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Megan Edge

A Turnagain Pass avalanche fully buried a skier Thursday afternoon, according to the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center . But in a "remarkable" turn of events, the skier walked away uninjured after digging his head out of the snow, according to avalanche forecaster John Fitzgerald.

The 350-foot-wide avalanche was triggered by the skier and ran downhill an estimated 1,000 feet on the southwest face of Sunburst Ridge, Fitzgerald said. The man's companion, who escaped the avalanche by riding on the outside, helped dig out the buried skier.

"Anything that buries a person, we consider large," Fitzgerald said. "It's not big enough to take out a railroad car, but for humans, yes, it's big."...

Megan Edge
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A zookeeper on Wednesday walked through the bear cub exhibit at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, scattering food and pouring honey onto tree stumps....

Megan Edge

A zookeeper on Wednesday walked through the bear cub exhibit at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, scattering food and pouring honey onto tree stumps. She laughed with zoo director Patrick Lampi, standing in his work jacket outside the exhibit, as they discussed how to lure two orphaned, underweight and skittish black bear cubs out of their den.

After the keeper left the cage, the cubs took the bait.

The duo -- recently delivered to the zoo after being rescued days apart in different Alaska communities -- are the latest bear orphans the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has sent to facilities across the country. Fish and Game has found homes for nine bear cubs in 2014...

Megan Edge

A Southcentral Alaska winter that's been largely light on snow is taking its toll on those hoping to venture into the backcountry of Turnagain Pass, part of the Chugach National Forest south of Anchorage.

More than two weeks after the area typically opens for snowmachiners, the pass remained closed Tuesday as lower elevations continued to see below-average snow levels. It continues a trend of recent years that has seen the pass open later and later for snowmachiners...

Megan Edge

Fees for overnight camping and use of boat launches in Alaska's state parks will increase in 2015, the Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday.

The increases are part of an "ongoing effort to make the operation and maintenance of the state park system more self-sustaining," according to a release from DNR.

An annual parking pass for the parks system will increase by $10, from $40 to $50. If a family purchases a second pass it will cost $25, a $5 increase. It's the first time since 2004 that those prices have gone up, DNR said.

The $5 daily parking fee at trail heads will not be increased.

An annual boat launch pass, which has cost $75 since 1997, will be increased to $100. A second boat launch pass for the same family will be increased to $50...

Megan Edge

A disruptive scene played out at Anchorage's Nesbett Courthouse Monday afternoon after Anchorage Superior Court Judge Kevin Saxby announced that a jury had found 24-year-old Bukurim Miftari guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend Kristen Reid in 2012.

Miftari, frequently referred to as “Buki” by the attorneys -- as well as his family and friends -- was found guilty on all counts, which included charges of kidnapping and tampering with evidence in addition to first-degree murder.

"I feel like my family finally has the closure, and we needed that,” said Rayand Jackson, a 21-year-old who called Reid “mom.” She said Reid took care of her from the time she was 13...

Megan Edge

A Nevada couple who shipped methamphetamine from Las Vegas to Anchorage has pleaded guilty to a drug distribution and money laundering conspiracy, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Billy Cooks, also known as "Red Dollaz," and E'lala Frank, both 36, sent three packages of methamphetamine from Nevada to Anchorage. The third package was intercepted by drug agents, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Cooks had Frank send meth to people in Alaska with the help of Dawud Johnson, who had contacts in Alaska. Johnson himself received the third package in Anchorage, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Sayers-Fay said included more than 400 grams of meth -- "a significant amount."

The amount of meth in the first two packages is unknown, according to Sayers-Fay...

Megan Edge

A federal complaint unsealed Friday says Anchorage teaching assistant Daniel Brown, who was arrested on child pornography distribution and possession charges this week , had been downloading child pornography on his home computer for a decade, according to his own statement to law enforcement.

"He said that his downloading activity had escalated in the past couple of years, to the point of actively trading images as much as three times a week," FBI Special Agent Angela Strause wrote in the complaint filed Dec. 9...

Megan Edge

The Anchorage Police Department shut down roads in a residential neighborhood near the Spenard area Friday as they attempted to help an individual they said could be a "harm to themselves or others."

Taft Street, from West 45th to West 47th Avenue was shut down shortly before 12 p.m., according to a public information notice provided by police.

Spokesperson for APD Jenifer Castro said police were attempting to serve the individual with an ex parte court order and that the adult was "vulnerable." She added that APD doesn't typically close streets to serve court orders.

But because of the "circumstances" -- on which Castro didn't elaborate -- they shut down the "small residential area" and sent out a public notification as a "courtesy."...

Megan Edge

Bukurim Miftari, charged with murder,​ sat expressionless in a packed courtroom Thursday morning in downtown Anchorage. His supporters and the family and friends of his alleged victim, Kristen Reid, filled three rows of benches as prosecutors and defense attorneys made their closing arguments.

"Have you ever loved someone so much you wanted to kill them?" District Attorney Sharon Marshall asked the jury, mostly women, as closing arguments began in the Nesbett Courthouse. On the opening slide of a PowerPoint presentation, that question was typed above a picture showing Miftari and Reid. They were smiling.

“This is a case about a 21-year-old in love with a 30-year-old married woman, who didn't return the love he wanted, expressed or needed,” Marshall continued...

Megan Edge