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Dermot Cole

FAIRBANKS -- At 5 feet 8 inches, John A. Miscovich was an unlikely giant in the Alaska placer mining industry.

He invented a water cannon known as the “Intelligiant,” which influenced the development of hydraulic gold mining, as well as firefighting and about 150 other applications, from riot control to tank cleaning and excavation.

Miscovich, who died Aug. 22 at 96 in Orange, Calif., is on track to be a future member of the Alaska Mining Hall of Fame in Fairbanks, joining his father, pioneer Alaska miner Peter Miscovich...

Dermot Cole

With no answers yet about why a rocket launch failed in Kodiak, leaders of the Alaska Aerospace Corp. find themselves wrestling with the tricky question of public relations damage control.

At a board meeting Thursday in Kodiak, they discussed whether the state-owned corporation could make any statement that the accident early Monday was not its fault.

The short answer: No.

But some members said it would be correct to say that the rocket left the launchpad. And to that extent the support role of the Alaska Aerospace Corp. can be dubbed a success, pending any disclosures to the contrary in the weeks and months ahead...

Dermot Cole

FAIRBANKS -- Gov. Sean Parnell on Thursday vetoed a bill that would have made thousands of court records confidential in cases where charges are dismissed or defendants have been acquitted. He said the bill went too far in making court records secret.

Parnell said the goal of striking a balance between open government and the rights of people who have been accused, but not convicted, is a good one...

Dermot Cole

A $19,000 Homeland Security investigation into whether a U.S. agent stationed at the Alaska Highway border crossing pointed a gun at an Iowa Boy Scout has cleared the agent.

"All investigative leads have been pursued and exhausted," Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth said in a press release. "Based on the investigation to date, we do not believe any CPB (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) personnel acted inappropriately. The allegation appears to be unsubstantiated."

Officials with the Inspector General's office traveled to several states, including Alaska, to conduct interviews...

Dermot Cole

WEDNESDAY EVENING UPDATE: Gov. Parnell had not acted on SB 108 as of late Wednesday evening. He faces a Saturday deadline to sign or veto the bill.


FAIRBANKS -- Gov. Sean Parnell is on the verge of vetoing or approving one of the final measures left over from the 2014 Legislature -- it would provide that thousands of court records every year would become confidential if charges are dismissed or a jury acquits...

Dermot Cole

As a 48-foot rocket lifted off from the Kodiak Launch Complex Monday, a flight control operator realized it would never fly. Four seconds into the mission, he triggered the “Flight Termination System,” setting off an explosion that split the motor casing and lit up the night sky.

The blast destroyed the three-stage rocket and an experimental glider with winglets that sat atop the rocket under a nosecone. The test produced a pile of debris and stands as a setback for a costly military research program aimed at developing an unmanned glider capable of carrying weapons thousands of miles at thousands of miles per hour.

While the Pentagon begins to pick up the pieces, the failure to launch raises new questions about the future of the state-owned Alaska Aerospace Corp...

Dermot Cole

FAIRBANKS -- When the Air Force looked for a contractor to own and operate housing at Eielson Air Force Base and five other installations, it advised the company to "assume full payment of property taxes" and include a one-year cash reserve in its financial plan to pay the tax bill.

But Corvias Military Living, the company that took control of more than 900 housing units at Eielson last year, said it never assumed that it would have to pay property taxes nor made plans to pay property taxes...

Dermot Cole

Dan Sullivan, the former Alaska attorney general and natural resources commissioner, declared victory early Wednesday in one of the most divisive Alaska Republican primaries in decades, while Fairbanks lawyer Joe Miller ran 8 points behind in second place. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell trailed third in the fight to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in the fall...

Dermot Cole,Nathaniel Herz

FAIRBANKS — While the long-running debate in Alaska over oil taxes enters a new stage Tuesday with the first statewide vote to repeal or endorse a tax system enacted by the Alaska Legislature, the election results will hardly be the final word.

The oil production decline, which began a quarter-century ago, will remain a key focus, just as it had been under the three previous oil tax systems in Alaska.

Some involved in the campaign against repeal of the SB 21 oil tax cut have made much of assertions that the decline in production has slowed or almost stopped, but executives of ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil Corp. who deal with tariffs for the trans-Alaska oil pipeline offered contradictory forecasts within the past few weeks in testimony to the state...

Dermot Cole

FAIRBANKS -- They may not be from the automaker's home country of Sweden, but the 56 two-member teams of drivers who pulled into Fairbanks Sunday say there are no limits to how far they'll go in vintage Volvos.

That's why they have spent the past five weeks driving about 10,000 miles from Panama to Alaska in various models of old Volvos, most built 40 or 50 years ago and bedecked with international decals and license plates.

To take part in the “Volvo Classics -- Panamericana/Indian Trail” journey, the drivers had to own one of the classics -- the Duett, the Amazon, the Volvo 140, the Volvo 240, the Volvo 164 or the P1800...

Dermot Cole