Alaska Dispatch News

NASA | Measuring Mars' Ancient Ocean

Scientists believe that an ancient Martian ocean held more water than the Arctic Ocean on Earth. It once covered what is now the planet's arid northern plains and would have contained at least 20 million cubic kilometers (12.4 million cubic miles) of water. That was during the planet's wet Noachian period, which ended about 3.7 billion years ago when life was just emerging on Earth, according to NASA Goddard. This new picture of early Mars raises the odds for the possibility of ancient life existing on the Red Planet.
Laurel Andrews
A midflight marriage proposal Wednesday, March 18, 2015, left an Alaska Airlines flight attendant so speechless she almost forgot to say yes. 
Erik Hill
Championship contenders are determined in semifinal games at 3A and 4A March Madness Alaska on Friday at Sullivan Arena. 
Marc Lester

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NOME -- There was a sickening pop, followed by an eerie silence as the crowd inside Breakers Bar realized what they’d witnessed: Aliy Zirkle had just broken some woman's arm. Grace Liu learned a painful lesson about tangling with mushers Wednesday night in Nome when Zirkle, a 45-year-old sled dog racing superstar from Two Rivers, snapped the California lawyer’s arm like a piece of driftwood during an arm-wrestling match just hours after the 15-time Iditarod finisher guided her team to a fifth-place finish in the 2015 Iditarod.“Everyone gasped,” said Liu, a 36-year-old patent lawyer from Fresno. “And you know it takes a lot to quiet a bar in Nome.”Zirkle said it was her first arm-wrestling contest. And likely her last.“God, I feel bad,” she said Friday.Read more: Post-Iditarod arm-wrestling match leaves fan with broken bone and musher Zirkle mortified 
Alaska Dispatch News
The match in Nome's Breakers Bar took place less than five hours after Aliy Zirkle crossed the finish line. It sent California lawyer and big Iditarod fan Grace Liu to the hospital for a sling. 
Marc Lester

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NOME -- Her blistered, frostbitten fingertips covered in tape, the iron lady of Alaska sled dog racing collapsed into a snowbank early Thursday morning in Nome and let out a deep, satisfied sigh.“It really feels good to get off my feet,” said Willow’s DeeDee Jonrowe, who finished 31st after nearly 11 days on the Iditarod trail.With 30 Iditarod finishes behind her, perhaps the most beloved musher in the field had earned a break.Clad in her omnipresent pink parka, Jonrowe took time in the predawn hours to discuss her sled dog racing legacy and reflect on her accomplishments during more than three decades of running Alaska huskies across the wild. Though she said she has no plans to retire, Jonrowe admitted this year’s race was one of the toughest.“This wasn’t a bad race, just a hard race,” she said.Read more: Weary, frostbitten DeeDee Jonrowe, iron lady of the Iditarod, finishes 30th race
Laurel Andrews
Anchorage police served a search warrant on the Alaska Cannabis Club's downtown clubhouse on Friday afternoon, taking boxes of evidence from the residence as club owner Charlo Greene watched. Anchorage Police Department spokesperson Jennifer Castro told reporters on scene later Friday afternoon that police had received reports of illegal marijuana sales occurring at the clubhouse. No charges had been filed Friday, Castro said.
Thirty-two 3A and 4A basketball teams from around Alaska compete in opening-round games at 2015 March Madness Alaska on Thursday, March 19, 2015, at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.
Marc Lester

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Paige Drobny was certain she had 26th place wrapped up in the 2015 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Her dogs had other ideas.Drobny was leading her friendly competitor Scott Smith into Nome on Thursday after running with the Willow musher since Shaktoolik, after Drobny was slowed by a wrong turn in bad weather at Unalakleet and was delayed by six hours while Iditarod crews set additional markers along the windswept trail.Read more: Doggie detour on Front Street costs musher Drobny 26th place
Marc Lester
There was plenty of action in Nome on Thursday as teams continued to roll in during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race.
Bill Roth

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More than 400 paratroopers jumped from U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft Wednesday as part of an extensive training exercise at the Malamute Drop Zone on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Alaska Dispatch News
Alaska photographer and filmmaker Luc Mehl and eight friends decided to ride fat-tire bikes from McGrath to Anchorage. Growing up in McGrath, Mehl never imaged he’d one day ride a bike all the way to Anchorage, but with the lack of snow this winter it seemed like the perfect conditions for a cycling adventure. The group was welcomed to re-supply their water along the Iditarod Trail Invitational by organizer Kathi Merchant. They traveled on packed snowmachine trails up the Kuskokwim, past Big River and to Nikolai, according to Mehl’s blog. “All of the terrain was familiar to me, flat tundra, black spruce, white spruce, birch stands, marshes, and huge meanders in the Kuskokwim,” says Mehl.

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