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Moved: 4/15/2014 05:08

Latest Alaska news, sports, business and entertainment

ALASKA ABORTION

Alaska Legislature passes abortion funding bill

(Eds: Updates with Senate concurrence. APNewsNow.)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Legislature has passed a bill further defining what constitutes a medically necessary abortion for purposes of Medicaid funding.

The Senate on a 13-7 vote Monday agreed to the House version of the bill that removed language calling for expanded family planning services. That language was added in the Senate last year.

Supporters of the provision said greater access to services would reduce unplanned pregnancies and abortions. The bill's sponsor, Sen. John Coghill, said the state already provides women's health and family planning services.

The House passed the bill 23-17 on Sunday.

SB49 supporters say the state shouldn't have to pay for elective abortions. Critics say the bill raises constitutional questions.

The bill is similar to regulations adopted by the state health commissioner that are being challenged in court.

COAST GUARD SHOOTING

Tire expert testifies in Kodiak murder trial

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A tire expert says it's unlikely that a nail found in the tire of the man charged in a Kodiak double homicide was picked up on a roadway.

Gary Bolden says the long nail likely was perpendicular to the tread and probably inserted mechanically.

Bolden testified Monday in the trial of James Wells, who's charged with murder in the shooting deaths of Richard Belisle (BEL'-eye-ul) and James Hopkins on April 12, 2012 at a Coast Guard Communication Station on Kodiak Island.

Wells worked with the victims and claimed he was delayed that morning because he stopped to change a flat tire.

Prosecutors say he instead drove to the shop at the communications station, shot his co-workers and returned home to establish an alibi.

NOME-PEDESTRIAN FATAL

Savoonga carver dies in Nome

(Information in the following story is from: Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, HYPERLINK http://www.adn.comhttp://www.adn.com)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A well-known carver from Savoonga has died after he was hit while walking in Nome.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that 54-year-old Wagner Wongittilin was hit by sport-utility vehicle at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Bering Street around 1 a.m. Saturday. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital shortly after.

Authorities say the driver of the SUV had abandoned the vehicle, but came back to the area a short time later to report the accident to police.

Police say in a release that charges are pending following a review by the district attorney's office.

ALASKA HOUSE-FUNDRAISING

Young rival Dunbar raises nearly $17K in quarter

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Democratic U.S. House hopeful Forrest Dunbar has reported raising nearly $17,000 during the first quarter of this year.

Dunbar reported having about $27,000 on hand as of March 31. He also reported a $12,000 debt to the state Democratic party for campaign help.

Dunbar is seeking his party's nomination for the seat that's been held by Republican Rep. Don Young since 1973.

Young reported bringing in more than $77,000 between January and March and ending the quarter with nearly $700,000 on hand.

ALASKA LNG PLANT

ConocoPhillips to resume Kenai LNG shipments

NIKISKI, Alaska (AP) — ConocoPhillips says it will resume exports of liquefied natural gas from a Kenai Peninsula facility.

The company in a Monday release says it has received authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy to export LNG from the Nikiski plant to Free Trade Agreement and non-agreement countries for two years.

ConocoPhillips says it plans to resume exports this spring. The company had previously said it would consider exporting again from Cook Inlet if there was enough natural gas for Southcentral Alaska utilities.

Last year, the utilities signed agreements securing their supply of gas through early 2018.

The Nikiski LNG plant was closed two years ago. The orders from the government will allow it to ship 40 billion cubic feet of LNG over a two-year period.

YAKUTAT-COLD CASE

Jury convicts Montana man in '96 death

(Information in the following story is from: KTOO-FM, HYPERLINK http://www.ktoo.orghttp://www.ktoo.org)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A jury has convicted a man of second-degree murder in a 1996 shooting death in Yakutat.

KTOO reports the jury was unable to come to a verdict on a first-degree murder charge for Robert Kowalski. The judge declared a mistrial on that count late Friday, and scheduled a hearing for Thursday. The state could ask for a retrial. A sentencing date for the other count will be set later.

Kowalski was charged will killing Sandra M. Perry while the Washington residents were on vacation at Glacier Bear Lodge in Yakutat in 1996.

Alaska investigators at first concluded the death was accidental.

The case was reopened after Kowalski was convicted of killing another girlfriend, Lorraine Kay Morin, in Montana in 2008

HILAND-DEATH

Inmate found dead at Eagle River women's jail

EAGLE RIVER, Alaska (AP) — A 24-year-old inmate at a women's prison has been found dead in her cell.

The Alaska Bureau of Investigations Major Crimes Unit announced Monday that the inmate was found dead last Thursday in her cell at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River.

Correctional officers found Amanda Kernak of Kokhanok unresponsive during a routine security check at 1:35 a.m.

A release says lifesaving efforts weren't successful.

Authorities say no foul play is suspected, and the State Medical Examiner's Office took custody of the body. Her next-of-kin have been notified.

A Department of Corrections spokeswoman says Alaska State Troopers are investigating Kernak's death.

INMATE DEATH

Family seeks answers in Alaska inmate's death

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 20-year-old California parolee found dead in his Alaska jail cell was being held even though his case had been dismissed more than a week earlier.

The Alaska fugitive case against Davon Mosley of Bakersfield, Calif., was dropped March 27 after California authorities declined extradition.

Mosley was arrested in Anchorage March 16 on a fugitive warrant from California. He died April 4.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Kaci Schroeder declined to comment, saying the death is under investigation.

His fiance, Vernesia Gordon, said officials kept her from visiting Mosley after March 23. Gordon also says Mosley, who was schizophrenic and bipolar, told her he wasn't allowed to take his medications.

Gordon has hired a lawyer to investigate.

Mosley served 14 months in California after attacking family members with a machete.

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