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[Thursday September 18th, 2014  9th  EDITION 7:35 A. M.]

Eagle River accidental shooting
An Eagle River man died in an accidental shooting at a remote cabin.

Alaska State Troopers responded Monday afternoon to the incident at Bulchitna Lake, south of Skwentna.

Fifty-nine year-old, Stephen H. Hager, a pilot for Alaska Airlines, had been at the cabin with family.

KTVA-11 reports that troopers found Hager dead outside; witnesses said a firearm inside the cabin had gone off accidentally.

Troopers say foul play is not suspected. The body was taken to the state medical examiner for autopsy.

Multi-state fishing group wants tougher laws
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Regional fishing associations are uniting in an attempt to strengthen the laws that govern fisheries in federal waters.

The groups describe themselves as "small boat commercial fishing groups" from around the country. They sent a letter to Congress this month calling for laws that strengthen requirements to reduce bycatch, require more comprehensive catch information and maintain rebuilding timelines for fish stocks.

The groups in the Fishing Community Coalition include the Alaska Marine Conservation Council; Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association; Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance; the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association; and the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholder's Alliance.

Body of missing man recovered east of Cordova
CORDOVA, Alaska (AP) — The body of a 32-year-old Minnesota man missing east of Cordova, Alaska, has been recovered.

Scott Bell was found Tuesday by searchers.

His hometown was not immediately available.

The Coast Guard on Tuesday asked Alaska State Troopers to assist in an aerial search for Bell, who was reported missing near Controller Bay.

Troopers were told Bell was last seen Monday night and that he may have been using a kayak.

Bell's body was found at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday on a sand bar.

The body has been sent to the state medical examiner for an autopsy.

Tribal organizations asking for bycatch limits
Two tribal organizations are asking federal fisheries managers for an emergency order to limit the bycatch of salmon by the Bering Sea commercial fleet.

The Alaska Dispatch reports that the Association of Village Council Presidents and Tanana Chiefs Conference filed a petition this week with the Secretary of Commerce and North Pacific Fishery Management Council. They want a lower limit on the number of king salmon accidentally caught by pollock fishermen in the Bering Sea.

The current limit is 60-thousand kings; the petition wants the bycatch limit lowered to 20-thousand, in order to let more salmon return to the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers.

The subsistence fishery for king salmon was closed on both rivers this season due to low returns.

Commercial fish boat explodes in Valdez; 1 injured
VALDEZ, Alaska (AP) — A Coast Guard spokesman says a 30-foot commercial fishing boat exploded and burned Wednesday evening in the small boat harbor in Valdez, Alaska. The lone person on board was able to walk off and was taken to a hospital.

Lt. Ben Bauman says Valdez firefighters and police responded, as did Coast Guard personnel. They found the vessel Fireman afloat, with the majority of its wheelhouse torn apart by the explosion.

The small boat harbor is adjacent to a Best Western Hotel.

Once Valdez firefighters said the area was safe, Bauman says Coast Guard officers were able to board the boat to begin a pollution investigation.

The cause of the explosion is under investigation.

Senate candidates unite over arming Syrian rebels
WASHINGTON (AP) — Candidates in some of the most contested Senate races have found something to agree on — giving President Barack Obama the authority he's asked for to train and arm Syrian rebels taking on brutal Islamic State militants.

Democratic congressman Bruce Braley and Republican opponent Joni Ernst, battling for a Senate seat from Iowa, are in agreement. So are opponents in Colorado, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and Republican congressman Cory Gardner.

Opposing the commander in chief on a question of fighting terrorists poses risks for candidates in tough races in November. Yet standing with an unpopular president seeking to broaden a dangerous conflict carries hazards, too.

Some Senate challengers avoid questions on the topic, while at least one endangered Democratic incumbent, Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, plans to vote "no."

Park Service plans Denali transportation meeting
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — National Park Service officials say a public meeting is scheduled to take place next week to discuss the long-range transportation plan for Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve.

The meeting next Wednesday is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the McKinley Village Community Center on the Parks Highway.

Officials say planners will be providing information about the plan and they also will seek public input.

Denali road open to private vehicles at season end
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Visitors can now drive their private vehicles into Denali National Park and Preserve, weather permitting.

The park says the 92-mile road will be open to private vehicle traffic up to mile 30, the Teklanika Rest Area. But park officials urge visitors to call ahead for conditions because weather this time of year can change quickly.

Shuttle buses operate during the busy summer season, providing the primary means by which visitors can see the park. The buses recently stopped running for the year.

The park says vault toilets will be available at the Mountain Vista Trailhead, Savage River parking area and Teklanika but other facilities west of headquarters, including campgrounds, will be closed for the season.

The Bear Loop of the Riley Creek Campground will be open for camping.

[Wednesday September 17th, 2014  13th  EDITION 4:50 P. M.]

Lawsuit: Alaska official erred in campaign action
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A civil lawsuit alleges Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell erred in issuing an emergency order that ultimately allowed two gubernatorial campaigns to merge.

The lawsuit filed in Anchorage Wednesday challenges Treadwell's Sept. 2 emergency order that permitted candidates affected by the merger to officially withdraw from their respective races.

Treadwell's decision came on the day Democratic gubernatorial nominee Byron Mallott and independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker joined tickets, with Mallott now running for lieutenant governor. Treadwell didn't seek re-election as lieutenant governor in favor of an unsuccessful run for U.S. Senate in the Republican primary.

Margaret Paton-Walsh, an assistant attorney general, is representing Treadwell and elections director Gail Fenumiai (feh-NEW'-me-eye), who are named in the lawsuit. Paton-Walsh says the state stands behind Treadwell's decision.

Plaintiff Steve Strait is a district chair in the Alaska Republican Party.

Sullivan ad calls out Begich snowmachine riding
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An X Games snowmachine rider calls out Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich's riding skills in a new campaign ad from Republican Dan Sullivan.

Cory Davis is a four-time X Games medalist. He says he had a "good laugh" watching Begich "pretending" to ride a snowmachine during one of Begich's spots. Davis says he's tired of "phony politicians."

Begich road a snowmachine in the Arctic in an ad touting his efforts to build a bridge across the Colville River to reach oil leases within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

Begich spokesman Max Croes says there was no pretending. He says the drilling site is seen over Begich's shoulder.

Begich told Politico he rode for a long time that day and got frostbite on his ear.

Proposal to raise state minimum wage debated
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — An economics professor says a ballot initiative that would raise Alaska's minimum wage may sound good to voters but her background convinces her it is not a good thing.

University of Alaska Fairbanks professor Sherri Wall debated a sponsor of the initiative, former state labor commissioner Ed Flanagan, in Fairbanks this week.

The initiative would raise the minimum wage of $7.75 an hour by $2 an hour over two years and adjust it for inflation after that.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that Wall called raising the minimum wage "an infringement upon liberty."

Flanagan said an academic approach to pay doesn't recognize the reality that low-income or entry-level workers often don't have much say in what they're paid.

Juneau to participate in PARK(ing) Day 2014
[Juneau, AK] September 16, 2014 — On Friday, September 19th, in cities around the world, artists, local businesses and citizens will temporarily transform public parking spaces into public parks and other social spaces, as part of an annual event called "PARK(ing) Day."

Originally developed in 2005 in San Francisco, PARK(ing) Day challenges people to rethink the way urban streets are used. PARK(ing) Day is about re-imagining the possibilities of the urban landscape through the creation of public parks, art installations and spaces that allow pedestrians to engage with their neighborhoods.

Park(ing) Day in Juneau will be hosted by Corvus Design, an Alaskan based landscape architecture and planning firm. The local Juneau office of Corvus Design is partnering with the Rookery Café and Alaska Robotics to convert two on-street parking stalls into a public space that will include an outdoor patio and seating area within a landscaped pocket park. Local organizer Christopher Mertl of Corvus Design calls the installation, “An opportunity to allow residents and visitors to interact with each other in a pleasant temporary park setting.” Mertl then goes on to say, “While parking is an essential component to a community so is the need for public open spaces and streetscapes that supports local businesses, makes our downtown attractive and provides economic opportunities.”

The one day installation can be found on Front Street adjacent to Seward Street and the public is invited to use the space this Friday. The event is sponsored in part by the Downtown Business Association. Since 2005, the project has blossomed into a worldwide community event. The first event was hosted by Rebar, an internationally recognized art and design studio, in San Francisco. PARK(ing) Day 2011 – the last year statistics were collected -- included 975 “PARK” installations in more than 160 cities in 35 countries on six continents. The project continues to expand to urban centers across the globe. A map of all participating cities and more information can be found at the PARK(ing) Day website, at parkingday.org.

Coast Guard suspends search for missing man near Auke Bay, Alaska
JUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard suspended the search for 52-year-old Paul Keithahn in the vicinity of Coghlan Island near Auke Bay Tuesday.

Crews from Station Juneau, the Coast Guard Cutter Liberty, Air Station Sitka, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Juneau S.E.A.D.O.G.S. and the Alaska State Troopers searched a total of 190-square miles for approximately 32 hours before suspending search efforts.

Watchstanders at Sector Juneau received the initial report Monday from a good Samaritan who reported seeing the Keithahn's vessel, the 32-foot pleasure craft Spellbound, operating unmanned. When contacted by Coast Guard watchstanders, the man's wife said she hadn't heard from her husband since Saturday. A 25-foot response boat crew from Station Juneau investigated the vessel and found it to be unoccupied with the man's cellular phone still aboard. The vessel was towed to Auke Bay and secured in Juneau Police Department's custody while an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Sitka commenced a search for the man. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Liberty joined the search Monday evening.

“The decision to suspend our active search efforts is always difficult,” said Cmdr. Marc Burd, chief of response, Coast Guard Sector Juneau. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family members of Mr. Keithahn.”

Marine Parking Garage closing this weekend for painting project
The Marine Parking Garage will be closed this weekend for a painting project and will be unavailable for parking beginning at
6:00pm on Friday, September 19th and will re-open for use at 6:00am on Sunday, September 21st.

The Parks & Recreation Department will make every effort to contact current permit holders this week; however, it will be necessary to tow any
vehicles that have not been moved once the contractor is ready to begin painting.

Alternate downtown parking will be available on-street and at the Downtown Transportation Center Parking garage, the North Franklin lot
and the Shopper’s lot.

If you have any questions, please contact Parks and Recreation at 586-5226, Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm.

Most Alaskans to get nearly $1,900 in oil money
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Most Alaskans will receive nearly $1,900 for this year's share of the state's oil wealth that's distributed annually to residents just for living here.

Gov. Sean Parnell announced the amount of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend on Wednesday. The payout set for Oct. 2 is more than double the amount of last year's $900 checks, but short of the record payout of $2,069 in 2008.

The amount of each person's check is based on a five-year average of the fund's investment earnings, which included the recession years that were more widely felt outside Alaska.

Last year's average included 2009, a recession year that dropped off from the 2014 equation.

Dividends have been distributed since 1982.


Pedestrian struck, killed on Anchorage street
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A pedestrian attempting to cross a busy east Anchorage street was struck and killed.

The man was struck by a compact car at about 7:20 a.m. Wednesday on Muldoon Road near Muldoon Town Center.

An officer who responded tells KTUU-TV the man appeared to be in his 40s.

The man died at the scene.

Man charged with filing fake robbery report, theft
HOMER, Alaska (AP) — A Homer man who claimed he was robbed at gunpoint at his employer's store has been charged with misdemeanor theft and making a false report.

The Homer News reports 19-year-old Tommy Lee Neal was arrested Thursday. He pleaded not guilty at arraignment.

Homer police say Neal on Sept. 4 reported being robbed by a man who bought a piece of licorice and then brandished a gun.

Neal told officers the man wore an Oakland Raiders hooded sweat shirt, took money from the till and drove off with a blonde in a white sedan.

Police say Neal's story fell apart. Twelve minutes passed between the licorice sale and the 911 call and surveillance video showed no white car.

Police say Neal used part of the missing $716 to pay rent.

2014 Permanent Fund Dividend is $1884
Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today announced that the 2014 Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) will be $1,884.00. The first dividends will be paid on October 2, when approximately 510,731 applicants will receive a direct deposit into their bank account, and 88,186 will be mailed a check. Paper checks will enter the U.S. mail system on October 2 from Juneau.

674,538 Alaskans applied for the 2014 dividend this year – an increase of approximately 1,587 applications from 2013.
More than $944.4 million will be directly deposited into Alaskans' bank accounts this year, with a total distribution, including checks, of $1.1 billion. Beginning October 2, and continuing monthly thereafter, applications that become eligible will be paid either by check or direct deposit.

Alaskans wondering about their application status may use the “myPFDinfo” online portal. It is a quick and easy way to review current and prior year application information. To use this feature, applicants should visit pfd.alaska.gov and click on the blue “myPFDinfo” button. To log in, applicants will need an Alaska driver’s license, Alaska ID, or myAlaska credentials.

The Pick.Click.Give. program had 26,850 applicants go online and pledge 44,693 individual charitable contributions, amounting to approximately $2.8 million, the highest totals since the program began six years ago. 511 nonprofit organizations benefited from the voluntary program this year.

The fund has recovered from the losses of 2009. Following the Great Recession, on June 30, 2009, the fund had a balance of $29.9 billion. By June 30, 2014, the corporation had rebuilt and grown the fund to $51.2 billion – a 71% increase.
“I want to congratulate the staff and trustees of the Permanent Fund Corporation on meeting the financial challenges of the last 5 years and for building Alaskans’ fund into a legacy we can all be proud of. I also want to extend my thanks to the Department of Revenue staff who processed the many applications,” Governor Parnell said.

This year marks the 33rd dividend paid to Alaskans. An individual who qualified for all of the Permanent Fund Dividends to date has received $37,027.41. Following the 2014 dividend payment, the total funds disbursed to Alaskans by the division since inception of the dividend program, including the Resource Rebate, will total more than $21.9 billion.

Engine sounds heard before Alaska plane crash
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Two witnesses described hearing a high-pitched sound from the engine of a small, for-hire airplane before it crashed last year on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, killing all 10 people aboard.

Another reported seeing a puff of black smoke from the air taxi's engine area.

The witness statements were included in investigative documents released by the National Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday.

The documents do not provide any theories or analysis of what investigators believe might have caused the crash in Soldotna. A final report on the July 2013 accident that killed the pilot and two families from South Carolina is pending.

A weight and balance study looked at different scenarios, including one described as closely approximating the weight and balance of the plane during the flight. It calculated the plane as slightly over the maximum gross weight for which it was certificated.

Pro-Hillary Clinton group helping Senate Democrats
WASHINGTON (AP) — A pro-Hillary Rodham Clinton super PAC is dispatching staffers to key states before the fall elections and helping Senate candidates with fundraising.

The group, Ready for Hillary, says it would send more than two dozen staffers to 14 states key to Democrats' prospects in the November mid-term elections.

The states include Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina, home to competitive Senate campaigns, and the early presidential voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

The moves are aimed at helping a potential Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016.

Teen charged with sexual abuse of 13-year-old
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A grand jury has indicted a Juneau teenager suspected of having sex with a girl more than four years younger than he is.

The grand jury last week indicted 19-year-old Michael Conkle on one count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor.

Conviction for the Class B felony can carry a prison sentence of 5 to 15 years.

Prosecutors say Conkle was 18 when he had sex with a 13-year-old Aug. 29 and that he knew her age.

Under Alaska statutes, a crime is committed if a person 17 years old or older has sex with a child age 13, 14, or 15 and the child is at least four years younger than the older person.

Conkle was arrested Sept. 4. He turned 19 Sunday.

Woman injured in Anchorage home invasion
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 63-year-old Anchorage woman is recovering from a severe beating she suffered in a home invasion and robbery.

KTUU-TV reports three men on Monday afternoon forced their way into the woman's east-side home.

Anchorage police say the men beat the woman and stole her television.

They fled in a gold sport utility vehicle.

The suspects are described as black adults.

The woman skull fractures and possible internal injuries. Police say she was cut in multiple locations and her face was swollen.

She was treated at a hospital.

Spruce cones harvested for Alaska reforestation
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Division of Forestry officials say thousands of white spruce cones have been harvested in the Fairbanks area for future timber sale stock.

Officials say the recent harvest will yield seeds to be planted in areas where state timber sales have been held.

The cones are dried and tumbled for the seed extraction, then tested to see if they have a germination rate of at least 70 percent.

The seeds are sent to a nursery specializing in trees from northern climates.

Officials say 500,000 seeds were sent last winter to a nursery in Alberta, Canada. About 44,000 seedlings sent back to Alaska were recently planted on more than 176 acres in the Fairbanks area.

Officials say the Kenai Peninsula received another 60,000 seedlings.

Board of education to consider regulations
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state board of education will consider regulations surrounding how students can test-out of courses they have mastered.

Lawmakers this year passed legislation allowing secondary school students to test-out of and receive credit for courses offered in math, language arts, science, social studies and world languages.

The proposed regulations would require districts to provide testing at least twice a year and develop standards regarding the degree of mastery needed.

In public comments, Ron Fuhrer, president of NEA-Alaska, said the regulations, if implemented properly, would allow students to take more advanced classes.

But he said if the testing requirements are too lax, it won't prepare students for long-term success. He also said he didn't want new testing days added to the school calendar.

The board meets this week in Anchorage.

[Tuesday September 16th, 2014  14th  EDITION 6:30 P. M.]

Douglas apartment fire
Capital City Fire Rescue was dispatched to 1617 Douglas Highway, Geneva Woods Apartment C-2 for an apartment fire on Tuesday at approximately 7:41 AM.

Fire personnel arrived on scene within 5 minutes of the alarm to find a two story apartment full of smoke. The fire was quickly extinguished and a search for occupants was conducted and no occupants were inside at the time of the fire.

The apartment sustained approximately $50,000 in damage. Working smoke alarms alerted neighbors to the fire who called 911. The fire marshal's office has conducted a fire origin and cause investigation and determined the fire to have started in the kitchen area involving the stove.

The tenants did not have any renters insurance. There were no injuries reported. Capital City Fire Rescue reminds everyone to be sure they have working smoke alarms in their home.

Boat found empty going in circles, Juneau man presumed missing
Coast Guard Sector Juneau received a Good Samaritan call about an empty 32-foot recreational vessel doing circles just outside of Auke Bay yesterday just after noon.

Bruce Bowler with the Sea Dogs says they were called yesterday to search the beach areas around Lena between Lena and Bear Creek on Admiralty Island. They are putting out three dog teams today.

The Coast Guard identified the missing Juneau man as Paul Keithahn. Scott Giard, Command Duty Officer, Coast Guard Sector Juneau, said the man was supposed to be on the vessel and is presumed missing at this point. Giard added that they searched yesterday and all last night and are continuing to search today.

The 32-foot pleasure craft Spellbound rests at a dock in Auke Bay, Alaska, Sept. 15, 2014. Coast Guard Sector Juneau released this image as part of a search for the vessel's owner after it was discovered operating unmanned in the vicinity of Coghlan Island near Auke Bay, Sept. 15. U.S. Coast Guard photo provided by Sector Juneau.

The "Supe" is on at Thunder Mountain High, meet the new superintendent
The Juneau School District announces "the Supe is on" at Thunder Mountain High School on Thursday night from 6:00 – 7:00.  Juneau School District Superintendent Mark Miller is hosting an open forum about Juneau’s Schools.

Kristin Bartlett, Juneau Schools Chief of Staff, has says, "Community members can meet the new superintendent and new directors of the district. The team will talk about student achievement, instruction, special education, student services and more. The public is encouraged to drop by to ask questions, get answers, share ideas and be a part of this community conversation."

6th Annual Discover Eaglecrest Day is Saturday, September 20
Juneau, AK - Sept. 15, 2014 – Winter is just around the corner and that  means it is time for the 6th Annual Discover Eaglecrest Day. The community is invited to Eaglecrest Ski Area Saturday, September 20, for a full day of all-ages activities and events, including Season Pass and Snowsports School sales. The day kicks off at 10:30am and finishes up at 3:30pm

“We are looking forward to welcoming everyone to the mountain for our annual start of fall and the coming winter” said General Manager Matt Lillard. “Discover Eaglecrest Day is a great way to get excited for winter and check out what is new at Eaglecrest!”

Season Passes and Snowsports School products will be on sale for the 2014-2015 season at the lowest prices of the year. PFD prices are available now through Oct. 5.

The Alpine Barbeque and Beer Garden, presented by the Westmark Baranof, will have food and beverage available for purchase. Porcupine Chairlift will be spinning from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for any guests interested in a free ride to the top of Dolly Varden.

Alaska Zipline Adventures are offering zip tours at $50 per person. See the mountain from a different view! Advance reservations are required and space is limited so make your booking today. To reserve your spot, call Alaska Zipline Adventures at 907-321-0947.

The Eaglecrest Foundation will be selling retired Black Bear chairs for $100 with funds raised going to the Books 2 Boards program. New this year will be a historic silent auction featuring old trail signs and blueberry bubble chairs. “We are excited to be giving Eaglecrest supporters a chance to own a bit of Eaglecrest history!” said Jim Calvin, president of the Eaglecrest Foundation.

Other organizations that will have activities and information include SAIL/ORCA, Wells Fargo Dimond Park Field House, Juneau Ski Club, and Discovery Southeast.

Visit skijuneau.com for a complete list of Discover Eaglecrest Day events.

Located on Douglas Island just 12 miles from downtown, Eaglecrest is Juneau’s community owned ski area offering 4 chairlifts and over 640 acres of skiable terrain. The area includes a professionally staffed Snow Sports School, a full-service Rental and Repair Shop, the Grill at Eaglecrest, and groomed Nordic Trails.

Soldotna man dies after pinned under 4-wheeler
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say a 63-year-old Soldotna man died after he was pinned under a 4-wheeler on a rough trail in the Ninilchik area.

Troopers say they were notified Monday evening that a deceased man was pinned under the 4-wheeler in the Caribou Hills trail system.

Troopers say Donald Burns Jr. had been riding on the Waterhole Trail and was trying to avoid deep mud by high-marking a muddy hill.

According to troopers, the vehicle slid on top of Burns, who was not wearing a helmet.

The body was transported to the state medical examiner's office.


Questions raised about Bristol Bay initiative
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Questions have been raised about when the Legislature would get involved in approving a large-scale mine in the Bristol Bay region if a ballot initiative passes this November.

The initiative says in addition to permits, a final authorization would be needed from the Legislature for any large-scale metallic sulfide mining operation within the watershed of the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve. The measure would have implications for the proposed Pebble Mine.

At a hearing Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell asked when lawmakers would get involved and what would happen if additional permits were needed after the Legislature acted.

Initiative supporter Anders Gustafson, with the Renewable Resources Coalition, said he expected legislative involvement after the major permits were secured. He said the intent was not to go back to the Legislature repeatedly.

Moda: Extending policies creates divided pool
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A spokesman for Moda Health says it doesn't make sense for the company to continue to extend health insurance policies that are not in compliance with the federal health care overhaul.

Jonathan Nicholas says the company will not extend past this year such policies in Alaska, Oregon and Washington. The company offers policies on insurance exchanges in all three states.

President Barack Obama last year announced that insurers could extend through 2014 plans that otherwise would have been canceled, a timeline that was later extended.

The other insurer on Alaska's exchange, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield, plans to extend the older plans through 2016.

Nicholas says allowing for older policies to be extended created a divided risk pool. He says Moda has chosen to focus on one risk pool.

Police seize meth from couple exiting Alaska ferry
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — A California man and his fiancée have been charged with trying to smuggle methamphetamine into Ketchikan.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports 52-year-old William Riggs and 55-year-old Lisa Soares were searched and taken into custody Sunday as they got off an Alaska state ferry. Both are from Winton, California.

Prosecutors say they were found with 52.7 grams of methamphetamine, worth $21,000 to $26,000 in the southeast Alaska community.

Soares and Riggs boarded a ferry in Bellingham, Washington. Police in Ketchikan were waiting for them with a search warrant.

Police say they found small plastic bags containing methamphetamine in Soares' purse and bags, along with a digital scale, empty bags and used meth pipes.

Officers found more small bags in Riggs' truck.

They were arraigned Monday with bail set at $50,000.

Man arrested after high-speed highway chase
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — North Pole police say they pursued a man whose speed reached 120 mph before he drove into a ditch and was arrested.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 44-year-old Noel Alan Swanson is charged with driving while intoxicated and felony failure to stop for a peace officer.

Police spotted Swanson just before 2:30 a.m. Sunday speeding and not using his turn signal on Santa Claus Lane. An officer attempted a traffic stop but Swanson fled.

Police say Swanson drove the wrong way on roundabouts and reached the Richardson Highway, where he accelerated to 120 mph.

Swanson called police dispatchers during the chase and said he didn't intend to go to jail.

He drove into a ditch and was arrested in nearby woods. He's being held on $5,000 bail.

State joins timber lawsuit
The state is asking to intervene in lawsuits challenging a timber sale on Prince of Wales Island.

The Big Thorne sale, approved by the U.S. Forest Service last month, is facing two lawsuits, filed by Earthjustice and the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council.

The groups had opposed the sale due to the impact on old-growth timber and wolf habitat.

Governor Parnell said Monday the state filed motions to join the lawsuit on the side of the federal government. The state is also asking to join a third lawsuit against the Tongass National Forest Management Plan.

A contract for the Big Thorne sale is scheduled to be awarded this month.

The Forest Service says the sale will include about 98 million board feet of timber, with another 40 million board feet intended for later sales.

Woman charged with stabbing man in south Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 22-year-old woman has been charged with stabbing a man in south Anchorage.

KTUU-TV reports Alison DelaRosa is charged with felony assault.

Anchorage Police Sgt. Jason Allen says the man suffered a stab wound to his chest but that the injury did not appear to be life-threatening. The man was taken to a hospital.

Police took a call on the incident at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

Trial begins for dentist charged with sex assault
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A trial has begun in Anchorage for a former Glennallen dentist charged with sexually assaulting a woman incapacitated by alcohol.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports 44-year-old Kevin Brent Shedlock is charged with four felony counts.

Defense attorney Wallace Tetlow says Shedlock for 14 years was the sole dentist at the Wrangell Mountain Dental Clinic operated by the Copper River Native Association.

He says evidence will show Tetlow and the woman engaged in voluntary and consensual sex.

Shedlock and the woman were part of a group that drank heavily on Aug. 25, 2013, before an annual conference of the Copper River Native Association.

Prosecutor Clint Campion says the woman became ill from drinking. Campion says Shedlock escorted her to her room and sexually assaulted her.

Sullivan says he backs state minimum wage measure
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan says he doesn't support raising the federal minimum wage but supports a state initiative to raise Alaska's minimum wage.

Sullivan, in a statement, said he believes Alaskans know best when it comes to strengthening the state's economy and supporting its workers and businesses. Sullivan said he also backs efforts to support Alaska's energy sector and streamline regulations.

His position was reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Voters in November will decide a ballot measure that would raise Alaska's minimum wage of $7.75 an hour by $2 over two years.

During rapid-fire questioning during a primary debate, Sullivan said he didn't support the initiative. Critics on Monday accused him of flip flopping.

A Sullivan spokesman said Sullivan came to his position after hearing from Alaskans.

Bethel church destroyed by fire
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Authorities are investigating an early morning fire that destroyed a church in Bethel.

KYUK says no injuries were reported in the fire that broke out Monday.

Acting Fire Chief Bill Howell says the blaze involved at least 50 percent of the Pentecostal Holiness Church when firefighters arrived in response to a call shortly after 6:15 a.m. Monday.

Howell says he arrived on scene about 10- to- 12 minutes after the first firefighters arrived.

He says flames were coming out of the windows on the east side of the building and the fire had just started to breach the roof. He says authorities don't believe anyone was inside the building at the time of the fire.

Howell believes the church is a total loss.

[Monday September 15th, 2014  11TH  EDITION 6:04 P. M.]

Alaskans receiving unemployment benefits must file work search reports
JUNEAU, Alaska—Under new federal legislation, Alaskans filing for unemployment insurance benefits must report their work search efforts beginning with the week of Sept. 21- 27.

Most UI claimants must make and report two valid employer work search contacts for each week that benefits are claimed, under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. Not conducting and reporting a valid work search may result in a denial of benefits.

Claimants currently filing for UI benefits will be notified of the number of required work search contacts they must make and report each week.

More information about unemployment insurance benefits and work search requirements is available online http://labor.alaska.gov/esd_unemployment_insurance/faq.htm.

Alaskans are urged to contact the nearest Job Center for job search assistance, resume building assistance and other employment services to aid in a transition to sustainable employment. For a list of Alaska Job Centers go online at Jobs.Alaska.Gov or call toll-free 877-724-2539.

Health Insurance open enrollment approaches, free online presentation to help
Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace is November 15th – February 15th, so now is the time to start thinking about changing your plan, updating information and considering options. If you haven’t signed up for insurance through the Marketplace, you can set up a new account on www.healthcare.gov in preparation for open enrollment.

Only people that meet specific criteria are eligible to enroll in health insurance for 2014. These include: losing your health insurance, divorce, marriage, having a new baby and other special circumstances. Alaska Native and American Indian people can enroll any month of the year. Those that do not have insurance will face a tax penalty filing next year’s taxes.

SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) is hosting a free presentation on Tuesday, September 23rd, from noon to 1:00pm at Kettleson Memorial Library in Sitka (temporary location at the Stratton Library, 831 Lincoln St) to help people understand the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace and how to prepare for the upcoming open enrollment. For those unable to attend, this presentation will be offered on the OWL (Online With Library) system and may be viewed after the presentation on the state library website at http://library.alaska.gov/dev/owlArchives.html.

Some individuals may receive an exemption from the tax penalty due to lack of affordability, tribal coverage, and hardship by submitting appropriate forms by the end of the year. SEARHC offers free assistance to all Sitkans to apply for exemptions, create new accounts, sign up for insurance, and answer questions.

“Health insurance is very confusing. The presentation will help people get a better understanding of how to make educated decisions for their healthcare needs.” says Andrea Thomas, Outreach & Enrollment Manager for SEARHC. “There will be lots of time for questions.”

BP Alaska plans layoffs following Hilcorp sale
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — BP Alaska, a major player in the state's oil industry, is planning to lay off 275 employees and contractors early next year.

Spokeswoman Dawn Patience says the business in Alaska will be smaller due to the previously announced sale of interests in four North Slope oil fields to Hilcorp.

Patience says the layoffs, combined with the 200 individuals who have accepted jobs with Hilcorp., represents about 17 percent of the total number of BP employees and contractors in the state.

The company's regional president, in announcing the sale in April, said it would allow for BP to focus on maximizing production from Prudhoe Bay and advancing plans for a major liquefied natural gas project. BP is working on the latter with the state, Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips and TransCanada Corp.

Wasilla police involved in fatal shooting
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Wasilla police say they are investigating an officer-involved shooting that left a 23-year-old man dead.

Two officers responded to a home after a 911 hang-up call early Monday morning, but authorities are not saying how many officers actually fired weapons.

Police are releasing little information about the shooting at a home on North Jack Nicholas Drive.

Officer Rick Manrique says police have requested that Alaska State Troopers investigate.

Manrique says he cannot discuss specifics, but adds the shooting occurred because officers feared imminent life-threatening injury to themselves or others.

Manrique says one other person was at the scene when the shooting occurred.

He says the officers have been placed on administrative leave for 72 hours, according to department policy. The names of the officers were not immediately released.

Pitkas Point woman dies in ATV crash
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say a 21-year-old Pitkas Point woman has died in an all-terrain vehicle crash in western Alaska.

Troopers say Pulcheria Yapanik was the only person on the ATV in the crash, which was reported Sunday. The accident occurred on the Saint Marys airport road.

Troopers say the body was taken to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy.Pitkas Point woman dies in ATV crash

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say a 21-year-old Pitkas Point woman has died in an all-terrain vehicle crash in western Alaska.

Troopers say Pulcheria Yapanik was the only person on the ATV in the crash, which was reported Sunday. The accident occurred on the Saint Marys airport road.

Troopers say the body was taken to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

Coast Guard rescues three hunters near Kodiak, Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Coast Guard rescued three hunters from dangerous weather conditions at Windy Lake near Kodiak Sunday.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak safely transported the men to Air Station Kodiak where they were examined by waiting emergency medical personnel.

Watchstanders at the 17th District command center in Juneau received a request for assistance from Sea Hawk Air and Alaska State Troopers to rescue the hunters when weather conditions became too dangerous for the men to remain at their campsite. The men's tents were blown away by 30-40-mph winds Saturday night, and there were concerns they might become hypothermic. The helicopter crew launched from Kodiak and managed to land near the men, allowing them to board the helicopter and be flown to safety.

"These men did the right thing by planning ahead, maintaining contact with their charter agency and rescuers and, most importantly, not overestimating their ability to endure the elements," said Lt. Cmdr. Doug Watson of the Coast Guard 17th District response management department. "As we get closer to autumn and the weather becomes colder, it becomes more important for hunters to plan for rain, heavy winds and other dangerous conditions."

The Coast Guard reminds hunters to leave a travel plan including campsite locations and estimated trip duration with family or friends before beginning any hunting trip. It is also recommended to bring more than one means of communication when possible and to always carry a signal device such as a mirror or flares for the event of a rescue.

The weather on scene at the time of the rescue was reported to be 45-degrees Fahrenheit with intermittent showers and up to 46-mph winds.

Refinery closure leads to higher asphalt expense
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The closure of the North Pole Refinery is leading to higher road construction costs north of the Alaska Range.

The general manager of Exclusive Paving, Travis Cline, tells the Alaska Journal of Commerce that the price of asphalt oil has increased by about 20 percent, or about $150 per ton.

The Alaska Journal of Commerce reports that's because asphalt oil now has to be trucked up from the Tesoro refinery in Nikiski (ni-KIS'-kee) for road projects in Fairbanks and sites to the north.

Contracts for summer road projects were awarded last winter or in early spring. Flint Hills Resources Alaska announced it would close the refinery June 1.

Frank Ganley of the Department of Transportation estimates the Northern Region will use 25,000 tons of asphalt oil this year.

Young announces plans for 3 House debates, forums
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Rep. Don Young has agreed to participate in three debates and forums in the lead-up to the November general election.

Young's campaign says he'll participate in a Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce forum on Oct. 28 and an Alaska Public Media debate on Oct. 30. His campaign had previously said he would take part in a debate on fisheries issues in Kodiak on Oct. 1.

Young spokesman Matt Shuckerow says these are debates or forums that Young has traditionally attended.

Young, who has served in Congress since 1973, is facing Democratic political upstart Forrest Dunbar.

Anchorage surveys to look at transportation habits
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage transportation planners are hoping two surveys this month will give them a better idea of transportation habits among commuters.

Alaska Dispatch News reports that one of the surveys asks households that have been randomly selected to record travel diaries, while another starting Wednesday will look at bus commuters.

The survey using commuter diaries is called the Regional Household Travel Survey, and it's the first time the federally funded survey has been conducted since 2002.

Anchorage transportation planning manager Craig Lyon says it's an opportunity for people to share where they go.

For bus commuters, surveyors will be asking questions, such as why and how often the bus is used.

Anchorage transportation director Lance Wilber says the goal is to get a picture of travel habits.

Lake Louise man dies after boat capsizing
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say a 61-year-old man died and two other men were rescued after their boat capsized in strong winds and large waves at Lake Louise northeast of Anchorage.

Howard W. Jaidinger of Lake Louise was pronounced dead at the scene Sunday after resuscitation efforts failed.

Troopers say they received a report at about 8:40 a.m. Sunday of a personal locator beacon being activated at the lake.

The beacon was registered to 42-year-old Brian Johnson of Anchorage. Searchers found him and 45-year-old Jeffrey Watson of Anchorage floating about a mile offshore.

Troopers say the two men were wearing life vests and were safely rescued. Jaidinger, who also was wearing a life vest, was found floating in the late at about noon.

Ketchikan considers loan to mariculture group
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — The Ketchikan Gateway Borough is deciding whether to loan $600,000 in federal economic development money to a nonprofit group that wants to advance the local mariculture industry.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports the loan would be used to pay operating expenses of Ketchikan-based OceansAlaska.

The marine science center is shifting its focus to production of oyster and geoduck (GOO'-ee-duk) seed.

Geoducks are highly prized, large burrowing clams that can fetch up to $50 a pound in Asian markets.

The city already granted money to the group. Under the latest proposal, that money and another $441,000 would be combined into a 20-year loan.

The proposed loan could come up for a final vote Monday night.

Fairbanks, Delta see record high temperatures
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Fairbanks has been known to have snow by September but that's not the case this year.

Temperatures on Saturday and Sunday broke or tied record highs.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the thermometer hit 76 degrees just before 4 p.m. Sunday. That beat the old record for the day of 73, set in 1938.

On Saturday, the temperature reached 74, which tied the record high for Sept. 13 set in 1965.

A new temperature record was also set Sunday in Delta Junction at 70 degrees.

Normal temperatures for the interior Alaska communities range from the mid-30s to the low 50s.

The National Weather Service says the unseasonable warmth should carry into Monday. Temperatures are forecast to cool Tuesday.

Anchorage condominium fire sends 2 to hospital
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Two people are recovering from smoke inhalation after a west Anchorage fire.

KTUU-TV reports the fire started just before 11 a.m. in the living room of a condominium off International Airport Road. The home was one of 20 in the condominium complex.

A home oxygen unit caused the fire to grow and fire department Capt. Barry Clark says the fire got big fast.

One unit was destroyed and other had smoke damage.

The two injured people were taken to a hospital.

The fire killed two cats.

The cause has not been determined.

[Sunday September 14th, 2014  5th  EDITION 5:50 P. M.]

Pedestrian hit
Juneau Police issued a bulletin early Sunday stating that a pedestrian had been struck by a vehicle in the 4500 block of North Douglas Highway.

EMS transported the 33 year old female to Bartlett Regional Hospital for a medical evaluation. Her injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

Neither the 52 year old male driver, nor his 49 year old female passenger, was injured.

Following an investigation, the driver was placed under arrest for DUI and was later taken to the BHR for an independent test of his level of intoxication. The driver was then released. Charges are pending against the driver for DUI.

According to JPD's Sgt. Krag Campbell, alcohol appeared to be a factor with the driver and the pedestrian.

JPD looking for witnesses to multiple vehicle wreck
Juneau Police responded to a motor vehicle collision involving multiple vehicles at the corner of Mendenhall Loop Road and Egan Drive on Saturday night at 8:54.

A Chevrolet truck, driven a 19 year-old man,collided in the intersection with a GMC Yukon, driven by a 33 year-old woman. The collision caused both vehicles to roll. The GMC then struck a Subaru driven by a 22 year-old man. The Subaru was pushed into a Mazda Protégé, driven by a 24 year-old man.

Several of the involved occupants sustained minor injuries and were treated at the scene. A five year-old gil and a two year-old boy who were riding in the GMC were transported to the Bartlett Regional Hospital for treatment of non life-threatening injuries.

The Chevrolet, GMC, and the Subaru were all totaled. The Mazda received minor damage. Traffic was shut down on Egan Drive for about an hour during the investigation.

The driver of the Chevrolet was cited for Failure to Maintain Liability Insurance. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor.

Anyone who witnessed the incident should contact Sergeant Chris Gifford at 907-500-0619.

Health officials warn of Sea-Tac measles exposure
SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — Public health officials are warning that people may have been exposed to measles at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

In a news release, Public Health-Seattle & King County officials say a passenger who contracted a confirmed case of the disease — likely outside the United States — was contagious when he or she was at the airport. The passenger was at the north satellite terminal, on the inter-terminal train and at baggage claim between 8:10 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 6.

The traveler also went to The Bistro, a restaurant at the Courtyard Seattle Federal Way hotel that night.

Officials say most people have been vaccinated for measles or have had measles previously. But if not, and if they may have been exposed at those locations, the most likely time they would become sick is between Sept. 13 and 27.

Possible patients are asked to call a doctor if they develop an illness or fever with unexplained rash. To avoid exposing others they should not go to a clinic or hospital without calling first.

People at highest risk are those who are unvaccinated, pregnant women, infants under 6 months old and those with weakened immune systems.

Police: 6 hurt in shooting outside Alaska bar
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Police say six people were injured, one critically, in a shooting outside a bar in Alaska, and the suspects remain at large.

A group of family members and friends was outside the Kodiak Bar and Grill in Anchorage at 4:25 a.m. Sunday when one of the family members and the suspects began arguing. Moments later shots were fired.

Of the six shot, police said only 20-year-old Jonah Silva suffered a life-threatening wound, a gunshot to his abdomen.

The suspects were described as two men in their mid-20s. Detectives spent the morning interviewing victims and witnesses.

Police asked anyone with information about the identity of the suspects to call the department.


3 rescued after plane goes down in Alaska
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Air National Guard says it rescued three people after a small plane went down near Beluga Mountain, northwest of Anchorage.

The plane's emergency locator beacon sent a signal to the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Air National Guard's rescue helicopter headed for the coordinates transmitted from the beacon and found the plane 1.2 miles away.

The three people who had been onboard were taken to Providence Medical Center in Anchorage. They were released shortly after 5 p.m. in good condition with no reported injuries.

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the plane to go down or whether it sustained damage.

Health centers get money for expanded services
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — More than two dozen health centers in Alaska will receive federal funding to hire additional doctors and expand primary care services.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said the $5.3 million in funding through the federal health care law will help the centers reach more than 7,700 new patients.

The department estimates the funding will allow for longer hours and expanded services, including dental, vision or mental and behavioral health services. It also will allow for the hiring of 40 additional staff members.

The funding will go to 27 centers statewide.


Group seeks to restore old Cripple Creek
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Cripple Creek used to wind and snake its way down Chena Ridge near Fairbanks, until a mining company cut a ditch in the 1930s to create a straighter channel it needed to support its operations.

Now a conservation group is seeking to restore the original flow of the old Cripple Creek.

The Interior Alaska Land Trust has been meeting with local, state and federal agencies hoping to dovetail the project with other planned construction to save money and headaches.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that the old creek's path is still visible, and parts have standing water. The conservation group hopes revitalizing the creek would improve fish and bird habitat in the area.

[Saturday September 13th, 2014  3rd  EDITION 9:42 P. M.]

Alaska court task force will look at elder abuse
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska Court System task force will examine the state's handling of abuse and neglect of the elderly.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that the task force will examine the use of guardianship and conservatorship, seeking to improve the justice system's handling of vulnerable adults.

The task force, announced on Wednesday, will be chaired by Supreme Court Justice Daniel Winfree. Ten other members include judges and the directors of the Mental Health Trust Authority and the Office of Public Advocacy.

Court system spokeswoman Mara Rabinowitz says the number of guardianship and conservatorship cases involving the elderly has been on the rise. She says a national courts group encouraged chief justices in every state to examine their practices.

Twin brothers stabbed on Anchorage bike trail
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Police say twin brothers were injured — one critically — in a stabbing on an Anchorage bike trail.

The 22-year-old brothers, Joshua and Justin Toliver, were walking along the trail near 88th Avenue and the Old Seward Highway Friday night when they got in an altercation with a group of teenagers.

Justin Toliver was stabbed in his abdomen and upper torso and remains in critical condition. Joshua Toliver was treated and released after suffering cuts to his hand and hip.

One of the brothers told police they knew some of the teens but not the person who did the stabbing.

Police say the teens scattered as officers arrived. They spoke with several witnesses but the suspect remains at large. The case has been turned over to detectives for follow-up.

Sculpture being assembled in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A steel abstract sculpture is going up in Fairbanks as the artistic centerpiece of a street reconstruction project.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Illinois Street sculpture is being erected this weekend near the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks. The first pieces were raised Thursday.

The sculpture, called Polaris, is set to be dedicated at a ceremony next Wednesday.

The design was selected by a committee with the Fairbanks Metropolitan Area Transportation System out of 99 entries turned in after an international call for art submissions.

The sculpture cost $325,000 to create and install.

British Columbia artists Cheryl Hamilton and Michael Vandermeer constructed the piece during the past year.

The installation is among the final touches to the street reconstruction project.

[Friday September 12th, 2014  16th  EDITION 5:00 P. M.]

Walker concerned with gas line deal
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker says the structure for a major Alaska gas project is "fatally flawed."

Walker said Alaska isn't in the "driver's seat," and is letting companies with projects around the world determine if this one advances.

Walker, who is challenging Republican Gov. Sean Parnell, said he would want to look at what's been done so far and if it makes sense for the state to pull out, it will.

Alaska is pursuing the mega-project with Exxon Mobil Corp., BP, ConocoPhillips, TransCanada Corp. and the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., or AGDC. Parties have the opportunity to get out if they want.

The plan envisions TransCanada owning at least part of Alaska's interest in the pipeline and gas treatment plant and AGDC holding its interest in liquefaction facilities.


Alaska Supreme Court affirms judge suspension
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Supreme Court on Friday agreed with a recommendation to suspend a Palmer District Court judge for 45 days without pay.

The ruling is a response to a recommendation by the Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct regarding the suspension of Judge William Estelle.

The commission criticized Estelle for signing affidavits claiming payments for cases that had not been decided in a timely manner.

The Alaska Judicial Council has recommended that voters reject retention of Estelle, who is listed on the ballot for the November general election.

The council has said Estelle did not act in a way that promotes public confidence in the integrity and competence of the judiciary.

In Friday's ruling, Justice Daniel Winfree dissented in part, saying the case warrants a suspension of three or four months.


Alaska adjutant general applicants sought
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Applicants are being sought to fill a vacancy resulting from last week's resignation of Alaska National Guard Adjutant Gen. Maj. Thomas Katkus.

Gov. Sean Parnell forced the resignation following the release of a scathing report detailing allegations of fraud and sexual assaults in the Alaska National Guard.

Parnell's office said Friday that applicants will be vetted through a Parnell-appointed panel whose members include Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, the adjutant general for Arizona.

Parnell's office says McGuire was recommended by the National Guard Bureau because of his efforts in improving the Arizona National Guard.

The bureau's Office of Complex Investigations led to the Alaska National Guard report.

Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow says there is no hard deadline for applicants, but they are encouraged to apply within 30 days.


Begich outlines campaign finance proposals
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich is proposing changes to campaign finance laws, including requiring the top three contributors to candidates or third-party groups be identified in ads.

In laying out his plans to address the issue if re-elected, Begich also proposed that all candidates electronically file and post their federal fundraising reports. He called for contribution limits and said he would continue to support a constitutional amendment, similar to one that failed in the Senate Thursday, that would allow Congress and the states to better regulate election spending.

Begich's GOP rival, Dan Sullivan, has called on Begich to sign an agreement aimed at limiting outside money in their race.

Begich said he's signed a separate agreement striking at the idea of corporate personhood and is proposing legislation in line with that.

Coast Guard medevacs ailing woman off cruise ship near Sumner Strait, Alaska
KODIAK, Alaska — The Coast Guard medevaced a 21-year-old woman suffering from pregnancy complications aboard the 873-foot Bahaman-flagged cruise ship Norwegian Pearl near Sumner Strait, Friday.

A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew safely hoisted the woman and flew her to Sitka Community Hospital.

Bear bites biologist's leg during salmon survey
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — A Kodiak brown bear chomped on the leg of a state fisheries biologist last week as he and a partner conducted a salmon stream survey.

James Jackson tells the Kodiak Mirror he missed just one day of work afterward and the experience could have been a lot worse.

Jackson on Sept. 4 was with Kurt Peterson along a stream on Shuyak Island. They walked around a corner and heard a bear huff.

The bear charged and knocked Jackson into the stream before he could use his bear repellant spray.

By the time he fired it, the bear had gashed his leg.

The bear ran off and the men retreated to their boat to call for an airplane. Jackson reached a Kodiak hospital several hours later.

Sullivan to attend fisheries debate
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan has agreed to participate in a debate on fisheries issues after all.

Sullivan was criticized by the campaign of Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and others for a decision to forgo the Oct. 1 event in Kodiak in favor of a campaign swing in rural Alaska.

Spokesman Mike Anderson said Friday that Sullivan recognizes the importance of Alaska's fisheries. He said the campaign made some scheduling changes to ensure that Sullivan could participate in the debate, and he said Sullivan is excited to do so.

The change was reported by KMXT, which is slated to broadcast the event.

Police probe fight at party attended by Palins
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Police say they are investigating a fight that broke out among a large crowd at a party attended by family members of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Anchorage police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said Friday that police responded to a report late Saturday of a verbal and physical altercation among about 20 people outside a home in south Anchorage.

Castro says she can't discuss specifics about what Palin relatives were there or what role they might have had in the brawl.

She says at the time of the incident, no one wanted to press charges and no arrests were made.

Castro says the case, however, remains under investigation.

Palin family attorney John Tiemessen was on a hunting trip Friday and unavailable for comment.

Official: Moda won't extend some Alaska policies
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — One of the two health insurers on the federally run online marketplace in Alaska will not extend past this year policies that are out of compliance with President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

Lori Wing-Heier, director of Alaska's Division of Insurance, says her best guess is the decision by Moda Health would affect about 800 policies.

A Moda spokesman did not return messages.

A spokeswoman for the other Alaska provider on the exchange, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield, says that company will extend those policies, affecting about 3,240 members.

Last year, following the rocky rollout of the marketplace, Obama announced plans to allow for insurers to offer into 2014 plans that would otherwise be canceled. The Obama administration later extended that an additional two years.

Walker plans to live in Juneau, if elected
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker says he plans to live in Juneau, if elected.

He says his "strong preference" would be for commissioners to be based there, too.

Republican Gov. Sean Parnell and his wife, Sandy, live in the Governor's Mansion in Juneau. That matters to a number of people in the community, particularly when talk of a possible capital move arises.

Parnell's predecessor, Sarah Palin, took flak for part of her tenure for not being in Juneau enough, or full-time.

Parnell is seeking re-election.

Walker also says he and running mate Byron Mallott will have stand-alone campaign offices. Mallott was the Democratic nominee for governor but gave that up to be Walker's running mate.

Mallott had materials in some offices shared with Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich's campaign.

Juneau landlord wants DNA to solve pipe blockage
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A Juneau landlord is considering using DNA to solve a case of clogged sewage pipes at a local trailer park.

The Juneau Empire reports that Wright Services Inc. recently warned tenants at its Waterside trailer park not to flush certain items that tend to cause regular sewage blocks.

A Sept. 4 letter signed by property manager Debbie Stevens says there have been discussions to conduct "DNA testing of female products and charge the person responsible for damage."

Stevens on Friday declined to comment to The Associated Press. She referred questions to company general manager Donna Busick, who did not immediately return a call for comment.

Some Waterside tenants perceive the warning as a threat, but they also doubt it's legal to require them to submit to a DNA test.

Crime of the Week- stolen tools from Thunder Mountain Road
On August 26th, 2014, at about 5:30 in the morning, a Juneau man reported tools valued at $4300 dollars were taken from his shed in the 8400 block of Thunder Mountain Road.

Also taken was a one of a kind gray Carhartt coat with “F/V Brittany” embroidered on the back. The suspect was last seen wearing the coat and riding a bicycle.

Some of the tools were recovered from a field near the victim’s home. The victim is still missing a Senco Pro 455XP nail gun, a Stihl Chainsaw, and a Milwaukee right angle drill. The suspect also took a Johnson laser level, a Fluke electric meter, and Dwalt cordless tool set with multiple attachments including drill, saw, and hammer drill.

Anyone with information is encouraged to logon to the Juneau Crimeline website to report their tip or call JPD at 586-0600.

You may be eligible for a reward.

Search ends for kayaker missing in Cook Inlet
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — Federal and state authorities have ended a search for a Kasilof (kuh-SEE'-lauf) man missing on an ocean kayak outing.

The Peninsula Clarion reports 38-year-old Leif Osmar on Tuesday paddled into Cook Inlet from near the Kasilof River.

Family members told Alaska State Troopers they found his truck Tuesday afternoon on the beach near the family's fish camp.

Osmar was reported missing Wednesday by his father, Dean Osmar, the 1984 champion of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Osmar's 13-foot blue kayak was found capsized Wednesday a mile off Clam Gulch. Troopers found a life jacket 300 yards from the kayak.

The Coast Guard suspended its helicopter and cutter search late Thursday afternoon.

Man in standoff charged with felony counts
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A man taken into custody after a high-speed chase and a 10-hour standoff with Fairbanks police has been charged with a handful of felonies.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 36-year-old Michael Bracht of Dot Lake was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday but refused to leave his cell at Fairbanks Correctional Center.

Bracht is charged with felony assault counts, criminal mischief, failure to stop at the direction of a police officer, reckless endangerment and escape.

Police say Bracht last month walked away from minimum security corrections custody.

Officers early Tuesday approached his sport utility vehicle and he rammed patrol cars, drove for 30 minutes and kept police at bay for 10 hours as he holed up in his vehicle and threatened to shoot himself.

Bracht surrendered Tuesday afternoon.

Jeff King enters Yukon Quest sled dog race
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race will get a boost next year from a big-name musher.

Four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King has entered the 2015 race.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Denali Park musher is not a stranger to the race between Whitehorse, Yukon, and Fairbanks.

King was in the first Yukon Quest in 1984 and competed in the first seven. He won the race in 1989.

He says he plans to enter both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod.

Yukon Quest entrants also include 2013 and 2014 winner Allen Moore.

Woman injured in truck-wheelchair crash
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police are investigating a crash between a pickup and a motorized wheelchair.

KTUU-TV reports a woman in the wheelchair was struck Wednesday afternoon in the Rogers Park neighborhood of east Anchorage.

Police spokeswoman Dani Myren says the call on the crash came in at 12:23 p.m.

She says the woman was "semi-responsive" and taken to a hospital.

She says no citations were immediately issued to the driver.

Refinery pays penalty for hazardous waste fires
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Owners of the North Pole Refinery will pay $80,000 to resolve accusations that they mishandled hazardous waste at the facility last year.

Flint Hills Resources Alaska will pay the penalty as part of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency over groundwater cleanup activity on June 19, 2013.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Flint Hills had processed groundwater to remove an industrial chemical, sulfolane, linked to an old refinery spill.

The EPA says Flint Hills disposed of used filters in an open trash bin and the filters "self-ignited."

The North Pole Fire Department extinguished two fires.

The company as part of the settlement agreed to change its waste disposal practices.

Flint Hills spokesman Jeff Cook says the company self-reported the incident to the EPA.

Ex-Alaskan sentenced for murdering girlfriend
LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — A 27-year-old former Alaska man convicted of stabbing his girlfriend to death and hiding the body in a closet has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole

Steven M. Wilson, formerly of Anchorage, was sentenced Wednesday in the death of 21-year-old Kendra Elizabeth Lewis.

The Garden Island reports Lewis died from multiple stab wounds.

Her body was discovered April 26, 2013, about two weeks after she died in the bedroom of her condo in Kapaa (cuh-PAH').

Wilson pleaded guilty May 27.

Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe says the state Paroling Authority will decide on parole.

Prosecutors say they will urge that Wilson serve the 40-year minimum term before he is eligible for parole.

Ketchikan students to use earthquake sensors
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — Ketchikan students will be using earthquake sensors for class work, beginning next year.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports that the Ketchikan School Board on Wednesday unanimously approved a request to spend $31,000 to purchase two of the earthquake sensor platforms.

School district technology coordinator Bill Whicker says the platforms transmit data up to a satellite.

He says Ketchikan students will be "interfacing with NASA engineers" to provide quality control on the data.

Forest Service plans to close 10 low-use cabins
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service is closing 10 low-use public recreation cabins within the Tongass National Forest, citing budget constraints.

The agency also plans to convert the Distin Lake Cabin, located in Admiralty Island National Monument, to a three-sided shelter and to continue renting Checats Lake Cabin, provided it remains in serviceable condition and is reserved at least 10 nights a year.

Slated for removal are the Beaver Camp, Big Goat Lake and Red Alders cabins within the Ketchikan Ranger District; Maksoutof Lake and Rezanof Lake cabins on the Sitka Ranger District; DeBoer Lake and Harvey Lake cabins on the Petersburg District; Binkley Slough Cabin on the Wrangell Ranger District; McGilvery Cabin within the Thorne Bay Ranger District; and Square Lake Cabin within the Yakutat Ranger District.

[Thursday September 11th, 2014  13th  EDITION 8:06  P. M.]

Drink Beer for charity in Juneau Saturday

Capital Brewfest is quickly becoming known for three things: a good time, great beer and sellout crowds. This year’s 3rd annual event is expected to be even more fun with more brewers and faster-moving tickets, so buy early.

The Capital Brewfest returns to the Juneau Arts and Cultural Center (JACC) from 1-5 p.m. on Sept. 13. Ten craft breweries from around Alaska have already agreed to participate along with three local distributors, who will serve beers from around the world. There will be more room for attendees to mingle and enjoy their brew, food and tunes from groups such as C. Scott Frye, Susu and the Prophets, and DNR.

Admission is $30 for this 21-and-older event. Tickets can be purchased online at www.capbrewfest.com.   Attendees are encouraged to plan ahead either by designating a driver or bringing cab fare.

Capital Brewfest is hosted by the Rotary Club of Juneau, in partnership this year United Way of Southeast Alaska. Visit www.capbrewfest.com or become a fan of the Facebook page at facebook.com/CapBrewfest for more details and updates.

No devices found following courthouse bomb threat
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police say two courthouses have been cleared of any possible threat following a bomb threat early Thursday afternoon.

Police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro says authorities received a report of a bomb threat at the Nesbett Courthouse downtown around 1:15 p.m. The building was evacuated.

She says the Boney (bon-NEE') Courthouse also was evacuated as a precautionary measure. Some streets were closed.

Castro says no devices were found in either building and both were cleared shortly after 3 p.m.

She says the investigation continues into determining who made the threat.


Free fun at Juneau's 5th annual Day of Play
Juneau’s 5th Annual Day of Play is Saturday, September 13th, 9:00am - 5:30pm.

All facilities will be open during the designated times free of charge.  Day of Play this Saturday is a community wide event as a way to say thank you to Juneau.

Play Schedule:

Augustus Brown Pool — 9:00am – 10:30am
One FREE Swim Session
Sponsored by: Reuben Willis
Arrive 1/2 hour before session to receive wristband for entry
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Marine Park Pavilion—10:00am– Noon
Sidewalk Chalk, Hopscotch & Coloring!
Sponsored by: Grumpy’s
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Zach Gordon Youth Center— 11:00am - 1:00pm
FREE Hot dog lunch, climbing wall, Juneau Jumpers &
The Taku Roller Girls!
Sponsored by: Valley Lumber & Building Supply
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Juneau-Douglas City Museum—11:30—1:00pm
FREE Admission for a scavenger hunt & other Museum activities
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Floyd Dryden Gym—12:00 –2:00pm
Basketball activities with the JDHS boy’s basketball team!
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Treadwell Ice Arena—Two FREE Skate Sessions
1st Session 12:30pm –1:10pm
Sponsored by: Baranof Hotel & Starbucks
2nd Session 1:30pm –2:10pm
Sponsored by: Valley Paint Center
Arrive 1/2 hour before session to receive wristband for entry
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Valley Public Library—1:30pm—4:30pm
Story Path, Story Telling, Book Mark Drawing & More!
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Trucks N’ Stuff at Dimond Park — 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Come climb on and through various equipment
Sponsored by: NorthStar Trekking
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Dimond Park Field House — 4:00pm—5:30pm
open turf and track time
Sponsored by: Tingey Orthodontics
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Dimond Park Aquatic Center — 4:00pm—5:30pm
One FREE Swim Session
Sponsored by: Reuben Willis
Arrive 1/2 hour before session to receive wristband

Begich votes to advance campaign finance measure
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A proposed constitutional amendment aimed at big spending in campaigns has failed in the U.S. Senate.

Democratic Sen. Mark Begich voted to advance the measure Thursday. He also was a co-sponsor.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski did not vote. A spokesman says she was returning from the Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians.

The measure was considered a long-shot, at best, requiring two-thirds majorities of each chamber of Congress and ratification by states.

It would have allowed Congress and the states to set "reasonable limits" on campaign money and bar election spending by corporations.

Begich, who is seeking re-election, balked at a proposal by Republican rival Dan Sullivan to limit outside spending in their race. He says he preferred a long-term solution to campaign spending concerns, such as the amendment that failed Thursday.

Alaska SeaLife Center Announces Name of Steller Sea Lion Pup
Alaska Sea
Life Center's male Steller sea lion pup, Forrest, was born on July 20 and is the first male Steller sea lion to be born in North American collections since the 1980s.

See the photo taken on September 5 at his public debut at the Alaska SeaLife Center on our facebook page.




Military exercise with Russia canceled
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Air Force exercise involving the U.S., Canada and Russia has been canceled due to Russia's military intervention in Ukraine.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Russian Federation Air Force had cooperated on the "Vigilant Eagle" exercise since 2007.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that the exercises have typically been held in August or September.

NORAD is comprised of U.S. and Canadian forces and is charged with detecting and responding to airborne threats to those countries.

Sgt. Charles Marsh says this year's exercise was suspended by U.S. Defense Department officials and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper "due to the situation in Ukraine."

The spokesman says the exercise was to have included the Japan Self Defense Force for the first time.

Alaska teacher accused of child abuse in Missouri
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 42-year-old teacher in Alaska is accused of sexually abusing one of his seven adopted children in Missouri and has agreed to return to that state to face charges.

Alaska Dispatch News reports Owen Miller appeared at a court hearing Wednesday by phone from the Nome jail, where he's been held on $100,000 bail since his Aug. 29 arrest in the village of Kiana, where he had been teaching since 2013.

KNOM radio recently reported that Miller, his wife and adopted children moved to Alaska in 2010. Miller told KNOM he and his wife divorced and she moved to Wasilla.

A probable cause statement from Andrew County, Missouri, says one of the children last year told a Wasilla police officer Miller had done inappropriate things that included sex acts and alcohol.

Miller denies the allegations.

Man with body of girlfriend surrenders to police
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 28-year-old man has been charged with killing his 19-year-old girlfriend and driving the body to the parking lot of an Eagle River drug store, where he surrendered to police.

Anchorage police say David Joseph Thomas is charged with first- and second-degree murder in the death Wednesday night of Linda Anne Martz Bower.

Police say Thomas' brother called at 10:24 p.m. to report the homicide.

The brother said Thomas told him he had strangled Bower and that her body was in his car.

The brother told Thomas he was going to call police and Thomas drove off.

Police say Thomas called police 15 minutes later from the parking lot of a Walgreen's store. Officers found Bower's body in the back seat of his vehicle.

Thomas is being held without bail.

Alaska's senators cool on Obama Mideast plan
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich says he opposes calls by President Barack Obama to arm rebels in Syria.

He says the U.S. needs greater assurances it would not be arming "extremists" who eventually would use the weapons against this country.

On Wednesday, Obama laid out a plan for a new military front in the Middle East, including air strikes inside Syria and expanded strikes in Iraq as part of an effort to root out Islamic State extremists.

Obama announced plans to send more troops to advise and help Iraqi security forces and called on Congress to authorize the training and arming of Syrian rebels fighting Islamic State militants and Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Obama fell short in defining clear objectives, such as what constitutes victory.

Cost overruns at Ft. Greely defense site
The Pentagon's Inspector General says the rush to deploy a missile defense system at Fort Greely in the interior led to cost overruns and technical failures.

A new report from the Defense Department I-G office questions the reliability of the "Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle" -- the non-explosive warhead designed to crash into hostile missiles.

The missile interceptors had seen a series of failed test launches until a successful flight in June.

Thirty interceptors are already in place, with 26 in Alaska and 4 in California, and the Pentagon plans to add 14 more at Fort Greely by 2017.

The total price tag for the missile defense program so far is about 41 billion dollars.

CG murder survivors seek damages
A Kodiak man convicted of killing co-workers at a Coast Guard communication station has been ordered to pay 1-point-4 million dollars in restitution.

The Alaska Dispatch reports that U-S District Judge Ralph Beistline on Wednesday granted the government's request for restitution from James Wells, to be paid to the victims' estates. The amounts equal the expected future earnings of both victims.

Wells was sentenced in July to four consecutive life terms for the shooting deaths in 2012 of Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st class James Hopkins and retired Chief Petty Officer Richard Belisle.

The judge noted that the parties will have to determine how to get the 1-point-4 million dollars from Wells.

Statement of Kathy Kolkhorst Ruddy, President of the Whale Project, in response to Wednesday's announcement by the Juneau Community Foundation
The dream of former Mayor Bill Overstreet to place a full-sized humpback whale on the waterfront in Juneau is about to be realized.

The generous gift the Whale committee received today will make it possible to complete the foundry work and infinity pool so that the Whale will be on the waterfront for all to enjoy by the third quarter of 2015.

Because of this incredibly generous donation, we will now turn our attention to complete the final element in Mayor Overstreet’s vision: the waterworks that will create the sensation of the whale in breach. Our board intends to complete all remaining fundraising by December 15.

Many thanks to our anonymous donor and to all our donors. Thank you again Mayor Bill for the inspiration you brought to Juneau on this and many other things over the years. And, thank you Skip Wallen for your creative genius which has converted Bill Overstreet's vision into a world-class sculpture.

For further information about the sculpture, visit www.alaskawhaleproject.org.

Senator Responds to President Obama’s Remarks on ISIS Threat
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski Wednesday night responded to President Obama's speech explaining his thoughts on dealing with the Islamic State:
“Like all Americans, I am extremely concerned with the rapid growth of the Islamic State and the threat this barbaric group poses to Americans abroad, at home, and our allies around the world.

“President Obama recently inadvertently admitted what many Alaskans already knew: that he did not have a strategy to protect Americans against the spread of violent Islamic extremism like that posed by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Tonight, he attempted to convince us otherwise by introducing a broad strategy and a few near-term actions. Instead, I believe we still need a comprehensive plan for the region and our role including a well-defined mission and clear objectives.

“Action without a defined plan is not effective or sustainable foreign policy – and it makes attracting a coalition of allies more difficult.

“Make no mistake, this is a highly complex situation and there are no easy answers to combat not only the Islamic State, but the plague of violent Islamic extremism across the globe. But President Obama owes Americans more than he offered us tonight: we need to know what constitutes ‘victory’ and what benchmarks we will use to measure accomplishments as the activities are conducted. Before we can attract support from our allies in the international community, we must define terms and goals more concretely.

“President Obama also needs to acknowledge he must sit down with Congress and not simply suggest his plan represents the final say on the matter. He did not spell out precisely what he is seeking from Congress in tonight’s address. Further, we need a plan to involve the key stakeholders in the Gulf region and our allies around the world to ensure a global effort against this face of evil. The neighboring countries and others have just as much at stake in this fight as any nation or culture in the world, and they need to be a core part of the solution and the endgame to create a world environment truly hostile to this movement.

“I watched the speech and heard his four objectives and found myself thinking to some ‘haven’t we already been doing this?’ and to others ‘how will this work?’ America and the international community needs more clarity than tonight’s remarks provided.

“We owe such careful consideration to our brave men and women in uniform before putting them into harm’s way. It’s time to step up our leadership and work together to determine the best strategy for our nation to combat this imminent threat.”

City of Sitka turns recycling over to private firm
SITKA, Alaska (AP) — The city of Sitka has turned over its recycling operations to a private company.

The Daily Sitka Sentinel says the deal with Alaska Pacific Environmental Services is expected to save the city money, create incentives for improving efficiency and reduce liability.

City Public Works director Michael Harmon says there may be opportunities to create other private-public partnerships in the future.

Alaska Pacific Environmental currently collects curbside trash. It also operates the Jarvis Street transfer station.

Under the new agreement, the company also will operate the recycling center on the old incinerator property.

The company also will run the scrapyard at the Gary Paxton Industrial Park.

Harmon says the city is expected to save about $78,000 a year under the new deal.

Sullivan to miss Kodiak debate for campaign swing
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan doesn't plan to participate in a prominent debate on fisheries issues in Kodiak.

Spokesman Mike Anderson said Sullivan is scheduled to be campaigning in rural Alaska. He said Alaskans will have ample opportunity to hear Sullivan debate Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.

Begich spokesman Max Croes says Begich plans to participate in the Oct. 1 debate if Libertarian candidate Mark Fish is willing. Croes called it disrespectful to those in the fishing industry and coastal communities to "ignore" a debate considered a tradition.

Sullivan's Marine Corps Reserve training coincided with a fisheries debate during the primary that ultimately was canceled.

Anderson said the fishing industry is critical to Alaska and Sullivan continues to meet with "all user groups to listen to their ideas and concerns."

[Wednesday September 10th, 2014  18th  EDITION 10:53  P. M.]


Busted in the bushes
Two people were busted having sex in the bushes next to the staircase by Fireweed Place in the 400 Block of Willoughby Avenue.

Christy Dugaqua and Derek Totemoff were arrested, cited and released for Open Lewdness on Tuesday afternoon. A Juneau Police Department bulletin says alcohol was a factor.
 

Pension shortfall projected at $8.7B at year's end
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state is projecting to end the fiscal year with an $8.7 billion pension shortfall.

The unfunded liability for the public employees' and teachers' retirement systems stood at roughly $12 billion when the Legislature earlier this year approved moving $3 billion from savings to further address the shortfall.

Deputy commissioner of Administration Mike Barnhill says the $3 billion will be deposited in three installments over the course of the year.

He said the projection also includes actuarial assumptions, such as an 8 percent investment return. He said there's no guarantee the unfunded liability will be $8.7 billion at the end of the fiscal year but that's the best projection at this time.

School board race has new write-in candidate
Tom Milliron, former Floyd Dryden Middle School Principal, will run along with incumbent board Vice President Sean O'Brien and Juneau Economic Development Director Brian Holst. There are only two seats open on the Juneau School District Board of Education.

The Facebook page "Friends of Tom Milliron" says he represents a strong voice for our kids, community and educators.

Oily Kodiak sheen traced to federal research ship
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — A fuel spill in Kodiak Island's Womens Bay has been traced to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research ship.

Jade Gamble with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation says the spill is estimated at 1,640 gallons.

KMXT reports an oily sheen in the bay was traced to NOAA research ship Rainier, docked at Nyman Peninsula on the Kodiak Coast Guard base.

NOAA spokesman David Hall says NOAA is working with the Coast Guard to minimize environmental impacts.

Hall says the incident is being investigated.

Gamble says the spill was traced to a rupture in the vessel's bulkhead between a fuel tank and a water tank.

Absorbent boom and a fuel skimmer have been employed at the site.

The spill was reported Monday.

Troopers say human remains found on Shuyak Island
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska state Troopers say human remains have been found on Shuyak Island.

Troopers say they were notified Monday about the discovery on the east side of the island, located about 70 miles north of Kodiak.

Troopers say an identification of the remains could not be made because of their condition.

The remains were recovered and sent to the state medical examiner's office.

Driver dies in crash at Soldotna Airport fence
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — A man died after his vehicle rolled and crashed through a fence at the Soldotna Airport.

The Peninsula Clarion reports the crash occurred at about 7 a.m. Tuesday. The driver was not immediately identified because his next-of-kin had not been notified.

Soldotna police say the driver was on a straight stretch of Funny River Road along the airport and lost control of the vehicle.

No one saw the vehicle roll. The driver was the only person inside.

Union reps assail settlement touted by Sullivan
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Union representatives say former Alaska attorney general Dan Sullivan dropped the ball in settling a professional malpractice lawsuit against a former state actuary for $500 million.

Sullivan is the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Mark Begich. Wednesday's news conference with union representatives was promoted by Begich's campaign.

The issue emerged in the campaign when Sullivan ran an ad touting the 2010 settlement.

In 2007, the state sued Mercer Inc. for at least $1.8 billion and potentially $2.8 billion or more, alleging the company had made mistakes that contributed to a shortfall in public employee pension funds. At the time of the settlement, Sullivan was attorney general.

He said the state faced risks in going to trial and hailed the settlement as a "great result."

Donation to help search-and-rescue efforts
NOME, Alaska (AP) — Sixteen rural communities will receive hand-held thermal imaging cameras to aid in search-and-rescue efforts in the Norton Sound region.

The donation comes from the Norton Sound Economic Development Corp. The bi-ocular cameras are to be distributed in the coming weeks.

Dan Harrelson chairs the corporation's board and is a village public safety officer for White Mountain. He told KNOM the cameras should improve search-and-rescue operations significantly.

He said previously, there was one such camera, based in Nome, shared among all 16 communities. Getting it could take hours, even days, and first responders had to learn how to use it.

Harrelson said teams will be able to practice using their own cameras now.

The cameras are water resistant and can operate in temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero.

Both sides of marijuana issue meet at forum
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Both sides of the marijuana debate met at a Fairbanks forum to present their views on a ballot measure to legalize and regulate recreational pot in Alaska.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Legislation and the opposition group — Big Marijuana. Big Mistake. — met at the Noel Wien Library Tuesday night for the event hosted by the League of Women Voters of Tanana Valley.

Proponents of legalizing marijuana say it would improve the state's judicial and criminal system with fewer arrests of nonviolent offenders and also would prove to be a tax-revenue boost.

Opponents say the commercialization and industrialization of marijuana results in much different products such as edibles and high-concentrate oil.

The initiative, Measure 2, is on the November general election ballot.

UPDATE: Pedestrian struck, killed by vehicle in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police have identified the 36-year-old man who was struck and killed Tuesday night while crossing a busy street on foot.

Anchorage police say Arthur Mike was struck by a sport utility vehicle just after 11:30 p.m. near the Ben Boeke (BOH'-kee) Ice Arena as he attempted to cross Gambell Street south of 15th Avenue.

Gambell Street is a major east-side thoroughfare that becomes the Seward Highway.

Police say the driver, 29-year-old Nita Akpik, remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators. She has not been cited or charged.

Police shut down southbound traffic on Gambell Street south of 15th Avenue as they investigated the incident.

Juneau Community Foundation Receives Generous Donation
The Juneau Community Foundation has received a generous donation from Bill and Katie Corbus which will be used to establish five endowed funds, a donor-advised fund, and a number of directed grants.

The donation was made through a gift of stock to the Foundation. The Alaska Electric Light and Power Company was founded as a partnership in 1896. John Parker Corbus and Adam William Corbus were two of the founding partners.

After decades of family ownership in AELP and with the completion of the sale of the company, Bill and Katie believe it is fitting to donate a major portion of the proceeds back to the Juneau community. The Foundation estimates the value of the donation to be approximately $48,000,000. A final determination will be available upon disposition of the stock.

Juneau police kill wounded Douglas Island bear
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A black bear shot and wounded in Juneau was killed by a police officer.

A homeowner Monday spotted the injured animal as it dragged itself through a backyard along the Douglas Highway on Douglas Island.

Police department spokeswoman Erann Kalwara says the police officer determined the bear could not use its hind legs and euthanized it.

Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Matt Dobson says the large black bear had been shot in its flank. The bullet may have ricocheted off its spine, paralyzing its legs.

Dobson says the bear could have been legally shot by a hunter or illegally by someone who spotted the bear going through garbage.

Troopers canvassed the neighborhood Tuesday but no one reported hearing shots or seeing a nuisance bear.

Fairbanks fugitive surrenders after armed standoff
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks man sought for leaving minimum security corrections custody was arrested Tuesday after a chase and a 10-hour standoff.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 36-year-old Michael Bracht emerged from a sport utility vehicle west of Fairbanks without serious injury.

Fairbanks police with a warrant approached Bracht at 2:30 a.m. in a grocery store parking lot. He reportedly rammed police cars and drove off, starting a 30-minute chase that ended in the parking lot of a convenience store.

Police Lt. Eric Jewkes says Bracht brandished a gun, threatened to kill himself and wanted police to shoot him.

A woman in the car exited at about 5 a.m.

Police attempted to get Bracht to leave with bean bag rounds, pepper spray and tear gas.

He surrendered at 1 p.m.

Pedestrian struck, killed by vehicle in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man was struck and killed Tuesday night while crossing a busy Anchorage street on foot.

Anchorage police say the pedestrian was struck by a vehicle as he attempted to cross Gambell Street just south of east 15th Avenue.

Police took a call on the accident just after 11:30 p.m.

Gambell Street is a major east-side thoroughfare that becomes the Seward Highway.

Police say the driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators.

Police shut down southbound traffic on Gambell Street south of 15th Avenue as they investigated the incident.

Glacier Valley Rotary to host 9-11 event
The Juneau Glacier Valley Rotary Club will be hosting a ceremony tomorrow commemorating the events of September 11th and honoring Juneau’s first responders at the September 11th Memorial at Riverside Rotary Park.

The ceremony will begin with guests gathering at the Memorial just off the parking lot at 9:40am. The formal part of the ceremony commences shortly after and will conclude by 10:15am.

We encourage people to take time on Thursday, September 11th to share a few moments and memories with each other, as a community out at the Memorial site.

As part of our promise to “Never Forget.”

3.2 magnitude quake 40 miles west of Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The U. S. Geological Survey reports a magnitude 3.2 earthquake occurred at 2:43 a.m. Wednesday about 40 miles west of Anchorage.

A dispatcher for Alaska State Troopers in Wasilla says there are no reports of damage.

State Defense Force to host conference
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — State military officials say the Alaska State Defense Force is set to host the annual conference of its national counterpart.

The conference of the State Guard Association of the United States is scheduled to take place between Thursday and Sunday at the Millennium Alaskan Hotel in Anchorage.

The Alaska force is a volunteer support group for the Alaska National Guard.

Spokeswoman defends insurance rate review process
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A spokeswoman for Gov. Sean Parnell says Alaska's Division of Insurance did not apply for federal grants to review health insurance premium increases because the state has the resources to support an effective review.

Alaska was among several states that didn't apply for a rate-review grant.

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman has said Alaska could offer more affordable options with a stronger rate review program.

Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said the state's review process was determined to be "fully adequate" by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The Division of Insurance approved rate increases of up to 40 percent for individuals who bought health insurance plans through the federally run online marketplace.

The state has cited high costs incurred within the relatively small individual market.
 

[Tuesday September 9th, 2014  14th  EDITION  8:59  P. M.]

Grand opening of veterans home in Haines
he Soboleff-McRae Veterans Village celebrates its grand opening this week in Haines.

The project provides limited rental assistance to low-income veterans and veterans with disabilities. There are four 1-bedroom apartments and seven 2-bedroom apartments, ranging in monthly rates from $750 - $1050, including utilities, snow removal and access to all resident benefits.

The residences are on the top floor of the 2-story, 20,000 sq. ft. building known as the Haines Veterans Village and Wellness Center, located one block off Haines’ Main Street. The ground floor of the building will be a community healthcare center with a separate entrance, opening in 2015.

The Soboleff-McRae Veterans Village and Wellness Center facility is named for Tlingit elder Dr. Walter Soboleff and Howard McRae, a decorated military veteran from Haines. It is designed to provide permanent affordable housing and consolidated supportive health services to veterans, elders and the greater community.


Find more details here.


Parnell campaign announces new manager
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell re-election campaign has a new campaign manager.

Parnell's campaign said Tuesday that Tom Wright is the new manager of the campaign for Parnell and Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.

Wright, who replaces Jerry Gallagher, was previously chief of staff to Republican state House Speaker Mike Chenault of Nikiski.

Wounded bear killed by JPD
Juneau Police shot and killed a previously wounded bear Monday afternoon around 1:30 in the 3000 Block of Douglas Highway.

The investigation was turned over to Alaska State Troopers.

Florida man accused of stalking Bristol Palin
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 25-year-old Florida man is under arrest, accused of stalking Bristol Palin in Alaska.

Peter P.W. Ferrero is charged with felony stalking.

An affidavit filed by Wasilla police officer Brandon Gray says Palin arrived home about 6:15 p.m. Sunday and encountered Ferrero in the driveway of her Wasilla home.

Brandon wrote that Ferrero told Palin his name was Peter Paul. Palin told the officer she recognized the name because Ferrero has sent her about 1,000 Facebook messages since March.

Palin also stated she told Ferrero to back off, but he continued to approach her in the driveway. Palin and her sister, Willow, filed civil protective orders against Ferrero Monday.

Ferrero is represented by the Alaska Public Defender Agency, which had not yet assigned to case to an attorney Tuesday.

Researchers studying Pacific walrus population
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Researchers are trying to get a better handle on the size of the Pacific walrus population ahead of an expected decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on whether the animals need special protections.

A new report from the U.S. Geological Survey estimates the population was cut roughly in half between 1981 and 1999, possibly due to overabundance of walrus and relatively high harvests in the 1980s.

The study's lead author, Rebecca Taylor, says the goal was to provide baseline information, including information on historic population dynamics, reproductive rates and survival rates shown by the population.

New data is being collected and she says the analysis will be brought more up to date.

A decision on whether the population merits Endangered Species Act protection is expected in 2017.

Parnell to announce dividend amount
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaskans will find out the size of their Permanent Fund dividends next week.

Gov. Sean Parnell is set to announce the amount on Sept. 17 in Anchorage.

Dividends are distributed annually to Alaska residents who meet certain requirements, with the amount based on a five-year average of the Alaska Permanent Fund's investment earnings.

Last year, dividend recipients each received $900.

Family of man in Anchorage escalator death sues
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The city of Anchorage is being sued by the family of a 59-year-old man who died nearly two years ago in a fall from an escalator at a downtown convention center.

Alaska Dispatch News reports the lawsuit seeks at least $400,000 in damages on behalf of Theodore Meiners' estate and two adult children. Also named in the lawsuit is the operator of the Dena'ina (deh-NIE'-nah) Center, SMG of Alaska.

The lawsuit filed Aug. 13 accuses center managers of serving the Valdez man alcohol when he was visibly intoxicated. The lawsuit also alleges safety and code problems with the escalator.

Plaintiffs' attorney Phillip Weidner says the Sept. 20, 2012, tragedy could have been avoided if the city had followed applicable codes.

Municipal attorney Dennis Wheeler says surveillance video shows Meiners trying to ride down the escalator on the handrail.

New law requires record of items bought for resale
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A new Juneau ordinance will require secondhand stores to document valuable items they purchase for resale.

The ordinance is aimed at reducing sales of stolen items by creating a records trail.

Police on Monday conducted a training session for stores.

The stores will be required to report purchases of precious metals, gems, gold coins, gold bullion, tools, firearms and electronics worth more than $50.

The stores also are required to hang onto the items for 30 days so police can make sure they're not stolen.

The ordinance takes effect Thursday. Police Lt. Kris Sell says it likely affects six to 10 Juneau stores.

Crowd demands expanded death investigation
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Friends and family of a woman found dead in an Anchorage apartment are demanding that police expand their investigation.

KTVA-television reports dozens of people protested Monday outside the Anchorage Police Department, which initially concluded that 22-year-old Michelle Lane committed suicide.

Lane died of a gunshot wound Sept. 2 and protesters say she was murdered.

Lane's aunt, Helen Lane, says Michelle Lane would not have harmed herself.

Helen Lane says her niece was born and raised in Point Hope and attended the University of Alaska Anchorage. She had a 1-year-old daughter and Helen Lane says Michelle Lane had a lot to live for.

Police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro says the case remains open and three detectives continue to work on the case.

State sues Feds over ANWR
The state is asking for summary judgment in its lawsuit over the federal government's refusal to join a study of petroleum resources in Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.

The state filed the motion Monday, nearly six months after bringing the lawsuit in federal court against the Secretary of Interior.

The U-S Fish & Wildlife Service rejected the state's ANWR study plan last fall, arguing that congressional authorization expired in 1987.

The state argues that the authorization is still in effect and that the Interior Department is required to accept a properly submitted study plan.

The Governor last year announced a 7-year program of seismic surveys, environmental studies, and exploratory drilling on the coastal plain of the refuge.

UA Board takes back bonus offer
The University of Alaska Board of Regents are taking back a retention bonus offered to university President Pat Gamble -- at Gamble's request.

The Alaska Dispatch reports that regents voted 9-to-1 at a meeting in Anchorage Monday to rescind the 320-thousand dollar bonus.

Regents in June had approved the bonus --equal to an extra year of Gamble's regular salary -- if he stays on the job through 2016.

Gamble said last week that the timing was wrong, given the university's budget concerns, and he said the controversy had become a distraction.

Whale season
Whaling crews in the village of Kaktovik filled their quota within three days.

The Alaska Dispatch reports that Kaktovik whalers brought in three whales on August 30th, 31st, and on Labor Day September 1st.

That fills the village's allotment for the fall whaling season.

At the eastern end of Alaska's Arctic coast, Kaktovik is typically first to hunt whales each season, with crews in Barrow and points west starting weeks later.

CBJ Assembly meeting
The CBJ Assembly met Monday night and adopted two ordinances unanimously. The first is a an ordinance appropriating $495,000 as additional funding for the Mendenhall Valley Public Library Capitol Improvement Project. The funding was provided by the Rasmuson Foundation.

Second is an ordinance that appropriates $1.57 million as partial funding for the evaluation and construction of joint city, state and federal parking improvements in the Willoughby District. Grant funding provided by Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.

Alaska marine highway schedule up for review
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Public comments are being accepted for the proposed 2015 schedule for Alaska's Marine Highway system.

The schedule has been placed on the highway system website.

Public comments are being accepted before Sept. 23.

State responds in voting rights lawsuit
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state is proposing public service announcements explaining language assistance options for Alaska Native voters who speak limited English.

The proposal is one of several made by the state following a federal judge's decision in a voting rights lawsuit last week. U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason ordered the state to better help voters who speak Yup'ik and Gwich'in understand their ballots.

The state was to outline changes it could make ahead of the November elections.

Those include letting voters know an outreach worker is available to help them before the election and that bilingual poll workers are available on election day. They also include preparing different versions of ballot language to tribal councils and outreach workers to reflect different dialects.

The plaintiffs have until Wednesday to respond.

[Monday September 8th, 2014  10TH  EDITION  6:50  P. M.]

Beluga whale dies, found stranded on Alaska rocks
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A National Marine Fisheries Service spokeswoman says an adult male beluga whale has died after it became stranded on the rocks near Mile 104 of Alaska's Seward Highway.

KTVA reports that Barbara Mahoney says it appears the whale got stuck on the shoreline as the fast-moving tide went out Monday morning.

Residents who saw the whale on the beach covered it with sheets and seawater, but it died a short time later.

Biologists plan to take samples from the animal to learn more.

Anchorage labor question on November ballot
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage voters in November will decide whether to retain Mayor Dan Sullivan's labor law that has been unpopular among labor groups.

KTUU reports the city and state reached an agreement to place the matter on the general-election ballot.

The local labor law was championed by Sullivan and passed by the Anchorage Assembly in March 2013 over the protest of labor groups, which moved quickly to collect signatures for a referendum to overturn the measure.

The city challenged the referendum effort and lost in both the Superior and Supreme courts.

The assembly originally voted to set the vote for the April municipal election. Sullivan vetoed that date.

The ordinance would partially replace binding arbitration with Assembly decisions in some labor disputes.

It also would eliminate collective bargaining rights.

Sullivan is the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.

Alaska, Japanese agencies sign agreement
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — State and Japanese agencies have agreed to keep the lines of communication open over a proposed mega-liquefied natural gas project.

Alaska is pursuing the project with three major energy companies, TransCanada Corp. and the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. The intended market is Asia, and the nonbinding agreement signed Monday is aimed at strengthening ties with Japan.

The "memorandum of cooperation" was signed by Alaska's Natural Resources commissioner, Joe Balash, and a representative of Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Balash said the agency sets Japan's energy policy and works closely with Japan's utility market.

The gas line project is in a phase of preliminary engineering and design. The companies behind it have said the project, as proposed, would be the largest of its kind ever designed and built.

Division approves health plan rate hikes
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state Division of Insurance has approved rate increases of up to 40 percent for individuals who bought health insurance plans on the federally run online marketplace.

For individuals receiving federal subsidies to help pay their premiums, any increases are expected to be largely offset, according to division director Lori Wing-Heier.

She says about 10,000 of the 16,000 Alaskans with individual policies through the exchange receive subsidies.

She says the increases for next year, which range from 22 percent to 40 percent, are considered justified, saying there wasn't a month in which the insurers did not lose "significant" money. She says the division was working off six months of data.

There are two providers on the exchange, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield and Moda Health.

Alaska Railroad reports revenue growth
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Railroad Corp. is reporting revenue growth in the last fiscal year, despite declines in petroleum and coal shipments.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner says railroad revenue rose 4.3 percent between July 2013 and July 2014.

Most of the increase is credited to freight shipments, with the rest coming from passenger and real estate gains.

Most of the boost in freight shipment is attributed to Alaska Rail Marine. Shipments in the weekly barge service rose nearly 30 percent from 2013.

Revenues from passengers rose nearly 11 percent.

The boost in revenue comes at a time of significant decline in transporting Flint Hills Resources petroleum products.

There also has been a slight decrease in coal shipments. Usibelli Coal Mine spokesman Rob Brown blames a difficult export market.

Industry: Southeast timber sale needed for mill
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Southeast Alaska's last mid-sized timber mill is at risk of closing if a sale that would clear-cut 3,700 acres of old-growth forest stalls.

Industry representatives and the U.S. Forest Service said the sale is important for Viking Lumber Co. in Klawock, which was the winning bidder when the Big Thorne sale was announced last year. That sale was later withdrawn amid appeals by critics.

Owen Graham, executive director of the Alaska Forest Association, said the mill estimates it will run out of logs by next spring.

The Forest Service recently announced plans to move ahead with a sale.

Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole says the sale will go out for bid this month, unless an agreement is struck with the organizations suing the agency to delay it.

Health officials confirm Alaska mumps case
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Alaska health officials have confirmed the first case of mumps in the state since 1995.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the disease was confirmed in a 50-year-old Alaska woman who apparently contracted mumps in Japan.

The last previous case was reported in 1995. Fewer than 500 people in the nation contract mumps annually.

Mumps is a communicable virus but preventable by vaccine. Complications can cause meningitis, encephalitis and deafness.

The woman on July 11 told doctors she had headache, jaw pain and trismus, a symptom that can mean jaw muscle spasms or locking.

The woman while in Japan stayed in a home where a girl had been diagnosed with mumps.

The Alaska Section of Epidemiology says the woman's symptoms began to subside about a week after she reported them.

Store owner pleads guilty to tobacco fraud
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 52-year-old tobacco store owner will forfeit more than $1.2 million as part of a plea deal with federal authorities on mail fraud and money laundering charges.

U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler (LEF'-lur) in an announcement says Sun Sims conspired to defraud the municipality of Anchorage by evading a cigarette excise tax.

Loeffler says Sims and a partner owned three businesses that sold tobacco, including one in Anchorage, Up in Smoke.

They also owned Golden Eagle Tobacco and Longmere Lake Grocery and Liquor outside the municipality.

Loeffler says Sims legally could buy tobacco in Anchorage and avoid the municipal tax for cigarettes sold at her two stores outside of Anchorage.

Loeffler says Sims broke the law by selling the exempt cigarettes at her Anchorage store and to other Anchorage retail stores.

Alaska State Troopers seek Alaska applicants
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska State Trooper sergeant who works in the recruitment unit says the agency has 20 vacancies and would like to see more Alaskans apply.

Sgt. Luis Nieves tells KTUU-TV that 76 percent of the agency's applicants are from the Lower 48.

He says many young applicants do not appear to be interested in long-term careers or law enforcement in general.

He says the agency is facing a challenge finding officers to work in both urban areas and remote villages.

Nieves says troopers are visiting schools and rural areas to increase the pool of applicants.

Ballot measure hearings set
A series of hearings for three ballot initiatives begins today (Mon).

Kotzebue is hosting a hearing this afternoon (12-2) on Ballot Measure 4, to restrict large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed.

The scene shifts to Nome tomorrow for hearings on initiatives to legalize marijuana and to raise Alaska's minimum wage.

Further hearings are scheduled in Barrow Thursday and Friday. The schedule arranged by the Lieutenant Governor's office has hearings in Anchorage and Wasilla on September 23rd, 24th, and 25th.

The hearings will wrap up in Fairbanks by the end of the month with a final hearing on Ballot Measure 4 in Dillingham, October 2nd.

Federal Appeals to hear same-sex marriage arguments

A Federal Appeals Court hears oral arguments today (mon) in a case that could affect Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage.

The case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals comes from Nevada and Idaho, with a third appeal from Hawaii, although that state has since legalized same-sex marriage.

Because Alaska is also in the 9th circuit, a ruling affecting those states could affect similar language that was added to the Alaska Constitution in 1998.

Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty joined counterparts from other states filing a brief in the 9th Court of Appeals, arguing that restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples "furthers the public policy" of parenthood.

A separate lawsuit has been filed in U-S District Court directly challenging the marriage clause in the Alaska Constitution.

[Sunday September 7th, 2014 5th  EDITION  7:44  P. M.]

Man reports woman slices thumb in domestic dispute
A 40 year old Lemon Creek man says a woman sliced his thumb with a knife during a domestic dispute Saturday night around 9:30 in the 5900 Block of Sunset St. The man had minor injuries and declined medical treatment.

A Juneau Police Department bulletin shows 42 year old Amanda Ireland was placed under arrest for domestic violence assault and taken to Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

Knife assault by mentally unstable man reported on ferry
Alaska State Trooper dispatch received a report of a possible assault with a knife on board the Alaska State Ferry "Fairweather", while traveling from Sitka to Juneau on Thursday.

Wildlife Troopers from the Juneau post responded to the ferry terminal in Juneau upon arrival of the ferry and contacted a 54 year old man. It was quickly determined that the suspect was suffering from mental/ medication issues. He was eventually transported to Bartlett Regional Hospital and placed on a mental hold by hospital staff.

A 19 year old male was interviewed in regards to being assaulted. He declined to pursue charges and reported that the man was obviously suffering from mental instability.

Navy to present environmental analysis in Kodiak
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Navy plans to host an open house in Kodiak Monday to discuss a draft supplemental environmental impact statement on military training in the Gulf of Alaska.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports the meeting is set to take place between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Monday at the Kodiak Elks Lodge.

The Navy is also seeking to get public feedback. Verbal and written comments are being accepted until Oct. 20. on the draft supplemental environmental impact statement and overseas environmental impact statement.

Similar meetings also are planned in Anchorage, Homer, Juneau and Cordova.

The training area being looked at covers a little less than 56,000 square miles, located about 50 miles from Kodiak Island at its closest point.

Ketchikan city council says no to legalizing pot
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — The Ketchikan City Council has voted against supporting the legalization of recreational marijuana.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports that council members voted on Thursday to approve a resolution opposing the general election ballot proposition that would legalize marijuana in Alaska. The resolution urged voters to reject Ballot Proposition 2.

The resolution says legalizing recreational marijuana would create public health hazards such as explosions from people making concentrates, or driving under the influence of pot.

The City Council considered the resolution at the request of Rene Schofield, who is involved with the Substance Abuse Task Force and owns Tongass Substance Screening.

$1.4 million granted to northern lights project
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A $1.4 million grant has been given to a project developing educational material on the aurora borealis that showcases the Inupiat language and culture.

The Fairbanks Daily News Miner reports the U.S. Department of Education grant is spread over three years.

The project is led by an outreach team at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute. The group will be tasked with producing a northern lights video, a museum exhibit on Inupiat cultural connections to the earth and sky and instructional kits. The material will provide material to 19 rural communities and more than 1,600 students.

Training for second hand store owners regarding new ordinance
The Juneau Police Department will be hosting training Monday for business owners involved in the resale of second hand goods.

Owners are now required by a new CBJ Ordinance, which goes into effect Thursday the 11th, to report second hand inventory.

In addition to the training, which will take place at the police department on Monday at 5 p.m., JPD also has information on www.juneaupolice.com and packets available at JPD to assist second hand dealers with complying with the new ordinance.

Business owners do not need to register for the training, Officers familiar with the reporting program will be there to lead business owners, step by step, through the reporting requirements and answer questions.

Any business owner that has trouble using the registration program, or has questions about the ordinance, can call Lt. Kris Sell in the Criminal Investigations Unit at JPD, 500-0646, and an officer will be assigned to meet with that business owner to assist in the process.

Ketchikan teen falls asleep driving, car upside down on beach
A Ketchikan teen fell asleep at the wheel while southbound on North Tongass Highway Saturday. Alaska State Troopers say a 16 year old male drifted off the roadway, down an approximate 20 foot rock embankment, and came to rest upside down on the beach.

The teen was the sole occupant in the 2003 Ford Focus and was wearing his seatbelt. The airbags deployed and he suffered no injuries.

The vehicle was totaled and towed from the scene. Alcohol was not a factor.


 

[Saturday September 6th, 2014  9th  EDITION  4:48  P. M.]

Speed a factor in Alaska tour bus crash
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say speed was a factor in a tour bus crash that killed a woman from Malaysia.

KTUU reports that 25-year-old Brian Lanning was driving the Princess Tours bus with two passengers on board when the bus rolled Friday morning on the Parks Highway about 10 miles north of the Alaska Veterans Memorial.

Troopers say the passengers were Princess employees. The woman who died has not been identified.

Troopers took a call on the crash just after 8 a.m. The crash site is in a rural area 200 road miles south of Fairbanks and 81 miles south of the entrance to Denali National Park.

Proposal would digitize Fairbanks outdated records
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks North Star Borough is contemplating a $2.6 million update to its record-keeping system, a move that will force the digitization of a warehouse full of boxes.

Hewlett-Packard reportedly stopped manufacturing hardware for the borough's financial management system in 2008.

One municipal employee joked to borough information technology director Jim Cobb that the government will soon need to go on eBay to get replacement parts.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the current records management system uses three types of software that are not integrated and must be used separately for functions involving paper records, scanned records and electronic records, according to the ordinance.

A proposed ordinance before the borough assembly would pay for new hardware, software, vendor support and eight temporary employees to help while the municipality converts to the new system.

Troopers looking for driver that struck cyclists
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers are looking for the driver of a truck who struck two bicyclists in Fairbanks and then fled the scene.

Troopers said late Friday that one cyclist was seriously injured and remained hospitalized.

A witness told police the silver or grey truck hit the bicyclists on the shoulder of the road.

Troopers are investigating the hit-and-run.

State rep race is on in Southeast
A candidate for State House in southeast Alaska will not have a free pass to her first term. She faces a challenger in November who bypassed the August primary election.

Chere Klein won a three-way Republican Primary for an open seat being vacated by Representative Peggy Wilson of Wrangell. No other parties fielded a candidate, so Klein looked like the newest member of the State House.

But an Independent candidate has qualified for the November ballot.

Dan Ortiz of Ketchikan tells the Alaska Dispatch he was a registered Republican for a long time, then part of the short-lived Republican Moderate Party, then a Democrat for a while before switching to undeclared years ago.

Ortiz has managed to raise more campaign funds than Klein, despite her party support.

Health insurance prices going up
Prices for health insurance purchased through the Federal Exchange are going up in Alaska, much more steeply than in other states.

The Division of Insurance on Thursday announced that it had approved rate increases for the roughly 16-thousand Alaskans who bought the individual plans.

Premera Blue Cross is raising its rates between 35 and 40 percent. Moda Health is raising rates between 22 and 29 percent. The increases especially affect those who do not qualify for federal subsidies.

Division of Insurance Director Lori Wing-Heier tells the Alaska Dispatch that the small risk pool is partly responsible for the increase.

In states with larger populations, insurance rates for next year are expected to go down.

Turmoil in 2 states keeps Senate control unclear
WASHINGTON (AP) — Labor Day week ought to start clarifying the fight for Senate control.

But this year, the picture got muddier and the map got bigger.

Little-noticed Kansas is suddenly abuzz.

An independent candidate drove the Democrat from the race and positioned himself to capitalize on discontent with the incumbent, three-term Republican Pat Roberts.

In Alaska, Democratic Sen. Mark Begich's (BAY'-gich-ihz) reputation for airing smart TV ads collapsed.

Begich scrambled to remove a new ad that accused Republican challenger Dan Sullivan of being soft on crime. Several groups called the ad deceptive and tasteless.

Strategists in both parties say it's too early to predict whether Republicans will gain the six Senate seats they need for the majority.

One GOP consultant says the party's gain could be anywhere from three to 10 seats.

Coast Guard medevacs woman from cruise ship near Glacier Bay, Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Coast Guard medevaced an 84-year-old woman from the Netherlands-flagged cruise ship Oosterdam near Glacier Bay Friday.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka hoisted the woman from the cruise ship and safely transferred her to emergency medical services in Juneau.

Watchstanders at the 17th District command center in Juneau received notification from the crew of the Oosterdam who reported the woman was possibly suffering from a stroke. The duty flight surgeon recommended medevac and the helicopter crew was launched from Air Station Sitka.

“The Coast Guard provides a critical link to lifesaving medical services for mariners with medical emergencies,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Daughtery, a watchstander for the 17th District command center. “The capabilities of our helicopters allow us to retrieve and deliver patients to EMS; reducing the time it takes for patients to receive medical care.”

The weather on scene consisted of 10-mph winds and overcast skies.

JPD Crime of the Week
On Tuesday, August 26, at about 8:40 in the evening, a Juneau woman reported her home in the 4700 block of Thane Road had been burglarized during the prior twenty-four hours. The investigation showed someone likely used a tool to pry open the back door of the residence. Multiple jewelry items were taken, totaling about $25,000 in value.

Some of the jewelry items taken were distinctive, there is a tennis bracelet with diamonds around the entire length with “S” shaped links. There are earrings with an eagle’s head. There is a gold and diamond pendant in the shape of an eye. That necklace also has matching earrings.

Also missing is an eagle design silver bracelet made by artist Norman Jackson. The suspect took an anniversary ring with one large stone in the center and smaller stones set in a ‘braid’ pattern around the ring. A picture of a very similar ring is being released so that citizens can watch for that item.

JPD would like citizens to be aware of anyone they meet who currently has a large amount of jewelry to sell without and adequate explanation. That jewelry could include the pieces noted above and multiple other pieces stolen from the residence.

Alaska National Guard responds to assessment
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — The National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigations provided a report of findings yesterday to Governor Sean Parnell regarding allegations of misconduct in the Alaska National Guard.

Maj. Gen. Thomas Katkus provided his letter of resignation to the governor effective Sept. 4.

Brig. Gen. Mike Bridges, acting commissioner for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and acting adjutant general for the Alaska National Guard, is working with his team to fully digest the findings of the OCI report. The governor has stated that he will appoint a task force to provide guidance in response to the findings, and Alaska National Guard leadership is prepared to be responsive to all recommendations. There is a strong desire to move forward with employing plans that will benefit members of the organization and instill a more trusting working environment.

The Alaska National Guard will be supportive of the governor’s task force and subcommittees who will provide direction in response to the findings of the OCI report. We want to be engaged in the process of implementing solutions to all issues and concerns presented by the governor’s task force.

“This is a time to learn from the past and look forward to the future with a desire to provide the best and most responsive work-place environment possible,” said Bridges. “There are areas for improvement, and we acknowledge that there is a perception of mistrust in our command. There has been a seamless transition in command, and there is no void in leadership of the Alaska National Guard.”

The Alaska National Guard’s citizen-Soldiers and Airmen are an impressive team of professionals who are committed to our state and our nation. They are trained and equipped to be the first military responders in all state emergencies; they have performed more than two-thousand life-saving, state-side rescues in the past two decades; and more than 3,700 have deployed in support of the Global War on Terror since 9/11.

“We must continue to do all that we can to ensure the Alaska National Guard is a positive and safe working environment for this incredible group of people that make up more than 99 percent of our organization,” said Bridges. “We support the governor’s direction as our commander-in-chief, and look forward to implementing any recommendations directed by his task force.”

[Friday September 5th, 2014  13TH  EDITION  5:20  P. M.]


Alaska governor wraps up hard week in politics
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell has had far better weeks than this one.

First, Parnell's two main opponents in a three-way gubernatorial race joined campaigns, a move expected to present a more formidable challenge to the Republican governor's re-election bid.

Then, Parnell's campaign inadvertently sent out an election flier to state employees, a campaign violation. Parnell's administration then came under fire Thursday with a scathing report detailing allegations of fraud and sexual assault in the Alaska National Guard.

Parnell forced the resignation of his adjutant general. But that didn't stop criticism against Parnell, who has made reducing violence against women a hallmark of his administration.

Parnell campaign spokesman Luke Miller says, "It was certainly an interesting week." He says Parnell looks forward to getting back to work.

Anchorage police seek man after fatal shooting
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Police have released the name of the victim of a fatal shooting in east Anchorage.

Police say the victim was 22-year-old Christopher Fulton Jr.

No one has been arrested in the Thursday afternoon shooting at an apartment off Reka Drive. Police, however, are looking for a man suspected of involvement in a fatal shooting in east Anchorage.

Police say they're trying to find 29-year-old Derrick Lanell Hall.

He was last seen hitchhiking Thursday afternoon on the Glenn Highway near Eklutna, accompanied by a woman.

Police say Hall is black, 6-feet-tall, 160 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. Police say he may have been on his way to Fairbanks or the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

Alaska Airlines to pay $500K federal penalty
SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Attorney's office in Seattle has announced Alaska Airlines will pay $500,000 to settle FAA claims over a 2010 electrical fire in a jet was parked at a gate in Anchorage, Alaska.

The penalty stems from an improperly positioned metal clamp that attaches an air hose to a panel in the cockpit of the Boeing 737-400. The short circuit fire was caused by chafed wiring that resulted from an improperly positioned clamp.

In a statement issued Friday afternoon, the airline spoke of its commitment to safety and compliance. Spokeswoman Halley Knigge says they work continually with federal authorities on safety and regulations.

She notes that the electrical fire happened during maintenance of the aircraft and no customers were on board.

Following the 2010 fire, the airline inspected all 33 of its 737-400 aircraft to makes sure the clamps were placed correctly and to check for wiring problems.

Mendenhall Lake Campground closing
JUNEAU, Alaska – The Mendenhall Lake Campground main camping loop, sites 1-51, will close starting Monday, September 8, to repair road damage caused by the glacial outburst earlier this year.

These sites may remain closed until the end of the season, September 15.

Showers and restrooms will remain open.

Campsites along the main road and RV loop will remain open through September 15.

Alternative sites will be available for campers who have reservations. The Auk Village Campground remains open through September 30.

Passenger dies in commercial passenger bus crash
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A passenger on a commercial passenger bus has died in a crash on the Parks Highway.

Alaska State Troopers say the Princess Tours bus carrying a driver and two passengers rolled Friday morning at Mile 173 about 10 miles north of the Alaska Veterans Memorial.

Troopers say the driver reported the two passengers were "significantly injured" and one was declared dead by first responders.

Two troopers from Cantwell responded to the crash site and troopers from Palmer were dispatched to assist.

Troopers in Fairbanks took a call on the crash just after 8 a.m.

Pilot car driver dies in Dalton Highway rollover
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks man driving a pilot truck died Thursday in a crash on the Dalton Highway.

Dale Linse died at the scene near Galbraith Lake north of Atigun Pass.

KTUU-TV reports North Slope Borough police took a report on the crash at about 4:30 p.m.

Linse was driving north on an icy hill and his pickup left the roadway and rolled.

Linse's son, Shane Linse, says his father was driving the rear pilot truck escorting an oversize load to Prudhoe Bay.

He says his 72-year-old father was a retired semi driver who had made many trips north on the Dalton.

He says Linse started the pilot car business about 10 years ago.

An autopsy has been ordered.

S rig count up 11 to 1,925
HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 11 this week to 1,925.

The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,584 rigs were exploring for oil and 340 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,767 active rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained seven rigs, New Mexico and Pennsylvania each gained two and Arkansas, Oklahoma and Wyoming each gained one.

Kansas lost two rigs and Colorado lost one.

Alaska, California, Louisiana, North Dakota, Ohio, Utah and West Virginia were unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.

Walker: No automatic vetoes abortion restrictions
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Independent candidate for governor Bill Walker is backing away from an earlier promise to veto any legislation that would weaken abortion rights in Alaska if he is elected in November.

Alaska Dispatch News reports that Walker on Thursday said he shouldn't have committed himself to a position on hypothetical bills.

Pro-choice versus pro-life played a big part of discussions when Democratic gubernatorial nominee Byron Mallott and his supporters began meeting with Walker and his team to discuss merging their campaigns.

Walker and Mallott officially united their tickets on Tuesday after Walker agreed to quit the Republican Party in order to receive the endorsement of the Alaska Democratic Party.

Mallott is now running for lieutenant governor.

Walker says he opposes abortions, but would not initiate any effort to restrict them.

Federal budget crunch idles Guard units across US
CINCINNATI (AP) — Training drills for tens of thousands of Army National Guard members from New Hampshire to Hawaii have been called off this weekend because of a federal budget shortfall.

A National Guard spokesman says a $101 million gap in funding for training is being addressed by postponing drills, suspending travel and other steps. Meanwhile, there are efforts underway to get funding reallocated so the drills can be held later this month.

Among other states that have put off National Guard training exercises are Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio and New York. Some, including Alaska, Oregon and Vermont, plan to go ahead as scheduled.

Among reasons for the shortfall are fewer citizen-soldier deployments overseas that are funded separately and higher-than-expected attendance for training paid by the Guard.

NATO committee in Alaska to research Arctic issues
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A group that advises NATO on science and technology is in Alaska to study Arctic issues, including climate warming.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports about 30 members of the Parliamentary Assembly Science and Technology Committee on Thursday were in Fairbanks.

NATO is a 28-member group of military allies in Europe and North America.

The science and technology committee includes lawmakers from NATO countries.

Committee members heard presentations at the University of Alaska Fairbanks on effects of climate change, including the possibility of Arctic shipping routes.

The chairwoman of the committee, Baroness Meta Ramsay of Great Britain, says Alaska was a clear choice to visit for information on Arctic issues.

Mat-Su Borough gets extension on paying back millions
The Mat-Su Borough has a little more time to pay back federal grants used to build a never-used Knik Arm ferry.

KTVA-11 reports that the Federal Transit Administration is giving the borough a 60-day extension to pay back more than 12 million dollars, with the new due date on November 4th.

The Ferry Susitna was intended to carry commuters across Knik Arm but never saw service, and has been costing the borough hundreds of thousands of dollars per month in storage fees.

The borough has been trying to give away or sell the vessel, with an asking price of 6 million dollars. The latest interest comes from the Navy of the Philippines.

Anchorage police seek man after fatal shooting
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police are looking for a man suspected of involvement in a fatal shooting in east Anchorage.

Police say they're trying to find 29-year-old Derrick Lanell Hall.

He was last seen hitchhiking Thursday afternoon on the Glenn Highway near Eklutna near the northern end of the municipality, accompanied by a woman.

Police say Hall is black, 6-feet-tall, 160 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. Police say he may have been on his way to Fairbanks or the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

Police say the fatal shooting took place at an apartment Thursday afternoon off Reka Drive.

Maryland looks into Alaska candidate's tax break
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Officials say they will look into a tax break for Maryland residents received by Alaska's Republican U.S. Senate candidate.

Alaska Public Radio Network reports that Dan Sullivan owns a home in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and the Alaska Democratic Party chairman asked Maryland officials to look into Sullivan's eligibility for the tax break. It requires owners to say the home is their principal residence.

Chairman Mike Wenstrup questioned if Sullivan could receive the exemption while voting in Alaska.

Robert E. Young, director of the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, says he didn't get the letter yet but has a legal obligation to investigate the claim.

The Sullivan campaign declined to comment to the network, but his website says he considered his time outside Alaska a temporary duty assignment.

Harsh ad gives Begich re-election bid a hiccup
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An inflammatory ad is giving Sen. Mark Begich's re-election bid an unexpected hiccup.

The Alaska Democrat has been running one of the most disciplined campaigns of the midterm elections, then his campaign aired an ad so over-the-top that he has been forced to pull it.

Republicans increasingly looked at Alaska as an out-of-reach goal and were considering shifting dollars reserved for Begich's race toward other at-risk incumbents, such as those in North Carolina or New Hampshire.

But after Begich ran an ad using a high-profile crime to cast Republican rival Dan Sullivan as soft on sex offenders, it left the Democrat's allies and advisers worried.

Democrats now are spending money there sooner than they had expected, and Republicans are taking another look at the prospect of ousting Begich.

Free adult protective services fair to be held
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska health officials say a free adult protective services resource fair is scheduled to be held in Anchorage on Friday.

Officials say the annual resource fair taking place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. is for vulnerable adults and their families, friends and caretakers.

The event is set to take place at the BP Energy Center.

According to the state Department of Health and Social Services, similar fairs are set to be held in Juneau Sept. 19 and in Fairbanks Sept. 25.

[Thursday September 4th, 2014  14th  EDITION  7:07  P. M.]

Haines man fined, buried brown bear in back yard
A Haines man was fined Thursday after pleading no contest to one count of failing to salvage the hide, skull, and claws of a brown bear that was taken in defense of life and/or property.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers investigation showed that 48 year old Kevin R. Shove had killed a brown bear in the back yard of his residence in defense of his life and/or property. Shove then attempted to hide the bear by burying it in his back yard with a back hoe.

Shove was issued a $2500 flat fine for the offense, and the bear was forfeited to the State of Alaska.

Labor leaders endorse Walker, Mallott
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska labor leaders on Thursday endorsed the newly formed team of Bill Walker and Byron Mallott in the governor's race.

The Alaska AFL-CIO announced the endorsement in a news release ahead of an afternoon news conference in Anchorage. It said affiliate organizations representing 60,000 labor workers in Alaska overwhelmingly voted for the endorsement.

Walker dropped his Alaska Republican Party membership earlier this week and reregistered as undeclared.

It was a move stipulated by the Alaska Democratic Party's central committee when it voted overwhelmingly Monday to endorse Walker as governor and Democrat Mallott as lieutenant governor.

Walker had been running as an independent. Mallott won last month's Democratic primary election for governor.

The combined ticket is expected to provide a stronger challenge to Republican incumbent Sean Parnell.


Report finds lack of trust in Alaska Guard command
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A scathing report into allegations of sexual assault in the Alaska National Guard finds that victims do not trust the system because of a lack of confidence in the command.

The report was requested by Gov. Sean Parnell, who said he was angry that it had taken several years to get to the bottom of concerns.

He told reporters from Anchorage on Thursday that he had requested and received the resignation of Alaska National Guard Adjutant Gen. Thomas Katkus.

He said he had repeatedly been told by the Guard that cases, like those involving alleged sexual assault, were being handed over to law enforcement. But he said the complaints kept surfacing.

The report was conducted by the National Guard Bureau's Office of Complex Investigations.


32 states, including Alaska, ask high court to settle gay marriage
BOSTON (AP) — More than 30 states have filed briefs asking the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on same-sex marriage.

Massachusetts and 14 other states where same-sex marriage is legal filed a brief Thursday asking the justices to overturn other states' bans on gay marriage.

Colorado and 16 other states that have banned same-sex marriage filed a separate brief asking the court to rule one way or the other to clear up a "morass" of lawsuits. Their brief doesn't specifically ask the court to uphold their bans.

Massachusetts was joined by California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington.

Colorado was joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Alaska one of six states with increases in obesity rates
Two out of three American Adults are overweight or obese, according to the annual "State of Obesity Report" out today. Rates among adult Blacks and Latinos have gone up by at least 8 points in the past decade, but obesity rates among kids and teens are starting to stabilize.

Ginny Ehrlich, from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the group that funds the report, says, "Adult obesity rates went up in six states since last year: Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, New Jersey, Tennessee and Wyoming. No state experienced a decline in rates."

Parnell campaign blames vendor for email flap
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) Republican Gov. Sean Parnell's re-election campaign says a vendor mistake resulted in a political fundraising appeal being sent to state government email addresses.

Spokesman Luke Miller said this happened after the campaign had requested, and been assured, that any governmental email addresses would be suppressed from the mailing list.

Democrats seized on the incident, with the party's executive director, Kay Brown, saying it is wrong for Parnell to use state resources to "promote his campaign."

Last year, the campaign reported that political emails urging recipients to check out Parnell's campaign page on Facebook were inadvertently sent to some governmental, education and legislative addresses. Campaign manager Jerry Gallagher reported that to the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

VA clinic in Wasilla without doctors
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Veterans Affairs clinic in Wasilla is without doctors, after the three physicians working under contract over the summer decided not to renew those.

A nurse practitioner, who transferred from Anchorage last week, now has to carry the 1,000-patient caseload.

The clinic is supposed to have two full-time doctors but has been down one since 2012. KTVA reports the last full-time doctor left in May.

Cynthia Joe, chief of staff for the Alaska VA Health Care System, said the VA is offering what it is allowed to offer for salaries. That level is capped at $195,000. She said there are also incentives and cost-of-living allowances.

There are no applicants.

Troopers arrest man shot, wounded by Bethel police
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man shot last month by a Bethel police officer has been released from a hospital and taken into custody.

KTUU-TV reports 31-year-old Aaron Moses was arrested Wednesday afternoon in Anchorage by Alaska State Troopers. He had been indicted Aug. 28 on assault and criminal mischief charges.

Bethel police say Moses on Aug. 15 went to his brother's home, took a baseball bat outside and broke a window on his brother's vehicle.

Responding officers Joseph Corbett and Sammie Hendrix tried unsuccessfully to subdue Moses with stun guns.

Hendrix told investigators Moses hit him twice with the bat. The officer says he was knocked to the ground and was on his back when he fired his weapon and struck Moses.

Moses was hit in the abdomen.

Modeling issues delay Fairbanks air cleanup plan
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A state plan for cleaning up winter air in Fairbanks is due in December but has been held up as regulators struggle with modeling to determine if the plan will be effective.

Department of Environmental Conservation air quality manager Cindy Heil says modeling has taken longer than anticipated.

She tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that the department wants to look at all factors mentioned during a public comment period.

The Fairbanks area in winter months is regularly out of compliance with federal air standards because of particulate. Much of it comes from wood stove smoke.

Public comment on proposed regulations closed nearly nine months ago.

The state faces possible federal sanctions such as a loss of highway funds if a cleanup plan is deemed inadequate.

Groups receive grants to assist homeless vets
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded two grants worth $768,000 to Alaska organizations to help homeless veterans.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports the grants have been awarded to Catholic Social Services and the Fairbanks Rescue Mission Inc.

Anchorage-based Catholic Social Services will receive $536,641 and the Fairbanks Rescue Mission is in line for $231,370.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald says in an announcement the federal government has set a goal of ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.

The nonprofit groups will receive the money Oct. 1. It's aimed at supportive services for very low-income veterans and veteran families.

Alaska: high rate of welfare
Alaskans benefit from welfare assistance at a higher rate than any other state.

The Alaska Dispatch reports that new census figures show Alaska has the most users of welfare services per capita, with between 6 and 7 percent of families on public assistance.

The rate is more than double the national average, which has been holding steady in recent years. Alaska is one of 17 states to see slight growth in welfare recipients since 2012.

The figure includes only the temporary assistance for needy families program, not the larger number who receive food stamps.

State officials attribute the high rate to the transient workers in the fishing and tourism industries and to residents of rural villages with few economic opportunities.

Body of Alaska serial killer's victim exhumed
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The remains of a victim of recently deceased Alaska serial killer Robert Hansen were being exhumed from an Anchorage gravesite, 30 years after her killer led authorities to her body near a lake north of the city.

Hansen confessed to killing 17 women in the 1970s and early '80s. Hansen died last month at age 75 while serving a 461-year sentence in Alaska.

The exhumation at Anchorage Memorial Park Wednesday afternoon was for the remains of an unidentified woman believed to be in her late teens whose body was found April 25, 1984, near Horseshoe Lake.

The Alaska state medical examiner's office is among those participating in the exhumation. The work is being paid for by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which hopes to identify the woman.

Changes planned near Denali on Parks Highway
DENALI PARK, Alaska (AP) — A congested area of the Parks Highway a few miles south of Denali National Park and Preserve might get a new look.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the state is proposing a pedestrian bridge over the highway at the Nenana River at Mile 231.

That's more commonly known as the home to several cabin and resort areas and the Denali Education Center.

Other changes include putting in a large parking area and rest stop just north of the proposed bridge and moving the Denali National Park sign further off the road so it's safer for people to stop and get their pictures taken next to it.

The Alaska Department of Transportation is taking public comments on the proposed plan through Sept. 30.

Alaska food group to hold meeting in Fairbanks
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska state food resource panel is seeking testimony from the meat processing industry at a meeting scheduled to take place in Fairbanks Thursday.

The Alaska Food Resource Working Group was created to increase the consumption and purchase of local farm products and wild seafood.

Eight state agencies are represented by members of the group, whose meeting is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday.

The group was created to recommend policies and measures. It is led by the state Department of Natural Resources.

The meeting is open to the public and will be held in the conference room of the Fairbanks Regional Public Health Center.

Denali staff to burn debris piles
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Denali National Park and Preserve is planning to burn two debris piles over the next month and warns smoke may be visible from the 92-mile park road and from aircraft.

Ignition dates are planned between this coming Monday and Oct. 3, weather permitting. The piles, once lit, are expected to burn for up to three days.

Park staff plan to burn the piles at miles 53 and 91.

The debris is comprised of trees and brush removed as part of an effort to remove fire hazards from around buildings and along the road.

[Wednesday September 3rd, 2014  17th  EDITION  9:36  P. M.]

CBJ Election Update
Sunday, September 7 - last day to register or update voter registration for CBJ Election

Voters should register as soon as possible, prior to September 7. If a voter has changed a name, or a residence or a mailing address, an updated voter registration application should be completed. Voters may register to vote at any of the following locations during regular office hours:

State Division of Elections' Office, 240 Main St., Room 601, Monday - Friday;
State Division of Elections - Region I Office, Mendenhall Mall, Monday - Friday
Municipal Building, 155 S. Seward St., Clerk's Office Room 202, Monday - Friday; and
Any CBJ Library - check schedule for hours: http://www.juneau.org/library/contact_branch.php

Voter Registration Applications are also available on-line. Access the State of Alaska Web Page at: http://www.elections.alaska.gov. If you experience any difficulties trying to access this form, please contact the State Division of Elections directly at 465-3021.

A list of certified candidates and candidate profiles can be found on the CBJ Election website at: http://www.juneau.org/clerk/elections/2014/2014-CBJ_Municipal_Candidates.php

Karla Hart withdrew from the race for Assembly District 2 on September 2, 2014. As the date to withdraw from the ballot was passed, and the ballot was already approved for programming and printing, her name will still appear on the ballot. Ms. Hart does not agree to serve if elected.

Democratic group swipes at Sullivan in new ad
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee plans a multimillion-dollar ad campaign against Republican Dan Sullivan in Alaska's U.S. Senate race.

The first of those ads focuses on Social Security and Medicare.

It says Sullivan supports a plan to cut Medicare benefits, pegging that on his support for repealing the federal health care overhaul. It also says he supports raising the age for Social Security.

Sullivan, at a debate, said raising the age should be looked at. But he said he didn't support changing benefits for those receiving or about to receive Social Security. The transcript was attached to the ad information.

Sullivan spokesman Mike Anderson said the ad shows allies of Democratic Sen. Mark Begich are desperate.

Republicans and pro-Sullivan groups also have reserved ad time leading to the November election.

Finger-pointing by campaigns over debates
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — There is finger-pointing between the two major U.S. Senate campaigns in Alaska over debates.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich's campaign on Tuesday said Republican Dan Sullivan refused to participate in a forum hosted by the Alaska Native Brotherhood in Juneau. A Sullivan spokesman said the campaign hadn't committed to the event, which Begich still attended.

On Wednesday, Sullivan's campaign said Begich was avoiding a Chamber of Commerce debate in Juneau. Begich spokesman Max Croes said Begich's campaign worked with the chamber to try to organize something but there were scheduling and logistics issues.

Croes said the event had not been finalized last month when Begich released a list of 13 debates and forums he planned to participate in leading to the November election.

Sullivan still plans to address the chamber.


Judge orders state to help Yup'ik voters
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the state of Alaska to help Yup'ik speakers understand their ballots.

KTUU reports U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason ruled in the Voting Rights Act lawsuit on Wednesday. Alaska Native voters had argued the state's voting materials in Yup'ik and Gwich'in were inaccurately translated and poorly distributed.

One example was a ballot initiative seeking parental support for a minor to receive an abortion. Critics maintained the Yup'ik translation of the initiative asked voters if they approved of parental consent of pregnancy.

Gleason gave the state until Friday to say what changes could be made before the Nov. 4 general election. The Department of Law says in a statement it will work with the Division of Elections on devising a proposal.


Court says coal discharge into bay is illegal
ANCHORAGE , Alaska (AP) — A federal appeals court says an Alaska Railroad permit to discharge storm water into Resurrection Bay at Seward does not cover coal that falls into ocean water from a conveyor belt.

In an opinion filed Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a District Court decision and ruled that coal falling from a loading facility would violate the Clean Water Act.

The lawsuit was filed by the Alaska Community Action on Toxics and the Sierra Club in December 2009.

A spokesman for the railroad did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sierra Club volunteer Russ Maddox in a statement from Seward says he hopes the decision will spur the railroad to install pollution controls to prevent harm to the bay.


Republicans have wind at their back in the senate
A new political forecast out Wednesday shows Republicans have the wind at their back, when it comes to who will control the senate over the next two years.

ABC's Steven Portnoy says, "Polling-guru Nate Silver, of our ESPN partner site fivethirtyeight-dot-com, gives Republicans a 64 percent chance of taking control of the senate. The G-O-P needs a net gain of six to win a majority in the chamber. Democrats are struggling to hold onto seats in Iowa, Colorado, North Carolina, Alaska, Arkansas and Louisiana. At this point, Silver says, Democrats have just a 36 percent chance of keeping senate control."

USDA to buy up to $13M in canned pink salmon
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has agreed to buy up to $13 million in canned pink salmon to ease a glut that has weighed down prices for Alaska fishermen.

In July, Gov. Sean Parnell asked the USDA to buy $37 million worth of canned fish under a federal law that allows the government to purchase surplus food from farmers and donate it to food banks or other programs.

Earlier this year, the agency purchased $20 million worth of canned salmon.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced USDA's plans Wednesday. She says she isn't focused on a specific dollar amount but on the government considering using existing funds to take excess salmon off warehouse shelves and provide a nutritious food to Americans in need.


Man who supplied fatal drug to teen changes plea
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man suspected of supplying the drug that killed a 14-year-old Anchorage girl in 2011 has pleaded guilty to distribution of heroin.

KTUU-TV reports Sean Michael Warner entered the plea Tuesday in federal court.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Sayers-Fay says the government will recommend a sentence of 13 to 18 years when Warner is sentenced Feb. 11.

State and federal law enforcement officers investigated the case.

Warner admitted supplying Jena Dolstad with the heroin that ended her life Dec. 29, 2011, nearly a week after she was injected.

Anchorage police said Warner injected drugs into the girl's arm at his home.

Sayers-Fay says the plea saves taxpayers a lot of expense and obtains a good outcome for the case.

Report: Alaska Internet speeds among slowest
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A new report finds Alaska's Internet speeds are among the slowest in the country.

Only Arkansas had slower speeds, according to the report from Internet content delivery company Akamai Technologies.

Alaska's Internet speeds are up 33 percent from last year. But they are about half as fast as the three states with the fastest Internet delivery — Virginia, Delaware and Massachusetts.

The rankings are based off content, such as websites and videos, delivered to users from their servers.

The report's author, David Belson, said even in states with slower speeds, the speeds are still fairly good.

The United States ranked 12th worldwide in Internet speeds, while Libya had the slowest Internet speed.

Kohring withdraws to help Sullivan in Senate race
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Vic Kohring, a former state lawmaker who pleaded guilty to a federal corruption charge in 2011, has withdrawn his candidacy for U.S. Senate in the interest of getting Republican Dan Sullivan elected.

Kohring won the Alaskan Independence Party nomination in last month's primary. He switched his party affiliation from Republican prior to running.

The director of the Division of Elections confirmed Kohring requested his name be withdrawn and said no replacement candidate was offered in his place by Tuesday's deadline.

The chair of the Alaskan Independence Party said she had just returned to Alaska from a trip and could not immediately comment.

Kohring said he didn't feel bad about stepping aside, saying the people who supported him knew his principles were closely aligned to the Republican party.

Murkowski helps get pink salmon purchased
Just more than a month after Senator Lisa Murkowski urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consider Governor Sean Parnell’s proposal to use existing federal funds to buy extra Alaska canned pink salmon for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has agreed to purchase up to $13 million worth.

This news is welcomed by Alaska’s seafood industry, which has been burdened by a glut of pink salmon from last year’s record harvest, and boosts the nutrition options for low-income Americans facing the lingering recession.

"For countless Alaskans and Americans nationwide, the economy is still not working for them; food banks nationwide are seeing increased numbers of those seeking emergency food assistance,” said Murkowski. “Knowing that Alaska’s seafood warehouses have tons of excess canned pink salmon seemed a great fit to clear their shelves and help feed Americans with one of the most natural and nutritious options out there.”

Another low attendance year for Fairbanks fair
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Tanana Valley State Fair in Fairbanks has again failed to attract more than 100,000 visitors.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports about 92,500 people visited the fair during its nine-day run. That's down about 5,500 visitors from last year, when the fair had a 10-day run.

There were 111,000 visitors to the 2012 fair, which also ran for 10 days.

General Manager Joyce Whitehorn says she's not discouraged by this year's numbers, and says they are on par with other years.

The fair this year replaced both its vendors for carnival rides and alcohol after contract disputes.

Bethel school-based health center proposed
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — The Lower Kuskokwim School District wants to bring a student health center to a Bethel school.

KYUK reports the goal is to offer services provided by the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corp. and the state's public health nursing program.

The board of the health corporation has not yet taken action on the proposal.

Schools Superintendent Jacob Jensen says he is hoping a center could be open by the end of October, and initially be open one day a month.

A location has not yet been finalized, but YKHC corporate medical director Joe Klejka says locating the center near students would be crucial.

Klejka says the center may be staffed by a pediatric resident. Public health nursing providers could offer services such as pregnancy testing.

Record rainfall in Fairbanks
After a summer that saw record rainfall in the Fairbanks area, a storm this week has set a new record.

The National Weather Service says the 2-point-24 inches that fell since Monday afternoon, broke the record for most rain in Fairbanks in a 24-hour period.

Three days in, this September is one of the rainiest ever in Fairbanks.

Authorities have issued a flood warning for the upper Chena River.

Robber runs out of gas
A suspected bank robber was arrested in Wasilla after his getaway vehicle ran out of gas.

The F-B-I says 43-year old James D. Surrells was taken into custody three days after the hold-up August 13th at an east Anchorage bank.

An Alaska State Trooper contacted him while Surrells was walking to get gas for a minivan that turned out to be stolen.

The trooper also found heroin in the van, and Surrells was held on an unrelated escape charge.

The same day, a tip to the F-B-I identified Surrells as a suspect in the bank robbery.

A grand jury indicted Surrells on state charges, and he faces further federal bank robbery charges.

Crime-Stoppers tip leads to arrest
A woman wanted on felony sexual assault charges has been arrested thanks to a Crime-Stoppers tip.

Anchorage police said Tuesday that 22-year old Mariya Kalinina was taken into custody after trying to flee.

Officers had been led to her location by a tip to the Crime-Stoppers hotline.

Kalinina is suspected in an assault described as a revenge attack for missing heroin.

She and two other men are accused of beating and raping a man at a Mountain View hotel August 11th.

The victim jumped out of a second-floor window to escape and was found naked and bleeding on the street.

The other two men were arrested earlier.

Anchorage man charged with August bank robbery
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage man has been charged with robbing a bank last month on the east side of the city.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports 43-year-old James Surrells is charged with the Aug. 13 robbery of First National Bank on east Northern Lights Boulevard.

Investigators say the suspect wore a shoulder-length dark wig and had his face smeared with dirt to disguise himself as he displayed a gun to a teller, demanded money and fled.

An Alaska State Troopers three days after the robbery spotted Surrells carrying a gas can and trying to get fuel for a stolen minivan. He was wanted on an escape charge.

Surrells faces additional state charges of vehicle theft, improper use of a license plate and giving false information to a police officer.

North Pole woman pleads not guilty to theft counts
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A 38-year-old North Pole woman has pleaded not guilty to charges she embezzled more than $76,000 from a convenience store.

KTVF reports Theresa Hollens entered her plea Tuesday in Fairbanks Superior Court. She is being held at the Fairbanks Correctional Facility on $20,000 bail.

A grand jury indicted Hollens on charges of scheming to defraud, theft and falsifying business records.

Alaska State Troopers say Hollens was the assistant manager at Riverview Quick Stop. Authorities allege she took money from the store's daily deposits.

Redistricting board ordered to pay more than $310K
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A state court judge has ordered the Alaska Redistricting Board to pay more than $310,000 in attorneys' fees and costs to the Fairbanks-area plaintiffs.

Attorneys for George Riley and Ronald Dearborn had requested nearly $440,000, including about $120,000 in appellate fees. But Superior Court Judge Michael McConahy said he was unaware of any authority he had to award fees for work done in a different court.

McConahy subtracted out other requested costs, as well.

He ordered the board pay about $296,000 in attorneys' fees and nearly $17,000 in costs.

[Tuesday September 2nd, 2014  13TH  EDITION  4:33  P. M.]

New bike racks bring art to public spaces in Alaska’s capital city
JUNEAU (August 29, 2014) – Earlier this week, the City & Borough of Juneau Parks and Recreation
Department began installing artistic bike racks throughout the Capital City.

The project began with the Juneau Non-Motorized Transportation Plan, adopted by the Assembly in
2009. That plan identified a lack of bicycle parking as a serious problem in Juneau, especially at parks
and public facilities. In FY11, the Assembly appropriated funding to design and produce artistic bike
racks.

City staff worked with Corvus Design, a landscape architecture firm in Juneau, to develop 12 unique
designs that are inspired by life in Juneau and Southeast Alaska. Themes include Native Alaskan
culture, sports, climate, and commercial fishing.

Among the first locations to receive bike racks are City Hall / Marine Park (umbrella and boots), Dimond
Park Aquatic Center (waves), Pipeline Skatepark (skaters), Sandy Beach (tugboat), Treadwell Arena
(hockey sticks), Twin Lakes Park (planets), and Sigoowu Ye Park (raven).

Parks and Recreation is hoping to have all the bike racks installed by the end of October, weather
permitting.

Fish to be Libertarian US Senate candidate
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Libertarians have a new U.S. Senate candidate.

The Division of Elections director says Mark Fish will be the Alaska Libertarian party candidate after Thom Walker withdrew. Tuesday was the deadline for political parties to swap-out candidates.

Fish received the party's endorsement ahead of last month's primary, but Walker, an unknown recently registered as a Libertarian, won. Party chairman Michael Chambers has said voters might have confused Thom Walker with Bill Walker, an independent candidate running for governor.

At least five candidates are set to appear on November ballot for the Senate seat held by Democrat Mark Begich, who's seeking re-election.

Fish rejects suggestions he could be a spoiler in a tight race between Begich and Republican Dan Sullivan, saying Libertarians have a right to voice their opinions and positions.


Candidates in Alaska governor's race join forces
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The independent and Democratic candidates for Alaska governor say they are merging their campaigns to give them a better shot at unseating Republican incumbent Gov. Sean Parnell.

Independent Bill Walker said Tuesday that he has dropped his membership in the Alaska Republican Party and reregistered as undeclared.

It was a move stipulated by the Alaska Democratic Party's central committee when it voted 89-2 Monday to endorse Walker as governor and Democrat Byron Mallott as lieutenant governor.

Walker has been running as an independent but didn't change his official party affiliation until Tuesday. Mallott won last month's Democratic primary election for governor.

Parnell's lieutenant governor, Mead Treadwell, oversees elections in Alaska. Treadwell says he is reviewing the ballot-change request with the state Attorney's General's office. A ruling was expected later Tuesday.

Gamble asks regents to reconsider bonus
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The president of the University of Alaska system has asked the board of regents to reconsider the $320,000 retention bonus it approved in June.

Pat Gamble said the timing isn't right. He noted budget concerns and enrollment challenges and said the bonus has become a negative distraction when the university community needs to come together.

The board voted to award Gamble the bonus if he remained on the job through 2016. The bonus equals a year of his salary.

Gamble would not be the first president to receive a bonus. But the offer comes amid budgetary concerns and has even spawned an online petition opposing it.

The university system, in a release, said Gamble made his comments to the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

Correction: Alaska Food Group story
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — In a story Aug. 29 about the Alaska Food Resource Working Group, The Associated Press reported erroneously the date of the group's meeting. It will be held Thursday in Fairbanks.

An Alaska state panel created to increase the consumption and purchase of local farm products and wild seafood has scheduled a meeting this week in Fairbanks.

The Alaska Food Resource Working Group is seeking testimony from the meat processing industry at the meeting taking place from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday.

Members of the group include representatives of eight state agencies.

The group is led by the state Department of Natural Resources and was created to recommend policies and measures.

The meeting is open to the public and will be held in the conference room of the Fairbanks Regional Public Health Center.

Coast Guard Cutter Healy crew invites public to open house in Juneau, Alaska
JUNEAU, Alaska — The crew of the polar icebreaker Coast Guard Cutter Healy is hosting a free open house for the public Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the cruise ship terminal in Juneau.

The tour of the Healy is free to the public. All children must be accompanied by an adult and no pets are allowed aboard the cutter. Crewmembers will be standing by to answer questions about the 420-foot icebreaker and their most recent operations in the Arctic Ocean.

The Healy is scheduled to arrive in Juneau Thursday after completing 123 days of operations in the Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea and Arctic Ocean. During the past four months, Healy crewmembers conducted three primary missions to further scientific knowledge and understanding of the Arctic.

The first mission, the Study of Under-Ice Blooms in the Chukchi Ecosystem, was completed by Stanford University under funding from the National Science Foundation. This mission utilized a variety of tools and equipment to investigate, sample and collect information. Scientists worked with a conductivity, temperature and depth rosette, plankton and zooplankton nets, vanveen grabs, a light-frame onsight key-species investigative (loki) imaging device, a trace metal detection FISH that was towed alongside the ship, a trace metal pump and weather balloons. The compilation of each of these individual components enabled a vast amount of scientific data about the Chukchi Ecosystem to be woven together for education and understanding of ongoing biological, physical, and chemical oceanographic and other related trends in the Arctic. Throughout this phase, the Healy crew completed 230 science stations in which the ship was stopped to conduct operations, with 14 of those being on-ice deployments.

The second scientific mission of the summer was completed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientists who were studying the Pacific Boundary Current and other oceanographic trends in the Arctic. The study of these currents and data collection was captured utilizing sub-surface oceanographic moorings. The moorings remain onsite for one to two years and capture a snapshot of what is occurring in the oceans and seas north of the Arctic Circle. The information collected by the moorings, along with data captured by 156 conductivity, temperature and depth rosette casts, allowed for continuation of research that has been ongoing for 10 years aboard Healy.

The third and final science pursuit of the summer was accomplished with a team from the Coast Guard’s Research and Development Center. Members from CG R&D Center brought technologies and equipment to be utilized for oil spill monitoring in the harsh Arctic environment. Tools used to complete mission objectives and testing evaluation consisted of several remotely operated vehicles, a few small unmanned aerial systems, an autonomous underwater vehicle, an unmanned surface vehicle, surface wave instrument float with tracking, buoys, oil spill tracking buoys and an aerostat balloon. Other smaller materials and projects were evaluated for use by the Coast Guard in the Arctic, and all of these tests together yielded greater understanding of tools to respond to an oil spill should an accident occur in the ice at extreme northern latitudes.

The Healy is scheduled to depart Sunday and return to its homeport in Seattle.

Coast Guard Cutter Healy, delivered in 1999, is the nation’s newest and largest U.S. high latitude icebreaker. The cutter’s primary mission is scientific support and has extensive scientific capabilities. In addition, as a Coast Guard cutter, Healy is capable of other operations such as search and rescue, ship escort, environmental protection, and the enforcement of laws and treaties in the Polar Regions.

For more information about CGC Healy, please visit:
http://www.uscg.mil/pacarea/cgchealy
http://www.icefloe.net
http://arcticspring.org

Car driver in fatal bike crash won't be prosecuted

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — State prosecutors will not file charges against an Anchorage driver whose vehicle killed a bicyclist in January.

Assistant District Attorney Daniel Shorey in a letter released by police Tuesday says TJ Justice will not be prosecuted despite acknowledging that he smoked marijuana for a medical condition.

Justice's car struck 65-year-old Eldridge Griffith on Jan. 2 on Northern Lights Boulevard near Minnesota Drive as Griffith rode against traffic. Surveillance video from a grocery store captured the crash.

Shorey says the presence of marijuana's active ingredient in a driver's blood does not automatically lead to a conviction for driving under the influence.

He says Justice had not exhibited poor driving behavior before the crash and video evidence indicates he was shielded from seeing the bicyclist by another car.

Spay, neuter campaign targets rural dog numbers
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks nonprofit has teamed up with Bethel-based Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. to send veterinarians to rural villages to spay and neuter stray dogs.

Last year, the health corporation investigated 73 bites in western Alaska. Village police kill countless stray dogs each year.

Alaska Dispatch News reports the Alaska Native Rural Veterinary Inc. covers travel and other costs for the spay and neuter campaign through donations.

Participants include Tim Hunt, a Michigan veterinarian who volunteered for the Kuskokwim River effort.

Hunt normally charges $250 per operation. Over the final week of August, he performed more than 70 free surgeries in four villages.

The effort by the rural veterinary nonprofit group has so far this year included eight villages, where different public buildings serve as makeshift veterinary clinics.

Hart withdraws from Assembly race
Karla Hart has withdrawn from the crowded race for Assembly District 2, leaving four candidates.

Hart said that she and fellow candidate Joshua Warren share many values. “As I learned more about Joshua I came to realize that I was running against someone I would like to support. The current Assembly is well represented by the Boomer generation. Joshua’s Millennial voice, viewpoint and experience on the Assembly can offer fresh perspectives for the challenging decisions facing Juneau.”

Juneau voters throughout the borough vote for candidates for all three Assembly seats, District 1, 2 and area wide, regardless of where the voter lives.

The municipal election is October 7. In person absentee voting begins September 22 at City Hall and the Mendenhall Mall. The last day to register to vote in the municipal election is September 7.

Nome looks to spike church, sales tax exemptions
NOME, Alaska (AP) — The Nome City Council is taking a hard look at taking away sales tax exemptions for churches and other nonprofit organizations to collect more revenue.

KNOM reports the council last week considered charging sales tax for items that are now exempt, like banking, used car sales over $1,500 or medical services.

But some member found those would be difficult sales to track, and it would be easier to remove the exemptions for houses of worship and more than 40 organizations, like the regional nonprofit Kawerak Inc.

Officials estimated stripping these exemptions would bring in about $800,000 for city coffers.

No final decisions are expected for weeks or months as the council looks for ways to increase revenue.

Flood warning issued for upper Chena River
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Authorities have issued a flood warning for the upper Chena River after more than 2 inches of rain have fallen since Monday afternoon.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports flooding is expected at the Granite Tors campground and Stiles Creek shooting range in the Chena River State Recreation Area east of Fairbanks.

The newspaper reports there could be a foot of water over Chena Hot Springs Road at Mile 36.9.

The river is expected to crest Wednesday at Moose Creek Dam.

Parnell to draw double-team from Dems
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The independent and Democratic candidates for Alaska governor will elaborate Tuesday on merging their campaigns.

State Democratic party executive director Kay Brown says the party's central committee voted 89-2 to endorse the ticket of Bill Walker as governor and Byron Mallott as lieutenant governor. However, that is contingent upon Walker changing his party affiliation from a Republican.

Walker has been running as an independent but didn't change his official party affiliation. Mallott won last month's Democratic primary election for governor.

Party affiliation and ballot changes have to be made by the end of the business day Tuesday.

Walker and Mallott are expected during a Tuesday afternoon news conference to discuss their campaign going forward.

A combined ticket is expected to provide a stronger challenge to incumbent Republican Gov. Sean Parnell.

Archaeologists find remains of ancient village
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Archaeologists say they've found artifacts in western Alaska that provide a look into ancient Yup'ik culture that has never been seen.

The artifacts were reported uncovered by archaeologists and students from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

KYUK reports the artifacts include household items, jewelry and weapons. The dig includes the remains of a community at the ancient village site of Arolik.

The oldest of the objects date back as far as 700 years. The items were encased in permafrost, which helped to preserve wood and leather.

Archaeologists also found signs of a conflict, including arrowheads embedded in houses and the remains of people who appeared to have died violently in their homes.

Yup'ik lore tells of a massacre at Arolik.

Scientist seeks funding for Bering wave buoy
NOME, Alaska (AP) — A Canadian scientist is hoping to find funding to keep information flowing from the only wave-height buoy in the Bering Strait.

KNOM-radio reports David Atkinson of the University of Victoria in British Columbia first deployed the buoy in 2011 for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

It was part of a yearlong project but Atkinson obtained funding from Western AK LLC to keep the buoy operating through 2014.

It remains the only buoy from which local users can life-stream wave data.

Funding for the buoy 30 miles west of King Island is due to run out this year.

Atkinson says it can probably be redeployed for about $10,000 per season.

Fairbanks talk show host Dukes to move south
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks radio talk show host who took his politics to the borough assembly is moving south, but not out of the state.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Michael Dukes, host of The Michael Dukes Show, is leaving Fairbanks for KBYR-radio in Anchorage.

The station broadcasts to Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna area.

Dukes hosted his conservative talk show on KFAR for 12 years. He describes himself as a firm Libertarian.

He was elected to the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly in 2010.

Dukes grew up in Fairbanks. He says leaving will be difficult but the move is a chance to reach a larger audience.

He says he will finish his assembly term and begin his new talk show after the November election.

2 die, 2 injured in Parks Highway crash
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Two residents of Fairbanks died Monday in a head-on collision on the Parks Highway and two Anchorage residents suffered serious injuries.

KTUU-TV reports 33-year-old Dontaveon Green and 23-year-old passenger Patricia Williams were killed just before 6 p.m. at Mile 152 about five miles north of the Alaska Veterans Memorial.

Alaska State Troopers say a sport utility vehicle driven by 27-year-old Wilton Florencio Villa crossed the centerline and struck the small sedan driven by Green.

Villa and a passenger were flown by air ambulance to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters says troopers are investigating the fatal crash.

Coast Guard medevacs mariner in Port Alexander, Alaska
KODIAK, Alaska — The Coast Guard medevaced an 87-year-old female reportedly suffering from complications associated with a lower back injury aboard the fishing vessel Annie B in Port Alexander, Sunday evening.
An Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew hoisted the injured woman and transported her to awaiting emergency medical services in Sitka.

Watchstanders at the 17th District command center in Juneau received the report from the master of Annie B that a woman had been injured when the fishing vessel took a roll and requested assistance. The duty flight surgeon recommended medevac and the helicopter crew was dispatched to the scene.

Once the rescue crew arrived on scene, the rescue swimmer hoisted the injured women from the anchored fishing vessel and transported her to Sitka.

"The captain made the right call by immediately contacting the Coast Guard after the accident,” said Lt. Greg Isbell, command duty officer, Coast Guard 17th District. “We were able to quickly respond and transport the patient to higher medical care.”

Weather at the time of the incident was reported as 1-foot seas and 11 mph winds.