Share this story: Alaska Native Arts & Culture | Arts & Culture | Community | North Slope | SportsWEIO athlete, mentor Big Bob Aiken dies at 62November 5, 2015 by Lori Townsend, APRN Share:A legend of traditional Alaska Native games has died. Big Bob Aiken, known as the “The World’s Largest Eskimo” still held records for the Indian and Eskimo stick pull competitions. He believed deeply in the original purpose of the games.In a phone conversation last July from the World Eskimo Indian Olympics, or WEIO, games in Fairbanks, he said the games were meant to be friendly competition that tested strength and revealed who would be a good hunter.Big Bob Aiken and Miss WEIO 2014 Chanda Simon. (Photo courtesy of Miss World Eskimo Indian Olympics)“Then if you knew exactly what you are capable of, you’d have a better chance of surviving in an incident that happens out in the wilderness. Because I hurt myself one time and I knew I was capable of by these games. So we were raised to survive whatever happens. That’s who we are, that’s how we grew up.”Lew Freedman worked as a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News in the late ’80s and became a friend of Bob Aiken as he covered him in Fairbanks at the WEIO games. He said although Aiken didn’t have his own children, he cared for all children involved in the games and was an important diplomat.“The kids would like swarm around him and he was interacting with everybody. You know it was sort of like, we can’t make a decision about anything without seeing what Big Bob thinks about it and he was that kind of fella, you know he just stood out with a big personality to go with his big size.”Freedman says he thinks the final year that Aiken competed in strength games was 1989 and Big Bob intended to retire with all of his gold medals and one more win.“There was a big surprise that year because a new guy came on the scene, Brian Walker from Eagle River, who was also a big guy but nobody was as big as Big Bob at the time. And Brian beat him, so actually Big Bob lost at the end of his career, kind of probably completing the thought process that it was time to retire.”Bob Aiken was a lifelong Barrow resident until the last few years when he had to live in Anchorage for dialysis treatments. In recent months he had also developed a heart problem. Freedman says he was a warm man with a great sense of humor and even with his health trouble, he never missed the games, acting as an MC, or an official and remained a large figure both physically, at 6 foot 4 and as a champion of performing the games correctly.“But more than anything else he had a sense of tradition and heritage and wanted that to be passed on to future generations. That was the most important to him. You’d have to say he was a keeper of the flame and that was what really integral to his continuing involvement with WEIO was, through the rest of his adult life.”Big Bob Aiken was 62 years old and died in Anchorage Tuesday.
Arctic | Environment | Federal GovernmentBLM director visits North Slope to cap wells, transfer landsMarch 15, 2016 by Emily Russell, KNOM Share:The welcome sign in Barrow, Alaska. (Creative Commons photo by Bob Johnston)The director of the Bureau of Land Management is visiting the North Slope this week. Over the next two days, Director Neil Kornze will meet with Native corporations, local government officials, and community leaders in the region.On Tuesday, Kornze helped cap two cores south of Barrow. The Simpson Core and Iko Bay were both drilled by the U.S. Navy in the 1950s. They’re among 18 legacy wells the BLM plans to clean up this year.The director will travel to Wainwright to finalize the transfer of 1,500 acres of federal land to the Olgoonik Corporation. According to the BLM, the land was used by the Department of Defense for national defense purposes. The land is being sold to Olgoonik to support future economic development.The trip is part of the BLM’s effort to focus on Arctic issues. This is Director Kornze’s fifth visit to Alaska’s North Slope.Share this story:
Economy | Southeast | Tourism | TransportationSkagway residents weigh in on ferry dock closureSeptember 13, 2016 by Emily FIles, KHNS-Haines Share:The Skagway ferry dock. (Emily Files)Skagway residents are facing a two-and-a-half month disruption in Alaska Marine Highway ferry service sometime in the next year and a half.The municipality held a meeting last week to hear from residents about what they think the best timing would be for the looming closure of the ferry dock.The Alaska Department of Transportation is planning to refurbish the dock.The question now is when?DOT gave Skagway residents three timing options to consider: summer 2017, fall 2017 or spring 2018.“Summer would be completely undoable, just not even worth considering,” Nola Lamken said.She was one of a few residents who said a ferry service interruption in the summer would cause the most disruption for business owners, tourists and summer employees.The consensus among the residents at Wednesday’s meeting was that fall or winter is the best option.“We would think that the best time to do this would be around mid-October to I guess mid-January for your three months,” said Gary Hanson, who is on the local marine highway ad hoc committee. “We figured that it was more important to have vehicle service as the tourism season ended in September and also as it gears up again in March.”DOT Deputy Commissioner Mike Neussl said the only reason he thought summer or spring might be viable options is because flights in and out of Skagway tend to be more reliable during those times of the year.There also are privately-run summer ferries between Haines and Skagway.A representative from one of those companies spoke up at Wednesday’s meeting.Shane Huskey is operations manager for the Haines-Skagway Fast Ferry, which serves mainly as a shuttle for summer cruise ship passengers between the two communities.Huskey talked about the possibility of the Haines-Skagway Fast Ferry stepping up as an alternative transportation service while the marine highway dock is out of commission.“We could combine our schedule to match up exactly with what the Haines ferry schedule would be,” Huskey said. “I drove over to the Haines dock and was kind of looking around to see if there was a possibility where there would be uninterrupted service from Skagway straight to the ferry terminal itself instead of going to the [cruise ship] dock in Haines.”The fast ferry uses the Skagway small boat harbor, so it wouldn’t be impacted by the closure of the marine highway dock.As for the possibility of continuing marine highway vessel service to Skagway, Neussl said he has concerns about DOT ferries trying to use one of Skagway’s other docks.The Malaspina will probably be filling in for the Matanuska next fall and winter, he said. That means even if the ferry system did use the railroad or ore dock, it would be passenger-only service.Neussl said contracting with a private company like the Haines Skagway Fast Ferry or Allen Marine is an option DOT is looking into.“So (there’s) more research to do on that and still an unknown cost, and whether the project can bear the cost depending on the funding available for the project and what the construction work is supposed to consume,” Neussl said. “But those are things that we’re looking into in terms of alternative service.”DOT spokesman Jeremy Woodrow said this week his department is waiting on an official recommendation from the municipality before making a final decision about the timing of the project.The Skagway Borough Assembly is scheduled to discuss the ferry float project at its meeting Thursday.Share this story:
Federal Government | Military | SouthcentralIn Alaska stop, vice president gets refuel and military briefingFebruary 6, 2018 by Emily Russell, Alaska Public Media Share:Vice President Mike Pence stood alongside Gov. Bill Walker, Gen. Lori Robinson, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, and Maj. Gen. Laurie Hummel on Tuesday, February 6, 2018. (Photo by Emily Russell/Alaska Public Media)Updated | 2:40 p.m. TuesdayVice President Mike Pence stopped Monday in Alaska on his way to Asia where he’ll lead the U.S. Olympic delegation in South Korea.During his refueling stop at Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Pence toured the Alaskan Command Center. He also had a closed-door meeting with Gov. Bill Walker and top military officials, including Gen. Lori Robinson, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves and Maj. Gen. Laurie Hummel.Pence took questions from the press inside an airplane hangar at JBER. Standing in front of an F-22 fighter jet, the vice president emphasized Alaska’s role in the American missile defense system.“Alaska is the home of missile defense, for all intents and purposes in the United States, particularly with regard to the rogue regime in North Korea,” Pence said. ” Alaska is ready, and America is ready.”More than 40 of the nation’s ground-based missile interceptors are housed at Fort Greely in Alaska’s Interior.Pence’s visit was a reinforcement of Alaska’s strategic importance, but at the upcoming Olympic Games, North Korean athletes will team up with South Koreans — a move that has eased military tensions on the peninsula.Still, Pence said, the nuclear threat from the North should not be underestimated.“Whatever cooperation that’s existing between North and South Korea on Olympic teams,” Pence said, “does not cloud the reality of a regime that must continue to be isolated by the world community.”The Trump administration has used harsh rhetoric at times against the regime in North Korea.But, as Pence reminded the press at the airplane hangar at JBER, Trump is a talker, so a meeting with members of the regime isn’t completely off the table when he’s in South Korea.“With regard to any interaction with the North Korean delegation, I have not requested a meeting, but we’ll see what happens.”From Alaska, Pence flew to Japan, to meet with Prime Minister Shinzō Abe before continuing on to the Winter Olympics in South Korea.— Emily Russell, Alaska Public MediaU.S. Vice President Mike Pence. (File photo courtesy The White House)Original story | 8:45 a.m. TuesdayIn Alaska stop, vice president gets refuel and military briefingVice President Mike Pence made a stop Monday in Alaska. Share this story: Audio Playerhttp://media.aprn.org/2018/ann-20180205-01.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Pence visited Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage before continuing on to Japan and South Korea. He’s part of a U.S. delegation that will attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea this Friday.But at JBER, part of the vice president’s focus was on sending a message to North Korea.The vice president’s staff said in a written statement last month that Pence’s visit to Alaska and the Korean Peninsula would send a message of American resolve to North Korea’s leaders, as well as one of support for U.S. Olympic athletes and military service members stationed in the region.Pence planned to hear from several different military commanders at JBER, said Capt. Bryant Davis, a spokesperson for the U.S. Alaskan Command.“During his visit, they’ll talk about the strategic importance of Alaska,” Davis said. “And because of our position at the top of the Northern Hemisphere, you really reach pretty much any major location in the Northern Hemisphere within hours by aircraft. So it’s a very strategic and important location for homeland defense and homeland security.”Pence also was set to discuss the ballistic missile defense system, which includes dozens of interceptor missiles at Fort Greely in the Interior designed to guard against the type of nuclear attack that the North Korean regime has threatened in the past.The vice president planned to be on the ground in Alaska for a little less than two hours.— Casey Grove, Alaska Public Media
Health | Mental Health | Sexual Abuse & Domestic Violence | Southcentral | State GovernmentNew report confirms major problems at Alaska Psychiatric InstituteMarch 19, 2019 by Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media Share:The Alaska Psychiatric Institute in Anchorage. (Photo courtesy Alaska Department of Health and Social Services)A new report released Monday substantiates major problems at Alaska’s only psychiatric hospital.The state Ombudsman’s Office conducted an investigation into complaints about treatment of patients at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute in Anchorage.“In this case, the evidence did support the allegations that API was not acting to prevent or mitigate violence toward patients from staff or other patients,” said Alaska State Ombudsman Kate Burkhart.The investigation was prompted by complaints in June 2018 by a hospital safety officer warning that API staff members were excessively restraining and isolating patients, as well as using force in ways that are unlawful under the facility’s own guidelines. Since 2015, Burkhart’s office has received 42 complaints about API, 31 percent of them related to patient neglect and mistreatment.“There were significant instances where staff caused harm to patients, where patients caused harm to other patients, and API did not respond proactively to prevent or to mitigate the results of that harm,” Burkhart said.There were other findings that the use of seclusion and restraint were used in situations where there wasn’t an imminent threat to safety.“That is impermissible under federal law and API policy,” Burkhart added.The report is comprised of interviews with staff over several months, as well as an extensive review of documents. It details upsetting incidents, such as one patient sexually assaulting another in view of a nursing station. The report documents how employees mishandled procedures for dealing with those cases after the fact.This report comes several months after a different investigation looked into unsafe working conditions for staff at API. That document was released by a private law group, and it found significant problems faced by employees at the facility connected to under-staffing, inconsistent training and taxing work loads.Burkhart’s office made 11 recommendations to the state’s Department of Health and Social Services, which oversees API.In February, the Dunleavy administration introduced a plan that could eventually privatize the facility. Burkhart said her office began its investigation prior to that decision, and that the report’s recommendations could be incorporated regardless of who is managing the facility.Share this story:
Coronavirus | Fisheries | Local GovernmentState overrules Wrangell, says it can’t add its own COVID-19 restrictionsApril 13, 2020 by June Leffler, KSTK – Wrangell Share:Wrangell as seen from Mount Dewey on July 24, 2014. (Creative Commons photo by James Brooks)Wrangell’s proposed restrictions on people arriving at the island community have been shelved after the state said the Southeast city doesn’t have the authority. City leaders had wanted to coordinate the flow of commercial fishermen and fish plant workers expected to arrive for the season.A state health mandate restricts all nonessential travel except to workers in critical industries. That mandate supersedes local restrictions. But it allows smaller, isolated towns with limited health care facilities to add restrictions to ward against an outbreak of COVID-19.In Wrangell, commercial salmon fishing gets going in mid-June. Around that time more than 30 seasonal fish plant workers from out-of-state work in Wrangell’s sole fish processor. The plant manager says the workers will self-quarantine for 14 days before coming into town.Elected officials wanted copies of mitigation plans that employers in critical industries – skippers and processors – have filed with the state to secure exemptions to travel restrictions. So far state public officials haven’t shared these plans with local authorities.That doesn’t sit well with assembly member David Powell. He says a few infected people arriving in Wrangell could snowball.“And then all of a sudden we could have 10 to 20 cases in here because we didn’t do something,” Powell says.He wants to see these local mandates in place as soon as possible. But the city recently got word from the state that it lacks the authority to make its own rules.On Wednesday, an email arrived from the state’s unified command stating that Wrangell Medical Center qualifies as a “hub” hospital as defined in the health mandate.That frustrated Wrangell Mayor Steve Prysunka. Wrangell’s hospital is run by the tribal health organization SEARHC – whose regional hub hospital for COVID-19 cases is Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center in Sitka.But the mayor says — in the state’s eyes at least — his island town of 2,400 people is not a “small community” since it has a hub hospital.“We just don’t meet that, and it doesn’t matter what SEARHC thinks it is, all that matters is what the state says it is,” Prysunka says.The measure ultimately failed 5-2. The assembly did not want to move forward and risk legal action from the state or industries down the line. But Powell was among those that wanted to keep pushing.“I still feel that this is still critical to the safety of our community and that there is no reason why we would not take action,” he says.The Alaska Journal of Commerce reported this month that Cordova enacted restrictions similar to what Wrangell had proposed. And the two are very similar communities. Both are off the road system, have fewer than 3,000 residents and have health care facilities categorized as “critical access hospitals,” which the state classifies as hub hospitals.The seafood industry has been watching this unfold in a number of fishing towns across Alaska.United Fishermen of Alaska Executive Director Frances Leach says the industry isn’t taking its exemptions for granted. The fishing fleet is working to take steps to minimize any health risks.“We respect and appreciate the communities for hosting us every summer, and we’re working diligently on letting the communities know it is a concern,” Leach says.Share this story:
Aleutians | CoronavirusFerry Tustumena crew member tests positive for COVID-19, passengers quarantinedJune 7, 2020 by Hope McKenney, KUCB Share:The M/V Tustumena pulls away from Kodiak on Jan. 11, 2020, beginning a ferry service gap of more than three months. (Photo by Kavitha George/KMXT)The first ferry of the season to Unalaska, brought a case of COVID-19 to the community. The ferry Tustumena sailings have been canceled after a crew member tested positive for the virus on Saturday.The ship will now be sailing back to Homer from Unalaska on Sunday. It will not make any stops.That’s according to state Department of Transportation officials that said a crew member developed mild symptoms including a runny nose, cough, and body aches, but they did not have a fever during the voyage along the Aleutian Chain.The employee is in isolation on the ferry and did not disembark the vessel, but did have contact with passengers and crew before arriving in Unalaska.“This is not considered a community case. This is a travel-related case,” said Unalaska City Manager Erin Reinders. “It was an individual who was an employee of the Alaska Marine Highway System. I don’t know a lot of the details behind it, but what we do know is that this individual was symptomatic, did not leave the room that they were in, was tested here locally, and that test came back positive.”The Department of Health and Social Services has begun contact tracing and will contact people who may have had interactions with the crew member.A statement from the Department of Transportation says there are 35 crew members on the Tustumena. It says 16 close contacts — all crew members — have been identified and are quarantined on board the ship. It also says all crew stayed on board while docked in Unalaska and that no passengers have been identified as close contacts.Dutch Harbor Ports Director Peggy McLaughlin said 21 passengers got off the ferry in Unalaska. She said all passengers were directed to follow the city’s protocol to self quarantine for 14-days upon arrival.The ferry was on its first trip after returning to service on June 2. It left Homer and visited the communities of Seldovia, Kodiak, Chignik, Sand Point, King Cove, Cold Bay, False Pass, Akutan. DOT did not say which of those communities received passengers.Neither the city nor state has said how many passengers had boarded the Tustumena in Unalaska on Saturday before being informed that the sailing had been canceled. DOT says the infected crew member did not have contact with any of these passengers.McLaughlin said those passengers should take precautions.“The recommendation for the passengers that were trying to leave on Unalaska/Dutch Harbor today, was to get off the ferry, go home, shower, and self-quarantine,” said McLaughlin. “The state is working on various options for them to continue to get from point A to point B.”Melanee Tiura, chief executive of Iliuliuk Family Health Services in Unalaska, said the health clinic’s staff have been informed of the situation.“We are all concerned with the possible risks present in this scenario,” said Tiura. “If there is good news so far, it is that the most recent information from the state indicates that there was limited direct exposure to the passengers, both those who disembarked today and those who had briefly boarded.”The city has a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anybody traveling to the island, whether by air or sea, with the exception of AMHS “day travelers” during their stopover in Unalaska.State officials said the symptomatic crew member was tested at 5 p.m. Saturday. The positive result was returned an hour later. Unalaska’s local medical provider said it wasn’t part of that decision chain that allowed passengers to board with a potential coronavirus case on board.“We, at the clinic, would like to make sure the community knows that we were not involved in any decisions that led to community members boarding the ferry with a symptomatic individual on board,” said Tiura. “We are here to care for patients and to help to keep Unalaska safe.”Unalaska has had three cases of COVID-19, all among seafood workers.Officials said there is no known community spread in Unalaska at this time. The city will not be raising its assessment of the community’s risk level, which is currently at “medium.” Under the city’s COVID-19 emergency response plan, the city will not move to “high” risk unless there is confirmed community spread or widespread exposure of COVID-19 on the island.Mayor Vince Tutiakoff Sr. said the city’s unified command — which is a COVID-19 response team made up of healthcare officials, seafood industry, school district representatives, social service agencies, and the Qawalangin Tribe — has developed comprehensive plans.“I want the community to know that we keep all of their health as number one priority, and today shows that [our plan] works,” said Tutiakoff. “The team got together, worked out a plan, and got it working within a half hour of when the question arose as to whether the employee was infected or not. So [the plan] works and the community has to have confidence in what we’re trying to do.”Reinders said it is up to every Unalaskan to practice social distancing measures and limit community spread as the state continues to open up. She said those measures include washing hands, maintaining a six-foot distance from others, wearing a face covering over both the nose and mouth, and keeping social circles small.The Tustumena departed Unalaska on Saturday night with crew and six passengers that had originally boarded in Homer. During transit, only essential crew will operate the ship, and the remaining people on board will self-quarantine, DOT says.Everyone will be tested for COVID-19 once the ship arrives in Homer. The Tustumena’s future sailings are suspended until further notice.Share this story:
Share this story: Coronavirus | Economy | Politics | Southcentral | State GovernmentAlaska House passes disaster extension, sends bill to Senate where narrower legislation could emergeMarch 26, 2021 by Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO and Alaska Public Media Share:Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky, D-Bethel, speaks during a House floor session in the Capitol in Juneau on March 16, 2020. On Friday, she spoke in favor of House Bill 76, to extend Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s COVID-19 disaster declaration. The bill passed, 22-15. (Photo by Skip Gray/KTOO)On Friday, the Alaska House of Representatives passed a bill to extend Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s COVID-19 disaster declaration. The bill would make the extension retroactive to Feb. 14, when the declaration expired. Dunleavy now opposes the extension, saying the state no longer needs to be in a state of emergency. That’s a change since Dunleavy proposed the bill earlier this year before the declaration expired. He now wants a more limited set of provisions, and Senate leaders have written a revised version of the bill in line with his request. The House debated the measure, House Bill 76, for more than an hour during a Friday floor session. Bethel Democratic Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky noted that the statewide COVID-19 threat level remains high. And she said the effect of new, highly contagious variants of the coronavirus in the state is unknown. “The simple fact is, House Bill 76 reliably and efficiently provides Alaska the tool and resources needed by our businesses, hospitals, nonprofits and local governments,” she said.Hospital leaders have said the mandatory COVID-19 testing of air travelers is necessary. That program ended in February when the disaster declaration expired. But Dunleavy maintains that extending the declaration would undermine Alaskans’ trust in the state government and harm the upcoming tourism season. Anchorage Republican Rep. Tom McKay says the state declaration led to local abuses. “Using the emergency declaration as cover, our Anchorage interim mayor and Assembly, continuously and callously ignored constituents and abused their powers to destroy the Anchorage economy,” McKay said.Anchorage Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson and Assembly members have said restrictions would help the economy recover by decreasing the spread of the virus. Alaska House Speaker Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, on the dais in the center, listens to the debate on House Bill 76 on Friday in the Capitol. The House passed the bill, which would extend a statewide disaster declaration issued by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy. (Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media)The vote to pass the bill was 22-15. Fairbanks Republican Rep. Bart LeBon voted in favor of it, citing a provision that limits the liability of businesses. He was the only member to cross caucus lines. Anchorage Republican Rep. Sara Rasmussen, who doesn’t belong to a caucus, voted no. The House voted on amendments to the bill on Thursday. Only one amendment passed. It would seek to prohibit the state from spending any federal COVID-19 funding on abortions that aren’t mandated by state law. The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled that state laws to prohibit Medicaid spending on abortions are unconstitutional because the laws treat abortions differently than other medical procedures. The bill now goes to the Senate. If the Senate passes legislation closer to what Dunleavy prefers, the House could agree to the changes, or a committee with members from both chambers could write a compromise bill that could become law.
Alcohol & Substance Abuse | Crime & Courts | SouthcentralWasilla doctor pleads guilty to drug charge after illegal opioid prescriptions contributed to deathsJune 17, 2021 by Casey Grove, Alaska Public Media Share:Opioids (Creative Commons photo by K-State Research and Extension)A Wasilla doctor has admitted to illegally prescribing thousands of opioid pills to patients, which federal prosecutors say contributed to five deaths.David Chisholm, 64, pleaded guilty in federal court June 3 to one count of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance.Chisholm admitted to prescribing patients various narcotic painkillers and opioids — including oxycodone, morphine and fentanyl — without a legitimate purpose, and according to prosecutors, often without a medical exam.According to the plea agreement, Chisholm dispensed the drugs outside of the course of his medical practice, a family health and pain management clinic in Wasilla called Camelot Family Health. Prosecutors said in a written statement that an extensive undercover investigation led to the charges against Chisholm filed in April.Chisholm’s illegal prescriptions “significantly contributed” to the accidental deaths of five patients, who are listed in the document only by their initials, according to the plea agreement.Chisholm will have to surrender his medical license, and a judge is set to sentence him and consider approval of the agreement at a hearing scheduled for September.Prosecutors say Chisholm could get up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.Chisholm’s attorney, Nick Oberheiden, wrote in an email, that Chisholm had served generations of patients during his career “to their fullest satisfaction and as a true patient advocate.”“(He) made wrong and regrettable decisions when administering controlled substances medications to certain patients,” the attorney wrote. “He takes full responsibility for these mistakes.”Share this story:
UncategorizedFriendly House LuncheonThe 60-year-old women’s recovery program honors ….Russell Brand?By Kari Mozena – November 10, 2011431ShareEmailFacebookTwitterPinterestReddIt“I’ve only known her a little while and she’s already hijacked my life,” Russell Brand noted about Friendly House Executive Director Peggy Albrecht. The actor/comedian has gotten the women’s recovery program (this was their 60th birthday-there were numerous cakes) press from Rosie O’Donnell’s new show on OWN to many others. Brand arrived at the Hilton, water bottle in hand for the fundraiser showing me his “shirt with dots on it and what they call a waistcoat in my country, a vest in yours.” He received the Man of the Year Award while other deserving accolades went to Karl McMillen and veteran activist/photographer Aloma Ichinose. I wish more awards were as heartfelt and honest as this one, where folks didn’t thank their agents, they thanked their exes for not letting them get shock treatment. Also in the Hilton’s Ballroom? Philanthropist Wallis Annenberg, Christopher Kennedy Lawford (who looks exactly like his father, Peter), actress Katy Sagal and model Amber Valletta. It was hard not to be charmed by Brand as he leapt to the stage and shouted, “This room’s full of junkies, isn’t it?” Which was met with a cheer from everyone in the ballroom. “I think I peed my pants laughing so hard,” Amber Valletta said at the end of the afternoon. Brand simply ended with “Hare Krishna, Cheers!” For more information, go to friendlyhousela.org.Russell Brand and Friendly House Board Prez Bill Cunningham Barbara Alyn Woods with Emily and Natalie Alyn Lind Honorees Karl McMiller, Iloma Ichinose and Russell Brand Pat O’Brien and Christopher Kennedy Lawford Friendly House Exec Director Peggy Albrecht and Russell Brand Katy Sagal Photographs by Carl Bagdonas TAGS2011L.A CultureNovember 2011Previous articleEddie Murphy Quits Oscar GigNext articleOccupy Los Angeles March Planned for 11/11/11Kari Mozena RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORThe Holiday Season Officially Starts with These L.A. Tree Lighting EventsGorgeous Hotel Pools in L.A. Where You Can Cool Off Without Booking a RoomWhy You Should be Listening to Mexican-Born, L.A.-Based Rapper Niña Dioz