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AK Beat: APD reports all-clear, but asks for help finding gunman at large

Alaska Dispatch
NASA photo

All clear in Los Anchorage: Anchorage police continue to search for a suspect who fired multiple shots at an officer early Wednesday afternoon in a parking lot near the 200 block of East Dowling. The officer was not hit. A large-scale search including K-9 units, SWAT members and overhead flights by Alaska State Troopers’ Helo 2 ensued. Because of safety concerns, a neighborhood school, Taku Elementary, kept some students past the last bell on their first school day. Police shut down a section of Alaska’s largest city to search for the shooter -- later described as a white male in his 20s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and 220 pounds, clean shaven, and wearing a red hoodie, white shorts and a white baseball cap -- but he reportedly eluded them. Despite the shooter’s disappearance, everything is back to normal, an APD spokesperson said. Police are asking anyone with information to call 786-8900. Anyone who wants to be anonymous can call Crimestoppers at 561-STOP (7867).

Land of the quarter-past Midnight Sunrise: The heat of June may be a distant memory for most Alaskans but the sun’s still shining somewhere above the Last Frontier. The above photo, snapped at 12:15 a.m. Aug. 4 far above Earth at the International Space Station, offers a glimpse of sunrise over Alaska’s Aleutian Chain. Above the sun are noctilucent clouds, also known as polar mesospheric clouds, which can only be seen during summertime in the north and south polar regions, though NASA reports that global warming may lead to more luminous noctilucents at lower latitudes.

Shots fired at Anchorage police: Anchorage’s Dowling Road, between A and C Street, has been closed as police look for a man who reportedly shot at an officer, who was not hit.  According to the department’s Twitter feed, police are searching for a white male who reportedly shot at an officer in a parking lot near the 200 block of Dowling Road.  Area residents say police cruisers are stationed at road intersections, with many officers wearing full body armor. Taku Elementary School, a few blocks south of Dowling, was placed on lockdown. 

RIP Lulu: On Wednesday, the Alaska Sealife Center announced the passing of Lulu, the 5-year-old giant Pacific octopus that lived at the center in Seward since 2009, had died. The death was not unexpected, since female giant Pacific octopus do not eat after they lay their eggs and die shortly after the eggs hatch. While Lulu produced thousands of fertile eggs, the Center reported that the paralarvae have not thrived like they would have hoped, and only a few are still alive. Still, her death was not in vain. The center said it has gained useful information in the rearing effort in terms of food and environment acceptance. A male octopus named Thumb will occupy Lulu's former Denizens of the Deep exhibit.

World-record halibut: No, it can't be. Apparently, a new world-record halibut has been caught, but not in Alaska. The record comes from a world away on the other side of the globe. Science World Report and others are reporting a German angler landed a 515-pounder off the coast of Norway just days ago. A 515-pound Atlantic halibut would crush the reigning world record, a 459-pound Pacific halibut caught out of Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands chain in 1996. Alaska halibut have been generally getting smaller ever since, according to the International Pacific Halibut Commission, which is trying to figure out why. Atlantic halibut, on the other hand, appear to be getting bigger. The previous record there was a 418-pounder. That's almost 100 pounds lighter than the latest catch. The difference alone would account for the weight of more than five of the average-size halibut caught these days outside the port of Homer, which the Halibut Capital of the World.

Mitt Romney in Alaska: Mitt Romney never swung through Alaska during his campaign for president in 2012 -- after all, the Last Frontier is a reliable Republican stronghold with comparatively few voters. But he couldn't resist the siren song of a little Alaska fishing, apparently. The Kansas City Star (via the Associated Press) reported that Romney was up with four friends and a bodyguard when he took guided fishing trip from the Southeast Alaska community of Petersburg earlier this month. Unfortunately for Romney, like in the 2012 election, he struck out. Still, the guide reported that Romney and Co. had fun.

Alaska most underrated: Polling 1,600 U.S. residents about other states, Business Insider has declared Alaska as the state’s nation’s most underrated state, whatever that means.  In its survey, the digital magazine asked people to rate the states on factors including having the hottest -- best looking -- residents, the craziest people and the best scenery, among other made-up metrics. In an “I wonder if they have ever actually been to Alaska” moment, it’s noted that Alaska loses out to Colorado for best scenery, but beats out all others for “Worst Food”. Hey, at least we didn’t take top honors for “Drunkest Residents;" Louisiana gets that one, but Alaska is easily in the top five. At least people like us -- Texas is the state people would most like to see get kicked out of the U.S.