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Scientists to measure ash stirred from 1912 Alaska eruption

Sep 04, 2015 -- 1:30pm
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska Volcano Observatory is sending scientists to Kodiak Island to set up equipment that can monitor a century-old hazard: volcanic ash from the Novarupta-Katmai eruption in 1912. The eruption was the largest in the 20th Century and created the Valley of 10,000 Smokes in what is now Katmai National Park on the Alaska Peninsula. U.S. Geological Survey geologist Kristi Wallace says ash up to 60 feet deep remains in some valleys in Katmai and can be kicked up and blown toward Kodiak when it's not covered by snow, creating a hazard for aircraft and possibly human health. Each spring and fall, strong northwesterly winds blow ash around. Wallace says the wind can reconstitute ash clouds so large they're detected by satellite. The observatory will install particulate measuring instruments at two locations to collect ash samples and assess how much is blown around.

Woman suspected of stealing patrol car holding cuffed spouse

Sep 04, 2015 -- 1:15pm
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Alaska State Troopers have arrested a Big Lake woman suspected of stealing a patrol car that held her handcuffed husband in the back seat. Troopers say 28-year-old Amber Watford and 38-year-old Joshua Watford were arrested Thursday at a Wasilla home. Troopers on Wednesday received a tip that Joshua Watford, who was wanted on a warrant, was in a Big Lake pawn shop. An officer arrested him, placed him in handcuffs and put him in the back of a patrol car. Troopers say the officer was speaking to a passing motorist when Amber Watford got behind the wheel of the patrol car and took off. Troopers recovered the patrol car an hour later. A tip led them to the Watfords. They're being held on suspicion of vehicle theft and other charges.

Invasive plant spreads to Interior Alaska beyond Fairbanks

Sep 04, 2015 -- 1:00pm
- FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - An invasive plant species previously thought to only have invaded Interior waterways around Fairbanks has been spotted north of Nenana. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that federal agencies have confirmed that elodea has been found in Totchaket Slough, a small side stream of the Tanana River about 12 miles from Nenana. Elodea is a leafy, long-stemmed plant, known to crowd out native species of freshwater flora. Elodea was found in Lake Hood last month causing officials to worry that departing aircraft could bring the weed to new sites. The weed has been previously spotted in Chena Slough, Chena Lake and in a small part of the Chena River in west Fairbanks. Fairbanks Soil and Water Conservation District officials are reminding boaters to rinse boats and other gear before putting them in new bodies of water.

Alaska borough to sell idled ferry to Philippine Red Cross

Sep 03, 2015 -- 11:00am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - There may finally be a buyer for a multimillion dollar ferry that's never seen service. The Alaska Journal of Commerce reports Matanuska-Susitna borough officials approved the $1.75M sale of the ferry Susitna to the Philippine Red Cross. The $78 million ferry was a prototype catamaran-style landing craft built for the U.S. Navy, and it was donated to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. But it has sat docked hundreds of miles away in Ketchikan for years because it has no place to dock in Anchorage. The 195-foot ferry was intended to make roundtrip jaunts across Knik Arm. Borough Manager John Moosey says they are paying about $30,000 per month in maintenance, moorage and insurance. Federal authorities will have to approve the sale.

Coast Guard suspends search for missing kayaker

Sep 03, 2015 -- 10:30am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended the search for an overdue kayaker in Knik Arm near Anchorage. The Coast Guard says the search area covered more than 850 square miles looking for Bruce Gronewald. Family members on Tuesday reported he didn't turn from a kayaking trip. He was last seen Monday night in a yellow kayak. The Coast Guard, Civil Air Patrol and Alaska State Troopers conducted 10 air searches and multiple ground searches before announcing Thursday morning that efforts have been suspended.

Medicaid looks to cut back on new disability program users

Sep 03, 2015 -- 10:15am
- KENAI, Alaska (AP) - An Alaska Medicaid program that funds care for adults with developmental disabilities is looking to cut the number of people it enrolls each year by 75 percent. The Peninsula Clarion reports that currently 200 people are taken off a waiting list to be enrolled in Medicaid's Intellectual and Developmental Disability waiver annually. Administrators now want that number to drop to 50. Officials say they would not be abandoning those waiting to join the program. In addition to the annual 50-person increase, wait-listed people would also be added to replace waiver recipients who move out of state, die or leave the program for other reasons. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Service's Senior and Disabilities Services Division is taking public comments on the proposed reduction until Sept. 17. 
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