Alaska Dispatch's Best of the Week: May 12-18

Craig Medred

Two in-depth series became the centerpieces of Alaska Dispatch's coverage this week. The first, a series by Craig Medred that recounted a fatal climb on Mount McKinley during the 2011 season which resulted in a climber's death when he followed the advice of his experienced guide.

It was a timely report, as Saturday saw the first death of 2012 on McKinley, a climber who fell more than 1,000 feet on North America's highest peak.

The second was an in-depth look at the island of Kodiak -- the second largest in the U.S. -- as it struggled to come to terms with a tragic double murder near its renowned Coast Guard base. The investigation continues, but Amanda Coyne drilled down on what concerned residents of the small community are feeling in the wake of the murder, still looking for answers more than a month later, as authorities remain mostly tight-lipped.

And while those stories were the big talkers of the week, it wasn't the end of the coverage: the militia trial of three men accused of plotting to kill government officials continued in Anchorage, and two villages voluntarily evacuated their sick and elderly in the face of flooding along the Kuskokwim River.

It wasn't all heavy, though -- there was also an exciting seafood cookoff, and some tourists (and, OK, some Alaskans) who got a little too up close and personal with a brown bear. So sit back and enjoy the best of the week!

  1. 1 Part 1: Coast Guard murders haunt Alaska's rock

    The double-homicide on one of America's most remote and legendary Coast Guard bases has left toy soldiers watching, victims mourning, and a killer on the loose.

  2. 2 Part 2: How could a double murder happen on Kodiak’s Coast Guard base?

    The murders on Kodiak's Coast Guard base raise questions of security. Meantime, a grieving widow does her best to remain patient as investigators try to catch the killer.

  3. 3 Part I: Anatomy of a tragedy high on Alaska's Mount McKinley

    A new report is critical of climbing guide Dave Staeheli, who led a 2011 fatal expedition to the summit of North America's tallest mountain. Many involved in the investigation are also sympathetic to the plight in which he found himself. 

  4. 4 Part 2: Tragedy on Mount McKinley: Only bad choices left

    Climbing guide Dave Staeheli hasn't read the report detailing his role in a fatal expedition on Alaska's highest peak. But the events of May 2011, haunt him: "Have you ever been faced with nothing but bad choices, and you have to pick one? "

  5. 5 Photos: Great Alaska Seafood Cook Off

    The first-ever Great Alaska Seafood Cook Off brought top chefs from across the state together to compete for top honors in a contest judged by award-winning chefs from as far away as Boston.

  6. 6 Near Alaska's largest city, bear attracts a clot of camera-toting spectators

    Along Turnagain Arm, a few miles from Anchorage, crowds of locals and tourists are getting way too close for a glimpse of a brown bear in the area. If we don't learn to stay far away, we may just lose the wildlife we so cherish around Alaska's largest city.

  7. 7 Elderly flee as floods put Southwest Alaska villages on notice

    In what may be final death throes of a vicious Alaska winter, communities along the Kuskokwim River are on high alert after spring breakup sent floodwaters pouring into the village of Kwethluk.

  8. 8 Diplomat? Threatening terrorist? What was Schaeffer Cox's intent?

    “I don't want to spill anybody's blood,” said Schaeffer Cox, the Fairbanks militia leader who is on trial with two of his men for plotting to kill federal employees.

  9. 9 Crucial ‘lone wolf’ takes witness stand in Alaska militia trial

    Michael Anderson, who spent eight months in state prison with the leaders of the Alaska Peacemaker Militia, took the stand for the prosecution on Tuesday.

  10. 10 Parnell vetoes $67 million from Alaska budget

    Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell vetoed nearly $67 million from the state's operating and capital budgets on Monday, including $1 million from a program intended to help relocate urban moose. What else got cut?

  11. 11 Highway-hugging bears retreat to Alaska woods, surprising trail runners

    A newcomer from Wyoming, trail runner Brian Harder ran smack into a young grizzly along the Turnagain Arm Trail on Wednesday.