Ketchikan man accused of raping 14-year-old stepdaughter

first_imgCrime & Courts | Sexual Abuse & Domestic Violence | Southeast | SyndicatedKetchikan man accused of raping 14-year-old stepdaughterAugust 5, 2015 by Madelyn Beck, KRBD Share:David Mason (far left) and his attorney Marcelle McDannel (far right) watch as state prosecutor Ben Hofmeister (second from right) question forensic scientist Jennifer Foster via video conferencing. Also pictured is officer Charles Johnson, second to the left. (Photo by Madelyn Beck, KRBD)Testimony continued Wednesday in the trial of a Ketchikan man accused of sexually assaulting his 14-year-old stepdaughter, starting with the cross-examination of the now 16-year-old alleged victim. Fifty-year-old David Mason is accused of four separate counts of sexual assault on a minor. The trial in Ketchikan Superior Court is expected to last through Friday.Some of the content of this report is of an explicit nature and may not be appropriate for younger audiences.The alleged victim finished her testimony Wednesday, affirming that Mason did assault her.Ketchikan Police Officer Charles Johnson testified next. Johnson talked to the alleged victim after the incident. He met the girl and her mother at the Women in Safe Homes, or WISH, shelter. He says the mother accused Mason of rape, and he found the daughter upset, “verging on hysterical.”“Really heavy crying, shortness of breath. I remember she was sitting on a couch, and one of her legs just had this, like a jackhammer, just bouncing really hard, really fast. [She was ] not able to answer questions right away. [She was] pretty distraught.”The defense questioned Johnson as to why he didn’t separate the mother and daughter immediately. The defense insinuated that because the mother made accusations against her husband in front of her daughter, who has developmental disabilities, it could have influenced what her daughter remembered about the incident.The girl also told the jury that she is easily affected by emotions of those around her.Others on the stand included Sergeant Carlos Rojas, who also met with the mother and daughter and documented the alleged crime scene, and nurse Crystal Pennino, who examined the child. Pennino also collected DNA evidence to send to the state crime lab.Forensic Scientist Jennifer Foster testified that Mason’s DNA was found on the girl, and the girl’s DNA on Mason. It is likely that the DNA on Mason came from the act of rape, but there is also a chance that it came from excess skin cells transferred by other means.The defense claims that Mason initiated contact out of mistaken identity, thinking the girl was her mother after the girl climbed into bed with both the mother and stepfather that night.The trial will continues Thursday with Mason as the final witness. After his testimony and closing arguments, the case will go to the jury.Share this story:last_img read more

Watch Gov. Bill Walker’s State of the State address

first_imgJuneau | State GovernmentWatch Gov. Bill Walker’s State of the State addressJanuary 17, 2017 by Tripp J Crouse, KTOO Share: Gov. Bill Walker delivers his annual State of the State address from the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18.Come back to this post at 7 p.m. for a live stream of Gavel Alaska coverage. Or watch on 360 North television, which is available in Juneau over the air on channel 3.3, or on cable and satellite.You can also listen to coverage here on KTOO and over the air.Gov. Bill Walker practices his State of the State address Tuesday at the Alaska Governor’s Mansion. (Photo by Office of Gov. Bill Walker/Flickr)#aksots TweetsShare this story:last_img

Notorious drug lord ‘El Chapo’ pleads not guilty to federal charges

first_imgCrime & Courts | Federal Government | Nation & World | NPR NewsNotorious drug lord ‘El Chapo’ pleads not guilty to federal chargesJanuary 20, 2017 by Merrit Kennedy, NPR Share:For decades, U.S. authorities have been preparing to prosecute one of the world’s most feared drug traffickers, known as El Chapo.Today, the Justice Department announced charges against Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera following his extradition from Mexico to the United States. He landed Thursday evening on Long Island, N.Y., and this afternoon entered a plea of not guilty at a federal court in Brooklyn.“Today marks a milestone in our pursuit of Chapo Guzman,” said Robert Capers, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn. “So who is Chapo Guzman? In short, he’s a man known for no other life than a life of crime, violence, death and destruction. And now he’ll have to answer to that. That’s who Chapo Guzman is.”The Associated Press described the scene: “Holding his unshackled hands behind his back, Guzman appeared calm and collected as he gave yes and no answers, through an interpreter, to a judge’s questions.”In a statement, acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates called him the “alleged leader of a multi-billion dollar, multi-national criminal enterprise that funneled drugs onto our streets and violence and misery into our communities.”Prosecutors are seeking life in prison and a $14 billion forfeiture in drug proceeds and illicit profits from the drug trafficking kingpin. The 17-count indictment accuses El Chapo of operating a continuing criminal enterprise which included murder conspiracy, other drug-related crimes including money laundering, and use of firearms.“As part of the extradition process, we had to assure the Mexican government that the death penalty would not be sought,” Capers said.The allegations date back to the 1980s. Guzman, 59, is accused of leading the Sinaloa drug cartel, which became the world’s largest drug trafficking organization.The indictment alleges that Guzman “directed a large sale narcotics transportation network involving the use of land, air and sea transportation assets, shipping multi-ton quantities of cocaine from South America, through Central America and Mexico, and finally into the United States.”The billions in profits were then “laundered back to Mexico,” according to the court documents. Guzman, along with other cartel leaders, allegedly hired hitmen “who carried out hundreds of acts of violence, including murders, assaults, kidnappings, and acts of torture at the direction of the defendants.”The Mexican government has approved the U.S. request to prosecute these charges, which were filed in a federal court in New York, the Justice Department added.As NPR’s Carrie Kahn reports from Mexico City:“Mexico had at one point said it would not extradite Guzman and would have him stand trial for his crimes at home. That was shortly after a second arrest in 2014. But the government reversed itself after being embarrassed by Guzman’s brazen escape from Mexico’s maximum security prison in the summer of 2015.“From a hole that began [in the shower floor] in Guzman’s prison cell, the drug lord climbed down a ladder and then rode a rigged motorcycle through a mile-long tunnel to freedom. Guzman remained on the run for nearly six months. During that time, he met secretly with Mexican actress Kate del Castillo and U.S. actor Sean Penn.“Shortly after, though, and partly due to his meeting with the stars, Mexican officials caught up with Guzman, capturing him in January of last year. This time officials immediately began extradition procedures. Guzman’s lawyers have been fighting it ever since. He lost his final appeal this week.”El Chapo has eluded law enforcement for decades, as William F. Sweeney, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office, told reporters.U.S. officials vowed that Guzman won’t escape again.“He’s about to face American justice. … And I assure you, no tunnel will be built leading to his bathroom,” said Angel Melendez, special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in New York CityNPR correspondent Joel Rose in New York contributed to this report.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit this story:last_img read more

Pollution has worked its way down to the world’s deepest waters

first_imgClimate Change | Environment | Nation & World | NPR News | Oceans | WildlifePollution has worked its way down to the world’s deepest watersFebruary 13, 2017 by Christopher Joyce, NPR Share:Tiny, shrimp-like amphipods living in the Mariana Trench were contaminated at levels similar to those found in crabs living in waters fed by one of China’s most polluted rivers. (Photo by Dr. Alan Jamieson/Newcastle University)The Mariana Trench in the northern Pacific is the deepest part of the world’s oceans. You might think a place that remote would be untouched by human activity.But the Mariana Trench is polluted.At its deepest — about 7 miles down — the water in the trench is near freezing. The pressure would crush a human like a bug. Scientists have only recently explored it.Among them is biologist Alan Jamieson of Newcastle University in England. His team dropped what they call a mechanical “lander” down into the trench. It had cameras and water samplers and some baited traps. They didn’t really know what they’d find.When the lander surfaced, the traps contained amphipods — shrimp-like crustaceans. That wasn’t terribly surprising, as amphipods are known to live at great depths. But bringing them back from the Mariana Trench was a rarity, and Jamieson thought there might be something to learn from them. He took the creatures to an environmental scientist.“So we just sort of turn up with this really weird looking animal,” he says, “and joking aside, he came back and said these are really badly contaminated.”The amphipods were contaminated with PCBs — polychlorinated biphenyls — toxic chemicals used for decades in industry, as well as other industrial pollutants known as persistent organic pollutants.“Every sample we had,” Jamieson says, “had contaminants in it at very high or extraordinarily high levels.”How high? He compared the contamination level in his Mariana amphipods to crabs living in waters fed by one of China’s most polluted rivers, as well as amphipods from other parts of the world. “And what we were finding in the deepest place in the world were (levels) hugely higher, fifty times in some cases,” he says.The team found the same thing in another deep sea trench in the Pacific–heavily contaminated amphipods.Jamieson, who was at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland when he did the research, describes the results in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. He thinks the pollutants might get to the trenches by latching onto plastic that’s floating in the ocean. Fish and other marine animals absorb pollutants, as well. Eventually, the plastic and the dead animals fall to the bottom. Like dirt in your house, a lot of it will collect at the lowest points. It’s simply a matter of gravity, and the trenches are as deep as it gets.“Once it gets deeper and deeper and deeper, there’s nowhere else for it to go, because there’s no mechanism to put it back to the surface again,” Jamieson explains.PCBs were banned decades ago. But they’re still out there. Marine biologist Katherine Dafforn at the University of New South Wales in Australia says the discovery of such high levels in these trenches is “disturbing.”“A lot of chemicals will have far-reaching impacts that we don’t necessarily know about,” Dafforn says.And those impacts might be in places that people don’t pay much attention.Jamieson says just because pollution is out of sight doesn’t mean it’s harmless. “We’ve got to remember, planet Earth is mostly deep sea,” he says, “and to think that it’s OK just to ignore it is a little bit irresponsible.”Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit this story:last_img read more

Governor calls lawmakers for 2nd special session after House budget gambit fails

first_imgPolitics | State GovernmentGovernor calls lawmakers for 2nd special session after House budget gambit failsJune 16, 2017 by Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO Share:House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, addresses reporters in the Capitol in Juneau on Friday. The House had pushed an operating budget through the night before then adjourned sine die, leaving the Senate few options. Other House Majority Coalition leaders pictured: Chris Tuck, Paul Seaton, Neal Foster and Gabrielle LeDoux. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has called the Alaska Legislature back for a second special session to begin at 1 p.m. today, after lawmakers failed to pass an operating budget.Without a budget, the state government will shut down in two weeks.The House called it quits for the first special session Thursday night after pushing through an operating budget on short notice. The Republican minority caucus strongly protested.This morning, the more conservative Senate adjourned without acting on the House’s budget. Democratic Sen. Berta Gardner got the last word in before Republican Senate President Pete Kelly gaveled out.“It’s unacceptable to shut down without passing a budget. And we have to keep working at it,” she said.House leaders said negotiations with the Senate were not going well, and that legal deadlines to adopt a budget compelled their unorthodox route to passing a budget.Share this story:last_img read more

Aleutian tsunami advisory canceled after 7.8 earthquake in Russia

first_imgAleutians | Public SafetyAleutian tsunami advisory canceled after 7.8 earthquake in RussiaJuly 17, 2017 by Zoë Sobel, Alaska’s Energy Desk Share:Updated | 11:16 a.m. July 18No tsunami is expected in the Aleutians, after a large earthquake near Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.The National Tsunami Warning Center briefly issued a tsunami advisory Monday for the western Aleutian Islands.“There was a magnitude 6.5 (earthquake Monday) morning and this was a magnitude 7.8,” said tsunami science warning officer Paul Huang. “In theory, we don’t know when the next one will come. It could be a few minutes from now. It could be another 100 years.”The Palmer, Alaska-based scientist says it’s always better to be safe than sorry.“It’s always safer when you are alive,” Huang said. “You never know, we’re scientists. We cannot predict nature. We just do our best guess.”Even though the advisory has been canceled, Huang recommends people stay alert and keep away from beaches for the next day.— Zoe Sobel, KUCB-UnalaskaOriginal story | 5:57 p.m. July 17A strong earthquake on the Russian side of the Bering Sea briefly prompted a tsunami advisory for parts of the Pacific, including Alaska’s remote Aleutian Islands and Russia. The National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer canceled the advisory because the tsunami no longer posed a threat.Officials at the warning center had cautioned waves could reach up to 3 feet above the tide level. But waves later Monday were reported only 6 inches above tide at the sparsely populated Shemya, the site of a remote Air Force station in the extreme western Aleutians.The quake was initially measured at magnitude 7.4 when it struck just after 3:30 p.m. Alaska time in the Komandorskiye Ostrova region of Russia, roughly 1,400 miles east of Anchorage.— The Associated PressShare this story:last_img read more

With 35th homicide this year, Anchorage hits an all-time high

first_imgAudio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Anchorage police have investigated 34 killings in the city so far this year, including a fatal shooting near downtown on Sunday that led to a standoff and, ultimately, the suspect’s arrest on murder charges.The shooting would have matched last year’s homicide tally, which was the most ever in the city.But Alaska State Troopers now say a man found dead earlier this month in the Jim Creek area east of Palmer is the victim of a homicide that also occurred in Anchorage.That brings the total number of homicides in Anchorage to 35, with nearly three weeks remaining in 2017. Crime & Courts | Public Safety | SouthcentralWith 35th homicide this year, Anchorage hits an all-time highDecember 12, 2017 by Casey Grove, Alaska Public Media Share:The number of homicides in Alaska’s largest city has again hit an all-time high. Share this story:last_img read more

Native Hawaiian’s Anchorage restaurant forced to drop “Aloha Poke”

first_imgA letter from a Chicago-based chain sent in May demanded she change her restaurant’s name.“I may be a little bias, but think we make some of the best poke in Anchorage here,” Kahele said, sitting at a table in her restaurant.The Hawaiian word poke means to dice, cube or cut.At Kahele’s shop, you can order cubed, raw fish with wasabi ginger, have it Hawaiian style with limu– the Hawaiian word for seaweed, even California style with avocado, crab and cucumbers.Poke is a staple in Native Hawaiian culture.“We have poke at our luaus,” Kahele said. “We have poke at our get-togethers.”Another staple of that culture is the word Aloha.“When you walk into a business that has ‘Aloha,’ and you have a Native Hawaiian family working in (the business), you can expect that kind of spirit, that kind of food, that kind of experience when you walk in the door,” Kahele said.Weeks after opening, a lawyer representing the Chicago-based Aloha Poke Company, which is owned and operated by non-Hawaiians sent a letter to Kahele: “Your use of ‘Aloha,’ and ‘Aloha Poke’ must cease immediately,” the letter read.Devastated, Kahele knew she couldn’t afford the legal fees to fight it.In Hawaiian, the word poke means to dice, cube, or cut. (Photo by Emily Russell/Alaska Public Media)“This is not our first business, so I understand the copyright (law), which is why we are so torn,” Kahele said. “We knew that we’d have to comply, but this is kind of different. (Aloha) was a word that they should never have been able to trademark or copyright, especially those two words (Aloha and Poke) together.”A letter similar to Kahele’s was made public after it was sent to another Native Hawaiian business owner.the letter spread online, creating a massive and angry uproar.The Aloha Poke Company has since apologized on its Facebook page.To those who care about Hawaiian culture, it said, “we want to say to them directly how deeply sorry we are that this issue has been so triggering.”“It’s hard to accept an apology that doesn’t sound so genuine,” Kahele responded. “It leaves out a lot.”On top of that, the company still is insisting it owns “Aloha” and “Aloha Poke” when used in connection with restaurants, catering and take-out service.Kahele said it’s not right for a company to try to take ownership of her people’s Native language.“I know some people are like, ‘(Aloha) is just a generic word, everyone says it,’” Kahele said. “But not to our people, it’s not. Aloha encompasses everything. We live aloha, we give it, we share it. It’s not to be restricted and I think that’s why it’s so triggering to people and it’s so offensive and it’s so hurtful. It’s hurtful – for our family it’s hurtful.”For Native Hawaiians such as Kahele, though, this appropriation of her culture is not new.“Hawaii has been commercialized and colonized and our culture has been appropriated in so many ways,” Kahele said.Like, Kahele said, associating any Hawaiian style food with pineapple.Customers will come into her shop and ask about her traditional style of poke.“They’re like, ‘Oh, the Hawaiian-style poke – does that have pineapples in it? And I’m like, ‘No, it has a very traditional nut base – kukui nut base– that makes it Hawaiian.”Kahele’s restaurant shows off her traditional food and Native culture.Kahele chose to rename her family business Lei’s Poke Stop, after her daughter.“If at another time we have to fight anyone for the name ‘Lei,’” Kahele said, “good luck.”Clarification: The story incorrectly referred to copyright infringement.  It is trademark infringement. This story has been updated to reflect the change.Share this story: Business | Food | SouthcentralNative Hawaiian’s Anchorage restaurant forced to drop “Aloha Poke”August 2, 2018 by Emily Russell, Alaska Public Media Share:Tasha Kahele is a native Hawaiian and owner of Lei’s Poke Stop in Anchorage. (Photo by Emily Russell/Alaska Public Media)An Anchorage restaurant owner found herself in the middle of a national debate involving trademark infringement and cultural appropriation.Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Tasha Kahele, who is Native Hawaiian, opened Aloha Poke Stop in April.last_img read more

Health care price transparency law may be helpful, but it’s unlikely to make care cheaper

first_imgEconomy | HealthHealth care price transparency law may be helpful, but it’s unlikely to make care cheaperNovember 8, 2018 by Renee Gross, KBBI-Homer Share:Beginning next year, a new law will require all health care providers in Alaska to be more transparent about their prices. Some hope it will give consumers the tools to shop around, boosting competition and subsequently lowering prices. While it may help prevent sticker shock, experts said the move most likely won’t result in cheaper medical procedures.Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Davon Smith is the clinical business operations director for SVT Health and Wellness in the Homer area. He said if health care prices catch patients off guard and they are unable to pay, it can impede their treatment.“It actually compiles onto those social determinants that hinder them from actually getting better,” he said.That’s partly why the clinic discusses prices and payment options with clients.“We want to make sure you can afford that kind of treatment plan, that kind of health care costs, and it makes it easier for the patient to be informed and be a part of that decision-making.”A new law will soon require SVT to go one step further. It will require all health care providers to post prices for the top health care services they provide, among other requirements. Patients will still pay different prices depending on their insurance and other factors.Andrea Ducas is a senior program officer with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and much like Smith, she said the primary reason to provide patients with more price transparency is to prevent sticker shock and help patients factor in the cost of procedures while creating a treatment plan. However, she also said it gives them more tools to shop around.“When we are able to compare prices or able to see prices, we save money,” she said.But she said comparing prices only goes so far.“So if you had the choice between going to get an X-ray that cost $300 or getting an X-ray that costs $250, if the price of that X-ray really appropriately should only be $20, giving you the option and helping you shop, that’s not going to help bring the costs down to $20,” she said.Historically, there haven’t been many incentives for patients to shop around, as insurance coverage has typically picked up the bulk of health care costs. Patients have also relied heavily on their doctors to refer them to other providers.“Patients have not really gravitated toward this type of information in any kind of meaningful way,” said Dennis Scanlon, a professor of health policy and administration and the director of the Center for Health Care and Policy Research at Penn State.Scanlon explains that laws requiring transparent health care prices in other states and cities, including Anchorage, have not exactly spurred competition.“If your goal is to create health care transparency to either get people to go to the low-cost providers or to have the high-cost providers lower their prices, there are some selective examples of that happening, but it’s not widespread yet,” he said.But he said markets with high health care costs such as Alaska, and changes in the health care market in general, have the potential to change that.“As there has been more of a push for insurance plan designs with higher deductibles which require more first-dollar, out-of-pocket expenses by patients,” he said. “So I think that’s, for lack of a better term, woken some patients up to understand that, ‘Boy, this is costly, and it might be worth shopping around a little bit.’”Proponents of the new law will have to wait and see if Alaskans are more prone to shop around when the health care transparency law goes into effect on Jan. 1.However, shopping around only works if you have a choice in health care in the first place, and for many rural and roadless Alaskan communities, that’s just not a reality.Share this story:last_img read more

US attorney general announces $42M in aid for rural Alaska

first_imgFederal GovernmentUS attorney general announces $42M in aid for rural AlaskaOctober 21, 2019 by Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media Share:U.S. Attorney General William Barr meets with a group of Native leaders from around the state in Anchorage to discuss rural justice issues. (Photo by Joey Mendolia, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Anchorage)Speaking to the Alaska Federation of Natives convention in Fairbanks on Thursday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced the Justice Department has awarded $42 million in grants to help rural Alaska cope with the high rates of crime and violence.“These funds will support a wide variety of programs aimed at improving law enforcement, public safety infrastructure and services for victims of crime,” he said, via video link from Washington, D.C.The money comes from Justice Department programs intended for tribes. It’s slated to go to tribal councils, women’s shelters, youth programs, substance abuse programs and policing.Barr said $7 million is headed for the Denali Commission to distribute micro-grants.“And through this grant, the Denali Commission will help tribes who have not traditionally received federal funding to create and implement crucial victim services,” Barr said.Barr toured rural Alaska villages in May to see the impact of crime on rural Alaska. In June he declared an emergency to direct federal funds to the crisis.Share this story:last_img read more