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Alaska Dispatch's Best of the Week: May 6-11

Big stories in the 49th state this week: Alaska's much anticipated sovereign citizens militia trial got under way. Three members of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia -- Schaeffer Cox, Coleman Barney and Lonnie Anderson -- face multiple federal charges, including the attempted killing of federal employees. The militiamen were arrested last year for allegedly hatching a scheme known as "2-4-1." Read all about it from Jill Burke and Ben Anderson, Alaska Dispatch staff writers who will be covering the trial for coming weeks.

A tragic story from rural Alaska, where as many as 11 people have committed suicide since beginning of the year. One of those was a man named Gusty Gusty, from the small village of Stony River. Dispatch staff writer Alex DeMarban was in Stony River recently and interviewed Gusty. Read more about that experience, and the epidemic of suicide in rural Alaska.

Lots of great multimedia this week, including images from the tsunami debris-strewn shores of Kodiak as well as a revealing video on what it takes to be a nude model in the Last Frontier. Here, then, are some of the stories that mattered most in Alaska this week.

  1. 1 Can fish wheels save Alaska's Yukon River salmon fishery?

    Kaltag recently received conditional permission to fish early king salmon runs on the Yukon River. Thank the new fish wheel.

  2. 2 Paranoia vs. patriotism in openings of Fairbanks militia trial

    As the trial begins, Federal prosecutors attempt to paint Schaeffer Cox, Coleman Barney and Lonnie Anderson as paranoid and dangerous to public safety. Defense attorneys say they're on the right side of the law.

  3. 3 Catch the latest (tidal) wave in Turnagain Arm's big bores

    Your next best shot at witnessing something epic falls between June 3 and June 7, with the summer’s only “five star” bore forecast for Bird Point at 5:41 p.m. on June 5.

  4. 4 Floats, gunk and other tsunami debris hitting Gulf of Alaska beaches

    The president of Gulf of Alaska Keeper, which monitors 122 miles of beaches, worries "this is the single greatest environmental pollution event that has ever hit the west coast of North America." 

  5. 5 Bizarre Alaska wildlife raid nets Victorian era stolen art

    It's not certain where the life of the daughter of a war hero and a one-time "Elder of the Year" turned dark, but it ended up creating a story that can only happen in Alaska.

  6. 6 Tragic wave of suicides batter remote Alaska villages

    All together, there have been 11 confirmed suicides in more than 50 villages spread across the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta since the first of January.

  7. 7 Bristol Palin knocks President Obama for support of same-sex marriage

    Bristol Palin criticizes President Obama for listening to the younger generation's opinion about full marriage equality for same-sex couples.

  8. 8 How to be a nude model in Alaska

    Thaddeus DuBois, who has been modeling nude for art classes for the past six years, explains what it takes to let it all hang out.

  9. 9 Investigators unveil evidence seized in alleged Alaska militia murder plot

    Trial Day 3: Militia defendants accused in a violent, anti-government plot had guns, cash, explosives and handwritten planning notes, investigators testified Wednesday.