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Judge reverses House District 40 primary, gives Nageak a two-vote edge

Superior Court Judge Andrew Guidi ordered the Division of Elections to certify that incumbent Benjamin Nageak of Barrow won the primary over Dean Westlake of Kotzebue by a two-vote margin.

The outcome of the primary could determine who organizes a House majority. While both are Democrats, Nageak caucuses with the Republican-led House majority, and Westlake said he’ll caucus with the Democrats.

The decision reverses the outcome of a recount, which had Westlake winning by eight votes.

The outcome hinges on the Kobuk River village of Shungnak, where local election officials wrongly allowed 50 voters to cast ballots in both the Republican primary and in the “ADL” primary for the Alaska Independence, Democratic and Libertarian parties.

[Read: Voter Fraud]
Guidi subtracted 12 votes based on the idea that they would have voted Republican. He took away 11 votes from Westlake in Shungnak, as well as one from Nageak. He also decided that election officials wrongly allowed both candidates to gain one vote from Kivalina in the recount.

The Supreme Court asked lawyers for Nageak, Westlake and the state to file briefs by Saturday, Oct. 8. Oral arguments will be Wednesday, Oct. 12. And the Court is expected to rule by Oct. 14, to give elections officials enough time to distribute ballots for the Nov. 8 election. [Full Source]

Man Charged with DUI After Hitting Ketchikan Welcome Arch

A 24-year-old Ketchikan man was charged with drunk driving after allegedly driving into the Welcome Arch on Mission Street downtown late Wednesday.

According to the Ketchikan Police Department, officers received a report just shy of midnight of a vehicle hitting the Ketchikan Welcome Arch. Police contacted the driver, who appeared intoxicated but refused to submit to field sobriety tests and refused to provide a breath sample. [Read Full Source]


14,000-year-old campsite in Argentina adds to an archaeological mystery

For more than a decade, evidence has been piling up that humans colonized the Americas thousands of years before the Clovis people. The Clovis, who are the early ancestors of today's Native Americans, left abundant evidence of their lives behind in the form of tools and graves. But the mysterious pre-Clovis humans, who likely arrived 17,000 to 15,000 years ago, have left only a few dozen sources of evidence for their existence across the Americas, mostly at campsites where they processed animals during hunting trips. Now a fresh examination of one such campsite, a 14,000-year-old hunter's rest stop outside the city of Tres Arroyos in Argentina, has given us a new understanding of how the pre-Clovis people might have lived.

Archaeologists are still uncertain how the pre-Clovis people arrived in the Americas. They came after the end of the ice age but at a time when glaciers and an icy, barren environment would still have blocked easy entrance into the Americas via Northern Canada. So it's extremely unlikely that they marched over a land bridge and into the Americas through the middle of the continent—most scientists believe they would have come via a coastal route, frequently using boats for transport. That would explain why many pre-Clovis sites are on the coast, on islands, or on rivers that meet the ocean.

One question remains. How can we be sure the tools at the site really are 14,000 years old? Archaeologists infer some of this from carbon dates on the animal bones, which have been tested by several labs around the world. The problem is that the site's stratigraphy, or historical layers, are difficult to read due to erosion at the site. So even if a tool appears right next to a bone in a given layer, it may have come from later and been moved around by wind and water. That said, there is evidence that some of the early bones were broken by stone tools. A 14,000-year-old bone from Equus neogeus, an extinct American horse, bears distinct marks from a hammerstone. "This bone was intentionally broken while still fresh," note the researchers.

The absence of certain bones can tell us about how these people lived, too. Though there are bones from megafauna like the giant sloth Megatherium, we see no skulls, chest, or pelvic bones from the animal. The researchers speculate that's because hunters would have done an initial butchery at the site where they killed or scavenged the animal and then transported parts of it to be processed at camp.

Of the extinct mammals that humans processed at Arroyo Seco, the most common seems to be horse. When people arrived in the Americas, it was full of at least two species of extinct horses. But by the time of the Inca and other great civilizations of South America, those animals were long gone. It wasn't until Europeans arrived with their steeds that the continent was once again populated with horses. [Read the entire story here]

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Read More: FLF September 29 2016

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