Assemblyman Wants Earlier “Last Call” for Downtown Bars

ANCHORAGE – Anchorage Assemblyman Patrick Flynn proposed an ordinance Tuesday requiring large downtown bars to stop serving drinks an hour earlier.  He says large crowds hitting the streets all at once pose a safety concern for patrons and the community.

“You have intoxicated, irritated people congregated by the dozens on downtown streets and there’s no real way to control them,” said Flynn. “The idea is a more measured wind up to the evening.”

If passed, the ordinance would require bars with a capacity of 125 or more to stop serving alcohol an hour earlier than normal. At least 20 downtown establishments would be effected.

Some bar and restaurant owners have reported the ordinance would not solve the problem and fear they’ll lose business.

“Some bars make the most money in that last hour so they have economic reasons not to like it,” said Flynn. “But the consequence is, they’re inflicting physical and personal crimes upon our community.”

The proposal will be up for public hearing at a later meeting.

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Workout Routine Combats Christmas Calories

ANCHORAGE – More Alaskans may be hitting the gym before holiday feasts begin and eating less to ease the guilt of snacking this season. Some experts say

Courtesy: Google

Courtesy: Google

cutting down on the amount of food you eat can increase your chances of weight gain.

“The number one question I get from my clients is how do I stop from gaining weight during the holidays,” said Thomas Nelson, a certified personal trainer in Anchorage.

The amount of calories in a Christmas dinner can range as high as 3,500. There are steps people can take before or after the meal to help jump start your metabolism and burn the calories.

Nelson says a simple 6 minute routine can be a great way to burn calories as you enjoy your favorite holiday dishes. The workout includes 3 exercises each done for 30 seconds.  The total body workout starts with squats focusing on the legs, push-ups that work the chest and planks that tone the core.

“The more muscles you use the more cardiovascular energy you’re going to be incorporating,” Nelson said.

The routine can burn 150-200 calories if done 3 to 4 times. Nelson says this type of work out can burn an additional 300 calories throughout the day.

He also recommends drinking 8oz of water and eating vegetables before the rest of the meal.

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Local Church Holds Candlelight Vigil for Connecticut Victims

ANCHORAGE – Across the nation many are still in shock after the tragic mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Courtesy: Google

Courtesy: Google

Anchorage residents joined together Monday evening with Anchorage Faith and Action Congregations Together (AFACT) at Central Lutheran Church for a candle light vigil.

“We want to tell the people in Newtown that they are not alone, that we are with you,” said Pastor Lisa Smith-Fiegel, AFACT chair. “We want them to know we care about them.”

Smith-Fiegel says grieving together is an important part of the healing process.

Families lined up to light candles and sing hymns while reflecting to spoken prayers.  Attendees signed a large card with their well wishes and prayers; it will be sent to Newtown, Connecticut.

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Professionals: How to Cope With National Tragedy

ANCHORAGE – Last week a man open fired in a elementary school killing 26 people; 20 of them young children.

In the aftermath of the event many are left with questions of how we prevent

Courtesy: Google

Courtesy: Google

something like this from happening again or how to help a child or loved ones cope with the tragic loss of life?

The National Association of School Psychologists suggest a few tips to help children cope.

1. Model calm and control
2. Reassure Children that they are safe
3. Remind them that trustworthy people are in charge.
4. Let children know that it is okay to feel upset.
5. Observe children’s emotional state.
6. Look for children at greater risk
7. Tell children the truth
8. Stick to the facts
9. Keep your explanation developmentally appropriate.
10. Monitor your own stress level.

For more tips from The National Association of School Psychologists visit www.nasponlin.org

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New Management Breathes New Life into Local Mall

ANCHORAGE – Once a thriving shopping center, Northway Mall has seen a decline in popularity over the last few years. But since being taken over by new management nearly two years ago, the mall has gone from 60 percent to 97

Courtesy: Google

Courtesy: Google

percent full.

“We’re trying to get to 100 percent but were happy to be where were at right now,” said Mao Tosi, Northway Mall Manager. “We just continue to add on good strong credible tenants.”

Filling larger vacancies with Burlington Coat Factory and Planet Fitness, Tosi says its helped them make quality improvements.

Sporting goods chain Bass Pro Shop will open in the Glenn Square Shopping Center summer of 2013.

Bill Popp of Anchorage Economic Development Corporation says the area is filling up fast.

“I think were going to see once they get up and going a lot of things happening in that area… a great new addition to the community of Mountain View and Fairview,” said Popp.

According to Popp, Northway mall’s ‘mom and pop’ stores may have an advantage over the big box stores.

“Competition makes businesses sharper and it means that they are more attentive to their customers,” said Popp.

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Anonymous Donor Leaves Generous Gift in Salvation Army Red Kettle

ANCHORAGE – The Salvation Army in Alaska says an anonymous donor dropped a one-ounce American Eagle gold coin into a red kettle at the Midtown Walmart store, Tuesday night. salvation army

“We were surprised,”said Jenni Ragland, a spokesperson for Salvation Army in Alaska. “I have been here 30 years and I don’t remember seeing one of those in our kettle before.”

The coin has an estimated value between $1,700 and $1,800.

According to Ragland, 10 silver coins were found in Fairbanks last season, however, “this is the first in Anchorage,” she said.

Ragland also noted the coin will most likely be invested into programs and services provided by the non-profit organization.

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Pain Pill Overdoses Rise in Alaska

ANCHORAGE – A recent study by the Department of Health and Social Services highlights a steady rise in hospitalization due to pain reliever overdose.

Courtesy: Google

Courtesy: Google

According to the study, 283 Alaskans have been hospitalized due to Opioid pain relievers between 2001 and 2010.

82 percent were due to suicide attempts and 14 percent were unintentional poisonings; most of which involved children under the age of 5.

Along with routinely educating adults about the safety of storing and disposing pain relievers, Officials suggest health care providers use patient agreements when prescribing pain medication.

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Flu Cases Spike Across Alaska, says CDC

 

ANCHORAGE – The week of December 2 is National Influenza Vaccination Week. Doctors say with families across Alaska preparing to travel over the holidays now is the perfect time to protect yourself from the virus.

Courtesy: Google

Courtesy: Google

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Influenza (the flu) is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death.

“Anyone can get sick from the flu and spread the virus to others,” said Dr. Kristine Sheedy.

Doctors say flu season can typically last until the month of May. Dr. Brian Yablon, a medical epidemiologist, says the flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.

“It’s the single best way you help prevent the flu,” said Dr. Yablon.

Others ways to prevent the flu include good hand hygiene, covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing and avoid touching contaminated surfaces.

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Recent Earthquake Prompts Homeowners to Question Coverage

ANCHORAGE – An earthquake measuring 5.8, rocked the city of Anchorage Monday.

Officials say many home owners don’t have the necessary insurance that will cover them in case of earthquake damage.

“Had it (the epicenter) been in anchorage their might have been more damage but,” said Guy Urban, a geophysicist for The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center.

According to Urban the earthquakes center was located 25 miles NW of Anchorage.

State Farm agent Todd Jackson says on average one in three residents in Anchorage have earthquake coverage. He says some aren’t sure if they are covered.

“Most policies exclude damages that occur from an earthquake…that means your on the hook,” said Jackson.

Jackson says the additional coverage can be nearly double what you pay for home insurance, although, here in Alaska he says it’s worth it.

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FBI Release Details of Koenig Abduction; Details on How He Chose His Victims

Story written by Your Alaska Links Megan Mazurek & Natalie Travis

 

Anchorage – The U.S. District Attorneys Office, FBI and Anchorage Police Department release details of how Israel Keyes abducted and murdered Samantha Koenig.

Courtesy: Google

Courtesy: Google

A video clip of Keyes was also released explaining how he selected his victims.

In a 40 second video clip recorded July 10, Keyes explains if he was smart he would let his victims come to him in an isolated area far away from where he lives.

“You might not get exactly what you’re… not much to choose from in a matter of speaking but there’s also no witnesses really. There’s nobody else around,” said Keyes.

February 1, 20120 investigators say Koenig was chosen at random, and tried to run after Keyes held her at gunpoint.

Keyes took her to a shed located at his home in west Anchorage, the same night she was kidnapped, where he sexually assaulted and strangled her to death.

Investigators describe in detail the final hours of Koenig’s life in hopes to help the investigations of other murders committed by Keyes, but more importantly to illustrate Koenig’s courage the night she was murdered.

The FBI’s press release is below.

Anchorage, AK – Prior to February 1, 2012, Keyes had selected the Common Grounds coffee stand located on Tudor Road for the site of abduction. He did this after considering other coffee stands, but chose Common Grounds because of its location and because it was open later than other coffee stands. Keyes had never met or seen Samantha Koenig before. He approached the coffee stand just prior to closing time, wearing a ski mask and ordered a coffee. Samantha made the coffee and handed it to Keyes; he then pulled out a gun and demanded money. Samantha complied and then Keyes forced himself inside the coffee stand and tied Samantha’s hands with zip ties. He asked where her car was, and she told him that she did not have a vehicle. Keyes then forcibly walked her out of the coffee stand toward Tudor Road.

Samantha broke away from Keyes and tried to run away. Keyes chased her and tackled her to the ground. He put one arm around her and pointed a gun at her body with the other hand; telling her that she needed to cooperate, that the gun had very quiet ammo and that she should not do anything to make him kill her. They walked across Tudor Road into the parking lot between the IHOP restaurant and Dairy Queen, where Keyes’ white truck was parked. Keyes had previously prepared the truck for the abduction by taking the mounted tool boxes off the bed of the truck, as well as removing the license plates. Keyes then bound Samantha in the truck and drove away.
Keyes drove around town, explaining to Samantha that this was a kidnapping for ransom. Samantha told Keyes that her family did not have much money, and that Keyes was not likely to get much in ransom. Keyes explained that they will raise money for the ransom by seeking the public’s help. Keyes convinced Samantha that if she cooperated, she would be returned to her family unharmed. Samantha believed Keyes, and tried to talk to him in an effort to convince him to release her.

At some point on the drive, Keyes realized that Samantha did not have her cell phone, which was necessary for his plan to demand ransom money by sending a text message from her phone. He drove back to Common Grounds and re-entered the coffee stand, leaving Samantha bound in his truck. He retrieved the cell phone and got back into the truck and drove away. Keyes drove to another part of town where he sent two text messages from Samantha’s phone. The first message was to Samantha’s boyfriend, and the second to the owner of Common Grounds. The text messages made it appear that Samantha just had a bad day and was leaving town for the weekend. Keyes then took the battery out of Samantha’s phone.

Keyes asked Samantha for her debit card. Samantha told Keyes that she shared a bank account with her boyfriend, and that his ATM card was in the truck that they shared. Samantha told Keyes where her house was, and gave him the pin number to the ATM card. Keyes put Samantha in the shed in front of his house, bound her, and turned the radio up in the shed so no one would hear her if she screamed. He also told her that he had a police scanner and would know if she attempted to alert the neighbors.

Keyes drove to Samantha’s house and retrieved the ATM card from her truck. While he was at Samantha’s, he was confronted by her boyfriend, who yelled at him and then went back in the house to get help. Keyes ran back to his truck and left the area before he could be found. He drove to an ATM machine to test the pin number provided by Samantha. He then returned to the shed.

Keyes then sexually assaulted Samantha and asphyxiated her. Keyes left her in the shed and then went back inside his house, where he packed for a pre-planned cruise that he was taking from New Orleans. He left early that morning (February 2) for the cruise.

Keyes returned to Anchorage on February 17, 2012. He then began preparing a ransom note that demanded money be placed in the account connected with the ATM card. He went into the shed and retrieved Samantha’s body, taking steps to make it appear that she was still alive, and took a Polaroid picture of her tied up. The photo also showed Keyes’ arm holding the Anchorage Daily News from February 13, 2012. He photocopied the photo and, using a manual typewriter he purchased, typed a ransom demand for $30,000 on the back of the photo.

After preparing the note and photo, he placed it in Connor’s Bog Park, under a memorial flyer of a dog named “Albert”. Then, using Samantha’s cell phone, he texted her boyfriend, in substance, that the ransom note was “under Albert” in Connor’s Bog Park. The note was recovered by APD.

In the days that followed, Keyes dismembered Samantha’s body and drove out to Matanuska Lake, where he cut a hole in the ice and put her body in the lake.

Meanwhile, Samantha’s father James Koenig deposited reward money, which had been generously donated by members of the community, into the account connected with Samantha’s ATM card. The plan was to attempt to catch the perpetrator by tracking any withdrawals. ATM withdrawals were made in Anchorage, and then in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Authorities were able to determine that the perpetrator of these withdrawals was driving a white Ford Focus. The FBI and the Texas Rangers tracked the ATM withdrawals as they occurred. Ultimately, Corporal Bryan Henry, of the Texas Highway Patrol, pulled over a white Ford Focus matching the description. Keyes was driving. Henry, along with Texas Ranger Steve Rayburn, obtained enough information during the traffic stop to search the Ford Focus. Samantha’s cellular telephone was found in the car, and the ATM card was found in Keyes’ wallet.

Categories: News Stories | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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