oil revenues and falling enrollment.“We felt this was certainly a time when the school district could use this extra 800,000,” Hutchison said.The Assembly clearly didn’t need any encouragement before approving the measure with all eight members voting in favor. Assemblyman Lance Roberts was not present.But several members of the public along with a few district employees, like North Pole Middle School teacher Vanessa Jackson, took the opportunity anyway to again testify about the urgent need to help the district at a time of severe fiscal contraction.“There’s nothing left to cut at the school district without impacting the students in some negative way or the other,” Jackson said.Laura Volmert, who has two middle-schoolers in the district, says although it’s a relatively small amount, the $800,000 would encourage district workers and parents before the Assembly begins work on the recommended budget that the district school board approved Wednesday.“I feel like the borough Assembly has an opportunity right now to really show its support for education,” Volmert said. “I feel like this is the first opportunity that you have to show your support. There will be other opportunities down the line.”The Assembly won’t finish work on the district’s recommended $274.9 million spending plan until mid-May, after the Legislature passes a state budget and the governor completes his review.Also Thursday, the Assembly approved a measure that ratifies a new contract for about 50 unionized borough managers and supervisors.The three-year contract with members of the Alaska State Employees Association and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees sets an annual cost of living increase starting next year that’ll range from 1 to 2 percent, and annual merit increases of 1.9 percent through 2018.The borough estimates those provisions will cost between $23,900 and $140,300 next year.The borough estimates the contract’s health plan provisions will cost between $309,500 and $1.2 million in 2016.
Guy Archibald of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, left, discusses issues with Sitka Mayor Mim McConnell, right, during Thursday’s transboundary mine meeting in Juneau. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott says Alaskans need a unified voice to push the federal government to question mines across the border in British Columbia.Download AudioAddressing a Thursday meeting of tribal, business and conservation leaders, he said the state will share its knowledge and ask for input on mines near rivers that flow into Alaska.He said it’s time for more than words:“You can scream, all you want. You can go to the governor. … But that’s not the way we should do it. We’ve had too much of that,” Mallott says.Critics accuse state officials of keeping them in the dark about B.C. mining projects, which they say will threaten Southeast fisheries.They’ve also asked the state to push the federal government to bring the issue before the International Joint Commission, which addressed U.S.-Canada water disputes.Commission expert David La Roche said that’s unlikely, because Canada has shown no interest. But he said a U.S. State Department request for a panel examination would catch their attention.“Not because you’re going to get one. But because it would finally and officially serve notice that the U.S. federal government is really taking this issue seriously, which has yet to occur.”Mallott met this summer with U.S. and Canadian officials and said they viewed the transboundary mine issue as local, not international.But he told those at the meeting that the state will keep trying, as well as push for more access to British Columbia’s permitting process.“We will be fully engaged. But this administration wants to be in constant touch with the voice of Alaska’s people. And in this instance, with those [in] leadership, individuals, institutions that are in this room.”He didn’t define how that would work. But he said he looked forward to finding way to combine efforts.At a meeting with Southeast tribal leaders the previous day, he offered direct involvement with the state’s transboundary mine task force.We’ll have continuing coverage of the issues raised at the meetings in future reports.
(Credit Ron Cruz / Flickr Creative Commons)Big tobacco is standing trial in Bethel’s court.Listen Now Dolores Hunter of Marshall and her two children are suing the cigarette and tobacco company Philip Morris USA and its parent company, Altria Group, for product liability, fraud, and the wrongful death of their family member, Delores’ common law husband, Benjamin Francis, of Pilot Station. Francis died in 2004 of lung cancer after a long history of cigarette smoking.The civil jury trial began Wednesday at the Bethel courthouse and is expected to stretch over the coming month.Don Bauermeister with the firm Friedman and Rubin from Washington is representing the plaintiff. Bauermeister is arguing that Francis died from lung cancer caused by a tobacco industry conspiracy Philip Morris participated in to mislead the American public on the harmful effects of cigarettes.Stan Davis, of his own firm in Kansas, is representing the defense and arguing Francis knew the harmful effects of smoking and chose to continue the behavior under personal responsibility.This is the second time this case has gone to trial. The initial trial occurred in 2011. Judge Eric Smith, who is hearing the case in Bethel, ordered a retrial after the case went to the Alaska Supreme Court last year.