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Jill Burke

As news spread Tuesday afternoon about the purchase of Alaska's largest newspaper by a young online upstart, shock seemed to be the predominant reaction close to home. Gain some distance beyond the state's borders, and the view of Tuesday’s announced acquisition of the Anchorage Daily News by Alaska Dispatch morphs into a precedent-setting event in the era of modern journalism.

“Local ownership is a good thing ... we are seeing a turning away from the chains and the chain ownerships,” said Ken Doctor, a media analyst who concentrates on what his website Newsonomics describes as the “transformation of consumer media in the digital age."...

Jill Burke

University of Alaska Assistant Professor Ryan Harrod is a bioarchaeologist, a specialty within the field of physical anthropology. His work includes a lot of forensic anthropology.

Like the fictional character Dr. Temperance Brennan from the TV drama “Bones,” he's sometimes called upon to closely study a skeleton to determine what happened to a person who died, or how they had lived. Unlike the TV character, Harrod is generally dealing with much older remains. But the work -- analyzing trauma and coming up with a profile of the deceased and how they died -- is largely the same...

Jill Burke

Voters will decide in August whether to repeal Senate Bill 21, oil tax legislation passed in 2013 that eliminates Alaska's progressive taxation scheme. It gives oil companies tax breaks when oil prices are high, but taxes them more when prices are low. It also offers tax relief for new oil production.

On Saturday, the merits of keeping or tossing the tax were put to the test when a career academic faced off with a career oil industry consultant for the benefit of University of Alaska graduate students enrolled in Willie Hensley's Alaska Policy Frontiers class...

Jill Burke
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On Thursday, in marches in more than 170 communities across Alaska, people took a stand against the state's epidemic of domestic violence, sexual assault and child sexual abuse ....

Jill Burke

Rep. Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, finds himself in the middle of a media storm for proposing the state spend its money on free pregnancy tests to be placed in bars and restaurants, or anywhere, for that matter, that people drink alcohol. His idea stems from his involvement with Empowering Hope, a group formed with the intent of eliminating fetal alcohol syndrome from Alaska .

Last month, Kelly told Alaska Dispatch that “the pregnancy test assumes the best of us. If you know (you're pregnant), you'll make the right decision.”...

Jill Burke

Visiting Alaska this week, Erin Merryn is a long way from home, and even farther from the torturous past she endured as a sexually abused child. As an adult, she's reclaimed the voice her abusers tried to silence. Now she's on a quest to make sure lawmakers across America hear what she has to stay...

Jill Burke

Second of two parts. Part one details the sexual abuse Barbour suffered as a toddler.

Much about the life and recent arrest of former Alaskan Miranda Barbour is discomforting. The troubled young woman, a teen runaway who turned to Satanism, heroin, and has since given birth to a child, stands accused of murder for the stabbing death of a man police say she lured through an ad on the online bulletin board Craigslist. But one unnerving detail of her bizarre and traumatic story may resonate more profoundly with Alaskans than others: the childhood sexual abuse she suffered as a toddler...

Jill Burke

First of two parts

The sensational headlines surrounding accused Craigslist killer Miranda Barbour portray a deeply troubled young woman. Her claims to be a practicing Satanist and that she killed not just once, but upwards of 22 times, gained immediate attention as people in four states where the supposed victims resided -- including Alaska -- began to question whether the newlywed teen mom’s story could be true.

Is Barbour seeking attention? Aiming for an insanity defense? Or is she earnestly using her confession and incarceration to protect the public from her self-declared murderous proclivities? Only time will tell...

Jill Burke

Video of four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King’s descent through the Dalzell Gorge , a narrow, steep, windy section of the Iditarod Trail, shows a section of trail King would later describe as “hellacious.” It makes King’s decision to bring a helmet on the trail this year seem like wise planning...

Jill Burke

Behind of the scenes of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, one of Alaska's great living legacies, is a rhythmic cycle of stop and go. Like NASCAR pit stops, checkpoints between the long overland crossings are a methodical frenzy.

Unlike high-speed race car drivers, mushers are their own one-person, full-service pit crews. They take the dogs boots’ on and off; offer massages to sore, stiff muscles; unharness and reharness; snack their teams; give meds if necessary; and put down hay for naps. Done well and efficiently, the round-the-clock chores of dog care will give the musher time to rest and keep the team finely tuned for the arduous marathon that can last 10 days or more...

Jill Burke

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