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Alaska News

Bruce Wolf, a 73-year-old former Alaska ophthalmologist who had a private practice in Fairbanks for many years, died in a car accident Dec. 21 in Blaine, Wash.Alaska Dispatch News
The offices of Alaska Dispatch News will be closed Christmas Day and will close early on Dec. 24, Christmas Eve. Alaska Dispatch News
As the Alaska Legislature begins audits of 18 major state agencies, it has encountered difficulty with the first agency to be examined, the Department of Corrections, which failed to identify programs to auditors that could help cut 10 percent of its operating budget.Alex DeMarban
While the Alaska Department of Corrections was "moderately effective" at confining inmates and supervising them upon release, the agency also has systemic problems, including with inmate health care and reviews of in-custody deaths, a new audit reports.Michelle Theriault Boots
As the Anchorage Assembly's new committee on legalization of marijuana met briefly Tuesday to outline how it will work to craft local  laws, the Fairbanks North Star Borough announced it will follow Anchorage in forming a working group to explore legalization. Suzanna Caldwell
A 34-year-old man acquitted of sexual abuse of a minor and assault after a jury trial in Kenai last year has now been charged with similar crimes by the U.S. Coast Guard.Jerzy Shedlock
Gov. Bill Walker signed an agreement Tuesday to share information and cooperate with a Japanese company examining options for natural gas exports, saying it meets the needs of Alaska and potential consumers in Japan. Alaska Dispatch News
Reported cases of avian flu in Washington and Oregon have caused Alaska officials to warn waterfowl hunters to exercise caution when handling game, and to report any sick animals. No reports have emerged yet in the state.Megan Edge
Newly released documents suggest federal regulators are collaborating closely with Shell as the company pursues a new round of Arctic drilling next summer, even though an underlying sale of the region's oil leases is still in legal limbo.Jennifer A. Dlouhy | Hearst Newspapers
About 46 percent of Alaskans who died violently over a 10-year period and who were tested for toxins had alcohol in their system, according to a health bulletin released Tuesday. About half that number tested positive for marijuana.Alex DeMarban