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Nathaniel Herz

Valdez and Cordova could get as much as 5 inches of rain in a storm Thursday evening and Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

The rain is expected to cause flooding on the Richardson Highway along the Lowe River near Valdez, said meteorologist Shaun Baines, and the weather service has issued small stream flood advisories for the northeast and southeast Prince William Sound regions.

Areas at higher elevations could get 10 inches of rain, the weather service said.

Much of the moisture in the storm will get squeezed out by the mountains between Anchorage and Prince William Sound, Baines said, sparing the city from the heaviest rainfall...

Nathaniel Herz

Anchorage attorney and former Alaska Board of Fisheries Chairman Dan Coffey was cited for violating a pair of fishing regulations in Southeast Alaska on Saturday, according to the Alaska State Troopers.

A state trooper on a boat patrol in the Peril Strait area, north of Sitka, found that crab traps belonging to Coffey had been baited with sport-caught king salmon, according to a written statement from the troopers. Under state fishing regulations, only salmon scraps can be used as bait, and "Coffey was using other than the head, tail, fins, closely trimmed skeleton, or viscera," according to the troopers' account...

Nathaniel Herz

Residents of Big Lake and Palmer are mourning after two plane crashes late last week killed three local men -- just days after another Big Lake man, Robert Lilly, was killed in an accident at Merrill Field in Anchorage.

Lilly, 31, was close friends with the family of Scott Mueller, 58. Mueller, of Big Lake, was killed in Friday's small plane crash at the Tatitna landing strip southeast of McGrath, according to Mueller's daughter Brooke Hartman.

Lilly "grew up with my brothers," Hartman said. "It's just an absolute horrible emotional roller-coaster ride for my whole family."

The two other men killed last week were brothers-in-law, said Joe Daugherty, a close friend of Adam Norton, 30, whose small plane crashed into the tundra 10 miles north of Sutton...

Nathaniel Herz

A fire damaged at least four units at The Club Apartments on Lake Otis Parkway on Tuesday evening, according to the Anchorage Fire Department.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, said Senior Captain Clinton Powell. The fire started in a second-floor apartment, Powell said, and spread to the third floor. Fourteen units responded, the department said.

When firefighters arrived, they found smoke, but flames "only in the walls," Powell said.

By NATHANIEL HERZ Anchorage Daily News
Nathaniel Herz

Anchorage has returned more than $1 million in property taxes collected from one of its big taxpayers, Enstar Natural Gas Co., after settling a dispute over the value of the company's pipelines.

The settlement, reached in June and paid out in July, resulted in the protest resignation of the city's long-time property assessor, Marty McGee.

It was McGee's work as assessor that resulted in a big tax increase for Enstar. In 2010, he determined that the utility's pipeline network was undervalued for tax purposes. A review board sided with his higher valuation, though a judge later questioned it...

Nathaniel Herz

A Fairbanks woman was arrested early Sunday in Anderson after assaulting two family members who were trying to keep her from driving drunk, the Alaska State Troopers said.

The woman, Cynthia Nelson, 27, also brandished a loaded pistol at campers at an RV park in Anderson, 75 miles southwest of Fairbanks on the Parks Highway, according to a written statement from the troopers.

The statement said Nelson had been drinking early on Sunday morning, then got angry at her friends when they stopped her from driving an ATV.

She then found keys to a truck, and drove it a nearby family member's house, where the two family members took the keys away, according to the troopers...

Nathaniel Herz

President Barack Obama wants permission from Congress for a military strike against the Syrian government. But the members of Alaska's delegation are far from ready to give it.

In interviews, both Alaska senators said that the Obama administration had not yet presented them with a plan for attack that they would support. And a spokesman for Rep. Don Young said in a written statement that he remains opposed to American intervention in Syria.

"Syria is a piece of the puzzle," said Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat. "And I really haven't seen it delivered to me at this point that striking on Syria helps us solve issues that are much broader in the Middle East."...

Nathaniel Herz

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescued a pair of hunters in Southeast Alaska after they got lost in foggy conditions and spent a night in the woods, according to the Alaska State Troopers.

Brothers David Duncan, 38, and Berton Duncan, 24, both of Craig, had been deer hunting in the mountains on Prince of Wales Island, troopers said in a written statement. Their family expected them back Friday evening, and reported them missing late Saturday when they hadn't returned, troopers said.

The Coast Guard sent a helicopter to look for the men, and found them around 1 a.m. on Sunday morning, after the brothers shot a flare to broadcast their location, the troopers said...

Nathaniel Herz

An Anchorage man was arrested Saturday after he temporarily eluded police on the Glenn Highway, driving his car at speeds above 100 miles per hour, according to the Alaska State Troopers.

The troopers said they caught Michael Elam just off the Parks Highway, near the Harley-Davidson shop between Palmer and Wasilla, around 2 p.m. That was after he crashed his Volkswagen Jetta into a Toyota Prius driven by Patricia Kennedy, 66, of Wasilla.

Kennedy sustained minor injuries, the troopers said.

An Anchorage police officer had initially tried to stop Elam, 27, after seeing him driving recklessly on the highway, said Anchorage police dispatcher Sharon Brown.

She said the Anchorage officer broke off pursuit to avoid endangering other drivers...

Nathaniel Herz

An early morning fire destroyed an iconic Barrow restaurant and damaged an attached hotel on Saturday, according to North Slope Borough officials.

The Mexican restaurant, Pepe's North of the Border, is "completely gone," said Michael Shults. His mother, Fran Tate, opened the restaurant nearly 35 years ago, first serving out of a two-bedroom house, then ultimately expanding into its current, larger space connected to the Top of the World Hotel.

The hotel was "heavily smoke-damaged," and the hallway connecting it to the restaurant was demolished by local public works employees as they tried keep the flames from spreading, said Joe Dingman, assistant chief of the North Slope Borough Fire Department...

Nathaniel Herz