My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Posts Tagged ‘University of Alaska’

MyTwoCensus Investigation: Why was a convicted felon employed in a Census Bureau managerial position?

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

If Thom Gruenig (who was just killed by Alaska police after apparently killing his own mother) was a convicted felon, why was he working as a FieldĀ  Supervisor for the Census Bureau? Is this yet another failure in the Census Bureau’s background check system?

Here’s his online resume (Click anywhere on it for a more legible version):

GruenigOnlineResume

From the Anchorage Daily News:

Court records indicate Thom Gruenig was charged in Fairbanks in 1995 with burglary and second-degree theft. He was convicted on the felony theft charge and has not been charged in a criminal case since. Kathryn Gruenig appeared to have no criminal history.

From the Fairbanks Daily News:

He was born Earryn Depace Wylie, but had his name legally changed to Thom DePace Wylie Gruenig in 1997. Gruenig had been going by that name for about 12 years, but was ordered by a judge to put all his legal documents under one name in 1996 following a conviction for felony theft for burglary.

Gruenig pleaded no contest to stealing $30,000 worth of computer equipment from a UAF building with two other men in 1992. He was sentenced to 18 months probation, which he completed successfully, according to court records. He had no other criminal record.

MyTwoCensus will soon get to the bottom of this…

The Naked And The Dead: Another Census Employee Tragedy

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

Trooper kills armed Fairbanks man; mother found dead

911 CALL: Officers believe woman tried to get help before dying.

By JAMES HALPIN
jhalpin@adn.com

Published: November 24th, 2009 10:06 PM
Last Modified: November 25th, 2009 01:51 PM

An Alaska State Trooper shot and killed a naked, knife-wielding man at a Fairbanks home Tuesday morning after he confronted officers and refused to put down the weapon, according to troopers. Investigators later found the body of his mother inside the home lying next to a phone.

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Kathryn Gruenig

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Thom Gruenig

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Troopers say the man, Thom Depace Wylie Gruenig, 38, was declared dead at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital shortly after the shooting. Found in the home was his mother, Kathryn L. Gruenig, 66, whose death was being investigated as a homicide, troopers said.

Troopers were summoned to the home off University Avenue and College Road about 7:40 a.m. after getting a 911 call during which dispatchers heard labored breathing but got no answer, according to troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters. A lone trooper, who was not immediately named, knocked on the door with medics standing by.

“The guy comes to the door, confronts the trooper and, you know, he’s naked and got a knife in his hand and the trooper backs away and tries to get him to drop the weapon,” said Col. Audie Holloway, head of the troopers. “He doesn’t. He continues to advance on the trooper and the medics, which are right there close to where the trooper’s at, and so the trooper’s forced to shoot him.”

Christine Lundberg, 58, lives across the street from the home on Hess Avenue. She said she had just taken her granddaughter to school and returned home when she saw a police car.

“Next thing we know, there’s a whole bunch of cop cars outside and then there was like a popping noise: Pop, pop, twice,” she said. “We stayed inside because there was cop cars everywhere. They had assault rifles and just running around. It was crazy.”

Lundberg said the woman and her son live in the brown home but that she didn’t know them well. Sometimes she would say hi when she saw Thom walking to the University of Alaska Fairbanks or his mother going to her car, she said.

Neighbor Dover Williams, 59, said the home has always been quiet, and the people living there kept to themselves.

“They have real tall fences around their lot and they’ve got a lot of the Siberian pea that’s grown quite tall, so you never really saw them that much at all,” Williams said.

City property records indicate the home belongs to Kathryn Gruenig, assistant to the director at UAF’s Institute of Northern Engineering. Thom Gruenig was currently working as a field operations supervisor for the 2010 Census, according to a resume posted on his personal Web site. He has previously worked for the University of Alaska, his resume says.

As medics began trying to save Thom Gruenig, the trooper went inside to find out why 911 was called and found his mother, Holloway said.

Troopers’ “working theory” is that she called 911 as she was dying, he said., though he wouldn’t say how the woman died. Asked if she was stabbed to death, he said, “Not exactly.” Also unclear was why Thom was naked.

“We have no idea,” Holloway said. “We don’t know if he just happened to be that way or if he was on drugs or crazy, you know, we don’t have any clue at this point.”

Investigators found a marijuana growing operation in the lower level of the home involving about 30-40 plants. Holloway said investigators didn’t yet know if the drugs played a role in the situation.

Head Start For The 2010 Census in Alaska

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Thanks to the Anchorage Daily News for the following report:

By KYLE HOPKINS

About 640 people live in Noorvik. Give or take.

Want the exact head count? Check back next year when the Inupiat Eskimo village is expected to become the first town in America to be counted in the 2010 census.

U.S. Census Bureau officials let news of Noorvik’s preliminary selection spill during a presentation Thursday in Anchorage as the bureau prepares for months of counting households in Alaska’s remote towns and villages.

And the cities too.

The census, conducted nationwide every 10 years, isn’t just about counting people. It represents money, with the results used to determine how much Alaska gets in federal funding for Medicaid and other programs. The numbers can even cost politicians their jobs, as the state redraws voting districts after each census.

Anchorage and the Mat-Su could pick up a seat in the Legislature, for example, while Southeast Alaska stands to lose one because of population declines, said state demographer Greg Williams.

The 2000 census counted 626,900 people in Alaska, Williams said. The state estimates the population has grown by about 8.4 percent, to 679,700, as of 2008.

The latest count comes as researchers puzzle over an apparent migration from Alaska’s villages to larger towns and cities. The Aleutian Region School District, for example, plans to close a school in Nikolski in the fall because of low enrollment, according to the state Education Department.

“You can go all the way down the Alaska Peninsula and out to the Aleutian Islands, and all the districts have been declining,” said Superintendent Joe Beckford.

A recent report by the state Division of Community and Regional Affairs said the population in rural Alaska dropped by 3.6 percent between 2000 and 2008.

High fuel prices last year sparked talk of a rural exodus, but a May 2008 study by the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage said the trend can’t be blamed on energy costs alone.

“What makes this census particularly timely and anticipated is that there’s competing conventional wisdoms and a lot of discussion going on about what is really happening,” said Steve Colt, associate professor with the institute.

“We don’t really even know the extent and nature of migration in terms of who is moving (where), let alone why.”