Alaska News Nightly: October 8, 2012

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Plane Crashes on Tikchik Lake, Pilot Presumed Killed

Dave Bendinger, KDLG – Dillingham

A plane crash Sunday evening in the Wood Tikchik State Park north of Dillingham appears to have claimed the life of the pilot. A Grumman Widgeon piloted by 71-year-old Newt Ball crashed during a landing on Tikchik Lake at around 5:15 p.m. Ball was reportedly the only person on board, and is presumed to have died on impact. He was flying for the air taxi service Freshwater Adventures to pick up a hunter from a float trip; that hunter witnessed the crash and was able to notify authorities on Sunday evening. The hunter reported that the plane made several passes before attempting a landing, but a wing clipped the surface of the lake while touching down, the plane broke apart, and sank almost immediately. The Alaska State Troopers in Dillingham began investigation and recovery efforts Monday afternoon after waiting for thick morning fog to clear.

Newt Ball was born and raised in Dillingham. The Ball family has a long history of flying in Alaska, and Newt was no exception: he had his private pilot rating before graduating from high school, and earned a commercial rating shortly thereafter. In a career that spanned more than five decades, Newt Ball flew air taxi and air cargo in Bristol Bay and around Alaska, and also flew for Continental Airlines. He retired as one of the most senior captains at Continental, with more than 30,000 air hours, all without accident, incident, or violation. The Grumman Widgeon that Ball was piloting in the accident was built in the 1940’s and had been used by Freshwater Adventures for more than a decade. Since retiring from Continental, Ball lived in Kent, Washington but had been spending summers in Dillingham flying for Freshwater Adventures, which is owned by his brother Jerry Ball. He was planning to return home this week; Sunday’s flight to Tikchik Lake was his last scheduled flight of the season.

Survey Shows High Rates Of Violence Against Women In Alaska

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A survey shows high rates of violence against women in Alaska. As KUAC’s Dan Bross reports the random phone survey indicates there’s a more serious problem than previously thought.

Alaska Airlines Flights Delayed, Cancelled Due To Computer Problem

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Alaska Airlines suffered a computer glitch Monday that caused long lines in Seattle and Anchorage, as travelers faced delays and  cancelled flights.   According to the airline’s spokeswoman, Maryanne Lindsey, the network outage was caused by the airline’s internet provider Sprint, after a fiber network cable was cut in the Midwest.   The Sprint connection affects the system the airline uses for reservations and check in.

500 Attend Alaska Travel Industry Association Convention, Trade Show

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

About 500 people are in Anchorage this week for the Alaska Travel Industry Association’s convention and trade show.

Alaska Native Brotherhood Celebrates 100th Anniversary

Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

A couple of hundred people joined in a celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the Alaska Native Brotherhood in Sitka last week.

Lawmakers Submit Quarterly Financial Statements

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

Last week lawmakers were required to report quarterly financial statements to the Federal Elections Commission disclosing who their Political Action Committees donated too. All three of Alaska’s federal politicians have affiliated PACs.

Election Officials Dispute ‘Latino Voter Disenfranchisement in 2012’ Report

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

State elections officials are denying findings in a national report.  Entitled “Latino Voter Disenfranchisement in 2012” the write up comes from a Washington, DC advocacy group, and it charges that Alaska is one of 23 states that make voting difficult for Hispanic citizens.

APD Adds More Tasers

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

Thirty-six new hand-held tasers have arrived at the Anchorage Police Department. Police Spokesman Lieutenant Dave Parker says the new tasers will bolster the number of patrol officers carrying the weapons to about half. The tasers were ordered in July, shortly after two fatal officer-involved shootings. The new tazers can fire two-shots in a row. The other 100 or so tasers used by officer now fire just one shot. Officials say studies show that when tasers are available to officers, there is a reduction in injury to officers and to suspects. In order for a taser to be used, there must be another officer present with a firearm. The tasers were paid for through a 2011 state appropriation. They cost $1,300 each. That’s between 2 and 3 times the cost of the handguns the officers carry.

Fairbanks Sentenced In Ivory Jack’s Restaurant Shooting

The Associated Press

A Fairbanks man will serve 60 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in a shooting outside Ivory Jack’s restaurant.

26-year-old Sean Jeffers was sentenced Friday in the shooting death of 20-year-old Bryan Richardson.

Richardson was shot once in the chest while sitting in a vehicle outside the restaurant in March 2010. Jeffers’ co-defendant, David Pfalmer, has pleaded guilty to third-degree felony assault and is serving a two-year sentence.

Group Hopes To Make ‘Living Buildings’ Affordable For Aleutian Residents

Stephanie Joyce, KUCB – Unalaska

To some, the term ‘living building’ may mean architecture for urban people with the bank accounts to afford it. In the Aleutian Islands, the regional housing authority is trying to bring living buildings to a population that is not that, but that’s easier said than done.