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Bill designates Juneau house for lt gov lodging

Apr 18, 2014 -- 11:45am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska Senate has passed a bill that would designate an historic house in downtown Juneau as the official residence of the state's lieutenant governor. The amendment, from Juneau Democratic Sen. Dennis Egan, was accepted to HB246, a bill that would add land to Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge in Fairbanks. Egan last year proposed budget language calling on the Department of Natural Resources to negotiate with the governor's office to establish the House of Wickersham State Historic Site as lodging for the lieutenant governor when he or she is in the capital city. The department manages the site. But the Legislature did not provide funding requested by the governor for renovations aimed at making the upper floors more hospitable. The House must approve the addition to the bill.

Remote Alaska quake followed by aftershock

Apr 18, 2014 -- 11:30am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A moderate earthquake was recorded Friday morning in Alaska above the Arctic Circle, and was followed by an aftershock almost as powerful. The Alaska Earthquake Information Center reports in a release that the quake was felt in the hub community of Kotzebue and at the Red Dog Mine, but there were no immediate reports of damage. The quake in the Brooks Range region of Alaska had a magnitude of 5.5, and was located at a depth of about 15 miles. It was followed two minutes later by an aftershock that had a magnitude of 5.3. The quake was centered about 15 miles northeast of Noatak, in northwest Alaska.

Denali Park road open to Mile 30

Apr 18, 2014 -- 11:15am
- FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Warm weather is helping crews plow the only road into Denali National Park and Preserve. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that the road opened Friday to all traffic for the first 30 miles of the 92-mile road. The road has been cleared as far as 60 miles into the park, but traffic has to stop at Mile 30. People can park there, and hike or bike further into the park. Weather permitting, park officials say people will be allowed to drive the first 30 miles into the park until tour buses begin running May 20. After that, normal rules will apply - meaning the road is closed to private vehicles at Mile 15.

State won't seek retrial in Yakutat cold case

Apr 18, 2014 -- 11:00am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The state won't seek a retrial on a first-degree murder charge for a man accused of killing his girlfriend in Yakutat in 1996. The Juneau Empire reports (http://is.gd/u8Azno) Alaska prosecutors announced their decision Thursday. Last week, a jury convicted Robert D. Kowalski of second-degree murder in the death of Sandra M. Perry. The jury deadlocked on the more serious first-degree murder charge. Assistant Attorney General James Fayette asked a judge on Thursday to dismiss the first-degree count. Sentencing for the second-degree murder charge was set for July 18. Alaska investigators at first concluded Perry's death was accidental. The case was reopened after Kowalski was convicted of killing another girlfriend six years ago in Montana. Both women were shot in the head at close range, and Kowalski claimed both were accidents.

Judge rejects witness in Kodiak Coast Guard trial

Apr 18, 2014 -- 10:45am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A federal judge says defense attorneys in the Kodiak Coast Guard murder trial can't for now call a witness in custody on another case. Judge Ralph Beistline ruled Friday that 38-year-old Jason Barnum didn't have a sufficient connection to testify in the trial of 62-year-old James Wells. Wells is charged with murder in the deaths of co-workers Richard Belisle and James Hopkins on April. 12, 2012, at a communications station. Barnum acknowledged being in Kodiak at the time but says he didn't know the slain men. Barnum is charged with attempting to kill an Anchorage police officer at hotel in September 2012. Barnum is heavily tattooed and prosecutor Karen Loeffler says there's no reason to call him as a witness other than to frighten the jury.

NTSB releases report on crash near Bethel

Apr 18, 2014 -- 10:30am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report says a small commercial plane was flying at about 3,400 feet when it crashed near Bethel, killing the two pilots on board. KYUK says investigators still don't know what caused the Cessna 208 operated by Hageland Aviation to go down during a training flight. NTSB investigator Clint Johnson says it appears the plane went into a steep dive. Killed in the April 8 crash were 42-year-old Derrick Cedars of Bethel and 46-year-old Greggory McGee of Anchorage. No others were on board. The burned wreckage was found near Three Step Mountain. The NTSB also is investigating the November crash of another Hageland Aviation Cessna 208. Four people were killed and six injured in the crash of that commuter flight. Hageland Aviation is part of Ravn Alaska.
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