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AST, Local Law Enforcement Participate in Anti-DUI Campaign


Whether it's a trip to the state fair or anywhere else in Alaska for some late summer fun, Alaska State Troopers will have some extra eyes on you.

"The high visibility enforcement that we're engaged in right now, has to do with specific times of day that we're going out and specific regions where we have higher levels of traffic to try and combat impaired driving," AST Lt. David Hanson said of the "Sober or Get Pulled Over Program."

It's a statewide effort that will be running through Labor Day.

"The national campaign is happening concurrently with the state fair, so there is a number of focused efforts going on out there between the Troopers and a number of the other police departments that are out there," said Hanson.

Palmer resident Stephanie Sager lives a short distance from the fair, but says getting in our out of her neighborhood is a hassle during the fair.

"If they could just put in a stop sign or flagger's on each end it would be a lot easier to get out."

Alaska participated in the program in 2013.  Troopers partnered with Wasilla, Anchorage, and Palmer Police.  The agencies netted a combined 190 citations for DUI, and 5 felony arrests for DUI.  There were also 986 speeding tickets issued during that time period.

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Unhappy Campers: RV Customers Complain of Sub-Par Service


Rachel Gatlin and her family from Bonnie Lake, Wash. reserved RVs for a memorial trip honoring her grandfather.

Gatlin's grandfather went with Rachel and other family members in the summer of 2013. Gatlin said he loved the vacation. He died a week after his return.

To honor his memory, the family decided to go on a memorial trip this summer.

That's when Rachel and her family members booked RVs from B&B Rentals in Anchorage. Gatlin said the family booked back in December, and that she and her family members paid up front. Three weeks before the vacation, she and her relative received an e-mail from B&B saying your motorhome was vandalized.

"That's all it said!," Gatlin said.

Gatlin said she called dozens of times in an attempt to get a refund. Gatlin said her calls went unanswered until she used a different phone number. Gatlin told the person answering the phone her vehicle had been vandalized.

"She said, 'Oh yes, we had one of our rentals vandalized.' I said but there's 3 different people in my party got the same letter." Gatlinsaid.

She and her family had to make some last minute changes which ended up driving up the costs of their trip.

"Something that should have been an affordable family vacation that we paid for, at the last minute we were scrambling trying to find another motor home," Gatlin said.

Gatlin and other customers filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau about B&B where they rented their RV. After numerous complaints that weren't addressed,the BBB said the ratings agency gave the company an "F" rating for its service. The BBB sent out a press release relating some of the experiences of customers.

B&B declined to comment on camera, but in a phone interview someone from the company said they have many happy customers and a few unhappy customers were making a bad name for the business. He also pointed out B&B is not the only "F" rated RV company in Anchorage.

Clippership also received an "F" for its service and accusations of false advertising. The BBB said the RV company wasn't giving refunds, misled customers online, and sent tourists out in damaged and unsafe Rvs. Clippership didn't return calls or e-mail requests for interviews.

Cruise America is a national company, and also has an "F" rating with complaints from outside of Alaska.

Local BBB regional manager, Michelle Tabler said the F rating is not common.

"It's not very usual," Tabler said. "It means they're not willing to work with us, they're not willing to work with consumers to deal with complaints."

Great Alaskan RV is has an A rating from the BBB. That company sometimes takes customers who have had a negative experience with another rental agency in town.

Chief Operating Officer, Corbin Sawyer said it's always good to get more customers, but a negative experience is bad for everyone in the tourism industry.

"They feel that they were cheated," Corbin said of customers who leave the low rated rental agencies. "Somebody never wants to make that same mistake again and unfortunately that equates it with the RV rental businesses and especially in Alaska so I think that affects all the RV businesses."

Sawyer also says it's important to note the power of a few unsatisfied customers online.

"It seems to me today one mad person or one thing wrong seems to get blown out of proportion," Sawyer said."It's good you can get attention to it so you can change it, but the level it gets to sometimes seems out of proportion in my mind."

Unsatisfied customers say though their experience was frustrating, they still enjoyed visiting the state. James Langan of Oregon filed a complaint that his RV was unsafe for travel. After he returned the vehicle, he was charged on his credit card for a windshield Langan said he didn't break. Langan says in the future, he plans on researching before a big trip.

"Do your homework absolutely make sure to look at all the options out there, not just the cheapest ones," Langan said.

Editor's note: Customers of Alaska businesses who have similar complaints can voice their concern with the Consumer Protections Unit with the State of Alaska by visiting their website or calling them at (907) 269-5100.

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ENSTAR Employees Picket on Day 9 of Strike


Contract negotiations between ENSTAR Natural Gas and its union employees remain in a stand off.

For the past 9 days, some ENSTAR workers have been on strike and set up picket lines around Anchorage.

On Thursday, a group of about 20 people lined up along the sidewalk in front of ENSTAR's operations center in midtown, waving signs in hopes of sending a message.

ENSTAR and the union tried to work out a contract at the beginning of the year, but they were unable to reach an agreement after a split union vote of the last contract offer.

Sign wavers say they're fighting to keep their currently funded retirement plan.

Picketers also voiced concerns that the company hired workers from the Lower 48 to temporarily take over while the strike continues, but ENSTAR did not respond to Channel 2's inquiry about the outside workers on Thursday.

Greg Walker, a business manager for the Plumbers & Steamfitter's Local 367 union says the workers' morale is strong and they won't be stopping until a fair deal is reached.

"Currently the retirement plan is funded one hundred percent," Walker said. "They've had a great return on the market, there's no reason to take away that benefit right now from those members."

ENSTAR declined to comment on the negotiation process on Thursday.

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Special Education Void: Anchorage School District Looking Hard To Fill Open Jobs


Two days into the new school year, the Anchorage School District wants to fill its void of special education teachers, but officials say that's not an easy task to accomplish.

While being understanding and passionate is a must to work in special education, if your are part of the Anchorage School District's special education staff, you better prepare to use all of your qualifications at any given time.

Just ask Russian Jack Elementary special ed resource teacher Lisa Watts, who works with special education students in kindergarten through second grade.

"Reading, writing, math, I also work with kids on behavioral or social skills," Watts said. "We also hold meetings, do paperwork, and do teaching on top of that."

And while that back and forth and detail to attention are part of the job, Watts says its also what makes it so demanding.

"It's usually a crazy day where I'm always in and out of my classroom," Watts said. "I think it's rewarding, it's a definitely different than being a general education teacher and I just think that they are looking for those highly qualified teachers."

Special education skills are needed more than ever. With more than 6,700 special education students, ASD is having a hard time filling the jobs required to teach them. Out of 70 district openings, 38 are in that department.

Assistant superintendent Linda Carlson says that's because there's not enough people in that state who can step in a classroom immediately.

"You are looking for individuals that not only have a teacher certification but they also have the endorsements and qualifications to work with special education students," Carlson said. "All of our children deserve the best and these kids have a highly individualized education plan and that is what we are here to meet."

It's a privilege to enrich some of the lives of Anchorage's children that special ed teachers like Watts are hoping more people want to be apart of.

ASD says while it recruits all over the country to bring in special education teachers as well as special education related services positions, to make sure no child misses out, it contracts services, offers part time employment, and has even extended the school year out to students, to give them access to core curriculum.

Corey Allen-Young KTUU Channel 2 Reporter cyoung@ktuu.com 744-2642 cell

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Motorcyclist Strikes Pedestrian Crossing Muldoon


A pedestrian was struck by a motorcyclist while attempting to cross Muldoon road near Fred Meyer's, Anchorage police say.

APD spokesperson Dani Myren said police received the calls at 4 p.m. with reports of a motorcyclist in the road near the Fred Meyer's.

Tiffany Boshears, a witness at the scene, said she saw a man lying on the ground  without a helmet in the middle of the road near the intersection.

"He wasn't moving," Boshears said.

Medics and APD were on scene, according to Myren. She said the pedestrian was confirmed injured, but no other reports from the scene had been submitted. The pedestrian was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

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Serial Killer Robert Hansen Dies in Anchorage


A serial killer convicted in the deaths of more than a dozen women died early Thursday in an Anchorage hospital.

Robert Hansen was 75.

Hansen was recently transferred to Anchorage due to declining health, and he died at 2 a.m. in Alaska Regional Hospital, Alaska Department of Corrections spokesperson Sherrie Daigle said. According to troopers, Hansen had "Do Not Resuscitate" paperwork on file with the DOC.

The serial killer was convicted for the deaths of more than a dozen women in Alaska in the 1970s and 1980s.

Hansen, who operated a bakery in Anchorage, became known as the "Butcher Baker" after his conviction in a February 1984 on numerous charges ranging from assault to kidnapping.

A judge sentenced him to serve 461 years in prison, in addition to a life sentence.

Authorities believe Hansen had at least 17 and as many as 21 victims between 1971 and 1983.

Although he only admitted to 14, the bodies of two others were found after police seized an aviation map of Southcentral Alaska with the markings of 17 locations corresponding with victims' remains.

As late as 2003, troopers were seeking to identify “Eklutna Annie,” a woman found  near a popular  and believed to have been killed by Hansen nearly a quarter-century earlier. A Hollywood film crew visited the state in 2011 to make a movie on Hansen's killings, "The Frozen Ground." The resulting picture, starring John Cusack as Hansen and Nicolas Cage as an Alaska State Trooper investigating the case, was released in 2013.

Daigle says Hansen spent most of his time in Alaska custody since Oct. 27, 1983 at the Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward. His cause of death will be determined by the state medical examiner.

Editor's Note: While the infamous killer is named in the headline due to longstanding interest in his case, it remains important to remember the lives he took.Below are photos previously attributed to the Alaska State Troopers and information provided on a website operated by Juan Ignacio Blanco. Channel 2 is working to independently verify information about thevictims and to add more details.

KNOWN VICTIMS

July 21, 1980: A woman never identified, known simply as "Eklutna Annie," was found near Eklutna Lake, a popular north of Anchorage.

July 1980: The body of Joanne Messina was also found near Eklutna Lake.

Sept. 12, 1982: Sherry Morrow was found near the Knik River.

Sept. 2, 1983: Paula Goulding was found on the banks of the Knik River.

April 24, 1984: Malai Larsen was found near Old Knik Bridge.

April 24, 1984: Sue Luna was found near the Knik River.

April 25, 1984: DeLynn Frey was found near Horseshoe Lake. (No Photo)

April 26, 1984: Teresa Watson was found on the Kenai Peninsula. (No Photo)

April 26, 1984: Angela Feddern was found near Figure Eight Lake.

April 29, 1984: Tamara Pederson was found near Knik Bridge.

May 9, 1984: Lisa Futrell was found near Knik Bridge.

Channel 2’s Austin Baird Dan Carpenter contributed to this story.

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Bicyclist Transported to Hospital Following Midtown Collision


Anchorage police say a bicyclist has been taken to a local hospital for serious injuries after a collision with a vehicle in Midtown Thursday.

APD spokesperson Jennifer Castro said police received a report of a collision at 1:46 p.m. that occurred near the intersection of Benson and A street.

The bicyclist involved was taken to a nearby hospital with critical injuries, Castro said. No other reports of injuries are known at this time.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.

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Anchorage Guide, Gun Shop Owner Pleads Guilty to Guiding Offenses


An Anchorage gaming guide and gun-shop owner has pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor guiding violations from an initial array of 17, receiving largely suspended penalties in a case dating back at least three years. In a Thursday AST dispatch, troopers say the remaining 13 charges against 60-year-old Jim West, owner and operator of both the Klutina Lodge and Anchorage gun store Wild West Guns, were dismissed as part of his agreement with prosecutors. He was originally charged in November with misdemeanors ranging from committing, aiding or allowing a violation of law as a guide to guiding a hunt on private land. “West pleaded guilty to being a guide while committing or aiding a client illegally taking a moose in 2009, taking game while guiding clients in 2011, and for not removing bear baiting stations in 2011 and 2012,” troopers wrote. West, a photogenic presence in the state’s guiding and firearms circles, has a Discovery Channel reality show, “Wild West Alaska.” In a description of the show on its website, producers say West leads a team of workers who “build weapons for every situation -- from everyday hunting to the unique demands of Alaskan life off-the-grid.” Channel 2 interviewed West in April about local shortages of .22 long rifle ammunition. With many of the charges in the original case dropped, the final sentence against West was relatively light compared to the initial range of fines, which included maximum fines of up to $30,000 on conviction. Troopers had also seized a Cessna 185 small plane allegedly used in committing the guiding offenses. “West was sentenced to a total of $40,000 (in fines) with $32,000 suspended; a two-year suspension of his guiding license with that time suspended by the court; 20 days in jail with 20 suspended; 80 hours community work service; and three years of probation,” troopers wrote. “The Cessna 185 seized during the investigation will be returned to West.” Alaska Wildlife Trooper Sgt. Brent Johnson says the case ended abruptly Wednesday, when both sides arrived in Glennallen District Court ready for trial and West's side approached prosecutors for negotiations. While issues such as the fate of West's plane, his guiding license and the status of his travel on Alaska Native lands were all considered, Alaska's changing legal landscape also played a role in the plea agreement.

"The state realized, I think, that some recent court decisions made near trial meant that the forfeiture of Mr. West's airplane would not become a reality," Johnson said.

According to Johnson, troopers evaluate potential seizures based on factors such as the possibility of them being used in an ongoing criminal enterprise -- at first a concern in the West case. They're also considered based on whether prosecutors have a reasonable chance of seizure of the items involved, and troopers believed when the case was filed that they had good odds of doing so.

"Otherwise, we don't want to inconvenience people by seizing their stuff," Johnson said.

The West case and others, such as 72-year-old Ronald Martin's forfeiture of a Piper PA-18 Super Cub in a Haines guiding case, have prompted some claims that troopers have targeted aircraft for seizure to add to their own fleet. Johnson, however, says that the Department of Public Safety already has more than 40 aircraft and would have to inspect and certify any additions.

"I'm not aware of any forfeited aircraft that we have received," Johnson said. "Typically, they are put up for auction."

West's attorney, Brent Cole, tells the Associated Press that his client has suffered a tremendous loss to his reputation and business for what amounted to paperwork violations. Cole says claims of trespass were dismissed and never should have been filed.

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Magic 98.9's 2 Do List


“Alaska State Fair” Starts Today, runs thru Sept 1st Fair Grounds, Palmer

“Good Time Fun” for 12 straight days at the Alaska State Fair! Endless food, giant veggies, farm animals, Demolition Derby, Knights of Valour-full metal jousting, the Gathering Place, Age of the Dinosaurs exhibit, great live entertainment and MORE!!

THURSDAY--2 Buck Thursday--admission is only $2 from noon until 2 with donation of 2 non-perishable food items. KC & The Sunshine Band, 7p. FRIDAY--Kids Day--kids 12 and under get in FREE. Seether, 7p. SATURDAY—Family Day— kids 12 and under get in FREE, bring 2 non-perishable food items. Thompson Square, 7p. SUNDAY—Bachman & Turner with Blue Oyster Cult, 6p. MONDAY—Michael W Smith, 7p.

Info and a schedule of fair events: AlaskaStateFair.org.

“GCI Tech Quest Scavenger Hunt & Celebration” Sat 12-3p UAA Campus

FREE, family fun and GCI “tech prizes” (from smartphones to tablets) 10 round-trip Alaska Airline tickets, and the grand prize of a VW Beetle from Kendall Volkswagen to celebrate GCI’s ongoing partnership with UAA and the announcement of something big! Free, open to the community, for all ages. Plus free snacks, beverages & music at the Celebration. CLUES, details & info in stores, on social media and at GCI.com.

"Anchorage Youth Court’s 25thAnniversary Gala” Fri 6p Hotel Captain Cook

Celebrating 25 years of “Justice for Youth by Youth” featuring dinner, live entertainment, live & silent auctions, honorees and more. Info & reservations: AnchorageYouthCourt.org. 

“Bridge Builders of Anchorage Unity Gala” Sat 6-midnight Dena’ina Center

Bridge Builders and the Anchorage Centennial Celebration will be hosting the UNITY GALA 2014 to recognize and honor members of the ethnic communities who have made significant contributions to their communities as a volunteer. Info & reservations: BridgeBuilderAK.org.

“ACT’s ‘I Hate Hamlet’” Opens Fri runs thru 9/21 ACT Theatre, E 70thAve

Anchorage Community Theatre kicks off its season with I Hate Hamlet, the story of a once successful, young, TV actor now living in a gothic NY city apartment who after he’s offered the role of Hamlet, does battle with the ghost of actor John Barrymore, leading to a “wildly funny duel over women, art, success, duty, television and yes, the apartment.” Info: ACTAlaska.org. Tickets: CenterTix.net.

“Girdwood Fungus Fair” Fri-Sun Various times Girdwood/Alyeska Resort 

Put the FUN in fungus at the “Girdwood Fungus Fair!” Mushroom art, forays, displays, free talks and more! Plus Friday evening’s “Fabulous Fungi Formal & Five Course Fungus Feast.” Info & reservations: FungusFair.com.  

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Downtown 2-Vehicle Crash Sends 1 Person to Hospital


Anchorage police say a two-vehicle injury crash Downtown is causing traffic issues Thursday morning, with one person taken to a local hospital. APD spokesperson Dani Myren says the collision, at the intersection of 5th Avenue and L Street, was reported just before 9:55 a.m. “There’s one person who is being transported to the hospital and exhibiting various signs of distress,” Myren said. Myren says one lane at the intersection may be closed while officers clear the crash site. “There’s some very minor traffic diversions there as they’re waiting for a tow truck,” Myren said.

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Ex-UAA Worker Charged with Sending Email Threats


A 36-year-old man fired five years ago from the University of Alaska Anchorage has been charged with sending threatening communications to UA Fairbanks employees. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Edward DuBois is charged with one count of transmitting threatening communications, a federal felony. DuBois worked as a student services technician in the Registrar's Office from October 2006 to August 2009. According to prosecutors, DuBois said he was physically and sexually assaulted by his superiors and that he was fired for "good-faith reporting of malfeasance." An email prosecutors say he sent Aug. 14 noted that he thought often about revenge and that he wanted to stop certain officials from hurting others by using his own "sharply violent means." DuBois was in custody Thursday at the Anchorage jail.

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Poet, Tlingit Historian Richard Dauenhauer Dies


A former Alaska poet laureate has died. The Juneau Empire reports 72-year-old Richard Dauenhauer, an expert on Tlingit lore and language, died Tuesday of cancer. Dauenhauer is survived by his wife, Nora Marks Dauenhauer, with whom he collaborated on many of his projects as a translator, scholar and historian. Dauenhauer was born in 1942 in Syracuse, New York, and moved to Alaska in the late 1960s. He earned degrees in Russian, Slavic and German languages. Sealaska Heritage Institute executive director Rosita Worl says by email that Dauenhauer's contributions to Tlingit culture are immeasurable and future generations will benefit from the decades of dedicated scholarly work he pursued with his wife. She says they documented and translated words and wisdom of Tlingit ancestors that otherwise might have passed into oblivion.

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Christopher Lee Allows Extradition in California Marine Wife's Death


A former Marine corporal held in Anchorage and accused of murdering a comrade’s pregnant wife in California has waived his rights against extradition to face charges there. Christopher Brandon Lee said in Anchorage Jail Court Thursday morning that he would no longer fight extradition to California in the death of 19-year-old Erin Corwin. Lee is charged with both murder and lying in wait, a California charge which indicates deliberate planning of a murder.

Assistant District Attorney Heather Nobrega, the Alaska prosecutor handling the case, says Lee announced the decision after consulting with his attorney in California. The state of California will pay Lee's transportation costs.

"A lot of defendants will waive extradition because sitting here in a jail in Alaska does nothing for their speedy trial rights," Nobrega said. "Their speedy trial rights don't start till they get to the state where they're facing the criminal charges, so a lot of defendants find it's quicker and easier to waive extradition to get back to the state so they deal with the pending charges."

Deputy District Attorney Clint Campion says Thursday's news means that Lee's transfer to California authorities will happen quickly.

"I would say (in) the next couple of days," Campion said. "The judge set a hearing for Sept. 8 to make sure he's actually gone." The decision marks a victory for law enforcement officials in California, who say Lee was Corwin’s lover and that he had researched means to dispose of a human body and stockpiled tires which might be used to burn remains. Corwin disappeared June 28, with Lee arrested by Anchorage police on a homicide warrant in the case last week. San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos had said earlier in the week that if Lee had not waived extradition, other legal mechanisms -- but slower ones -- existed to bring Lee to justice in California. Editor's note: An initial version of this story misspelled prosecutor Heather Nobrega's last name.

Channel 2’s Garrett Turner contributed information to this story. This is a developing story. Please check KTUU.com and the Channel 2 newscasts for updates.

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Southcentral Alaska DUI, Seat-Belt Patrols Step Up for State Fair


As the 2014 Alaska State Fair begins Thursday, Alaska State Troopers and Southcentral Alaska law enforcement officers are stepping up enforcement of drunk-driving and seat-belt laws. In a Wednesday statement announcing added patrols, AST spokesperson Megan Peters says Palmer troopers as well as Alaska Bureau of Highway Patrol members will be participating in increased traffic enforcement from Thursday through Sept. 1. She asks drivers who see troopers making traffic stops to leave the nearest lane if possible and reduce speed to 35 mph while passing, as required by state law. “The Alaska State Troopers encourage motorists to keep safety the top priority no matter where they are headed,” Peters wrote. “Be sure to obey the Move Over law, slow down and give emergency vehicles plenty of room as you pass.” Peters says the funding for the extra patrols, which will take the form of overtime worked by troopers, comes from a variety of state and federal sources. “It’s the same troopers -- they’re just working additional hours,” Peters said. According to Peters, the increased enforcement will cover both the fair itself and the subsequent Labor Day holiday. The initiative is also linked to the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign in play during the same time period. APD spokesperson Jennifer Castro says in a statement on the DUI campaign, which began Aug. 13, that police have already seen four impairment-related driving fatalities this year. Officers will be conducting nearly 700 hours of extra patrols, funded by a grant through the Alaska Highway Safety Office. “If you PLAN to drink -- plan NOT to drive,” Castro wrote. “And if you see a dangerous driver on the road, be REDDI -- Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately by calling 911.” Troopers and APD officers, as well as Wasilla and Palmer police officers, have been given 5,000 coupons for free cookies at Holiday Stationstores. Peters says that the coupons, to be given to children who are found properly buckled into their vehicles, will be distributed during traffic stops. “It’s going to let us have a positive interaction with a child,” Peters said.

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Teen Charged as Adult in Delta Junction Fires


A 16-year-old Delta Junction boy suspected of torching a lodge and a home in Delta Junction is being held without bail at the Fairbanks Correctional Center. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Vasiliy Bill Malyk has been charged as an adult in the May 15 fire that destroyed Clearwater Lodge. He's also charged with burglarizing a home June 17 and lighting it on fire. He is charged with nine felonies, including arson, theft and evidence tampering. Alaska State Troopers arrested the teenager Monday. Troopers say he acknowledged being at the lodge the night of the fire and that he taking part in removing $750 in alcohol. A public defender has been appointed as his attorney.

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Coast Guard Chopper Medevacs Crewman North of Barrow


The U.S. Coast Guard is crediting a helicopter crew forward-deployed to Barrow with the Wednesday medevac of an injured crewman from a South Korean research icebreaker 250 miles north of the state's Arctic Ocean coastline. Watchstanders were first informed of the 43-year-old’s head injury aboard the Araon Tuesday afternoon, according to a Coast Guard statement on the rescue released early Thursday. As the Araon headed south to close the distance with Barrow, the Coast Guard prepared both of the MH-60 Jayhawk crews -- tasked with flying from a forward operating location set to open Thursday -- for the rescue mission. The Coast Guard icebreaker Healy, also in the area, was asked to support communications with the helicopter crews. “Once the Araon closed the distance to land, both Jayhawk helicopter crews at forward operating location Barrow launched to rendezvous with the icebreaker,” Coast Guard officials wrote. “The aircrews arrived on-scene, safely hoisted the injured man and an accompanying translator, and returned to Barrow.” According to Coast Guard Operations Specialist 1st Class Amy Canny, the injury occurred as the crewman was working out in an exercise facility aboard the Araon. After being flown to Barrow, he was transported on to Anchorage. “They needed to get some higher level of care for him,” Canny said. Coast Guard officials say the number of vessels passing through the Arctic as ice-bound shipping channels open is a key factor in having a Barrow presence. “Maritime activity in the Arctic has steadily increased during the past several years, and this emergency situation highlights the importance of having a Coast Guard forward operating location in the region,” Capt. Joseph Deer, the 17th District’s chief of incident management, said in the statement. The Jayhawk crews had been sent to Barrow as part of Arctic Shield 2014, an ongoing exercise this year intended to bolster the Coast Guard’s capabilities in the region and allow it to perform seasonal rescue tasks.

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Struggling for Words, Sullivan Tells Supporters It's Time for 'Unity'


To learn that Joe Miller or Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell struggled for words a day after a tough primary election loss would surprise no one.

But a day after Dan Sullivan became the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, the former attorney general of Alaska is still at a loss for words.

While a vocal victory lap may be expected – complete with local media interviews, appearances on national television networks and private talks with big donors – Sullivan's words have been few due to a severe case of laryngitis.

With the gravelly, raspy tone of his voice – something like Christian Bale in “The Dark Knight,” though subtler and gentler – Sullivan declined to speak with a gamut of media outlets that put in requests on early Wednesday and throughout the day after the election.

But Sullivan did manage a few words for some of his closest supporters. The Anchorage Republican Women's Club and the Midnight Sun Republican Women's Club convened Wednesday evening at the campaign's Midtown office, an event attended by Channel 2's Austin Baird and Caslon Hatch.

“I won the primary, but I lost my voice,” Sullivan told the small crowd. A supporter joked that he needs to go home and have cups of lemon, honey and vinegar.

The advice might not be all bad, but he said he has attended to some pressing business since the victory was sealed.

Sullivan said “unity” is the most important theme moving away from the primary election campaign and into a battle with Democrats, and he used up most of his words talking with former party opponents to make sure that happens.

Sullivan spoke at length with Joe Miller, a conversation that confirmed Miller will support the Republican ticket, as he said he would during the final televised debate on KTUU-TV.

Treadwell told Channel 2 at election headquarters that he will also support Sullivan.

"We must defeat Mark Begich," Treadwell said.

A campaign spokesperson said the candidate will be available to media as soon as his voice recovers, and Sullivan told supporters he hopes that will be soon.

"In the spirit of trying to save this voice, so I can actually go on camera and do some real interviews at some point, I just want to thank everybody for being here," he told his backers.

Begich said he is ready for the race.

"I look forward to the robust debate, but I feel very confident of the issues I'm talking about and what I'm hearing from Alaskans," Begich said. "But i don't underestimate anyone who runs against me."

Channel 2's Caslon Hatch contributed to this story.

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Vote No on 1 Lead Increases As All Precincts Report


An attempt to repeal Alaska's Oil and Gas Production Tax appears to have failed according to numbers released by the Division of Elections Wednesday afternoon.  The latest figures show the 80,508 voters punched "NO" and 73,628 voted "YES" on Ballot Measure One.

The numbers are a victory for Governor Sean Parnell, who crafted the oil tax law known as SB21 in 2013.

"I don't consider a five percent win in the end close," Parnell said Wednesday.  "We've got lots of elections, and that's deemed a landslide."

But critics of the existing law disagree.  Independent Candidate for Governor Bill Walker says even though the initiative appears to have failed, the small margin of defeat is surprising considering how much money was spent by the oil companies to kill the initiative.

"The message I get from that is Alaska is looking for more balance, between the oil industry and our administration."

Late Wednesday afternoon, the Division of Elections reported it had received 12,253 absentee ballots.  Director Gail Fenumiai says the ballots are expected to be counted by August 26th and the Election certified by September 2nd.

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ASD Superintendent Discusses Upcoming School Year, Cuts


With fewer people and resources available due to recent budget cutbacks, Anchorage School District superintendent Ed Graff says the new school year will be a challenge -- but he's still pushing his staff to accomplish even more. Ed Graff sums up the direction he wants to take with two words: student engagement. They indicate what he calls a focus on doing whatever it takes to teach kids to be successful inside and outside their school. When it comes to looking out for the best interest of the Anchorage School District's almost 48,000 students, Graff vows he'll never miss a beat on behalf of the district's parents. "I want what's best for their child," Graff said. "They are going to be the No. 1 advocate for their child; I will be No. 2." Maintaining an emphasis on student success means educators have to think outside the box, Graff says. Over the spring and summer, he's pushed staff to come together to revise and expand curriculum to effectively teach students on all levels.      "Providing that high-quality individualized, differentiated learning for kids, to keep that enthusiasm going and keep that engagement moving forward," Graff said. Keeping that momentum coming, however, could prove challenging. After balancing a budget containing $23 million in cuts for this school year, ASD's leadership faces a projected $21 million gap for the 2015-2016 school year. "The loss of valuable people and resources do make it more challenging for us," Graff said. Despite having less staff to help, Graff says he's imploring parents and the community to share in the responsibility of supporting ASD students. That's why he has added four new preschools to the district, in hopes of providing engaging experiences and reaching students when they're young. "You look at the research, and early literacy is the key and critical foundation for students," Graff said. "The students who get our preschool opportunities in our Title I schools are performing better than their counters (at) schools who do not have that opportunity." The new preschools will be at Lake Otis, Chester Valley, Mountain View, and Tudor elementary schools. Graff says money to pay for them came out of city and state funds.       While ASD leaders have started to discuss how to approach next year's projected budget gap, Graff says the focus is getting students excited to learn.

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Day After Elections: A Look Ahead to November


The final votes are being tallied from remaining precincts, but the race is over. As the November election looms over the horizon, the results from the primary election give a look at what voters can expect on the ballot. 

With 100 percent of precincts reporting Wednesday afternoon Ballot Measure 1, which sought to repeal Senate Bill 21's regime of lower oil taxes, was going down with 52.23 percent of votes cast against it, including 80,508 no votes and 73,628 yes votes -- a margin of 6,880 votes. SB21 replaced Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share, the tax credit program championed by former Gov. Sarah Palin.

On the Nov. 4 general-election ballot, Alaska residents will vote on three ballot measures. Ballot Measure 2 will allow the public to decide to decriminalize marijuana in the state, while Ballot Measure 3 will offer the chance to raise the state's minimum wage over the next two years to $9.75. Ballot Measure 4 would give the legislature the power to prohibit mining development in the Bristol Bay region for the sake of local wild fisheries.

In the race for U.S. Senate, the favored-to-win Democratic candidate Mark Begich (D-AK) will run against former state Department of Natural Resources commissioner and attorney general Dan Sullivan, the Republican candidate. Longtime U.S. Rep. Don Young will be defending his seat from Democratic challenger Forrest Dunbar.

A three-way race is expected for the governor's position, as Republican incumbent Sean Parnell will run against Democrat Byron Mallott and Independent Bill Walker, the former mayor of Valdez. Hollis French will join Mallott on the general-election ticket as the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, with Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan alongside Parnell in the corresponding GOP position.

In the state Legislature, five candidates ran unopposed for the Senate in their districts, while 11 ran unopposed for the House. In the remaining districts, the following will be on the November ballot:

Senate District A Tama Roselius (D) Pete Kelly (R)

Senate District C Dorothy Shockley (D) Click Bishop (R)

Senate District F Patricia Chesbro (D) Bill Stoltze (R)

Senate District E Michael Dunleavy (R) Warren Keogh (I)

Senate District G Jim Arlington (D) Anna Fairclough (R)

Senate District K Clare Ross (D) Mia Costello (R)

Senate District M Felix Rivera (D) Kevin Meyer (R)

Senate District N Harry Crawford (D) Catherine Geissel (R)

Senate District P Robert Henrichs (D) Gary Stevens (R)

Senate District Q Dennis Egan (D) Tom Williams (R)

House District 1 Scott Kawasaki (D) Gregory Bringhurst (R)

House District 2 Larry Murakami (D) Steve Thompson (D)

House District 3 Sharron Hunter (D) Tammie Wilson (R)

House District 4 Joe Blanchard II (R) David Guttenberg (D)

House District 5 Elizabeth Clark (D) Pete Higgins (R)

House District 6 Wilson Justin (D) David Talerico (R)

House District 8 Pam Rahn (D) Mark Neuman (R)

House District 9 Jim Colver (R) Mabel Wimmer (D)

House District 10 Neal Lacy (D) Wes Keller (R)

House District11 Pete LaFrance (D) Shelley Hughes (R)

House District 12 Gretchen Wehmhoff (D) Cathy Tilton (R)

House District 14 Miles Pruner (D) Lora Reinbold (R)

House District 15 Laurie Hummel (D) Gabrielle LeDoux (R)

House District 16 Don Hadley (R) Max Gruenberg (D)

House District 21 Matt Claman (D) Anand Dubey (R)

House District 22 Marty McGee (D) Liz Vazquez (R)

House District 24 Michael Fenster (D) Craig Johnson (R)

House District 25 Patti Higgins (D) Charisse Millett (R)

House District 26 Bill Goodell (D) Bob Lynn (R)

House District 27 Matt Moore (D) Lance Pruitt (R)

House District 28 Samuel Combs (D) Mike Hawker (R)

House District 29 Charles Chenault (R) Rocky Knudsen (D)

House District 30 Kurt Olson (R) Shauna Thornton (D)

House District 32 Jerry McCune (D) Louise Stutes (R)

House District 33 Sam Kito (D) Peter Dukowitz (R)

House District 34 George Guan (D) Cathy Munoz (R)

House District 35 Steven Samuelson (R) Jona Kreiss-Tomkins (D)

Independent candidates had until Aug. 19 to register for the November ballot.

A full synopsis of votes for each candidate in each district is available on KTUU.com's special election section.

Channel 2's Chris Klint contributed information to this story.

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