Zaz Hollander

PALMER -- Clayton Allison, given his first chance to defend himself publicly since he was convicted in February of murdering his 15-month-old daughter, denied accusations of child abuse.

Allison’s family and friends say daughter Jocelynn's September 2008 death came after she fell down the stairs and hit a chair while her father was unclogging a toilet. Prosecutors argue the toddler's injuries -- rib and leg bruises, dislocated neck vertebrae, eye hemorrhages, old and new brain bleeds and swelling -- came from abuse.

Allison's sentencing had been scheduled for Wednesday, but Palmer Superior Court Judge Vanessa White put off a decision until July 15 to review aspects of the complicated case, including a new psychiatric evaluation...

Zaz Hollander

PALMER -- A 54-year-old man arrested a decade ago for sexually abusing a minor is facing a dozen new felony charges linked to accusations he sexually abused or assaulted a girl over a six-year period.

The most serious charge against Allen Theodore is rape, according to a July 2 Palmer grand jury indictment. Along with that first-degree sexual assault charge, he also faces nine counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one third-degree assault charge based on an allegation that he choked the victim, the indictment says.

The charges specify events between January 2009 through December of last year and involve locations in Wasilla, Willow and Kenai. The abuse began when the victim was in her early teens, the document shows...

Zaz Hollander

The sightseeing plane that crashed June 25 near Ketchikan, killing the pilot and eight passengers , was flying under visual flight rules in “marginal” weather conditions, according to a new report released Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The single-engine de Havilland Otter operated by Promech Air Inc. of Ketchikan was returning from Misty Fjords National Monument when it struck a near-vertical rock face in remote terrain about 25 miles northeast of Ketchikan...

Zaz Hollander,Nathaniel Herz

WILLOW -- Willow’s Fourth of July celebration over the weekend featured small-town patriotism tempered by the reality of the 55 homes burned by last month’s Sockeye wildfire.

Parade floats featured hand-lettered signs thanking the firefighters who helped save homes while at Willow Community Center a small group of volunteers gathered to build homes for fire victims.

Publicly, much of the attention around the fire has gone to the numerous kennels that house sled dogs in the area. Willow, with its easy access to miles of trail, is Alaska’s unofficial dog mushing capital. Of the homes destroyed in the fire that began June 14, about 10 belong to mushers or people with large dog teams. Hundreds of sled dogs were evacuated. At least six dogs died or disappeared...

Zaz Hollander

A small plane having “ fuel-related issues” and carrying three family members landed safely on the Seward Highway near Potter Marsh just before 7:45 p.m. Saturday, Anchorage police said.

No one was injured.

The plane clipped a car before coming to a stop, according to Clint Johnson, Alaska region chief for the National Transportation Safety Board. The Cessna 182A appeared to sustain only slight damage to the right wing.

Anchorage police spokesperson Renee Oistad said the people in the plane were a “mom, dad and kid.” Their names and ages were not available Saturday night.

Police didn’t know if the plane ran out of fuel, had a mechanical problem or some other issue with fuel before the forced landing, Oistad said...

Zaz Hollander

Alaska State Troopers and Mat-Su emergency responders were en route to a report of two rafts overturned in the Matanuska River near Chickaloon Saturday around 5 p.m. Saturday

Initial reports described a group of people cold but unhurt on an island and one person still in the water clinging to a flipped raft who eventually emerged safely.

“Everybody’s out,” Ken Barkley, deputy emergency services director for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, said. “Everyone is on an island and they’re getting boats over there to pick them up.”...

Zaz Hollander

Alaska State Troopers say the motorcyclist who died in a crash on the Seward Highway Friday evening was pursued and later hit by a trooper's patrol car at the time of his death.

The motorcyclist was identified as 58-year-old Anchorage resident Michael J. Kemper.

The pursuit began at about 7:07 p.m. when a trooper, identified Saturday afternoon as Jeffrey F. Simpson, saw a Yamaha motorcycle speeding in the safety corridor at Mile 93 of the highway, troopers said in an online dispatch...

Zaz Hollander

PALMER -- Less than two weeks after her son was killed, Terria Walters is channeling her grief into a mission of justice and redemption.

Christopher Seaman, 23, was found dead in his 1998 Honda Civic at the fireworks stands along the Parks Highway on June 23. Alaska State Troopers are investigating his death as a homicide but as of Wednesday had made no arrests.

Walters, a 42-year-old former addict and felon who has been sober for a decade, says she wants his killers brought to trial. But she also hopes Seaman’s death sparks a larger conversation about the nature of addiction and Alaska’s failure to treat the drug and alcohol abuse underlying so many crimes...

Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- Some popular state parks in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, even those within reach of the 7,200-acre zone of the destructive Willow wildfire, are easing campfire restrictions ahead of the holiday weekend.

Effective Thursday morning, campfires in metal grate fire pits only were allowed at Big Lake North and South recreation areas, Rocky Lake State Recreation Area, Nancy Lake State Recreation Area and Nancy Lake State Recreation Site, Willow Creek State Recreation Area and Denali State Park. High fire danger led state parks to ban campfires. Many of the parks on the list are also near or within the area of the Sockeye fire that destroyed 55 homes around Willow and continued to smolder...

Zaz Hollander

Houston, one of the few places in Southcentral Alaska where fireworks are generally legal, has officially banned their use and sales over the Fourth of July weekend.

Houston Mayor Virgie Thompson and fire Chief Tom Hood announced the decision Wednesday. A statement from the mayor explained the decision was based on “limited firefighting resources, high fire danger, and recent community losses.”

Fireworks are already banned in Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Kenai Peninsula Borough and the Fairbanks North Star Borough. They’re not allowed on state parks or federal lands either...

Zaz Hollander