ANCHORAGE — An Alaska Native regional corporation says it has acquired a sand and gravel company in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Ahtna Inc. says it has purchased AAA Valley Gravel, LLC. Besides mining sand and gravel, the company has trucking and asphalt operations. Tom Maloney, chief executive officer of Ahtna's business holding company, says in an announcement the Mat-Su Valley is a prime area for increases in highway spending due to its rapid growth. AAA Valley Gravel is headquartered in Palmer and has operated for 30 years. Ahtna is one of 13 Alaska Native regional corporations formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. Ahtna is based in Glennallen.
Associated Press
KODIAK — A recent report predicts a mass tree die-off on Kodiak Island Borough land that was scorched by a wildfire last summer. The borough hired Joe Stanley of Washington state-based NorthWind Forest Consultants to inspect the borough's 800 acres of damaged land near Chiniak, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported. Stanley's report provided Feb. 4 says that 10 percent of the property's trees were assessed and graded on visible damage. The report says the August 2015 fire will effectively wipe out trees, and adds that "the expected mortality will be extensive." Stanley found that 90 percent of the area's trees sustained substantial damage in the crowns, while one-fourth had substantial damage to the roots. Nearly half the trees were found to have significant damage to their trunks. The borough's parcel of land contains 61,477 "commercially viable trees" or about 79 per acre, according to the report. Stanley estimates that about 6,138 trees, or eight per acre, were left undamaged by the blaze. The report says none of the sample areas it assessed escaped substantial fire damage, and estimates just 3 percent of the land was left largely untouched by the flames.
Associated Press

After nearly two decades of debate and planning, the Spenard Road reconstruction project -- from 30th Avenue to Hillcrest Drive -- is positioned to receive $13.8 million if a city bond proposal passes during the April 5 Anchorage municipal election. The municipality's promotional machine is in overdrive.

Scott Jensen
A Voznesenka man faces charges of terroristic threatening after allegedly going door-to-door in the Kenai Peninsula village announcing plans to burn homes and kill their occupants. Joseph Kuzmin, 40, is also charged with first-degree burglary and fourth-degree assault, according to an Alaska State Troopers dispatch. Troopers were first informed of the disturbance in Voznesenka, roughly 25 miles west of Homer, at about 7:15 p.m. Monday after Kuzmin reportedly “threatened to kill an underage family member and burn down his house.” “While troopers were attempting to locate Kuzmin, AST dispatch received a second complaint in the area,” troopers wrote. “Investigation into that incident revealed Kuzmin entered a house uninvited and threatened to kill the occupants and burn down that house as well.” In 2014, Kuzmin made headlines when the Homer News reported his arrest by troopers for allegedly crashing a wedding party and making death threats in Kachemak Selo, until guests tied him up and left him at his home. Kuzmin was taken into custody without incident by responding troopers. He was taken to the Homer jail and held without bail.
Alaska Dispatch News
An inmate assault Tuesday on an Anchorage Jail correctional officer, who was treated for minor injuries at a hospital, is under investigation by Alaska State Troopers. Troopers said in a dispatch that the Alaska Bureau of Investigation was informed of the assault at the jail just before noon Tuesday. “Investigation determined that a male inmate assaulted a male correctional officer causing minor injuries,” troopers wrote. “The correctional officer was transported to a local hospital for treatment and later released.” Neither the inmate nor the correctional officer were immediately identified in the dispatch.
Alaska Dispatch News
Amid a defensive Cook Inlet Conference boys basketball battle Tuesday came an offensive play for the ages. Service’s Nathan Fromm stole the ball and soared over 6-foot-5 Eric Jenkins — Dimond’s tallest player — for the posterizing dunk, drawing a foul in the process. Fromm nailed the free throw to complete the traditional three-point play late in the third quarter. The dunk gave the Cougars momentum, and they went on to beat the Lynx 45-37 at Dimond. “It was a big momentum dunk — it was a highlight dunk,” Service coach Tyler Moor said. “The kid is incredibly athletic. You don’t see athleticism like that at the high school level very often.” Fromm finished with a game-high 16 points and 10 rebounds and Alex Welch added 11 points to help the Cougars (10-7, 3-5 CIC) beat Dimond for the first time in three tries this season. Combined with league-leading East's win over West, the loss dropped the Lynx into a second-place tie in the CIC with West. Leading the Lynx (14-2, 6-2) was Anthony Parker, who scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. He went 6 of 6 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, but with no other Dimond player scoring in the final six minutes, the Lynx...
Stephan Wiebe
Chugiak 44, South 37 Nicole Pinckney pumped in a career-high 32 points Tuesday to power Chugiak’s 44-37 win over South in a Cook Inlet Conference game at Chugiak High. Pinckney, a 5-foot-6 junior guard, had a huge third quarter, scoring 12 points, all of them on field goals. In the second quarter, she went 7 of 9 from the free-throw line. Nani Garner tossed in 15 points to lead South. Dimond 84, Service 18 Alissa Pili racked up 24 points and 14 rebounds Tuesday to propel Dimond past Service 84-18 in a CIC girls basketball game at Dimond. Whitney Shapp added 23 points and eight rebounds for the Lynx, who led 24-5 after the first quarter. Meshelle Giles paced Service with eight points. East 70, West 29 Jasmine Richard and Octavia Hines each tossed in 14 points Tuesday to guide the East T-birds to a 70-29 romp over West in a CIC girls basketball game at West. Sandin Kidder added 12 points and Tennae Voliva 10 for East. Nyedol Thor and Kameron Bowen both scored six points for West. Bartlett 59, Eagle River 16 Damaiya Ward's 10 points and five steals helped Bartlett cruise to a 59-16 win over Eagle River in a Tuesday CIC game in Eagle River. Tiffany Michels and Kendra Camell each...
Alaska Dispatch News
Two explanations of how an Anchorage lawyer spent $52 million in six months from an elderly widow’s trust are beginning to unfold in a federal fraud trial in Anchorage. Mark Avery, who went bankrupt after his aviation empire crumbled and later was disbarred, faces 17 federal felonies over money he secured in 2005 through his position as one of three trustees of two significant California-based funds -- the May Smith Trust of about $100 million and the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, valued in 2005 at $350 million. Avery’s defense lawyer, Mike Dieni, told jurors Tuesday in his opening statement that the $52 million spent from the personal trust for May Wong Smith’s care was approved by all three trustees, who wanted to invest in an air charter as a new way to make money. The trust was unusual in that the three trustees were allowed under the trust terms to do business with it, Dieni said. “He did not lie or cheat to obtain the money,” the defense attorney said. But assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder told jurors that Avery misused his position and blew through trust money on luxury items including vintage planes, two boats, RVs and houses -- plus paid off his own debts...
Lisa Demer
When pot businesses can legally open in Anchorage later this year, they'll have to be at least 500 feet from schools in most parts of the city, the Anchorage Assembly decided Tuesday night. The Assembly also narrowly voted against a proposal to allow on-site consumption in retail stores, at least for now. That question was referred back to the Assembly’s committee on marijuana regulation. Assembly members said the city should wait for the outcome of still-evolving state regulations before adopting local rules on marijuana bars or cafes -- but left undisturbed laws for private social clubs, where customers can bring their own pot to consume. With the state two weeks away from accepting the first applications for marijuana businesses, the Assembly’s action on Tuesday determined what the industry will look like in Anchorage. More stringent rules were adopted for Chugiak and Eagle River than the rest of Anchorage, which Assemblywoman Amy Demboski said she heard “loud and clear” that her constituents wanted. Here’s a summary of key regulations approved by the Assembly during Tuesday night's meeting. Pot businesses will need to be at least 500 feet from schools, playgrounds and athletic...
Devin Kelly
A 54-year-old former Wrangell doctor was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in federal prison, plus a $25,000 fine, for receiving and distributing child pornography, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced. According to prosecutors, an FBI investigation r evealed that Greg Alan Salard shared child pornography online in 2014 . Investigators also found “hundreds” of child pornography images on his laptop, prosecutors said. Salard was found guilty on July 28, 2015, after a 6-day trial. Salard was previously employed by Alaska Island Community Services and served under a contract with the Wrangell Medical Center.
Megan Edge