Alaska Dispatch's Best of the Week: July 8-13

Alaska Dispatch staff

Worries and outcry over injuries and a death in the Mount Marathon Race dominated Alaska news this week, as the search was called off for a missing Anchorage man who simply vanished in the middle of the July Fourth race. Craig Medred offers comprehensive coverage of the legendary race's first-ever death and offers a glimmer of hope to the loved ones of race survivor Matt Kenney, who's still hospitalized with traumatic brain injury. And another tragedy on the Kenai Peninsula: former Alaska lawmaker Cheryll Heinze was killed this week in a freak float plane accident on Beluga Lake. 

It was also a big week in Alaska science news. A study concludes that indigenous American populations from the Arctic to southern Chile all share ancestral genes of a common "First People" that migrated across the Bering Strait land bridge that once connected Alaska with Eurasia. And yet another study for the first time confirms that aurora borealis -- one of many cherished benefits that comes with life in the Last Frontier -- emits sound when dancing across the Far North sky.

These and other stories shaped news in the 49th state this week. Here's some of our best reporting.

  1. 1 Diamond Jim's: Roadside sign vexing state of Alaska nearly 50 years

    Following the Good Friday earthquake, Alaska Gov. William Egan told Diamond Jim's owner Mary Lou Redmond she could keep her sign within the federal right of way on Seward Highway. It's still there, despite best efforts of state and Feds.

  2. 2 Alaska mountaineer's recovery may inspire grieving Mount Marathon families

    As Mount Marathon racer Matt Kenney clings to life in an Anchorage hospital and his family prays for a miracle, there is hope in the form of fellow Alaskan Jake Collins.

  3. 3 Confirmed: Aurora borealis makes sounds

    The study proves aurora sounds aren’t illusions or hallucinations. They aren’t coming from the tips of the trees, emerging from frost or ice, or rumbling up out of the Earth itself.

  4. 4 New Alaska medical marijuana clinic banks on hazy enforcement policies

    Bustling Business: For a fee, a Montana entrepreneur will match Alaskans with doctors who believe in marijuana's medicinal powers. And he's making a killing.

  5. 5 Photos: 1952 military plane crash salvage on Colony Glacier

    Military crews from across Alaska continue recovering wreckage of the plane crash that killed 52 airmen. But progress is dictated by an ever-moving glacier that shifts, swallows and spits up the 61-year-old remains.

  6. 6 Mount Marathon's terrible toll: Are race planners to blame?

    Some think last week's tragedies amount to "just another Mount Marathon." Imagine reaction if in the first hours of the Iditarod one dog died, one dog was left on life support and a third was maimed.

  7. 7 Alaska float plane crash kills former state lawmaker

    Former Anchorage Rep. Cheryll Heinze died Tuesday night in a float plane crash on Beluga Lake near Homer on Kenai Peninsula, Alaska State Troopers reported.

  8. 8 First Americans immigrated in 3 waves from Asia

    American genome: Common ancestry links North and South American natives, suggesting that a homogenous population immigrated in three waves over Bering Strait land bridge linking Eurasia and Americas.

  9. 9 Rapper brings Southern-style urban hip hop to Alaska's largest city

    Alaska is known for many things. Hip-hop isn't among them. For those trying to carve a place in Alaska's rap scene, "it's uncharted territory" and rappers like Minus 20 like it that way.

  10. 10 Extreme rowers plan to cross Arctic Ocean non-stop this summer

    Taking turns rowing their 29-foot boat, the four plan to go from Canada to Russia non-stop and without support, tweeting while en route.

  11. 11 First-ever successfully rescued baby beluga whale dies in Alaska

    The baby beluga whale rescued from Alaska's Bristol Bay region and taken to the SeaLife Center in Seward for care has died, despite best efforts by caretakers.