Alaska Digest

Posted: Thursday, August 16, 2007

Five Fort Wainwright soldiers killed in Iraq

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FORT WAINWRIGHT - Five Alaska-based soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash near Al Taqaddum Air Base, Iraq, U.S. Army officials said Wednesday.

They were assigned to the 52nd Aviation Regiment, Task Force 49 at Fort Wainwright.

The cause of the Tuesday crash is under investigation, and the next of kin have been notified.

The Army did not release their names.

Fairbanks police officerkills theft suspect

FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks police officer shot and killed a theft suspect after the man pulled a gun, which later turned out to be unloaded, officials said Wednesday.

Lucky R. Adams, 37, died after the officer fired multiple times Tuesday night, the police department said in a prepared statement. The shooting, police say, happened after an attempt to subdue Adams using a Taser failed.

Fairbanks police say Adams' 9mm Beretta handgun - suspected to have been stolen - was unloaded, but the officer didn't know it, Lt. Dan Welborn said.

"He pointed it at the officer," Welborn said.

The officer has been placed on three days of administrative leave. His name will be released after that.

Police continue to investigate, and their report will be forwarded to the district attorney for review.

Adams, a convicted felon who was on probation, was in a van that police think provided transportation for suspected thieves in several robberies this week.

Police say dead body on highway is suspicious

ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police are treating the death of a man whose body was found along the Seward Highway as suspicious.

A motorist discovered the body Tuesday along Turnagain Arm, police spokeswoman Anita Shell said. The body was on the southbound side of the road, about a mile northwest of the McHugh Creek Picnic Area.

The man was found face up, with his head under the guardrail. He wore jeans, gray sneakers and his shirt was pulled up.

Police said the man was an Alaska Native, likely in his 30s. Police have tentatively identified him, but won't release any information until it can be confirmed and relatives are notified.

Police want to know "if someone caused his death or it came at his own hand," Shell said. An autopsy was planned.

Internet service toexpand in rural Alaska

ANCHORAGE - The Southeast Alaska Internet provider At Contact Communications has teamed up with a national satellite company to expand its coverage area into rural Alaska.

At Contact provides direct Internet service in parts of Southeast Alaska and is working with the national satellite company WildBlue to launch new satellites to expand coverage in the state. The launch will allow direct satellite Internet service at DSL speeds, At Contact said.

At Contact is a member company managed by David Drucker from his Sedalia, Colo., headquarters. Drucker, who was also a co-founder of Echostar and a part owner of Ketchikan TV, said that the company is currently providing service to Southeast Alaska. "We just finished installing service to the Thorn Bay library," Drucker said. "This is from a WildBlue satellite that offers coverage out over the Aleutian Islands."

Thorn Bay is a logging community of fewer than 600 residents near Ketchikan.

At Contact's future plan is to launch a series of seven satellites that will offer Ka band service. The high frequency of the Ka spectrum makes for faster broadband satellite Internet service.

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