A Bristol Bay double-ender restored for the State Museum in Juneau. Luan Madole, widow of VPSO Tom Madole, talks about healing and forgiveness. And Pi Day.
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Just past midnight this morning, Alaska’s House passed an operating budget of $4.1 billion dollars, which represents a 10 percent cut in agency operations over last year. Republican leadership in the house say the $229 million dollar cut in unrestricted general funding spending set a record.
Some said the cuts came nowhere near making up for a $3.5 billion dollar deficit, while others said the budget cuts too severely.
Joining us to talk more about this is Senator Lyman Hoffman from Bethel.
Now, let's turn to other Bristol Bay representation in the state’s capital. An old double ender sailboat will highlight an exhibit on Alaska’s maritime history at the State Museum in Juneau when it reopens next spring. KDLG’s Matt Martin has more.
Next Thursday marks the two years since VPSO Thomas Madole was murdered in Manokotak.
We spoke recently with Tom's widow Luan from her home in Papillion, Nebraska. She says that Tom was a country boy, raised on a farm in central Missouri just miles from the lake of the Ozarks. He was a fisherman and hunter to his core. He also loved a good cup of strong coffee, and a good laugh, and was known for his practical jokes.
Tom Madole was also a devout Christian, and devoted his life to making a positive difference in the lives of others. He pastored a church in Missouri in the 1990s. Then, in 1999, a visitor to the church spoke about pastoring churches in Alaska. Tom and Luan had been praying about a new place to serve, and they felt this was God’s direction for them.
On March 17, 2000, the Madoles landed in Bethel and made it their home. Tom pastored the Assembly of God church for the next six years.
Around 2006, Luan says, the idea of getting into law enforcement took root in Tom’s heart. He first took a job as a security guard, and began training to try out for the state troopers. He had a large sarcoma removed and underwent weeks of radiation therapy, which set him back in his training. But when he could, he reconditioned his body and was still able, now in his fifties, to land a job as the VPSO in Manokotak. That was the summer of 2011. Luan moved back to Missouri to plan for the next chapter of their lives.
Manokotak embraced their new VPSO as a trusted friend and member of the community. Tom made it a point to stop by the school most days and have lunch with the kids.
He was trusted to help calm conflicts, too, such as the one that began brewing on March 19, 2013. Leroy B. Dick had become extremely unstable, and his family called for help. Tom, unarmed, went to the house to see if he could help Leroy settle down. Tom knocked on the door and said hello. Leroy screamed back, and Tom knew it was time to leave. He quickly headed away from the property, but Leroy Dick stepped out and gunned him down in cold blood with a .223 rifle.
Leroy Dick was arrested, charged, and convicted of first degree murder by a jury last fall. A judge later sentenced Leroy to 99 years in prison. The case is closed, but the healing from that tragic event continues. Through it all, Tom’s widow Luan has been a symbol of strength and conviction, and now of forgiveness. She joins me now.
We'll end this week's show on a different note. Tomorrow is a holiday. It’s an annual one, but this year is particularly special. Tomorrow's date, 3.14.15, are the first five numbers of the irrational number known as Pi.
Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. If I’ve lost you already, you’re probably as long past middle school math as I am.
But Pi Day, as it’s called, helps math teachers like Dillingham’s Andrew Slagle reinforce some important mathematic principles that are otherwise usually too un-cool to celebrate.
That's it for this week's Bristol Bay and Beyond, our weekly newsmagazine on KDLG. We hope you join us each Friday at 12 noon and 6:30 p.m. on AM670, and at 8:30pm on 89.9 FM.
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