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Jerzy Shedlock

An Alaska national park employee struck last month by rock kicked up by a rescue helicopter suffered a traumatic brain injury, according to a spokesperson for the park.

Kenton Hotsko, 29, was injured as the Alaska Air National Guard was rescuing another hiker Aug. 31. Search-and-rescue personnel with the Alaska Guard responded to Copper Mountain in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve after receiving a call about Brian Dodd.

Dodd, 34, had suffered possible life-threatening injuries after falling down a steep, rocky cliff on the mountain while hiking, Alaska State Troopers said...

Jerzy Shedlock

Juneau police are requesting the public’s help in identifying and locating a thief who made off with $40,000 in jewelry from Costco. Investigators believe the culprit hid in the store until it was closed.

On Wednesday at about 10:30 in the evening, officers responded to an alarm at the capital city's Costco. They found the jewelry case inside the store had been busted open and about $40,000 of jewelry gone, police said in a news release.

A witness told police a man with short, brown hair wearing a green coat fled the area carrying items in his arms. He was gone before responding officers arrived.

“The first alarm went off when the suspect broke into the jewelry case,” police said. “It appears the suspect had hidden in the store prior to closing.”...

Jerzy Shedlock

Kenai resident Michael Keith Ellis stands accused of raping or sexually abusing multiple children from infancy, some victims until they were about 8 and 9 years old and others into their early teen years, despite inquiries from the Alaska State Troopers and the Office of Children’s Services.

“As far as how many times I abused you, I didn’t keep scorecards,” Ellis said in a jailhouse conversation with one of his victims, according to the charges.

Ellis is currently serving time for a an October 2010 conviction for second-degree sex abuse of a minor. He was sentenced to 20 years with 12 years suspended and is serving out that term at Wildwood Correction Complex, a state prison on the outskirts of Kenai...

Jerzy Shedlock

An Anchorage man found guilty of fraudulently billing Medicaid more than $20,000 has been sentenced to two months in prison in addition to restitution and loss of the privilege to bill the federal program.

John H. Choi, 59, was convicted on Friday on two counts: medical assistance fraud and submitting false medical records. The second charge is a felony. Anchorage Superior Court Judge Kevin Saxby sentenced Choi to 20 months in jail but suspended 18 months.

Choi was also ordered to pay $67,435 in restitution, the total amount Medicaid has paid to the former personal care attendant since 2010, according to the Alaska Department of Law...

Jerzy Shedlock

Police say an Anchorage woman was severely beaten during a Monday home invasion robbery, and they’re looking for three suspects.

Police responded to the robbery at about 1:30 p.m. after a neighbor reported it. Witnesses told responding officers that three men forced their way into the home in the 1600 block of Early View Drive in the Muldoon area, according to a news release.

The men “beat the 63-year-old female homeowner about the head and face and then stole her new TV,” the release says. The woman suffered multiple cuts, facial swelling, “open fractures to the skull, and possible internal injuries.”

The television was the only item reported as stolen, said Anchorage Police Department spokesperson Dani Myren...

Jerzy Shedlock

Two former Anchorage residents face a total of 43 criminal charges for allegedly receiving Permanent Fund dividends illegally over the past several years.

According to a Superior Court indictment filed Sept. 3, 38-year-old Nichelle Smith and 35-year-old Olivia Duron-Smith have been charged with numerous counts of first-degree unsworn falsification and second-degree theft. Smith also faces a charge of scheme to defraud.

The charges stem from false statements made on dividend applications submitted between 2009 and 2014, according to the Alaska Department of Law.

Smith pocketed $15,736 from applications for herself and her minor children, according to the indictment; Duron-Smith received $6,212 for herself and her children...

Jerzy Shedlock

For the second day, the Coast Guard is searching for a missing boater in the area of Coghlan Island near Auke Bay in Southeast Alaska.

Fifty-two-year-old Paul Keithahn’s wife said she hasn’t heard from her husband since Saturday, the Coast Guard reported in a news release.

Coghlan Island is about 11 miles northwest of Juneau.

Passers-by spotted the pleasure craft “Spellbound” turning in circles near the island on Monday afternoon, said Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert. The boat was reportedly unmanned, he said.

A response boat and auxiliary vessel from the Coast Guard’s Station Juneau, as well as an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka began searching for Keithahn after receiving the report from the good Samaritans...

Jerzy Shedlock

A 44-year-old Anchorage man faces multiple charges after allegedly stealing a motorcycle and then shooting a gun to scare off a pursuer.

Jonathan Ortiz Escalante has been charged with vehicle theft, second-degree weapons misconduct, criminal mischief and assault. The charges haven’t gone before a grand jury yet.

The owner of the bike and his friends found the stolen red Honda sports motorcycle on Sept. 7. The owner later told police the bike had been damaged and its license plate changed, according to the charges against Escalante. Additionally, the charges say, the bike was spray-painted, its ignition had been ripped out and several other parts were missing...

Jerzy Shedlock

Alaska State Troopers say two Anchorage men were rescued a mile offshore of Lake Louise on Sunday morning, while a local resident there died after a boating accident.

Around 8:40 a.m., troopers got a report that a locator beacon had been activated on the lake. Troopers coordinated with lake residents and, around 11 a.m., searchers located 42-year-old Brian Johnson and 45-year-old Jeffrey Watson, both of Anchorage, floating about a mile offshore. Both were wearing life vests, troopers say.

Johnson told troopers that 61-year-old Howard W. Jaidinger , a third member of their hunting group, was directly ahead of him and Watson in a separate boat when their boat capsized and sank due to strong winds and large waves on the lake...

Jerzy Shedlock

The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a state commission’s proposal to suspend Palmer District Court Judge William Estelle for 45 days without pay.

Estelle filed 16 untrue affidavits between September 2011 and February 2013, falsely swearing that he had completed cases within time constraints -- although, the Supreme Court opinion noted, the group that investigated Estelle found that the falsification had not been intentional, but rather due to office practices and the way his caseflow was managed...

Jerzy Shedlock