Monday, April 27, 2009

Honey, there's a moose in the yard.

Driving around yesterday visiting accounts, I was going through an old part of town. I caught this young moose calf out of the corner of my eye, Mom was no where's around, at least for the couple minutes I was there.
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Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Canadians are comming!

Ooops, Canada geese that is. With them comes spring. They've been in the area for about 2 weeks now. Now, what species brings the warm temps and sunshine?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Resting next to Sleeping Lady

Spring is winning in its fight over winter. We've had temps reaching 50 degrees during the day and around freezing at night. The sun has been out really zapping any motivation to work, but I trudge on anyways, but taking a few breaks here and there.

This boat was resting in Cook Inlet with Sleeping Lady Mountain in the background still covered in snow. Just last week the inlet was large chinks of ice.

The birds are coming back. I've been seeing geese, gulls and others. It gives me motivation to get back out and do some photography. The end of winter blues with the dirty snow, gray skies and all of the other uckies are going away pretty fast. West Chester Lagoon is thawing out and the birds have some open water.

We've even had some awesome sunsets. I cheated with this one using a filter. But it was neat just sitting down at the boat launch watching the sun go down.

We're suppose to get rain the next couple of days and I'll welcome it. We have a lot of dust blowing around from the volcano and sand and gravel spread on the roads during winter. People are out sweeping their lots and walks, car washes are bizzy, the stores are breaking out the gardening stuff and Anchorage is all in a buz. Spring is here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fighting for spring

This is the time of year we either dress to warm or not warm enough. The temperature is up and down like a yo-yo. This past Sunday I bbq'd ribs and chicken on the grill. I left the lid open so it could cool down and I came out 2 hours later to cover it up and it was covered with an inch of snow. ARGH!

Some of the birds are returning. Mallards, gulls and geese to name a few have started to return, so they must know something. There's open water, but the banks are still covered in snow or ice.

The temps have been in the teens at night but reaching about 41 during the day. The weather people don't know if they should predict snow or rain. I'm just happy to see some different colors besides white and gray.

The car wash business is booming. You was your rig today and chances are it will need it again tomorrow.

I feel a road trip coming up real soon!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lazy Sunday

Last Sunday we had some ash from Mt. Redoubt head our way. It didn't amount to much at all really. I had more normal dust on my fire place mantel than what we got in volcanic ash. There were other parts of the state that got a lot more though.

I decided to bring Ghost inside out of the ash
in case it got worse. He spends a lot of time in his mew close to the ground. I didn't want him stirring it up and inhaling that stuff.

The first half hour or so he was a little on edge. After that he settled down and we watch a lot of TV. I guess he got tired of the Red Green after a bit. He got some serious preening in.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

U.S. Plans to Drop Case Against Former Senator From Alaska

Published: April 1, 2009

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department moved on Wednesday morning to drop all charges against former Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, who narrowly lost his seat last year shortly after being convicted on seven felony counts of ethics violations.

In a stunning development, Justice Department lawyers told a federal court that they had discovered a new instance of prosecutorial misconduct in the case and asked that the convictions be voided. There would be no new trial in the case.

Mr. Stevens, who is 85, had been the longest serving Republican in the history of the Senate. He had been charged with lying on Senate disclosure forms by concealing an estimated $250,000 worth of goods and services he received, mostly to renovate a chalet he owned in Alaska. Prosecutors said he received most of the goods and services from Bill Allen, a longtime friend who had made a fortune by providing services to Alaska’s booming oil industry.

But in their filing on Wednesday, government lawyers said that trial prosecutors had concealed from Mr. Stevens’s defense lawyers the notes from an interview with Mr. Allen that raised significant doubts about the charges. Among other things, Mr. Allen asserted in the interview that the work on the Stevens home was worth only about $80,000, they said.

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., who made the decision to move to drop the charges, said in a statement that "I have concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defense for use at trial.” He said it was "in the interests of justice” to dismiss the indictment and forgo any new trial.

Senator Mark Begich, the Democrat who defeated Mr. Stevens in November, issued a statement calling the Justice Department’s decision “reasonable.”

“I always said I didn’t think Senator Stevens should serve time in jail, and hopefully this decision ensures that is the case,” said Mr. Begich, a former mayor of Anchorage. “It’s time for Senator Stevens, his family and Alaskans to move on and put this behind us.”Mr. Stevens had risen to become one of the most powerful figures in Congress, helping to direct enormous sums of money to Alaska, whose history as a state virtually paralleled his career. His lawyers tried unsuccessfully to get his trial shifted there.

Mr. Holder noted that the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility was conducting a review of the prosecutors’ conduct in the case, but he said that no conclusion had yet been reached.

Even so, it appeared that the prosecutors who tried Mr. Stevens on ethics charges would themselves now face ethics charges.

Judge Emmet Sullivan had delayed sentencing Mr. Stevens, who faced a prison term, because of several previous disclosures of prosecutorial misconduct. The judge repeatedly scolded prosecutors during the trial over a series of incidents in which they concealed important information from defense lawyers that might have been used by the defense.

Judge Sullivan recently ordered that some of the government lawyers involved be held in contempt of court, including the two top officials of the Justice Department’s public integrity division, the section that prosecutes official corruption.

In the new filing on Wednesday, the government said that it had recently discovered previously undisclosed notes made by prosecutors of an interview with Mr. Allen on April 15, 2008. In the interview, Mr. Allen was asked about a note he received from Senator Stevens on Oct. 6, 2002, discussing the situation of former Senator Bob Torricelli, a New Jersey Democrat who was forced to resign from office over the issue of failing to disclose gifts.

The Justice Department said the notes from the interview showed that Mr. Allen made different statements about that exchange than he had during his testimony at the trial. Mr. Stevens’s lawyers should have had those notes to help them cross-examine Mr. Allen, the department said on Wednesday.

The motion said that in addition to asking that the indictment be voided, the government had determined, based on the totality of the circumstances, that it would not seek a new trial of Mr. Stevens.

Judge Sullivan first displayed his annoyance with the prosecutors’ conduct almost four weeks before Mr. Stevens was convicted. On Oct. 3, the judge almost declared a mistrial after discovering that prosecutors had not told the defense team about an F.B.I. interview with the prosecution’s chief witness.

“How does the court have confidence that the public integrity section has public integrity?” Judge Sullivan asked that day.

The chief prosecutor, Brenda Morris, apologized for her team’s mistakes. But she also called the errors careless, not purposeful.

But last month, an F.B.I. agent who had worked on the investigation disputed that characterization of events, accusing prosecutors and a fellow agent of willfully concealing evidence from Mr. Stevens’s lawyers.

The agent, Chad Joy, wrote in the complaint that he had “witnessed or learned of serious violations of policy, rules, and procedures as well as possible criminal violations.”

Days later, Judge Sullivan held Ms. Morris and three other members of the prosecuting team — William Welch, Kevin Driscoll and Patty Stemler — in contempt after the Justice Department failed to produce documents the judge had requested to assess Mr. Joy’s complaint.

Borrowed from the New York Times.