Parents who need to enroll their children in the Anchorage School District have three opportunities to get the paperwork done this week.
Parents can enroll all students at one location and speak with district staff on any questions they have about getting their child ready for school.
The district will have open enrollment this week on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at the ASD education center on East Northern Lights Boulevard.
You must bring with you a proof of residency, transcripts for middle and high school students, current immunization records and the child who is enrolling in school.
Again this is only for children who are new to the district.
Returning ASD students can enroll online until August 8.
Kindergarten students should register at their school.
On Monday morning at about 5:18 a.m. Alaska State Troopers received a phone call from a woman struggling to talk. She stated that “he” tried to burn the house down, and then the line went dead, according to Troopers.
It was the last thing Mollie Ragonesi, 66, would say before collapsing and subsequently dying of a stab wound to the neck inflicted during a melee at her home between her 19-year-old foster son Kenneth Adams and Daniel Ramsey, according to court documents filed Tuesday.
Following Ragonesi’s phone call, Troopers Dispatch called the telephone number back, but this time a male voice answered the phone, saying the “foster kid” stabbed Ragonesi and she was injured. Another man could be heard saying two people had been stabbed.
When troopers arrived at the Pioneer Peak Drive address in Wasilla, investigators say thick smoke could be seen from inside the residence. Inside the home troopers would discover Ragonesi collapsed on the kitchen floor, Ramsey collapsed in the same room and another resident, James Springer.
In his bedroom, troopers discovered a distraught Adams. Troopers report he had started a fire in the lower part of a furnace in his bedroom.
Troopers’ investigation revealed Ragonesi had smelled something burning in Adams’s room and had gone in to investigate. There she found the fire Adams had set and yelled to Ramsey to grab a fire extinguisher to help put out the fire, according to documents. Kenneth pushed the bedroom door shut on Mollie and told them not to come inside.
Ramsey forced himself into Adams’s room, and a fight subsequently ensued between Ramsey and Adams. During the melee Adams produced a knife, according to Troopers, and he stabbed Ramsey “several times.” It was in the chaos Ragonesi was somehow stabbed in the neck, Troopers report.
Mollie left the room and managed to make her way to the kitchen where she dialed 911 before finally collapsing on the floor; she would later be pronounced dead.
Meanwhile, Ramsey and Adams were still engaged in their fight. Records state Ramsey was able to break the blade of the knife off as Kenneth started to strangle him. Troopers report Springer came into the room and was able to pull Adams off of Ramsey. Ramsey was then able to run to the kitchen and place a call to Troopers before he too would collapse, Troopers report.
Ramsey was taken first to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center and then Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, where he is currently listed in critical condition.
Troopers arrived at the scene, arresting Adams on first-degree attempted murder and second-degree murder charges as well as arson charges. Adams's bail has been set at $500,000 upon the appointment of a public defender.
Superior Court Judge Craig Condie, overseeing the case, maintained Adams’ initial bail conditions at an initial court appearance Tuesday.
"I'm going to continue the bail as previously set, at $500,000 cash/corporate," Condie said.
Dillon Anderson, a friend of Adams who says his sister dated the defendant for a year and a half, remembers Adams as polite but ostracized.
“Whenever I hung out with him, he was the nicest, calmest person,” Anderson said. “Kids would pick on him, but I told Kenneth not to let them bother him because it's just words.”
Shawna Theodore, whose former boyfriend was at one point Ragonesi's foster son, fondly remembered her on Facebook Tuesday.
"Mollie was a very good foster mom," Theodore wrote in a message to Channel 2. "She took in troubled youth and turned them around. And did a great job at it."
Prosecutors in the case declined an interview Tuesday, saying it was too early to comment.
Adams is scheduled for a pre-indictment hearing August 1 at a Palmer court.
Editor's note: An initial version of this story that misspelled Mollie Ragonesi's last name has been corrected.
Channel 2's Adam Pinsker contributed to this report.
The Anchorage Assembly unanimously passed two agenda items Tuesday night aimed at revitalizing two different parts of town.
In one of the votes, Assembly members approved a new Fairview tax incentive. Introduced by Assembly Chair Patrick Flynn, the ordinance would allow developers in parts of Fairview to write off the cost of public infrastructure.
Currently, builders are required to update things like sewer and water lines, curbs, and easements. Those costs can add up quickly, according to Paul Fuhs with the Fairview Business Association. He says much of Fairview was build in the 1940s and 1950s, therefore many upgrades are needed.
Fuhs says the grassroots effort to get the tax incentive started will encourage new developers to build businesses and multi-family homes in the area.
Assembly members also passed an ordinance that allows phase 1 of the Ship Creek Development Project to begin. The city's Planning and Zoning Commission has previously signed off on the project, and the municipal budget had set aside $400,000 for the work.
Phase 1 will include realigning Whitney Road. The road will run behind the power plant and help direct large trucks away from the area -- a change that's hoped to help the area become less industrial and more Downtown. It will also include connecting the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail with the Ship Creek Trail.
Mayor Dan Sullivan says it will be decades before the entire vision will be achieved, which includes new businesses, housing and recreation opportunities. Sullivan says it will give Anchorage a waterfront-city feel, something he believes it's currently missing.
There is no timeline for when ground will break on phase 1, according to Sullivan's office.
Federal appeals court rulings may affect how much some Alaskans pay for health insurance, as a result of Affordable Care Act subsidies provided by the IRS for some patients being called into question.
Alaska is one of 36 states that did not establish its own health care marketplace. Two conflicting court decisions could mean very different things for people in those states receiving healthcare rebates.
Joshua Weinstein, a consultant with Northrim Employee Benefits, says he’s been dealing with the decisions’ effects personally.
“Our phones have been ringing regularly, because we've signed up several thousand individual Alaskans and their families with subsidized health care through the market place,” Weinstein said.
An estimated 13,000 Alaskans have signed up for health care through the federal marketplace. Decisions made by two federal appeals courts may have consequences for the 90 percent of those patients who qualify for subsidies.
“If they don't wind up getting the tax credits, they might owe the IRS a big amount depending on the outcome of this case,” Weinstein said.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled the IRS cannot extend rebates to people in states like Alaska that rely on the federal healthcare exchange -- a position that could have costly repercussions.
“As an example, I helped sign up an individual in his mid-thirties, and his health insurance premium was about $400 a month,” Weinstein said.
At the time when he signed up, the man qualified for a monthly credit of $330.
“So if it turns out that the case goes in a way that the subsidies are invalidated, then he'd owe roughly $4,000 back to the government,” Weinstein said.
But hours after the D.C. court decision, an appeals court in Virginia said the subsidies are allowed in states that did not set up their own health exchanges.
“So what we're telling our clients right now is we really don't know,” Weinstein said.
The White House predicts the D.C. court's ruling will be overturned. For now, Alaskans will continue to receive immediate tax credits. Pending an appeal by the U.S. Department of Justice, whether or not those rebates are legal or will have to be paid back is unknown.
Tuesday's ruling against the subsidies was decided by a three-judge panel. A full appeals court is expected to revisit the decision at the request of the Justice Department, and the issue could eventually end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
With Anchorage Fire Department leaders saying its paramedics face burnout, the Anchorage Assembly is examining alternatives to prevent splitting up and reassigning fire and paramedic crews at stations where manpower is needed most.
“They are talking about moving ambulances from around town to cover the high need in the Midtown and Downtown areas,” said Assembly member Amy Demboski. “In an effort to make sure all residents of Anchorage get the public safety they deserve, this is a problem of a lack of staff.”
The lack of staff Demboski is talking about is the gap between the 54 paramedics AFD says it takes to properly cover the municipality and the 50 currently available.
“What happens when we don’t have 54 is we pay overtime,” said AFD Chief John Fullenwider.
Demboski’s solution is to move $400,000 from the city budget to the Anchorage Fire Department’s general fund.
Fullenwider says the hiring process could start as soon as the extra money is approved. He says the concentration of those hired will be Alaskans.
“It makes a big difference," Fullenwider said. "We hire people from Outside that come up here and it’s fine in the summertime, but sometimes in the wintertime they don’t like it so much and they end up leaving.”
But where would this $400,000 come from? The Assembly already put that amount away for the cost of a public vote on the labor law, AO37. The ordinance's future is still up in the air, as an effort to repeal the law altogether is under way; in addition, the state has said it will take care of the costs associated with a referendum.
“Now that we know there is a significant public-safety need in order to staff ambulances, I thought, 'What better way to use the money (than) to make sure that we have ambulances on the streets where they need to be?'” Demboski said.
As far as future funding, Mayor Dan Sullivan is skeptical.
“The Assembly used a bunch of one-time money at the first-quarter budget revisions, and as a result of that we have ongoing expenses going forward that were initiated with the spending of one-time money,” Sullivan said.
Demboski and Fullenwider say the money for new hires could be absorbed into AFD’s 2015 general budget. For now, both are hopeful this proposal will temporarily alleviate the workload for the city's paramedics.
A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for Aug. 5.
Anchorage police have found a man with dementia last seen in Midtown Tuesday night.
APD spokesperson Anita Shell says 58-year-old Carter Immingan, last seen on the 1600 block of West 32nd Avenue at about 6:30 p.m., was located shortly after 10 p.m.
"He was found disoriented at a park bench in the vicinity of 33rd (Avenue) and C (Street)," Shell said.
An investigation which began with the firing of a correctional officer who was working when confessed serial killer Israel Keyes killed himself in his cell is now raising bigger questions about the Alaska Department of Corrections and its accountability for officer training.
Dec. 1, 2012, was a “pretty routine night,” said Loren Jacobsen, who worked in the west building of the Anchorage Correctional Complex.
“I was in Bravo Mod in max segregation, and Israel Keyes was detained there,” Jacobsen said. “He was a pretty quiet prisoner.”
Jacobsen said he saw Keyes -- who had admitted to killing Anchorage barista Samantha Koenig and Vermont couple Bill and Lorraine Currier, claiming he may have killed as many as eight other people -- alive shortly after 10 p.m. Eight hours later, another officer found Keyes dead in his bunk.
“I was terminated for sitting at my desk while Israel Keyes committed suicide,” Jacobsen said.
Exactly what happened in Keyes’ cell that night has come under great scrutiny -- by both DOC and the Alaska Correctional Officers Assocation, the union which represents Jacobsen.
A third-party arbitrator was hired to look into Jacobsen’s termination. His report showed Jacobsen should not have been fired and was not even on the clock at the time of Keyes’ suicide.
There were other concerning findings outlined in the report.
“The arbitrator can readily see the unacceptable gap between (correctional officer) practice and training/policy with regard to security checks and prisoner counts,” wrote Timothy Williams. “It seems to this arbitrator that the state… has a larger problem with regard to the effectiveness of training and the manner in which (correctional officers) are supervised.”
DOC Commissioner Joe Schmidt disagreed.
“That might be a good defense,” he said. “Obviously, it was a good defense. There are correctional officers working these units and these are professional people; polished, doing a very good job. Their units were clean, quiet, orderly. That’s the culture in this department.”
The state said Jacobsen was not doing his job properly that night, according to protocol.
“Thirty minutes; checks should be done every 30 minutes,” Schmidt said. “And we should ensure the prisoner is alive, and those checks are logged in a log book. And the area is videotaped as well.”
Jacobsen said he did conduct regular checks, as he was trained.
“You walk by, you look into the cell, make sure the inmate is in there and they're not up to anything or anything odd is going on,” Jacobsen said. “So at night, pretty much everyone is sleeping, so you verify that they're there, make sure everything looks good, and you check the next cell.”
The arbitrator also reviewed security footage from the cell block that night, as did Channel 2 News.
Contrary to what the state says, the arbitrator found Jacobsen was not in the unit when Keyes committed suicide, but was on break.
The officer who filled in performed his checks the same way Jacobsen did, according to the protocol given, and neither found anything amiss, said the arbitrator.
“I thought back over the night a million times and I never saw anything,” Jacobsen said. “Nothing strange went on.”
The arbitrator gave a timeline of that night:
At 10:12 p.m., Keyes “gets into bed and is partially hidden by the desk in his cell and a blanket. Action is visible on the video” until 10:24 p.m.
There is no more movement in the bed for the remainder of the night. Keyes' body is discovered shortly after 6 a.m. on Dec. 2.
According to the report, Keyes had slit his wrists with a razor he wasn’t supposed to have. He drained his blood into four cups. He strangled himself in his bed with a noose made of bedsheets, all while completely covered by his blanket.
“Additionally, bedding was used to dam up the overflow blood,” Williams wrote. “Some of the blood eventually made it to the floor and it is first visible on the video as a dark spot at 12:08 a.m. of December 2. This is one hour and 43 minutes after final activity.”
Jacobsen said Keyes should have been in a higher-security unit, after he and officers reported finding a noose and a modified pencil in his cell just three months earlier.
“He did go on suicide protocol,” Jacobsen said. “I was wondering how he got off of it.”
Channel 2 News asked Schmidt the same question.
“Based on the assessment that was done, our decision at the time was yes,” Schmidt said. “Keyes was a very cunning guy and he knew what he was doing. The indicators were he did not need to be on a formal suicide protocol. He was in a high-security cell with a glass front. There was plenty of visibility, but the formal suicide protocol did not seem to be necessary at the time.”
Jacobsen also noted Keyes’ cell had problems.
“The room Keyes was in had an LED light which made it harder to see into,” he said. “Also, there was a Plexiglas window that is hazed and scratched, so you can't see through that quite as well as other cell windows.”
Jacobsen said he raised his concerns about poor visibility with his supervisors.
“You're just told, 'Well, that's just the way it is, and it's too expensive to put a glass window in there,’” he said he was told. “‘The LED lighting is a cost-saving measure so we're not going to change it.’ There's not a lot you can do at that point.”
DOC said its officers get 420 hours of training before they are on the job and also receive 40 hours of refresher training every year, according to Deputy Director Sherri Daigle.
“There is no need to change any security related policy or protocols based on this event,” she said in an email.
Jacobsen said although he was offered his job back, he doesn’t want to work for employers he said scapegoated him.
Becoming a nurse after college will be a lot harder because of new national testing guidelines -- a challenge which the University of Alaska Anchorage is preparing its nursing students to meet.
UAA's plan is to help those enrolled in its nursing program pass testing under the new rules and be ready to work right away, but its preparations go deeper than merely making the grade.
At the university's School of Nursing, officials say their goal is to turn students into stronger and smarter nurses. While getting into the program is already tough, changes to the National Council Licensure Examination, known as the NCLEX, are forcing students to be better prepared when entering the workforce.
"Health care is getting much more complex, and the feeling was that nurses need to have a much more in-depth understanding of all of the health care issues in order to be able to be successful in nursing," said Dr. Barbara Berner, the School of Nursing's director.
The new test scoring thresholds, with some passing minimum scores 10 times what they were under previous versions, are already taking a toll. Following a national trend, UAA's nursing program is seeing fewer students pass the NCLEX.
In response, staff are reevaluating the school's curriculum and leaning on several testing programs to help meet the raised requirements.
"If we have some weaknesses in the program, we can look at those areas where we can work with the students to build up their knowledge base," Berner said.
One current School of Nursing student, who asked not to be identified, says she appreciates the aggressive approach. She says some UAA nursing courses currently aren't as tough as they should be in order to prepare her to be a competent nurse in the future.
"I think that's an awesome thing they are doing," the student said. "I'm asking for classes to be hard enough to where like if I get an A in a class, that I actually earned an A in the class."
The School of Nursing is taking a do-whatever-it-takes philosophy, to improve test scores and the pool of nurses that come out of its esteemed program.
UAA says the NCLEX costs $200 to take, but can be retaken. The School of Nursing's goal is to offer as much tutoring and support as needed for every nursing student to pass the test.
A Fairbanks man faces assault and trespassing charges, after Alaska State Troopers say he took a 3-year-old girl from a North Pole home Tuesday and precipitated a major search in the area until he turned himself in.
According to a Tuesday AST dispatch on the incident, troopers were first informed just after 10:30 a.m. of an assault in North Pole.
“AST units responded and an investigation determined that Juan Victor Salgado Figueroa, (27), and an adult female trespassed into a residence and took custody of the female's 3-year-old daughter and assaulted two other individuals and damaged property in the process,” troopers wrote. “Salgado Figueroa and the female fled the scene with the 3-year-old child. None of the victims at the scene were seriously injured.”
Both the Fairbanks Police Department and troopers began to search for Salgado Figueroa and the woman who entered the home with him, until they turned themselves in at a local attorney’s office. Troopers spoke with the girl’s mother and located the child at a third party’s home; she was turned over to the state Office of Children’s Services.
“Although the incident involved the removal of a child from a residence, the incident was carefully evaluated and determined that it did not meet the criteria for an Amber Alert as the people involved in the incident were all known to each other and had a claim of guardianship for the child,” troopers wrote.
AST spokesperson Beth Ipsen says the case was highly visible due to the trooper search assets deployed in Fairbanks Tuesday.
“Helo-2 was up looking for these people, just for a short time,” Ipsen said. “It created a lot of attention because there were a lot of patrol cars, both trooper and police, in a very small area -- and there was a helicopter flying about.”
Salgado Figueroa was arrested on charges of first-degree criminal trespass, fourth-degree domestic-violence assault, fifth-degree criminal mischief and interfering with the report of a domestic violence crime. He was held at the Fairbanks Correctional Center, with a report forwarded to the local district attorney’s office for review.
Ipsen declined to give further details on any relationship between Salgado Figueroa and the child Tuesday, citing both the case’s classification as a domestic-violence incident and privacy concerns.
“Because it’s a convoluted case, all we have is what’s in the dispatch,” Ipsen said. “There’s still charges pending.”
Authorities are trying to determine the cause of a Wasilla house fire which was extinguished without injuries, but had already fully engulfed the home when it was first reported.
According to a Tuesday AST dispatch, troopers were informed just after 7:30 a.m. Monday of the fire, on North Sasbo Bluff Loop in Wasilla.
“The house was abandoned and there (were) no people suspected to be inside the house at the time of the fire,” troopers wrote. “Firefighters successfully put the fire out.”
AST spokesperson Megan Peters says she has received little information on the causes and circumstances of the fire.
“It’s under investigation,” Peters said.
While it’s not clear whether the house has been formally declared a total loss, Peters says it’s likely to be the case.
“Usually when a house is fully engulfed, there’s not much left,” Peters said.
Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call troopers at 907-352-5401.
Alaska has set a record for the number of tourists visiting the nation's northernmost state.
The State Division of Economic Development in a release says Alaska had 1.96 million visitors between May 1, 2013, and April 30, 2014.
That beats the previous mark by 5,000 visitors set during the 2007-2008 year.
There were 1.8 million visitors last year.
Commerce Commissioner Susan Bell attributes the increase to increased cruise ship calls in Alaska, and new national and international air service routes. The state also instituted an advertising campaign aimed at winter travelers.
The group behind the proposed Pebble Mine wants notification of any further action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would affect the project.
The request is part of a lawsuit by the Pebble Limited Partnership and Alaska Peninsula Corp.
The lawsuit alleges EPA exceeded its authority by invoking a process through which it could restrict or prohibit development of the Pebble deposit before the project goes through permitting.
EPA proposed restrictions that, while not outright banning mining of the Pebble deposit, would essentially block the type of project the mine's owners previously outlined.
The groups' attorneys say EPA received an extension for filing briefs without telling the court it was about to announce the proposed restrictions.
A Pebble spokesman said the proposed restrictions "amount to a de facto veto."
A 55-year-old Anchorage man has been convicted on charges he possessed and trafficked methamphetamine sent to him through the U.S. mail from Anaheim, California.
The U.S. attorney's office says in a release that a federal jury found David Alan Gonzales guilty on Monday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage. Sentencing was set for Oct. 9.
Authorities said 52 grams of pure meth was mailed to him from California and intercepted at a processing center.
A co-defendant, Albert Diaz Gumataotao, was previously sentenced to 12 years in a federal prison.
A man was arrested after allegedly stopping and threatening to shoot an Alaska State Trooper for trespassing on land he didn't even own, according to Troopers.
It all began Saturday, July 19, while a trooper driving south on the Parks Highway near Talkeetna when he saw Lawrence Young, 47, of Eagle River, in a pickup truck apparently waving down the trooper for assistance. But just as the trooper began to slow down to make contact with Young, the man began driving away in his truck, according to Troopers.
The trooper began a sweep of the immediate area, looking for the truck and found it in a driveway of a nearby residence. And that’s when things took a turn for the unexpected.
As soon as the trooper located the pickup truck, he attempted to make contact with Young to see why he had attempted to flag him down.
“As the trooper contacted the male, the male shouted at the trooper to leave the property or he would shoot him,” Troopers officials wrote in a report.
The trooper retorted, ordering Young to remove his hands from his pockets. But Young would have none of it, according to Troopers. Accordingly, the trooper subsequently detained Young while he began an investigation of the situation.
According to Troopers, Young was found to be intoxicated and had driven his vehicle before threatening to shoot the trooper.
He was also on someone else’s property, according to Troopers.
After refusing to give a sample of his breath to a chemical test, Young was taken into custody and remanded to the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility on misdemeanor charges of assault in the fourth degree, disorderly conduct, DUI and refusal to take a chemical test.
Young was arraigned on his charges on July 20. He will appear in court again on August 22.
The Alaska Air National Guard has rescued a hiker who had been rafting down the Kobuk River when his raft overturned in the Gates of the Arctic National Park.
Capt. John Romspert with the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center says the man contacted the National Park Service with a personal locator beacon able to transmit text messages. The beacon also sent out a signal transmitting his location.
Romspert says the rafter had all his gear, but decided he didn't have the right equipment to continue down the river.
The Park Service didn't have a helicopter, so it contacted the rescue coordination center. The Air Guard sent out crews in a helicopter and a HC-130 King aircraft.
Rescuers picked up the hiker and flew him to Bettles. He was in good condition.
Drew Michael is an Anchorage artist with a unique talent for telling stories of Alaska's native culture and heritage through the chisel of his own experiences. His gallery can next be seen in Homer at the Bunnell Street Arts Center.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks is seeking proposals from qualified firms interesting in providing for construction management and general contracting services for a heat and power plant project.
State lawmakers earlier this year approved a funding package for a new plant, considered a priority for the university.
The solicitation estimates the total construction cost at $150 million.
About 20 Alaska Air National Guard members are scheduled to deploy Tuesday to the Horn of Africa as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The soldiers are members of the guard's high-risk rescue crew, the 212th Rescue Squadron, or the 176th Operations Group. The guard says in a release that part of the mission is to support partner nation operations in East Africa to defeat extremist organizations.
They will replace about 25 Alaska Guard members who have been conducting missions in Africa since May.
This deployment is for about three months, and guardsmen should be back by early October.
A Wasilla man has been charged with murder and attempted murder, after Alaska State Troopers say he stabbed two people at a home where he was living, leaving a woman dead and a man critically injured.
In an AST dispatch released Monday evening, troopers say 19-year-old Kenneth Adams was arrested in the death of 66-year-old Wasilla resident Mollie Ragonesi. Troopers were called to a Pioneer Peak Drive home at about 5:20 a.m. Monday by a report of the double stabbing.
“Investigation revealed (Ragonesi) was deceased at the scene from apparent stab wounds,” troopers wrote. “Another adult male was critically injured and transported by (emergency medical services). He is reportedly in stable condition.”
Although the case was initially reported by troopers as a death investigation, with the injured man taken to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, more details subsequently emerged.
“Based on the investigation, it was determined (Adams) had set fire to his bedroom in Ragonesi's residence where he lived,” troopers wrote. “Adams then stabbed Ragonesi and the other male multiple times before he was subdued by another male in the residence.”
AST spokesperson Megan Peters says nothing further on the case is available Monday evening, as the Alaska Bureau of Investigation continues to examine what happened.
Adams faces one second-degree count of murder, as well as one first-degree count each of attempted murder and arson. He was taken to the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility and held on $500,000 bail, with a court-approved third-party custodian required for release.
This is a developing story. Please check KTUU.com and the Channel 2 newscasts for updates.
Alaska State Troopers have suspended their search for a man last seen more than six days ago in Brevig Mission, as poor conditions slow continuing efforts to find him.
AST spokesperson Beth Ipsen says 21-year-old Clarence Ray Olanna had announced no travel plans out of the village before he was last seen there Tuesday at 1 a.m. Troopers announced their suspension of search efforts as of 6 p.m. Monday.
"Our involvement has been suspended because we haven’t received any clues since his clothes were found," Ipsen wrote in an email to Channel 2. "I believe people there will continue to search."
In an earlier email, Ipsen says family members have verified that clothes found on a Bering Sea beach near the village Wednesday -- including “pants, socks, shirt, (and a) jacket” -- were Olanna’s.
“They were left in a pile on the beach in front of town,” Ipsen wrote.
While boats and an Alaska Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter joined the search Thursday, Ipsen says high winds and rough seas since the weekend have effectively limited efforts to find Olanna to a shoreline search.
“The weather has greatly hampered waterborne and airborne searching,” Ipsen wrote. “Instead, people (have) stuck to four-wheelers and walking along the coast.”
While Ipsen says efforts to find Olanna haven’t transitioned from a search to a recovery operation, searchers are awaiting an opportunity to employ a seal net brought to the village Sunday from Shishmaref.
“Two people accompanied the seal net from Shishmaref, but they haven’t been able to use it,” Ipsen said. “There’s a lot of water to search because it’s open water and strong currents there.”