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        Friday, March 10, 2006 12TH EDITION

Search continues for fishing vessel Slayer
The Coast Guard and volunteers with the Civil Air Patrol are continuing to search for the crew of the fishing vessel Slayer that disappeared this morning. (Friday)

The Slayer's owner-operator is identified as 42 year-old Rick Nebert, and the crewman is 18 year-old Matt Young.

Both men are still missing.

The Good Samaritan vessel Aleutian Dream located a survival suit, deflated life raft and life ring about five miles south of Point Gardner early today.

Coast Guard officials say the
cutter Anacapa will continue searching in the Frederick Sound and Chatham Strait areas throughout the night.

And at first light Saturday morning, aircraft will resume the search.

Weather conditions in the area are reported to be 25 - 40 knot winds from the north and 10 - 12 foot seas.

Petty Officer Rich Rischenbach in the Juneau Command Center says they received a mayday call on channel 16 at 6:45 this morning that stated, "Going down, two hands on board, Point Gardner."

Point Gardner is at the southern tip of Admiralty Island.

The Civil Air Patrol has committed two planes and six crewmembers to the search.

Court backs student's "Bong Hits for Jesus Banner"
Off-campus sign is protected speech, appeals panel rules
SAN FRANCISCO, California (Reuters) -- A former Juneau-Douglas High School principal violated a student's free speech rights by suspending him after he unfurled a banner that said "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" across the street from the school, a federal court ruled today. [Friday].

Joseph Frederick, a former student at Juneau-Douglas High School in Alaska, displayed the banner -- which refers to smoking marijuana -- in January 2002 to try to get on television as the Olympic torch relay was passing the school.

Former Principal Deborah Morse seized the banner and suspended the 18-year-old for 10 days, saying he had undermined the school's educational mission and antidrug stance.

Friday's ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturned a decision by a federal court in Alaska that backed Frederick's suspension and said his rights were not violated.

The appeals court said the banner was protected speech because it did not disrupt the school and was displayed off school grounds during a noncurricular event.

"Public schools are instrumentalities of government, and government is not entitled to suppress speech that undermines whatever missions it defines for itself," Judge Andrew Kleinfeld wrote in the court's opinion.

The court also cleared the way for Frederick to seek damages, saying Morse was aware of relevant case law and should have known her actions violated his rights.

Two boys implicated in Douglas vehicle riflings and thefts
Good police work is credited with the arrests of two boys Thursday in connection with a series of vehicle riflings.

Sergeant Ed Mercer says the break in the case came at about 6:15 in the morning from a resident of Third Street in Douglas reporting her storage shed had been broken in to.

Officers discovered two sets of shoe prints in the snow leading to the storage unit. They back tracked the prints to several apartment complexes. In the process they determined the suspects had entered numerous vehicles.

The shoe prints led to the front door of an apartment in the area.

Police applied for and were granted a warrant to search a residence there.

Officers identified two suspects there, two boys, ages 13 and 14. They also seized evidence and stolen property that had come from rifled vehicles.

The boys were released to their parents. The sergeant says numerous theft and criminal trespass charges will be forwarded to the Johnson Youth Center.

The sergeant says the police department is requesting that any possible victims who may have had their vehicles entered or property stolen to call Officer Sarah Hieb at 586-0600. 

Three teenagers are suspects in high school basketball game theft case
Three teenagers are facing charges of felony theft in the case of the stolen athletic bags from Juneau Douglas High School during a basketball game.

The bags held several Ketchikan team uniforms and some personal items and had been left in a storage room in the gymnasium just before the game on February 25th.

Juneau police officer Chris Burke says the high school resource officer and staff worked closely following up on leads.

He says information they received led to the interviews of two seventeen year-old Juneau Douglas High School Students and one seventeen year-old Yaakoosge Daakahidi High School student.

The total value of the four bags and their contents are estimated at $2,700 dollars.

Three of the bags and some personal belongings valued at about $500 dollars have been recovered during the investigation.

The whereabouts of the remaining stolen items is not known at this time.

Officer Burke says all three juveniles have four separate charges pending of theft in the second degree, a class C felony.

Two sentenced in Craig murder
CRAIG, Alaska (AP) - A judge Thursday sentenced the two men who carried out the killing a Craig woman in November 2004.

Brian Radel, the man who killed Lauri Waterman, received a 99-year sentence. His coconspirator, Jason Arrant, also received a 99-year sentence. But Juneau Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins suspended 49 years, giving him an actual prison sentence of 50 years.

Earlier this week, Collins threw out the murder indictment against Rachelle Waterman, who was accused of plotting with Arrant and Radel to kill her mother.

The 17-year-old was released yesterday on bail, and Ketchikan prosecutors have not decided if they plan to try her again.

Lauri Waterman's body was found by a hunter off a remote logging road on Prince of Wales Island. The 48-year-old mother of two had been kidnapped from her home in the middle of the night and was beaten and suffocated to death.

Both men pleaded guilty to first-degree murder charges and agreed testify at Rachelle Waterman's trial, which ended last month in a mistrial when the jury could not reach a verdict.

Spill estimate largest ever on Alaska's North Slope
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Officials say a massive oil spill discovered earlier this month at Prudhoe Bay is the largest ever on the North Slope.

An official estimate released today (Friday) puts the spill size at 201-thousand to 267-thousand gallons.
That amount far surpasses the 38-thousand gallons spilled in 2001.

By comparison, the Exxon Valdez spilled eleven million gallons when it ran aground in Prince William Sound in 1989.

The Prudhoe Bay estimate was based on a survey conducted this week at the site operated by B-P Exploration (Alaska) where the spill was discovered March second.

Workers took measurements by probing the snow covering much of the crude that leaked from a transit line.

The source of the spill was a quarter-inch hole apparently caused by internal corrosion in the three-mile line that leads to the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

Unocal workers keeping jobs
KENAI, Alaska (AP) - Some oil workers in Cook Inlet got some good news.

The workers are former employees of Union Oil Company of California. Their jobs were in limbo following the purchase of Unocal by Chevron Oil Corporation last year.

Now Chevron says they are going to keep their jobs for awhile and will have some new co-workers this year.

Chevron official Roxanne Sinz says Unocal platforms will continue to operate and all the employees will keep their jobs.

She says Chevron has decided to fully integrate its Unocal and Chevron Alaska assets.
(Peninsula Clarion)

Norton resigns Interior post
In a resignation letter, Interior Secretary Gale Norton says she's setting her ``sights on new goals to achieve in the private sector.''

After five years as interior secretary, Gale Norton has announced she's leaving the Bush Cabinet. In the letter to Bush, Norton says the resignation will take effect at the end of the month.

Norton has led the administration's initiative to open Western government lands to more oil and gas drilling. She's been an architect of Bush's energy policy, and has eased regulations to speed the approval of drilling permits.

And, she's been the administration's biggest advocate for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

President Bush says Norton is a strong worker for ``wise use'' of natural resources.

Her agency is embroiled in a lobbying scandal over Indian gaming licenses.

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski said Norton is a great friend to Alaska and has a keen grasp of the issues important to the state, like opening ANWR.

With so much land in Alaska federally owned, the senator said this is a position that the state looks at with great interest.

Murkowski added Alaskans are hopeful Norton's replacement understands the state's issues as well and works with Alaska to move its agenda forward.

Ferry general manager quizzed on Capital Chat
The general manager of the Alaska Marine Highway System feels he knows how ferry service can be improved in Southeast Alaska.

John Falvey said on KINY's Capital Chat today (Friday) that the concept includes putting roads where they can be built and using shuttles to connect to the roads and feed in to mainline vessels.

He cited as an example the Lituya which makes daily runs between Metlakatla and Ketchikan.

He was asked how fast ferries fit into that plan. Deputy Commissioner Robin Taylor said recently they would recommend that the boats be laid up in the winter and that no further be purchased.

Falvey says they want to make sure the boats are reliable. He says the concern is if those vessels can perform in this tough environment in the winter time. In addition, he says there are concerns about their high fuel use.

Technology other than offered in the Fairweather and Chenega may come in to play.

Lockheed Martin officials were in Juneau Monday to talk to Marine Highway officials about their swath hull design. Falvey says its torpedo type, underwater hull form which make them very stable. He says it could run Alaska waters during the winter time.

Meanwhile, the Chenega was forced to stay in port today (Friday) rather than make its scheduled run because of high winds that churned up the seas. The same thing happened three days in a row last week.

The Chenega is filling in for the Fairweather which is undergoing engine repairs.

Hit and run drunk driver arrested after second collision
Juneau Police arrested a hit and run driver  yesterday morning (Thursday) who hit two vehicles.

27 year-old Jennifer Kelly Prince was arrested for Driving While Intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident.

According to the police investigation, just before 11 o'clock this morning Prince, driving a 1991 Honda, hit a Ford truck on 4th street and Main

She then fled the area.

The driver of the truck followed Prince's vehicle as it headed outbound on Egan Drive.

As Prince approached the intersection at Tenth and Egan, she rear-ended a Ford flatbed truck that was stopped at a red light.

Police arrested Prince and she was lodged at Lemon Creek Correctional Center with bail set at $1,000.

The first truck sustained about $200 dollars in damage.

The second truck sustained about $2,000 dollars in damage.

The driver of the flatbed was treated and released from Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Prince's Honda was totaled.

Alcohol may have involved in Angoon traffic accident
State Troopers have released the names of the two people injured Tuesday night in Angoon when the pickup truck they were in ran into a tree at a high rate of speed.

The driver was 34 year old Terenty Merculief. The passenger was 31 Jenny Jack.

The Troopers' Greg Wilkinson says they were released from Juneau's hospital Wednesday afternoon after the were transported there by a Coast Guard helicopter Tuesday night following the accident.

Wilkinson says the investigation is continuing. He adds they do believe alcohol was involved. Charges are pending the conclusion of the investigation, he says.

Reward offered for information about harbor seal shooting
Federal officials are offering a reward for information about the shooting of harbor seals near Outer Point on Douglas Island.

According to NOAA Fisheries Service's Office for Law Enforcement, both shootings are believed to have occurred during the second week of February.

The agency is offering up to $2,500 for information about the shootings.

Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act it's illegal to harass, shoot, pursue or feed marine mammals in the wild.

A violation can result in civil penalties of up to $12,000 and criminal fines of up to $20,000 and imprisonment.

The reward is conditional upon the information leading to an arrest, conviction, civil penalty assessment or forfeiture of property for violations against those responsible.

Anyone with information is asked to call 907-586-7225.

Hunter fined for illegal take of moose near Gustavus
A Juneau man pled guilty Thursday in Juneau District Court to charges of wanton waste of a big game animal, taking moose without a valid drawing permit and hunting without a license.

Nineteen year old Dane W. Mahoney was sentenced to 21 days in jail with 14 days suspended and fined a total of $7,250 . He was ordered to pay $4,250 of the fine. He was also ordered to pay $1,000 restitution for the moose.

His hunting privileges were suspended for two years, and he was placed on probation for two years.

Mahoney was ordered to forfeit the rifle used in the offense which occurred in November 2005 near Gustavus.

State may expand wolf control program
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The state may expand its wolf control program.

The Board of Game is considering allowing snowmachiners the chance to shoot wolves.

The game board at an upcoming meeting will look at several proposals to expand aerial wolf control.

One proposal would open nearly four-thousand square miles on both sides of the Parks Highway around Kashwitna and Talkeetna to land and shoot wolf kills and snowmachine hunts.

Now, hunters on snowmachines can pursue wolves in just a few areas of the state.

The Board of Game begins a ten-day meeting today in Fairbanks.
(Anchorage Daily News)

Avalanche warning issued for Juneau area
Avalanche danger in the Juneau area is high.

Bill Glude of the Southeast Alaska Avalanche Center says there have been some human triggered avalanches in the last few days.

He says that's because of the substantial new snow that fell on a very weak snow pack that was produced by all the cold weather and earlier thaws.

There have not been natural releases yet, but Glude says that will likely change as soon as there's some wind, snow, rain or some thaw.

He says the snow's instability will tend to persist for several weeks.

Senate Finance finishes supplemental spending package
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The first appropriation bill of this legislative session is expected to be on the Senate floor on Monday.

The Senate Finance Committee completed work on the fast-track spending package today (Friday). The package includes money to replace a rural school that burned to the ground and relief for the ferry system's higher-than-expected fuel costs.

It is a 97-point-9 million supplemental appropriation package, which includes 55-point-4 (m) million dollars from the state treasury.

The committee's bill is about 25 million dollars less than what Governor Murkowski's requested in two supplemental spending bills.

Included in the bill is 10-point-1 million dollars to replace the White Mountain Middle and High School, located in a rural Seward Peninsula community 63 miles east of Nome.

The school burned to its foundation in February and the cause of the fire has not yet been determined, according to Eddy Jeans, school finance director for the Department of Education.

The students are now being taught in community buildings.

Kasilof musher Paul Gebhardt first out of  Ruby
The lead in the Iditarod will likely shift today, as teams that have taken their 24-hour breaks jockey for position.

Paul Gebhart delayed his long rest so he could reach the Yukon River first. He arrived at Ruby just after midnight, and won a gourmet meal of Portabello bruschetta, rosemary lamb loin, and peach crepes.

He left there at 8:34 this morning.

Three-time champion Jeff King checked in to Ruby at one minute pass eight this morning.

Also into Ruby today are Doug Swingly and Dee Janrowe. Swingly got there before Noon and Janrowe shorlty after one p.m.

Richard Hum, a 35-year-old rookie from Talkeetna, scratched this morning at the McGrath checkpoint. He says his team was too young.

Two other scratches came an hour apart from two Sand Coulee, Montana, men.

Rick Larson was in the 69th position when he scratched this morning in McGrath. He says the decision was based on a lack of leaders in his team.

Terry Adkins was in 67th position when he scratched in Takotna. The 62-year-old Montanan didn't give a reason for his decision.

There's also been late word that Jim Warren, of Linwood, Michigan, has scratched, but there's no further details.

So far, eight mushers from the original field of 83 have scratched.

Race officials are reporting the first dog death of this year's Iditarod.

A dog on the team of Nenana musher Noah Burmeister died in Anchorage Thursday morning after being dropped at the Rohn checkpoint.

Race veterinarians told Burmeister that pneumonia from inhaled food was likely the cause.
On the Net:
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race: http://www.iditarod.com 

Man hangs himself in Unalakleet holding cell
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Alaska State Troopers say a man hung himself in a holding cell in Unalakleet.

Troopers say 20-year-old Willie Katchatag of Shaktoolik was in custody for driving under the influence.

They say he used bedding material to hang himself Tuesday night.

Troopers say a jail guard and several police and a dispatcher were in the building at the time, and none of them heard Katchatag make suicidal statements.

They also saw no signs that he was depressed.
(Anchorage Daily News) 

Transportation system in Canada could come to a halt in bird flu outbreak
OTTAWA (AP) - A report is warning that Canada's transportation system could come to a halt if there's a bird flu outbreak.

The government intelligence report says health and security workers at airports and other key sites might refuse to work, complicating efforts to handle the crisis.

The Canadian Press news agency say the report notes that the entire country would probably experience shortages of everything from fresh food to health supplies due to worker sickness and fear of public exposure.

The intelligence assessment was completed late last year.

4A basketball championship games to air on KINY
The competition is set for Juneau Douglas High School basketball teams during the Region V championship games in Ketchikan tonight.

The men's team plays Ketchikan. The Kings earn a berth in the championship tilt with a 68 to 59 win over Sitka yesterday. (Thursday)

Tonight's game tips off at 8:45.

In the 4A Girl's Division, the Sitka Lady Wolves overcame a 13 point Ketchikan lead to defeat the Lady Kings 52 to 46.

Tip off for the game with the Lady Crimson Bears is 7 p.m.

Both championship games will be aired by KINY.

In the 3A Girl's division Thursday, Mt. Edgecumbe defeated Haines to get into the championship game. Meantime, Wrangell beat Petersburg to win the other championship slot.

In 3A Boy's play, Petersburg downed Wrangell 61 to 53 to enter the championship round, while the Mt. Edgecumbe downed Metlakatla 92 to 71 to move into the championship game.

Today, Metlakatla plays Craig to decide 5th place in the 3A girls division. That game is at 8 am this morning.

At 11:45 this morning, Haines plays Petersburg for 3rd or 4th place, and Mt. Edgecumbe and Wrangell square-off to decide who wins the 3A girl's division championship.

On today's 3A boys schedule, Haines faces Craig at 9:45 this morning for 5th or 6th place. Wrangell plays Metlakatla at 1:30 to decide 3rd and 4th place. Petersburg and Mt. Edgecumbe play for the 3A championship at 5 pm.





(Copyright 2006 Alaska Juneau Communications - KINY Radio)