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The largest avian influenza outbreak to hit the poultry industry in history has spread across the lower 48 U.S. states and Canada, but Alaskan flocks have not yet been affected. The Peninsula Clarion reports that Alaska State Veterinarian Robert Gerlach says biosecurity measures can reduce the risk of the virus spreading to Alaska farms. Gerlach says nearly 50 billion laying hens, turkeys and pullets have either been killed by the outbreak or slaughtered to prevent further transmission. He says wild birds that have contracted the avian flu in Canada or the lower 48 could spread the disease to Alaska. To prevent a local outbreak, Gerlach says poultry farmers should be careful to keep their animals clean at the large agricultural fairs coming up at the end of the summer.

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A 38-year-old Fairbanks man is in jail after troopers say he threatened his ex-girlfriend with a samurai sword before driving drunk and rolling his vehicle. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that the man faces several charges, including felony assault. Alaska State Troopers say the man was drinking with his ex-girlfriend early Thursday morning and became angry when she said she had sex with another man. The ex-girlfriend told troopers the man ripped shelves from the wall and threw them at her while yelling derogatory remarks. She says he then strangled her and grabbed a samurai sword from the wall and held it over her as though he were going to attack. Charging documents say troopers found the sword, the victim's computer and an open alcohol container in the man's rolled car.

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Emelie Forsberg is Mount Marathon’s fastest runner for the 2015 women's race, taking the top spot in a race many people thought was a longtime junior champion’s to win. Forsberg crossed the finish line with a blazing time of 47 minutes, 48 seconds. She reached the halfway point atop Mount Marathon well ahead of second-place finisher Allie Ostrander, who clocked 50:27 in her first women’s race this year after years of dominance in the junior’s field culminated by taking the overall top time in her final junior run in 2014. The win by Forsberg, the girlfriend of Spanish Mount Marathon runner Kilian Jornet, toppled a 25-year-old race record held by Nancy Pease.

The day began with the juniors race, in which Anchorage runner Luke Jager clocked the fastest time overall -- 27 minutes and 39 seconds -- while Riana Boonstra of Ninilchik put in the fastest girls' time at 32:38.

Hours later, Jornet collected a matching title in the men's race which capped off the day. He came down the mountain as the fastest in a leading group of three men at 41 minutes and 48 seconds, with Rickey Gates and Jim Shine arriving at the finish line within 90 seconds of his win. Channel 2’s Jeff Rivet and Kari Bustamante contributed information to this story.

Visit KTUU.com's Mount Marathon 2015 special section to see all of Channel 2's stories, photos and videos from Saturday's races.

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Spanish runner Kilian Jornet is the victor in 2015’s Mount Marathon men’s race, taking the title hours after his girlfriend won the women’s race up the 3,022-foot mountain on the Fourth of July. Jornet crossed the finish line with an final time of 41 minutes and 48 seconds, breaking Eric Strabel’s record. Earlier in the day, Emelie Forsberg came in with a time of 47 minutes, 48 seconds to claim the women’s crown, beating out Allie Ostrander. Rickey Gates briefly had the lead in the race on the uphill, but he was passed by Jornet as he closed in on the summit. Gates and Journet remained close in the race’s final moments, joined by front-runner Jim Shine. Gates placed second behind Jornet on a final time of 42:56, with Shine in third at 43:11.

The day began with the juniors race, in which Anchorage runner Luke Jager clocked the fastest time overall -- 27 minutes and 39 seconds -- while Riana Boonstra of Ninilchik put in the fastest girls' time at 32:38.

Channel 2’s Jeff Rivet and Kari Bustamante contributed information to this story.

Visit KTUU.com's Mount Marathon 2015 special section to see all of Channel 2's stories, photos and videos from Saturday's races.

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Anchorage police and fire crews responded to an aircraft landing on the Seward Highway near Potter Marsh Saturday evening. The Anchorage Police Department said in a Saturday statement that crews headed to the landing, initially reported on the Seward Highway in the vicinity of the Potter Marsh pullout, at about 7:40 p.m. Three people were on board the aircraft.

"The plane was forced to land due to fuel-related issues," police wrote. "There were no injuries."

Clint Johnson, the NTSB's head Alaska investigator, said the plane's landing could have been much worse.

"They did, in fact, clip a car," Johnson said. "Not a lot of damage, but it did do some damage to the plane."

APD dispatchers said the highway was briefly closed as responders arrived at the scene, but has reopened as of 8 p.m. This is a developing story. Please check KTUU.com and the Channel 2 newscasts for updates.

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It’s been a year since an Alaska Native leader who was a fixture in Anchorage's Fourth of July festivities suffered a stroke during the parade and passed away the next day. On Saturday, those who knew William Jackson paid tribute as they walked in the parade this morning. Jackson was a leader of a group known as the Children of the Land Tribes, which carried the Alaska flag for nearly 10 years in the parade. About 150 people showed up to walk in his honor Saturday morning, in conjunction with the group Bridge Builders. Friends say Jackson, who was born in Juneau, taught many generations of Alaska Native youth traditional values as well as Tlingit dance and drumming. They say they walked today to remember what he taught them. “It illustrates how strong he was in his leadership of Native traditions and passing them on to young people,” said Jackson’s friend, Malcolm Roberts. “Many of these young people here are part of his group.” “We're good friends,” said friend Debbie Church. “We always helped him out when he needed it.” A dedication ceremony for Jackson was also held earlier Saturday morning.

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Alaska State Troopers have identified the trooper who struck a thrown motorcyclist, in a fatal crash which ended a pursuit on the Seward Highway Friday night.

According to a Saturday AST dispatch, Trooper Jeffrey F. Simpson -- a veteran of nearly 13 years with the force, based in Girdwood with the Alaska Bureau of Highway Patrol since 2011 -- was the trooper who hit 58-year-old Anchorage man Michael J. Kemper.

Troopers said earlier Saturday that Simpson began pursuing Kemper just after 7 p.m., when he saw a speeding motorcyclist headed south in the highway’s safety corridor at Mile 93 who “failed to yield to the trooper and rode on the shoulder of the highway between the guardrail and other southbound traffic.” “Near Mile 91.5, the motorcycle collided with the back of a southbound 2009 Chevrolet Suburban that had pulled to the right shoulder to yield to (Simpson),” troopers wrote. “As a result, the motorcycle, a 2002 Yamaha model XV1700PC, and its rider were thrown into the southbound lane of travel and into the path of the trooper's vehicle, a 2013 Ford Taurus. At which time, the Taurus collided with the motorcycle and rider.” Kemper was wearing a helmet, but died at the scene. Troopers say the driver of the 2009 Chevrolet Suburban -- identified Saturday afternoon as 33-year-old Anchorage man Michael P. Michelsohn -- was unhurt in the crash. Greg Stafford, a driver on the highway that night, said he saw a motorcyclist pass him doing 65 or 70 mph, followed by a trooper vehicle traveling in the northbound lane. Stafford said he was about five cars behind the collision, so he heard but didn’t see it. Stafford said at the scene Friday that chasing Kemper was dangerous due to the large number of people headed south on the highway for the Fourth of July, as well as the Girdwood Forest Fair and the Mount Marathon Race in Seward. “Pursuing that way on July Fourth weekend, that was a major ingredient for the accident,” Stafford said. “I just hope that the trooper who hit (Kemper) wasn't taking the statements from all the people, because it just seems like that would be a definite conflict of interest. There was definitely a couple mistakes that were made.” AST spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said Friday’s collision is the first of its kind in the agency’s history. There has been no change to Simpson's employment status, and he has not been placed on leave.

Ipsen said a previous decision to withhold Simpson's name for 72 hours, in accordance with the same policy which bars the immediate identification of troopers involved in on-duty shootings, was reversed after troopers decided the incident was different.

"This is not a use-of-force situation, so it's not being handled as such," Ipsen said. The Seward Highway was closed for about six hours due to the crash, reopening at about 1 a.m. Saturday. Kemper’s body was taken to the state medical examiner’s office for an autopsy. Ipsen said toxicology tests being performed to determine whether drugs or alcohol were factors in the collision. Troopers ask anyone with information on the collision to call AST Sgt. Andrew Gorn at 907-373-8300.

Channel 2's Austin Baird contributed information to this story.

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Human remains found Friday afternoon near Juneau appear to be those of a cruise-ship crew member who went overboard the day before, according to Alaska State Troopers. In an AST dispatch issued Friday night, troopers say sport fishermen reported at about 4:30 p.m. Friday that they had spotted human remains on the eastern shore of Horse Island. Troopers say the remains are consistent with a Thursday report from the Norwegian Cruise Lines ship Norwegian Sun that Jonas Fillipe de Miranda Santiago, 26, of Sao Paolo, Brazil, had been seen on a surveillance camera jumping overboard near Douglas Island at about 4:15 a.m. that morning. An air and sea Coast Guard search was unable to locate him, and his next of kin were notified prior to Friday’s discovery on Horse Island. “Alaska Wildlife Troopers responded and determined that the individual was recently deceased and there were no signs of foul play,” troopers wrote. “The remains and clothing match the description of de Miranda Santiago, and the location where they were found is approximately 10 miles northwest from the position he was last seen.” Troopers were notifying de Miranda Santiago’s family of the discovery Friday night, and say his body will be sent to the state medical examiner’s office for an autopsy. Norwegian Cruise Line representatives hadn’t responded to requests for comment on the incident as of Saturday morning.

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Alaska State Troopers charged both drivers in a rollover crash Thursday on Prince of Wales Island which left a woman injured, saying the two men could face additional counts as an investigation continues. Alaska Wildlife Troopers, as well as the village public safety officer from the Southeast Alaska community of Kasaan, responded to the collision at Mile 3 of Thorne Bay Road at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday. “Investigation showed that Sean Kaer, 44 of Thorne Bay, was westbound on the Thorne Bay Road driving a 1998 Toyota pickup and attempted to pass another vehicle on the right, colliding with that car,” troopers wrote. “Kaer's vehicle left the roadway and rolled, injuring his passenger, Michele Tower, 44, of Thorne Bay. The other vehicle, a 1990 Toyota Corolla driven by William Hempel, 34 of Thorne Bay, sustained minor damage.” Tower was taken to Klawock by ambulance for treatment, with two passengers in the Corolla reporting no injuries. Troopers arrested Kaer for DUI at the scene, releasing him on his own recognizance after he provided a breath sample. Hempel was issued a court summons for driving with a revoked license.

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Updated 11 p.m. Friday 

ANCHORAGE -- On one of Alaska's busiest driving nights of the year, when highways are full of people heading south to the Kenai Peninsula, drivers near Girdwood are being told the Seward Highway will be closed until at least midnight Saturday.

Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen confirmed that the closure will remain in effect until midnight, following the collision of a vehicle with a motorcycle at about 7 p.m. near Milepost 91.5 of the highway, just south of the Tesoro gas station at the edge of Girdwood.

Terry Kadel, deputy chief of Girdwood Volunteer Fire and Rescue, said an investigation is expected to last three to five hours and that the highway will remain closed until troopers complete the investigation.

Troopers did not immediately respond to several requests for information, and no official would confirm there was a fatality.

However, photos from the scene show a badly damaged motorcycle and a body covered with a white sheet surrounded by investigators.

Please check back for updates to this developing story.

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ANCHORAGE -- Firefighters say a fire which spread from a homeless camp at the edge of Downtown in the woods near Chester Creek is under control Friday night, after a two-alarm response by the Anchorage Fire Department.

Anchorage Police Department Lt. Shaun Henry said shortly after 10 p.m. Friday that a helicopter, as well as AFD crews, had responded to the fire near 20th Avenue’s intersection with Ingra Street. He said the blaze had been burning near several homes in the area. AFD spokesman John See said crews were called to the area at about 9:15 p.m. See said a second alarm for the fire had dispatched a total of roughly 20 units to the scene, with aid from Alaska Division of Forestry crews helping to extinguish the fire without damage to nearby properties or any reported injuries. "It was a great save -- they were able to drag a hose in and hit it on both flanks," See said. "They had it knocked down in about 30 minutes." The nighttime start of the fire was a significant boon for firefighters, See said, because higher daytime temperatures would have aided the fire's spread.

"If it had been earlier in the day, it could have been a very different outcome," See said. "Instead of one acre, it could have been 10 or 15 acres."

AFD has emphasized that both a burn ban and a ban on fireworks remain in place in Anchorage. Channel 2’s Austin Baird contributed information to this story.

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ANCHORAGE -- The Coast Guard has suspended a search for a cruise ship crew member who was reported overboard off Alaska.

Alaska State Troopers identified the Norwegian Sun crew member as 27-year-old Jonas Fillipe de Miranda Santiago of Brazil. No hometown was given for de Miranda Santiago, who went missing Thursday south of Douglas Island.

Coast Guard Lt. Colin Boyle says footage from the security system of the Norwegian Cruise Line ship shows the crew member jumping overboard without a life jacket at 4:16 a.m. Thursday. The search was suspended shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday.

Troopers say they were notified shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday. Troopers say the crew member was reported missing to the ship's security just before 2 p.m. Thursday.

Norwegian Cruise Line media representatives did not immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment Friday.

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10:45 A.M. UPDATE: 

Anchorage police say the motorcyclist hurt in an early morning crash was pronounced dead at 1:45 a.m. He is identified by police as Carlos Chavesta, 29. 

Police say Chavesta's motorcycle struck a Subaru Outback from behind at about 1:04 a.m. at Minnesota Drive and Tudor Road. Chavesta was thrown from the motorcycle and struck by another motorcyclist who was trying to stop. Chavesta was not wearing a helmet, police say.

The crash closed southbound lanes of Minnesota Drive for more than 4 hours, opening by 5:30 a.m.

Read the full police announcement here: 

At 1:04 AM on Friday, July 3, 2015, Anchorage Police responded to a vehicle collision at the intersection of Minnesota and Tudor.  A 2010 Subaru Outback was stopped at a red light in the far right-hand southbound lane of Minnesota. Just as the light turned to green, but before the Subaru had begun to move, it was struck from behind by a motorcycle driven by 29-year-old Carlos Chavesta.  Chavesta was thrown from his motorcycle and he landed in the center lane of travel.

A second motorcyclist was traveling in the middle lane of Minnesota when he saw Chavesta's body in the roadway.  That motorcyclist attempted to stop, and as his bike was in the process of falling onto its side, it ran over Chavesta.  The second motorcyclist, who was wearing a helmet, was thrown from his bike but was not injured.

Chavesta was transported to a local hospital, and declared deceased at 1:59 AM.  There was no indication at the scene that Chavesta had attempted to brake before colliding with the Subaru.  Chavesta was not wearing a helmet and excessive speed is not a suspected factor in the crash.  Toxicology results, which will not be received for several weeks, will determine whether or not alcohol or drugs were involved.

Southbound Minnesota, between Spenard and Tudor Roads, was closed during the investigation.  The roadway was re-opened at around 5:30 AM. No citations have been issued at this time.  The driver of the Subaru was not injured.  This investigation is still continuing.

ORIGINAL STORY: 

Authorities temporarily closed the southbound lanes of Minnesota Drive early Friday morning following a collision that seriously injured a motorcycle rider, police say.

The crash came at 1:04 a.m. near the Minnesota and Tudor Road intersection, according to Anchorage police. The motorcycle rear-ended another vehicle.

The southbound lanes of Minnesota were closed between Spenard and Tudor roads but had reopened 7 a.m., police dispatchers said. 

Police have released no additional information about the crash. 

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ANCHORAGE -- The weekend after July 4, 2013, two Greenville, S.C., families visiting Alaska for a 10-day vacation died in a plane crash a moment after takeoff from Soldotna.

A lawsuit filed earlier this week claims the nine passengers died because of negligent actions by the company that operated the flight.

While the Antonakos and McManus families planned an excursion to Bear Mountain Lodge -- located on the southern end of Lake Clark National Park -- at 11:20 a.m. July 7 a de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter piloted by Rediske Air pilot and owner Willy Rediske stalled, developed a right-wing-down roll, and crashed.

Everyone on board died.

The passengers were Chris and Stacey McManus and their two children, and Milton Antonakos, his wife, Kimberly, and their three children.

Results of an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board are expected to be released later this month, according to spokesman Clint Johnson, but a preliminary report suggests investigators have focused on the weight and balance of the aircraft.

Rediske had originally planned to take the group to the lodge using two Cessna 207 aircraft, according to documents released by NTSB, but he decided last-minute to use the Otter to take the cargo and passengers. The crowd of passengers and supplies put the plane near its 8,000 pound capacity.

Weight and balance figures prominently in the complaint filed July 1 in the U.S. Superior Court in Anchorage by attorney Michael Schneider.

"The plane landed at Soldotna, boarded the nine passengers and their baggage and proceeded to take off without weighing of passengers or baggage and without weight and balance calculation or computation which violates Federal Aviation regulations," the complaint alleges.

Hubert Wayne Clayton and Crisler Johnson represents the Antonakos' estate, and Johnnie Dickert, Larry Kessler, and Lawrence McManus represent the McManuses. The targets of the lawsuit include Rediske Air, Inc., Rediske Family Limited Partnership, the estate of Willy Rediske, and JB Leasing Company LLC.

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NOTE: This story originally appeared on knom.org. 

As yukon salmon continue their summer runs, subsistence fishermen continue to express frustration about gear restrictions, closures, and — now — potentially infected fish.

When managers and fishermen met for their weekly teleconference on Tuesday, they heard reports of discoloration and pus in chum salmon.

“Folks here [are] complaining about summer chums having white patches and pus sacs,” said Marvin in Pilot Station.

Basil in Russian Mission added: “A lot of these fish have pus in the meat, so that’s a bummer.”

Virgil in Fairbanks described the sings of infection.

“Little pockets of pus when you fillet the fish that’ll be about the size of a pea or maybe a little smaller,” he said. “And I know that in warm water, which is what we have right now, ichthyophonus really grows rapidly if the fish is infected.”

Stephanie Schmidt, summer season area management biologist for the Yukon for the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, said the parasite ichthyophonus could be the culprit. Fish & Game said the pathogen is not harmful to humans, and Schmidt invited fishermen to submit samples for testing if they’re concerned.

The summer chum run is now estimated at 1.3 to 1.5 million fish, which is average but below Fish & Game’s preseason predictions. The first pulses are passing through Tanana, Koyukuk, and Kaltag, but many stragglers are still lingering in the lower river. Schmidt said that’s led to record numbers for commercial fishermen.

“There have been record catches of summer chum salmon with dip nets this year in district one and district two,” she said. “To date, the dip net and beach seine commercial fishery in these lower districts have caught 185,700 summer chum salmon and they’ve released just over 8,000 Chinook salmon.”

Meanwhile, subsistence fishing has been a mixed bag. Abundant chums on the lower Yukon have helped fishermen like Joseph in Nunam Iqua to fill his racks.

“They had a three-hour subsistence opening on Tuesday, and we were finally able to fish with pride,” he said. “I was able to get 118 chums and six kings, and I was so happy for the kings.”

But fishermen upriver have struggled to meet their subsistence needs, citing plenty of activity but little production. Jack in Kotlik said gear restrictions are largely to blame.

“I’m not familiar with using a dip net,” he said. “I grew up using gill nets, and I’m not going to switch back to the white man’s way of fishing. I’d rather fish the way that my ancestors fished, so I have to go to Point Romanoff to catch my subsistence fishing. We’re allowed to keep our kings on that side.”

Fish & Game is continuing efforts to protect the kings through strategic closures, but Chinook numbers are still weak. Eighty-one thousand kings had passed through Pilot Station by the end of June —about 20,000 thousand fish fewer than the historical average.

The possibility for incidental harvest of Chinook has been discussed — and even allowed — for short periods in areas with strong passages of chum. But the general call for immediate release, coupled with gear restrictions, hasn’t allowed for much — which Ellis in Ruby said continues to harm traditional subsistence practices.

“Us not having a chance to actually set nets, do the traditional cutting, and whatnot … I see this tradition slowly dying,” he said. “This is very important to my village, and our subsistence needs in my village are not being met at all.”

Jack in Kotlik echoed that closures conflict with Native practices.

“We grew up eating our staple foods all our lives and now you guys are just making criminals out of Alaska Natives. And I don’t like that,” he said.

Schmidt pointed out that Fish & Game is trying to work with fishermen on gear usage and incidental take of Chinook.

For instance, she said “there are new regulations in 4A Upper that allow drift net gear during this time of the season. Didn’t want to just limit you to set net gear only. We also — in case anyone does have a fish wheel — are removing the condition that you have to man your fish wheel at all times and release all king salmon.”

Schmidt said it’s possible that king escapement goals will be reached this year, but conservative management strategies will continue to ensure that happens.

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NOTE: This story originally appeared on knom.org.

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After facing a slew of charges alleging professional misconduct, Nome Superior Court Judge Timothy Dooley has responded to the allegations, denying any wrongdoing or any pattern of behavior unbecoming a judge.

RELATED: Nome judge faces discipline over inappropriate remarks, commission says

In late May the Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct (the state body charged with oversight of judges and courts) cited Judge Dooley for six incidents the commission said may have violated codes of professional conduct.

The commission highlighted statements made by the judge during court hearings—which can be heard in full in a KNOM story last month—that the commission said potentially violates state law, and the state’s code of conduct for judges, by showing “insensitivity” to victims, witnesses, and others in both criminal and civil cases.

The complaint was based on multiple anonymous reports submitted from May of 2013 through September of last year.

In a formal response filed last month, attorney William Satterberg, representing Judge Dooley, acknowledged the judge did indeed make the statements in court. The response goes on to say Judge Dooley “specifically denies” he engaged in a “pattern of conduct” that violates state laws or behavior standards for judges.

In the filing Judge Dooley asked “the complaint be denied in its entirety” and requested the issue be subject to a hearing in Nome. Further, the judge asserted the hearing be held before an “independent panel,”calling the “existing panel” of the commission “predisposed” and “no longer … impartial.”

The commission apparently rejected Judge Dooley’s request for a Nome hearing. In late June it ordered a December hearing—in Anchorage—where the judge will confront the complaints, complete with witnesses and evidence, before the nine remembers of the commission.

If the complaints prove valid, commission director Marla Greenstein said Judge Dooley could face three possible punishments: a formal and public admission of wrongful conduct, a suspension from office, or (most severely) removal from office.

The decision will ultimately be heard, and enforced, by the Alaska Supreme Court.

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A broken pole and power line has caused an hours-long power outage Friday in the Turnagain area of Anchorage, Chugach Electric Association spokesperson Sarah Wiggers told Channel 2 News. 

"A piece of heavy equipment fell and took down a power line and broke a pole around 8:30 this morning," Wiggers said. 

According to Wiggers, about 240 homes on Susitna Drive, Foraker Drive, Turnagain Parkway, St. Elias Drive, Brooke Drive, Captain Cook Drive, Lord Baranof Drive and Illiamna Avenue have been affected. 

"We have crews out there working on putting the pole back up and there is no telling how long it could take, but I would venture to say about two to three more hours," Wiggers said. 

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KODIAK — The man who broke into homes and stole women's underwear will undergo a mental health evaluation.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports 19-year-old Ryan Cornelio was sentenced Wednesday to 90 days in jail and ordered to receive a sexuality-focused mental health evaluation. He pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted burglary in March.

Cornelio had gotten caught when he broke into an occupied home. During the ensuing investigation, court documents reveal police found more than 100 pairs of women's underwear in his room.

Several of Cornelio's victims gave statements before Wednesday's sentencing. They said they wanted Cornelio to get help and that they have forgiven him.

When the judge asked Cornelio if he had anything to say before he was sentenced, Cornelio said he was sorry.

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Alaskans call the mountain Denali. Ohioans want it to keep the name of an also-ran U.S. president. In this video, the Daily Show visits both states and declares a winner. 

Warning: PG-13 language ahead. 

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Maybe you saw the viral photos this week of a crow landing on top of a flying eagle in Washington. Meantime, in Alaska, Leah Jackson and her daughter saw a very different scene unfold Wednesday in Homer. 

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