June 11th, 2011
06:31 PM ET

Palin e-mails show routine work, running feuds

Thousands of pages of e-mail from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's administration range from the mundane details of governing to efforts to crack down on state news leaks and push back against critics.

Scattered among the 24,000 pages, released by state officials in Juneau on Friday, are glimpses of Palin periodically butting heads with top Alaskan political figures as she pushed to get landmark oil and gas legislation through the statehouse; demanding that Exxon finish paying damages for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill; even dealing with complaints about high school football rivalries by offering to bake brownies.

By June 2008, she was being sought out by national news outlets and being talked up as potential running mate for Republican presidential nominee John McCain. But the documents show her battling Alaska reporters even as McCain was preparing to put her on the national stage.

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Filed under: Alaska • John McCain • Sarah Palin
June 10th, 2011
01:01 PM ET

Record levels of deadly toxin found in Alaska shellfish

Public health officials in Alaska are warning residents not to eat non-commercial shellfish after finding record levels of a deadly toxin in baby mussels.

Levels of the toxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning were found at 375 times what is considered toxic, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. The measurement came from baby mussels taken on May 25 from a boat dock in Ketchikan.

‚ÄúAt those levels, a single mussel is enough to kill several people,‚ÄĚ Kate Sullivan, of the University of Alaska Southeast, said in a state press release.


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Filed under: Alaska • Food
Alaska teens swim miles against 9-foot waves to survive lake nightmare
Tustumena Lake is a 25-mile-long, six-mile-wide body of water in south central Alaska.
June 6th, 2011
10:52 AM ET

Alaska teens swim miles against 9-foot waves to survive lake nightmare

Three teenagers survived a brutal Alaska lake excursion that killed a father and one of their young friends.

Around 9:30 p.m. Friday, the man, Ashley Udelhoven, two of his daughters and two of their friends set out by boat to spend the weekend at a public cabin on the north shore of Tustumena Lake, a 25-mile-long, six-mile-wide body of water in south central Alaska. The lake is known to be perilous for small vessels because of unpredictable high winds that sometimes blow across it from nearby Tustumena Glacier.

The water was calm when the group began the journey. But Udelhoven decided to cut across the lake to save time, rescue officials told the Anchorage Daily News. About that time, winds picked up - blowing up to 45 mph - and the 18-foot boat filled with water. The surviving teenagers later told rescuers that they had seen swells as high as 9 feet.

The teens said the boat rocked violently, and everyone went overboard. As Udelhoven struggled in the freezing water, he began talking nonsense, a sign of hypothermia, the newspaper said.

One of the teenagers struggled to put on her life vest, which was too big and kept slipping, an official said.

The remaining three teens swam more than two miles back to shore, reaching land about 3 a.m. Saturday. They walked to a cabin, where they ate food and huddled for warmth, the newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, another boater spotted debris and a cooler floating on the lake that had Udelhoven's name and phone number written on it. The man called his wife, and she called troopers.

Rescuers found the bodies of Udelhoven and one of the teenagers - the one who struggled to put on her life vest - early Saturday evening, and the three surviving teens were found on land shortly after, the Daily News reported.

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Filed under: Alaska
May 5th, 2011
12:49 PM ET

Moderate earthquakes strike Mexico, Alaska, Japan

Moderate earthquakes struck in Mexico, Alaska and Japan on Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The first earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 struck in southwestern Mexico, in the state of Guerrero, according to the USGS. The Mexican Seismological Service put the magnitude at 5.5. Many people exited the buildings they were in, but there were no immediate reports of damage.

Then a 5.8 magnitude earthquake was recorded on the Alaska Peninsula 14 miles south of Sand Point, Alaska and 573 miles southwest of Anchorage.

It was followed by a 6.1 earthquake that hit below the sea floor off the coast of the Japanese island of Honshu Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The depth of the quake is 15 miles, the USGS said and the epicenter is located 172 miles from Sendai, near the same zone as the aftershocks that followed the March 11 quake. The Japan Meteorological Agency has so far not released any tsunami warning.

Julie Dutton, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado, said that while it makes some people wary to see several moderate earthquakes (ones that register between 5.0 and 5.9) occurring in such a short time span, it isn't out of the norm.

"It's not something that occurs every day, but this is definitely not something we haven't seen before, or that we won't see again," she told CNN. "Earthquakes are kind of cyclic and sometimes it'll just happen that you'll have an influx of earthquakes around the same time. Other times they'll just be spread out."

For example, Dutton said there was a day in the past week where there were 12 moderate earthquakes recorded in one day. She acknowledged that on that day, they were on the lower part of the moderate scale, and that these three were a bit higher, but said it was certainly not something to be overly concerned about.

"We've had five or six of them every day for the last week, so it's definitely not something that we're concerned about," she said. "Its just pretty random at this point and it just happened that a bunch were higher today."

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Filed under: Alaska • Japan • Mexico
Oil to flow again through Trans Alaska pipeline
January 17th, 2011
02:07 AM ET

Oil to flow again through Trans Alaska pipeline

The Trans Alaska pipeline is expected to return to full service this week after a leak near Prudhoe Bay brought the flow of oil to a stop this month, a company spokeswoman said.

"We are in the final stages of the bypass line," said Alyeska Pipeline Service Company spokeswoman Megan Egan.

The 800-mile line was shut down January 8 when a leak was found during an inspection of a pump house. The pipeline was then reopened from January 11-15 to flush remaining oil from the line.

When the pumping resumes, the flow will start at about 500,000 barrels of oil a day - about three-quarters of normal flow - and then move to its full capacity, Egan said.

The pipeline's daily average output is about 642,000 barrels, according to the company website.

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Filed under: Alaska • Gas pipeline
Oil in Trans Alaska pipeline slows to trickle
January 9th, 2011
01:08 AM ET

Oil in Trans Alaska pipeline slows to trickle

Only a fraction of the oil that normally courses through the Trans Alaska pipeline was flowing early Sunday after operators discovered a leak near Prudhoe Bay, a company spokeswoman said.



Filed under: Alaska • U.S.
On the Radar: Murkowski, Times Square, winter weather
December 30th, 2010
10:08 AM ET

On the Radar: Murkowski, Times Square, winter weather

Alaska election certification: Alaska state officials will certify Sen. Lisa Murkowski's write-in election victory Thursday. The certification will then be flown to Washington to be delivered to the secretary of the Senate, clearing the way for Murkowski to be sworn in next week.

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging Murkowski's victory.

Murkowski was defeated in the Republican primary in August by Joe Miller, a Tea Party-backed candidate. Murkowski then waged the write-in campaign in the general election in November to defeat Miller, who filed a lawsuit challenging the result.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline had previously issued an injunction to block certification of the election results pending a resolution of Miller's lawsuit. In his ruling Tuesday, Beistline said "the injunction is lifted and the Division of Elections may certify the election results immediately."

The final vote count in the election was 101,091 to 90,839.

Murkowski's victory marks only the second time a person won a write-in campaign for the Senate. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina won a write-in campaign in 1954.

New Year's Eve test: Operators will have a dress rehearsal of the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball at noon Thursday. The famous ball's lights will be turned on and hoisted up the 141-foot flagpole atop One Times Square.

CNN's Anderson Cooper will be joined by comedian Kathy Griffin for the actual event, starting at 11 p.m. ET Friday and counting down to midnight.

Winter weather: Heavy snow is expected at higher elevations in Arizona, Utah and Colorado. Blizzard conditions are even possible for some areas, mainly above 7,000 feet, CNN meteorologist Monica O'Connor says.

Winter storm warnings are posted for Minnesota and the Dakotas. Forecasts call for 6 to 12 inches of snow through the weekend and wind gusts of 20 to 30 mph.

Folks in the Northeast will get some relief as pleasant conditions follow high pressure slowly moving off the coast.

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Filed under: Alaska • Courts • Lisa Murkowski • New York • Politics • U.S. • Weather • Winter weather
Nation's last Senate battle enters a new arena
December 8th, 2010
03:26 AM ET

Nation's last Senate battle enters a new arena

When will the nation's last, nasty Senate battle end? Based on one side's determination, there may actually be no end in sight.


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Filed under: Alaska • Politics
December 5th, 2010
02:38 PM ET

Tow vessel pulling disabled freighter to reach Alaskan harbor Tuesday

Rescuers towing a giant disabled freighter in frigid Alaskan waters were attempting to avoid bad weather on Sunday, a move that will delay its arrival in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, the Coast Guard said.

The Tor Viking II vessel, towing the Golden Seas freighter, had "moved south a little bit" to avoid 20-foot seas and 30-knot winds, Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Dana Warr said. The Tor Viking II's captain made the decision to loop below the Aleutian Islands, he said. The freighter is not expected to arrive in Dutch Harbor until Tuesday afternoon, he said Sunday.

The 738-foot Golden Seas suffered engine problems Friday morning and was chugging along at only 3 knots (3.5 mph). On Saturday night, the Tor Viking II vessel reached the Golden Seas and began towing it toward Dutch Harbor, a journey of about 275 miles, Warr said.


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Filed under: Alaska
November 18th, 2010
09:50 AM ET

On the Radar: Miners in U.S., Rangel punished

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/living/2010/11/18/heroes.tuchman.miners.atlanta.cnn"%5D

Miners in America - The men who survived 69 days in a Chilean mine are in Atlanta, Georgia, on their first U.S. tour since being rescued last month. The miners are on their way to Los Angeles, California, to tape "CNN Heroes: An All Star Tribute," which will air on Thanksgiving.

"I want to see the world," said 27-year-old miner Richard Villarroell, who has only been to Argentina. "I know all of Chile, but not the rest of the world."

CNN Heroes brings attention to regular people around the globe who are doing significant things that improve lives. The Chileans were invited because they symbolize the resiliency and endurance of the human spirit.

Rangel punished, Murkowski claims win - Politics is making news Thursday from New York to Alaska. New York Rep. Charles Rangel will be punished by his colleagues for violating House rules. The House ethics committee meets today and could recommend anything from a fine to expulsion. In Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski has finally declared victory over fellow-Republican Joe Miller. The votes are still being counted. Murkowski would be the first write-in candidate to win a Senate race since Strom Thurmond in 1954.

Mystery bone - Investigators hope to determine Thursday whether a jawbone found on an Aruba beach belongs to an animal or a human. It's possible that the bone is from the body of Natalee Holloway, the missing American teenager. If the bone is human, authorities will attempt to find out using a DNA match whether it belongs to Holloway, who was last seen on the island in 2005. The Netherlands Forensic Institute in The Hague is examining the bone. Joran van der Sloot, the suspect in the Holloway case, is being held in Castro-Castro prison in Peru on another murder charge. Holloway's mother met with him recently.

November 17th, 2010
03:26 PM ET

Murkowski to declare victory Wednesday night

Senator Lisa Murkowski will declare victory in the Alaska Senate race tonight in Anchorage shortly before 10pm ET, a spokesman told CNN.

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Filed under: Alaska • Politics
November 17th, 2010
12:04 PM ET

Pentagon: Missing military jet 'believed to be crashed'

An Alaska-based Air Force F-22 that went missing on a training mission is "believed to be crashed," a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday.

Col. Dave Lapan did not immediately give other details about the situation.

The aircraft lost contact with air traffic control Tuesday evening, officials from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson at Anchorage, Alaska, said Wednesday.

Gary Strasburg, an Air Force spokesman, told CNN that a pilot was in the single-seat aircraft during a routine training mission.

Contact was lost with the F-22 at 7:40 p.m. Alaska time (11:40 p.m. ET) on Tuesday.

- CNN's Larry Shaughnessy contributed to this report

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Filed under: Alaska • Military • Missing plane
November 15th, 2010
02:13 PM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Garry Trudeau

The creator of "Doonesbury" is celebrating his 40th anniversary drawing the politically and socially charged comic strip.

He is making the media rounds in support of two books being published: ‚Äú40: A Doonesbury Retrospective‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúDoonesbury and the Art of G.B. Trudeau.‚ÄĚ

The comic strip, which is more likely to appear on the op-ed page of a newspaper than in the comics section, routinely skewers those on the political landscape. Trudeau’s loyal readership has led to the strip being published in 1,500 newspapers around the world since it was first published on October 26, 1970.

Collections of his cartoons have filled almost 60 books and have sold more than 7 million total copies. His 1975 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning made him the first comic strip artist to win the award.

His comic has sometimes earned him a reputation as a left-winger, but a column in The Boston Globe pointed out that Trudeau’s jabs can target anyone.

‚ÄúI‚Äôve always thought he was an equal-opportunity balloon-popper,‚ÄĚ wrote Alex Beam. ‚ÄúAnybody who figured out that John Kerry was a narcissistic blowhard as a Yale undergraduate is someone who sees the world through a wide-angle lens, taking in all azimuths of social and political tomfoolery.‚ÄĚ

Several media outlets are paying homage to Trudeau and his drawings this week. NPR is one of the few media outlets to have gotten an interview with oft-reclusive Yale graduate.

The radio network offers a condensed retrospective of Trudeau’s work as well as several anecdotes from the artist. In one, the 62-year-old recounts how he became syndicated shortly after his strip appeared on campus.

‚ÄúIt's a ridiculous story, and it nauseates my children,‚ÄĚ Trudeau says, ‚Äúthat I would find my life's work six weeks into it.‚ÄĚ


November 10th, 2010
10:14 AM ET

On the Radar: Alaska ballots, veterans events, CMA Awards

An absentee ballot shows a write-in vote for U.S. Senate candidate Lisa Murkowski.

Alaska ballot count - Alaska election officials will begin counting write-in ballots Wednesday despite a federal court challenge by the campaign of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller, state director Gail Fenumiai said.

Miller is believed to be locked in a tight race with incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who ran as a write-in candidate. In last week's election, Miller received 34 percent of the vote, Democrat Scott McAdams, who conceded, collected 24 percent, and 41 percent of ballots were for write-in candidates.

The complaint filed in federal court Tuesday asks Fenumiai's office to "adhere" to state law in the counting of write-in ballots, limiting what the suit called "subjective" voter intent rules that were issued this week. The suit requests a court hearing Wednesday over the rules and asks for an injunction.


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Filed under: Alaska • On the Radar • Politics • Showbiz • Veterans
September 28th, 2010
03:00 PM ET

Stevens buried at Arlington National Cemetery

Former Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska was buried Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Friends and family attended the ceremony, including some of Stevens' former Senate colleagues during his 40-year career.


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Filed under: Alaska • Ted Stevens
August 30th, 2010
01:39 PM ET

Standoff follows slaying of 2 Alaska police officers

A standoff continued Monday between police and a 45-year-old man who barricaded himself in his home after allegedly shooting two rural Alaska police officers to death, authorities said.

The Hoonah, Alaska, Police Department contacted the Alaska State Troopers on Saturday night, asking for assistance after Hoonah officers Matthew Tokuoka, 39, and Sgt. Anthony Wallace, 32, were shot in what troopers described as an ambush. Both officers later died from their injuries.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of John Marvin Jr., police said.

After the shooting, Marvin barricaded himself inside his home, according to Alaska television station KTUU.


Filed under: Alaska • Crime • Justice • U.S. • Uncategorized
August 30th, 2010
12:25 PM ET

Ballots uncounted in Alaska GOP Senate race

Unofficial primary results show Sen. Lisa Murkowski trailing.

One day before vote counting resumes in Alaska's Republican Senate primary, election officials say more than 25,000 ballots remain

According to unofficial results from last Tuesday's primary, Sen. Lisa Murkowski trails attorney Joe Miller by 1,668 votes, in what could turn out to be the biggest upset so far this cycle. Absentee ballots had 10 days domestically and 15 days internationally to arrive through the mail as long as they were postmarked August 24, the day of the primary.

Officials at the Alaska Division of Elections tell CNN that as of Sunday 15,720 absentee ballots have been returned. Absentee ballots continue to arrive by mail.

Also waiting to be counted are 663 early votes, ballots which were cast in pre-primary day voting. Add to that 9,117 "questioned" ballots, which may or may not be counted. Some may be disqualified by a panel of election officials for irregularities. Most of these votes are expected to be cast in the Republican primary, but some may be intended for the Democratic contest.

August 25th, 2010
09:59 AM ET

On the Radar: Islamic center, Alaska race, recall in Michigan

Support rally for center - Some family members of 9/11 victims will rally Wednesday in support of a controversial mosque and Islamic center that is scheduled to be built near New York's ground zero. September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows will be joined by at least 40 religious and civic organizations and is expected to announce the creation of a coalition called New York Neighbors for American Values. The coalition's goals include support of "religious freedom and diversity" and the rejection of "crude stereotypes meant to frighten and divide us." The rally is scheduled to be outside a municipal building in Manhattan. Plans to build the community center and mosque near the site have stirred emotions and provoked debate nationwide.

Primaries - On the day after Tuesday's elections, Alaska's GOP Senate race is still up for grabs. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is trailing Joe Miller, largely a political unknown who has the Tea Party's support as well as the backing of  former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Voters also were deciding on gubernatorial nominees in Alaska. Gov. Sean Parnell, who replaced Palin when she resigned last year, faced two challengers in the GOP primary. With 84 percent of precincts reporting, Parnell had 49 percent of the vote, according to an unofficial Associated Press vote count.

Michigan joins recall list - Eggs are being recalled from another state - Michigan. That raises the total number of states to 23 that received potentially contaminated eggs from Wright County Egg or Hillandale Farms, the distributors at the center of the recall of more than half a billion eggs. The Michigan Department of Agriculture said Tuesday that eggs associated with the recall have been distributed in the state. Also Wednesday, Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is scheduled to address the Atlanta Press Club. Frieden likely will discuss the recall.

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Filed under: Alaska • Michigan • New York • On the Radar • Politics • Sarah Palin • Tea Party
August 18th, 2010
10:28 PM ET

Stevens remembered as champion of Alaska

Hundreds of people filled Anchorage Baptist Temple on Wednesday to pay their respects to former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, who was overwhelmingly remembered by speakers at the service as a man who embodied the state.

"From the eerie silence of the tundra to the swish of dogsleds in the snow ... these things more than describe Alaska, they define a way of life, and no state has ever had a more fierce defender of that state's way of life than Ted Stevens," said longtime friend and former Senate colleague, Vice President Joe Biden.

Stevens, 86, and four others died August 9 when the plane in which they were flying crashed into the side of a mountain in remote southwestern Alaska.


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Filed under: Alaska • Politics • Ted Stevens
August 13th, 2010
04:13 PM ET

Alaska crash victims died of blunt force trauma, official says

The deaths in the crash Monday night of a private plane  in Alaska were a result of blunt force trauma, Alaska State Medical Examiner Katherine Raven said Friday.

She also found the injuries were not survivable.  Brutal terrain and bad weather on the remote mountain where the plane crashed kept survivors waiting 12 hours for rescue, officials and witnesses said.

Former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and four other people died in the crash of the DeHavilland DHC-3T Otter.

Read the full story on CNN.com

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Filed under: Alaska
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