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AK Beat: Parnell to 'get to the bottom' of report about illegal immigrant children in Alaska

Alaska Dispatch News

Parnell reacts to reports of 'illegal aliens' being sent to Alaska: On Friday afternoon, Gov. Sean Parnell took to social media to say he is looking into claims the federal government is sending illegal aliens to be "set free in Alaska." On Twitter, and later on Facebook,  Parnell cited a Breitbart article claiming the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has sent unaccompanied minors to the state. "I have seen some alarming reports that the Obama administration is giving illegal aliens one-way tickets to Alaska," Parnell wrote on Facebook. "We are making contact with the Department of Homeland Security to get to the bottom of this." According to the Breitbart article, "A spokesman from DHHS confirmed to Breitbart Texas that as of July 7, five unaccompanied minors were released in Alaska. 'Between January 1 and July 7, 2014, a total of five minors were discharged from the Unaccompanied Alien Children program to sponsors in Alaska,' the spokesman said." DHHS spokespeople were unavailable for comment late Friday.

Drop rate hiked for Anchorage cabs: The cost of riding in an Anchorage taxi increased this week for the first time in nearly 10 years. Cab drivers on Monday began charging a drop rate of $2.75, up from $2. The per-mile rate remains unchanged at $2.50. In December, the Anchorage Assembly approved the rate increase as part of an overhaul in city transportation code. The last rate increase happened in 2005. Since then, gas prices and other costs have risen,  said Kennith Foley, code enforcement officer for the municipal transportation department. “The cab drivers are out there making a living too,” Foley said. He added the transportation department researched rates in other cities and concluded that Anchorage’s rates were comparable or lower. As of Thursday morning, Foley said, city transportation inspectors were still working to certify and seal meters on all 188 of Anchorage’s taxis.

Remains of missing Brevig Mission man found: Alaska State Troopers say volunteer searchers in the Western community of Brevig Mission found the remains of a 21-year-old village man missing since July 15. Late Thursday evening, Nome-based troopers got the word that Clarence Ray Olanna’s remains were found on a shore several miles from the village, located about 65 miles northwest of Nome. Troopers spokesperson Beth Ipsen said Olanna’s remains were found near Point Jackson, about 3 miles from Brevig Mission. “The body is believed to be” Olanna, according to a Friday news release from the troopers. There were no obvious signs of foul play, the release says. Olanna’s remains will be sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Anchorage for an autopsy. Troopers reported that next of kin have been notified. Troopers suspended their part in the search for the young man early last week after air and ground searchers turned up little else than Olanna’s pants, socks, shirt and jacket. The clothing was reportedly found near the water. “There were left in a pile on the beach in front of town,” Ipsen said at that time. A family member identified the clothes. At the beginning of the search, five boats and an Army National Guard helicopter cast about the waters off the southern coast of the Seward Peninsula, but gusty winds hampered them from continuing those efforts. And on July 22, troopers stopped searching alongside residents pending new information.

Whale vs. ferry collision investigated: KMXT in Kodiak reports that National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration officials are investigating a collision reported Saturday between the state ferry Kennicott and a humpback whale. A University of Alaska Sea Grant marine mammal specialist told KMXT: “This animal definitely died from a massive trauma. It got hit. It got T-boned, basically, in a characteristic way that ship strikes have been evidenced before. So, broken ribs, broken spine, skull fracture -- that sort of thing. The determination of how that happened is out of my realm and it’s in the investigation mode still.” ​The 30-foot, 25-ton whale is currently beached on Puffin Island, near the Kodiak harbor breakwater.

In 18-minute video, Palin explains Ballot Measure 1 support: Former Gov. Sarah Palin took to her new online TV channel and her Facebook page today to urge Alaskans to vote "yes" on Ballot Measure 1, which would roll back the oil tax changes implemented by Senate Bill 21. "Alaska, we've been down this road before," Palin says in the introduction to the 18-minute video, during which she discusses the state's economy, her tenure as governor, the benefits of the ACES tax regime, and how "Big Oil" is "trying to buffalo us with multimillion-dollar propaganda campaigns." The video (a free exclusive from Palin's channel, which charges $9.95 per month for full access to its content) has drawn mostly supportive comments from Palin's Facebook fans, some of whom appear to be under the impression that Ballot Measure 1 is primarily being opposed by "liberals" and those with "environmental agendas."