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Twenty-seven-year-old Bonnie Degenstein made her first court appearance Saturday afternoon at the Anchorage jail, less than a day after police arrested the woman on a second-degree murder charge following a 911 call to report she had accidentally shot her boyfriend.
A magistrate judge set bail at $300,000 due to the severity of the charge. Second-degree murder is an unclassified felony that carries up to a 99-year sentence and a half-million-dollar fine. Degenstein faces a presumptive minimum sentence of 10 to 20 years for her alleged crime.
Police say Degenstein called Anchorage Police Department dispatch at 10:16 p.m. Friday. She said she and Ryan Tamborrino, 24, had been drinking and "playing with a guns" at a residence near midtown and that she’d accidentally shot him.
Degenstein’s family sat in during the hearing. Her mother refused to comment on the charge, saying she knew as little as everyone else.
The accused woman said she would hire an attorney with the help of her family. The judge said Degenstein would not be released until a second bail hearing...
NIKISKI -- In a chilly building across Cook Inlet from the white pyramid of Mount Redoubt rest a few dozen plastic-lined cardboard totes filled to the brim with an amber liquid. Each chest-high cube holds about a ton of fish oil extracted this summer from the heads of salmon. It’s a product that would have been lost to the Kenai River if Pat Simpson had not recovered it.
Simpson, 49, is a fisherman-turned-entrepreneur who has for the past few summers purchased salmon heads from fish processors who do business here in this small industrial town north of the Kenai River. Using precision equipment made in Europe, Simpson’s team steams and grinds the heads of pink, chum and red salmon to render a product now available in box stores as 90-count bottles of “Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil” gel tablets.
“We sold all our fish oil the first three years (to companies that put it in capsules and sold it to large retailers),” Simpson said at his Nikiski plant, shut down and unheated for the offseason...
Anchorage Rep. Lindsey Holmes' decision to switch from the Democratic to Republican Party immediately following her re-election last year isn't enough to merit a recall, the Division of Elections ruled Friday.
Recall proponents say they'll appeal.
The division, overseen by Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, found that the effort to recall Holmes didn't meet state constitutional standards for recall, according to Gail Fenumiai, the division's director .
Fenumiai said the recall met the standard for valid signatures by registered voters, turning in 904, more than the 808 necessary. But she said the Department of Law recommended rejection of the recall application.
"We recommend the application be denied because Representative Holmes' conduct in changing political parties is lawful and constitutionally protected," wrote Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Bakalar in a legal opinion on which Fenumiai relied...
Canadian Inuit leaders are remembering Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday, saying his battles against racism, inequality and poverty had deep meaning among Inuit.
The anti-apartheid activist was released from prison in South Africa in February 1990. He began travelling through Europe and North America and on July 1, 1990 his plane stopped in Iqaluit to refuel while en route to Ottawa from Ireland. Residents of Iqaluit turned out in the middle of the night to catch a glimpse of him.
On Twitter, Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq wrote: “The world has suffered a great loss. Nelson Mandela was a visionary leader and inspiration to all.”
In a news release, Terry Audla, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, said Mandela taught people to stand up for their rights.
“Perhaps just as importantly, he taught us the true meaning of forgiveness. His lessons on reconciliation have been an inspiration to Inuit during our own process of truth and reconciliation,” said Audla.
Cathy Towtongie, President of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, thanked Mandela for his passion and commitment...
The Finnish government is set to reconsider Talvivaara’s license to mine uranium, after the supreme administrative court revoked the permission granted just one year ago.
The license to mine uranium was granted on arch 1, and the court ruled that so many changes had occurred within Talvivaara since then that the license was no longer valid. Reorganization of the company is ongoing, so the court has sent the license back to the government for reconsideration.
Talvivaara applied for administration in mid-November, as the company’s financial and environmental difficulties continued.
Government must now reevaluate the security, economic and environmental implications of allowing Talvivaara to continue mining uranium. The firm’s license to extract the element is currently under consideration by the North Finland regional administration board.Key investor cutting back its ownership share
Talvivaara previously lost some support from Finnish pension insurer Varma, which has lessened its holdings in the beleagured mining company...
Report of 'accidental' shooting leads to arrest: Anchorage police have arrested 27-year-old Bonnie Degenstein after she called 911 Friday night to report that she had accidentally shot a man. Police say Degenstein called Anchorage Police Department dispatch at 10:16 p.m. Friday. She said she and an unidentified man had been drinking and "playing with a gun" at a residence near midtown and that she’d accidentally shot him. When police and medics got there they found a man who’d been fatally shot multiple times. The victim was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Degenstein has been charged with second-degree murder and is expected to make a court appearance Saturday afternoon...
On Wednesday, state Sen. Bill Wielechowski sent out a press release saying during the next legislative session he would introduce a bill curbing sales of increasingly popular electronic cigarettes -- better known as e-cigarettes -- to minors.
The only problem? The vast majority of electronic cigarettes contain nicotine. And under current Alaska law, tobacco or nicotine sales to anyone under the age of 19 are already illegal.
“We dropped the ball,” Wielechowski, a Democrat who represents East Anchorage, said later, adding that the legislation banning the sales to minors will not be introduced.
But Wielechowski is not the first person to be confused by slow yet steady introduction of e-cigarettes into the marketplace. Across the country, cities and states are grappling with how to deal with the devices, which at times have been marketed both as a tobacco cessation tool and toward young people. Even the Food and Drug Administration isn't quite sure what to do with the devices. The federal agency at this time has not asserted its control over regulating the products...
A U.S. National Park Service blog about bones is a great way to get the Alaska communities involved in their own culturally rich past. But federal employees urge anyone wanting to collect any kind of relic on federal land, or even their own land, to take pause.
Taking artifacts off of federal land -- including lands managed by the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service -- can result in a felony charge, said Jon Hardes, an archeologist with the National Park Service in Kotzebue.
And while his new blog features local finds, it’s best to let officials know when something of potential interest has been located, instead of snatching it up. Not only is that illegal, but the location and position of the fossil or artifact can tell a scientist just as much about the past as the item itself. Plus, findings might be fragile and handling could destroy clues to its past...
It's always a long haul for the cattle farmers who have to make the drive from Homer to Palmer a couple of times a year, but it's necessary evil. Ask them and they'll tell you the trip is no easy feat, trucking hundreds of pounds of cattle the 260 sometimes-treacherous road miles between the two communities. But they have to if they're going to sell the livestock they raise -- cattle, sheep and hogs -- to markets and restaurants in Alaska.
That's because the meat has to be U.S. Department of Agriculture certified, and that means the animals have to slaughtered in a USDA facility. For farmers living on the Kenai Peninsula, the closest facility is in Palmer, hundreds of miles away.
“It can be a near-death experience,” said Chris Rainwater, a cattle farmer in Homer who makes the trip about once a year to bring some of his animals to slaughter...
Lawrence Lobdell, a teenager when he and Marc Steven Ewing stomped a man to death in an Anchorage park for $7 and beer, was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison. He will likely die behind bars, as he underwent brain surgery to remove a cancerous tumor about a year after his 2009 arrest. The medical treatment caused mental and physical debilitation, most of which a doctor said were irreversible.
A court officer pulled Lobdell into the courtroom on a wheelchair. The 23-year-old defendant slumped over in his chair with his eyes closed. A large scar was visible on the right side of Lobdell’s head, starting from the top of his forehead and arching over the ear to well below the earlobe.
During the emotional hearing, the victim’s family confronted Lobdell, told the court about an adventurous and loving family member and urged the judge to hand down the harshest sentence possible...