Laurel Andrews

The circle of life was on full display for Canadian James Loon on Thursday as he watched a marten chase a snowshoe hare along a snowy road. Loon, who lives in Mistissini, Quebec, drove upon the scene on the way to work. "I was thinking the marten must of been very hungry because it didn't give up," Loon wrote in a Facebook message. Uploaded Thursday morning to Loon's Facebook page , the video had been shared 24,000 times just six hours later. In the video, you can hear Loon and a companion speaking Cree, their native language, Loon wrote. Loon later uploaded the video to YouTube. Check it out:Laurel Andrews
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A lawsuit by the Republican-led Alaska Legislature to halt Gov. Bill Walker’s Medicaid expansion inched forward Thursday morning as both sides made their cases in Superior Court, with the judge telling them not to expect a decision until the end of March. Alaska Legislative Council attorney Erin...
Laurel Andrews
A lawsuit to halt Gov. Bill Walker’s Medicaid expansion inched forward Thursday morning as both sides made their cases in Superior Court, with the judge telling them not to expect a decision until the end of March. Each side was given 45 minutes to make their case. While both sides made a variety of arguments, they also agreed with Judge Frank Pfiffner that the case centers on the definition of one word in the state Medicaid statute: “requires.” The law in question says, “All residents of the state for whom the Social Security Act requires Medicaid coverage are eligible to receive medical assistance.” In 2010, President Barack Obama’s health care legislation, the Affordable Care Act, became law. Among the provisions was the requirement of an expansion of Medicaid to childless adults. That...Laurel Andrews
Zika virus, and its possible link to serious birth defects, has made news around the world as the virus outbreak spreads rapidly through the Americas. On Monday, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency. In a brief interview Friday, chief of the Alaska Section of Epidemiology Joe McLaughlin discussed Zika virus and Alaska, and explained why residents have a reason to be thankful for the state’s mosquitoes. Zika virus and Alaska’s silver lining This Zika outbreak began in May 2015, when the virus was first detected in Brazil. Zika virus itself usually causes fever, rash and joint pain. But that’s not what has people worried. The major concern is the virus’ possible links to microcephaly , a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than normal,...Laurel Andrews
The union representing state prison guards says the man just appointed to head the corrections department reached the wrong conclusion and showed bias in a recent report criticizing guards for their treatment of an inmate who died in a jail cell. To back its assertions, the Alaska Correctional Officers Association released a video Friday with sound showing the events preceding the death of 33-year-old Larry Kobuk at the Anchorage jail last year. The state had previously released the video, which shows guards aggressively handling Kobuk, but the video lacked sound. In the version released by the union, Kobuk can clearly be heard shouting expletives and threats at officers early in the encounter. But before he died, Kobuk also said he couldn’t breathe. Union officials said at a news...Laurel Andrews
As officials trying to curb use of the synthetic drug Spice meet in Anchorage this week, the Anchorage Fire Department released new data showing a slight decrease in medical calls suspected to be related to the drug in January. “This drug is here ... to stay … We’ve got to learn how to live with it,” Anchorage Police Department Sgt. Jack Carson told the crowd of about 100 people on Thursday. Medical calls suspected to be caused by Spice shot up in July and have remained high throughout the autumn and most of the winter. For just over six months -- from July 18 to Jan. 24 -- medical transports for suspected Spice use totaled 11.5 percent of all Anchorage Fire Department runs, according to new data released by the emergency medical service operations assistant chief, Erich Scheunemann. That...Laurel Andrews
One of the world’s most acclaimed big-mountain skiers took a 1,000-foot plunge down an Alaska mountain side last spring — and somehow walked away without any major injuries. Angel Collinson, a 26-year-old skier from Utah, was filming for Teton Gravity Research’s film "Paradise Waits" last spring when her epic fall was filmed in Alaska’s Neacola Mountains, southwest of Anchorage. “The fall was absolutely terrifying — without question. You have no idea what you are going to tumble over and there is basically nothing you can do but hang on,” Collinson said in a release . She had decided to ski the couloir just for fun. But she was having an off day, she later told an audience at the International Pro Riders' Workshop. “I think I could have pulled it off in a different circumstance,” she said...Laurel Andrews
An Aniak man last seen Sunday is being sought by Alaska State Troopers after a man was found dead in his home. On Sunday night, troopers responded to a report of a deceased individual at the home of Thomas “Tommy” Tom of Aniak, troopers wrote in a release. A man was found dead in the home, troopers wrote. The body is being sent to Anchorage for positive identification. Trooper spokesperson Megan Peters declined to comment on whether the death is considered suspicious, or the possible cause of death, saying only “it’s under investigation.” Tom, 57, is being sought by troopers, “to check on his wellbeing and certainly we would also like to talk to him,” Peters said. Tom was last seen on Sunday, according to troopers. Peters did not know where he was last spotted. “Anyone with information...Laurel Andrews
All but two parts of Alaska’s rules governing commercial marijuana were approved by the state government Friday, with one section addressing criminal background checks and another providing exceptions to marijuana testing for growers in rural areas struck down by the state Department of Law. On Dec. 1, the five-member Marijuana Control Board made its final tweaks to the rules outlining Alaska’s commercial marijuana industry. The 127-page document outlines everything from grower operations to testing and processing requirements, and includes a provision allowing for on-site consumption of marijuana at retail stores, the first law of its kind in the nation . Nearly all of the regulations passed a subsequent review by the Department of Law, save two pieces of the text, senior assistant...Laurel Andrews
Commercial marijuana growers statewide have another avenue to deposit their cash taxes rather than traveling to Anchorage, the state Tax Division said. In an article published last week , the Tax Division said that growers must travel to Alaska's largest city to deposit excise tax payments, regardless of where they live, as it could only afford to invest in one drop deposit box. In reply to the news, readers asked whether they could use registered mail to send currency to the state. The answer: Yes. “If the cash is mailed to our Anchorage office, we’d be happy to accept it,” Brandon Spanos, deputy director of the Department of Revenue's Tax Division, said in an email. “We would, however, want the taxpayer to let us know it’s coming and to ensure that we need to sign for the delivery,” he...Laurel Andrews