Child porn arrest: A 46-year-old Ketchikan man is in police custody, accused of trying to entice a minor to engage in sexual acts with him for four months, sending her a video of himself masturbating and also for being in possession of child pornography, according to an indictment filed in the beginning of April. Court documents say Donnie Bell allegedly knew the victim was under 16 years old. He was arraigned on April 4 and again Wednesday, charged with one count of online enticement of minor under 16, which is a class B felony, three counts of distributing indecent material to minors and four counts of possession of child pornography. According to online court records he's being held on $25,000 bail.
Fort Wainwright asking for public's help in toddler death investigation: Military Police are seeking assistance related to the death of a 3-year-old on post earlier this month. According to a press release, Fort Wainwright Emergency Services would like to hear from anyone who was at the Fort Wainwright Shoppette and gas station between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. on April 3. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the request is part of the investigation into Sgt. Nathaniel E. Ulroan, 23, who was charged with the premeditated murder of his son Wednesday. Ulroan is currently being held at Fairbanks Correctional Center pending an Article 32 hearing to determine if there's enough evidence against him to warrant a court martial.
Anchorage municipal election could be decided Friday: With two Anchorage Assembly seats and one bond proposition hanging in the balance, local elections officials will begin counting absentee and questioned ballots Friday morning. According to the Anchorage Municipal Clerk's Office, there are 6,473 outstanding absentee ballots, about 200 questioned ballots, and 193 faxed or special needs ballots still to be counted from the April 1 municipal election. On Friday morning, April 11, elections officials will begin opening and counting absentee ballots and hope to have a final number by the evening. The results could decide two Anchorage Assembly races. In District 5, incumbent Adam Trombley trails challenger Pete Petersen by 336 votes. In District 6, Bill Evans hold a narrow 212-vote lead over Bruce Dougherty in the race to replace outgoing Assembly member Chris Birch, who is term limited. A proposal to fund upgrades and repairs for the Z.J. Loussac Public Library could also be affected by the absentee vote count with yes votes trailing no votes by a margin of 19,107 to 18,818. Anchorage Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones said she wants to have the counting done and the election certified in time for the April 15 Assembly meeting, when new members are expected to be sworn in.
Anchorage students to compete at robotics championship: The Alaska Bots – a four-student team of 10- and 11-year-olds – is headed to Anaheim, Calif., later this month to take part in the VEX Robotics World Championships. Team members of the Alaska Bots come from different Anchorage area grade schools. They're mentored by a UAA engineering student. The April 23 competition will pit the Alaska Bots against teams from across the globe in a complex game called VEX Toss Up that requires teams to build a robot capable of rolling, picking up, or throwing large and small balls into scoring areas on a 144-square-foot playing surface.
Sullivan reports out-fundraising Begich in latest quarter: The war chest Republican Senate candidate Dan Sullivan will need if he faces off against Sen. Mark Begich has grown to $2 million after another strong fundraising quarter that saw him take in more than $1.3 million. Those numbers, part of a summary released by the Sullivan campaign on Thursday, show that Sullivan took in about $300,000 more than Begich in the first three months of 2013. Begich recently reported having $2.8 million on hand. The full reports likely won't be available until at least April 15, the deadline for filing the campaign contribution reports. With gobs of money pouring into the race from Outside, candidates have been touting their Alaska support. Begich said he has received more than 1,500 donations from Alaskans in the quarter. Sullivan's summary did not report his Alaska donations for the quarter. He's been criticized for getting much of his support from his home state of Ohio, headquarters of RPM International, an international, publicly-traded company started by his grandfather and headed by his brother, Frank C. Sullivan. Sullivan's Republican opponents, Joe Miller and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, have not issued summaries of their recent fundraising efforts.
Chase results in injuries to troopers, multiple charges: A Wasilla man faces multiple charges after a police chase in which he tried to hit officers with his vehicle multiple times, according to Alaska State Troopers. Troopers said the incident began about 8:10 p.m. Wednesday, when they received a call from a woman asking that they remove her son from her home. A check revealed that the man, 26-year-old Michael Ingersoll, of Wasilla, was on felony probation and had two outstanding warrants for probation violations. When troopers arrived, they were on foot in the driveway. Ingersoll began backing down the driveway toward them and after initially slowing, he sped up, striking both troopers, the agency reported. A brief chase through a nearby subdivision ensued, during which Ingersoll eluded troopers. The injured troopers drove themselves to the hospital to be treated for injuries described as "not debilitating." Later that evening, a Wasilla Police Department officer spotted Ingersoll and attempted to make a stop, troopers said. A chase involving troopers and Wasilla police followed, during which Ingersoll again attempted to strike officers, troopers said. Police eventually deployed a spike strip, and after driving for several miles on damaged tires, Ingersoll surrendered, according to troopers. He faces charges that include two counts of third-degree assault on troopers, second-degree eluding and driving with a suspended license.
Norway's Arctic drilling politics: In Norway, as in Alaska, decisions over whether to drill in the nation's Arctic waters are politically fraught. The nation already drills offshore (and you can find an illuminating piece from The Atlantic on the jack-up rigs, among the world's largest, used in its North Sea waters) but its internal politics may end up limiting drilling near polar ice in Norwegian waters. As a report from Bloomberg explains, that's in part because Norway's Conservative-led government needs allies from across the political spectrum. It's most recent plan is seen by opponents as "violat(ing) its pledge to ban drilling near the ice cap, a condition for gaining the Liberals' and Christian Democrats' support for passing everything from budgets to social legislation," according to one opposition leader, paraphrased by Bloomberg. Royal Dutch Shell, meanwhile, whose travails in Alaska's Arctic get a mention in the Bloomberg piece, tells wire service UPI that despite two years in which it had to forgo drilling, it remains committed to drilling offshore in Alaska's Chukchi sea.
Measuring muskoxen: In a report posted at Yale's Environment360 site, Wildlife Conservation Society's Joel Berger describes what it's like to do arctic research in a place that might be even more remote and logistically challenging than much of Alaska's Arctic: Russia's Wrangel Island. Berger is there to study ovtsebyk -- muskoxen. Muskoxen in Asia share a similar history to those in Alaska. They lived there for millennia, but then died out in recent times. And as they were in Alaska, muskoxen were reintroduced to Russia in the 20th century. Berger's work is part of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Arctic Beringia program, and among the things he's examining is how climate and other factors affect the growth of individual animals, work that has also brought him to Alaska.