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Craig Medred

Four years ago, a man named Bill Fulton -- Drop Zone Bill to many -- became a hero to Alaska's ultraconservative right after he manhandled and handcuffed Alaska Dispatch editor Tony Hopfinger at a rally for Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller.

The move put the media and media behavior smack in the middle of the 2010 state Senate race.

Flash forward four years to the next statewide Alaska election and guess what? The media is smack in the middle of a statewide election debate once again, though the circumstances are decidedly dissimilar this time...

Craig Medred

Alaska is in its deadly time now. Hunting seasons are in full swing and with them comes death, but it is not just the animals that die.

With days growing shorter, the weather changing, and people pushing to get things done before the onset of the long, dark Alaska winter, human deaths in the 49th state spike, too.

Alaska epidemiologist Deborah Hull-Jilly has noted the plane crashes, all-terrain vehicle rollovers, accidental shootings, drownings, and heart attacks and begun a closer examination of the deadly season. Anyone paying careful attention to the news might have noticed a trend.

"It's not just the hunting," Hull-Jilly added...

Craig Medred

With two words, Anchorage television reporter Charlo Greene has become a vi-lebrity -- or "viral celebrity," as US Magazine calls it now vying with Alaska pol-lebrity Sarah Palin for national attention, and proving that.... Well, it's almost scary to go on. Who even wants to think about how this state must look to the rest of the country at the moment? Reasonable Americans can only be thinking Alaska is the airhead capital of the continent...

Craig Medred

Alaska's original grizzly bear wrangler -- the wildlife biologist who pioneered the live capture and tagging of Kodiak's famous brown bears -- died Sunday at his home in Cooper Landing on the Kenai Peninsula.

Over the years, biologist Will Troyer got up close and personal with more big bears than most people will ever see and lived unscathed to the ripe old age of 89. He died from complications related to surgery for colon cancer.

Until this summer, Troyer was among the fittest of octogenarians in the state, a man for whom it remained second nature to lace up boots and go for a long hike.

"I think this was the first fall he didn't go grouse hunting,'' said his son, Eric...

Craig Medred

If you're 8 1/2 months pregnant, craving meat and find the freezer empty, what do you do?

Well, if you're a woman in Homer, Alaska, you go out and shoot a moose. That's what Ashley Switzer did.

The 22-year-old, soon-to-be first-time mom was home alone in early September when it came time to put food on the table. Husband Scott was off working on a fishing boat somewhere near Kodiak Island, about 130 miles to the southwest.

Ashley wasn't sure when he'd be home, so she decided she best do something about providing for the family. She borrowed her dad's rifle and headed for the hills above the Kenai Peninsula community of about 5,200 at the end of the Alaska road system some 220 miles south of Anchorage...

Craig Medred

Alaska’s running man reached the finish line of his Anchorage-to-Fairbanks run shortly after 5 p.m. Friday -- in time to secure his entry in Saturday's Equinox Marathon.

Willow's David Johnston finished his long, wet run at 5:12 p.m., giving him plenty of time to make the Equinox's 5-8 p.m. bib pickup.

His how-I-got-here story proved good enough to convince Equinox organizers to allow him to switch his entry from the 40-mile ultramarathon to the standard 26.2-mile marathon. Ordinarily, race organizers are loathe to accommodate such requests on the eve of a race.

"I told him what I'd just done," Johnston said, "and he said yes.

"Then he bought me two beers."

Consider that a well-earned reward...

Beth Bragg,Craig Medred

Sing along, boys and girls, to the tune of the "Beverly Hillbillies" theme song:...

Craig Medred

A giant hotspot in the North Pacific Ocean may help explain why a massive ocean sunfish was spotted in Prince William Sound this month and a skipjack tuna was caught in a gillnet weeks earlier near the mouth of the Copper River, scientists say.

Both species are unusual visitors to Alaska. Steve Moffitt, a research biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Cordova, believes the tuna might be the northernmost ever recorded. "'Fishes of Alaska' (a 2002 book by Catherine Mecklenburg) has one confirmed documentation caught in a setnet in Yakutat Bay in 1981 and a personal communication that some were caught off southern southeastern Alaska,'' he noted in an email to colleagues...

Craig Medred

If he’d been on either of the big islands of the Kodiak Archipelago, Alaska fisheries biologist James Jackson would have been worrying a bit about the fabled Kodiak brown bears as he waded up a salmon stream, counting fish. But on comparatively tiny Shuyak Island -- a 47,000-acre forested chunk of rock at the north end of the island chain 200 miles south of Anchorage -- they weren't in his thoughts earlier this month.

"You don't see many bears on Shuyak," he said in a telephone interview this week...

Craig Medred

TWENTYMILE RIVER -- A half-mile or so below where the disappearing Winner Creek Trail stumbles out of the brush to meet the upper reaches of this Chugach Mountain stream, the water disappears too.

The flow bends right into the woods, narrows and is gone. A large, wide, riverbed of dry gravel remains to the left. A portage of a quarter-mile leads to where a thin trickle of water reappears along the far bank.

Thus the uninitiated are introduced to the vagaries of backcountry travel along Alaska's meandering and wildly fluctuating mountain rivers, and the bad habit backcountry routes have of sort of fading away...

Craig Medred

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