Big Lake, Alaska and The Susitna Valley News, Weather, Events, And More

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Friday, January 19 2018 @ 12:25 AM AKST

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Parnell plan to export North Slope gas draws support, criticism

Energy"In what Gov. Sean Parnell called a “major milestone,” the major oil producers in Alaska and pipeline builder TransCanada have signed a non-binding guidance document with the state that lays out basic concepts of a deal to advance a long-sought natural gas liquefaction and export project, with state ownership a key part of the plan.
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Big Lake Teen Injured in Serious Crash

Police BlotterOn 1/15/2013 at 10:30 p.m., Alaska State Troopers received a report of a collision between two vehicles at Milepost 45 of the Parks Highway in Wasilla. Investigation revealed Emma Lark, 17, of Big Lake was driving her 1991 black Dodge Dakota northbound on the Parks Highway when she lost control of the truck, crossed the center line and crashed head on with a southbound 2001 green Ford Focus driven by Lena Hensley, 26, of Anchorage. Both were transported by ambulance to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center for serious but non-life threatening injuries. All occupants involved were utilizing their seatbelts and both vehicles were a total loss. The road was closed for approximately an hour and a half.
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Is It Safe To Use Compost Made From Treated Human Waste?

Home and Garden"About 50 percent of the biosolids produced in the U.S. are returned to farmland through a process that is heavily regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Even so, some people – including the Sierra Club — remain skeptical of the use of this waste product in food production. They worry that heavy metals, pathogens or pharmaceuticals might survive the treatment process and contaminate crops. So what's an urban gardener to do in light of mixed perceptions about whether it's OK to use poop to grow your food?

I set out to investigate this, hoping that whatever I learned would help my garden decide whether to accept the donation or not."
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BREAKING NEWS: Alaska Crime Lab Investigation

Public Notices(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – The Department of Public Safety Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory has discovered irregularities involving six controlled substance reference standards used in the testing of illegal drugs. Those six are morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, opium, codeine, and amphetamine. Foreign matter was discovered in these controlled substance reference standards. An audit of the Crime Lab’s controlled substance reference standards is underway. The Crime Lab is also notifying its accrediting body, The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board. The irregularities found do not impact the Crime Lab’s ability to identify submitted suspected controlled substances or the scientific validity of past lab tests.

The irregularities were discovered when new, more sensitive testing instruments began to be used by the Crime Lab. The discovery of irregularities in the standards has prompted a broader review, to include a criminal investigation, which is being performed by the Alaska State Troopers, Alaska Bureau of Investigation.
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Dumb Criminal Tricks

Police BlotterOn 1/15/14 at approximately 2 a.m., Soldotna AST received a report of a stolen vehicle in Sterling. Subsequent investigation found a 2007 Toyota pickup was stolen out of a detached garage sometime between 2300 hours on 1/14/14 and 0200 hours on 1/15/14. While conducting the investigation, the stolen truck was observed to drive by. The suspect sped away and drove into the ditch near the intersection of Carter Way and Skilak Lane in Sterling. The suspect fled from the vehicle on foot. The suspect was ultimately taken into custody and identified as Jeremy Whitlow, age 30 of Sterling. Whitlow was also found to be operating the motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Whitlow was remanded to Wildwood Pretrial Facility without bail on charges of Burglary II, Vehicle Theft I, DUI, and probation / parole violations.
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Searching For The Science Behind Reincarnation

Science"Say a child has memories of being a Hollywood extra in the 1930s. Is it just an active imagination, or actual evidence of reincarnation? Jim Tucker, a psychologist at the University of Virginia studies hundreds of cases like this and joins NPR's Rachel Martin to share his research on the science behind reincarnation."
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7 Chilling Ways the NSA Can Spy On You

Tech"If the news, or perhaps more accurately Russian propaganda, is to be believed, spy gear for U.S. covert operatives consists of an ill-fitting wig or two, sunglasses, a paper map, a compass, and a pocket knife; the items found on Ryan C. Fogle last spring when he was apprehended by Russian authorities and charged with being a CIA operative.

But the documents released by Edward Snowden and a report in Der Spiegel suggest that when it comes to U.S. surveillance methods, the tools of the trade involve considerably more technology.

The German newspaper recently published a document from a National Security Agency (NSA) division called ANT, which reads like a catalogue of secret spy tactics. ANT's programs have bizarre and slightly hilarious names - from HOWLERMONKEY and JUNIORMINT to DROPOUTJEEP and WATERWITCH - but the details of what they do and how they do it are more chilling than humorous."
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NSA's 'Quantum' program reportedly lets the agency access 100,000 offline computers

Tech"Three days before President Barack Obama will allegedly announce major changes to the NSA's surveillance programs, The New York Times has a story addressing one particularly controversial practice: intercepting laptops purchased online to insert bugs that can phone home — or even give remote access — to the US government. According to the Times, not only does that practice take place, but the bugs are now installed in nearly 100,000 computers around the world as part of a program code-named Quantum. However, the publication's government sources say they aren't being used inside the United States, but rather to spy on allleged Chinese and Russian military hacker groups, Mexican drug cartels, European "trade institutions," and alleged terrorists. Since the devices have their own radios, they can allegedly tap into computers that aren't connected to the internet."
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Wasilla man in custody after holding troopers at bay with slingshot, pellet gun

Police BlotterWASILLA -- A 42-year-old man fired a slingshot at Alaska State Troopers responding to a report of gunshot victims near Wasilla but eventually came out of his house without incident early Tuesday morning, troopers said.

Troopers responded to a report just after 10 p.m. of multiple gunshots and victims down at an address on North Tanana Drive, off Bogard Road. The caller did not provide identification, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

It was later determined that no one was injured and the only person in the house was Jose A. Pacheco, troopers said. The incident resolved peacefully after several hours of standoff and negotiation, they said.
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Making millions out of mud?

Alaska Business"Is Cordova's Lauren Padawer on her way to becoming the next self-made multimillion dollar American tycoon? Tune in to ABC's "Shark Tank" on Friday to find out.

Padawer started her Alaska Glacial Mud Co., selling all-natural facial masks, soaps and other skin care products, in 2007 with the help of an Alaska Federation of Natives Marketplace Grant. She traveled to Los Angles this past September to face five of six Sharks: billionaire Mark Cuban, outspoken owner of the 2011 NBA championship Dallas Mavericks; real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran; "Queen of QVC" Lori Greiner; technology innovator Robert Herjavec; fashion and branding expert Daymond John; and venture capitalist Kevin O'Leary.
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Ohio town terrorized by Chickens.

Weird NewsFAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) - Arby Presley added a new chore to her list recently. Feeding the chickens.

The only problem is she isn't in a barn yard, but a front yard.

"This is supposed to be the city limits, it's the outer limits," says neighbor Elizabeth Long.

For decades Presley and her neighbors have watched chickens hunt and peck their way up and down Montgomery Avenue in Fairborn.

But recently they say the chickens aren't just crossing the road, they're crossing the line.

"It's gotten so out of control because there's so many of them," Presley says.
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Plan and Prepare for Any Disaster

Community Living in Alaska has some unique challenges. Preparing for a disaster is something any individual or family anywhere must consider. Here are some tips from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough website (link at end of article).

Assemble emergency kits. (See Basic Emergency Supplies.)
Keep copies of important documents (passport, driver license, social security card, marriage license, will, deeds, financial statements, etc.) in an offsite location such as a safety deposit box.
To facilitate insurance recovery, include an inventory of your valuables with serial number list of tools and equipment and photographs or video of other valuables.
Use a USB jump drive to store these files. Make duplicate jump drives and keep one at home, and one in a safety deposit box or other off-site safe location.
Learn how and when to shut off your utilities. (See Utilities.)
Discuss all possible exit routes from each room, building and neighborhood. Ensure that your family has at least two exits from each.
Reunification location n: choose two places, one outside your home and another outside your neighborhood, like a church, community center, store parking lot, or other open area to meet at if you are separated.
Conduct emergency drills and practice “DROP, COVER and HOLD” for earthquakes at least once every six months.
Always keep your car’s gas tank at least 3/4 full.
Take classes on first aid, CPR and disaster preparedness. (See Training & Volunteer Opportunities).
Practice your plan once a year. Pick a weekend with nice weather to set up in your yard and use your disaster kit. This allows you to see how well it works and add to it before a real emergency.
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Net neutrality is half-dead: Court strikes down FCC’s anti-blocking rules

Tech"The Federal Communication Commission's net neutrality rules were partially struck down today by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which said the Commission did not properly justify its anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules.

Those rules in the Open Internet Order, adopted in 2010, forbid ISPs from blocking services or charging content providers for access to the network. Verizon challenged the entire order and got a big victory in today's ruling. While it could still be appealed to the Supreme Court, the order today would allow pay-for-prioritization deals that could let Verizon or other ISPs charge companies like Netflix for a faster path to consumers.

The court left part of the Open Internet Order intact, however, saying that the FCC still has "general authority" to regulate how broadband providers treat traffic."
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Shark Species Thought to Be Extinct Found in Fish Market

Nature"After his 1902 trip to Yemen, scholar and naturalist Wilhelm Hein returned with a variety of plants and animals, which he donated to the Vienna Museum. One of these specimens, a shark, sat unnoticed for more than 80 years. In 1985 it was identified as the first (and only known) specimen of Carcharhinus leiodon, the smoothtooth blacktip shark. Because no others had ever been found by scientists, Alec Moore, regional vice chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Shark Specialist Group’s Indian Ocean group, says that “some suspected it might be extinct or not a valid species.”

In 2008, during a Shark Conservation Society research expedition to Kuwait’s sharq fish market (the name is a coincidence, it means east in Arabic), Moore says that “amongst the many species of whaler shark was one which looked very similar, but different, to a couple of other species.” Later analysis revealed that although this specimen was more than 3,000 kilometers from where Hein caught his, this was a smoothtooth blacktip, the first new individual seen by scientists in over a century."
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Alaska officials warn drivers of caribou crossing Glenn Highway

Nature"After two vehicle accidents last week involving caribou within about five miles of each other along the Glenn Highway leading to the Interior Alaska community of Glennallen, Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game are warning that about 10,000 caribou are wintering near a 30-mile stretch of road there and advising travelers to exercise caution."

ADF&G photo Why do the Caribou cross the road?