Moved: 3/8/2014 07:21Latest Alaska news, sports, business and entertainment
Public funds for private schools on Senate docket
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A proposal to amend Alaska's constitution to allow for public money to go to private or religious schools has been placed on the Senate calendar for Monday.
Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds vote of each chamber. That means at least 14 of the 20 senators would have to vote in support.
At least seven have signed on to SJR9 as co-sponsors.
A similar measure is pending in the House.
A Senate majority spokeswoman says that although the measure is on the calendar for Monday, she expected amendments and debate would happen on Wednesday.
The issue has sparked strong reaction on both sides and was the subject of a recent rally by opponents in front of the state Capitol.
Critics fear it will take money away from public schools. But supporters say it would allow parents more choices in how they educate their children.
Gov. Sean Parnell, in his State of the State speech, called on lawmakers to debate the measure and send it to voters, to let them decide.
If approved, legislation spelling out how the change would be implemented would still have to be passed.
ANCHORAGE FIRE CAPTAIN
Training exercise: Anchorage fire captain dies
(Information in the following story is from: Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.adn.com)
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage Fire Department chief says a 51-year-old fire captain collapsed and died after participating in what was described as a routine but strenuous training activity.
Chief Chris Bushue says that Jeff Bayless collapsed Friday. Crews immediately began treating him and he was taken to a hospital, where he died.
The Anchorage Daily News reports the 19-year fire department veteran had completed his training exercise before he collapsed.
Fire officials say about 20 firefighters participated in the annual training that required them to dress in full gear, wearing an air mask and tank. They had to walk through a parking lot, up six flights of stairs and back down.
Officials say the cause of death was not immediately known.
House Education amends Gov. Parnell's omnibus bill
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The House Education Committee amended Gov. Sean Parnell's omnibus education bill Friday over complaints with the pace with which the process was moving.
Rep. Lora Reinbold says she had a problem with how fast amendments were being adopted. She noted that two committee members were absent and the amendments did not have information on their fiscal impacts.
Rep. Peggy Wilson says amendments do not need fiscal notes.
Chairwoman Lynn Gattis told Reinbold they were at the halfway point of the legislative session and have been discussing sections of the governor's bill for a number of meetings.
The committee broke HB278 into 10 sections as a means of working on it. Four sections were worked on during Friday's meeting.
BIG LAKE ASSAULT
Big Lake man charged with firing gun at neighbor
BIG LAKE, Alaska (AP) — A Big Lake man suspected of firing a gun at the home of a neighbor has been charged with felony assault.
Alaska State Troopers say 38-year-old Brandon Schatz is being held without bail at Mat-Su Pretrial Facility.
Troopers just after 10 p.m. Thursday took a call of a disturbance and responded to a Big Lake home.
Investigators say Schatz had fired a handgun five times at a neighbor. No one was injured in the incident.
He's charged with six counts of felony assault, five counts of felony weapons misconduct tied to firing a weapon at a dwelling, and one count of misdemeanor weapons misconduct tied to firing a weapon while intoxicated.
Online court records Friday did not indicate Schatz was represented by an attorney.
Woman's missing U-Haul truck, minivan located
EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — An Everett, Wash., police spokesman says a U-Haul truck and minivan stolen from a woman moving from Illinois to Alaska have been located in nearby Lynnwood.
Spokesman Aaron Snell says 911 callers reported the abandoned vehicle Friday afternoon. Snohomish County sheriff's deputies found the box truck and minivan within blocks of each other. Snell says there were items in the truck believed to belong to Kristen Shaulis. Police have told her about the discovery and are working to get her property returned to her. It wasn't immediately clear whether anything was missing.
Shaulis had planned to stay one night at a Best Western motel in Everett but came out to the parking lot Thursday morning to find the truck and vehicle had vanished. She's moving to Alaska for a nursing job. The Daily Herald of Everett says she is headed to work on an Indian reservation in Metlakatla, a small town on an island southeast of Ketchikan.
PWSCC PRESIDENT RESIGNS
Prince William Sound college president resigns
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The president of Prince William Sound Community College abruptly resigned last week.
President Jacob Ng (UNG) had been the subject of a University of Alaska investigation over allegations of bullying and harassing student employees.
UA spokeswoman Kate Ripley says a review by human resources and equal employment opportunity personnel found nothing that merited forwarding information to law enforcement officials.
Ng's resignation Feb. 28 ended the university investigation.
Ripley says Ng was given complimentary housing for his first two months on the job but continued living there and has since paid back about $7,000 in housing fees.
Ng was hired in April to replace Doug Desorcie. Ng began work in July.
Ng could not be reached for comment.
The resignation was reported first by the Valdez Star.
KENAI WATER SUPPLY
Kenai seeks fast action on new water well
(Information in the following story is from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, http://www.peninsulaclarion.com)
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — The Kenai City Council has approved a no-bid purchase of a new water well aimed at staving off possible shortages.
The approval Wednesday followed a declaration of an emergency by city manager Rick Koch. He says a second well is needed to eliminate water use restrictions as spring approaches.
Changes in federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations led to a request by the state Department of Environmental Conservation to keep two other city wells offline.
Koch told council members in a memo that small amounts of sand had entered the remaining well despite installed screens.
The Peninsula Clarion reports the council approved a $39,000 contract with M-W Drilling Inc. for a new well by late April.
The city is also pursuing a third well.
Begich proposes gas project bill
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (BAY'-gich) has proposed a bill that would have a federal official help Alaska with a major project to export liquefied natural gas overseas.
The bill would allow the federal coordinator for Alaska's gas-pipeline projects to work on the effort to build an 800-mile pipeline that would deliver liquefied natural gas for overseas export. Alaska is weighing an equity stake in the project alongside pipeline builder TransCanada Corp. and BP, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil Corp. Those oil companies have major operations on the North Slope.
The bill would amend a 2004 federal law that focused on an Alaska gas line project that would serve North America only. The project's focus changed a few years ago because of changes in the market for natural gas.
The bill would keep in place deadlines for completing environmental reviews and allow for federal grants to the Alaska Workforce Investment Board to train and recruit state residents to work on the project.
The bill also calls for speeding up the process of getting permits to allow exports to Japan, nations that belong to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other countries for which exports would be deemed as promoting U.S. national security interests.
FAIRBANKS APARTMENT SHOOTING
Boy charged with felonies in Fairbanks shooting
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A man and a teenager have been charged with a Fairbanks home invasion that left two people with serious gunshot wounds.
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that 21-year-old Isaiah Cross and 16-year-old Chester Clifton Fields Jr. are charged with felony counts of robbery and burglary. Fields, who has been charged as an adult, also faces a felony assault count.
According to police, Cross and Fields about 2 a.m. Feb. 25 went to an apartment at Wedgewood Resort with the intention of robbing occupants of money and drugs.
Police say Fields carried a 9mm handgun. Cross was armed with a BB gun that looked like a handgun.
The pair entered the apartment with weapons drawn and a gunfight ensued.
Police say Fields fired a shot that wounded a 30-year-old man in the apartment. A bullet lodged in his spine. He is expected to survive.
The apartment resident fired his own weapon, striking Cross several times.
Alaska State Troopers detained Fields a few blocks away. He was carrying a 9mm pistol and the wallet of the man who was shot in the apartment. Troopers arrested him on an unrelated charge.
Tesoro drops sponsorship of Arctic Man Classic
(Information in the following story is from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, HYPERLINK http://www.newsminer.comhttp://www.newsminer.com)
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Arctic Man Ski and Sno-Go Classic has lost its major sponsor.
Race director Howard Thies tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that Tesoro Corp. dropped its sponsorship of the event more than two months ago.
Thies says he's working to find a new sponsor. Tesoro had been kicking in $25,000.
The event is held in the in the HooDoo Mountains near Summit Lake about 160 miles south of Fairbanks.
The signature race features snowmobiles pulling skiers or snowboarders.
Contestants start atop a 5,800-foot summit, descend 1,700 feet, grab the towrope of a snowmobile, get pulled up a gully and are sling-shot down another hill for a 1,200-foot drop to the finish line.
Race officials say 13,000 spectators attended last year.
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