Michelle Theriault Boots

A powerful storm packing hurricane-force winds in the Western Bering Sea will slam into Western Alaska Sunday night, bringing white-out conditions and possible coastal flooding to the Kuskokwim Delta area. The storm, caused by a low pressure front off Shemya, carries 70-knot winds and up to 41-foot seas on the Pacific side of the Western Aleutian islands, according to a National Weather Service forecast . "Mariners may want to seek safe harbor until conditions improve slowly from southwest to northeast through early this week," the NWS said in a Facebook post. Such storms are not unusual in the Bering Sea this time of year, said NWS meterologist Dan Peterson, but added, "it is a significant storm." The storm will also bring “near white-out conditions” to the Kuskokwim Delta coastal region...Michelle Theriault Boots
A jury on Friday convicted a 24-year-old Anchorage man in the 2014 machete slaying of a Mat-Su berry farmer , Alaska State Troopers report. Thomas Cottam was convicted by a Palmer jury on charges of murder and vehicle theft, troopers said in an online dispatch posted Friday. At the time of his arrest, charging documents said Cottam had been hitchhiking when Steven Garcia picked him up and offered him work at his small Valley berry-growing operation, located off the Old Glenn Highway near the Knik River Bridge. Cottam was staying at Garcia's house when he attacked the 81-year-old raspberry and strawberry grower with a machete, charging documents said. On May 18, 2014, Cottam turned himself in to police at the Anchorage jail, telling investigators he had blacked out during the attack. The...Michelle Theriault Boots
A man was hospitalized early Sunday after a stabbing at a Spenard apartment complex, Anchorage police said. Police were called to the Royal Suite Lodge at 3811 Minnesota Drive at 3:53 a.m., according to a statement from the Anchorage Police Department. According to their investigation, a 45-year-old man arrived at the complex, which was once a motel but now operates longer-term rentals, to “meet a woman he knew.” The victim got into an argument with another man, according to police. There were four people in the room at the time. “The suspect male pulled out a gun which the victim male was able to knock away,” the statement said. Police said the man brandishing a gun then pulled out a knife, stabbing the victim in the arm before fleeing on foot. Emergency responders took the victim to the...Michelle Theriault Boots
Her name was Christy Williams and she was so tiny she must have stood out: 4 feet, 6 inches tall and 84 pounds, the height and weight of an average fifth-grader. Anchorage police found her dead in a tent at a homeless camp near Valley of the Moon Park on Nov. 6. Somebody had called to say she wasn’t breathing, the police report said. There were no obvious signs of foul play. Her body was taken to the State Medical Examiner Office for an autopsy. But 11 days later, she still hadn’t been identified. To identify a dead person, the medical examiner first relies on visual identification by family or friends, fingerprints, dental records, known scars or tattoos. If that doesn’t work, DNA testing can be used. But it can take up to a year. So on Tuesday, for the first time in five years, the...Michelle Theriault Boots
Alaska’s congressional delegation and a growing chorus of Republican state lawmakers say they oppose plans to resettle Syrian refugees in the United States, while Gov. Bill Walker says he is more concerned with making sure the process to approve such potential arrivals “remains the most stringent in the world.” Walker has not joined more than 25 mostly Republican governors who have pledged to oppose or defy a plan by the Obama administration to bring 10,000 refugees from Syria's civil war to the United States, an issue that has become a touchstone for a simmering battle over immigration and security fueled by the terrorist attacks in Paris — though most of the suspects there are thought to have been French citizens. The governors -- from states including Illinois to Michigan and Georgia...Michelle Theriault Boots
Usually, when a person dies inside an Alaska prison, a curtain of official silence quickly falls, making it difficult for anyone on the outside to learn what happened. But a review ordered by Gov. Bill Walker three months ago and released as a report Monday describes in detail recent instances in which Alaskans died in custody of the state. In one case, the report found, a 33-year-old man with a heart condition yelled that he couldn’t breathe while correctional officers restrained him, trying to cut off his sweatshirt with scissors. He died minutes later. In another, a man in jail for being drunk in Juneau tried to alert guards that he was having a heart attack. One staff member reported hearing another tell him, "I don't care, you could die right now and I don't care." An hour and a half...Michelle Theriault Boots
Gov. Bill Walker announced Monday that he had accepted the resignation of Alaska’s corrections commissioner after the release of a scathing report detailing widespread failures and dysfunction that may have led to deaths in Alaska jails. Walker said he received the resignation of Ron Taylor on Sunday. At an 11 a.m. Monday news conference following the report’s release, Walker said Walt Monegan, the former Anchorage police chief and state commissioner of public safety, would temporarily take over Alaska’s prison system during a search for a replacement. Walker had ordered the outside review in August after a string of highly publicized prisoner deaths that stirred public outcry and drew some lawmakers’ attention. “It’s clear as a result of this that the system is broken,” Walker said at...Michelle Theriault Boots,Nathaniel Herz
Gov. Bill Walker on Sunday ordered Alaska state flags to be lowered in memory of the victims of Friday’s terror attacks in Paris. “Friday’s attacks in Paris broke the hearts of Alaska and our nation,” Walker said in a statement released by his office Sunday. The order follows President Barack Obama’s proclamation that U.S. flags be lowered in a gesture of mourning and solidarity with France. Flags will be flown at half-staff at the White House, federal buildings and American diplomatic and military outposts across the globe. U.S. and Alaska flags should be flown at half-staff beginning immediately until sunset on Thursday, the orders say.Michelle Theriault Boots
Police say two people found dead in a West Juneau condo Sunday were both shot and their deaths are being investigated as a double homicide. At 12:21 p.m., police received a 911 call from a man who said he’d found the bodies of two people in a condo on Roger Street on Douglas Island, across Gastineau Channel from downtown Juneau. Emergency responders arriving at the scene pronounced the two adults dead, police Lt. David Campbell said. Police identified the victims as 34-year-old Elizabeth K. Tonsmeire and 36-year-old Robert H. Meireis, both of Juneau, in a statement Sunday evening. Their next of kin have been notified, police said. Police have no suspects and the investigation is ongoing, according to the statement. Anyone with information is urged to call the Juneau Police Department at (...Michelle Theriault Boots
Troopers arrested a Wasilla man Saturday and charged him with secretly photographing a woman and then threatening to publish the pictures on a pornographic website. On Saturday around 1:30 p.m., troopers received a report of of harassment happening through text messages and social media. Vincent Schuerch, 45, took “indecent photographs and videos” of a woman “on multiple occasions” without her consent, according to a troopers dispatch posted online Sunday. The dispatch did not indicate when or where the photos and videos were taken. Schuerch then threatened to publish the videos and photos on a pornographic website and to distribute them to the woman’s friends, family and coworkers “if she refused to send additional photographs,” according to the troopers dispatch. Troopers caught up with...Michelle Theriault Boots