McKinley found to be shorter than thought: Say it ain't so! According to the office of Lieutenant Gov. Mead Treadwell, new topographic maps produced by the state of Alaska and a number of federal agencies including the U.S. Geological Survey have revealed that Mount McKinley -- also known as Denali or "The Great One" -- is actually 83 feet shorter than previously thought, flying in the face of longtime conventional wisdom about the mountain. "The good news is: Denali is still the tallest peak in North America," Treadwell said in a release, though that comes as little consolation to mountaineers who now must lay claim to having climbed a mere 20,237 feet to McKinley's summit, instead of the previously-assumed 20,320.
Child cyclist hit by car succumbs to injuries: Eleven-year-old Dante Gibbs died early Wednesday at an Anchorage hospital nine days after he was hit by a car while trying to cross the Glenn Highway on a bike, police said. Gibbs made it across the six eastbound lanes of the Glenn with his friend, and a Pontiac sedan hit him in the westbound lanes about 7:40 p.m. Sept. 2, police spokeswoman Anita Shell said. Gibbs was taken to a hospital, but he never regained consciousness and died about 3:15 a.m. Wednesday, Shell said. The Pontiac's driver was not cited. Shell said in a written statement that all cyclists should cross streets when signalled at designated crosswalks and should always wear helmets.
Civil Air Patrol joining search for missing Anchorage-bound plane: Despite a day and a half of searching, no signs have been found of a missing Piper PA-32 plane that lost contact with Anchorage air traffic controllers Monday afternoon. The plane left Ketchikan for Anchorage's Merrill Field before disappearing near the Malaspina Glacier, about 320 miles southeast of Alaska's largest city. KTOO in Juneau identified the pilot as 47-year-old Alan Foster of Eagle River and an Alaska Air National Guard HC-130 continues to look for the plane near where it was last known to be flying, around Yakutat, Alaska, and planes from the Civil Air Patrol are set to join in the search.
An expert on Alaskan ass: Has your ass been immortalized by the Butt Sketcher? Pjae Naiima, an artist from Dallas, has headed to the University of Alaska Anchorage for some eight years, now, to sketch the "derrieres of countless students," reports the Northern Light, UAA's student-published newspaper, in an excellent profile of the artist. Asked why she draws butts, Naiima said she was just following her boss's lead, "who already had the momentum going with butt sketching." Read more.
Court protects authors: Authors everywhere in the U.S. can breathe easy again. A federal judge in California has ruled the First Amendment protects the lying of Lance Armstrong in his book "It's Not About the Bike.'' Armstrong famously claimed to be a seven-time Tour de France winning cyclist free of dope at a time when many cyclists in the race were doping. He has since confessed his story was a lie. The court has held that freedom of speech protects liars as well as those who tell the truth. Alaskan Daniel Coyle is among the authors who has written about Armstrong in his 2006 book "Lance Armstrong's War".