Alex DeMarban

DEADHORSE -- Known for having an adversarial relationship with the oil industry as a private attorney, Bill Walker made his first trip as governor to the state’s North Slope oil fields this week, taking a three-day tour of the widespread facilities and at times discussing prickly issues with oil officials.

Production taxes came up, as did the massive Alaska LNG project that Walker wants to accelerate, but those issues weren’t the driving force of the trip, he said.

Instead, he wanted to spend time on drill rigs talking with workers and meeting with executives in “their setting” rather than in formal offices and familiarize himself with an industry that drives the Alaska economy...

Alex DeMarban

DEADHORSE -- Unprecedented flooding continues to interfere with daily operations on the North Slope oil patch after surging waters wiped away swaths of the Dalton Highway and isolated a section of Deadhorse, the jumping-off point for the sprawling industrial region.

“This is just epic,” said Mike Coffey, commander of the unified incident command, a response team consisting of the state, the North Slope Borough and oil companies. “People who have been here for decades say they’ve never seen anything like it.”...

Alex DeMarban

A few things you may not know about Mary Franklin, the force behind the wildly popular Star Wars Celebration fan events:

• She has a secret crush on a reptilian bounty hunter.

• She has her own Wookieepedia entry.

• She says home is Cordova, Alaska -- a place far, far away from the California movie studio where she worked for 14 years.

Yet it was from that mountainside Alaska town -- where Franklin had long lived -- that Lucasfilm snatched her up. The jump from Cordova to work for "Star Wars" creator George Lucas in San Francisco seems improbable. Besides running a small communications business, Franklin had been a weight trainer, fished commercially and done a short stint penguin wrangling in Antarctica...

Alex DeMarban
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A few things you may not know about Mary Franklin, the force behind the wildly popular Star Wars Celebration fan events:...

Alex DeMarban

Scammers are targeting customers of Anchorage Municipal Light and Power and Chugach Electric, calling them to claim their bills are delinquent and power will be cut off if payment is not made over the phone.

The schemers have contacted dozens of people and appear to use a variety of tactics, some “extra sneaky," officials said.

One called Flight Deck Pizza in Midtown Anchorage this week. The fake caller provided enough specific information -- such as utility account information and the name of the restaurant’s corporate owner, Three M’s LLC -- to make co-owner Maurice MacDonald Jr. think that Chugach Electric's digital records had been hacked...

Alex DeMarban

The Municipality of Anchorage has agreed to allow an independent review of zoning requirements that the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development says discriminate against people with disabilities, including those suffering from alcoholism, as part of an agreement reached between the city and agency.

The deal stems from a complaint brought by the federal agency last year, asserting that municipal code in some cases put unfair and excessive restrictions on housing for people with disabilities.

The agency filed a complaint against the city’s municipal code last year, asserting it violated the Federal Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other civil rights laws...

Alex DeMarban

Alaskans are playing a bigger role in an international project that seeks to link Europe and Asia with a fiber-optic cable running along the Arctic Ocean, with anticipated offshoots to remote Alaska communities and the oil-field complex of Prudhoe Bay.

But while the Alaska phase of the project remains on track to be completed by the end of next year, the 10,000-mile-long effort connecting Japan with the United Kingdom won’t happen within that time frame, as previously hoped...

Alex DeMarban

A brilliant but controversial Eskimo activist who played an influential role during the Alaska Native land claims movement died on Friday on a whaling trip outside Barrow.

Charles “Etok” Edwardsen Jr. was 71.

With his defiant approach and bold views on indigenous rights, Edwardsen became a prominent activist in the 1960s but his influence extended well beyond that era.

Friends, family and those he mentored say he inspired new generations of Native leaders throughout his life.

“Etok was a fierce warrior for Iñupiat rights and a defender of our cultural freedoms, and for this we are eternally grateful,” said Crawford Patkotak, chairman of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, the Alaska Native regional corporation for the North Slope...

Alex DeMarban,Dermot Cole

In 2009, Miller Energy Resources, a Tennessee company, announced what looked like one of the best Alaska purchases since William H. Seward's time. It paid $2.3 million for oil and gas reserves in Cook Inlet that the company said were worth $325 million.

Now the company is facing a challenge on three fronts -- the Securities and Exchange Commission told the company that it is challenging that 2009 valuation; the New York Stock Exchange warned that the company's stock price has dropped so low it may be delisted; and the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has levied a $446,000 fine for alleged violations on oil and gas facilities in Cook Inlet...

Dermot Cole,Alex DeMarban

Ethan Berkowitz surged to a decisive win over opponent Amy Demboski in the Anchorage mayoral runoff election Tuesday night.

With 98 percent of the vote counted, Berkowitz had more than 59 percent of the vote to Demboski’s 41 percent, a margin that was insurmountable. Berkowitz had held a commanding lead over Demboski throughout the evening. As of 11 p.m., 122 of the municipality’s 124 precincts had reported.

Berkowitz will take over the mayor's office from Dan Sullivan on July 1...

Devin Kelly,Nathaniel Herz,Alex DeMarban