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Devin Kelly

Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan said Friday he’s not yet decided whether he’s for or against a proposal to tax alcohol in Anchorage to pay for rehabilitation programs and wants to see more details first.

But Sullivan, part-owner of the downtown bar and restaurant McGinley’s Pub, joined a chorus of groups saying the focus should not be on creating a new local tax but on tapping the existing state alcohol tax for treatment programs. The city’s list of requests to the state Legislature for the current session asks that 100 percent of the revenues from the state tax be dedicated to substance abuse treatment to fill what city officials call an “unmet need.”...

Devin Kelly

The administration of Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan is assembling a bloc of community and business groups to make a forceful case against troop reductions at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson during an upcoming Army “listening session” about possible personnel cuts at the base.

During a special work session with Anchorage Assembly members Friday, City Manager George Vakalis said the goal will be a “very well-orchestrated presentation” to reinforce the importance of Alaska to the military, and avoid the worst-case scenario of JBER losing several thousand positions to align with a constrained Army budget...

Devin Kelly

Anchorage police closed down part of a residential street in Anchorage's Airport Heights neighborhood Wednesday afternoon to investigate a shooting.

Just after 2 p.m., a man called police to say he had been shot, according to police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro. Police responded to the 1500 block of Norene Street and found the man, who had a gunshot wound to his lower body.

The man was taken to the hospital, and the injury appears to be non life-threatening, Castro said.

Police were gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses Wednesday, and part of Norene Street between East 15th and 16th avenues was shut down as a result of the investigation, Castro said. She said the circumstances of the shooting were still unclear...

Devin Kelly

A 20-year-old inmate at Ketchikan Correctional Center died at an Anchorage hospital Saturday, two days after attempting to hang himself in his cell, Alaska State Troopers said.

On Thursday, troopers responded at about 11:36 a.m. to a report of an attempted suicide of an inmate. An investigation found that Brendon Sample of Wrangell had tried to hang himself with a bed sheet while he was alone in his cell, troopers wrote in a Saturday dispatch.

Correctional staff found Sample unresponsive in the cell and immediately began CPR, the dispatch said. Paramedics with the Ketchikan Fire Department arrived and took over the resuscitation efforts. Sample then was taken to the Peace Health Ketchikan Medical Center, where he remained in intensive care through Thursday night...

Devin Kelly

Anchorage police are warning of a phone scam in which a caller demands money under the guise of working for the Internal Revenue Service.

At least 10 such calls were reported to police Saturday, according to a community message sent by the Anchorage Police Department.

“With each of the cases reported today, a caller accuses the citizen of owing money and threatens with arrest or other negative consequences if the citizen fails to take immediate action,” police wrote in the message.

So far, no one had fallen victim to the scam, according to APD...

Devin Kelly

The grainy video flashed onto a screen in a small conference room at Loussac Library.

It showed footage that Anchorage Assembly member Paul Honeman captured from a car window. On a dimly lit sidewalk, a tent appeared, and Honeman’s voice was audible: “Look at all these clothes and sleeping bags.”

“Could you imagine if this was your child or my child?” came the voice of Assembly member Dick Traini, referring to people who were sleeping on the sidewalk along Third Avenue in Anchorage.

The video, taken after an Assembly meeting one night last month, was part of a broader discussion in the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee meeting that day, centered on problems associated with homelessness, alcohol use and a lack of facilities...

Devin Kelly

A Wasilla boy was injured in an explosion that occurred while he was making an “explosive device” at his home on Friday, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Few details were immediately available about the incident. According to a Saturday troopers dispatch, a man called at 9:50 p.m. on Friday to report that his son had “injured parts of his hand and leg accidentally while making an explosive device."

Troopers provided first aid to the boy until paramedics took him to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center. No other members of the household were injured in the explosion, troopers said.

The incident is currently under investigation, troopers wrote.

Devin Kelly

Update (6:46 p.m.): Municipal Light and Power reported on Twitter that power had been restored to almost all customers affected by the Airport Heights outage.

A car ran into a light pole and knocked out power to the East Anchorage neighborhood of Airport Heights on Friday afternoon, authorities said.

The incident occurred about 2:27 p.m. at the intersection of Airport Heights Drive and DeBarr Road, outside a fire station. One person was reported to have received minor injuries, said Anchorage police spokeswoman Dani Myren. The cause of the crash was not immediately clear...

Devin Kelly

An Anchorage commission says property owners are unfairly subsidizing tens of millions of dollars worth of property taxes for nonprofits, government agencies, churches and other entities.

In a report released Wednesday, the city’s Budget Advisory Commission said the Alaska Legislature and the city assembly should close legal loopholes to reduce inequities and generate millions of dollars in additional tax revenues.

“Any tax system must be fair to survive the scrutiny of the public process and make participation a willful action,” Shirley Nelson, chair of the commission, wrote in an introduction to the report...

Devin Kelly

Anchorage Assemblyman Dick Traini introduced an alcohol tax measure at Tuesday night's meeting, aiming to raise money to deal with alcohol-related problems in the city.

Traini’s measure, which would appear on the ballot in the city election in April, would amend the municipal charter to create a tax on all retail sales of alcohol. The percentage of the tax has not yet been set, Traini said.

The tax would "dedicate the revenue to health and public safety uses related to alcohol beverages" and "allow use of the revenue to finance bonds for projects related to alcohol treatment," according to Traini's ordinance.

Traini submitted the proposal Tuesday night. It wasn’t publicly available until just before the Assembly meeting...

Devin Kelly