Armed man prompts Anchorage road closure (updated): Anchorage police convinced a suicidal man with a gun to give himself up on trails near Campbell Creek Airstrip late Thursday, police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said. The unidentified man called a family member just after 4 p.m. to say he was going to shoot himself, and officers closed down Campbell Airstrip Road and nearby trails from there to Service High School as they searched for him. Police were asking anyone on nearby trails to stay clear of the area. Castro said about 6:15 p.m. the man had surrendered peacefully.
Ancient Alaska ostriches: Paleontologists have discovered a new dinosaur that once roamed in Alaska, one with strong resemblance to modern-day ostriches. The toothless, mostly meat-eating Ornithomimosaurs are part of the University of Alaska Museum of the North's collection of fossils from the North Slope. The discovery is part of a two-year grant project to look at what kind dinosaurs roamed Alaska north of the Brooks Range.
Crewman medevaced from Aleutians after 75 foot fall: A crewman who suffered severe internal injuries after falling 75 feet from a ship's exhaust stack was rescued by the Coast Guard early Wednesday morning. The 21-year-old Italian crewmember was medevaced by the Kodiak Station Coast Guard from the 738-foot freighter Cinzia D'Amato near Adak Island, on the western Aleutian Islands. The cargo vessel was on a voyage from Japan to California.
Keeping water safe to drink in Alaska: Two Alaska organizations will receive environmental justice grants from the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a press release from the EPA announcing the awards. The Seldovia Village Tribe will receive funds to test local, residential wells and waterways for arsenic, iron and lead to identify health risks to the community. The Bethel-based Kuskokwim River Watershed Council will "investigate sources of pollution by installing a fixed water-quality monitoring station" on the Kusko, the EPA said in the press release, and will also examine local water quality standards.
Helmets not enough protection for cyclists: Researchers in Canada are suggesting cyclists add body armor to their standard kit. "Almost half of the injuries we noted were either to the chest or abdomen, suggesting that greater physical protection in those areas could also help reduce or prevent serious injury," Dr. Chad Ball told an online publication of the University of Calgary, U Today. Ball led a team of researchers who conducted the study that concluded helmets remain important safety gear, but pointed to the need for body armor for both road and mountain bikers. Cyclists are now required by law in British Columbia to wear helmets while pedaling the province, but, interestingly enough, the study found the incidence of traumatic brain injury in accidents now is near the same as that found in a 1975 study, a time when helmet use was not widespread. Anchorage has been the scene of a significant number of body-crunching bike crashes, both on mountain bike trails at Kincaid and Hillside parks, and on local roads.