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Suzanna Caldwell

Ask pediatrician Rosalyn Singleton about the flu in Alaska right now and she'll tell you that it's starting to rumble. Visiting with other doctors at the All Alaska Pediatric Symposium in Girdwood this past weekend, she kept hearing from more and more physicians about influenza cases cropping up across the state.

A few regions across the state are seeing a spike in reported flu cases, indicating that the start of Alaska's flu season could be just around the corner -- or perhaps already upon us. During the final week of October, 26 cases of influenza A and B were reported in three regions, according to the Alaska Division of Epidemiology. By comparison, the first three weeks of October averaged about eight cases each...

Suzanna Caldwell

Despite reports that Cook Inlet may be awash in natural gas, leading to a surge of interest by smaller oil-and-gas companies, utilities are now looking elsewhere to ensure supply meets Southcentral Alaska’s growing demand in the face of aging fields whose output has dwindled precipitously. As a result, the state with the biggest supply of natural gas of any in the union will, within two years, find itself importing the very quantity of gas it has for decades intended to ship overseas or to the Lower 48 to secure its economic future...

Suzanna Caldwell
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Despite reports that Cook Inlet may be awash in natural gas, leading to a surge of interest by smaller oil-and-gas companies, utilities are now looking elsewhere to ensure supply meets Southcentral Alaska’s growing demand in the face of aging fields whose output has dwindled precipitously....

Suzanna Caldwell

When it comes to the work of artist Drew Michael, he's all about breaking the rules if it means finding a voice. Michael’s masks, steeped in Alaska Native traditions, use a blend of traditional and some very non-traditional materials. Wire and candle wax. Spruce and seaweed. Baleen and Barbie dolls.

While mixing materials is hardly new, there's something moving about Michael's masks. Though not unfinished, Michael's carved masks aren’t smoothed out. Many include scorch marks, a symbolic reference to the Yup'ik tradition of burning masks after their ceremonial use.

But together, the details lend a primal, rugged feel to his work...

Suzanna Caldwell

Cue music by The Who. The “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” theme song could serve as a fitting backdrop as the Anchorage Police Department unveiled its new crime scene vehicle Wednesday, a project years in the making and intended to bring the department into the 21st century when it comes to processing evidence.

You may have seen it already. The off-white, 38-foot-long vehicle has been in the department's hands since Oct. 1, and has so far been on eight calls in Alaska's largest city. The custom-built, diesel-powered vehicle that will be dispatched to a variety of major crimes -- from homicides to kidnappings, robberies, officer-involved shootings and suspicious deaths...

Suzanna Caldwell

Lawyers representing a man who was tased 15-18 times have appealed a state Superior Court decision overturning a jury verdict that awarded the man $500,000.

The law firm of Power and Brown appealed the case of Thomas “Boya” Olson vs. the city of Hooper Bay on Oct. 10. Lawyers are appealing the ruling on 11 different points.

Repeated throughout the appeal are questions concerning qualified immunity, the complicated legal term that shields police and other government officials from prosecution so long as their actions are not in violation of established law...

Suzanna Caldwell

The deadline is nearing for Anchorage residents hoping for housing assistance from the state's public-housing corporation.

There's only seven days left for residents of Alaska's largest city to apply for the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation's (AHFC) Housing Choice Voucher Program. The program helps families subsidize rental costs. Eligible families find their own rental property and pay 30 percent of their adjusted income in rent; a voucher picks up the rest...

Suzanna Caldwell

A few Alaska programs are hoping to get young people talking about sex in rural Alaska, where sexually transmitted disease and teen pregnancy rates are shockingly high.

With rates of certain STDs dropping slightly, the programs may be headed in the right direction.

One program, , focuses on a website that offers health advice -- ranging from alcohol and drugs to smoking and sex. Another -- called “PHAT” -- uses trained “peer-educators,” teens ages 15 to 21, to have conversations with fellow youths about sex, intimate partner violence and relationships...

Suzanna Caldwell

The phrase “black swan” come up again and again during the second day of the Alaska Chinook Salmon Symposium in downtown Anchorage on Tuesday.

Are the depressing chinook salmon runs that plagued Alaska this summer merely a blip in the overall picture? Is it a “black swan event,” a theory often used in philosophy that describes a surprise event that, in hindsight, might have been prevented?

Many think that no matter what happened to harm Alaska’s biggest and most-prized salmon, odds are it happened in the ocean. Does it have to do with food? Distribution of fish? Global warming? All of the above?...

Suzanna Caldwell

The season is long over for Alaska’s king salmon fishermen, but the debate over what went wrong this summer still percolates.

Hundreds of Alaska scientists, Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials, fishermen and others descended on downtown Anchorage Monday for the Alaska Chinook Salmon Symposium to discuss where research needs improvement.

“We need a comprehensive look at everything we know and everything we don't,” said Fish and Game Commissioner Cora Campbell . “This is just one step into the process to create a robust research plan.”...

Suzanna Caldwell