Suzanna Caldwell

Anchorage police were searching Tuesday for a man wanted on several felony warrants for violating a protective order and then going on a burglary spree. Police said James Daren Withrow, 51, was wanted on warrants for criminal mischief, stalking and violation of a domestic violence protective order. He was believed to be responsible for multiple cases of felony vandalism in burglarizing at least five homes and business in the Anchorage area over the past three days. Police spokesperson Anita Shell said it appears Withrow targeted property in South Anchorage, West Anchorage and the Goldenview neighborhood on the Hillside. “He’s wanted for all these felony crimes and he’s destroying property in a wake of anger,” Shell said. “We just want to get him off the streets.” Police said Withrow is 5...Suzanna Caldwell
Need to borrow a polar bear fur? Or a walrus skull complete with tusks? Or how about a beluga whale vertebrae or piece of baleen? All you need is a library card and a trip to the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. The library -- better known as ARLIS -- is home to the furs, mounts and skulls collection. It’s where hundreds of animal specimens from wolverine furs to stuffed puffins are available for checkout by the general public. The collection is housed in a staff-only section of the library, but search the catalog for realia -- the library classification for real, 3D objects -- and any object can be yours. For two weeks at a time, as long as you have an ARLIS, UAA or Anchorage library card. According to Celia Rozen, ARLIS...Suzanna Caldwell
Anchorage’s new law adding discrimination protections for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people is now officially on the books, with Anchorage Assembly Chair Dick Traini signing the legislation Friday morning in a brief ceremony at City Hall. The Assembly passed the law in a 9-2 vote just before midnight Tuesday. Normally, the chair signs legislation with little fanfare, Traini said. But he said he wanted to have a ceremony to give the law’s supporters closure. Traini signed the law with Assembly member Elvi Gray-Jackson at his side. About two dozen onlookers cheered as he handed out the pens he used to sign the measure. “It’s been a long road,” Traini told the room after the signing. “And this will help a lot of people in Anchorage who have been discriminated against. So...Devin Kelly,Suzanna Caldwell
September weather in Anchorage was, in a word, weird. Consider the following information from the National Weather Service , all based on data collected at Anchorage International Airport since 1952: With 7.71 inches of rain recorded, this was the wettest September on record in Anchorage. It became the fourth snowiest September when a slight 0.3 inches fell Tuesday (also marking the fifth earliest occurrence of 0.1 inches of snow or more in the city). Overall it was 2 degrees colder than average, marking the first below-average temperature month of 2015. It’s been at least 2 degrees above average every month this year, according to forecaster Bill Ludwig. Anchorage set four daily precipitation records, including on Tuesday, when a whopping 1.59 inches fell in one day. Total precipitation...Suzanna Caldwell
The Anchorage Assembly's passage late Tuesday night of an ordinance making it illegal to discriminate against lesbian , gay, bisexual and transgender people left supporters cheering and opponents organizing to overturn it. Supporters of the ordinance expressed relief that after four previous attempts in the Assembly and once at the ballot, the measure looked virtually certain to move ahead Wednesday. The ordinance is set to take effect Friday without objection from Mayor Ethan Berkowitz -- marking the first time an Anchorage mayor has not vetoed such an act. Drew Phoenix, who runs the nonprofit LGBT advocacy group Identity Inc., called the vote a good first step toward protections for LGBT people. But he acknowledged that opponents are already working toward crafting legislation to...Suzanna Caldwell
An early winter storm blanketed much of Interior Alaska with snow Tuesday, leaving thousands of residents without power and many roads in treacherous condition. Heavy rain turned to heavy snow Monday night, quickly reaching up to half a foot deep in much of Interior Alaska, according to Fairbanks National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Berg. According to the NWS, the area could see between 4 and 20 inches of snow by Wednesday morning . The Fairbanks School District has canceled school and school activities for Wednesday. Berg said the weather service had received reports of 5 inches of snow for Fairbanks and surrounding areas accumulating overnight. He said some places saw even more, including Nenana, 45 miles south of Fairbanks, which reported 7 inches of snow overnight. Winter...Suzanna Caldwell
It only took them 21 years, four previous attempts and one Alaska constitutional amendment being implemented and overturned, but last week, Jay Brause and Gene Dugan finally married in Alaska. “It feels like a completion,” Dugan said in an interview with the couple Tuesday in a home on the Anchorage Hillside. The two were in Alaska for the past month, sorting through the last of their belongings, donating 16 boxes of professional paperwork to the University of Alaska Anchorage and visiting friends before returning to their home in England. They left Wednesday. The wedding on Sept. 19 brought the couple’s attempts to legally wed in the state full circle. Dugan and Brause, co-founders of Out North art house and LGBT activists, first tried to marry in Alaska in 1994. The results of that...Suzanna Caldwell
It’s always been a given that Native Alaskans have been fishing for thousands of years, but now a new study concludes the practice dates all the way back to the Ice Age. A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found the earliest known evidence Ice Age humans in North America used salmon as a food source. Ancient DNA and stable isotope analysis from salmon vertebrae bones found in Interior Alaska indicate sea-run chum salmon were consumed by North American hunters 11,500 years ago. The study notes that the findings are significant because it shows that Ice Age Paleoindians also fished, altering the understanding that the group was focused primarily on hunting big game. The study also notes that the findings at the Upward Sun River site --...Suzanna Caldwell
There’s something about an alpine lake that just begs for swimming. Maybe it’s the setting of being tucked into a mountain bowl. Or maybe it’s the boulders lining the edges in a way as to make perfect jumping platforms. But above all else, it has to be the crystal-clear blue water that practically begs for swimming. Alas, Alaska alpine lakes have one major thing going against them: extreme cold. So I speak from experience that one should not try jumping into Gold Cord Lake, or really any alpine lake in Alaska. Just dip your toes in the lake, and you’ll understand why as your toes go numb quickly. But even if you can’t swim, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the hike to Gold Cord Lake, nestled in the Talkeetna Mountains next to Independence Mine. It's one of many trails in Hatcher Pass...Suzanna Caldwell
Traffic along some of Alaska’s busiest roadways has steadily increased in recent years, but one thing that’s gone down: major-injury crashes in designated “safety corridors.” The safety corridors , noted by the innocuous orange-and-white signs dotting sections of four major Alaska roadways, might not look like much to drivers, but they’ve unobtrusively been improving highway safety in a major way. Since first being implemented along the Seward Highway in 2006, the four sections of road have seen dramatic declines in major-injury crashes. According to data collected by the Alaska Department of Transportation major-injury crashes are down an average of 41 percent in the safety corridors since the sections of road have been designated as such. It’s down slightly from previous years, when the...Suzanna Caldwell