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News Round Up [June 30, 2017]

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Gravina Access moving forward

KRBD by Leila Kheiry

The Gravina Access Project got a federal thumbs-up this month when the Federal Highway Administration signed off on the Record of Decision for the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

In other words, a formal study and a plan were approved and now the State of Alaska can move forward with design and construction.

The alternative that was chosen — in cooperation with local officials — includes reconstruction of existing ferry berths;

improvements to both airport ferry terminals; a new heavy freight mooring facility and a new ferry layup dock on the Gravina side; shuttle vans; replacement of the Airport Creek Bridge; and reconstruction of parts of Seley Road, which links to Gravina Highway.

The estimated cost of the project is now at $45 million. That will come from federal transportation funding that had been allocated many years ago to Ketchikan for a bridge to Gravina. The bridge was vetoed by then-Gov. Sarah Palin, and most of the funding was directed toward transportation projects elsewhere in the state. [Source]
I don't know much about these things....but how much do bridges cost to build these days? Cause $45 million seems like it would go a long way for a permanent structure rather than spending it on boats that are immediate and constant liabilities...just my two cents though.

Charges likely in two Wadleigh Island burglaries

KRBD by Leila Kheiry
Alaska State Troopers on Prince of Wales Island are investigating another burglary on Wadleigh Island.
According to the Troopers online dispatch, a report came in on Saturday that about $5,000 worth of generators, chainsaws and other equipment had been stolen from a home owned by a 73-year-old man.

Many of the items have been recovered and Troopers report they have identified a suspect who likely will be charged with burglary

Troopers reported Tuesday that one firearm from that burglary was turned in by a citizen in Craig who bought it and then realized it may have been stolen. A suspect has been identified, according to the Troopers report, and the investigation is ongoing. [Source]


Justice Department gives up Washington Redskins name fight

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is giving up the legal fight over the name of the Washington Redskins.

In a letter to a federal appeals court, the department said last week's Supreme Court decision in Matal v. Tam in favor of an Asian-American band calling itself the Slants means the NFL team will prevail in a legal battle to cancel the team's trademarks because the name is disparaging to Native Americans.

"Consistent with Tam, the Court should reverse the judgment of the district court and remand the case with instructions to enter judgment in favor of Pro-Football," Mark Freeman, an attorney for the Justice Department's civil division, wrote to the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Redskins case had been on hold in the federal appeals court while the Slants decision was rendered. The Supreme Court found that Simon Tam could trademark the Slants as the name of his Asian-American rock band because it would be unconstitutional for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to discriminate against it, citing the First Amendment's free speech protection. The justices were unanimous in saying the 71-year-old trademark law barring disparaging terms infringes free speech rights. [Source]

Two Percent Of People Have Armpits That Never Smell

By Sarah Glynn

Two percent of people carry an unusual form of a specific gene (ABCC11) that means their armpits never smell.

The finding came from new research involving 6,495 women who are enrolled in the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol, England, and was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

In the study, 117 (2%) of the subjects were lucky enough to carry this gene that allows them to never have to worry about using deodorant. However, the researchers discovered that over 75% of those people with the gene who do not produce under-arm odor still put deodorant on anyway.

"These findings have some potential for using genetics in the choice of personal hygiene products. A simple gene test might strengthen self-awareness and save some unnecessary purchases and chemical exposures for non-odor producers," added researcher Dr. Santiago Rodriguez.

The researchers noted that people who carry this unusual genetic variant also have a higher likelihood of having dry (as opposed to sticky) ear wax. [Story]

What’s the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery?

Although the words ‘graveyard’ and ‘cemetery’ are often used interchangeably in everyday speech, traditionally speaking, graveyards are run by the church, and may be attached to a church or chapel. Graveyards would therefore usually stipulate that only Christians can be buried within the grounds. Cemeteries, on the other hand, are run by the council, welcome all faiths and have more relaxed rules regarding headstones. [Source]

3,000-year-old textiles are earliest evidence of chemical dyeing in the Levant

Tel Aviv University archaeologists have revealed that cloth samples found in the Israeli desert present the earliest evidence of plant-based textile dyeing in the region. They were found at a large-scale copper smelting site and a nearby temple in the copper ore district of Timna in Israel's Arava desert and are estimated to date from the 13th-10th centuries BCE.
The wool and linen pieces shed light on a sophisticated textile industry and reveal details about a deeply hierarchical society dependent on long-distance trade to support its infrastructure in the unforgiving desert.

Evidence of long-distance trade
The textile dye presents evidence of long-distance trade, Dr. Ben-Yosef noted. "Clearly this is not local. These plants require a lot of water and probably hail from the Mediterranean regions. The dyeing required special craftspeople, an entire industry that could not have subsisted in the desert. If Jerusalem was indeed opulent in the time of King Solomon, and the Temple covered in copper, we can assume a link to that kingdom." [Source]

Solar Energy Produces 300 Times More Toxic Waste Than Does Nuclear Power

One of the major reasons why hundreds of billions of dollars are poured into solar energy is that people are looking for “emissions free”, “clean” energy.

We’ve discussed the inherent problems with solar and wind energy already, but one alternative is usually overlooked: nuclear power.

Nuclear power is “green” from the environmentalist standpoint as it produces next to no emissions. It’s also reliable and inexpensive.

Plus, the technology already is already commercially viable, and scalable. For example, 5% of the world runs on nuclear energy, and France ran on nuclear power for decades with no issues.

A new report from Environmental Progress shows that solar panels produce an obscene amount of waste, especially relative to the amount of power they produce.

Here are some of the key findings:

1. Solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per unit of energy than do nuclear power plants.

2. If solar and nuclear produce the same amount of electricity over the next 25 years that nuclear produced in 2016, and the waste is stacked on football fields, the nuclear waste would reach the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa (52 meters), while the solar waste would reach the height of two Mt. Everests (16 km).

3. In countries like China, India, and Ghana, communities living near e-waste dumps often burn the waste in order to salvage the valuable copper wires for resale. Since this process requires burning off the plastic, the resulting smoke contains toxic fumes that are carcinogenic and teratogenic (birth defect-causing) when inhaled. [Full Source]

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