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    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska public health officials said 58% of residents 65 and older have received a COVID-19 vaccination since distribution efforts began. State Epidemiologist Dr. Joe McLaughlin said the state hopes to move the process along faster as more contagious and potentially deadly strains of the coronavirus emerge, Alaska’s News Source reported Wednesday. “Right now, it’s sort of a race against the variants to get people vaccinated,” McLaughlin said Wednesday. Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink said Wednesday that the state wants more Alaskans 65 and older to receive vaccinations. “We still want to prioritize that group and, looking at these variants, we just want that group to be vaccinated in every way we possibly can,” Zink said during a video conference with community officials. “I mean 58% is great, but it would be great to be even higher on that,” Zink said. After vaccine appointments prioritized...
    Alaska state Rep. Louise Stutes (R), the new speaker of the state House elected with bipartisan support. The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● AK State House: More than three months after the election, a deadlock in the Alaska House of Representatives finally broke when a Democratic-led alliance elected moderate Republican state Rep. Louise Stutes as the chamber's new speaker by a 21-19 margin. For the prior four years, deep divisions in the GOP caucus had allowed Democrats to assemble what they called the Majority Coalition, which included independents and a handful of Republican pragmatists. But that arrangement appeared threatened after conservative purists ousted several coalition members in primaries last year, and even more so when Republicans...
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage Assembly has voted to indefinitely postpone a resolution against one of its own members who was criticized for online comments about vehicle license plates that appeared to glorify Nazis. The assembly voted unanimously Tuesday against the measure that would have publicly acknowledged Jamie Allard's behavior as actions breaching the public trust, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Allard drew public criticism for social media comments she made in late January as photos of state-issued vanity plates reading “FUHRER” and “3REICH” circulated online. The Nazi regime in Germany was referred to as the Third Reich, with its leader, Adolf Hitler, known as the Fuhrer. Allard said “fuhrer” in German means leader and “reich” means realm, in social media comments in response to a blogger’s article about the plates. “If you speak the language fluently, you would know that the English definition of the word, the progressives...
    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's governor has issued a disaster declaration and released funds for a southwest village more than three weeks after a fire destroyed the community's only source of drinking water. Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Monday authorized up to $1 million in state relief money to help the community of Tuluksak. Residents have been drinking mostly bottled water donated by businesses and individuals since a Jan. 16 fire destroyed the community's water plant and laundromat. “Since the loss of the Tuluksak water system, my administration has worked with local partners, including the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation and many others, to ensure the people of Tuluksak have constant access to drinking water and that the ice road is maintained,” Dunleavy said. Paul Nelson, director of the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said the funds will be used to reimburse agencies that have already provided assistance. The...
    By MARK THIESSEN, Associated Press ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — There has been another dramatic change to the world’s most famous sled dog race this year because of the pandemic, with officials announcing Friday that the ceremonial start has been canceled. “After consulting with our stakeholders and in consultation with the Municipality of Anchorage, we decided to cancel our traditional ceremonial start in Anchorage due to the COVID-19 concerns of a large gathering,” Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race CEO Rob Urbach said in a statement. The Saturday event normally draws large crowds to downtown Anchorage to watch as mushers carrying Iditariders, or people who won auctions to ride in the sleds, take a leisurely jaunt through Alaska's largest city. It's a party atmosphere with beer tents and food stands lining downtown streets. For the actual start of the race, which is always held the following day, the Iditarod has said there...
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — There has been another dramatic change to the world’s most famous sled dog race this year because of the pandemic, with officials announcing Friday that the ceremonial start has been canceled. “After consulting with our stakeholders and in consultation with the Municipality of Anchorage, we decided to cancel our traditional ceremonial start in Anchorage due to the COVID-19 concerns of a large gathering,” Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race CEO Rob Urbach said in a statement. The Saturday event normally draws large crowds to downtown Anchorage to watch as mushers carrying Iditariders, or people who won auctions to ride in the sleds, take a leisurely jaunt through Alaska’s largest city. It’s a party atmosphere with beer tents and food stands lining downtown streets. For the actual start of the race, which is always held the following day, the Iditarod has said there will be limited space for...
    A right-wing video blogger who once filmed a music video dedicated to cops and law enforcement was arrested on Saturday by the FBI in connection to his participation in the Capitol riot. In a criminal complaint released on Saturday, the Department of Justice said that it had arrested Anthime Joseph Gionet, the far-right activist better known as “Baked Alaska,” on charges of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. More to come
    Two Muslim men say they were booted off an Alaska Airlines flight in February because of text messages they sent in Arabic. The men, identified as Abobakkr and Mohamed, were on a business trip when they boarded an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to San Francisco on Feb. 17, the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Washington state chapter said in a statement. Abobakkr was in his first-class seat texting a friend before taking off. A passenger nearby noticed the text messages and reported them to a flight attendant despite not knowing Arabic, according to CAIR. The flight was delayed and Abobakkr and Mohamed were questioned. An Alaska Airlines representative translated the messages to police, which stated that the staffer saw "there was no threat of any kind." 'It makes you feel little. It makes you feel embarrassed,' one of the men said of Alaska Airlines' alleged actions. (iStock) CLICK HERE TO SIGN...
    Two Muslim men say they were booted off an Alaska Airlines flight in February because of text messages they sent in Arabic. The men, identified as Abobakkr and Mohamed, were on a business trip when they boarded an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to San Francisco on Feb. 17, the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Washington state chapter said in a statement. Abobakkr was in his first-class seat texting a friend before taking off. A passenger nearby noticed the text messages and reported them to a flight attendant despite not knowing Arabic, according to CAIR. The flight was delayed and Abobakkr and Mohamed were being questioned. An Alaska Airlines representative translated the messages to police, which stated that the staffer saw “there was no threat of any kind.” CAIR, which is representing the men in court, allege that after Alaska Airlines learned there was no threat, it...
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The FBI has interviewed or sought to interview at least 11 Alaska state legislators this year, with some of the interviews including questions about the state's Permanent Fund dividend. Federal investigators asked whether lawmakers received financial benefits in exchange for their votes, The Anchorage Daily News reported Tuesday. The newspaper sent a questionnaire about the FBI investigation to all 59 members of the Legislature. Among 35 responses received, 10 lawmakers said they were contacted by the FBI, 22 said they were not and three declined to answer. Every lawmaker who responded to the questionnaire or was interviewed by the Anchorage Daily News said they do not believe anyone in the Legislature has committed a crime. “I was asked if I was aware of other legislators who had been asked to vote a certain way regarding the Permanent Fund dividend in exchange for something of value,” Democratic...
    The city of Fairbanks in Alaska is deemed the best place to see the stunning Northern Lights, but one photographer took it to the next level by observing the show from space. Nate Luebbe attached a camera to a weather balloon and launched it into the stratosphere, allowing him to snap images of the greenish and pinkish lights shining over the Earth. ‘Most people who want to see the Northern Lights fly to Fairbanks, or Iceland etc, and usually end up seeing them for the first time on the plane ride over, Luebbe told DailyMail.com in an email. ‘Seeing them from very high in the air is an extremely unique perspective, and I wanted to take that experience and push it to the extremes.’ The 10-foot balloon traveled for about two hours before reaching its maximum altitude of 122,600 feet before popping. The Sony camera, which was housed in a...
    By Yereth Rosen ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - The Arctic region has had its second-warmest year since 1900, continuing a pattern of extreme heat, ice melt and environmental transformation at the top of the world, scientists reported Tuesday. In the 15th annual Arctic Report Card, released by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), researchers detail the stark ways in which climate change is altering the long-frozen region. “Taken as a whole, the story is unambiguous,” Alaska-based climate scientist Rick Thoman, one of the report's editors, said in a statement. “The transformation of the Arctic to a warmer, less frozen and biologically changed region is well underway.” Among the milestones hit this year was the second-lowest minimum sea ice extent in the satellite record, at 3.74 million square kilometers reached on Sept. 15. That was beaten only by the low in 2012, when a late-season cyclonic storm broke up much...
    BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Department of Transportation said it plans to restart construction on a road that would help better connect Bethel to its airport, but one Alaska Native family whose property lies where the road would pass through says the state agency isn't making fair offers for their land. The state Department of Transportation said they aim to put asphalt on the road by 2023 and that they offered Warren Polk and his family $99,000 for their native allotment next to the H-Marker Lake. Polk said that the state agency told him if he does not accept their offer, they would take his land through eminent domain. “To steal the land from us,” Polk said. “That’s basically what eminent domain is, where they get the land so ridiculously cheap it’s stealing.” The state agency's spokesperson, Shannon McCarthy, said that they “prefer to acquire the property through negotiation,...
    A Boeing 737 ran over and killed a brown bear while landing in Alaska after the animal strayed onto the runway.  An Alaska Airlines jetliner struck the animal while landing early on Saturday evening at Yakutat Airport in southeast Alaska.    The Boeing 737-700 killed the female brown bear, but a cub thought to be about 2 years old was uninjured.  An Alaska Airlines jetliner killed the animal while landing early on Saturday evening damaging the aircraft (pictured) None of the passengers or crew members on board the plane were injured during the accident, but the plane was damaged, officials said.  Airport crew members had cleared the runway about 10 minutes before the flight was expected to land, Alaska Department of Transportation spokesman Sam Dapcevich said.  RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Mexican pilot, 60, is arrested after surviving jet crash... One of Britain's last surviving...
    SEATTLE (AP) — The owners of a Seattle-managed crab boat have reached a settlement of more than $9 million with two survivors and the families of four crew members who died last year when the Scandies Rose went down in the Gulf of Alaska. Attorney Michael Barcott, who is representing the Washington and Alaska owners, confirmed the settlement and said it would be funded by insurance, The Seattle Times reported. Barcott said a document disclosing the settlement is expected to be filed Monday in Tacoma. Jerry Markham, an attorney for three families of the deceased crew members, also confirmed the settlement and said the state Superior Court is expected to review the agreement and determine how the money will be divided up. The Scandies Rose went down Dec. 31 after it left the port of Kodiak, Alaska to the Bering Sea to pursue cod and crab, authorities said. The National...
    Anchorage, Alaska, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz resigned Tuesday, a day after apologizing for what he described as a "consensual, inappropriate messaging relationship," with a local television anchor. Berkowitz, 58, who is married, announced his resignation in a statement read by his chief of staff during a meeting of the Anchorage Assembly. The Democrat will remain mayor until Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. “It is with profound sadness and humility that I resign as Mayor of the Municipality of Anchorage," the statement said, according to the Anchorage Daily News. "My resignation results from unacceptable personal conduct that has compromised my ability to perform my duties with the focus and trust that is required." AMY CONEY BARRETT FACES PRESSURE DURING HEARING, RESPONDS WITH GRACE AND POISE, EXPERTS SAY Anchorage, Alaska, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz addresses the Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (Associated Press) "I know my conduct has done great injury to my family, my...
    Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz (D) stepped down Tuesday as he grapples with the fallout from a years-long messaging affair with a local news anchor.  The resignation, which will be effective Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. local time, comes after he admitted to a “consensual, inappropriate messaging relationship” with Maria Athens, a reporter for Your Alaska Link, which he called a “major lapse in judgement.” “It is with profound sadness and humility that I resign as Mayor of the Municipality of Anchorage. My resignation results from unacceptable personal conduct that has compromised my ability to perform my duties with the focus and trust that is required. I know my conduct has done great injury to my family, my staff, to Municipal employees, and to the people of our community, and for that, I am deeply sorry,” he said in a statement. Athens first accused Berkowitz Friday of having posted a picture of his “male...
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A tribal consortium and five tribal governments in Alaska have filed a lawsuit against the federal government to stop a road project that would carve through wilderness in northwest Alaska to support mining in a mineral-rich area. The Tanana Chiefs Conference representing 42 tribes in Interior Alaska was among the entities suing over the industrial road to the Ambler Mining District, The Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday. The conference said in a statement Wednesday that a federal review of the regional impact of the 200-mile (322-kilometer) project was “rushed, flawed, premature, and inadequate.” The other plaintiffs include the tribal governments of Alatna, Allakaket, Evansville, Huslia and Tanana. Victor Joseph, chief of Tanana Chiefs Conference, said the Ambler road could lead to multiple mining projects with the potential to harm the health of residents and wildlife resources. “The concerns about these issues were not addressed by any...
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board confirmed an Alaska airplane pilot involved in a fatal crash had a blood-alcohol level more than five times above the legal limit for pilots to fly. The final NTSB crash report said pilot Charles Weimer was flying under the influence when he failed to maintain a safe distance from Goat Mountain in August 2019, KTUU-TV reported Saturday. “We had some indicators that maybe this was going to be the case,” said Clint Johnson, National Transportation Safety Board Alaska office chief. “But until we got that toxicology report back anything could be the case.” Weimer, 31, and three others died in the crash near Girdwood, a ski town in the municipality of Anchorage. The airplane’s owner, Karl Erickson, 55, and David Osborn, 60, both of Girdwood, and Paul Wiley, 37, of Superior, Arizona, were also killed. The Piper PA-22-150 aircraft left Girdwood...
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board confirmed an Alaska airplane pilot involved in a fatal crash had a blood-alcohol level more than five times above the legal limit for pilots to fly. The final NTSB crash report said pilot Charles Weimer was flying under the influence when he failed to maintain a safe distance from Goat Mountain in August 2019, KTUU-TV reported Saturday. “We had some indicators that maybe this was going to be the case,” said Clint Johnson, National Transportation Safety Board Alaska office chief. “But until we got that toxicology report back anything could be the case.” Weimer, 31, and three others died in the crash near Girdwood, a ski town in the municipality of Anchorage. The airplane’s owner, Karl Erickson, 55, and David Osborn, 60, both of Girdwood, and Paul Wiley, 37, of Superior, Arizona, were also killed. The Piper PA-22-150 aircraft left Girdwood...
    By BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Attorneys for the state want a judge to deny a request to block enforcement of witness requirements for absentee ballots in Alaska, saying ballot envelopes listing the requirement have been printed and that the plaintiffs “inexcusably” waited until September to sue. Superior Court Judge Dani Crosby is set to hear arguments Thursday. The plaintiffs are the Arctic Village Council, a tribal government; the League of Women Voters of Alaska and two individuals who have cited health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Division of Elections already has sent ballots to military and overseas voters and said it plans to begin mailing requested absentee ballots to voters in-state and domestically in the coming days. More than 98,000 people have requested a ballot by mail or email, division spokesperson Tiffany Montemayor said, and the division expects that number to grow. The deadline to...
    DENALI NATIONAL PARK AND PRESERVE, Alaska (AP) — A grizzly bear that was believed to have gotten into buildings and food storages over the last year has been euthanized amid safety concerns, according to Denali National Park and Preserve. The adult male bear was captured Thursday, and wildlife staff with the park in Alaska recommended it be euthanized because of its persistent behavior and the amount of food it had accessed, a release from the park said Monday. The bear was deemed to be a safety concern for people and properties in the Wonder Lake and Kantishna area of the park. “Removing a bear from the ecosystem is a rare event in Denali,“ Acting Superintendent Tom Medema said. “Our mandate is to preserve and protect both wildlife and human life, and these types of actions are very difficult and weigh heavily park staff.” Asked if this was a matter of...
    Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin criticized fellow GOP member Sen. Lisa Murkowski in a video posted to her Instagram Wednesday, seemingly threatening to run against her in 2022. The video shows Palin showing off her house and telling the camera how much she likes it, but she then says that she would be “willing to give it up, for the greater good of this country and this great state.” Her shot at Murkowski comes after the Alaska’s senior senator said that she would not support any Supreme Court nominee until after the presidential inauguration in January. (Murkowski Won’t Commit To Voting Down A Trump Nominee) U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) talks to reporters about her “no” vote after a procedural vote in the Senate on the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court nominee judge Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas. Palin said that she...
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A Democratic-nominated independent candidate for the U.S. House has filed a lawsuit against the Alaska Division of Elections to block a new ballot design ahead of the November election. The lawsuit filed by Alyse Galvin opposes a change to the Alaska general election ballot eliminating a requirement for candidates to list their party affiliation, The Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday. The new ballot design shows only whether a candidate reached the ballot by a petition or party nomination. The political registration of candidates has been removed, a change from the primary and 2018 general election. The lawsuit claims the new design violates state law and harms Galvin, who has advertised herself as an independent candidate while the new ballot identifies her only as the “Democratic Nominee.” In a 2018 run for Congress, ballots listed Galvin as “U,” signifying her undeclared party registration. Galvin’s lawsuit asks the...
    The Latest on wildfires in the U.S. West (all times local): 6 p.m. SEATTLE — Alaska Airlines, along with its regional carrier Horizon Air, has suspended all flights in and out of Portland, Oregon, and Spokane, Washington, because of wildfire smoke. The Seattle-based airline said Monday afternoon those flights would be canceled through 3 p.m. Tuesday as the Pacific Northwest continues to battle intense wildfires. Alaska and Horizon have also canceled flights at smaller airports due to fire and smoke including Eugene, Medford and Redmond/Bend in Oregon, and Pasco and Walla Walla in Washington. “Across the West, fires are creating thick smoke and haze, causing very poor air quality conditions in the Portland and Spokane areas,” Alaska said in a statement Monday. “We made the difficult decision to stop our operation so that our employees and guests can remain safe.” ___ 2 p.m. SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Thousands...
    The Democratic governors and attorneys general from 15 states are suing the Trump administration to stop it from allowing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge along the northern coast of Alaska, which was authorized by Congress in 2017. The lawsuit joins two others filed by environmental and tribal groups, TheHill.com reported. The plan is to open about 1.6 million acres in the coastal plain region of the refuge’s more than 19 million acres, which according to a 1998 report by the U.S. Geological survey contain between 5.7 billion and 16 billion barrels of oil. “This plan was rushed. It’s incredibly flawed. There were more than 1 million public comments against it. It fails to fully evaluate and consider the devastating environmental impacts of opening up the coastal plain and it will corrupt one of our nation’s most pristine and uniquely important habitats,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey told reporters....
    The attorney general of Alaska resigned Tuesday after outlets published hundreds of texts he sent to a female state employee. “Kevin Clarkson has admitted to conduct in the workplace that did not live up to our high expectations, and this is deeply disappointing,” Republican Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said in a statement Tuesday, according to the New York Times. “This morning he took responsibility for the unintentional consequences of his actions and tendered his resignation to me.” Clarkson, who is married, sent a female employee 558 text messages in March, The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica reported. The employee is much younger than Clarkson, the publications noted. The publications, which did not name the female employee, obtained copies of Clarkson’s text messages and co-published a story Tuesday. (RELATED: Becki Falwell Confirms Affair, Denies That Husband Jerry Was Involved) Clarkson asked the female employee to come to his home at least 18 times...
    "Birds can't vote, and they can't file a lawsuit — but we can. This is an all-hands-on-deck moment to defend the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and protect America's bird nursery from drilling," David Yarnold, president and CEO of the National Audubon Society, said in a statement. The lawsuit asserts that Bernhardt didn't have permission to authorize a broad oil and gas leasing program because it violates government statutes managing the plain. It also claims the program violates the Endangered Species Act and other environmental policies. In the other lawsuit, the Gwich'in Steering Committee — an Indigenous group formed to protect the refuge — and 12 other groups allege that Bernhardt and the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management violated several laws, including the Endangered Species Act and the Wilderness Act. Nearly 200,000 animals in the Porcupine caribou herd, which are also known as reindeer, travel freely between Alaska and Canada...
    Environmental and indigenous groups announced Monday they are suing the Trump administration over plans to open up a region in an Alaska wildlife refuge to drilling, The Hill reported. According to the suit, the federal government failed to adhere to environmental laws that require "thorough, transparent, and careful analysis of the impacts" when assessing the environmental effects of drilling. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt moved forward last week to open up 1.56 million acres of the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuges (ANWR) total 19.3 million acres to drilling. Objecting to the move, Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of the Gwichin Steering Committee, said the indigenous Gwichin people, who hunt caribou in the region and to whom ANWR land is sacred "have lived and thrived in the Arctic for thousands of years." He stressed the Gwichin people "have listened and learned from our elders, and we know we must stand united to protect...
    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska tribal governments and organizations have asked the state to withdraw a lawsuit alleging a federal agency overstepped its authority by granting an Alaska Native village a special hunting permission during the coronavirus pandemic. The lawsuit opposes the special action granted to the Organized Village of Kake by the federal Office of Subsistence Management, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported. The federal agency granted a request for Kake residents to hunt up to two moose and five male Sitka black-tailed deer. Alaska Fish & Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang said the department was not opposed to Indigenous culture, but did not agree the action was warranted. A state emergency command unit deemed no food security issue had emerged. Kake officials said food scarcity is not the only issue, noting the village also wants to ensure the health of its elders and provide culturally nourishing food during the pandemic. Richard...
    KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska tribal group has filed a lawsuit against state officials claiming the commercial fishing permit system unfairly prevents local anglers from fishing on their traditional grounds. The lawsuit filed by the Metlakatla Indian Community asks a federal judge to prevent the state from requiring commercial fishing permits for tribal members, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported Monday. The tribe named Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy and other administration officials in the lawsuit that says the tribe's fishing rights are guaranteed by Congress. The Metlakatla people have lived on Annette Island in southeast Alaska since the late 19th century when about 820 Tsimshian people migrated with an Anglican missionary from coastal British Columbia to the uninhabited islands south of Ketchikan. Congress established the Annette Islands Reserve as a permanent, self-sustaining home for the tribe in 1891. Federal authorities set aside waters within 3,000 feet (914 meters) of shore exclusively...
    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Travel on an Alaska ferry was temporarily suspended after the vessel transported passengers who tested positive for COVID-19, officials said. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities announced sailings by the M/V Matanuska are suspended until Aug. 21, The Juneau Empire reported Saturday. The transportation department said in a statement that five passengers who traveled aboard the Matanuska last week tested positive for the virus. The ferry’s crew was required to receive negative test results before the ship resumes service, the department said. On Monday, the department said tests on all 47 crew members returned negative. Passengers who had tickets for the canceled sailings this week were being notified and either rescheduled or refunded, the department said. The passengers are believed to have been infectious while traveling on the Matanuska, which embarked from Kake, traveled through Sitka and arrived in Juneau Aug. 10. While the...
    An Alaska woman who gave birth while on a plane chose a fitting name for her child. Chrystal Hicks, a 35-year-old mother of three, began experiencing contractions in her Glennallen home last week. Glennallen, Alaska, is an area with less than 500 people, and Hicks told KTUU that she has made the approximately three-hour drive to Anchorage for her past births but had to be airlifted this time. “I was just having contractions, and it wouldn’t stop. And it kept getting stronger,” Hicks said. “And they thought we were going to make it, but we obviously didn’t make it very far.” After her water broke, she ended up giving birth in the air to a 5-pound, 10-ounce boy, whom she decided to name Sky Airon Hicks after the ordeal. “It was shocking. It was really weird at first — I didn’t know what to think,” Hicks...
    This baby apparently really loves airplanes. A woman gave birth to a baby boy while flying over Alaska at 35 weeks pregnant when the newborn arrived in the high skies. An Alaskan woman named her son Sky after he was born on an airplane. (iStock) Chrystal Hicks lives in Glenallen, a small town located about 180 miles from Anchorage. Hicks had driven to Anchorage before giving birth to her previous three children, KTUU reports. This time, however, the mom reportedly started feeling painful contractions one month earlier than the expected due date. Hicks told the news outlet, “I was just having contractions and it wouldn’t stop, and it kept getting stronger and they thought we were going to make it. But we obviously didn’t make it very far.” EXPECTING MOM CLAIMS MOTHER-IN-LAW STOLE ITEMS FROM HER NURSERY, BROUGHT THEM BACK TO HER HOUSE She reportedly gave birth just 20 minutes into the flight....
    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Spokane police say they've arrested the man accused of breaking a 72-year-old veteran’s jaw in a hotel lobby. KHQ-TV reports Spokane police say 35-year-old Cody P. Hansen was arrested at a home after receiving an anonymous tip. Hansen will remain in the Spokane County Jail until he can be transported back to King County. The victim told police he made a comment to Hansen’s girlfriend about not wearing a mask before being attacked. Hansen punched the 72-year-old, partially disabled veteran in the face multiple times. King County prosecutors have charged Hansen with second-degree assault. His bail was set at $10,000 for the assault arrest. Hansen also has a warrant for his arrest out of of Alaska for drugs charges. Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Tags: Alaska, Washington
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Wildfire smoke from Siberia has moved into Southcentral Alaska and left a haze lingering over the region that the National Weather Service said could remain for weeks. The agency said smoke from the fires began spreading over Alaska in early July, The Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday. Until the fires in Russia stop, the haze will likely continue, although the duration is difficult to predict, said Patrick Doll of the National Weather Service’s Anchorage office. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it continued well into the month of August and perhaps even early September,” Doll said. Fires have burned almost nonstop in the Arctic Circle since April. NASA reported fires in Siberia and eastern Russia have released a record-breaking amount of carbon into the atmosphere as peat soils burn. Thunderstorms from the northern Siberian coast through the Kamchatka Peninsula about a month ago caused multiple lightning strikes...
    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Critics and proponents are debating the merits of changes to federal environmental policy, including the effects on management of Alaska's Tongass National Forest. The largest U.S. national forest will probably be impacted by the Trump administration’s recent revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported Wednesday. Supporters have said the changes streamline a regulatory process that hampers development on federal lands. Natalie Dawson, executive director of Audubon Alaska, said the updates engender less public engagement, which was a founding principle of the environmental act's framework. Only substantive comments about projects will be accepted under the new rules, meaning expressions of general concerns about issues such as logging near animal or fish habitat will not be considered. “You may not have the time to sit down with all the maps and documents and provide a site-specific analysis of the federal agency action, and yet...
    ANCHORAGE, ALASKA - A powerful 7.8 earthquake struck the Alaska Peninsula late Tuesday, triggering a tsunami warning that sent residents fleeing to higher ground before it was called off without any damaging waves. Hundreds wore masks against the spread of the coronavirus as they gathered in shelters. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake struck Tuesday at 10:12 p.m. local time. It was centered in waters 65 miles (105 kilometers) south-southeast of Perryville, Alaska at a depth of 17 miles (28 km), deeper than an earlier estimate. "No reports of any damage," Kodiak Police Sgt. Mike Sorter told The Associated Press early Wednesday morning. "No injuries were reported. Everything is nominal." The quake triggered tsunami warning for a South Alaska, the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands that was called off early Wednesday about two hours after the quake. Tsunami warning sirens could be heard blaring in videos...
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A powerful 7.8 earthquake struck the Alaska Peninsula late Tuesday, triggering a tsunami warning that sent residents fleeing to higher ground before it was called off without any damaging waves. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the 7.8 magnitude quake struck Tuesday at 10:12 p.m. local time. The quake was centered in waters 65 miles (105 kilometers) south-southeast of Perryville, Alaska at a depth of 17 miles (28 km), deeper than an earlier estimate. The quake triggered tsunami warning for a South Alaska, the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands that was called off early Wednesday about two hours after the quake. Tsunami warning sirens could be heard blaring in videos posted on social media as residents heeded warnings to evacuate. On Kodiak Island, the local high school opened its doors for evacuees, as did the local Catholic school, the Anchorage Daily New s reported. “We’ve got...
    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — State regulators fined an Alaska Native corporation board member over a social media post perceived as an attempt to sway the votes of shareholders. Richard Beasley of Goldbelt Inc. posted a message regulators determined was implying shareholders would be paid if they voted in favor of establishing a new trust, CoastAlaska reported Monday. The Juneau-based urban Alaska Native corporation asked shareholders last year to vote in favor of the trust it said would take advantage of a change in the federal tax law. The state’s Division of Banking & Securities fined Beasley $1,000 for a Facebook post showing a check for $100 made out to his brother and suggesting he received the funds for voting in favor of the resolution. The Goldbelt resolution vote passed overwhelmingly. Everyone who participated in the election received the same incentive, which was designed to boost participation for the corporation to...
    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Financial regulators have fined a shareholder of an urban Alaska Native company $1,000 over comments made on social media about inaction by the state agency responsible for financial oversight. Goldbelt, Inc. shareholder Ray Austin complained to the Alaska Division of Banking & Securities in 2018 that board members were violating regulations by not filing financial disclosures, but he said the agency did nothing. Austin then complained about that and a separate filed complaint in a Facebook forum in 2019, while running for a seat on the board, revealing information not known to other shareholders, CoastAlaska reported. “I will not only speak up, but I will take action on behalf of the shareholders. If I am elected to serve as your board member, I will work to support integrity, enforcement of all ethics, reduce costs and increase revenue,” Austin said in the post. Austin was fined for...
    The mayor of Alaska's largest city slammed the state's attorney general on Monday after the latter released a statement claiming that a local mask order did not apply to state buildings and facilities. A statement from a city attorney employed by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz (D) accused Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson (R) of ignoring "public safety and common sense" in his statement declaring that an ordinance requiring mask use in public during the coronavirus pandemic “does not apply to State of Alaska buildings and facilities within the Municipality of Anchorage," Alaska Public Media first reported. "Under Alaska law, a home rule municipality possesses all legislative authority not withheld by the legislature. The legislature has not acted to restrict Anchorage’s authority with respect to issuing mask mandates, nor has it exempted state-owned buildings from generally applicable local health and safety rules. This comports with both public safety and common sense: if the Municipality...
    The mayor of Alaska's largest city slammed the state's attorney general on Monday after the latter released a statement claiming that a local mask order did not apply to state buildings and facilities. A statement from a city attorney employed by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz (D) accused Attorney General Kevin Clarkson (R) of ignoring "public safety and common sense" in his statement declaring that an ordinance requiring mask use in public “does not apply to State of Alaska buildings and facilities within the Municipality of Anchorage," Alaska Public Media first reported. "Under Alaska law, a home rule municipality possesses all legislative authority not withheld by the legislature. The legislature has not acted to restrict Anchorage’s authority with respect to issuing mask mandates, nor has it exempted state-owned buildings from generally applicable local health and safety rules. This comports with both public safety and common sense: if the Municipality were to evacuate an area for...
    An abandoned bus in the Alaska backcountry, popularized by the book "Into the Wild" and movie of the same name, was removed Thursday, state officials said. The decision prioritizes public safety, Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner Corri Feige said. The bus has long attracted adventurers to an area without cellphone service and marked by unpredictable weather and at-times swollen rivers. Some have had to be rescued or have died. Christopher McCandless, the subject of the book and movie, died there in 1992. In this photo released by the Alaska National Guard, Alaska Army National Guard soldiers use a CH-47 Chinook helicopter to airlift an abandoned bus, popularized by the book and movie "Into the Wild, out of its location in the Alaska backcountry on June 18, 2020.  Sgt. Seth LaCount / AP The rescue earlier this year of five Italian tourists and death last year of a woman from Belarus intensified...
    American F-22 fighter jets intercepted Russian nuclear-capable bombers near Alaska on Wednesday, Russian media said, marking another in a series of close aerial encounters between the two nations. The U.S. fighters reportedly intercepted and escorted Russian Tu-95MS planes in the waters off Alaska’s coast. The Pentagon has not commented on the incident. “Four strategic Tu-95MS missile carriers of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ long-range aviation conducted a planned flight over the neutral waters of the Chukchi Sea, the Bering Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the northern part of the Pacific Ocean ,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement, according to Russia’s Sputnik News. “At certain stages of the flight, the Russian planes were escorted by US Air Force F-22 fighters.” TOP STORIES Abraham Lincoln monument torched in Chicago: An absolute disgraceful act Cops canceled amid George Floyd protests CNN ratings surge amid George Floyd protests The Russian...
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