The front page of yesterday’s Anchorage Daily News boasted a picture of pack of walruses basking in sunshine. The story touched on these notoriously panicky animals and their propensity to crush each other to death in a stampede when spooked. The problem is melting sea ice, their preferred summer resting place. The lack of it has caused the huge sea creatures to haul out on the north coast of Alaska in huge numbers, and the terrain means that a low-flying plane, a nearby boat or a lumbering polar bear could cause a massive panic resulting in the deaths of thousands of young and small walruses.
Meanwhile Alaska’s largest television station covered the continuing race to fill the state’s open senate seat. The race pits a Tea Party newcomer against Alaska’s senior senator who narrowly lost in the primary and who is now running a write-in campaign. At issue: state rights and federal spending for Alaska, a state in need of an identity beyond the riches of Prudhoe Bay’s once-rich oil reserves.
News is a a rich older uncle in this state. People love their 20+year veteran anchors, and everywhere I go I hear ADN.com, the web site of the local newspaper. News is big, and issues are bigger. Politics are the strangest kind of interesting, while nobody can resist a good dog story or a well-framed picture of a moose in fall color.
In some ways it’s all very familiar, and in some ways, it’s a whole different country, which is how Alaskans like to refer to their state.
I think I like Anchorage, and I’m sure, given the time, I will like Alaska too.