Tom Biss’ Celebration of Life Ceremony

Please join Tom’s family and friends at a brief Celebration of Life and dispersal of ashes into Cook Inlet on Saturday August 9 at 2:00 PM at Point Woronzof Park in Anchorage.

Following the Celebration we will continue at Reilly’s Irish Pub on Fireweed and C Street to raise a toast to Tom and tell endless stories.

The path to the beach from the parking lot is a well maintained, though somewhat steep gravel access. Appropriate shoes are recommended.

Webmaster’s Note: Tom Biss Passed Away Today

Tom Biss playing the lead character, Soapy Smith, in a summer play in Skagway.Readers,

It is with sadness that I note the “voice” of Strollers Weekly, Tom Biss, passed away today. He went painlessly and peacefully. After several years of dealing with a number of debilitating illnesses, he’s found his rest.

Tom was one of the four individuals who made up the collective voice of Strollers. For now, Strollers Weekly will quietly go into archive status.

Condolences for Tom may be sent to his mother at:

Donna Leibole
PO Box 364
Arivoca, AZ 85601

‘da Webmaster

PS:  The Anchorage Daily News published Tom’s obituary 04/03/14

Thomas B. Biss died March 28th peacefully at Our Lady of Grace Home in Anchorage. His ashes will be spread at Pt. Woronzof where he often enjoyed the view of Sleeping Lady’.

Tom was born August 23, 1951 in Ithaca, N.Y. and moved to Alaska at age 9 months. He graduated from Anchorage East High in 1969. Tom was a gifted storyteller and actor. In the early 70s, along with Judy and Jim, he created the Soapy Smith show in Skagway. He was often heard reciting Robert Service to a captive audience. In the 80s, among his culinary achievements were the Great Alaska Salmon Bake in Anchorage and Bubba’s Steak House in Almira, WA. In the 90s Tom returned to Alaska, pursuing his passion for politics and public policy in Juneau.

Tom is survived by his mother, Donna and stepdad John Leibole; sister, Lee Ann Poro; nephew, Fran Byerly; half brother, Alison Biss; auntie, Anne Dalzell,; cousin, Bob Flansburgh; two step sisters, two step brothers; several nieces, nephews and cousins for whom Tom, ever the actor, loved playing Santa. Arrangements by Cremation Society of Alaska. Words of comfort can be shared with Tom’s family at www.alaskacremation.com

We’re BAAAACK!!!!!

After a long vacation and some health issues the Stroller will return in June. After suffering the loss of my best friend, the right wing anchor to my left wing sages, who (hopefully) gave the column some balance, I have gathered together a group of folks who’s ideas are of value and by expressing them here may not be tainted by their public image. Kind of like the Federalist Papers. As always I will act as a kind of referee or clearing house of perspective. As always, this column has no agenda except perspective. I hope all of you come back to read us. I know, without Governor Sarah we’re probably not going to attract the numbers we did in the past but I hope that those of you with a brain and a heart for the idea of what Alaska is and can be will come home to those of us who really care. The new contributors include a couple Senate Presidents, House Speakers, Governors, reporters, political activists……. all unidentified so you concentrate on the ideas and not the personalities. Welcome back…. tell your friends that all this goes down a lot smoother if you ‘just out a squirt of lemon in it’.

Stroller

Why Sarah Really Quit

Multi hued grey rain clouds softly drift among  the trees foresting the valley’s of Juneau’s mountainous cross channel island … Douglas.  They leer there, waiting patiently, always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

Governor Sarah quit for the reason she said.  She quit to save her marriage.  It’s really that simple.  Stroller’s housekeeper is good friends with the mansion’s staff … rumors have been rolling around this small town for months about strife in the first family’s home

Love you no………

The hallway crowd in front of Senate Majority Leader Johnny Ellis’ first floor Capitol office began gathering about 2 pm on a  Wednesday afternoon the first week of April.  By 3pm it had swollen to over sixty people.  Reporters, cameramen, legislators from both houses, staff, lobbyists and a couple constituents all waited expectantly.

Behind the closed office door nine Senate Democrats were debating whether to accept or reject Governor Sarah’s choice as to who would be the next senator to represent the capitol city.

Long time Juneau legislator Kim Elton had vacated the Senate seat a month before to accept a high level job with the Department of Interior in the Obama administration, leaving the Juneau Senate seat vacant.

It was up to the Governor to, within thirty days. appoint a replacement of the same party as the member who resigned,

Speculation  and rumors ran rampant through the growing crowd.  Governor Sarah had taken longer than any other Governor in the history of the state to name an appointment to a vacant legislative seat.  She had waited the full thirty days allowed by Alaska’s constitution.  Juneau had been without representation in the Senate for one third of the session,  a scenario our founding fathers never contemplated.  They had rejected the concept of session limits in order to balance the power between the legislative branch of government and the powerful executive position they created.  Now, with a session limit of 90 days, the balance so carefully crafted, had tipped in favor of the executive, Governor Sarah, and she was playing them like a fiddle.

That’s a big deal, philosophically and politically.

The conflict arose when the Governor, apparently and unfortunately, decided to play to her national political crowd and appoint someone who more reflected her political agenda and not the much more liberal choice of Juneau’s Democratic party, popular six term legislator, House Majority Leader Rep. Beth Kerttula.

Would they reject or accept Governor Sarah’s choice, Tim Grussendorf, chief of staff to Senator Lyman Hoffman, co-chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee?

Suddenly, the door opened and a visually grim Senator Hoffman strode out of the room and down the hallway,  alone, wordless.  He got in an elevator and went to his office on the Capitol’s 5th floor where his aide awaited the news.

A few minuets later he was followed by the eight remaining Democrats, all stoic, nobody talking.

The end result was that Tim Grussendorf  was rejected.  The vote within the Democratic caucus, although not publicly announced, was a contentious 5-4, with Angoon’s Sen. Albert Kookesh siding with the Anchorage Senate Democrat’s in support of Juneau’s choice, House Minority Leader, Rep. Kerttula.

All hell broke loose.

Image.  Power.  Control.  Ambition.  Ego.  This was politics at its most personal.  The knife fight everyone wants to avoid but just can’t seem to.

And to what end?  What was the Governor’s motive?  Why pick a fight with the only cohesive legislative caucus that supports most of her major initiatives?