Lori Townsend, Alaska Public Media
Prosecutors in the third day of the Fairbanks Peacemaker’s militia trial spent the morning introducing evidence and interviewing an FBI agent about the items that were seized. Throughout the course of the morning, evidence revealed weapons and ammunition that was taken from a white utility trailer belonging to Coleman Barney.
Portrayals of Peacemaker’s militia members as dangerous men plotting to kill federal employees were juxtaposed with characterizations of the men as hapless big mouths who exaggerated a lot but were harmless – during this morning’s opening statements in day two of the Schaeffer Cox, Lonnie Vernon and Barney Coleman federal trial in Anchorage.
Jury selection got underway in Anchorage federal court Monday in preparation for the trial of Fairbanks resident and Alaska Peacemaker’s militia leader Francis Schaeffer Cox. Cox is charged along with Coleman Barney and Lonnie Vernon of plotting to kill government employees. Cox founded the Second Amendment Task force and claims he is a sovereign citizen. The trial is expected to last at least a month.
A new agreement signed today between 14 Alaska Native tribal health programs and the department of Veterans Affairs will allow both Alaska Native and non-Native vets to receive health care services in tribal clinics in various parts of Alaska, so they won’t have to travel to Anchorage or Seattle to receive services.
The University of Alaska Anchorage is going to award its first doctorate degrees next week. The Ph.D.s in Clinical Psychology will go to two students in a program administered jointly by UAA and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In the past, UAF has handed out the doctoral degrees for the program, but now UAA’s name will also appear on the diploma.
The U.S. Department of Energy says it was able to safely extract a steady stream of natural gas from methane hydrates this winter on Alaska’s North Slope. The agency partnered with oil companies to test new technology to remove methane trapped in ice crystals beneath the sea floor. The federal government calls methane hydrates a vast untapped resource with enormous potential.
Governor Sean Parnell is laying blame for the failure of the Special Session squarely on the state Senate. The session wrapped up Monday evening when the Alaska House followed the Senate’s lead and adjourned. That left the in-state gas pipeline bill unresolved. Earlier, the governor pulled his oil tax bill from consideration. Lawmakers did pass one bill to strengthen the state’s human trafficking laws.
Mercury pollution is a growing problem in the Arctic. And new research is offering some insight into how mercury reacts with the sea ice that covers much of the Arctic Ocean. Sandy Steffen is a Physical Scientist with Environment Canada. She studied mercury pollution on the sea ice outside of Barrow and is presenting her work this week at the International Polar Year conference in Montreal.
Alaska tribal advocates are upset by a section in the federal reauthorization of the 2000 Violence Against Women Act. Section 905 of the act would expand tribal court jurisdiction by allowing those courts to issue protective orders against ‘any person’ including non-Native offenders.
An organization that focuses on volunteerism will be in five northwest villages this summer renovating Boys and Girls Club buildings. Hope Worldwide is an international faith based group that helps match up local and Americorp volunteers with communities in need. The group will be conducting what they call Arctic Regeneration camps in villages blending leadership training and mentoring for young people with the work of sprucing up clubs.
Tribal organizations in Alaska and across the country are anxiously waiting for a decision in a case just argued before the U.S. Supreme court.
The former members of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Commission aren’t handing out any “A’s” as they grade the progress industry, Congress and the Interior Department have made since the accident two years ago.
The Kobuk 440 wrapped up over the weekend in Kotzebue with the first three mushers getting back to Kotzebue Sunday. Ken Anderson won at 11:47 yesterday morning, reaching the finish line with six dogs. Kobuk 440 time keeper Liz Moore says the second place finisher is the rookie of the year Scott Smith.
Making funny noises had landed many kids in hot water during school or other quiet occasions, but for Fred Newman, the talented live sound effects guy for Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion show, it’s how he makes his living. Newman is in Anchorage to help Cyrano’s Theater Company celebrate its 20th anniversary. When I asked about his title, he said there isn’t one.
When someone says Alaska Native art, the first thing that comes to mind is often traditions like ivory carving, skin sewing or intricate weaving. But a new group of young Alaska Native artists in Anchorage is working to expand that image to one that embraces modern life as well as honoring their heritage.
This Friday marks the two year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act- President Obama’s health care overall. Its birthday present will be a trip to the Supreme Court next week. Justices will hear arguments on whether two aspects of the law are constitutional- the individual mandate requiring citizens to purchase health insurance and the Medicaid expansion. Alaska is one of 26 states suing to overturn the law. But the state has also benefited from the Affordable Care Act.