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Names released in NW Montana plane crash

Dec 17, 2014 -- 12:15pm
- POLSON, Mont. (AP) - Authorities have identified the pilot killed in a plane crash in northwest Montana as 33-year-old Brett Thoft, of Wasilla, Alaska. In addition, a passenger injured in the crash was identified as Tim Schauss, of Lake County. He is listed in critical condition at Kalispell Regional Medical Center. The small plane crashed in Lake County near Flathead Lake at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday on a hillside northwest of Ronan. Lake County authorities believe the two-seat Piper had taken off from the Ronan airport on a sight-seeing flight. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Teen sentenced to 7 years for robbery, shooting

Dec 17, 2014 -- 12:00pm
- FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - A Fairbanks teenager involved in a shootout during an attempt to rob a drug dealer has been sentenced to seven years in prison. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 17-year-old Chester Clifton Fields Jr. fired a 9mm handgun that hit a man whom he and an accomplice were trying to rob. Cross was 16 on Feb. 25 when he and 21-year-old Isaiah Cross entered an apartment at Wedgewood Resort. Fields carried a pistol and Cross carried a BB gun. Prosecutors say a man inside the apartment shot Cross several times. Fields fired at the shooter and a bullet lodged against the man's spine. Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Crail says Fields is lucky the man did not die or he would be facing a murder charge. Fields pleaded guilty to robbery.

Juneau clinic faces staffing challenges

Dec 17, 2014 -- 11:45am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A Juneau health center that faced closure earlier this year over funding now is struggling to keep top positions filled. The longtime face of the Front Street Community Health Center, nurse practitioner Janna Brewster, has left. The center does not have a dentist and by month's end, the interim executive director will be gone. The center provides health services to homeless and low-income individuals in Juneau. It has a temporary contract with an Anchorage-based nurse practitioner. The Juneau Empire reports that the clinic has been using an outside company to try to find and hire staff. But the board's president said the board's preference would be to hire a nurse practitioner and dentist from within the local area.

Military chaplain installed as Catholic bishop

Dec 16, 2014 -- 11:30am
- FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - An active-duty military chaplain has been installed as the bishop of the nation's northernmost Catholic diocese. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Most Rev. Chad Zielinksi was installed as bishop for the Fairbanks Diocese on Monday. Pope Francis last month named the 50-year-old Zielinksi to the position. He had been the active-duty chaplain at Eielson Air Force Base. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. Zielinski is the sixth bishop for the 11,000-member diocese, which has been without a local spiritual leader since Bishop Donald Kettler was appointed to lead The Diocese of St. Cloud in Minnesota. Zielinski is a native of Detroit. He attended seminary at Mount Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon.

Fort Greely to get $50M under spending bill

Dec 16, 2014 -- 11:15am
- FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Congress has approved $50 million toward a ground-based missile defense system at Fort Greely. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the funding was included in a $1.1 trillion spending plan that passed last weekend. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports an effort is underway to increase from 26 to 40 the number of interceptor missiles at Fort Greely as part of a missile-defense expansion announced last year. Murkowski spokesman Matthew Felling said the funding will help prepare a previously mothballed missile field for the interceptors that will be added.

Troopers release names of missing riders

Dec 16, 2014 -- 11:00am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Bethel-area responders along the Kuskokwim River report no new success in the search for a man and woman missing on an all-terrain vehicle. State Troopers say 26-year-old George Evan and 27-year-old Sally Stone likely plunged into an open lead in the river near Kwethluk. Channel-2 News reports the body of a third rider, Ralph Demantle, and an ATV were pulled from the river over the weekend. Troopers say alcohol was a factor in the accident and that Evan and Stone were most likely on the ATV when it went into the water. The three were traveling Thursday night from Bethel to Akiak. Searchers found tracks leading to the ice hole. Searchers used chain saws, ice axes and drag bars to search the edges of the hole.
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