UPDATE 10 P.M.
After Anchorage Municipal Light and Power was able to resolve a Thursday evening outage that left 5000 customers without electricity, several other separate power outages were reported across the city later Thursday night.
At around 10:30 p.m. ML&P resolved another outage affecting 100 customers in an area bordered by Spenard, Bunker, 23rd, and 19th, spokeswoman Julie Harris told KTUU. The outage was caused by another tree falling into a separate power line due to high winds, Harris said.
According to an online notice posted Thursday evening by the Chugach Electric Association, power outages were also reported in Sand Lake, Girdwood, Indian, Hope and Cooper Landing. The outage affected 2000 people in the Sand Lake area.
The outages were also due to high winds, the CEA wrote in a notice.
CEA officials were not immediately available to comment on when the various outages would be resolved.
The Anchorage Office of Emergency Management issued a high wind warning Thursday morning which went into affect at 10 p.m. and is scheduled to last 12 hours.
"A strong upper level disturbance originating in the Arctic will dive southward across Southcentral Alaska by late tonight," official wrote. "
According to the advisory, wind speeds Thursday night could be as high as 50 mph with gusts to 65 mph.
UPDATE 7 P.M.
Anchorage Municipal Light and Power has resolved the power outage that occurred Thursday afternoon in Anchorage, officials say.
"As of 6:04 p.m. power should have been restored to all 5000 customers," Julie Harris, a ML&P spokeswoman told KTUU.
The cause of the outage was a tree that blew into a power line in the vicinity of 10th Avenue and C Street, Harris said.
Anyone still encountering problems with their power is asked to contact ML&P's hotline at (907) 279-7671.
A power outage downtown has affected about 5,000 customers, an ML&P spokeswoman said as of 5:30 p.m.
"The area impacted by the outage is bordered by 22nd, Gambell, 8th and Westchester Lagoon," ML&P wrote in a tweet. "Cause is under investigation."
Crews are responding now, she said. The problem originated at substation 6 and the cause is under investigation. The boundaries of the outage are 8th Avenue to 22nd Avenue toward Gambell Street.
One stop on the President’s tour of Alaska next week is Dillingham. There, he is expected to spend some time to see how climate change is affecting the Bristol Bay community.
According to officials with the White House, President Obama will engage directly with residents on issues important to their communities and to the local economy.
Specific topics of discussion have yet to be released, but many residents of Dillingham hope fishing and erosion will be the focus when he visits on Wednesday.
“Our waters are pristine, our fish are wild, we live off the land,” said Robyn Chaney, resident of Dillingham.
“Most of the stuff we eat comes from Bristol Bay, all the fish, animals and birds,” said Chaney’s son, Triston.
Living a subsistence lifestyle is just one topic many hope the President will see next week, but climate change is something some say they have witnessed firsthand in Dillingham.
“Some of the most obvious is the erosion on our beaches and bluffs but also the weather changes, the cycles, we’ve seen all of those things are significant to our lives and our lifestyle because they effect the resources somewhere,” said Dillingham Mayor Alice Ruby.
Environmental Science Professor Todd Radenbaugh says that with climate change, the region is experiencing more extreme warmer and colder events effecting the fishing season. For example, last year's fishing season unexpectedly came early and local processors weren’t ready. The uncertainty, he says, is climate change and it’s affecting the local economy.
“The type of climatic events that are happening, it’s influencing not only our economy and our social structure, it’s influencing our ecosystem, it’s influencing our ground water issues and geographic processes,” said Radenbaugh. “It’s influencing when ice melts and runoff starts, it influences the cycles of plants and animals.”
Another issue in Dillingham is coastal erosion that has eaten away at the land for years, threatening residents' properties.
“Water tables are high, snowpack is low and you have percolation then that water comes out of the cliff face and freezes in the air temperature because it’s often below freezing and that causes ice to form on the cliff and then that brings sediment down onto the beach,” said Radenbaugh.
Whatever the president's focus while he’s in town, many hope it shines a light on some of the climate change issues that are impacting the Bristol Bay region
President Obama visits Alaska next week when he will speak Monday at a State Department conference, called GLACIER, on the future of the Arctic and Arctic politics.
Downtown drivers and workers will see traffic closures in the area of the Hotel Captain Cook, City Hall and the Dena’ina Center beginning Monday morning.
The city announced details of the closures today, saying more than 1,000 dignitaries and guests will be arriving from all over the world leading to heightened security in the heart of downtown.
Due to the closures, City Hall will close at 1 p.m. Monday.
Here are the locations and timing of foot traffic and road closures, according to the city:
Monday – 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. surrounding Dena'Ina Center:
Drivers in this area of downtown can expect multiple street closures on Monday to include:
F Street – midblock of 6th Ave to 8th AvenueG Street –midblock of 6th Ave to 9th Avenue (the parking garage located on G street just before 7th avenue will be accessible to the public)8th Avenue between F and H Streets7th Avenue between G and F Streets
Pedestrians in this area of downtown can expect multiple street closures on Monday to include:
8th Avenue between F and G StreetsG Street between 7th and 8th AvenuesF Street between 7th and 8th AvenuesThe north sidewalk of W 7th Avenue between G and F Streets will be open to pedestrians.
Monday, 8 a.m. -- Wednesday, noon, Hotel Captain Cook
Drivers in this area of downtown can expect multiple street closures to include:
4th Avenue between I and K StreetI Street between 4th and 5th AvenuesK Street between 4th and 5th AvenuesWestbound traffic on 5th Avenue between H and K Streets may be down to one lane.
Pedestrians in this area of downtown area can expect multiple street closures to include:
I Street between 4th and 5th Avenues4th and 5th Avenue between I and K Street, and K Street will have restricted pedestrian access.
"These road closures should not impede accessibility to businesses located near the Dena’ina Center. Road Closure and no parking signs will be posted; parking violators will be towed. Because of the road closures and parking restrictions, City Hall will close at 1:00 pm on Monday.
An Anchorage musician hopes a song he recently recorded will inspire people to stop the violence.
Police say there have been 19 homicides in Anchorage so far this year, the highest annual body count in the city since at least 2010.
Samuel Johns and six other people wrote and recorded the song. Johns said each killing reminds him of the murder of his cousin in 2010. Eddie Yazzie was stabbed to death and his body was found near a church on Debarr Rd. The murder is still unsolved.
"Someone so young gets taken away like that it sticks with you, you know," Johns said.
Watch the video to listen to portions of the song.
UPDATE: 7 P.M.
Police have removed the perimeter originally set up on W. 79th Ave following a shooting in the area at 5 p.m. Thursday afternoon, Anchorage police spokeswoman Renee Oistad told KTUU
No suspects have been taken into custody at this time, she said. Police will continue to search for the suspect.
UPDATE 5 P.M.
Police have released the following description of the suspect:
"The shooting suspect is described as a light-skinned black male, approximately 18-years-old, sparse facial hair, black rimmed prescription glasses. He was last seen wearing a grayish-brown hoody and dark pants. He is armed with a handgun."
Anchorage police say a man was shot this afternoon in West Anchorage and have closed some roadways as they search for a suspect.
The shooting was reported on the 3500 block of West 79th Avenue. An adult male was taken to the hospital for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound, the department says.
The area is south of Strawberry Road, east of Jewell Lake Road.
"A perimeter has been set up and some portions of nearby roadways have been closed," according to police.
In 2009, then Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called the federal government's management of subsistence hunting and fishing "broken." Six years later, President Obama is making his first visit to Alaska and many communities hope to bring Alaska's subsistence management to the forefront.
"Local people have to have first access to our resources," said Woodie Salmon, a resident of Chalkyitsik, who was recently accused of the illegal hunting of a bull moose. "If we don't take the opportunity now before it opens then we don't have many opportunities."
It's one of many complaints from one of many interested parties in Alaska's subsistence tug-of-war.
John "Sky" Starkey, a well known attorney who specializes in tribal hunting and fishing subsistence rights, says the system is still broken today.
"It's the entire structure of management," Starkey said. "It's not going to get fixed until we have a unified structure of management that includes a meaningful role for Alaska Natives in the system."
One way the federal government made strides in this issue was by appointing two public rural user representatives to the Federal Subsistence Board. Currently, Anthony Christianson and Charles Brower fill those positions. Both are Alaska Natives.
"That's a big deal," U.S. Fish and Wildlife's public affair representative Andrea Medeiros said. "There was a lot of federal representation but no representation of the subsistence user on the board."
Medeiros says there's hope, and Starkey thinks there's a bright future ahead with the new Walker administration.
"This administration in the state has shown a willingness to move forward on those issues," Starkey said. "The Federal Subsistence Board continues to look at ways to reform and be more responsible to subsistence users and to healthy wildlife and fish populations."
Drivers, Anchorage Police issued the following alert at 4:16 p.m.: "All westbound lanes on Dimond Boulevard at Briarwood are closed while vehicles involved in crash are towed." Police say no one has been injured.
Pacific walrus have come ashore on Alaska's northwest coast in what has become an annual sign of the effects of climate change.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Andrea Medeiros confirmed Thursday that "several thousand" walrus were photographed over the weekend near Point Lay, an Inupiat Eskimo village 700 miles northwest of Anchorage.
Walrus have been coming to shore on the U.S. side of the Chukchi Sea in large numbers since 2007.
Researchers say walrus come ashore when sea ice melts and recedes far to the north beyond the shallow outer continental shelf, where it's too deep to dive for clams and other food on the ocean bottom.
Young walrus are vulnerable to injury or death in stampedes if something startles the animals.
New research from NASA shows the Earth’s ocean levels have risen approximately three inches in the past 20 years and sea levels are increasing at faster rates.
“The data shows that sea levels are rising faster than they were 50 years ago and it’s very likely to get worse in the future,” says Steve Nerem, lead scientist for NASA’s Sea Level Change Team. “The biggest uncertainty for predicting future sea level rise is determining how quickly the polar ice sheets will melt in response to warming.”
Sea level rises are uneven across the globe. Some areas of southern Alaska and the west coast of the Lower 48 have seen a drop in sea levels, while some areas have seen rises as much as 9 inches. NASA Climate Scientist Josh Willis says that is partially due to a long term weather pattern called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
“As the natural cycles begin to shift into new phases, this will even out and places like California, Oregon and Washington and even to a certain extent, Southern Alaska are going to see faster-than-average rates of sea level rise,” Willis says.
There are 2 primary reasons for sea level rise, one is the expansion of ocean waters due to increased warmth. The other is the melting of land-based ice, such as the Greenland ice sheets and the glaciers in Alaska and Canada.
Scientists estimate about one-third of sea level rise is caused by expansion of warmer ocean water with the other two-thirds are split evenly between the melting of ice sheets and mountain glaciers.
In 2013, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued an assessment that stated global sea levels would likely rise from 1 to 3 feet by the end of the century.
According to Nerem, new research available since this report suggests the higher end of that range is more likely, and the question remains how that range might shift upward.
According to NASA, 150 million people, mostly in Asia, live within one meter of the ocean.
The National Transportation Safety Board issued a preliminary report Thursday detailing the events leading up to the Aug. 22 plane crash near Kasilof. Pilot Brian Nolan and sole passenger Peter Lahndt died in the crash.
According to the report, a weather station at the Soldotna Airport recorded light winds, clear skies, and 10 mile visibility in the area at 8:16 p.m., minutes before the crash occurred. Nolan had not filed a flight plan prior to takeoff, the report said.
A witness mentioned in the report said he saw the Cessna 180 flying towards his house overlooking Cook Inlet. The plane was flying along the beach about 20 feet above the ground.
As the plane neared the house, it turned inland and began to climb sharply until it was about 100 feet above the treeline on the bluffs overlooking the inlet.
According to NTSB spokesperson Clint Johnson, Nolan's house was also located in the vicinity.
"“This is something this pilot had done in times past. This was standard procedure for him," Johnson told KTUU. "He would fly over his house so his wife would know to come pick him up at the airport.”
The Cessna only made it a few hundred feet inland after climbing, Johnson said. The report describes what the witness saw next:
"He said that as the nose of the airplane began to lower, he heard a reduction in engine power, followed by a sound that was consistent with an engine misfiring. The airplane then descended into an area of tree-covered terrain at the top of the bluff, and it disappeared from view."
The impact was heard immediately after.
By the time the witness arrived at the scene of the crash, a post-impact fire had already burned through much of the wreckage and, "firearms ammunition could be heard exploding from within the burning airplane," the NTSB report said.
Investigators arrived at the crash site the next morning to find that much of the wreckage had been incinerated in the fire.
Further examination of the wreckage is still pending, NTSB officials wrote.
UPDATE 12 P.M.
A woman was seriously injured Thursday in a rollover crash on Tudor in Anchorage. The woman was the only occupant of the vehicle, and the crash did not involve any other cars, Anchorage police spokeswoman Renee Oistad told KTUU.
Police say that the woman was traveling westbound on Tudor when her vehicle left the roadway near the intersection at Old Seward.
"She drove down the grass on the side of the road for several yards, and then clipped a light pole, which caused the vehicle to start spinning," Oistad wrote in an Email. "The spinning vehicle hit a median which caused the vehicle to roll."
Police were unable to comment on why the vehicle initially left the roadway.
Police closed the intersection by around 8 a.m. Thursday morning. The scene of the accident was cleared by around noon, police said.
A single-vehicle rollover at Old Seward Highway and Tudor Road has interrupted morning traffic, Anchorage police say.
The Anchorage Police Department asked drivers to avoid the area, as of 8 a.m., saying the accident had closed the intersection. At least one turning lane appeared to remain closed as of 8:20 a.m.
FAIRBANKS — The sentencing hearing will be continued next week for a man accused of evidence tampering in the deaths of two Alaska State Troopers.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the hearing for Arvin Kangas will resume Sept. 3.
A jury in Nenana found him guilty of tampering with the guns of Sgt. Scott Johnson and Trooper Gabe Rich after they were shot and killed in Tanana May 1, 2014. Kangas' son, Nathanial, is charged with the troopers' deaths, and his trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 9. The troopers went to Tanana to arrest the elder Kangas after he threatened the local officer.
The hearing was continued as the judge considered objections from both sides to statements in the pre-sentence report. Kangas also wanted time to speak before sentencing.
A woman attempting to check her mail Wednesday night in Wasilla was surprised when an armed man “sprung from the nearby wood line” and tried to rob her, Alaska State Troopers say.
Troopers and Wasilla police have been unable to find the man, described only as a white adult wearing dark clothing. The attack came at 9:42 p.m. at mailboxes in the area of Williwaw Way and Tanana Drive, troopers wrote in a dispatch posted online.
Authorities searched the surrounding woods and neighborhoods. Anyone with information is asked to call troopers at 352-5401 or call Crime Stoppers at 745-3333.
Lisa Sauder, Executive Director of Bean’s Café, says the soup kitchen has had issues with the drug spice in the past but, it’s been an emergency situation since mid-July.
“We saw an increase in need for medical attention and people becoming unresponsive very quickly, going into cardiac arrest,” said Sauder.
Since July 18th, the Anchorage Fire Department has transported 262 patients for known or suspected spice use.
“We did have one incident where we had a total of seven patients that we transported off of a single call,” said EMS Operations Chief Erich Scheunemann.
Bean’s Café has increased staff, all trained in CPR, to adequately manage its grounds.
“One of our staff members actually did CPR for 11 minutes on a client and we are pleased that he survived,” said Sauder.
Also adding to concern, Sauder says clients are reporting buying marijuana but reacting to the drug as if they were using spice, suggesting the drug is being laced.
A Texas man has been sentenced to 70 months imprisonment for his involvement in an international drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.
According to prosecutors, Jose Ramon Canales, 37, of El Paso, Texas played an "integral" role in longstanding conspiracies to distribute illegal drugs to Anchorage and smuggle the profits out of the United States. He later pleaded guilty to the charges, and admitted to receiving large amounts of drug money.
Canales's involvement in the operation began in October of 2013, when he accepted $70,000 from an unknown co-conspirator in Alaska to ship three kilograms of heroin into the state, prosecutors said.
In March 2014, Canales received another $28,000 for an additional kilogram of heroin. He later drove the drug money over the border into Mexico.
Canales is the first of several individuals involved in this conspiracy to receive a sentence. Many more are expected in the coming months, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
"Canales's sentencing is one of the first related to a string of indictments returned in late 2014 and early 2015 as part of ongoing efforts to dismantle and prosecute several large scale drug trafficking rings with ties to Alaska, California, Texas, Arizona, and Mexico," the U.S. Attorney's Office wrote in a report.
The U.S. Attorney's office announced November of last year that eight people had been indicted for, "conspiring to distribute large quantities of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine in Alaska and also working together to launder money from the United States into Mexico." Canales was one of those men.
According to the indictments, Canales worked closely with Omar Alejandro Alfaro in conspiring to sell up to 12 kilograms of methamphetamine inside Alaska. A third man, Genaro Gutierrez-Reyes, of California, helped Canales to transport the drug profits to Mexico, prosecutors say.
The indictments included four other individuals, based in California and Arizona, were also involved in the trafficking of large amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine to Alaska, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. These were Tomas Gutierrez Ayala, Geronimo Arellano Velarde, Cristian Giovanni Lugo, and Jasmin Sanchez.
The eighth and final indictment charged 51-year-old Timothy George Alex, of Anchorage, with distributing various drugs in Alaska.
Court documents show that the trials for Alex, Alfaro, and Gutierrez-Reyes are still ongoing.
"Several other defendants are set to be sentenced in the coming months for their roles in trafficking heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine to Alaska and then transporting the cash proceeds of their trafficking activities back to Mexico," a U.S. Attorney's Office spokesperson wrote Wednesday.
In July 2015, a federal grand jury sentenced Daniel Martin Harris of Anchorage to 135 months imprisonment for possessing and distributing heroin and methamphetamine. The U.S. Attorney's Office said Wednesday that Harris's crimes were "related" to Canales's sentencing.
Harris's wife, Sandra Luz Harris, was sentenced to 72 months imprisonment after she was found guilty of "maintaining a drug-involved premises", court records show.
Only two people have been cited for the possession of spice since a hike in the number of hospitalizations caused by the drug at the start of the month, Anchorage police spokesperson Jennifer Castro told Channel 2 News.
Police cited 32-year-old Abdurrahim Harris five times on Aug. 10, once on Aug. 12 and once on Aug. 21 for possession of the drug. Besides Harris, 53-year-old Lorna Eischens was cited once for possession. Law enforcement officers have not yet cited anyone for selling the drug.
While police can cite someone for possession or sale of the synthetic marijuana, they cannot cite someone for consumption of the drug.
Officials say that while spice use hasn't necessarily increased in recent weeks, the number of people being sent to the hospital for medical reactions to the drug have grown significantly.
Since the start of the month, law enforcement has responded to as many as 200 spice-related issues, according to numbers provided by the Anchorage Police Department.
The Department of Health announced in a press release Aug. 18 that one person had died from the effects of the drug and several adolescents and young adults had been hospitalized. There has been a growing concern for the easy availability of the harmful substance after a 12-year-old child was taken to the hospital for a bad reaction to the drug on Aug. 15.
Some of the symptoms displayed by people who have reacted badly to the drug include cardiac arrest, inability to breath, seizures, foaming at the mouth, screaming and body contortions.
UPDATE: A man is dead after being caught in a burning trailer, Tuesday night, fire investigator Brian Balega told Channel 2 News.
The victim went into cardiac arrest after being pulled out of the trailer and medics conducted resuscitation efforts as he was transported to the hospital, Alex Boyd, Battalion Chief with the fire department said.
"The man was pronounced dead at the hospital," Boyd said.
ORIGINAL: One man was hospitalized and his dog perished in a trailer fire Tuesday night in East Anchorage, officials with the Anchorage Fire Department told Channel 2 News.
The fire was reported to the fire department at about 11:16 p.m. Tuesday at the Glencaren trailer court in East Anchorage.
"It was reported that an adult male was possibly entrapped in the trailer," AFD spokesperson John See said.
A total of 16 units responded to the fire and fire crews were able to get the man out of the burning trailer home within three minutes, according to See.
First responders initiated resuscitation efforts after the victim was removed from the trailer, which continued on the way to the hospital, according to Battalion Chief Alex Boyd.
"The dog sadly perished," See said.
The victim's condition is not immediately known.
Ninety-five years ago today, the Nineteenth Amendment gave every woman the right to vote. Today, women across the United States are celebrating Women's Equality Day.
For one Anchorage organization, this marks the one year anniversary for the YWCA gender pay equity initiative.
Today, the group came out with a one year economic equity report. The YWCA hopes to close the gender pay gap in Alaska by 2025.
Currently the YWCA says that women in the United States are paid 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. This number is even lower for the State of Alaska, where women are paid 67 cents to every dollar a man makes.
Hilary Morgan, CEO of the YWCA of Alaska, says their report will hopefully help companies in the state look more closely at pay equity.
"There are systems that have been designed here that haven't really been looked at. Where in other states it has been looked at how woman get to higher executive position in companies," Morgan said.
Anchorage has four new laws regulating marijuana in the city, including where you can keep the drug while driving, under a vote Tuesday by the Assembly.
Just like alcohol, marijuana in an "open" container must be stored in the trunk of a vehicle. So if you've got a freshly filled growler, a half-empty bottle of tequila or a ziplock bag with marijuana, all of it must be kept out of the passenger area of the vehicle.
Marijuana Control Board Chairman Bruce Schulte says he doesn't have any issue with the ordinance being passed now but hopes it can be revisited in the future once packaging rules are outlined by the state.
There are no current regulations that describe how authorities can determine a marijuana package is sealed and has never been opened. The state board plans to look at the topic of retail packaging next week.
It is legal to posses up to 1 ounce of marijuana if you're walking around in public.
The Anchorage Assembly passed the ordinances Tuesday night as part of a "housekeeping" measures according to assemblyman Ernie Hall. Most of the ordinances already exist for alcohol and were updated with the addition of marijuana in the text.
The other newly passed ordinances say an underage person cannot lie or use false ID to buy the drug and that marijuana cannot be grown in plain view of the public.
Court documents have revealed that Chris Winters sent multiple threatening text messages in the days leading up to the fatal shooting of Byzantium Hill early Sunday morning. Winters appeared in court today, charged with first-degree murder.
Following the shooting, investigators found that Winters was owed a large sum of money by two men, identified by prosecutors only as J.S. and K.W. Both men were residents of the house at 500 Lane Street, where police found Hill in critical condition from a gunshot wound.
The two men owed Winters as much as $7500, and Winters sent a series of menacing texts demanding the money in days leading up to the shooting.
"Hopefully I can get cowboy boots made out of your skin... That would be worth 7K to me!" read one of the texts sent by Winters on Aug. 22nd, court documents say.
At around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, a masked man armed with a handgun approached J.S. as he was leaving the house on Lane Street and forced him back into the house by way of an outside door leading down into the basement, charges say.
The masked man was later identified as 38-year-old Quenton Henderson.
As they were entering, Henderson lost his balance and J.S. used to opportunity to try and restrain him. He was soon joined by K.W., who was also present somewhere inside the house.
"As the two men were subduing Henderson in the basement, another unknown male entered the residence. J.S. stated that Henderson and the other man were both armed with handguns and began firing in the house," the indictment says.
Byzantium Hill, who was upstairs during the fight, heard the gunshots and went to the front door to investigate. There, they saw a third shooter dressed in black firing a gun at the house from outside.
"Hill began to head down the interior stairs that lead to the basement, likely armed with his own firearm. Hill was shot while attempting to descend the stairs."
While residents were tending to Hill, the 3 assailants attempted to flee. Two of the shooters managed to escape in a car while Henderson was caught and subdued by residents.
After being questioned later by police, Henderson admitted that "Chris had sent him."
Police say they are sill searching for one of the shooters.
"The second man, the one that had been seen firing into the house from the carport area, fled and has not yet been apprehended," the indictment read. "At least one of the men that fled the residence after the shooting is believed to have been injured and possibly suffered a gunshot wound."
Winters has two previous drunken driving convictions and one conviction for failing to stop at the direction of an officer in 2006.