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Alaska Dispatch News
Photographer Ronn Murray shot real-time video footage of autumn aurora in Fairbanks, Alaska.Murray's video captures northern lights so strong they overpower the nearly full moon and cloudy skies.The solar flare that launched off the sun Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014 was predicted to create energy disturbances and cause fluctuations in some power grids for days that followed. What it did cause was an incredible aurora storm that brightened skies across Alaska and the Lower 48.
Alaska Dispatch News

Nikiski Fire Department Baker Platform Fire 0900 @9 2 2014

A stubborn fire on a Cook Inlet natural gas platform near Nikiski on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 2 triggered the evacuation of four workers but caused no injuries, authorities say.In this video, shot around 9 a.m. on Oct. 2, Ocean Marine Services Inc. supply vessel Discovery fights the fire on Hilcorp.’s Baker platform with approximately 4,000 gallons of water per minute. The Nikiski Fire Department also shot video of the platform at 3 p.m. Thursday, once the fire had subsided.Read more: No injuries, no spills reported in Cook Inlet offshore platform fire
Tara Young

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Hundreds of Anchorage residents of all ages dressed up as characters from anime and video games, movies and manga, and descended on the Egan Civic and Convention Center the weekend of Sept. 27-28 for Senshi-Con, Alaska's largest anime convention. Read more: Anime fans celebrate 'nerd culture' at Senshi-ConWatch this video on Vimeo or YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Alaska Dispatch News

JBER troopes conduct night drop: Probably the coolest video you will see this week

If you've ever wondered what it might look like when U.S. troops use the cover of darkness to insert troops and equipment into a war zone, wonder no more. The 517th Airlift Squadron's C-17 Globemaster III planes lit up the night sky near Anchorage Friday, Sept. 26 as they conducted nighttime drop exercises at the Malemute Drop Zone, just west of Lower Fire Lake.On Saturday, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson officials released footage of the exercises showing the lumbering cargo planes shooting counter-measure flares into the darkness as they drop troops and equipment, and the result is an eye-catching minute and a half of video, capturing flares bursting like fireworks in the night sky, illuminating the C-17s as they approach the drop zone. 
Alaska Dispatch News
At 41, Tiska the eagle is the oldest animal residing at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage. Bald eagles typically live to 50 years old, but Tiska is in good health. Tiska was found on Huffman Road back in the 1970s, malnourished and with an injured wing. Tiska has limited flight but loves to sing to passers-by.Watch this video on Vimeo or YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Alaska Dispatch News

Equinox Marathon winner Matias Saari after winning 2014 race

Matias Saari, 44, last week became the oldest winner in the 52-year history of the Equinox Marathon with his fourth victory since 2007. Meanwhile, Christy Marvin, a 34-year-old Palmer resident, capped off an incredible season by breaking the women's record, with a time of 3 hours, 17 minutes, 10 seconds.​ Read more: Marvin, Saari blaze into Equinox record book
Alaska Dispatch News

Fast Food for Polar Bears | The New York Times

LA PEROUSE BAY, Manitoba -- The sea ice here on the western shore of Hudson Bay breaks up each summer and leaves the polar bears swimming for shore. The image of forlorn bears on small rafts of ice has become a symbol of the dangers of climate change.And for good reason. A warming planet means less ice coverage of the Arctic Sea, leaving the bears with less time and less ice for hunting seals. They depend on seals for their survival.But the polar bears here have discovered a new menu option. They eat snow geese.Because the ice is melting earlier, the bears come on shore earlier, and the timing turns out to be fortunate for them. As a strange side-effect of climate change, polar bears here now often arrive in the midst of a large snow goose summer breeding ground before the geese have hatched and fledged. And with 75,000 pairs of snow geese on the Cape Churchill peninsula - the result of a continuing goose population explosion - there is an abundant new supply of food for the bears.What’s good for the bears, however, has been devastating to the plants and the landscape, with the geese turning large swaths of tundra into barren mud. Nor does it mean the bears are going to be OK in the long run.What is clear is that this long-popular fall destination for polar bear tourism has become a case study in how climate change collides with other environmental changes at the local level and plays out in a blend of domino effects, trade-offs and offsets.“The system is a lot more complicated than anybody thought,” said Robert H. Rockwell, who runs the Hudson Bay Project, a decades-long effort to monitor the environment.READ MORE: For Hudson Bay polar bears, a climate change twist
Alaska Dispatch News

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Anchorage reporter Charlo Greene quit on air during KTVA television's 10 p.m. broadcast Sunday evening, revealing herself as the owner of medical marijuana business Alaska Cannabis Club and stating that she would be using all of her energy to fight for legalizing marijuana in Alaska.Greene had reported on the Alaska Cannabis Club during Sunday night’s broadcast. At the end of the broadcast, she announced that she was the owner of the club, and that she would be quitting her job as a reporter to work full-time on her business.Note: Video contains one use of strong profanity.Read more: KTVA reporter quits on-air, reveals herself as owner of Alaska Cannabis Club
Tara Young

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Drivers making their way through downtown Anchorage on Friday were greeted with a strange sight. Instead of parked cars, some metered spaces were filled with artificial turf, lawn chairs and people making s’mores.The idea behind Park(ing) Day, as it is called, is to call attention to the need for more urban open space and to generate debate around how public spaces are used.Organized by the Anchorage Park Foundation and the Anchorage Economic Development Corp., 10 groups set up "pop-up parks" throughout town. The materials used varied, from artificial turf and a fake Christmas tree at the Urban Camp Site to real sunflowers, a Buddha statue and a soapbox at the People’s Park, outside Side Street Espresso.Photos: Park(ing) Day transforms parking spots into parksWatch this video on Vimeo or YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Bob Hallinen
KOTZEBUE -- In an industry full of booms and busts, the Kotzebue commercial chum salmon fishery is exploding.After decades of fluctuation, including a time when the fishery all but ceased to function, it’s back this year and fishermen are slaying.So far, about 80 permit holders -- about 69 of whom fish on a consistent basis -- have brought in 4.45 million pounds of salmon. On July 28, those fishermen brought in 534,000 pounds of fish to the fishery, 10 times more than the average of 50,000-70,000 pounds of fish that usually get caught each day.Kotzebue fishermen are expected to make about $3 million this year, according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game area biologist Jim Menard. It will mark the first time the fishery has brought in more than $1 million since 1988, and shows a dramatic shift in the power of the fishery, which almost died completely in the early 2000s. For comparison, the fishery only made $7,572 in 2002.The reasons for the banner year are twofold. One is that it’s turning out to be one of the best chum salmon runs in decades. The other is competition, with three fish buyers on the scene driving up the price per pound.Read more: Flourishing commercial chum fishery has Kotzebue fishermen breaking out the boats
Tara Young

Alaska offers unique fall colors not seen when “leaf peeping” in New England. During peak fall foliage, take a drive up the Parks Highway to Denali State Park, where the tundra has turned into stunning yellows, pinks, and reds. The views are endless and dazzling to behold.Watch this video on Vimeo or YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Tara Young,Laurel Andrews

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So far, Eric Thompson is the only witness to speak on the record with news media about a house party brawl in Anchorage that featured Alaska's most famous political family, the Palins.“I didn’t understand what was going to happen, and it just blew up,” Thompson said.In an interview at attorney Kevin Fitzgerald's office on Monday, Thompson gave his account of the evening and what happened once it became a national story. Police said roughly 20 people were involved.  Police spokesperson Jennifer Castro confirmed that members of the Palin family were at the party, and said alcohol was a factor in the fight. Nobody involved in the fight had wanted to press charges, Castro wrote.The party was held at the home of Korey Klingenmeyer, officer manager for McKenna Bros. Paving. Around 70 people had gathered to celebrate the birthday of Marc and Matthew McKenna, owners of the company, Thompson said. Todd Palin, a friend of the McKenna's and fellow Iron Dog racer, was also celebrating his birthday.The Palins showed up in a stretch limo Hummer around 8:30 or 9 p.m., Thompson said. The family was mingling with other guests, and there didn't appear to be any animosity between party-goers, he said.READ MORE: Palin brawl eyewitness talks about aftermath, crowdfunding videoWatch this video on Vimeo or YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)alaskadispatch.com.

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