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Updated: 1 hour 9 min ago

Prep volleyball: West, Dimond, South grab victories

1 hour 30 min ago

West 3, Chugiak 0

The West Eagles followed up their championship in last weekend's Spiketacular tournament by sweeping Chugiak on Tuesday.

Brooke Dexter ripped 24 kills and served five aces in the Cook Inlet Conference victory at Chugiak High.

Alize Taliauli contributed 15 kills and Savrina Paul had 15 assists for the Eagles.

Dimond 3, Eagle River 1

Powered by Alissa Pili's double-double, the Dimond volleyball team tripped Eagle River in a four-set CIC match Tuesday at Dimond.

Pili provided 14 kills and 10 digs in the 25-13, 25-16, 18-25, 25-10 victory.

Madde Shockey and Summer Zelinsky supplied seven kills apiece and Hahni Johnson and Jalyn Osborne combined for 39 assists for the Lynx.

Eagle River got a boost from Elizabeth Ruehle's 27 assists, 11 five and five aces. Kaylee Barch added 24 digs and Landry McGee had nine kills.

South 3, Service 0

Senior setter Zoey Keene's 21 assists, five kills and three aces led South past Service 25-18, 25-13, 25-16 Tuesday in a CIC volleyball match.

Makenna Besch added six kills and three aces, Emilye Grace Williams had six kills and seven digs and Erin Doner chipped in five kills and two aces for the Wolverines.

Service was led by Grace Smith (6 kills), Autumn Monkelien (7 digs, 3 aces), Haley Jensen (4 kills, 3 blocks) and Carly Burlington (4 kills, 2 blocks).

Dimond pitches another flag football shutout

1 hour 56 min ago

Dimond 35, Eagle River 0

The Dimond Lynx racked up their sixth shutout of the flag football season Tuesday by blanking Eagle River 35-0.

Makenna Boring's nine pulls, three for losses, and Seanne Bialo's six pulls led the defensive effort for the Lynx, who improved to 9-1 in the Cook Inlet Conference.

Dimond was hot from the start — Kristine Cristobal returned the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown.

Victoria Johansen rushed for two touchdowns on runs of 34 and 10 yards, Megan Luther added a 5-yard scoring run and Hannah Goodrum caught an eight-yard pass from Sunshine Meraz for the Lynx.

Chugiak 26, Service 6

Chugiak shook off two turnovers Tuesday to defeat Service 26-6 in a CIC game at Service High.

Service's lone touchdown came on Katie Pearce's 14-yard pass to Lauren Hepler.

Bridget Fundeen intercepted two passes and Jocelyn Chanonto grabbed seven flags and blocked two passes to lead the Service defense.

Photos: Tuesday Night Race Series in Anchorage

2 hours 2 min ago

People of all ages — from children riding in strollers to grandparents running the trail — competed on the Lightning, Farmer and Munchkin Courses during the Tuesday Night Race Series at Russian Jack Springs Park North in Anchorage on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.

Prep swimming: Victories for Chugiak, Dimond, Service, South

2 hours 2 min ago

Chugiak edges Eagle River

Girls team scores — Chugiak 107, Eagle River 63

Boys team scores — Chugiak 90, Eagle River 81

Girls 200 Medley Relay — 1, Chugiak (Cheyenne Burke, Addison Morgan, Leslie Cockreham, Izzy Powers), 1:59.56. 2, Eagle River 2:01.74.

Boys 200  Medley Relay — 1, Eagle River (Josiah Keen, John Heaphy, Kevin Fast, Sam Horning), 1:48.41. 2, Chugiak 1:49.17.

Girls 200  Freestyle — 1, Kirstina Manwaring, C, 2:28.34. 2, Mika Barto, C, 2:42.86. 3, Morgan Inman, C, 2:43.32.

Boys 200 free — 1, Zach Cole, C, 2:03.90. 2, Michael Farthing, E, 2:14.31. 3, Kristoff Finley, C, 2:37.90.

Girls 200 IM — 1, Leslie Cockreham, C, 2:24.70. 2, Gracie Keen, E, 2:24.85. 3, Shelby Thompson, C, 2:35.28.

Boys 200 IM — 1, John Heaphy, E, 2:02.22. 2, Reid Blackstone, C, 2:07.13. 3, Jimmy Westerman, C, 2:15.81.

Girls 50 Freestyle — 1, Izzy Powers, C, 25.40. 2, Cheyenne Burke, C, 26.12. 3, Katherine Horning, E, 26.31.

Boys 50 Freestyle — 1, Sam Horning, E, 23.20. 2, Kevin Fast, E, 25.00. 3, Konrad Renner, C, 25.50.

Girls 100 Butterfly — 1, Addison Morgan, C, 1:08.18. 2, Hannah Shaw, E, 1:09.88. 3, Kara Johnson, E, 1:12.30.

Boys 100 butterfly — 1, Jeremy Petrie, C, 1:04.05. 2, Kevin Fast, E, 1:09.25. 3, Josiah Keen, E, 1:09.59.

Girls 100  Freestyle — 1, Izzy Powers, C, 55.98. 2, Katherine Horning, E, 1:00.17. 3, Ellie Mercer, E, 1:02.13.

Boys 100 Freestyle — 1, Sam Horning, E, 51.73. 2, Zach Cole, C, 54.88. 3, Donovan Lodzins, C, 57.01.

Girls 500  Freestyle — 1, Kara Johnson, E, 6:15.45. 2, Madison Thompson, C, 6:40.15. 3, Kirstina Manwaring, C, 6:41.30.

Boys 500 Freestyle — 1, Reid Blackstone, C, 5:07.97. 2, John Heaphy, E, 5:24.41. 3, Jimmy Westerman, C, 5:50.89.

Girls 200 Freestyle Relay — 1, C (Cheyenne Burke, Lily Merizon, Addison Morgan, Izzy Powers), 1:47.03. 2, Eagle River 1:48.30.

Boys 200  Freestyle Relay — 1, Eagle River (Kevin Fast, Joey Anthony, John Heaphy, Sam Horning), 1:34.15. 2, Chugiak 1:40.94.

Girls 100  Backstroke — 1, Cheyenne Burke, C, 1:04.87. 2, Ellie Mercer, E, 1:08.02. 3, Anna Schlimgen, E, 1:11.30.

Boys 100 Backstroke — 1, Jeremy Petrie, C, 1:01.52. 2, Donovan Lodzins, C, 1:08.08. 3, Kristoff Finley, C, 1:25.54.

Girls 100 Breaststroke — 1, Addison Morgan, C, 1:13.13. 2, Gracie Keen, E, 1:15.89. 3, Vicky Lopez, C, 1:38.35.

Boys 100 Breaststroke — 1, Josiah Keen, E, 1:10.03. 2, Joey Anthony, E, 1:14.08. 3, Grahm Jones, C, 1:33.83.

Girls 400 Freestyle Relay — 1, Chugiak (Kirstina Manwaring, Mika Barto, Victoria Slaven, Vicky Lopez), 5:04.18. 2, Chugiak 5:14.12.

Boys 400 Freestyle Relay — 1, Chugiak (Donovan Lodzins, Colin Naspinsky, Gabe Dobson, Kristoff Finley), 4:38.24.

South trips West

Girls team scores — South 128, West 48.

Boys team scores — South 104, West 69.

Girls 200 Medley Relay — 1, South (Aubrey Cheng, Summer Cheng, Madeline Bingham, Gabby Mostoller), 2:06.35. 2, West.

Boys 200 Medley Relay — 1, South (Andrew Kwon, Elias Hardt, Nicholas Pierson, Andrew Rzeszut), 1:57.88. 2, West, 1:58.63.

Girls 200 Freestyle — 1, Ryann Dorris, W, 2:16.44. 2, Colette Laliberte, SO, 2:22.54. 3, Skeeter Helgeson, W, 2:24.62.

Boys 200 Freestyle — 1, Nicholas Pierson, SO, 2:10.57. 2, Luke Centanni, SO, 2:29.92. 3, Gustav Schosinsky, W, 2:35.87.

Girls 200 IM — 1, Summer Cheng, SO, 2:20.87. 2, Adriana Emili, SO, 2:34.40. 3, Izabelle Bergmann, SO, 2:45.21.

Boys 200 IM — 1, Justice Mole-Brown, W, 2:24.82. 2, Robert Watson, SO, 2:30.15. 3, Kyle Fredenhagen, W, 2:33.18.

Girls 50 Freestyle — 1, Aubrey Cheng, SO, 28.03. 2, Brianne Bergmann, SO, 28.72. 3, Haylie Hellman, SO, 29.13.

Boys 50 Freestyle — 1, David Bascom, SO, 25.97. 2, Andrew Rzeszut, SO, 27.32. 3, Tanner Ellis, SO, 31.46.

Girls 1 mtr Diving — 1, Kyah Hogan, SO, 123.16.

Boys 1 mtr Diving — 1, Holt Dannenberg, W, 195.53. 2, Ben Coulter, W, 180.15. 3, Joshua Novakovich, SO, 175.73.

Girls 100 Butterfly — 1, Ryann Dorris, W, 1:11.59. 2, Molly McLaughlin, SO, 1:12.28. 3, Kasey Romspert, SO, 1:16.06.

Boys 100 Butterfly — 1, Andrew Kwon, SO, 55.23. 2, Harold Monroe, W, 57.46. 3, Alexander Carhart, W, 1:04.58.

Girls 100 Freestyle — 1, Aubrey Cheng, SO, 59.21. 2, Bret Congdon, W, 59.66. 3, Kasey Romspert, SO, 1:03.93.

Boys 100 Freestyle — 1, David Bascom, SO, 1:00.38. 2, Ayden Kovol, SO, 1:02.39. 3, Luke Centanni, SO, 1:06.30.

Girls 500 Freestyle — 1, Adriana Emili, SO, 6:00.26. 2, Riley Cravens, SO, 6:21.93. 3, Jela Cameron, SO, 6:34.38.

Boys 500 Freestyle — 1, Kyle Fredenhagen, W, 6:06.01. 2, Dylan Bailey, SO, 7:38.02.

Girls 200 Freestyle Relay — 1, South (Summer Cheng, Haylie Hellman, Brianne Bergmann, Gabby Mostoller), 1:53.52. 2, South, 1:59.33.

Boys 200 Freestyle Relay — 1, South (Nicholas Pierson, Robert Watson, David Bascom, Andrew Kwon), 1:42.69. 2, South, 2:03.48. 3

Girls 100 Backstroke — 1, Bret Congdon, W, 1:07.91. 2, Madeline Bingham, SO, 1:11.41. 3, Molly McLaughlin, SO, 1:12.77.

Boys 100 Backstroke — 1, Andrew Kwon, SO, 54.94. 2, Harold Monroe, W, 1:01.76. 3, Robert Watson, SO, 1:16.62.

Girls 100 Breaststroke — 1, Summer Cheng, SO, 1:15.01. 2, Izabelle Bergmann, SO, 1:20.13. 3, Amanda Van Flein, SO, 1:31.03.

Boys 100 Breaststroke — 1, Elias Hardt, SO, 1:14.80. 2, Alexander Carhart, W, 1:23.36. 3, Dylan Bailey, SO, 1:51.21.

Girls 400 Freestyle Relay — 1, South (Madeline Bingham, Kasey Romspert, Brianne Bergmann, Aubrey Cheng), 4:11.82. 2, South, 4:21.61.

Boys 400 Freestyle Relay — 1, West (Alexander Carhart, Kyle Fredenhagen, Justice Mole-Brown, Harold Monroe), 3:53.47. 2, South, 4:08.24.

Dimond downs Bartlett

Girls team scores — Dimond 123, Bartlett 36

Boys team scores — Dimond 139, Bartlett 8

Girls 200 Medley Relay — 1, Dimond (Camryn Williams, Naomi Oakley, Breckynn Willis, Tatumn Willis), 2:02.86. 2, Bartlett 2:04.74.

Boys 200 Medley Relay — 1, Dimond (Jacob Mitchell, Connor Anderson, Maximus Addington, Jesse Tatakis), 1:49.93. 2, Dimond, 1:50.51.

Girls 200 Freestyle — 1, Emi Soldwedel, D, 2:06.85. 2, Piper Sato, D, 2:13.46. 3, Shannon Octuk, D, 2:28.12.

Boys 200 Freestyle — 1, Owen Kelley, D, 2:04.15. 2, Logan Childers, D, 2:25.76. 3, Jacob Fisher, D, 2:43.10.

Girls 200 IM — 1, Erin Moody, D, 2:16.93. 2, Anna Ratcliffe, D, 2:29.13. 3, Naomi Burgan, D, 2:37.29.

Boys 200 IM — 1, Christopher Loudon, D, 2:13.94. 2, Connor Walch, D, 2:16.80. 3, Fredric Rygh, D, 2:20.42.

Girls 50 Freestyle — 1, Katherine Jarupakorn, Bartlett, 27.11. 2, Tatumn Willis, D, 27.44. 3, Meridian Jordan, D, 28.67.

Boys 50 Freestyle — 1, Maximus Addington, D, 24.17. 2, David Startz, D, 27.30. 3, Lucas Moody, D, 27.91.

Girls Diving — 1, Monique Marcaurele, D, 99.75.

Boys Diving — 1, Ethan Larson, Bartlett, 234.45. 2, Marty Rygh, D, 147.08. 3, Wendell Jack, D, 133.40.

Girls 100 Butterfly — 1, Erin Moody, D, 1:01.90. 2, Wanlaya Jarupakorn, Bartlett, 1:02.12. 3, Katie Puls, D, 1:06.97.

Boys 100 Butterfly — 1, Fredric Rygh, D, 1:00.17. 2, Jacob Mitchell, D, 1:01.57. 3, Yohei Fujimoto, D, 1:02.77.

Girls 100 Freestyle — 1, Emma Cegelka, D, 58.68. 2, Camryn Williams, D, 1:01.39. 3, Michelle Duot-Kelley, D, 1:06.50.

Boys 100 Freestyle — 1, Nate Flores, D, 51.90. 2, Jesse Tatakis, D, 53.23. 3, Connor Walch, D, 55.50.

Girls 500 Freestyle — 1, Breckynn Willis, D, 5:40.99. 2, Katherine Jarupakorn, Bartlett, 5:46.13. 3, Mikayla Terry, D, 5:55.01.

Boys 500 Freestyle — 1, Andrew Walch, D, 5:16.34. 2, Scott Babbitt, Dimond Swim/Dive, 5:56.43.

Girls 200 Freestyle Relay — 1, Dimond (Mikayla Terry, Emma Cegelka, Breckynn Willis, Camryn Williams), 1:47.37. 2, Dimond, 1:49.80. 3,
Bartlett, 1:51.27.

Boys 200 Freestyle Relay — 1, Dimond (Maximus Addington, Fredric Rygh, Jesse Tatakis, Christopher Loudon), 1:41.80. 2, Dimond, 1:43.86.

Girls 100 Backstroke — 1, Annika Rohde, D, 1:09.57. 2, Tempest Wilequer, Bartlett, 1:12.05. 3, Piper Sato, D, 1:19.89.

Boys 100 Backstroke — 1, Robert Kompsie, D, 1:01.66. 2, AJ DeMarco, D, 1:16.08.

Girls 100 Breaststroke — 1, Wanlaya Jarupakorn, Bartlett, 1:14.35. 2, Mikayla Terry, D, 1:19.69. 3, Meridian Jordan, D, 1:23.60.

Boys 100 Breaststroke — 1, Reed Dittlinger, D, 1:03.73. 2, Fischer Kass, D, 1:25.32. 3, Cooper Hamlett, D, 1:29.83.

Girls 400 Freestyle Relay — 1, Dimond (Naomi Burgan, Annika Rohde, Katie Puls, Emma Cegelka), 4:06.27.

Boys 400 Freestyle Relay — 1, Dimond (Scott Babbitt, Fischer Kass, Cooper Hamlett, Robert Kompsie), 3:57.47.

Service defeats East

Girls team scores — Service 122, East 34.

Boys team scores — Service 132, East 37.

Girls 200 Medley Relay — 1, Service (Shelby Bruce, Dulcy Morris, Boo Rogers, Ainsley Fullmer), 2:17.56. 2, Service, 2:20.52. 3, East, 2:52.50.

Boys 200 Medley Relay — 1, Service (Nicholas Price, Ethan Kwon, Brian Jarupakorn, Tavner Wisdom), 1:48.59. 2, Service, 1:49.32. 3, East, 2:14.81.

Girls 200 Freestyle — 1, Aneesha Bruce, SE, 2:24.52. 2, Anglina Ferucci, SE, 2:42.39. 3, Cheyenne Levy, E, 2:46.92.

Boys 200 Freestyle — 1, Caleb Law, SE, 1:52.26. 2, Brian Jarupakorn, SE, 1:56.11. 3, David Lundell, E, 2:03.22.

Girls 200 IM — 1, Ainsley Fullmer, SE, 2:47.75. 2, Molly Millar, E, 3:12.92.

Boys 200 IM — 1, Caleb Law, SE, 2:12.15. 2, Aidan Kenna, SE, 2:26.04. 3, Jamie Anteau, E, 2:50.26.

Girls 50 Freestyle — 1, Boo Rogers, SE, 27.74. 2, Shelby Bruce, SE, 29.63. 3, Kellianna Mikawa, E, 30.99.

Boys 50 Freestyle — 1, Ion Sands, SE, 25.18. 2, Blake Caldwell, E, 28.06. 3, TanNer Chaffin, SE, 28.19.

Girls Diving — 1, Jade Simek, SE, 131.65. 2, Carmen Parsons, E, 109.50.

Boys Diving — 1, Luke Butler, E, 170.40. 2, Richard Parsons, E, 123.50.

Girls 100 Butterfly — 1, Kellianna Mikawa, E, 1:21.76. 2, Sophia Berggren, SE, 1:22.35. 3, Esther Lim, SE, 1:43.80.

Boys 100 Butterfly — 1, Brian Jarupakorn, SE, 56.17. 2, Ion Sands, SE, 1:00.69. 3, Tanner Chaffin, SE, 1:15.38.

Girls 100 Freestyle — 1, Shelby Bruce, SE, 1:03.82. 2, Emma Broyles, SE, 1:10.01. 3, Haadiya Cheema, SE, 1:30.83.

Boys 100 Freestyle — 1, Nicholas Price, SE, 54.46. 2, Tavner Wisdom, SE, 56.68. 3, Cooper Chiacchia, SE, 1:06.13.

Girls 500 Freestyle — 1, Aneesha Bruce, SE, 6:21.68. 2, Dulcy Morris, SE, 6:45.73. 3, Anglina Ferucci, SE, 7:07.71.

Boys 500 Freestyle — 1, Ethan Kwon, SE, 5:23.03. 2, Aidan Kenna, SE, 5:41.72. 3, Ethan Bartz, SE, 5:52.18.

Girls 200 Freestyle Relay — 1, Service (Esther Lim, Rivers Rogers, Haadiya Cheema, Morgan Sailor), 2:25.72. 2, East, 2:28.69.

Boys 200 Freestyle Relay — 1, Service (TanNer Chaffin, Spencer Gunter, Ethan Hoyer, Caleb Law), 1:51.51. 2, Service, 2:06.13.

Girls 100 Backstroke — 1, Morgan Sailor, SE, 1:12.11. 2, Emma Broyles, SE, 1:18.04. 3, Cheyenne Levy, E, 1:26.50.

Boys 100 Backstroke — 1, Nicholas Price, SE, 1:00.08. 2, Austin Carpenter, SE, 1:03.37. 3, David Lundell, E, 1:04.19.

Girls 100 Breaststroke — 1, Ainsley Fullmer, SE, 1:20.70. 2, Boo Rogers, SE, 1:24.61. 3, Dulcy Morris, SE, 1:34.54.

Boys 100 Breaststroke — 1, Ethan Kwon, SE, 1:06.41. 2, Tavner Wisdom, SE, 1:09.50. 3, Dimitri Keogh, SE, 1:14.39.

Girls 400 Freestyle Relay — 1, Service (Shelby Bruce, Aneesha Bruce, Morgan Sailor, Boo Rogers), 4:22.71. 2, Service  4:52.50.

Boys 400 Freestyle Relay — 1, Service (Ion Sands, Brian Jarupakorn, Tavner Wisdom, Austin Carpenter), 3:39.88. 2, Service 3:51.56.

Man pronounced dead after Anchorage police respond to report of ‘physical altercation’

2 hours 23 min ago

Anchorage police are investigating a death in the neighborhood of Fairview.

Officers responded to a home on the 1500 block of Medfra Street around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in reference to a "physical altercation" among several adults, police spokeswoman Renee Oistad wrote in a statement.

"When police arrived they found an adult male unconscious and not breathing," Oistad wrote.

The man was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead a short time later.

Everyone involved was detained by police and would undergo questioning, police said.

Prep tennis: Service wins final match to nip Chugiak

2 hours 28 min ago

Service's Bella Pretlow outdueled Chugiak's Bethany Kesler in the final match of the day Tuesday to lift the Cougars to a 5-4 team victory in a Cook Inlet Conference tennis meet.

Pretlow won the pro-set singles match, 8-5.

In Tuesday's other meet, Robby Sedwick and Andre Lief rallied from a first-set loss to win their boys doubles match and help West secure an 8-1 victory over East.

On Monday, East lost to South, 9-0.

Service 5, Chugiak 4.

Boys Singles 1 — Spirit Pretlow (S) d. Riley Fugere (CH) 6-0, 6-0.

Boys Singles 2 — Ian Judd (CH) d. Kelly Wages (S) 6-1, 6-4.

Girls Singles 1 — Sofia Main (S) d. Emilee Groth (CH) 6-2, 6-1.

Girls Singles 2 — Bella Pretlow (S) d. Bethany Kesler (CH) 8-5.

Boys Doubles 1 — Kyle Reem/Soren Gessner (S) d. Jared Elison/Ryan Winborg (CH) 6-2, 6-1.

Boys Doubles 2 — Tyler Winborg/Eric Rueb (CH) d. Tristan Lidey/Daniel Yoon 6-4, 6-5.

Girls Doubles 1 — Clarisse Mock/Claudine Mock (S)d. Becky LaRue/Tyanna Melak (CH) 6-2, 6-4.

Girls Doubles 2 — Megan Anshutz/Madelyn Bistodeau (CH) d. Riley Madill/Elizabeth Non (S).

Mixed Doubles — Claire Mahoney/Sam Hall (CH) d. Lia Moon/Tom Flores (S) 6-4, 7-5.

West 8, East 1

Boys Singles 1 — Jack Sedwick (W) d. Chay Sue Her (E) 6-0, 6-0.

Boys Singles 2 — Jordan Green (W) d. Jonah Folds (E) 6-0, 6-2.

Girls Singles 1 — Savannah Paul (W) d. Madeline Millar (E) 6-2, 6-0.

Girls Singles 2 — Aieleen Kim (W) d. Kaitlynn Carlson (E) 6-0, 6-0.

Boys Doubles 1 — Robby Sedwick/Andre Lief (W) d. Marco Rivera/David Columbus (E) 4-6, 6-4, 10-6.

Boys Doubles 2 — Theodore Bahr/Sam Hiratsuka (W) d. Oliver Bennet/Tristan Duran 6-0, 6-0.

Girls Doubles 1 — Katrina Nordsgaard/Jayla Jordan (E) d. Sydney Bidwell/Jessie Zimmer (W) 6-0, 6-2.

Girls Doubles 2 — Alison Butcher/Natalie Fraser (W) won by default.

Mixed Doubles -—Kristina Yu/Chris Brandeberry (W) d. Sarah Chang/Jonathan Chang (E) 6-0, 6-2.

South 9, East 0

Boys Singles 1 — Joseph Hemry (So) Def Jonah Folds (E) 6-0, 6-0.

Boys Singles 2 — Andy Hemry (So) Def Chay Sue Her (E) 6-0, 6-0.

Girls Singles 1 — Christine Hemry (So) Def Maddine Millar (E) 6-0, 6-0.

Girls Singles 2 — Patty Gtraterol (So) Def Kaitlynn Carlson (E) 6-0, 6-1.

Boys Doubles 1 — Jake Brown /Lian Lincoln (So) Def David Columbus /Marco Rivera (E) 6-4, 6-2.

Boys Doubles 2 — Josh Balsan / Gage Webster (So) def Oliver Bennet / Tristan Duran (E) 6-1, 6-1.

Girls Doubles 1 — Lauren Robertson / Peyton Brown (So) def Katrina Nordsgaard / Jayld Jordan (E) 6-1, 6-0.

Girls Doubles 2 — Khailey Yancha / Sophia Sanders (So) won by default.

Mixed Doubles — Isabella Jameson / Steve Kilkenny (So) def Sarah Chang / Jonathan Chary (E) 6-1, 6-1.

Readers write: Letters to the editor, September 20, 2017

3 hours 34 min ago

Democracy requires action

"Government is too big." "Keep it out of our lives." "Don't touch my Medicare." "Government is a big swamp."

These uninformed comments are distorted opinions. Our government was created "by and for the people." This is us, folks. It is our American birthright to support, understand and participate in it. The politics of good government keeps us safe We have clean water, safe food, paved roads, emergency response to crime, fire, disasters, road accidents, public schools and libraries, free elections, free speech, etc. America has been a prosperous nation for so long we cannot conceive what a dysfunctional government looks like.

Dysfunction is not having the freedom and services our government provides. It is widespread famine, wars, inadequate or unhealthy water and food, endemic disease, lack of paved roads, crumbling infrastructure, high unemployment, a dictatorship, with state-dictated propaganda dominating our media and infiltrating our schools, and no religious freedom. If we continue our disinterest or acceptance of distorted facts from faulty sources, we will squander what our founders ably spelled out for our democracy. If we fear the influence of big money driving our politics, we must become involved. And we must stay involved. The government reflects its base. The base is all who participate in our democratic process of government.

— Barbara Gazaway
Anchorage

Museum serves up feast of Alaska art

Each time I visit the Anchorage Museum, I am surprised by a new exhibit. Last Friday was even more spectacular, with the opening of the new wing of Alaska art. The paintings are arranged so beautifully, grouped in amazing arrays. The playful pink bears, the gut mittens ­— the traditional alongside the modern — was a feast for the eyes and heart. On the main floor, artist Ray Troll's dinosaur exhibit, joyfully combined serious science with whimsy. It deserves several visits as well.

Director Julie Decker and her talented team of professionals are doing a wonderful job. They have made the museum a place for all of the people of Alaska, expanded our outlook to other northern cultures, and filled every space with artistic surprises that bring us back again and again.

— Judith Burtner
Anchorage

Shut down 'troll' campaigning

Russian trolls spent at least $100,000 on political ads on Facebook during the 2016 election. This is a serious, serious issue and just the tip of the iceberg.

It is imperative we close all campaign finance loopholes that give foreign governments and agents the opportunity to use shell corporations and political groups to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence our elections.

— George Bennett
North Pole

The views expressed here are the writers' own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a letter under 200 words for consideration, email letters@alaskadispatch.com, or click here to submit via any web browser. Submitting a letter to the editor constitutes granting permission for it to be edited for clarity, accuracy and brevity. Send longer works of opinion to commentary@alaskadispatch.com.

California man ordered to pay $13K for killing 2 bears out of season

4 hours 18 min ago

A California man pleaded guilty Tuesday in Petersburg district court to killing two bears on Admiralty Island while hunting was closed, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Griffen Fales, 20, entered the plea on multiple wildlife misdemeanors, troopers said in an online dispatch.

Back in 2015, wildlife troopers based in Petersburg received a report of an unsalvaged brown bear on Admiralty Island in Southeast Alaska.

"(An) investigation found that Fales had shot this bear, along with one other bear, on Admiralty Island during a closed season, than failed to salvage either of the bears," troopers said.

Fales was also found to have taken a deer without the proper license or a nonresident locking tag, troopers said.

Fales was sentenced to pay $10,000 in fines as well as restitution totaling $3,000 to the state for the three illegally taken animals, troopers said. A month of jail time was suspended. He's banned from hunting here for five years.

UAA spikers take winning streak into pair of home matches

4 hours 21 min ago

The UAA volleyball team is back home this week following a three-game road trip during which the Seawolves fashioned their longest winning streak of the season.

After failing to win more than two in a row in their first eight matches, the Seawolves won once in Fairbanks and twice in Montana last week to push their record to 7-4 overall and 2-0 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

Not that winning three straight on the road did the Seawolves any good in the national rankings. They slipped two spots to No. 20 in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association's NCAA Division II poll.

That's the lowest UAA has ranked since Sept. 7, 2015. The Seawolves started the season in the No. 4 spot.

UAA's three-game winning streak and undefeated GNAC record — and quite possibly its continued presence in the Top 25 rankings — will be on the line in a pair of conference matches at the Alaska Airlines Center.

UAA plays Saint Martin's (6-4, 1-1) on Thursday and Seattle Pacific (6-4, 1-1) on Saturday. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.

The Seawolves are 30-4 all-time against Saint Martin's, but the Saints look better than ever, UAA coach Chris Green said at a Tuesday press conference.

"Saint Martin's just upset Concordia on Saturday, so they're a pretty solid team," he said. "… They're better than they have been in the past."

Green said consistently good serving and passing has distinguished his team in recent matches, "and we hope to continue that."

UAA ranks second in the GNAC and 29th nationally in aces with 2.02 per set, an effort led by Keala Kaio-Perez with 24 aces and Leah Swiss with 22. Three others have 10 or more to help UAA rack up 93 aces in 11 matches.

Saturday's match will feature the second annual Dig for Liz fundraiser to raise money for the Liz Hooe Memorial Scholarship. A scholarship will be awarded that night, Green said.

Hooe, who died of cancer in 2012, was the mother of Morgan Hooe, who ended an All-America career with UAA last season, and the wife of Virgil Hooe, a volunteer coach for the Seawolves.

Missing our dear Labrador, Gunner

4 hours 51 min ago

Sliding into the driver's seat of the SUV, I glanced to the backseat to see how Gunner was faring. Dog lovers, especially those with Labrador retrievers, are familiar with the guilty look. It isn't that dogs are sorry; they had a great time doing whatever it was that caused the guilty expression. The look is more likely worry about whatever scolding might come their way.

Gunner's tail thumped the seat as he tucked his big head down in a sheepish gesture. The evidence was overwhelming, as grouse feathers still clung to his muzzle. That was all that remained of the three birds that had been in the back of the vehicle.

A buddy and I had taken Gunner on his first hunt since he came to the family. With no expectations, he had shown promise, finding and retrieving birds as if he knew all about it. On the way home, we stopped at my buddy's house, and I went in for a minute, forgetting that jumping over a seat is not problematic for dogs. I don't know about most folks, but I just can't be mad at the big lugs when they do what they think is just simple dog fun. I scratched his ears and we drove home to tell Christine about his day, with no birds to show for it.

[Rescue dogs can become hunting phenoms. Mine did.]

When we met Gunner, he was in an 8-by-10-foot chain-link cage at the animal shelter. His deep bark reverberated through the kennel and was interrupted only when he stopped for a moment to lick the sores on his front legs. His incessant, anxious licking had created lesions. He had been at the shelter for 17 days, three days beyond the shelter's policy, which was a kill shelter at the time.

The man running the shelter couldn't bring himself to euthanize this young chocolate Labrador retriever and, knowing Christine, he called and told her about him. He had come to the shelter as a stray. He was a healthy, growing pup estimated to be around 9 months old. At 75 pounds, his loose skin promised he would grow to be a big, strapping dog as an adult.

Poster perfect

Gunner, the name we chose for him, was a poster-perfect example of Labrador form and function. There was little doubt that he came from purebred stock, and we always wondered how he could have ended up at a shelter. We had no way to know if his bloodline included hunting, but it didn't matter. The only question was, would he like us?

We took him for a walk in the fenced-in yard behind the shelter, where his true Lab personality emerged. He stopped barking, and his tail wagged so hard we thought he might dislocate a hip joint. He pressed up against us and then jumped up, his big paws on my shoulders, and gave me a big slobbering Labrador kiss of thanks.

At home, it was as if he had always lived there. He would lie on his bed and watch us as we went about our routines. When we sat down, he would come and lie beside us and stare up with what always seemed like gratitude. He had to be coaxed up into the recliner to lie with me while I read at night. After that, whenever I would sit down, he would launch into the recliner with me. As he grew to 100 pounds, he would sometimes misjudge the trajectory of his launch and his momentum would take us over backward to lie like turned-over turtles.

Gunner's hunting bloodline proved out over the next nine years. He developed into a great waterfowl retriever. His big, strong build was a perfect match for the hard-running tidal sloughs, banked with deep mud. He loved to retrieve but he never liked the taste of duck much. When he retrieved a duck, he would spit it out into my hand as quick as possible.

Our annual trips to Redoubt Bay, on the west side of Cook Inlet, were his favorite. He would scamper up into whatever plane we took and sit with a bemused expression, while we lifted Cheyenne, his fat little counterpart, into the cabin.

Hunting with the pair, if there was one duck to retrieve and Gunner beat Cheyenne to it, she would swim to him and snatch it out of his mouth. Always a gentle giant, he let her get away with it, and it was high entertainment for us.

In the evening, we would sit along the tidal slough in front of the duck shack listening to the widgeons whistle by and watch the owls begin their night's hunt. Cheyenne would be passed out inside and Gunner would sit between us. His soft, melancholy manner was a perfect fit for those times in that place. He seemed to share our love of the country and just being there was enough for all of us.

At the end of the 2015 season, his ninth year with us, Gunner was a master at his craft. He was healthy and strong as ever, and we looked forward to the next year. I had driven to South Dakota to hunt pheasants with Winchester late that year, when the call came.

Christine told me, over the phone, that a strange abscess had appeared on Gunner's hip. The vet had cleaned it out and put him on antibiotics, and it seemed like just one of those things. Except it wouldn't heal.

Malignant is a word no one wants to hear. A follow-up CT scan revealed cancer had spread to his hips and his lungs.

[When Alaska gets cold and wet, ensure your hunting dog is protected]

Buying time

Medical advancements allowed chemotherapy, in tablet form administered at home. It could buy Gunner some time. We agreed to try it, and if there were no debilitating side effects and he was happy, we would hope for the best.

All went well for several months. Gunner seemed himself. He went on runs with the other dogs, was always happy and adoring, with his big tail still wagging. We booked our annual trip to Redoubt Bay, sure he would be good to go.

And then, in early June of 2016, the mass in his hip appeared again. The vet told us to make the most of the next couple of weeks, there was no stopping it.

We took Gunner to the Kenai River flats, out to the blinds where he had grown up. For the first time in my life, I considered deliberately breaking a game law. I wanted to give him one more duck to retrieve. I didn't, a decision that still brings tears when I think of it.

And then one morning in late June, the pain medicine stopped working, and Gunner's tail stopped wagging. Later that day, Christine and I held him tight, tears flooding the floor of the vet's office, as his eyes closed for the last time, and we said goodbye.

It's been over a year now, the waterfowl season is in full swing, and we still haven't returned to Redoubt Bay. Perhaps we never will. Why, some people ask, would you bring dogs into the family, love them as if they were your children, knowing that they will have to leave early?

As with so many things in life that we love, there are no guarantees, and nothing lasts forever. I am just grateful to have had him in our life, for the memories his presence brought, grateful to have loved him so much that the pain of his leaving is real and always near the surface.

Perhaps Garth Brooks said it best, "I could have missed the pain, but I'd have missed the dance."

Steve Meyer of Soldotna is lifelong Alaskan and an avid shooter. He writes every other week about guns and Alaska hunting. Contact Steve at oldduckhunter@outlook.com.

Anchorage police say it’s not yet clear whether SB 91 has affected crime rates

5 hours 6 min ago

Anchorage police officials say there is no data to conclusively link the state's new criminal justice reform law, known as Senate Bill 91, to a rise in certain crimes.

But in recent months, amid mounting public frustration over the legislation, the agency has been trying to come up with those answers.

Police officials have been pulling the city's various arrest reports into a single database. The database, essentially a spreadsheet on internal computers, shows who is committing crimes repeatedly, whether that person went to jail and whether they paid bail or got a ticket.

The goal is to help answer questions that police leaders and citizens have.

"Is SB 91 really having an impact, particularly on repeat offenders?" said Sean Case, the police captain overseeing the effort.

Gov. Bill Walker signed the bill into law in June 2016, and has called for a special session in October to re-examine it. While the legislation was designed to save money in the prison system and reduce recidivism rates by giving offenders a chance to rehabilitate outside jail, Walker said lawmakers need to look at returning to tougher penalties. Business owners, elected officials and residents have linked the legislation to an uptick in crime in the past year, particularly property crimes.

[Governor wants Alaska Legislature to tough criminal justice during special session]

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz alluded to the law as one factor in escalating crime in the city in an interview last week, along with drug use.

Case said the Anchorage Police Department does not want to be in the middle of policy discussions. He said it isn't necessarily the agency's job to validate public feelings about Senate Bill 91.

But at town halls and meetings of the Anchorage Assembly and community councils, people have been demanding explanations, Case said.

"We kind of feel that maybe we should find some answers for them," Case said.

The city prosecutor, Seneca Theno, was skeptical, saying in an interview that crime fluctuates from year to year and it's very difficult to draw clear cause-and-effect relationships.

But she noted that there's very little overlap between law enforcement, court and prosecution statistics, creating the gaps Case wants to address.

"SB 91 talks so much about bail. It's a huge part of the reform process," Theno said. "And yet no one is really doing a track of the types of offenders, and what the response is to the changes in bail."

Police and prosecutors suspect that separate judicial changes to the state's bail requirements for low-level crimes, known as the "bail schedule," have played a role in offender behavior.

For Case and other police officials, gathering the data on offenders and arrests is no easy task. The Anchorage Police Department relies on a decentralized mix of police reports and calls for service, stored in separate computer systems. A data analyst, Victoria Goss, has spent hours poring over reports, trying to pick out trends.

[Anchorage police release limited data on drug seizures since refocusing efforts in March]

Take shoplifting for example, Case said. Anchorage business owners are furious, he said, over what they say is a rise in shoplifting. Senate Bill 91 made petty shoplifting of less than $250 a ticket for first- and second-time offenders, largely taking jail time out of the equation.

In recommending changes to lower-level theft penalties, the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission found that jail time was costing a lot of money but not reducing recidivism rates.

But Case said the easing of consequences for shoplifting has become, at least anecdotally, a "thorn in everyone's side." In Juneau, frustration over shoplifting recently led to a federally funded pilot project called the Juneau Avert Chronic Shoplifting Pilot Project. Instead of prosecuting people, which came with little consequences, officials will connect chronic shoplifters with case managers, in an effort to help solve underlying problems like substance abuse and mental illness.

Anchorage is not planning to pursue a similar project. Theno, the city prosecutor, said her office is instead writing a proposal to restore a monitoring program for domestic violence offenders.

Even so, shoplifting is of interest to Anchorage police, with officials constantly hearing complaints from business owners. The data doesn't yet clearly show whether there's been a rise in shoplifting in Anchorage, and what the factors are, Case said.

In his office at APD headquarters Tuesday morning, Case pointed to a chart on his computer showing arrest data on shoplifting charges. The chart appeared to show that shoplifting in 2017 is so far in line with Anchorage's five-year average, with a slight uptick one month this spring.

At the same time, the chart did not show the number of arrests for stealing less than $250 — the type of crime that affects the most businesses.

That reflects a problem in how APD's data is collected, Case said. He said it's an example of where police are working now to understand what's being captured and where it's being stored.

"We just have to be able to get a definitive answer, to say conclusively, we can link SB 91 to an increase in certain crimes," Case said.

Fall harvest is in full swing at local farmers market – here’s what you’ll find this week

5 hours 13 min ago

The changing seasons mean fewer farmers' markets to visit. This Saturday will be the final Muldoon Farmers Market of the year.

So get over to Muldoon, says market organizer Jerrianne Lowther.

"Last chance to stock your freezer and fridge with fall vegetables and tomatoes," Lowther says. "The Shrimp Guy is bringing really fresh seafood—shrimp, scallops and more to go with all those colorful veggies. Beets, carrots, broccoli and more kinds of potatoes than you knew there were, including purple mollies that are bright purple clear through.

"We'll see you next June at our new location in Muldoon Town Square."

South Anchorage Farmers Markets

The two South Anchorage markets keep packing in shoppers. On Wednesday, look for produce, mushrooms, flowers and ferments from Farm 779, Stockwell Farm, Earthworks Farm, Two Sisters Farm, Glacier Valley Farm and Far North Fungi.

Saturday's lineup is larger and the vendor booths are overflowing.

"The fall harvest of everything is well underway by the farmers," Barbara Landi says. "Potatoes are being harvested daily, some carrots, too, though most carrots still remain underground. There's been light frost in a few areas, but so far not a serious killing frost. Still, some crops — peas and beans — are just done."

New vendors joining the market late in the season include Anchor Point Greenhouse with tomatoes and pickling cucumbers; Bogard Food Hub's Richelle Plummer is bringing her specialty-fed locally raised chickens to market, along with eggs and honey; and All-Dahliad Up and Misty Vanderweele will have loads of late-season dahlias.

Other vendors include Rise & Shine Bakery at their last market of the year with Alaskan potato, spent grain, toasted walnut, Kalamata olive and fruited almond sourdough breads; Northern Fruits with Valley-grown apples; strawberries from VanderWeele Far, Sun Circle Farm and Don Berberich; Rempel Family Farm with a huge selection of produce, including first-of-the-year jumbo pink banana squash; Arctic Choice with silver salmon, rockfish, cod, halibut and oysters; and Drool Central with plenty of canine treats.

Spenard Farmers Market

"As the weather gets colder, our farmers continue to work hard harvesting late season vegetables for our last two Saturday markets," Market Manager Andrea Trent says. "The fresh Alaskan-grown produce options for this Saturday surely will not disappoint."

Trent says highlights will include arugula, basil, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, dill, fava beans, green beans, jalapeno peppers, kale, leeks, lettuce, micro greens, onions, pickles, potatoes, radishes, salad mixes and more.

Vendor highlights include Aquila Coffee with whole bean coffee, Alaska Seeds of Change with raw stevia, D&L; Enterprises with canned pickled vegetables and Midnight Sun Farm with apple butter, rhubarb syrup, jams and jellies (mint jalepeno, fireweed, red currant, black currant and Alaska dandelion).

Thankful Thursdays

Farm 779 will have loads of vegan, gluten-free ketogenic snacks, two varieties of almond cacao "nutrition bombs," according to owner Julie Meer, and coconut kefir, lots of krauts and body products. Farm 779 will also be at both South Anchorage markets this week.

Duane Clark will have apples, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, grass-fed beef and yak, honey, jams, salsa and chaga.

Center Market

The vegetables keep coming for Alex Davis. This week's lineup includes red and green cabbage, cucumbers, kohlrabi, red beets, golden beets, four varieties of cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, collards, kale, strawberries, rhubarb, snow apple turnips, salad mix and lots of potato options.

Davis also has a huge selection of pork cuts, eggs, grass-fed beef, and items from Tonia's Biscotti, Mosquito Mama, Alaska Flour Co. and Alaska Sprouts.

Anchorage Farmers Market

Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics is loving the fall weather.

"We're trying not to feel too comfortable about this harvest season, but it's pretty nice for freeze-up to keep us in suspense for this long," she says. "We are getting the important crops in as quickly as we can, and very much enjoying the lack of extra stress that frosty mornings can add."

Market highlights this week include the debut of Brussels sprouts, lots of potato options; red, golden and Chioggia beets; celery; red and yellow onions; leeks; red bell peppers; tomatoes; zucchini; broccoli; four varieties of kale; rainbow chard; mache; sorrel; greens mix; lettuces; and lots of herbs.

Other vendors include Ed & Tina's Krauts & Pickles, Happy Valley Chickens' eggs, Mom's Garden, The Persistent Farmer, Seldovitsch Farm, Stockwell Farm, Sun Fire Ridge, Turkey Red Café breads and treats, Vang Family Farm and VanderWeele Farm.

Northway Mall Wednesday Market

Dinkel's Veggies will be back at the Northway Mall this week, along with Wasilla Lake, the Spenard Farmer's Market and the Muldoon Farmers Market.

The veggie lineup includes carrots, green and yellow zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet onions, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, pickling cucumbers and cabbage.

Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. Contact him at akmarketfresh@gmail.com.

Local farmers markets

Tuesday outside of Anchorage: Eagle River Farmers Market, 3-7 p.m., Eagle River VFW Post; Farmers Fresh Market, 3-6 p.m., 33955 Community College Drive, Soldotna

Wednesday in Anchorage: APU Farmers Market, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., 4225 University Drive; Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Farmers Market at Airport Heights, 3-7 p.m., 2530 E. 16th Ave.; Northway Mall Wednesday Market, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Northway Mall; South Anchorage Wednesday Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., near Dimond Center Hotel

Wednesday outside of Anchorage: Highway's End Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Delta Junction; Homer Farmers Market, 2-6 p.m., Ocean Drive; Tanana Valley Farmer's Market, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 2600 College Road, Fairbanks; Wasilla Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Iditapark

Thursday in Anchorage: Thankful Thursdays market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street
Thursday outside of Anchorage: Peters Creek Farmers Market, 3-8 p.m., American Legion Post 33

Friday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 333 W. Fourth Ave.

Saturday in Anchorage: Anchorage Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., 15th Avenue and Cordova Street; Center Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 333 W. Fourth Ave.; Muldoon Farmers Market, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Begich Middle School; South Anchorage Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., O'Malley Sports Center; Spenard Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., 2555 Spenard Road

Saturday outside of Anchorage: Highway's End Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Delta Junction; Homer Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Ocean Drive; Tanana Valley Farmer's Market, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., 2600 College Road, Fairbanks
Sunday in Anchorage: Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 333 W. Fourth Ave.

Sunday outside of Anchorage: Tanana Valley Farmer's Market, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 2600 College Road, Fairbanks

Lake Hood, Anchorage hot spot for floatplanes, will get three new hangars

5 hours 32 min ago

A $15 million project underway to build new hangars at the Lake Hood Seaplane Base in Anchorage aims to alleviate the pent-up demand for housing smaller aircraft there.

A company called Lake Hood Hangars broke ground earlier this year on the first of three hangars. The other two are set to be built next year.

Steve Zelener, company owner, said there's huge demand for more hangar space in Alaska's largest city. Proximity to the lake itself also comes at a premium, and the new hangars will have nearby access to the water.

The project also involves doubling the number of floatplane slips Zelener owns on Lake Hood from nine to 18.

The hangars, located on Aircraft Drive near a taxiway, will be about 24,000 square feet each. Taking up a bit more than 3 acres, the first massive building is still under construction, rising about 28 feet high and still without doors.

The rest of the land where the next two buildings will be located is still just dirt.

The hangar space will be both leased and sold, running from about $845,000 to $985,000 to buy and starting at about $1.35 per square foot per month to rent.

There were nearly 8,000 registered aircraft in Alaska and around 3,300 of those were registered in Anchorage as of the end of July, said Stormy Jarvis, manager of the hangar project. Most of those in Anchorage are small planes, she said, and that's likely the case for the whole state.

"We see a need, and there's also this waiting list for float slips at the lake," she said. "There's a hangar shortage. That's a resounding message."

Tim Coons, manager at the Lake Hood base, said the waitlist for slips is about 10-11 years old. The base, part of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, has long claimed to be the busiest seaplane base in the world, he said. About 750 people at any given time have permits to park their planes there, he said.

"Most of the area around the lake has already been developed. This was one area that was still open," Coons said. "Alaska has always presented a harsh environment. Just like anybody who would like to have the ability to keep a nice asset inside, airplane owners are no different."

Even smaller planes can cost anywhere from $50,000 for something used, to a few million dollars for something new, said Zelener. Snow, cold and ice, as well as vandalism and other damage, are some of the reasons people want to keep their aircraft indoors.

"Outside elements are going to contribute to wear and tear of an aircraft before it has to be rebuilt," said Seth Kroenke, president of Remote Alaska Solutions, the contractor on the project.

The hangars are designed with energy efficiency in mind, he said, and they use concrete insulated with foam to handle wide-ranging fluctuations in temperature.

The project has been an idea since 2010, Zelener said. He's also the owner of Zelener Group, which has commercial real estate in Anchorage, Nome and Dutch Harbor.

Yes, there is a dead humpback whale floating in Knik Arm

5 hours 39 min ago

With a dead humpback whale floating near the Port of Anchorage, a spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday the agency will "let nature take its course."

NOAA has received reports about the whale's body every day since Saturday evening, said Julie Speegle, of NOAA's Alaska regional office.

"So we are well aware of this dead humpback whale," she said.

Speegle said biologists don't know the age of the whale or its cause of death or its exact size, but they do know it was a male.

She said people have spotted the dead whale floating in the waters from the Knik River to around Point MacKenzie, and to the Port of Anchorage area.

"It will likely continue to go back and forth with the tide," she said.

Speegle said staff at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson boated out to the carcass Monday and collected skin and blubber samples. They also hooked an orange buoy to its flipper to make sure boaters can see it.

Jim Jager, director of external affairs for the port, said he did not believe the whale posed a hazard to the large vessels in the area.

"It's probably a navigational hazard if you're in a kayak or a powerboat, but for a ship — not so much," he said.

Speegle said it's unclear how the whale's body got to Knik Arm.

"At this point, there's no way to know if it actually swam up Cook Inlet by itself or just floated in with the tide and perhaps expired elsewhere," she said.

Mandy Migura, marine mammal stranding coordinator for NOAA Fisheries Alaska, said "it is not common for whales to come up Knik Arm." However, she said, the agency has recently received more calls from the public about whales in the area, including a gray whale in July and another in early September.

"We don't know if that's because people are more aware of the need to call us to report sightings, or it is possible there are more whales, or it could be attributed to environmental changes, or some other factor," Migura said.

Premera: Health insurance rates for individual market will drop even lower than previously expected

6 hours 7 min ago

Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield announced Tuesday that health insurance premiums in its individual market will drop by 26.5 percent on average in 2018, slightly more than what the company originally expected.

Premera's least expensive silver plan, which in 2017 cost $879 per month for a 40-year-old non-smoker in Anchorage, will cost $626 next year.

For a 40-year-old non-smoker in Anchorage on the least expensive bronze plan, the premium will drop from $703 to $526 a month.

As of May, 16,732 Alaskans were on Premera's metallic plans on the individual market. Ninety-three percent of them are eligible for some level of subsidy to reduce their monthly premiums, according to the Alaska Division of Insurance.

The decrease is slightly larger than what Premera originally filed because the company didn't initially assume that it would receive cost sharing revenue from the federal government.

The company says the decrease is due to both a significant reduction in the use of medical services from its customers and the state's reinsurance program.

In the reinsurance program, Alaska put $55 million toward propping up the individual market. That money was later reimbursed by the federal government — a move that has garnered national attention for Alaska as other states look to reduce their own premium costs.

[States look to Alaska as Senate attempts to shore up individual health insurance markets]

Premera is Alaska's largest insurance provider and the only one left on the state's individual market. In 2015, three insurance companies abandoned the market, followed last year by Moda Health.

For 2015 and and 2016 plans, Premera's individual rates jumped about 40 percent. In 2017, after the implementation of the state's reinsurance program, rates rose only 7 percent.

Anchorage 16-year-old charged with murder pleads not guilty

6 hours 11 min ago

The teenager charged in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Leroy Lawrence in April made an appearance in an Anchorage courtroom Tuesday, handcuffed and wearing plain clothes.

Anthony Salazar, 16, did not speak during the brief hearing in Anchorage Superior Court attended by Lawrence's family.

Defense attorney Dan Lowery entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Salazar and said he'd pursue a jury trial.

Salazar is being charged as an adult.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Michael Corey accepted the plea and kept bail at a half-million dollars and a third-party custodian requirement. Deputy District Attorney Christina Sherman emphasized that Salazar cannot contact anyone named in the indictment.

A second suspect in the case, 20-year-old Haitim Mahir Taha, had not been arrested as of Tuesday afternoon, said police spokeswoman Renee Oistad.

Police reported Monday that Taha was driving a Chevrolet Monte Carlo on April 7 with Salazar in the passenger seat, following a Ford Escape with multiple people.

The Escape pulled over on a residential street in Mountain View, and as people starting getting out, Taha and Salazar drove by and shot at them, police said. Lawrence, who was walking on the street on his way to a friend's house, was struck by a bullet, they said.

[2 charged with murder in April shooting of Anchorage teen; 1 still at large]

The indictment lists seven charges against both defendants: first- and second-degree murder, three counts of assault, weapons misconduct and criminal mischief. The murder counts are unclassified felonies, carrying sentences of up to 99 years in jail.

The document does not offer additional information about the allegations or the months-long investigation. But it lists numerous witnesses who spoke before a grand jury.

On Tuesday, outside the courtroom, Leroy Lawrence's father said his son did not know Salazar or Taha. The hearing was the first time Gene Lawrence saw Salazar in person.

"(Salazar) is a baby, really," Gene Lawrence said. "There's part of me that wants to look at him like he's a monster, but just that one look at him and I can tell – he's just a baby."

The father lamented that guns are so readily available to young people and said the problem needs fixing, but he's unsure how.

This missile man was a program manager — and helped win the Cold War

6 hours 12 min ago

North Korea's development of nuclear missiles is part of the history of guided missiles as weapons of war and deserves historical context. Most of missile history occurred in my lifetime — the years since World War II.

The best introduction to this history is Neil Sheehan's "A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon," published in 2009. Sheehan is a former reporter who covered some of the Vietnam War for The New York Times.

His history of the war, "A Bright Shining Lie," written in the form of a biography of Lt. Col John Paul Vann, who fought and died in Vietnam, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988.

Bernard "Bennie" Schriever (1910-2005) had as much influence on the American missile program during the Cold War as any man, including the engineers who designed the missiles, the contractors who built them, the technicians who tested them and the politicians who funded them, yet he is almost forgotten outside the U.S. Air Force.

Even at the apex of his power, the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, he was not as well known as Wernher von Braun, an architect of Adolf Hitler's V-2 program whom the American military recruited for its post-war missile program (although Schriever did get his picture on the cover of Time magazine in 1957 as "Missileman Schriever".)

Schriever had an engineering degree from Texas A&M; University, and was both a military pilot, with brief combat experience, and a civilian pilot, who briefly flew the U.S. mail. But many men had a similar resume during and after World War II and did not leave a major mark on history.

Schriever's special talent, perhaps even genius, was as a program manager. The fact that he was a tall, handsome man with excellent personal skills no doubt helped him.

The term program manager seems colorless, if not soulless, but large organizations cannot survive without a leader with authority to see the program from inception to completion. In a sense, a program manager is like a sea captain; he (or she) must bring the ship home safely no matter what the challenges.

During part of World War II, Schriever was a senior maintenance manager in the South Pacific. His job was to keep Army Air Corps aircraft flying. He did, and was granted greater authority and responsibility after his success.

Technical competence was required. But so were organizational skills. Schriever also needed a staff of technicians and mechanics below him, and he needed them in a system that repetitively produced the outcome he envisioned.

Envisioning the system required creativity, not the creativity of a poet or painter, but that of an architect or designer who can conceptualize results before setting to work.

It's a credit to Schriever's superiors that they quickly recognized his exceptional talent and promoted him. In the Air Force of his day, glory was reserved for men who flew into combat. Successful program managers were not celebrated as aces.

Schriever was an unlikely candidate to profoundly change military policy as a manager. But he developed a vision of the future his superiors in the Pentagon and the White House eventually shared.

Schriever recognized the intercontinental ballistic missile, not the B-52 bomber of Gen. Curtis LeMay's Strategic Air Command, was the weapon of tomorrow. And once the Soviet Union showed an interest in ICBMs, the United States had no choice but to pursue them as well.

Sheehan says Schriever proved "the indispensable man in the creation of intercontinental ballistic missiles …" Many of the most famous missiles — the Minuteman for example … came from his program management.

There were delays. There were interservice rivalries. The Air Force, Army, and Navy all wanted their own ICBMs. The Army argued missiles were a form of artillery and should be under its control.

There were developmental setbacks. Schriever tried to use them as learning experiences, but after a failed Thor missile test in Florida in 1957, his staff shipped the officer most responsible to Alaska.

On the way to his new assignment, perhaps the officer read the directory of Air Force facilities, published for airmen, which described every American base. If so, he learned that Alaska, while formally considered overseas, accepted U.S. currency.

The officer also would have found "The Fairbanks area has not been developed sufficiently to provide normal community support of the large military population."

What? This can't be true. I grew up believing all those bars, night clubs, and juke joints on South Cushman Street had been built for our fighting men and were staffed by, in the euphemism of newspaper advertising, "beautiful hostesses" for their pleasure.

Schriever retired in 1965. His missile system, with hundreds of missiles and warheads all over the globe, had been more than an adequate deterrent to war with the Soviet Union, although the nations had come close to war on several occasions, particularly during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.

In Sheehan's judgment, deterrence produced the breathing spell during which the limitations and contradictions of the Soviet system eventually led to its economic and political collapse.

When Schriever left the service, his country was involved in a war in which ICBMs could play no role —Vietnam. The North Vietnamese were not going to stop making war because we had the power to obliterate them with missiles launched from a North Dakota wheat field.

They knew we would not use them. International public opinion, aghast at the destruction of a strike, would have universally condemned us. The U.S. would have become a pariah.

That war was not a technical problem requiring engineering solutions. Schriever was probably lucky he was passed over for promotion to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Vietnam War was a political crisis, demanding political skill from our leaders, whether civilian or uniformed. Whatever their skills — and remember both Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were at times called brilliant politicians, and the generals, who directed the war had received every award a grateful nation could bestow on them — they could not recognize the one thing they needed to know.

Fighting a war in Southeast Asia in the '60s was a mistake. The wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time, as war critics said. That is what you had to know as a leader. And if you did not understand it, no program manager with revolutionary new technology could save you.

Michael Carey is an Alaska Dispatch columnist. He can be reached at mcarey@alaskadispatch.com.

The views expressed here are the writer's and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary@alaskadispatch.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to letters@alaskadispatch.com.

Stunned by 2 fatal collisions, Navy exhausts some sailors with 100-hour workweeks

7 hours 38 min ago

WASHINGTON – Navy leaders acknowledged Tuesday several unsettling truths about the service's dangerous deployment pace and the role physical exhaustion – some sailors routinely endure 100-hour workweeks, they said – may have played in two deadly collisions at sea.

While leading a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., demanded answers and accountability for a string of recent mishaps, to include three collisions and a grounding, that have exposed the Navy's struggle to address widespread leadership shortcomings and the erosion of training standards.

"As leaders of our Navy, you must do better," McCain admonished Navy Secretary Richard Spencer and Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson during a hearing to learn what the service is doing to restore confidence in its surface warfare fleet, and correct glaring questions about its commanders' ability to hone seamanship and readiness amid constant deployments.

[Navy relieves admiral in charge of Japan-based fleet in response to deadly disasters at sea]

During his opening remarks, McCain, whose familial ties to the Navy span multiple generations, read aloud the names of several honored guests in attendance. They included the mothers, fathers and spouses of the 17 sailors killed this year.

"Your presence here today reminds us of our sacred obligation to look after the young people who serve in our military," McCain said, noting his personal connection with the USS John S. McCain, a guided-missile destroyer named after his father and grandfather.

The ship collided with an oil tanker in a bustling sea transit lane near Singapore, killing 10 sailors on Aug. 21. Two months prior, the USS Fitzgerald, also a guided-missile destroyer, collided with a container ship in Tokyo Bay. That accident left seven sailors dead.

"We will identify shortcomings, fix them and hold people accountable," McCain said, shifting his focus to Spencer and Richardson.

Global demand for Navy assets has soared since the United States went to war in 2001, but its number of ships has been cut by 20 percent since then, the officials said. Faced with persistent threats from North Korea and China's growing empirical ambitions, U.S. commanders have leaned on the Navy to maintain a steady, robust presence in the Western Pacific.

The McCain and the Fitzgerald both belong to the Navy's 7th Fleet, which is headquartered in Japan, and what befell their crews brings into stark focus how more missions in this region have left the Navy spread thin, hobbled by too few ships and worn-out, under-trained crews.

With a current fleet of 276 vessels, the service has taken considerable risk, officials say. They've argued it would require about 350 ships to meet minimum needs.

Richardson shifted some blame to Congress, saying the pressure Navy commanders feel to meet high operational demands has been exacerbated by automatic military spending cuts mandated by lawmakers. This impedes training schedules and budgeting for new ships and modern weapons, the admiral said.

But Richardson also acknowledged that commanders at every level of the Navy share responsibility for these recent mishaps.

"At the core, this issue is about command," he said, which includes the spiraling consequences of a "can-do" culture that agrees to take on missions despite perilous gaps in training and certifications designed to measure how ready ships and sailors are for combat. The Navy has sacked at least half a dozen commanders following the four accidents this year, including the 7th Fleet commander, a three-star admiral – part of at least 20 reprimands of sailors across three ships.

McCain and other lawmakers on the armed services committee honed in on a critical new report, released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office, highlighting the 100-hour weeks being worked by many sailors, a burden that erodes time needed for training and rest. Richardson told McCain he does not deny sailors commonly work those hours.

"There is a cultural factor here, where you're more dedicated if you can stay awake," Richardson said. "It's like pulling an all-nighter in college." Exhaustion leads to a "corrosive effect" on decision-making and performance, he added, noting that studies are being conducted to examine how schedules can be rectified.

"If we're pointing out that sailors are working 100-hour weeks, I'm not sure we need a study," McCain shot back.

[Why did a U.S. destroyer fail to dodge a cargo ship?]

John Pendleton, a defense readiness expert with the Government Accountability Office, bluntly acknowledged during his testimony the extremes some personnel take to man their ships and aircraft. Sailors, he said, "wish for a 100-hour week."

The watchdog published another report in June that found combat certifications had lapsed for nearly 40 percent of cruisers and destroyers ported in Japan – a five-fold increase since 2015.

Reports also found ship staffing cutbacks since the 2000s have led to safety risks, along with maintenance windows prolonged by older ships outliving their intended lifespans. About 60 percent of 169 surface ships were out of commission for 6,603 operational days from 2011 to 2016, the report said, or about 18 years-worth of training and mission time.

In a stern closing statement, McCain warned that such a relentless operational tempo not only risks driving away talent, it sets the conditions for human error. He implored Navy leaders to inject "common sense" into their overhauls.

"I think I know what 100-hour weeks does to people over time," he told Richardson, exasperated at the pace of change when everyone in the room acknowledged exhaustion was a central reason for the Navy's troubles.

"You could make the change tomorrow," he said.

Walker joins other governors in opposition to latest ACA repeal attempt

8 hours 3 min ago

WASHINGTON — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, joined a bipartisan group of governors Tuesday in urging U.S. Senate leaders to drop the latest bid to repeal the Affordable Care Act and instead focus on bipartisan reforms.

"As you continue to consider changes to the American health care system, we ask you not to consider the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson amendment and renew support for bipartisan efforts to make health care more available and affordable for all Americans," Walker and nine others wrote to the Senate's top Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell and Democrat Chuck Schumer.

The letter came in response to a renewed effort in the Senate to gather 50 votes for a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act and revise Medicaid law before the end of the month. After Sept. 30, the time is up on a budget reconciliation measure that allows GOP leadership to pass a bill with only a simple majority, rather than the 60 votes usually required to avoid a filibuster.

Before any changes to existing law are made, Alaska must have a clear understanding of how the proposed changes impact Alaskans. pic.twitter.com/dwoEHYvU1S

— Governor Bill Walker (@AkGovBillWalker) September 19, 2017

After the repeal effort went down this summer — with help from Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski — the efforts shifted from Republican repeal to bipartisan reform. Walker and the other governors want the Senate to stick with that.

This month's hearings in the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee allowed lawmakers to negotiate "in good faith to stabilize the individual market. At the committee's recent hearing with Governors, there was broad bipartisan agreement about many of the initial steps that need to be taken to make individual health insurance more stable and affordable," they wrote.

The committee, which includes Murkowski, has held four hearings this month with the aim of producing more targeted legislation that would stabilize individual markets in the states. Murkowski has so far declined to say how she would vote on the so-called Cassidy bill, which focuses on sending states block grant funding to manage how they like. On Tuesday, she said that she has been in regular contact with Walker about the legislation and is continuing to review the numbers.

[States look to Alaska as Senate attempts to shore up individual health insurance markets]

The governors said they don't want to see a Republican-only bill. "We ask you to support bipartisan efforts to bring stability and affordability to our insurance markets. Legislation should receive consideration under regular order, including hearings in health committees and input from the appropriate health-related parties," the letter said.

The governors asked lawmakers to control costs, stabilize markets and offer a positive outlook for Americans "who are dealing with mental illness, chronic health problems, and drug addiction."

The letter was signed by Republican Govs. Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Charles Baker of Massachusetts, Phil Scott of Vermont and John Kasich of Ohio, as well as Democratic Govs. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Steve Bullock of Montana, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, Terence McAuliffe of Virginia and John Bel Edwards of Louisiana.

Sean Spicer was funny… Wait a minute

8 hours 3 min ago

"Was nothing real?"

— Jim Carrey in "The Truman Show"

Funny covers a multitude of sins.

That has long been my go-to explanation of a dynamic unique to comedy. Meaning the fact that you are allowed to be crude and shocking, to transgress all kinds of isms, all bounds of propriety, if you can get a laugh in the process.

Sean Spicer got a laugh out of me Sunday night.

He rolled that podium onto the Emmy Awards stage and I cracked up. Nor was I the only one. Indeed, the surprise appearance of the former White House spokesman set off a roar from the audience of beautiful people, though when the camera found Melissa McCarthy, who has memorably lampooned Spicer on "Saturday Night Live," her smile seemed inscrutable and not quite amused.

I like to think she instinctively understood what some of us didn't get until later. Namely, that this was no laughing matter.

"This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period," cried Spicer, "both in person and around the world!" It was, of course, a send-up of his first full day on the job, when his notoriously thin-skinned and insecure boss, Donald Trump, sent him out before the press corps to insist, against verifiable fact, that Trump's inauguration was the most widely viewed of all time.

The incident was an early indication that this White House would not be bound by fact. That would be driven home by a subsequent blizzard of presidential lies and by enablers like Spicer, who would then go out and insist, with a straight face, that the president's hogwash was true.

Now here was Spicer, effectively declaring himself in on the joke. And being enabled by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, many of whose members reportedly mobbed him at the after-party. Talk show host James Corden even planted a kiss on his cheek. It was almost anticlimactic the next day when Spicer told the New York Times that "of course" he regrets haranguing reporters about the size of the inauguration crowd.

One wonders what, exactly, we are supposed to do with that. Are we supposed to laugh off all those times he stood there insisting right was left, lies were truth and two plus two equaled macadamia nuts?

In a way, it makes sense that Spicer sought redemption in a room full of actors. An actor, after all, must dedicate himself to a fiction, make himself believe the lie in order that he might sell it to you.

But an actor is only trying to convince you he's a superhero or starship captain. Spicer was trying to convince America that the most prodigious liar in presidential history was some oracle of consistent truth. The press secretary was selling bovine excreta, knew he was selling bovine excreta, yet acted like you were the fool if you did not acknowledge it as gold.

And now he walks out onstage, does this comedic bit, and we're supposed to treat it all as some harmless, meta joke? That feels cynical and slimy. It feels bereft of principle. And it suggests we have crossed the line between laughing at a joke and being one.

I mean, who's laughing at whom here? Are we laughing with him about the fact that you can no longer trust a word the White Housesays — or is he laughing at us for how little that apparently means? Maybe we're all the butt of this joke. Maybe truth is the butt of this joke.

I'm disappointed in the Television Academy. I'm also embarrassed that I laughed. Sean Spicer is one of the reasons we live in a nation filled with millions of angry, frightened, and deeply misinformed people. And yes, funny does, cover a multitude of sins.

That's not one of them.

Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Email, lpitts@miamiherald.com.

The views expressed here are the writer's and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary@alaskadispatch.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to letters@alaskadispatch.com.

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