A new 'Alaskan woman looking for love' -- Ke$ha?: Pop star Ke$ha (the dollar sign is pronounced like an "S," unless you're the principal from "Glee") appears to have made a quick trip to Alaska earlier this year; a new episode of her MTV reality show, "My Crazy Beautiful Life," depicts the singer traveling to Afognak Wilderness Lodge for a date with a would-be suitor she calls "Bearman." During her Kodiak adventure, Ke$ha -- apparently a passionate animal lover -- checks out the wildlife, freaks out on an airplane, and even manages to fit in a quick photo shoot. Check out a recap and watch the full episode at MTV Style.
Arson fire in Togiak: A 14-year-old Togiak boy was rescued by emergency responders Wednesday after setting a fire in an unoccupied building. Officers responded to a residence in Togiak, a village of about 800 in Southwest Alaska, where they made a forced entry to a building engulfed in black, toxic smoke, according to Alaska State Troopers. A village public safety officer found the boy inside the residence suffering from smoke inhalation. Further investigation found the boy had set a fire in the bathroom of the residence, which belonged to a deceased family member. Damage is estimated to be $1,000. The boy was taken to Dillingham for further medical treatment and released. The Department of Juvenile Justice has been notified of the incident.
Attempted sexual assault in Soldotna: A Soldotna woman escaped a sexual assault with only minor scrapes early Friday morning when she awoke to a man in her home who had pulled a knife. According to Alaska State Troopers, after a struggle, the woman was able to flee to a family member's home next door. The woman told troopers that the would-be assailant appeared to be a handyman employed by a family member. He was later identified as Shane Heiman, 38, of Soldotna. Heiman was taken into custody and charged with burglary, assault, attempted sexual assault and resisting arrest. Heiman was scheduled to be arraigned at the Kenai Courthouse Friday morning.
Two rescued from Flattop: The Alaska State Troopers reported rescuing two Anchorage teenagers after they became separated while hiking Flattop Mountain on the outskirts of Anchorage Thursday evening. Troopers said they received a call for help from 18-year-old Gaspar Gonzalez at 2:16 p.m. Gonzalez told troopers he had fallen and injured himself and did not know where his hiking partner -- 19-year-old Nabil Falconer -- had gone. The weather at the time included low clouds and single-digit temperatures. An 11-member team from the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group found Gonzalez at 4:45 p.m. and helped him off the mountain. Falconer was discovered about an hour later, on a steep, icy slope and was helped up to the level summit of the mountain by rescuers and then taken down to the trailhead. Troopers said neither man needed medical assistance.
Obama aide with Alaska roots departs White House: Pete Rouse, a key staffer who’s been with President Barack Obama since he was elected, is stepping down. Though maintaining a low profile, Rouse is widely thought to be among the most influential men in Washington, and “indispensable” to President Obama. APRN’s Washington Bureau reports on Rouse’s Alaska connection, and his influence on the 49th state during Obama’s presidency, including crediting him with influencing the president’s decision to allow Shell to explore offshore oil deposits in the Chukchi Sea.
China launches Arctic research institute: China isn’t an Arctic nation, but that doesn’t mean that developments in the Arctic aren’t of interest to the world’s second-largest economy. China sent its only icebreaker, the Snow Dragon, across the Arctic Ocean last summer and his worked to strengthen ties with Iceland, as part of its bid to be a player in a thawing region that’s growing in strategic significance. This week, China launched its own Arctic research center, in partnership with several institutions in Nordic Europe, reports the Barents Observer. The Polar Research Institute of China will focus on shared research with European counterparts on issues including climate change, shipping and economic development in the region.