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Kyle Hopkins

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Somewhere in West Anchorage lives a pit bull named Palin...

Kyle Hopkins

Somewhere in West Anchorage lives a pit bull named Palin.

The Force is strong in Muldoon, home to Vader the Labrador and two pug-nosed Yodas. Other Anchorage pet owners named their dogs for Alaska rivers -- 12 Deshkas are napping across the city -- or Alaska pastimes (like Dime Bag the Rottweiler).

All told, Anchorage pet owners have registered about 11,250 canines with Anchorage Animal Care and Control in the city, with most dogs per capita found in South Anchorage and on the Hillside. Labrador retrievers are by far Anchorage's favorite primary breed with 1,985 dogs, followed by pit bulls (611), German shepherds (467) and, appropriately, Alaskan huskies (403), registration records show...

Kyle Hopkins

Want to see a report card for how your child’s school is performing?

New ratings released Friday by the state Education Department show how each of the more than 500 schools in Alaska fared under a 2-year-old system that awards each learning center one to five stars.

The effort ranks schools based on how well students in grades 3-10 perform on reading, writing and math assessments. Graduation rates, attendance and SAT and ACT scores all factor into a school’s score, which also includes a 1-100 numerical rating.

Find the 2014 results by searching for your school district and then finding your child’s school...

Kyle Hopkins

One person was killed and at least one other seriously injured when a Princess Tours bus crashed Friday morning, 37 miles south of Cantwell on the Parks Highway.

Three people were on board the commercial passenger bus at the time of the 8 a.m. rollover at Mile 173 of the Parks, according to Alaska State Troopers. The driver of the bus initially told authorities that two passengers were hurt, troopers said. Rescuers and troopers drove to the scene from Cantwell and pronounced one of the passengers dead...

Kyle Hopkins

Alaska has more residents on welfare, per capita, than any other state in the nation, according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau .

An updated tally of state-by-state public assistance rates shows 6 percent to 7 percent of Alaska families receive government help to pay their bills. That's more than twice the national average. The large seasonal tourism and fishing workforce, combined with more than 140 villages that are exempt from public assistance time limits because of few job opportunities, both contribute to the outsize rate...

Kyle Hopkins

An accused bank robber’s run from the FBI ended recently when, charges say, his stolen minivan ran out of gas outside of Wasilla.

Prosecutors on Wednesday charged Anchorage resident James D. Surrells, 43, with holding up a First National Bank Alaska branch Aug. 13 in East Anchorage . The FBI says Surrells was wearing a wig beneath his cap and carrying a gun when he stole $1,210 from a teller.

An Alaska state trooper, unaware that relatives of Surrells had already identified him as a potential suspect in the bank robbery, happened upon him three days later carrying a gas can on a quiet Valley road, according to troopers...

Kyle Hopkins

State prosecutors have decided not to press charges against a driver whose vehicle struck and killed a bicyclist Jan. 2 in Midtown Anchorage.

Tj Justice, 59, was driving westbound on Northern Lights Boulevard at 2:45 p.m. when his Subaru collided with a southbound cyclist just west of Minnesota Drive, according to the Anchorage Police Department.

Doctors pronounced the bicycle rider, 65-year-old Eldridge Griffith, dead at a local hospital shortly after the crash. Griffith had ridden into the street without waiting for traffic, prosecutors concluded. One car slowed to avoid the retired state youth counselor. The other, driven by Justice, hit Griffith in the middle lane...

Kyle Hopkins

It's been a sad and busy year in the Interior village of Tanana...

Kyle Hopkins

As the owner of the only Saint Bernard in the village, Darren Cleveland didn’t want to be known as the guy who doubled the size of dogs in Quinhagak.

At 120 pounds, his 2-year-old dog, Czar, already towered above the husky mixes and knee-high mutts that roam the Yup'ik town at the edge of the Bering Sea. The dog had to be neutered before any big new puppies appeared on the village streets, Nelson knew.

“I didn’t want to set up a new breed in Quinhagak, where people cannot take care of them,” he said...

Kyle Hopkins

Troopers are investigating the death of a 19-year-old woman whose body was discovered outside a Western Alaska village health clinic Wednesday as an apparent homicide.

A village public safety officer told Alaska State Troopers that Chevak resident Roxanne Smart was found dead shortly after 11 a.m. in the community of 900 people. Troopers arrived from Bethel to investigate and are being assisted today by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation, according to a troopers report posted online.

Employees at the health clinic referred questions to the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corp., where a spokeswoman was not immediately available. A troopers spokeswoman would not provide any additional information about the case, citing the ongoing investigation...

Kyle Hopkins

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