Suzanna Caldwell

Shoppers at an East Anchorage Target on Sunday got a surprise when they came across a black bear trying to enter the store. Elizabeth Shea and her friend were shopping with their two little girls at the Tikahtnu Commons shopping center along Muldoon Road when they heard people screaming. "I think...
Suzanna Caldwell,Tara Young
Outside of the Consortium Library on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus is a concrete slab 8 feet wide and 20 feet long. It looks like your average sidewalk, but it could potentially hold the key to solving a perennial Alaska transportation problem: road ruts. For the past 15 years -- and the past eight in Alaska -- UAA professor of civil engineering Osama Abaza has been developing a road surface that can stand up to Alaska’s road-rut problem. The concrete slab at UAA is the first practical test of the solution. Abaza plans to work with the Alaska Department of Transportation to install a 180-foot lane of the concrete on Abbott Road next summer. “I’m not going to say we have the magic solution, but we’re trying,” Abaza said in a September interview. Abaza is branching out from the...Suzanna Caldwell
Peter Williams understands people think sea otters are cute, but for him, the connection to the animals is much deeper. Williams, a sea otter hunter and skin-sewing artist, is on a mission to spread understanding of what he does. He’s created a short documentary, “ Harvest: Quyuriq ,” that will premiere at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Anchorage Museum . Williams, who is Yup’ik but lives in Sitka, wants people to know he doesn't hunt the animals simply for sport. The practice is an extension of his Native roots and lifestyle, he says. “I think (the documentary) is a rather unapologetic look at just Alaska Natives celebrating our culture and celebrating marine mammal hunting and saying, 'This is hunting sea otters and this is why it's important to us,'” he said in a phone interview Thursday. “But...Suzanna Caldwell
A new study from the U.S. Geological Survey suggests that when it comes to berries in Alaska, harvests are becoming more variable on a year-to-year basis , according to some observers. The findings were published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Circumpolar Health , and were based on a survey that examined how Alaska tribal managers and local observer networks view trends in wild berry harvests. Mike Brubaker, co-author of the study and director of the Center for Climate and Health at the Alaska Native Tribal Center, said berries make up an important part of many rural diets -- they're Alaska's only naturally occurring fruit -- but that resources are lacking when it comes to what berries are important to which communities. The study helps relieve that, giving...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