Spring Creek prisoner assaulted: A prisoner at the Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward was reported in critical condition Friday night after being assaulted by another inmate. According to Alaska State Troopers, Forrest Ahvakana, 48, had been assaulted by fellow inmate Jason Rak, 25. Ahvakana was transported to Alaska Regional Hospital where he was listed in critical condition. Trooper Spokeswoman Megan Peters told the Anchorage Daily News Monday that it was unclear if Rak had used a weapon against Ahvakana. Charges are pending.
Ethics board nixes bid to move municipal election date next year: The Anchorage Board of Ethics ruled Monday that the assembly cannot vote to move the date of next year’s municipal elections from April to November -- to coincide with statewide elections. The move was proposed last week by Assemblyman Chris Birch, who represents South Anchorage. Birch wanted to change the date of municipal elections – including the vote for assembly members themselves – to improve voter turnout. In its ruling, the board said assembly members could not vote to move the election date next year because that would have the effect of extending their terms. Six of the 11 assembly members will be up for election in April. By extending their terms, members would essentially be voting for a pay extension – and that would be a financial conflict of interest, according to the Board of Ethics. The ruling did not preclude the assembly from delaying implementation of the election date change for several years to avoid the potential conflict of interest.
Sarah Palin returns to reality TV: Sarah Palin’s next foray into the world of reality TV will be as host of a weekly outdoors program on the Sportsman Channel, according to a Monday press release. The show, “Amazing America,” will celebrate the “Red, Wild and Blue” lifestyle, the channel writes, and is set to debut in April with a 12-episode series. The Sportsman Channel’s programming is geared toward hunting, fishing and shooting -- the station also hosts a series with conservative rocker Ted Nugent, and a version of the National Rifle Association-sponsored radio show “NRA News, Cam & Co.,” according to ABC News. This isn’t Palin’s first foray into outdoors lifestyle program -- her 2010 TLC show “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” revolved around her life in the Last Frontier. Perhaps Palin’s new role -- as host and curator, rather than subject -- is a better fit for hunting-related programming; one episode from that show featured her shooting at, and repeatedly missing, a caribou, in a video that went viral that year. Palin has also worked as a FOX News contributor since 2010.
Talkeetna Bachelor Auction raises record amount: How much money can 40 bachelors raise during one wild night in the Alaska community of Talkeetna? Turns out, tens of thousands of dollars. The Talkeetna Bachelor Society raised a record amount of money during its 34th annual Bachelor Auction and Ball -- funds that will be donated back to the community. Saturday’s antics brought in around $23,000, said coordinator Pam Rannals on Monday. “We couldn’t believe it,” Rannals said. “It was a little bit crazy.” Last year’s auction raised about $14,000 -- a record number at the time. But “this year was like, oh my God,” Rannals said. Half of the money will be donated to the Jessica Stevens Community Foundation, which supports health care, education and community programs in the northern Susistna Valley. The other half is split between a wide variety of organizations in Talkeetna, from public radio to the food bank.
Shuttle crash causes closure, injuries: An Alaska Native Medical Center shuttle bus crashed at about 8 a.m. Friday morning, closing the eastbound lanes of Northern Lights Boulevard, near Princeton Way. The lanes were reopened about an hour later. Anchorage Police Department spokesperson Jennifer Castro said the van rear-ended a Dodge pickup, which pushed the truck into the back of a Subaru. Three people from the van, plus the driver of the Dodge were taken to local hospitals for treatment of minor injuries. APD continues to investigate the accident and so far no citations have been issued in the wreck. Officers said the road conditions at the time of the crash were very icy.
U.S. Navy says ice-free Arctic by 2016: There’s no shortage of climate models predicting an ice-free Arctic in the near future. But it’s a bit rarer when the prediction calls a timeframe as close as 2016, and rarer still when the predictions come from a U.S. Navy-related program. The new paper -- detailed in the British newspaper, The Guardian -- takes other climate change models to task, suggesting that in current models “many Arctic climatic processes that are omitted… or poorly represented.” One sticking point between the competing models, as the Guardian mentions, is the role that offshore methane deposits, discovered locked in now-thawing permafrost by University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers, might play in accelerating warming in the Arctic.
DUI, accident sends one man to hospital, another to jail: A Sutton man was in jail, and another in the hospital in critical condition after a late-night head-on collision Friday on the Glenn Highway, according to Alaska State Troopers. Troopers charged that a pick-up truck driven by 61-year-old Peter E. Wilson, drifted across the center line, smashing into a sedan near mile 53. The sedan’s 46-year-old driver was taken to Anchorage with life-threatening injuries. Wilson was treated for his own injuries at Mat-Su Regional Hospital and released, whereupon he was arrested and charged with DUI and first-degree assault. Troopers also discovered a warrant for his arrest for leaving the scene of another accident.
New York Times notes Kenai homelessness problem: Alaska suffered the ninth largest increase in chronic homelessness between 2011 and 2012, even as overall homeless numbers decreased. That’s just one of the many tidbits included in a New York Times article on homelessness on the Kenai Peninsula. The article highlights the difficulties particular to those facing homelessness in rural areas on Alaska’s road system, such as the mother with boys who landed on the streets for a second time after the borough’s only family shelter closed this summer.
Bristol Bay earthquake: An earthquake was recorded offshore beneath the waters of Bristol Bay in the early morning hours Monday. The quake, with a magnitude of 5.4 occurred at about 12:33 a.m. at a depth of 62 miles. Its epicenter was 37 miles west-northwest of Port Heiden and 445 miles southwest of Anchorage.