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Michelle Theriault Boots

A law that went into effect last week establishes, for the first time, statewide standards for the use of physical restraint and seclusion on students in Alaska public schools.

Before House Bill 210 , which Gov. Sean Parnell signed into law in July, became effective Oct. 14, Alaska statutes were vague, allowing teachers and other staff members to use “reasonable and necessary” physical restraint in emergencies but offering no details on what was permitted and what was not. The law was silent on the practice of seclusion, when a student is placed in a locked room...

Michelle Theriault Boots

With details of investigative files chronicling widespread misconduct in the Alaska National Guard public, Gov. Sean Parnell met with guard members Sunday afternoon in a closed-door session on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, officials said.

The town hall meeting was billed as a way for Parnell to hear candidly from soldiers themselves about reforming the guard.

Aside from a few photos released by Parnell's office to the press, what was said at the gathering is under wraps.

The event was not open to members of the public or media, and colonels and generals were asked not to attend, said Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow...

Michelle Theriault Boots

Ruby Kaleak was at her part-time job on Kaktovik’s roving “polar bear patrol” Friday when a whispery call came over the VHF radio.

“Qanitchaq, nanuq,” was all she could hear: arctic entryway, polar bear.

“They didn’t say where or who,” Kaleak said. "I thought that one of the young boys in town was pulling a prank."

Kaleak and her co-worker hopped in the Ford pickup they use when on patrol. Among their other equipment is a 12-gauge shotgun with beanbag and firecracker slugs to haze polar bears away from people in the Inupiat village of 300.

They found a house near the lagoon that they suspected the call might have come from. It was about 11 p.m. and dark...

Michelle Theriault Boots

Longtime Anchorage School District superintendent Carol Comeau retired and moved to Bellingham, Washington, more than two years ago.

But her influence in Alaska politics has apparently not waned.

This week, she says she was shocked to discover that Rep. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage, was distributing fliers promoting his re-election campaign featuring a photo of her smiling alongside him and the quote “Mike Hawker’s work is tremendous and historic.”

The picture and quote, Comeau says, are from 2008, and are not necessarily reflective of her feelings about the candidate today.

“I was really surprised that his campaign decided to use a picture and quote without, frankly, having the courtesy to call me and see if it was OK,” she said Wednesday...

Michelle Theriault Boots

Federal investigators are visiting four University of Alaska campuses this week as part of a system-wide audit of the way the university responds to sexual violence.

UA is one of 64 institutions of higher education nationwide the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is investigating or auditing for compliance with Title IX, the law that guarantees gender equity in education. The 1972 law also encompasses the proper handling of sexual assault complaints.

UA doesn’t know exactly how it got on the list of institutions undergoing “compliance reviews” by the Office of Civil Rights, said university attorney Mike O’Brien...

Michelle Theriault Boots

The Anchorage School Board stopped just short Monday night of taking an official stand against a ballot measure that would make marijuana legal in Alaska, instead choosing to “reaffirm” its longstanding drug-free schools policy.

The board passed a “ resolution reaffirming ASD’s commitment to promoting drug-free schools ” at Monday’s school board meeting by a vote of 7-0.

The resolution says the “board intends to keep district schools free of alcohol and other drugs.”...

Michelle Theriault Boots

Two top-ranking Alaska National Guard officers were fired Thursday by their commander and then re-hired the next day over concerns that their dismissal could appear improper, officials said Sunday.

“I initiated some leadership changes without consulting with the governor’s office, which I rescinded within 24 hours,” Brigadier Gen. Mike Bridges, the Alaska National Guard’s top acting official in Alaska, said Sunday. “My fault.”...

Michelle Theriault Boots

After years of homelessness with her husband and children, Sandra Haviland was ecstatic to land an apartment this May.

The two-bedroom unit at the Royal Suite Apartments, a former motel that fronts Minnesota Drive, was modest.

The couple’s elementary school-age sons would share a bed. So would their two teenage daughters. Haviland and her husband would sleep on the couch and a fold-out cot, respectively.

But after camping on the floor of a church and being crammed in motel rooms, an apartment promised stability and peace.

“When you are homeless and you finally get an apartment, you’re just so happy,” Haviland said...

Michelle Theriault Boots
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After years of homelessness with her husband and children, Sandra Haviland was ecstatic to land an apartment this May.

The two-bedroom unit at the Royal Suite Apartments, a former motel that fronts Minnesota Drive, was modest...

Michelle Theriault Boots

On Thursday, the state of Alaska will send checks for $1,884 dollars into the bank accounts of this year’s 598,917 successful Permanent Fund dividend applicants .

According to state statistics and the most recent population projections, more than 90 percent of Alaskans applied for the dividend this year.

But what about those who don’t apply? Why turn down a check that can pay for a new sofa set, a couple of tickets to Hawaii, the beginning of a college savings account or a snowmachine?

People have their reasons.

One of those people is Paul Tickett...

Michelle Theriault Boots

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