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Suzanna Caldwell

As debate over whether to legalize marijuana in Alaska heats up, the question as to how rural communities will tackle the issue looms.

Mike Williams Sr. of Akiak, chairperson of the "Big Marijuana. Big Mistake. Vote No on 2" campaign, is working to ensure the ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana in Alaska does not succeed.

Williams is a lifelong Alaskan who grew up in Western Alaska. He's served as a drug and alcohol abuse counselor in the region since 1975 and has long been an opponent of drugs and alcohol in rural Alaska. An Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race musher, Williams has finished 15 races since 1992 in an effort to publicize sobriety...

Suzanna Caldwell

A group looking to ban commercial setnet fishing in urban Alaska took its challenge to state Superior Court Tuesday, hoping a judge will overturn a decision by the lieutenant governor to not let a voter initiative head to the ballot...

Suzanna Caldwell

The natural gas of Cook Inlet does a lot for the hundreds of thousands of Alaskans who live in Southcentral. It heats their homes, cooks their food, powers the lights and recharges cell phones. The gas is so prevalent that those residents utilize it almost every minute of their lives, and that's been the status quo for at least two generations, according to JR Wilcox, co-founder and CEO of Cook Inlet Energy and chairman of the Cook Inlet Subcommittee for the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce.

"The only time Cook Inlet gas doesn't support me is when I'm in my car," he said, acknowledging that even then, the inlet still produces oil that maybe -- in a less-than-direct way -- powers his drive to work...

Suzanna Caldwell

With the news that an opposition group to the ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana in Alaska has formed, proponents are firing back.

In a Wednesday morning press conference, supporters of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska stood outside a downtown Anchorage office building with a giant novelty check written out to "No on 2/ Project S.A.M." for $9,015 -- the same amount of money the alcohol lobby donated to former Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy during his time in office. Kennedy is the co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a national group that opposes marijuana legalization...

Suzanna Caldwell

A group opposing a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana in Alaska has finally staked its claim.

The group "Big Marijuana. Big Mistake. Vote No on 2" officially filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission Thursday. Their goal? Making sure Ballot Measure 2 fails this fall.

"When you look at the evidence, the harms far outweigh the benefits," said Deborah Williams, deputy treasurer with the group, said in an interview with Alaska Dispatch Tuesday...

Suzanna Caldwell

A high-speed car chase in Wasilla that started with a vehicle grazing two Alaska State Troopers on foot ended without any major injuries Wednesday night.

Michael Joseph Ingersol, 26, of Wasilla, was arrested Thursday morning after leading troopers on a high-speed chase through the Matanuska Valley. He was charged with reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, felony eluding and four counts of third degree assault.

According to charging documents, Ingersol's chase began Wednesday evening when his mother contacted trooper dispatch to say that she no longer wanted her son at her Wasilla home...

Suzanna Caldwell

Perennial Iditarod contender Jake Berkowitz says when it comes to mushing he's done -- at least for now.

In a Facebook post Tuesday , the Big Lake musher announced he had sold his dog team to two mushers outside of Alaska. His racing team is going to Jason Campeau of Calgary, Alberta, who is planning to race the 2015 Iditarod. His yearling team will go to Ed Stielstra of Nature's Kennel in McMillan, Mich...

Suzanna Caldwell

Months after saying it would reassess its involvement in the controversial Pebble Mine project, mining giant Rio Tinto said Monday it has pulled its support and will donate its shares in the proposed Alaska mine project -- worth about $16 million today -- to a pair of Alaska charitable organizations.

Rio Tinto -- owner of a 19.1 percent stake in Northern Dynasty Minerals, which in turn owns the rights to Pebble prospect -- said it would donate its stake to the Alaska Community Foundation and the Education Foundation of Bristol Bay Native Corporation...

Suzanna Caldwell,Alex DeMarban

Supporters of a ballot initiative that would increase minimum wage in Alaska are worried a new bill from the legislature could take them back to square one.

The House Rules Committee Friday introduced House Bill 384, which mirrors the language of the ballot initiative that would increase Alaska's minimum wage by $2 over the next two years and adjust for inflation after that.

If passed, the bill would render the initiative null, and it would not go to voters in the fall...

Suzanna Caldwell

The weirdest parking lot exchange that Warren Jones ever engaged in involved a very unlikely commodity.

Consider the players: Jones, an Anchorage dad of two, a Facebook connection and 70 ounces of frozen breast milk in the parking lot of the South Anchorage Costco, delivered by the woman's sister's husband.

"It was really awkward for both of us," Jones said of the exchange.

But it's what Jones had to do to make sure his then-4-month-old son, Rowan, had access to the breast milk he needed...

Suzanna Caldwell