3 Compelling Stories from Home and Away
By Robert Foran III
ALASKA – From Foran Brand Journalism
Alaska has a new Lt. Governor named Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson, and she is the state’s first Alaska Native woman to hold the office.
A small ceremony was held on Oct. 16, 2018, where Governor Bill Walker swore Davidson in as Lt. Governor, filling the role Byron Mallott held before he stepped down and abruptly resigned due to “inappropriate comments” he made to a woman—both of which are currently unrevealed to the public.
Davidson, 51, is Yup’ik and was born in Bethel in southwest Alaska. Prior to her swearing in as Lt. Governor, she has been serving as Gov. Walker’s Health and Social Services Commissioner.
She has fought for Alaska Native social issues for decades and in more recent years, Davidson has focused on being an advocate to improve health care for Alaska Natives throughout the state. One example of this focus was her successful plan to put dental therapists into rural villages in Alaska. Although she faced backlash from many dental associations, her efforts created the first mid-level dental program in the U.S. and improved villages’ access to health care.
Before Davidson joined Walker’s cabinet in 2014, she lead the legal and intergovernmental affairs team at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.
Davidson has contributed a huge effort toward the Governor’s decision to expand Medicaid in 2015, stating that the decision meant greater health-care services and benefits for all Alaskans. She has also been a supporter toward fighting to keep lawmakers from repealing the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.
NATIONAL – From omaha.com
“Nebraska Nice” is out and “Honestly, it’s not for everyone” is the new tagline in Nebraska tourism ads.
The new ad pitch, which leans on self-deprecating humor, was developed by a Colorado-based advertising agency, Vladimir Jones, after testing with out-of-staters likely to visit Nebraska.
State Tourism Director John Ricks said that because Nebraska has consistently ranked as the “least likely state” tourists plan to visit, the marketing campaign needed to be different.
When asked, Ricks said he didn’t think the new campaign reinforced negative stereotypes about the state, but instead provided an honest and different marketing pitch from those of other states.
The new campaign, which debuted at a recent annual state tourism convention at the Lied Lodge & Conference Center, got a mostly positive reception.
INTERNATIONAL – From irishtimes.com
A European-Japanese spacecraft set off on a treacherous seven-year journey to Mercury to examine the solar system’s smallest and least-explored planet.
The BepiColombo mission, only the third ever to visit Mercury, blasted off from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana aboard an Ariane 5 rocket on Oct. 20, 2018, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said.
“Launching BepiColombo is a huge milestone for ESA (European Space Agency) and JAXA, and there will be many great successes to come,” ESA director general Jan Woerner said. “Beyond completing the challenging journey, this mission will return a huge bounty of science.”
Few spacecraft have visited Mercury because of the planet’s close proximity to the sun compared to Earth. Surface temperatures on Mercury can reach highs of more than 750 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and drop to minus 350 degrees at night.