Weekly Buzz: October 1st, 2013

Motion filed to free the Fairbanks Four
This week the Alaska Innocence Project filed a motion to clear the Fairbanks Four of murder charges. These are the four Alaska Native men charged in the 1997 murder of teenager John Hartman. The men have been serving lengthy prison terms, mostly in out-of-state prisons far from home or family contact and have maintained their innocence. Bill Oberly, executive director of the Alaska Innocence Project, has conducted independent investigations, and has garnered confessions from several other men who are currently serving prison terms for other Alaska murders.

Homeless housing proposed near Kincaid Park
Mayor Dan Sullivan has proposed using federal land near Kincaid Park to build housing for the city’s homeless population. The site would be called Raspberry Court and would include temporary housing for over 90 people.

Anchorage man fatally beaten outside mental health clinic
Four men have been charged in the beating death of fisherman and seasonal worker Ferdinand Marquez this week outside of Anchorage Community Mental Health. David Wallent, 24; Jerrick Blankenship, 18; Mat Martin, 22; and Lewis Martin, 33, received charges ranging from murder to manslaughter.

Princess Cruise Lines, Holland America Line donate money to UAA
The cruise lines have donated $1 million to the University of Alaska Foundation for research and education. The money will be used for research and scholarships critical to the health of the sea, tourism and the hospitality industry in Alaska.

UAA students plant trees
UAA Student Volunteers met on Friday to plant trees in the Mat-Su Valley. Volunteers have planted over 6,000 seedlings on the Kenai Peninsula, and plans are in the work to plant 500 seedlings in the Mat-Su Valley.

Senator’s speech against Affordable Care Act lasts 21 hours
Congress met last week to discuss the future of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Senator Ted Cruz spoke in protest of the bill for 21 hours, one of the longest Senate speeches in U.S. history.

Quake creates new land mass
A 7.7 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Pakistan created a new island. Witnesses to this event stated that it did not occur suddenly, but was a gradual process. Thirty-nine lives were lost in this quake.

One step closer to a lightsaber
MIT physicists Mikhail Lukin and Vladan Vuletic discovered a way to make subatomic light photons stick together. These particles that make up light have no detectable mass the way most matter does, and they usually don’t stick together. However, Lukin and Vuletic discovered a way to make light form into molecules. Their work was published this week in Nature, an academic natural sciences journal.

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