Flags lowered to honor Alaska’s last territorial governor, services Friday in Fairbanks

Flags lowered to honor Alaska’s last territorial governor, services Friday in Fairbanks

Michael “Mike” Stepovich dies at 94.

Was Alaska Territorial Governor 1957-58.

 

Photo & Video: Courtesy of Fairbanks Daily News Miner

Alaska flags are flying at half-staff this week to honor the last living territorial governor, Mike Stepovich.

Stepovich died last week at the age of 94. He was in a California hospital after suffering a bad head injury in a fall earlier this month. His services will be held in Fairbanks on Friday. Despite a home in Medford, Stepovich maintained his Alaska residency and returned each summer.

“Alaska has lost a true pioneer,” Governor Parnell said in a press release announcing the death. “Governor Stepovich was a strong, selfless figure. His love for our state is a great legacy that will endure for generations of Alaskan,” he said.

Anchorage Daily News columnist Mike Dunham said that in some ways, Stepovich was the John Kennedy of territorial Alaska. He was optimistic and constantly promoting Alaska and statehood Outside.

Stepovich’s constant promotion of statehood to the American public played an important role,” said Dunham. “No one could see the smiling, handsome young Alaskan charming the panel on “What’s My Line?” without liking him and, by extension, the people whom he represented….Here was proof that Alaskans weren’t just parky-clad hunters, whiskered sourdoughs or capitalist robber barons,” he said.

Stepovich was born in Fairbanks, and served three terms in the Alaska Territorial Legislature before serving as governor from 1957 – 1958. Following his state service, Governor Stepovich returned to his law practice in Fairbanks.

State flags were lowered to half-staff on Valentine’s Day and will remain lowered until Governor Stepovich’s funeral, which the Fairbanks Daily News Miner says will be Friday morning the 28th.  Flags will be raised to full-staff Saturday morning.

Stepovich on Cover of Time Magazine June, 1958. Photo by Mike Dunham ADN.

Resources:

Anchorage Daily News, Mike Dunham Column

Press Release from Governor Sean Parnell’s Office

National Native News Coverage of Mike Stepovich’s Passing

Stepovich lived in Oregon much of year, still claimed residence in Fairbanks where his service will be

Governor Parnell: State must pay down pension debt

Alaska State of the State Address 2014

Photo from Gavel Alaska’s video of Alaska 2014 State of the State Address.

The LegHead Report Radio Show for Thurs. Jan 23 State Pension Funding

 

Alaska’s financial situation is secure, but there is one huge debt looming over Alaskans that must be dealt with. That was a key statement from Alaska Governor Sean Parnell in his State of the State Address to a joint session of the Alaska Legislature.

The big debt is unfunded state pensions and if it is not tackled soon Alaskan will struggle to keep up with an ever-growing burden that sucks more and more available funds from other budget items.

Gov. Sean Parnell’s comments in State of State Address 2014 courtesy of Gavel Alaska.

Governor Sean Parnell speaking during Wednesday’s State of the State Address to the Alaska Legislature. Thanks to Gavel Alaska for today’s audio.

RESOURCES:

360 North / Gavel Alaska video of Alaska State of the State Address 2014

 

 

A week of Statehood History

June 30 is anniversary of the passage

of the Alaska Statehood Act

TLHR June 24 Mon 49th Star Statehood Commission

            Sunday June 30 marks the anniversary of an important date here in Alaska. It’s the day in 1958 when the U.S. Senate passed the Alaska Statehood Act which authorized the Territory of Alaska to take its place among the other 48 states in the Union.

            If you’re a history buff, or would just like to look at some cool old photos, be sure to check out the Alaska Statehood Commission’s website.

            It was created several years ago to mark the 50 Anniversary of statehood, but is just a relevant today in that it’s always fun to read about how Alaska became a state and to glance at funky old photos and videos.

            Including this one about Alaska’s 49th Star…

Aniak video shows breakup ice climbing 50 feet in less than 10 seconds

Looks like a herd of block-shaped aliens chasing up the embankment.

You can see how dangerous the ice is and how nothing can survive in its path.

Frightening Footage of Tornado Slamming Into School

Be prepared, this is difficult to watch.

It’s an ABC  news story with cell phone video taken by teacher huddled with students at a Moore, OK elementary school.

I’ve avoided using photos and such from the kids out of respect for their privacy and the need to respect the fact that they ARE KIDS.

But this video goes to the heart of the courage the teachers had, and the courage the kids and their families will need to heal emotionally from this disaster.

It also resonates with me, I think, because here in Alaska we are so prone to earthquakes that a similar building-destroying Wham-Bam Your-Life-As-You-Know-It-Will-Never-Be-The-Same Event could occur here.

 

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