Alaska's congressional delegation has signed up for insurance under the new health care law.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young obtained policies through a Washington, D.C., marketplace. Both have been critics of the law and expressed frustration with the enrollment process.
Young's spokesman says Young will face a premium increase of more than triple his existing rate.
Members of Congress were eligible for employer contributions of 75 percent of their premiums if they signed up through the D.C. exchange. Sen. Mark Begich opted instead to sign up through the Alaska marketplace.
Begich, a supporter of the law preparing for a tough re-election bid, said he wanted to have the same experience as other Alaskans and felt it only fair to enroll as he did.
The Alaska Redistricting Board is seeking a final judgment approving use of its latest map in upcoming elections.
Superior Court Judge Michael McConahy last month accepted the board's plan, saying it met constitutional standards.
Plaintiffs in the case, including two Fairbanks-area residents and the Alaska Democratic party, decided not to appeal. Board attorneys, in seeking a final judgment, say the plaintiffs also did not ask McConahy to reconsider his decision by a recently passed deadline.
The attorneys are seeking a judgment declaring the board complied with an Alaska Supreme Court order and was the prevailing party in the litigation.
They also want the judgment to declare the map "constitutional in all respects" and to be used until a new map is drawn after the 2020 Census.
For one Alaska city, it's not rain, sleet or snow that's slowing mail delivery. It's a broken postal sorting machine that has forced officials to fly letters and packages more than 200 miles away to be separated and flown back for delivery.
That has left Ketchikan residents to complain about mail getting delivered up to five days late.
The U.S. Postal Service spokesman Ernie Swanson says Ketchikan's sorting equipment gave out and it's not practical to replace it right now. The decision to ship the letters to Juneau has raised concerns among local and state officials.
U.S. Sen. Mark Begich is calling on the agency to review its decision. Swanson says the agency believes it can still provide customers with a good level of service under the current arrangement.
When a car gets stuck on the side of a busy highway, it may be tempting to try and fix the problem alone or with a friend, but police say it is safer to call for help.
A Tuesday evening multi-vehicle collision on the Glenn Highway is a good example why.
A vehicle drove off the roadway and into a ditch.
Instead of calling Anchorage police to ask for assistance, another vehicle showed up and tried to tow the first car to safety sometime around 6 p.m.
A passing vehicle struck the vehicle of the good samaritan, another hit the cluster of disabled cars and so on.
No one was seriously injured, but when traffic came to a stop, nine vehicles were damaged and a lane of traffic was closed during the highway's busiest time of day.
"People just want to help," said APD spokesperson Jennifer Castro. "But drivers on the highway drive at a high rate of speed, there are bends and corners.
"If your car breaks down or runs out of gas, anything, just call APD and we'll come and assist."
Alaska is a big, sometimes weird state that's full of things you're unlikely to find anywhere else. Here are some of the stranger glimpses of life in the Last Frontier.
December 10 is celebrated across the world as Human Rights Day, and the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission used the day to spotlight victims of bullying.
Tuesday evening the group held a forum to explain that bullies are not just found in schools but also in the workplace.
The Growth Company advises on how to make the workplace better and was invited to present at the forum, and explained bullies are self-centered and often aggressive.
AERC said if bullying occurs in the workplace, people should tell a supervisor or a human resources manager immediately.
If bullying involves a child in school, the principal should be informed.
If these options are not possible, senior officer Dawnyale Bolds said people should contact her office.
"The Anchorage Equal Rights Commission is here to take a complaint and help you work through those things," says Bolds. "Our purpose is to be an impartial and provide an unbiased investigation into um all institutions and work are following the laws."
AERC can be reached at 343-4343. Translators are available, and all services are free and confidential.
Management of fisheries in Alaska is largely handled by the state, but waters far offshore are controlled by federal officials and international guidelines.
Many fishermen with a stake in national waters are in Anchorage as the North Pacific Fishery Management Council discusses its management of the waters.
Anchorage hosts three of the council's five meetings each year, and with Alaska's fishery valued at more than $1 billion, there is a lot at stake.
Many user groups including big commercial processors down to independent fishermen are watching closely and providing their input, because the decisions that result from these meetings can have a substantial impact on their livelihood.
"It's where everybody in the industry is here that really participates and has an interest," said commercial fisherman Bernie Burkholder. "It's where you need to be when decisions are going to be made that affect your industry and your fishery and your community."
The council's meeting kicks off Wednesday at 8 a.m. in the Anchorage Hilton Hotel.
Reporter Dan Carpenter, Photojournalist Eric Sowl
Police found an unidentified man's body near Basher Trailhead in Anchorage, where the truck of a missing airman was found Tuesday afternoon.
What caused the man's death is unknown, but the body was found a mile and a half from a black Dodge pickup truck driven by 22-year-old SSgt. Tanner Volkers.
Volkers, a Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson firefighter, was last seen Saturday at his residence. He was reported missing Sunday when he did not show up for work.
“It was mentioned that Volkers was last seen at his residence on (Saturday evening), and that he had taken some of his belongings and left on his own,” said APD spokesperson Jennifer Castro.
Police responded to Volkers’ home to investigate. Castro said Tuesday morning there was nothing suspicious about his disappearance, though she said he is known to have some health issues.
On Tuesday afternoon, police could not immediately identify the man found near a trailhead, but he was found after a search of the hilly, snow-covered ground.
Volkers is reportedly known to hike local trails like Flattop, Arctic Valley, Thunderbird Falls and the Eagle River Nature Center.
The airman is white, 5-foot-10 and 150 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information is asked to call APD at 786-8900.
Channel 2's Austin Baird and Lacie Grosvold contributed to this story
Watch Channel 2 News and check KTUU.com for updates to this developing story
An Alaska community's sale on eBay of a vehicle used by former Mayor Sarah Palin has caused a stir in small-town politics.
The city of Wasilla, just north of Anchorage, auctioned off the 1999 Expedition used by Palin during her second term as mayor on the website. A Fairbanks woman bought it for $10,300, about $8,000 over its value.
The city will use the money to replenish its vehicle replacement fund. But Deputy Mayor Colleen Sullivan-Leonard proposed using the funds to restock the local food pantry.
That proposal died Monday when Mayor Verne Rupright declined to break a 3-3 council tie.
Sullivan-Leonard says it's unfortunate Rupright is capitalizing on Palin's name to fatten city coffers. Rupright says it's just good business when you can get more money than expected for surplus equipment.
Alaska State Troopers are awaiting autopsy results on a 60-year-old Palmer man whose body was found with a marijuana grow operation at his home Monday, but say his death may be suspicious.
According to a Tuesday AST dispatch, troopers were informed at about 8 p.m. Monday that a family member found the body of Theodore Konyot. His next of kin have since been notified, and the body is scheduled to undergo an autopsy at the state medical examiner’s office in Anchorage.
In an email to Channel 2, AST spokesperson Megan Peters says the grow operation located on the property, which drew members of the Alaska Bureau of Investigation and the Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit, consisted of about 60 plants.
“Troopers think the death is suspicious but we are not clarifying how or why,” Peters wrote.
Peters declines to say whether troopers are seeking suspects in the case, noting that Konyot’s death hasn’t been ruled a homicide.
“We have not classified it anything other than a death investigation at this point,” Peters said.
Konyot’s court record shows a number of dismissed misdemeanor charges for moving violations, the last of which occurred in 2003.
As troopers await Konyot's autopsy results, Peters says their investigation will continue.
“It’s a death investigation, there’s a marijuana grow -- we’re looking at it,” Peters said.
National Transportation Safety Board officials say witnesses were concerned about a Nov. 29 Hageland Aviation flight that crashed after diverting to St. Mary’s, killing four people and injuring six others.
According to the NTSB preliminary report on the 6:24 p.m. crash of the Cessna 208B Caravan, released Tuesday, the aircraft was being operated as Era Alaska Flight 1543.
The Cessna’s pilot, 68-year-old Terry Hanson, was killed in the crash along with three passengers from Mountain Village: Rose Polty, 57, Richard Polty, 65, and 5-month-old infant Wyatt Coffee. Six other Mountain Village survived the crash with serious injuries: Melanie Coffee, 25; Pauline Johnson, 37; Kylan Johnson, 14; Shannon Lawrence; Tonya Lawrence, 35; and Garrett Moses, 30.
The preliminary report says the flight had originated in Bethel and was en route to Mountain Village with a planned continuation to St. Mary’s, but was diverted to St. Mary’s by poor weather.
“Night, instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed at the St. Mary's airport at the time of the accident and company flight following procedures were in effect,” officials wrote.
When the aircraft passed by St. Mary’s headed for Mountain Village at 5:41 p.m., people on the ground noted its position in the sky.
“Being concerned about the direction and altitude the airplane was flying, the witnesses attempted to contact the pilot on the radio, with no response,” officials wrote. “They then heard another aircraft on the radio report that there was an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) going off in the vicinity of St. Mary's.”
A search for the aircraft took only an hour to find the plane, about a mile southeast of the airport. Three people were dead at the scene, with a fourth dying after arriving at a hospital for treatment. The six survivors were all taken to Anchorage for treatment.
The NTSB says the aircraft wasn’t fitted with recording devices found in other aircraft, a factor which may complicate the investigation.
“The accident airplane was not equipped, nor was it required to be equipped with, a cockpit voice recorder (CVR), or a flight data recorder (FDR),” officials wrote.
When NTSB investigators reached the scene on Dec. 1, the wreckage was found at a mean sea level altitude of 425 feet, in an area of tundra with a ridge at 530 feet.
“From the initial point of impact, the airplane traveled approximately 200 feet before coming to rest in an upright position,” officials wrote. “The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, empennage, and wings. An on-scene documentation of the wreckage was completed, and a detailed wreckage examination is pending, following recovery of the airplane.”
Conditions at the St. Mary’s airport eight minutes before the crash included a temperature of 18 degrees, winds from the southwest at 7 knots, visibility at 3 statute miles and overcast skies with cloud cover at 300 feet.
Nine law enforcement officers including three former Corrections Department employees have been decertified by the Alaska Police Standards Council.
The Anchorage Daily News reports the council on Dec. 3 voted to revoke state certification for five law enforcement officers and accepted the surrendered certification of four others.
Council director Kelly Alzaharna says members may not publically discuss why certification is revoked.
Among those surrendering badges was Troy Wilson. The former Juneau Police Department lieutenant was sentenced in July for attempted assault connected to an April 2012 incident in which he fired shots as officers responded to a call at his home.
Alzaharna says about 3,000 men and women are certified by the council.
Two Juneau police officers are being recognized for saving the life of a man who stopped breathing at a public event.
The Juneau Empire reports Officers Jarrett Mahoney and Frank Dolan were on foot patrol Sunday and summoned to help a 60-year-old man who collapsed at a Juneau Arts and Cultural Center event.
The officers positioned the man to open his airway. The man stopped breathing and the officers began cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Capital City Fire and Rescue paramedics arrived and used an automatic external defibrillator to begin the man's heartbeat.
The man was rushed to Bartlett Regional Hospital and is recovering.
Police Lt. Kris Sell says an emergency room doctor concluded the officers' actions were critical to the man's survival.
The Alaska Department of Transportation is testing a piece of equipment designed to crush ice on highways.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the tool, a Raiko Icebreaker, was used for two weeks on Fairbanks roads and is headed to Anchorage for two weeks of tests.
The icebreaker is made by Finnish company Sah-Ko Oy. It attaches to the front of a plow truck. It looks like a long tube and crushes ice with rows of metal spikes.
The Transportation Department now scrapes ice with serrated grader blades and underbelly plows.
The department's Dan Schacher says the tool did well on Fairbanks' Johansen Expressway and other high-priority roads and did best on thick ice.
The 9-foot-wide, 3,800-pound device costs about $45,000, about twice as much as regular department snow plows.
Juneau police have arrested three people in connection with a drug-related shooting that left one man wounded at an apartment complex parking lot.
Police in a release Monday said James Depasquale, Jerall Torres and Amanda Phillips all are being held at the Lemon Creek Correctional Facility.
Depasquale is charged with misconduct involving a controlled substance, solicitation of misconduct involving a controlled substance, a weapons misconduct and assault.
Phillips is being held on an evidence tampering charge, and Torres has been charged with weapons misconduct after allegedly shooting Depasquale in the shoulder and wrist.
Philips was arraigned over the weekend, and has a court appearance set Tuesday.
The Juneau Empire reports court documents say the early Friday shooting between the two men was over the sale of heroin.
KTUU Channel 2 News presents The Morning Show with David George and Sheila Balistreri.
A group of Bristol Bay setnet fishermen filed a lawsuit Monday related to the sinking of the Lone Star, a fishing vessel that capsized in a Western Alaska river this summer.
On the morning of June 30, the vessel’s anchor struck a transducer and tore a hole in the hull while navigating the Igushik River.
Few details of what led to the sinking are known, but the vessel sank in 18 feet of water and proved difficult to remove – crews struggled to break the ship loose from the river’s muddy waters, so it lingered for three months.
Alaska Fish and Game officials estimated a significant sheen extended as far as two miles, and more than 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled.
For local setnet fishermen, that meant an early end to salmon fishing season.
“Most of our clients are people who fished right there, and they couldn’t move because they setnet,” said lawyer Myron Angstman, who filed the lawsuit.
Charles Burrece, the ship's owner, Trident Seafood Corp., Magone Marine Service, Daniel Magone and Resolve Marine Group, Inc. are listed as defendants.
Angstman said it is difficult to put an exact number on the losses incurred: his clients lost income and the ability to subsistence fish, and there were other alleged damages.
The lawsuit claims Magone Marine Service dumped 35,000 pounds of dead salmon near where the ship sank – the salmon washed ashore and attracted bears to the area, which in turned caused alleged damages to cabins of some plaintiffs.
Magone told KTUU he was doing a favor by salvaging the ship: “This proves no good deed goes unpunished,” he said.
But Angstman said the village of Manokotak relies heavily on the area and that fishing is the primary livelihood and was badly set back because of the ordeal.
“This is a very unique fishing district,” Angstman said. “The Igushik River has only one village on it, just a little ways up inside the river … so this affected the village dramatically.”
Channel 2's Samantha Angaiak contributed to this report
A pregnancy website names Anchorage the 8th best city in the U.S. to have a baby, thanks to hospital staff and services available.