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
ILIAMNA -- Authorities on Wednesday identified the pilot and six survivors of a Tuesday morning floatplane crash near the Southwest Alaska town of Iliamna as investigators continued to look into what may have caused the crash that left three others dead. National Transportation Safety Board investigator Millicent Hoidal said she, another NTSB investigator, an FAA investigator and a representative of the aircraft engine manufacturer had been assessing the site where the de Havilland DHC-3T Turbine Otter crashed since Wednesday morning. The Otter, owned and operated by the Rainbow King Lodge, crashed shortly after takeoff from East Wind Lake, not far from the Iliamna Airport. The plane was being flown by 54-year-old John Furnia of New York, Alaska State Troopers said in an online dispatch...Suzanna Caldwell,Chris Klint
A float plane with 10 people aboard crashed on takeoff from a small lake in the Southwest Alaska town of Iliamna before sunrise Tuesday morning, killing three passengers, according to the National Transportation Safety Board and Alaska State Troopers. NTSB spokesman Clint Johnson said the de Havilland DHC-3T Turbine Otter owned and operated by Rainbow King Lodge was departing East Wind Lake. “They were headed to a fishing site from there," Johnson said. "There were guests, there were guides and there were obviously the crew on board.” Troopers identified those killed as Tony W. DeGroot, 80, of Hanford, Calif., James P. Fletcher, 70, of Clovis, Calif., and James Specter, 69, of Shavertown, Penn. Their next of kin have been notified. Troopers are still working to confirm the names of...Chris Klint,Lisa Demer,Suzanna Caldwell
From $9 “Bear Plate” T-shirts at Apone’s T-Shirt Cache to a $152 designer “Last Frontier” hoodie at Blush, there’s an Alaska-love apparel item for anyone who wants one at the Alaska State Fair. And as the styles emerge, and in some cases converge, vendors are trying to keep pace and stand out among the expanding crowd. “It’s absolutely growing,” said Nick McDonald, owner of Big Dipper Clothing Co. and a six-year vendor at the fair. Walk down any trail at the fair and you’ll find multiple booths selling T-shirts and sweaters emblazoned with Alaska designs. There are whimsical jellyfish from Anchorage’s Octopus Ink and hand-drawn nautical compasses from Homer’s Salmon Sisters. At a booth called “Locals Only,” be ready to find Sledneck shirts and pink T-shirts emblazoned “AK Dirty Girls” in...Suzanna Caldwell
Almost a year after an accident took Iditarod veteran Karin Hendrickson off the trail, the Willow musher is ready to get back on the runners. Hendrickson signed up Thursday to race in the 2016 Iditarod . She withdrew from the 2015 race after being hit by a car while training along the Parks Highway in late November last year. Hendrickson said in a phone interview Thursday she doesn’t want to consider what it would be like to sit out for another year. “I’m not sure if I can do it, but I’m going to give it everything I’ve got,” she said. The four-time finisher of the 1,000-mile race said she’s getting better every day, training with her team on short runs of up to five miles at a time. Every month she notices improvement, but she admits it’s slow going. “I can be up and on my feet for a...Suzanna Caldwell