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AK Beat: Backpack taken from vehicle in Anchorage contained baby's ashes

Alaska Dispatch

Stolen ashes: A backpack reportedly stolen from a van parked outside the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage contained the ashes of a stillborn baby, KTUU reports. Shawna Coby reportedly returned from a doctor’s appointment at ANMC with her husband to find their van broken into and a black backpack taken from inside. The backpack itself was worth little, KTUU writes, but the bag contained the ashes of the couple’s stillborn baby, who they had named Grace. The family is asking whoever took the bag to return the the ashes, which can be dropped off anonymously at the Alaska Native Medical Center. Read more, at KTUU.

Man dies in ATV accidentA collision between a car and an ATV in the community of Big Lake in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough left one man dead on Saturday evening, Alaska State Troopers reported in a dispatch. Troopers received word of the accident around 10:37 p.m. Saturday. Sierra M. Mahnke, 23, of Wasilla was reportedly driving south on Big Lake Rd when her 1995 Taurus sedan hit a Yamaha ATV traveling in the same direction, driven by Big Lake resident Caleb J. Younger. Younger, 25, was pronounced dead at the scene. He wasn’t wearing a helmet, troopers wrote. The investigation into the accident was ongoing.

Parties settle in case of Swiss climber who died on McKinley: A lawsuit against a guiding company for the death of a Swiss climber on Alaska’s Mount McKinley in 2011 has been settled out of court, the Associated Press reported. Beat Niederer, of St. Gallen, Switzerland was on a rope team of four climbers who fell while descending the mountain’s summit ridge. He survived the fall but got separated from his climbing partner on the ascent back to High Camp. Searchers eventually found Niederer's body. The lawsuit alleged that negligence by the company resulted in Niederer's death. It claimed the guided summit team wasn't outfitted properly and lacked the means to stay together and protect itself from the hazardous conditions, but the company said the Swiss man knew the risk involved, the AP reported. Court records show attorneys for both sides asked a federal judge on Friday to dismiss the case brought against Mountain Trip International, LLC, by the estate of Niederer. It asks that each side bear its own costs and attorneys' fees. The plaintiff's attorney Jeffrey Rubin would only say the matter was "settled upon mutually agreed terms."

Alaska authors gather end-of-year accolades: Author Eowyn Ivey's debut novel "The Snow Child" may have been shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction earlier this year, but that wasn't the end of Alaskans' gaining literary acclaim in 2013. First, former Anchorage Daily News reporter Tom Kizzia saw his book on the notorious Pilgrim family, "Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier," make the cut for Amazon's Best Books of the Year awards, chosen by editors at the major online retailer. And the Washington Post praised author Don Rearden's debut novel "The Raven's Gift," which was initially released several years ago but only recently received a stateside distribution deal, among its "Notable Fiction of 2013."