Alaska Digest

Staff and Wire reports

Posted: Friday, September 16, 2005

Ex-Empire editor to lead ADN op-ed page

Larry Persily, a longtime Southeast Alaska journalist, will take the helm of the editorial page at the Anchorage Daily News starting Oct. 10.

Persily, 53, worked for the Juneau Empire from 1990 to 1995, partly as managing editor, and lived in Juneau for almost 20 years.

He started his Alaska journalism career at the Wrangell Sentinel in 1976.

"I think everybody should work for a small newspaper once in their life," he said Thursday.

Persily recalled that he and his late wife Leslie Murray were in their early 20s working in Chicago when they saw the ad to buy the Wrangell paper. The $8,000 down payment was feasible for the young couple.

"We thought it would be fun and exciting," he said. They stayed in Wrangell for 812 years.

Persily also has worked for The Anchorage Times, The Associated Press, Petroleum News, and published his own alternate paper, The Paper, in Juneau for two years. He worked as a legislative reporter for the Daily News in 2005.

Persily also worked for the state as an investigator in the state ombudsman's office and as deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Revenue.

He moved to Anchorage for personal reasons and took a job in city government, but the new opportunity as editorial page editor at the Daily News was "too much of an opportunity to pass up," he said.

The Daily News named him to the position on Wednesday.

Persily said he will promote the idea that the state is better served by maintaining its capital in Juneau rather than spending money to move it elsewhere.

Persily has maintained his house in Juneau as a rental property, as well as his Juneau cell phone number.

"I think before I die I'll live in Juneau again," he said.

Rep. Young bypassed for committee post

ANCHORAGE - Alaska Representative Don Young has lost his bid for chairmanship of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee.

House Republican leaders Wednesday voted in Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., to lead the committee.

Young rebutted speculation that he had tried to buy off fellow members of the House Steering Committee, which made the final decision. He also dismissed mutterings that his absence from the Capitol last week cost him the position.

"The reality is that there are those that don't like the idea that I get three chairmanships," he said.

Young was chairman of the House Resources Committee in the 1990s. Republican-imposed term limits forced him to step down when he became chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, a post he holds currently.

Young said he sought to head the new Homeland Security Committee in order to protect the U.S. Coast Guard, whose largest base is at Kodiak.

Young said he wants to make sure the Coast Guard's placement in the Department of Homeland Security does not turn its Alaska personnel away from search and rescue duties, responding to oil spills and monitoring fisheries and illegal immigration.

Earthquake off Pacific Coast more likely

SEATTLE - Computer modeling shows that an earthquake off the coast of Washington, Oregon and British Columbia could be more likely than scientists first thought, but they believe the risk still remains small.

The Cascadia subduction zone, a geologic fault off Canada's Pacific coast, has been slipping for the past 11 days. Canada's Vancouver Island has moved about a sixth of an inch westward since seismic instruments first detected the event Sept. 3 on Washington's Olympic Peninsula.

Scientists at the Geological Society of Canada say an earthquake on the subduction zone may be up to 30 times more likely when the unusual seismic event, called "episodic tremor and slip," is under way. The phenomenon is equal to a magnitude 6.5 to 6.7 earthquake occurring over a two-week period.

The tremor-and-slip event originates deep below the Earth's surface where the offshore Juan de Fuca plate is pushed under the continental plate, University of Washington seismologist Steve Malone said.

Unlike an earthquake, there's no detectable ground motion but the events increase the strain on the fault.

Scientists say its hard to understand such events, which were discovered in 2001.

"There isn't a consensus of exactly what is going on with this deep tremor. There's a lot of unanswered questions," Bill Steele, coordinator of the Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network in Seattle, said Thursday.



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