Most journalists like to end the year looking back because, well, it’s easy: Cobble together some old stories; throw them online; and go drink.
At craigmedred.news, however, we don’t like to do anything easy, and we’d rather look forward. When you’re moving at the speed of the internet, it’s better to be looking ahead than worrying about what is behind.
In that vein, some predictions on the big Alaska stories of the New Year:
- President Donald Trump finally finds a post for early supporter Sarah Palin, Alaska’s beloved former governor and only pol-ebrity. Trump names her Ambassador to the Arctic and dispatches her to the North Pole embassy. Palin spends three months futilely roaming the ice cap searching for the building before being rescued after suffering severe frostbite in 60-degree-below-zero cold. Back in civilization, she promptly declares “global warming is the biggest fraud of our lifetime! It’s just common sense.”
- Fake news becomes a $100 billion a year business, and the publishers who’d once proclaimed it a travesty become the biggest fans. The new motto for successful news websites? “We write the news you want to read.” But there are problems, the 49th state’s new largest news site – Alaska Dispatched Daily News at ADDN.com – becomes embroiled in a nasty lawsuit over the URL with ADN.com once the state’s largest news site. ADN publisher Alice Rogoff argues the names are too easily confused and proclaims ADDN.com nothing but a copycat trying to steal ADN.com business. “We were doing fake news before they even knew there was such a thing,” she declares.
- Despite a projected Chinese natural gas glut, China cuts a deal with Alaska Gov. Bill Walker to buy North Slope LNG just to tick off newly elected President Donald Trump. Walker and his old buddy, former President Barak Obama, celebrate. Alaska oil companies declare that no matter what kind of deal the governor made, they’re not selling anyone natural gas at 50 cents an MMBtu – about an eighth of the market value. Walker counters by threatening to shut down the transAalska oil pipeline. Alaskans are all left echoing one of Palin’s favorite comments: WTF.
- After a long drought in the gender wars on Alaska dog trails, another woman finally wins the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, but she’s not the one everyone expected. One-time triathlete Katherine Keith of Kotzebue, the training partner of former Iditarod champ John Baker, gets behind the kennel’s team of big dogs and comes out of nowhere to claim victory in the tradition of Libby Riddles, the first woman to snatch an Iditarod crown. Baker smiles a lot at the finish line in Nome and does his best Joe Garnie imitation while being quietly thankful for the 2011 victory that insured he will not be the Bering Sea coast musher to go down in history as the Best Never to Win The Last Great Race.
- Fairbanks sets a record on February 13th when the temperature hits 68-degrees below zero, besting the Jan. 14, 1934 low by two degrees. In recognition of the upcoming Valentine’s Day, the city fathers agree to temporarily change the city’s nickname from “The Golden Heart City” to the “Frozen Heart City.” Global warming disciples around the globe scramble to explain that “it’s not about the temperature in any one place. It’s really about ‘climate change.’ It’s not about how butt-freezing cold it is in Fairbanks. It really isn’t. It’s just not.”
- Oil prices drop back to $30 per barrel as the global glut of crude continues into the summer season. In the middle of the busy tourist rush, Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines are forced to add flights to provide enough capacity to take care of all the people fleeing the 49th state as the economy tanks. The Alaskans who stay adopt a whole new attitude toward tourists. Average Alaskans show up at the airport to hug visitors as they get off the plane and smile as they help them haul their cooler loads of salmon to the check-in line when they leave. Holland America Line begins exploring the idea of using cruise ships to evacuate Alaska refuges, but abandons that idea when it discovers most of them are near broke.
- President Donald Trump offers to solve the problem of one Alaska coastal village by moving the 250 residents of Shaktoolik into the Trump Tower in New York. “Look,” he says, “with all this Secret Service security nonsense I can’t use the building for much of anything else, and there’s no way – no way – anyone is going to spend two-hundred million dollars – $200 million – to relocate that village. What is that? That’s almost a million a head. That’s huge. No way.” Shaktoolik residents respond by asking, “Where is New York? Are there any seals to hunt there? What about muskox?”
- The Alaska Legislature meets in Juneau and does little after which it reconvenes in special session in Juneau and does little. It finally goes home having done little.
- President Donald Trump rescinds President Barak Obama’s renaming of Mount McKinley as Mount Denali. A major fight over the name change erupts in Congress. As a compromise, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, suggests that in keeping with a certain Alaska tradition the mountain be renamed Mount Murkowski in honor of her father, former governor and former Sen. Frank. The idea fails, but Congress later adopts the compromise offered by former diplomat Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, who suggests Mount McDenali. After McDonald’s sign an agreement to become a naming sponsor, the official name is finally settled as Mount McDenali by McDonald’s, thus blending the rich traditions of Alaska Native culture, American capitalism, and fast food.
- Alaska Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, announces once again that he’s thinking about retiring, but then promptly forgets. At a party to celebrate his 84th birthday on June 9, the longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives reveals he’d like to be the first Congressman to serve until he is 100. Looking fit and healthy, he goads 2016 Democrat campaign challenger Steve Lindbeck, 23 years Young’s junior, into a celebrity cage fight to raise funds for breast cancer. Young scores a surprising TKO in the third round. When Lindbeck regains his sense, his first words are, “shit, it was just like the election.”