Arrest in Halloween homicide: The Anchorage Police Department has arrested 26-year-old Korakanh Phornsavanh for the Oct. 28, 2012 murder of 27-year-old Said Beshirov, who was shot outside of Platinum Jaxx, a bar in downtown Anchorage, at the end of the Halloween celebration, police reported. A fight erupted outside the bar as it was closing, and nearby business's video cameras caught the altercation, which helped lead to the defendant's indictment. But police still are asking for the public's help, as there were a large number of potential witnesses who saw the shooting.
Woah, man: Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell on Friday certified a ballot initiative which would legalize recreational cannabis use in the Last Frontier, where some medicinal use is already sanctioned. Legal pot enthusiasts now have a year to gather about 30,000 signatures from qualified voters to get the question on the ballot, The Associated Press reports. Class-cutting high-school wasteoids should curb their enthusiasm, though; the proposal would legalize toking up and possessing up to 1 ounce of Mary Jane legal only for people 21 and older, as well as set out provisions for legal grow operations and establish an excise tax.
Irony alert: At an event at the Asia Society on Thursday, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson called out US officials for dragging their feet on approving applications for new LNG export projects, Reuters reports. Hours after Tillerson made his remarks, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told lawmakers he hopes to begin evaluating the more than a dozen LNG export applications awaiting approval, none of which involve a project in Alaska, including the one Exxon is involved in. On Wednesday, Tillerson broke it to shareholders that the company's growth strategy has so far fallen short because of persistently low natural gas prices due to a technology-driven domestic market glut.
Gravel backs Snowden: Alaska's former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel -- famous for publicly releasing Daniel Ellsberg's Pentagon Papers in 1971 -- has come out in support of Edward Snowden's disclosure of the National Security Agency's secret surveillance of Americans. However, Gravel, who recently raised eyebrows for alleging a White House coverup over the existence of aliens, told The Huffington Post he was skeptical that much positive change will emerge from the leak.
Orphan finds home: A female baby musk ox has joined the herd at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, south of Anchorage in Portage, after she was found near Deering, a village in Northwest Alaska. She has not yet been named, but she sure is cute!
Puppies!: The Denali National Park puppy cam is back online for 2013, a webcam service that monitors the 30 dogs at the Park Kennels at this popular Interior Alaska destination. Alaska Dispatch might have the loon cam, but it's hard to beat the cuteness level of month-old sled dog puppies as they grow and play at the park. The webcam refreshes every 15 seconds or so, and it's quite likely you'll spot a park employee or two snuggling with the new pups. Can't say we blame them.
$urprise, $urprise: Alaska ranks ninth on a list of the top 10 most expensive states to live. The U.S Commerce Department created a new way of evaluating price levels -- including personal income, rent and inflation -- in order to compare and contrast states. Among the most expensive places to live are Hawaii, New York, Washington, D.C., and New Jersey, while South Dakota, North Dakota and Mississippi are among the cheapest.
Fairbanks plane crash caught on tape: Last month, veteran pilot Dale Hemman posted a video to Youtube that shows multiple views of his 2012 crash in Fairbanks, AVweb reported. Hemman took off in his modified 1975 Beechcraft F33A Bonanza on July 26, 2012 leading 12 aircraft on an aerial tour for a group called "Let's Fly Alaska" when his plane lost power -- the National Transportation Safety Board was unable to pinpoint what caused the power loss -- and the pilot faced several options that included flying into trees or gliding to an open field across a channel of water. Three externally mounted cameras show Hemman pitch right and barely clear the channel, landing the plane on its belly and damaging its right wing in the process.
Sights on Alaska U.S. senators in renewed gun debate: Alaska U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, who's up for re-election next year, may or may not be in talks aimed at reviving gun legislation, according to a weakly-sourced story Thursday from the New York Times. Begich was one of four Democrats who opposed the legislative push in April; Mayor Michael Bloomberg has vowed to retaliate against Begich and the others by persuading Democratic campaign donors to withhold funds next year. The Times speculates that if Democrats strike an accord with Begich that exempts rural and person-to-person gun sales from background checks, then maybe Alaska's other senator may be persuadable, too.
Independent: Alaska Airlines chief executives Brad Tilden reaffirmed the airline's long-standing strategy to stay independent, despite the continued consolidation in the US aviation sector, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal this week. Seattle-based Alaska has managed to make a profit the past four years, a good record in an industry that witnessed the bankruptcy of American Airlines in 2011.