Devin Kelly

A welcoming ceremony for President Barack Obama at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage drew roughly 2,000 people Monday night, though the president himself didn’t show.

Those hoping for a glimpse of the president -- and many were -- did get some consolation. On the arena Jumbotron, organizers of the “Rising Together” event played a prerecorded video of Obama, with the president apologizing that he couldn’t be there in person.

“As it turns out, as president, you don’t always get to do what you want,” Obama said in the video. He went on to discuss the purpose of his trip and his efforts to preserve what he called “the incredible way of life here in Alaska.”...

Devin Kelly

Pledging that Alaska’s largest city will do more to reduce energy consumption, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz announced Monday that his administration is renewing efforts to swap thousands of old city streetlights for energy-saving LED lights.

“Here in Anchorage, our ambition is to be one of the world’s most efficient cities,” Berkowitz said in opening remarks Monday morning at the GLACIER conference, a high-level international conference that included President Barack Obama as a featured speaker on climate change.

Berkowitz said his administration is prepared to spend between $4 million and $6 million to replace high-pressure, orange-light sodium bulbs with white LED lights along Anchorage’s roads, trails, parking lots and other outdoor areas...

Devin Kelly

The administration of Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has tapped a Juneau housing and development official to be the city’s new planning director.

Hal Hart, who has served as Juneau’s community development director, will be charged with overseeing city planning and transportation projects, as well as making the city planning department more "customer-friendly," Berkowitz said in a statement Friday.

The current community development director, Jerry Weaver, will retire Sept. 25 after a 40-year career with the city, according to Berkowitz’s statement. Weaver also serves as city planning director...

Devin Kelly

One person was presumed dead after driving a car into the fast-moving Matanuska River on Saturday morning, emergency officials said.

Mat-Su Borough fire, police and emergency crews and the water rescue team responded shortly before 11 a.m. to a report that someone had driven a car over an embankment and into the river north of Sherrod Elementary School in Palmer.

As of Saturday night, rescue workers believed they had found the car but had not yet been able to recover it, Palmer Police Chief Lance Ketterling said. He added that there was little likelihood of anyone who was inside the car being found alive.

“It’s recovery at this stage,” Ketterling said. “Not a rescue.”...

Devin Kelly

Five people were rescued from waters near Valdez after a 27-foot boat capsized Friday evening, U.S. Coast Guard officials said.

One of them, a 57-year-old woman, was hypothermic after spending about 10 minutes in the water, the Coast Guard said. She and four others were picked up by a private boat that heard the mayday call. A Coast Guard crew transferred the ailing woman to emergency crews in Valdez for treatment.

The Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command center got a radio mayday call about 7 p.m. Friday reporting a boat had capsized in the Valdez Narrows and five people were in the water, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said...

Devin Kelly

Two men were seriously injured in separate shootings early Saturday morning in Anchorage, police said.

One suspect was being actively sought by police Saturday. An arrest warrant was issued for 23-year-old Michael Sharp, who is accused of shooting 24-year-old Zachary Johnson “multiple times” while Johnson was sitting in the driver’s seat of an SUV outside a home on the 7200 block of Bearfoot Drive in South Anchorage.

Johnson apparently drove away from the shooting, which happened around 3 a.m. Saturday, and crashed into a parked truck several blocks away. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition, police said...

Devin Kelly

A few state offices in downtown Anchorage will close at 1 p.m. Monday, with officials expecting “traffic and general disruption” during President Barack Obama’s visit and the GLACIER conference.

Various street closures have been announced for downtown Anchorage. On Friday, Sheldon Fisher, commissioner of the Department of Administration, sent out a notice to state employees that listed offices slated for an early Monday closure.

Here are the offices:...

Devin Kelly

A bicyclist was hit by a truck and seriously injured while riding into traffic near the busy intersection of the Seward Highway and Benson Boulevard early Friday afternoon, Anchorage police said.

Police responded to a report of the crash at 12:47 p.m. The bicyclist, a man, was moving across the southbound lanes of the highway to the north of Benson, said Anchorage police spokeswoman Renee Oistad. She said southbound traffic had a green light.

As the bicyclist was crossing the middle southbound lane of the highway, a vehicle slammed on its brakes and swerved to avoid hitting him, Oistad said. When the bicyclist came into the far lane, a pickup driver that wasn’t able to see past the middle car hit him, Oistad said...

Devin Kelly

President Barack Obama will fly into Anchorage on Monday and speak that evening at the GLACIER Conference in the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center downtown, which means some Anchorage residents will have to deal with road and office closures.

On Thursday, Anchorage police and transportation officials announced numerous street closures in the downtown area through the end of the GLACIER conference in the middle of next week...

Sean Doogan,Devin Kelly

Anchorage drivers will soon be required to keep marijuana in the trunk of their cars, with the city Assembly voting Tuesday night to expand local alcohol beverage open-container laws to include marijuana ...

Devin Kelly