Loose Lips: Balls for the rest of us. Ugly holiday sweaters. Girdwood libations.

loose lipsSome people, it seems, are always getting invited to balls. I look on Facebook, at yet another woman dressed in sequins, and another man in a tux, and I think, what do they have that I don’t? (A pleasant personality? Big bucks?) Anyway, there are some balls coming up—inaugural balls—that we all might be able to attend. They are balls for the people, of the people. While I haven’t seen any official announcements, I’ve heard that Lindsey Hobson and Mandy Mallott, daughters of the governor and lite governor respectively, will be co-chairing the inaugural committee. The first ball is scheduled to be held in the governor’s hometown, Valdez, on January 3. The other dates appear to be in Juneau on January 10, Fairbanks on January 24, and Anchorage on January 31. More details as I get them.

Karly Meyer, daughter of Senate president Kevin Meyer, graduated from college this spring and served as the volunteer coordinator for the Parnell for Governor Campaign. She has now joined PS Strategies, a local PR/advertising firm, which was founded and is owned by Mary Ann Pruitt, wife of Rep. Lance Pruitt, and radio talk show host David Stieren.

The Department of Health and Social Services announced the appointments of Dr. Jay Butler and John Sherwood to the department’s senior management team. Dr. Butler will serve the dual roles of Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Division of Public Health. He most recently worked at ANTHC. Sherwood is a 25 year DHSS employee and will now be a deputy commissioner. The press release also incorrectly indicated that the appointments were subject to legislative confirmation. They aren’t.

The two key people working to improve the Aetna insurance contract for state workers and retirees was DOA Deputy Commissioner Mike Barnhill and the state’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ward Hurlburt. Both have been released from state service by the Walker administration. So, who knows what’s going on, what the issues are and who, if anyone, is handling the contract?

I previously reported that Parnell health care adviser Emily Ricci would be joining DHSS. This will not be the case. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. All I know is that she was offered a position and declined.

Former Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association President Karen Perdue wrote on her Facebook page:


Not to be outdone, here’s Rep. Harriet Drummond’s post:

drummon pot smoke

The Anchorage Republican Women’s Club held their annual Christmas party Saturday evening at the home of John and Leslie Tisdal-Papasavas. Santa might have been there, or was that Kris Warren? About 50 others showed, including: Reps. Lora Reinbold and Gabrielle LeDoux; Rep.-elect Liz Vazquez; Sharon Jackson; Alyce Hanley; Loren and Carolyn Leman; April Hackney; Dawn Linton-Warren; Susan Fischetti; Kelly Hoglin; Assemblywoman Amy Demboski;  Judy’s husband Randy Eledge; and Tiger and and Elizabeth Helgelien.

Speaking of Tiger and Elizabeth, and parties that I wasn’t invited to, they’re quite the Yuletiders, if you get my drift, and they’re trying to embed themselves into Anchorage’s political scene. On Friday evening, they hosted an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. From photos, the politicos that I noticed there were Jeff Landfield, who is telling anyone that will listen that he’s running for the legislature in 2016, the new ARWC prez Stacey Stone-Semmler, and local ad team Art and April Hackney. Art’s version of an ugly holiday sweater involved a black sweatshirt awash in political pins. April opted for meta. Her sweater said “Ugly Sweater.”

ugly sweater

On Sunday afternoon, Governor Walker and the First Lady joined a group of Valley residents at the 2nd Annual State Fair Christmas Party in Raven Hall at the Palmer Fairgrounds.  It was a festive event with Santa Claus and even live reindeer. The Walkers dressed in holiday red sweaters and read Christmas stories to the kids while Hobo Jim entertained the adults. Sen.-elect Bill Stoltze and Rep. Shelley Hughes were the only two elected officials who showed, I’m told. It was a good move by Walker, and people there were impressed. Remember, Walker didn’t win one district in the Valley.

At the end of the week and part of the weekend, the Senate Majority Caucus met at the Alyeska Resort to hammer out ideas and priorities for the upcoming session. I’m told that Sen. Cathy Giessel might have left her two-minute egg timer at home, but not her egg-timing mind-set. I’m sure there was considerable discussion about the state’s fiscal situation and the need to reduce costs as they enjoyed the resorts comforts, food and libations. Gov. Bill Walker met with the group as well. From all whispers, I heard that the senators showed considerable respect and reported that the conversations were productive.

From an event I was actually invited to! The United for Liberty monthly meeting is Tuesday, Dec. 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Alaska Policy Forum headquarters, 201 Barrow Street. Here’s a message from the head of the group, Mike Chambers:

As always, please be respectful of others and do not attempt to filibuster the event. We are a diverse group and it is important that we allow “ALL” to participate in the lively discussion. Last meeting there were contentious attitudes flying around the room which were directed at particular candidates for office. I do want to emphasize Bethany Marcum’s point of order to focus on the issues and leave the personal assaults out of the discussion. The only person and party you are allowed to attack is me and the Libertarian Party but be aware, we are packing heat!!

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


34 thoughts on “Loose Lips: Balls for the rest of us. Ugly holiday sweaters. Girdwood libations.

  1. anonymous


    Apparently, you only pick and choose what you read and quote. From the same article:

    “Halseth told police that five days earlier her husband, in an act of jealousy, had touched her against her will. Daniel Halseth told police he had been trying to scare his wife to get her attention.

    Both agreed the incident ended when he said it was a joke.”

    Both agreed the incident ended when he said it was a joke, it says. Let’s get a copy of that police report, shall we?

    The felony charges were dropped.

    Battered and controlled women don’t wait 5 days to call the police after an incident. The man was devastated that his wife was cheating and by what Muth cites in the police report, he asked her to tell him what Tiger had that he didn’t. And he stopped when she told him to. That is the key.

    The charge that Elizabeth cooked up 5 days after the fact and upon returning from counseling was open and gross lewdness It’s an ambiguous and undefined, ambiguous statute in Nevada that requires no witnesses and is often used by vindictive people who use the system to attack their enemies.

    Mark, you’re saying that Tiger is a better male role model to her kids than their father who loves them and was their full-time caregiver while their mommy was out cheating with Tiger and noticeably absent from her committee meetings? How ridiculous. Their dad stayed home to be with them all day. No one is going to be a better male role model to the Halseth kids than the father who consistently cared for them every day while mommy was at work or cheating with his friend. Tiger cheated with their mom. He’s a horrible role model for anyone’s kids, let alone the kids of the man whose wife he stole. Adulterers and liars are good role models? According to whose morals?

    The Las Vegas Sun and Fox5 Vegas are not blogs. Again, Chuck Muth’s blog seems to be as reputable as this one and he cites a lot of sources, like this blog does. If you discount the credibility of blogs so much, why are you here? 😉

    If anything Muth printed on his blog was false, Elizabeth and Tiger could sue for slander. But, truth is an affirmative defense to a slander and libel case and Elizabeth would have the burden to prove falsity. That’s apparently why they didn’t sue Chuck Muth.

  2. Mark


    “The estranged husband of former state Sen. Elizabeth Halseth pleaded guilty last week to two misdemeanor counts stemming from an October 2011 domestic violence incident involving her.

    Daniel Halseth was indicted in August on two felony counts, coercion and battery, and one misdemeanor count of open and gross lewdness.” -Las Vegas review journal.

    Your sources say that all charges were dropped, that’s one example of why they are not credible sources. Don’t believe everything you read on blogs. I do happen to know Tiger and Elizabeth and they are a great couple who devote a lot of time to their community and Tiger has devoted his life to raising 3 kids that otherwise wouldn’t have a male role model in their life who cares. Apparently you don’t know them very well.

  3. anonymous


    Again, get the police report and prove that Muth is wrong. You’re now accusing Halseth of abusing his wife? The charges against him were dropped. So, who is smearing who here? Muth says the report says that Elizabeth never accused him of abuse and her mom called the police for a missing person report.

    Amanda, you’re a journalist. Why don’t you get a copy of the police report and compare it to Muth’s story?

  4. Mark

    Your sources do not prove anything mentioned in the “non factual story”. They do prove that she was married to an abusive person who did everything he could to control her and he got thrown in jail and convicted for it. I don’t blame her for removing her kids from that situation.

  5. anonymous


    Everything the “blogger” Chuck Muth, he backed up with sources. Amanda is a blogger, too, and a good one so are you saying that Amanda is not credible, either? Sounds like you’re a friend of theirs. Get a copy of the Las Vegas police report and prove Muth wrong, Mark. He cites it. If you get a copy and it doesn’t say what this blogger says it says, post it here. Until you re-do his homework and prove him wrong, you don’t have a leg to stand on in burning the messenger for the message.




  6. L

    Sen-Elect Sullivan actually lives in Alaska with his wife and girls, when he wasn’t serving the country. Not even the same planet as Tiger and Elizabeth…”Let’s abandon everything in NV, ruin lives, get married and send out fake Christmas cards of our new family being so happy.” Don’t buy it.
    Sounds like a House of Cards trick or something. Wise up Alaskans. Charisse, Lesil, now Elizabeth…slutty drunkenness, inappropriate “diplomacy” and divorce court shouldn’t be the new norm for the LAST Frontier.
    Look to great leaders with great families for once.

  7. Mark

    A story written by a blogger who appears to spend all of his time trashing republicans. That’s not credible documentation.

  8. anonymous


    Easy answer would be a typo. There is too much documentation on this story for it to be not factual.

  9. anonymous

    Mr. O,
    Are you comparing Sen-elect Dan Sullivan to the Helgeliens, who had an affair and took her kids away from their dad who was their primary caregiver?

  10. Marvin

    Just read it. Something I don’t understand. Each “chapter” is dated in 2011. Initially, I thought that was when the writer was posting each chapter. But then in a few instances, the writer is talking about something that has a 2012 date, so it would not actually have happened yet if the chapter was posted in 2011. Can you explain?

  11. Race's mom

    loved your article today and articles Amanda! I love hearing what the families behind the big names are doing too like what the Governor and Senate/House fams are up too. Family plays a big role in each polticos success.

  12. anonymous

    Why is Elizabeth and Tiger’s affair/her trumped-up charges against her ex-husband/playing the victim card such a big deal? Do we all have such short memories that it doesn’t sound familiar with our own politicians?

    You mentioned Charisse Millet but does the Anderson/McGuire adulterous affair ring any bells? The pattern of these politicians is so obvious. It must attract the same kind of people. Like Halseth/Helgelien, Anderson pimped out his 3 young children on his political ads, claiming to have “family values” and won his first election. Like Halseth, Anderson had a tumultuous and very public affair with McGuire, even shamelessly lived with her in Juneau while her husband was at home in Anchorage. Halseth had a public affair while her husband was home raising their 3 young children. Anderson roughed up McGuire over bowling scores and the police had to get involved. Halseth used the judicial system as a weapon to rough up her husband and former employers. Maybe the only part where Halseth and Anderson part ways is in bribery and money laundering. Anderson practically prostituted himself for bribes. We all remember the videos of his offering, “I’m a legislator,” when asked “What can you do for us?” And the video of his fit when his partner in crime was getting a cut of his take. Anderson was found guilty and imprisoned for bribery and money laundering but now, like Halseth did with her husband, Anderson plays the ‘ victim card.’ He runs his mouth about the prosecutor, the FBI, his self-made enemies, including the lawmaker who won for his former district, Bill Wielechowski. And his 3 little boys he pimped out for his family values campaign? Nowhere to be found. He pimps out his youngest child now, the one conceived during his adulterous affair with McGuire.

    Yeah, Tiger and Elizabeth Helgelien will fit right in with the Alaska legislature!

    Julie, “Great couples” aren’t born out of adultery or deception.

  13. Twig

    Does this guy Tiger and his swimsuit fake tea party girl really think Alaskans are dumb enough to buy into their “reinvented” political personas? Well, if they do, they’re wrong. It’s nice they made friends with Jeff Landfield too. Kind of fits if you think about it. Where do these clowns come from and why do so many end up in Alaska? I laughed when I saw that Mayor Sullivan had appointed him to somethong. Good luck to them. Their success, or failure, in politics will make for humorous reading.

  14. Truth Teller

    Your blog has become a big part of my daily life. Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m addicted. You do amazing work and have created a community of interested politicos. A community that can argue, discuss and laugh about politics together. I’ve also come to appreciate Lynn Willis, AH HA, Jon K, Gerand Fellow and the other commenters. I too wondered what happened to Lynn Willis. Glad he’s back from vacation. Again, thank you and best wishes for the holidays.

  15. Lynn Willis

    I actually have been here all along; however, I will be sure to obtain a “pass” before leaving the reservation.

  16. Lynn Willis

    If I understand your question, the revenue generated by this effort will be realized as income to individuals and for-profit enterprises associated with health care. All that income is subject to taxes as are the assets that revenue purchases. For example, if a Nurse is employed by a for-profit clinic, that nurse will pay income tax and the clinic will pay taxes associated with the business. Also, if the Nurse purchases a home that will generate property taxes and retail purchases may result in sales tax revenue. If the State of Alaska can’t tax that revenue stream that is the fault of the State.
    This is government money with some infusion from private citizens; however, is this scenario any different than the potential tax revenue to be generated from those working on say the AGDC/ASAP pipeline effort, or the Kodiak Space Port, or the highway North from Juneau?
    I might add that Government has a history of providing opportunity to citizens. The Government has a history of providing opportunity to citizens in the form of land, pure food and drug laws, environmental protections, accessible energy, controlling monopolies, and other efforts. Nobody wants to be sick and every person present in the United States is entitled to seek medical assistance regardless of ability to pay. So, since we have no apparent private sector solution, the questions are: ” Is government subsidized health care in any form an opportunity or a handout?” and ” Does this program give an undue advantage to anyone?”.

  17. Jeff Landrum

    Wow…loved the Elizabeth Halseth back story. Nothing like a scummy Nevada ‘family values’ adulteress and her lover trying to break into AK political scene. I guess Charisse Millett must be a big inspiration to her…who know’s maybe Halseth will be President of the Senate before any of us know better.

  18. Julie

    You obviously don’t know tiger & his lovely wife Elizabeth. There is no “strange” story with them, they are a great couple involved in their community like many of us. They hosted a great party & offered a yummy spread. We had a lot of fun! Don’t be so petty and so quick to judge someone you don’t know.

  19. AH HA

    @Amanda, you will be attending, of course?

    Btw: I don’t know how it goes in Anchorage but in the rest of the state, When you get an invite like that, if you fail to show somebody is likely to stick feathers on yer backside and call you a chicken…..

    BBtw: In case you missed the reference in the Invite, this is a BYOG kind of a thing… don’t forget to get strapped. Nothing, absolutely nothing, builds an inferiority complex quicker than being the only person at the party with no gun.

  20. Madge

    The “golf pro” Tiger and his new model wife–yet she has four children and ran away from being a lawmaker from the L48 need to remember that it’s going to take a lot more than an ugly sweater party and bad food to break into the scene. Their story is strange and we’re not buying it. Plus, when the most important person in the room is Jeff Landfield….I’d say ’twas a jolly old flop.

  21. AH HA

    Lynn, here is the question that puzzles me and I hope either you or one of our other ‘Budget Hawks” can come up with a reasonable explanation of how it works:

    The Claim: Expanding Medicaid will bring more than a Billion (a thousand Million) dollars to the states economy in the coming years. This is such a boon to our economy we should not worry ourselves about whether the Fed’s will continue to pay the bill for this after the next two and a half years are gone. We should see this as a ‘Big Savings’.

    My question: Ignoring that this is tax payer money ( a separate issue) And assuming that this does generate a billion dollars in extra economy over say the next ten years, can the state tax any of this money? If so what tax rate can we expect? What sort of income to the state does this provide? How does that compare to what this will cost the state?

    I’m no economist but a guy sold me some snake oil once and this sounds really similar to the pitch I got from him…..

  22. Lynn Willis

    If that is me, I’m here. Now, regarding the “Senatorial Retreat”at the relatively opulent (at least for me) Alyeska Resort; who paid for it and if it was the state, how much did it cost? Even if it wasn’t the state then why not demonstrate to Alaskans you appreciate the fiscal crisis we face and hold your meeting in the temporary LIO in Anchorage? I understand that a billion dollars is one thousand million dollars; however, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, said the Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu and might that also apply to dollars as well?

  23. Mike Barnhill

    Hi Amanda,

    Re status of the Aetna contract. While Aetna had made good progress toward the financial goals we set for this relationship (bending the cost curve through a more robust discount provider network), Aetna’s service performance fell short of where we needed it to be to execute a final contract. While we believed that the service shortfalls could be corrected, out of deference to the incoming Walker administration, we declined to finalize the negotiations and contract with Aetna. The new Department of Administration team, in conjunction with the Division of Retirement & Benefits, will take these matters up again in due course. In the meantime, Aetna continues to process approximately 31,000 medical claims/week, and the Division continues to manage and monitor Aetna’s performance on a daily basis.

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