Saturday, February 4, 2012

Craig Medred Blossoms at the Alaska Dispatch

Alaska Dispatch reporter Craig Medred
A week ago, during the intermission at the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra's brilliant presentation of Gustav Holst's masterpiece, The Planets, I bumped in to Richard Mauer, the most outstanding investigative reporter at the Anchorage Daily News.  I thanked him for his recent work at the ADN, which has recently included a thorough expose on the sleazy ways Rev. Jerry Prevo has turned Anchorage Baptist Temple-owned real estate into highly structured ways to fleece the taxpayers of Anchorage.

Then I said to Richard, "You know, the person who is probably doing the best writing of his career right now is Craig Medred."

Mauer replied, "You're absolutely right."

Medred has been blasted and praised over the past four years at Progressive Alaska.  I've dissed him for the ways he seems to find to dig at the Cordova commercial fishing community.  I've praised and thanked him for being the only estimable Alaska outdoors reporter to thoroughly cover Bretwood Higman and Erin McKittrick.  Medred attended Erin and Hig's first Anchorage presentation, which I produced at UAA, back in January 2008.  That resulted in him being the first mainstream frontline Alaska reporter to take notice of their remarkable achievements.  Since moving from the ADN to the Alaska Dispatch, not only has Medred continued to keep up with Erin and Hig, he's expanded far outside of the niches he was kept within at the ADN.

Currently, Medred is delving deeply into the dark underworld of the politics of game management by the State of Alaska.  With the bust of the sleazy, unqualified Christianist Corey Rossi, for a huge number of hunting misdemeanors (which - strung together - really ought to be a major felony). and Rossi's subsequent resignation as director of the Alaska ADF&G Division of Wildlife Conservation, Medred has initiated a series that may end up warranting the first major national journalism prize for the young media outlet.  The articles in the series, so far, are:

The spectacular rise of Alaska wildlife manager Corey Rossi

How Alaska wildlife manager Corey Rossi was charged with illegal hunting

New details emerge in Alaska wildlife chief's resignation

Alaska wildlife official faces new allegations of illegal trophy hunting

Public safety chief sought to keep Rossi affair under wraps tro protect probe

Who benefitted most from charity Alaska bear hunts for veterans?

Additional Dispatch coverage of the Rossi debacle and the farce that is game management in the State of Alaska has been first-rate too:

Wildlife chief's resignation resonates with Alaska biologists - by Rick Sinnott

Alaska Board of Game shows affection for any predator control program - by Rick Sinnott

Corey Rossi and the 30-bear weekend - by Rick Sinnott

Alaska wildlife chief appointment raises new questions at Fish and Game  - by Rick Sinnott

More details should emerge on how many layers of corruption there are in the state's management of the Alaska hunting industry.  One quote from Medred's most recent article may provide clues as to where this might go (emphasis added):
Healing Hearts, which has been endorsed by radio talk show host Glenn Beck, did manage to stage its own black bear hunt in 2011, thanks in part to an $80,000 grant (.pdf) from the Alaska Legislature. The organization leased the Deshka River Lodge for three weeks and brought 14 wounded veterans north to hunt "alongside a number of celebrity team members," according to a press release.
There are many opportunities, through the state GOP's politicization of  special hunting permits, for kickbacks and favors that would remind anyone of the way Bill Allen worked over Ted Stevens' Girdwood house, and rewarded Vic Kohring.

I don't trust the state to honestly deal with the inner layers of this onion, though.  Dozens of people complained to state law enforcement about Allen's practices, and they got nowhere.  He's gotten off scott-free on his sexual abuse charges thanks to the ineptitude and callousness of state law enforcement.

Ask Ray Metcalfe, Tony Hopfinger, or a number of others about how capable they think the AST and Alaska Department of Law are at delving into GOP crimes.  The answer may take a minute or so, as they recover from laughing out loud.

This is no laughing matter, though.

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