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[Friday October 24th, 2014  13th  EDITION 4:46 P. M.]

Begich, Sullivan tout Alaska Native ties
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The major candidates for U.S. Senate are touting their ties to the Alaska Native community, a key constituency in a state that could help decide control of the Senate.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and Republican challenger Dan Sullivan squared off during a forum at the Alaska Federation of Natives conference in Anchorage.

Begich said he is committed to the Alaska Native people and said subsistence rights for Native people are fundamental.

Sullivan said he has deep respect for the Native community, noting his wife is Alaska Native.

He tried to paint Begich as a man of words, not action, noting that few bills bearing Begich's name have passed since his election.

Begich said it's not about getting his name on something but getting results, which he said he has.

Parnell, Walker outline Alaska Native views
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Republican Alaska incumbent Gov. Sean Parnell and independent challenger Bill Walker weighed in on various issues during a candidate forum at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention in Anchorage.

Parnell told the audience Friday that his administration has worked hard on improving education opportunities in rural Alaska, including efforts to equalize school construction across the state.

Walker said he would push to develop opportunities through technical training that could create more opportunities for local hires.

The candidates gave different views on health care.

Parnell says he does not support Medicaid expansion in its present form, saying it would place too much financial burden on states. Walker says he would expand Medicaid, saying it's something Alaskans have already paid for.

The convention is the state's largest yearly gathering of Alaska Natives.

Coast Guard rescues person from water in Juneau, Alaska
JUNEAU, Alaska — Coast Guard Station Juneau crewmembers rescued a person from the water in Gastineau Channel near the DIPAC Macaulay Salmon Hatchery in Juneau early Friday morning.

A Station Juneau 25-foot Response Boat - Small crew rescued the man from the water before transporting him to Aurora Harbor and turning him over to police custody.

Local residents contacted Juneau Police Department reporting a male yelling for help. The Juneau Police Department contacted Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center watchstanders around 1:15 a.m. The watchstanders directed the launch of the Station Juneau boat crew.

The Station Juneau boat crew located the man and recovered him at 1:49 a.m. The man was in an 8-foot row boat that he painted red. He stated he was attempting to reach his boat which is anchored in Auke Bay.

"Mariners are cautioned to wear a life jacket when operating a vessel at night," said Lt. Stacey Tate, command duty officer, Sector Juneau. "Thanks to the local residents who contacted police, we were able to reach the individual quickly."

The 8-foot row boat sank outside of the channel and does not pose a hazard to navigation.

The man was transported by Juneau police to Bartlett Hospital.

Wrangell doctor indicted on child porn charges
WRANGELL, Alaska (AP) — A Wrangell doctor has been indicted on child pornography charges.

KSTK reports Greg Salard was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on felony counts alleging child-pornography distribution and possession.

Federal public defender Cara McNamara, who is representing Salard, declined to comment Friday.

Salard is accused of being in possession of child porn when he was arrested last week after a search warrant was served at his home. Authorities say Salard also made child pornography available through a file-sharing network.

He is in custody and scheduled for arraignment Tuesday.

Until his arrest, Salard was working as a family doctor for Alaska Island Community Services. He also had a contract with Wrangell Medical Center.

Island Community Services executive director Mark Walker says Salard is no longer practicing for either organization.

Rep. Don Young apologizes for comments on suicides
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Rep. Don Young is apologizing for remarks made to Wasilla High School students on suicide and says he had been personally touched by the issue.

Young in a speech Friday to the Alaska Federation of Natives made reference to a family member who died. Young says he questioned whether he had "done enough."

Young says the personal side of the suicide issue may have caused him to mangle some of his statements. He told Wasilla students Tuesday that lack of support from family and friends might be to blame when people kill themselves.

Young says that after his personal experience, he made up my mind to try to prevent future suicides.

He says he has supported federal programs aimed at training teachers and counselors to recognize the mental illness.

US rig count up 9 to 1,927
HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by nine this week to 1,927.

The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,595 rigs were exploring for oil and 332 for gas. A year ago there were 1,738 active rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained eight rigs, New Mexico increased five, West Virginia was up three, while Arkansas, California and Ohio gained two apiece. Alaska was up one.

Kansas declined by four, Pennsylvania was down three, Wyoming lost two and Colorado, Louisiana, North Dakota and Utah decreased by one each.

Oklahoma was unchanged.

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

Paper lantern launch causes disruption
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Officials at an Anchorage air field had to briefly reroute traffic following the release of paper lanterns during an interfaith event in the area.

The lantern release, during an event in support of victims of domestic violence, came as a surprise to Anchorage police, who said lanterns appeared in the path of airplane traffic at Merrill Field on Thursday night.

Sgt. Shaun Henry told the Alaska Dispatch News police received calls about rerouted planes and a lantern landing on a vehicle. No injuries or accidents were reported.

A police spokeswoman said no citations were issued.

Jenny Michaelson, with the Archdiocese of Anchorage, said the launch was meant as part of a positive community event. She said no harm was meant.

Calista Corp. to issue new dividend
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Calista (Cha-LIS'-tuh) Corp. officials say the regional Alaska Native corporation will issue a first-ever investment fund dividend to shareholders next month.

KYUK reports the money will come from the Akilista Fund, which was established in 1994 for developing future dividends.

The first dividend from the fund totals $1.22 per share. For the average shareholder with 100 shares, that will work out to $122.

Calista communications manager Thom Leonard says the payout will mark the first time that financial benchmarks set by the corporation board for the fund have been met.

The dividend checks are expected to be distributed in mid-November.

Calista is the Alaska Native corporation for the Bethel region. The corporation currently has more than 12,000 shareholders.

Man rescued from Gastineau Channel early this morning
A 43 year old Juneau man was rescued early this morning, October 24th, 2014, after multiple people heard his cries for help from a swamped boat in the Gastineau Channel. The calls started coming to the Juneau Police Department at about 1:00 a.m. and the US Coast Guard rescued the man shortly after 2:00 a.m..

The man later told officers he had found a plywood boat with a 'Free' sign on it and had decided to use it to row to Auke Bay from downtown Juneau. The man admitted he had been drinking and smoking marijuana.

JPD Officers used spotlights to keep track of the man and requested a Coast Guard response. The man yelled that he was cold and cursed at the officers, apparently displeased with the time it took the Coast Guard to respond. The man said he did have a life jacket in the boat and agreed to get it and put it on at about 1:30 a.m..

After the rescue the man declined emergency medical care but was transported to Bartlett Regional Hospital at his request. Criminal charges are not anticipated.

Juneau Police Department's Crime of the Week
A teenage boy and his father’s project took a negative turn when someone stole the door off the pickup the two had been fixing. The door was taken between the evening of October 17th and the morning of October 18th, 2014, while parked at the corner of Industrial Avenue and Crazy Horse Drive. The pair who was working on the truck had been borrowing a commercial shop in the area to work on a transmission repair.

During the incident the windshield of the truck was also broken. The total cost of the damages is $3500.

You can see a picture of the pickup on the JPD Facebook page.

Anyone with information is encouraged to log on to the Juneau Crime Line Web site and report their tip. You may also call JPD at 586-0600. You may be eligible for a reward.

Senator Dennis Egan addresses Juneau Chamber
Alaska Senator Dennis Egan addressed the Chamber luncheon Thursday at the Juneau International Airport.

He was asked how he would improve the quality of education in Alaska....

"The Senate bill for education was horrible. Thank heavens House Bill 278 was introduced and made it through, but I don't think it was a good idea either.
It's much better than the bill we introduced. I don't think the BSA is high enough. Here in Juneau, to break even, because of inflation, it's over $400 BSA.
We have $100, $50 and $50 over three years. It's not enough.
I think that we ought to increase the Base Student Allocation. That is our future. The kids that we are raising. They are going to be our future leaders, business owners, teachers whatever. I think we need to do more to educate our children. I am a big supporter of Pre-K education; Pre-K funding."

The Senator was asked about the forming of the Walker-Mallott ticket....

"I am proud that Bill Walker and Byron Mallott are doing an independent ticket. To be honest, I am not thrilled with Bill's standing on social issues, but they will work on that.
I think Byron will have a much better standing in a Walker administration as Lt. Gov."


Egan, a Democrat, reflected on joining the Republican majority last session.....

"The reason we did it was because there was no representation for coastal Alaska. Everybody that was in the majority was representing the "rail belt'; the roaded system.
There are no senators that were representing coastal issues. It's a totally different thing when you get out of here.
You don't realize what we have to go through to get our issues taken care of. They don't know about fisheries, they don't know about the Alaska Marine Highway system.
It's our highway, but they don't get it. So, we formed, because of that, a group called the Coastal Caucus; Donny Olson, Bert Stedman, Gary Stevens, myself and Peter Micciche.
We got a lot of things passed that took care of us. "

Senator Egan faces challenger Tom Williams in the General Election on Tuesday, November 4.

Anchorage police investigate death of pit bull
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The carcass of a pit bull found hanging from a tree in a wooded area of Anchorage has spawned an animal cruelty case for Anchorage police.

The department says it's seeking the public's help in finding the person who slashed the dog's throat and hung it in woods near east 20th Avenue and Rosemary Street in east Anchorage.

A man walking in the woods spotted the dead dog Oct. 10.

The dog's ear contained a microchip.

KTUU-TV reports police contacted the owner, who said family members thought their dog, Snoop, had simply run away.

The family lives the Penland Mobile Home Park about a mile from where the dog was found.

Seismologists study earthquakes near Minto
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska state seismologist says big things may be coming from faults near the village of Minto about 50 miles west of Fairbanks.

The third earthquake of at least magnitude 5.0 since Aug. 30 rocked the area Thursday.

State seismologist Michael West tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner the area has become "very vigorous" and faults in the area could generate quakes of magnitude 6.0 or higher.

Earthquake magnitude is measured exponentially. A magnitude 6.0 quake is 30 times more powerful than a magnitude 5.0.

West says a magnitude 6.5 earthquake occurred in Minto Flats in 1995.

West says the area has had roughly 1,500 quakes in the last two months.

He says the aftershock sequence did not die out as anticipated and that has gotten seismologists' attention.

CBJ Tax Exemption Review Committee listens to seniors Thursday night
The CBJ Tax Exemption Review Committee met last night in Assembly Chambers. Juneau citizens were able to publicly comment on the Senior Citizen Tax Exemption.

Before a standing room only crowd, seventeen citizens addressed the committee. For the most part, the comments were rational and balanced.

Bob Batholomew, Director of Finance for the city and borough set the stage by summarizing the current Senior Citizen Tax Exemption.....

Anyone 65 years of age or older who is a resident of the state is exempt from CBJ sales tax for the sales of goods, services and rentals, with the exception of sales of alcoholic beverages, that are solely for the personal use of consumption of the cardholder, the cardholder's spouse or same-sex domestic partner.

Approximately $57 million in sales were exempted as senior citizens sales during 2013 of that $2.8 million was the estimated sales tax revenue that was exempted.

Citizen Pat Watt led off the comments and set the tone for the evening....

" I think the Senior Sales Tax Exemption should be seen in light of all the other tax exemptions; those 31 sales tax exemptions and 21 property tax exemptions.
I have sat through the committee meetings, and I want to applaud you for the hard work you are doing and I don't envy you having to make these decisions. You will have to make some hard decisions. Not everybody is going to be happy. I do think you have the opportunity to make course corrections made up of several adjustments, that when put together will not only help resolve the city's budget predicament but also could reduce some serious inequities in the tax burden. I am struck my the sense of collaboration and fairness that I hear from people who have testified at other hearings and from seniors whom I have talked to ."

The Tax Exemption Review Committee will meet again next Wednesday, October 29 at 5 pm in Assembly Chambers.

[Thursday October 23rd, 2014  14th  EDITION 6:04 P. M.]

Eaglecrest Advances to Sweet 16 Round of Ski Town Throwdown
Juneau, Alaska — In an excitingly close race, Eaglecrest Ski Area took down Fernie of British Columbia on Oct. 14 and advanced to round two of the Ski Town Throwdown. Up next, Eaglecrest will take on Red Mountain the Sweet 16 round on Monday, October 27.

Part of the first Ski Town Throwdown winning team, Red Mountain is sure to be tough competitor. Eaglecrest is calling out to all users, fans, and Alaskans at heart to vote this next round. As in the previous round, voting will take place on Powder.com. Visit Skijuneau.com or the Eaglecrest Facebook page for quick links to the voting site. Polls will open at 8:30 a.m. Alaskan Time and ends at 8:30 p.m. on Monday, October 27.

During the last round Eaglecrest received comments that some devices experienced more difficulties voting than others. Different devices may function better with the voting site than others, although any device with an internet connection should allow users to vote.

“A vote for Eaglecrest is a vote for Juneau, Douglas and all of Alaska!” said Jeffra Clough, Eaglecrest Director of sales & marketing. “We appreciate the support from everyone in Round One and are asking for help to get Eaglecrest and Juneau into Round Three.”

For more information on Eaglecrest, visit www.skijuneau.com.

US, Canada monitor barge adrift off Arctic Slope
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. and Canadian authorities are monitoring a barge carrying nearly 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel that's drifting in the Beaufort Sea.

The U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday the 134-foot barge broke free from its tow in Canadian waters during a severe storm earlier this week.

Canadian aircraft located the barge drifting west in U.S. waters. The U.S. Coast Guard says it will deploy aircraft to the Arctic Slope from Air Station Kodiak to continue tracking the ship.

The fuel tanks on board appear to be intact and don't show signs of discharge.

The U.S. Coast Guard says the area is experiencing 40 mph winds and 12-foot seas.

Canadian and U.S. Coast Guard personnel are developing a response plan with the barge's owner, Northern Transportation Corp.

Fire Fighters give lifesaving tips for Halloween
By making small adjustments to costume and decoration choices on Halloween, danger and risk to public safety is easily decreased.
  “It is important for people to take basic precautions to make sure they have nothing other than a fun-filled Halloween,” say Juneau Professional Firefighters of IAFF Local 4303.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the United States sees an overall increase in fires on Halloween caused by open flames, and the arson fire rate is 10 percent higher than on any other day with 15,500 fires and $92 million in property loss per year. To ensure a safe and happy Halloween, IAFF Local 4303 offers the following tips:

Cross streets at the intersection and look both ways before crossing.

Use battery operated lights, not candles, to decorate walkways.

Always keep candles, matches and lighters in a place that children cannot reach.

Keep children, costumes and decorations away from open flames and heat sources.

Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections and make sure they are certified by a recognized organization like the Underwriters’ Laboratory, Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or the Underwriters’Laboratory of Canada (ULC). Also, do not overload extension cords.

Choose costumes that are flame resistant, comfortable, and easy to walk in and see.

Pick brightly colored costumes that can be clearly seen by motorists. Add reflective tape to the costume to increase visibility.

Please call 9-1-1 for the help of your local fire fighters in the case of a fire or emergency.

IAFF Local 4003 wishes you a happy and safe Halloween.

Airlines doing better financially
Times are apparently better for the country's airlines. New earnings out are showing big gains says ABC's Alex Stone.

"The days of the airline industry bleeding money are over, at least for now. United, American, Alaska, Southwest, and JetBlue Airlines are all reporting huge earnings. More people are flying. Ticket prices are up and they're collecting more money in fees every time you want to check a bag or buy more legroom. What's down? Oil prices -- meaning jet fuel is costing the airlines a whole lot less."

Anchorage TV station wrongly airs contentious ad
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage television station inadvertently aired a commercial for U.S. Sen. Mark Begich that the campaign had pulled because the ad sparked outrage.

The commercial attempted to portray Begich's Republican opponent, former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan, as soft on crime. The ad featured a man identified as a former Anchorage police officer standing outside the home where an elderly couple was beaten to death and a family member sexually abused in 2013. It ended with the man saying Sullivan shouldn't be a senator.

Sullivan had responded with his own ad, but both were pulled at the request of the family.

However, KTVA ran the Begich ad again Thursday.

Station sales manager Andrew Tierney says this was "100 percent" their fault and the Begich campaign wasn't involved.

Troopers seek driver who bashed patrol car
WASILLA, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers are looking for a driver who fled from a traffic stop, bashed a patrol car and fled down an all-terrain vehicle trail.

Troopers say the man in a sport utility vehicle just before 1 a.m. Thursday was stopped by a trooper for traffic violations on west Clairborne Drive.

The officer contacted and identified the driver, who took off at high speed.

Troopers say that during a 10-minute chase, the driver rammed a patrol vehicle twice, causing extensive damage and minor injury to the officer.

The driver managed to flee down an all-terrain vehicle trail.

Troopers say they are seeking warrants for the man's arrest. They did not immediately release his name.

UPDATE: Palin backs independent candidate for governor
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Sarah Palin is supporting an independent candidate for her former office instead of her lieutenant governor.

The former Alaska governor hosted a reception for Bill Walker at her home Tuesday. Walker is running against Palin's former No. 2 and the state's current Republican governor, Sean Parnell.

Walker spokeswoman Lindsay Hobson says while Palin supports the ticket, they do not consider it a full-on endorsement.

Walker and former Democratic candidate Bryon Mallott joined their campaigns after the primary as the best chance to unseat Parnell, who has been in office since Palin quit in 2009.

Palin's relationship with Parnell cooled after he dismantled her signature piece of legislation, a tax system that placed higher taxes on the oil industry when oil prices were high.

Parnell's campaign spokesman says they aren't commenting.

Feds to bring indoor plumbing to Alaska village
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A remote Alaska village where only half the homes have indoor plumbing is among rural communities nationwide to receive a share of more than $352 million in grants and loans for upgrades to rural water and wastewater systems.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Alaska's $12.6 million share of the funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday at a convention of Alaska Natives in Anchorage.

The western Alaska village of Akiachak is receiving a $5 million grant in this round. It will go toward construction of sewer mains and other parts of a core system that can be hooked up later to 100 houses in the community still without indoor plumbing.

Another 100 homes in the Yup'ik Eskimo community of 675 received the plumbing in an earlier project.

Parnell signs bill honoring Native languages
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sean Parnell has signed a bill into law that symbolically recognizes 20 Alaska Native languages as official state languages.

Parnell prompted cheers when he signed HB216 Thursday at the first day of the Alaska Federation of Natives convention, where he also delivered an opening speech before scores of people from around the state.

Organizers say time did not allow Parnell to sign the bill during his speech. Instead, the signing was held in a smaller room at the downtown Anchorage Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center.

Alaska legislators passed the bill at the end of their session in April after supporters staged a sit-in at the state Capitol to urge lawmakers to take up the matter.

Parnell on Thursday said the new law gives "dignity and honor" to the languages.

Quake felt in Fairbanks; No reports of damage
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A moderate earthquake has rattled the interior portion of Alaska, but there's been no immediate reports of damage.

The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 5.0, and was recorded at 8:30 a.m. AKDT Thursday at a depth of 11 miles. It was centered about 45 miles northwest of Fairbanks.

The Alaska Earthquake Information Center says in a release the quake was "felt strongly" in several interior Alaska communities, including Fairbanks.

2 cited for wasting deer, ducks in Juneau
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Coast Guard says it will take additional steps to teach personnel about local hunting laws after two petty officers were issued citations for wasting game.

Anonymous tips led Alaska State Trooper wildlife officers to issue citations to 26-year-old James Schmidt and 27-year-old Chris Hyde.

They are scheduled for arraignment Oct. 30 and could not be reached Wednesday.

Troopers investigated after a deer and four ducks were found Oct. 1 along a rural Juneau road. Antlers but almost no meat had been removed from the deer.

State law requires that edible game meat be processed for human consumption. Failure to salvage meat is a misdemeanor.

Coast Guard spokesman Kip Wadlow says the agency will consider disciplinary action after the court case is complete.

Mining company eyes ski area for gold mine
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The oldest downhill ski area near Fairbanks may be turned into a gold mine.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports a Vancouver mining company wants to dig for gold on land occupied by Mount Aurora Skiland (SKEE'-land).

The property is owned by the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority. The state-owned corporation manages state land to produce income that helps pay for health care of people who experience mental illness.

Skiland pays just $2,500 per year on its annual lease and the mining company would pay much higher rental fees.

Skiland Board member Jeff Fay says the ski area founded in 1962 has never been a money-maker. He says he hopes the mental health trust can see beyond the financial advantages and consider the ski area as a community resource.

Palin comes out for Walker-Mallott
Her resignation made Sean Parnell Governor -- but now Sarah Palin is lending support to Parnell's election opponents.

Palin hosted a reception at her Wasilla home Tuesday for the "unity ticket" of Bill Walker and Byron Mallott.

The ticket is already an unprecedented fusion of Walker, a Republican until last month, and Mallott, who won the Democratic Primary Election.

Now Walker is welcoming the endorsement of Palin, who topped the 2006 ticket for Governor with Parnell as her running mate.

Meanwhile, Palin's erstwhile political ally Joe Miller is supporting the rival who defeated him in the Republican Primary for U-S senate. Miller produced an ad supporting Dan Sullivan, not naming the candidate but aiming instead at ousting incumbent Senator Mark Begich.

Alaskan TV family charged with PFD fraud
A family featured in a T-V show about Alaska is charged with Permanent Fund Dividend fraud.

The Alaska Dispatch reports that six members of the Brown family were indicted by a grand jury in Juneau on 60 counts of unsworn falsification and theft. The charges stem from dividend applications filed in 2010 through 2013.

The indictment names 61-year old Billy Brown, 51-year old Ami Brown, and four of their adult sons.

The state office of special prosecution would not comment on why the applications were considered false.

The Browns were featured in the Discovery Channel Show "Alaskan Bush People," living first in the copper river valley then moving to a houseboat in Ketchikan -- which sank at the conclusion of the show.

Wrangell man indicted for child exploitation crimes
United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced yesterday that a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment against 53 year-old Greg Alan Salard of Wrangell, charging him with distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography.

The indictment alleges that on June 5, Salard distributed a visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct through the internet, and that on November 15, 2014, he was in possession of child pornography.

If convicted of distribution of child pornography, Salard faces a maximum statutory penalty of not less than 5 and up to 20 years imprisonment. If convicted of possession of child pornography, Salard faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

USDA brings indoor plumbing to Alaska village
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A remote Alaska village where only half the homes have indoor plumbing is among rural communities nationwide that will receive upgrades to rural water and wastewater systems.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is scheduled to announce $352 million in grants and loans Thursday at a convention of Alaska Natives in Anchorage.

The western Alaska village of Akiachak is receiving a $5 million grant in this round. It will go toward construction of sewer mains and other parts of a core system that can be hooked up later to 100 houses in the community still without indoor plumbing.

Another 100 homes in the Yup'ik Eskimo community of 675 received the plumbing in an earlier project.

Coast Guard to host 'haunted' food drive
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Coast Guard says a cutter crew will host an annual "haunted" food drive in Homer on Thursday.

The Coast Guard says the cutter Hickory will be open for the event two different times to provide different fright levels for younger visitors. The cutter will be open from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. for children and between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. for teenagers and adults.

Coast Guard officials say people who visit the ship are encouraged to bring two nonperishable food items each.

Officials say the event is sponsored each year around Halloween and has increased in popularity and size.

More Juneau police to be out on Halloween
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Juneau police plan to have an additional nine officers working on Halloween.

The extra officers will provide a greater police presence on the streets and be available to respond to any incidents.

The department reminds motorists to watch for pedestrians and asks pedestrians to wear bright clothes, carry a light source and walk in groups.

Police say they have a limited supply of flashing clip lights available at no charge.

Halloween is on Oct. 31.

[Wednesday October 22nd, 2014  11TH  EDITION 11:04 P. M.]

Hot topics at Juneau town meeting: Housing, seniors, downtown, and more
A 10 year economic plan developed by The McDowell Group and Sheinberg Associates for the City and Borough of Juneau was presented at a town meeting Tuesday night.

Barb Sheinberg told News of the North, "We had about 75 people attend and people divided themselves up really pretty evenly among the seven initiatives for discussion purposes."  She also commented on the many "excellent comments from the public."

Concerning downtown issues, Sheinberg said, "We really need a downtown plan to systematically look at and address what's going on down there, everything from counting housing units and vacant properties to dealing with the atmosphere and safety issues, etc."

As for needs of seniors, Sheinberg says, "There was a lot of attention to the need for an assisted living facility. We're taking some steps already in that direction but we need leadership and we need to continue the momentum."

Sheinberg emphasized the need for housing in Juneau. The group working on that focused on the housing action plan, which should be starting in the next month.

You can logon to www.juneaueconomicplan.org to see an expanded form of the seven economic initiatives.

The second and final Town Meeting will be Wednesday October 29 from 7-9 pm at UAS, Egan Classroom Wing; Rm 112.

Juneau-Douglas City Museum seeks artists interested in exhibiting
Each year in their galleries the Juneau-Douglas City Museum hosts local artists or artist groups who have an idea for an exhibit.

The application period for proposals is now open, with exhibitions to take place in the period between December, 2015 and February, 2016. The deadline for the receipt of applications is October 31, 2014. Artists selected must be prepared to hang the exhibit, produce labels and supply posters and invitation postcards for promotion of their show. Artwork may be for sale, with a percentage of the sales being paid to the Museum as a guest fee.

Marjorie Hamburger told News of the North, "The Museum encourages a variety of exhibition ideas and will consider artists working in all media."  She added that successful candidates will present work that compliments the Museum’s mission: To foster an awareness of Juneau’s cultural heritage and values

Application forms can be picked up at the Museum or can be found online at: www.juneau.org/museum. Click on “Exhibit Opportunities” under the “Exhibits” tab.

For more information call 586-3572. The Juneau-Douglas City Museum is located at 4th & Main Streets. Fall/Winter hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. Admission is free during the month of October thanks to the generosity of Pioneers of Alaska Men’s & Women’s Igloo #6.

Alaska files appeal of gay marriage ruling
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The state of Alaska on Wednesday asked to have an 11-judge panel of the federal appeals court for the West review a lower court's ruling that struck down gay marriage.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess ruled Oct. 12 that the state's ban on gay marriage approved by voters in 1998 violated the due process and equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

The state maintains in its filing with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that is incorrect.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports a majority of the appeal court's 29 justices would have to agree to hear the case. If that's granted, an 11-judge panel instead of the court's normal three-judge panel would hear the case.

It wasn't immediately clear when the appeals court would rule.

Koch brothers among donors to Sullivan
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Industrialist billionaires Charles and David Koch donated to Republican Dan Sullivan's U.S. Senate campaign during the last fundraising quarter.

Other members of the Koch family also contributed, with money going to help pay off primary debt and the general election.

Throughout the campaign, Democrats have sought to tie Sullivan to the Koch brothers; their images appear in at least one anti-Sullivan ad from Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.

Americans for Prosperity, which is backed by the brothers, is among the groups opposing Begich.

Sullivan's fundraising report appeared on the Federal Election Commission website Wednesday.

Other donors included Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson and former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, also prior donors. Sullivan worked in Bush's White House as an assistant Secretary of State.

Gov. Sean Parnell gave $500.

Tea party group cuts ad for Sullivan
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A national tea party group is endorsing Republican Dan Sullivan in Alaska's U.S. Senate race.

A new Tea Party Express radio ad features Joe Miller, who finished behind Sullivan in the August primary. Miller was the 2010 Republican nominee in a race won in a write-in campaign by GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Tea Party Express endorsed Miller in 2010 but sat out this year's race until now, less than two weeks before the election.

Miller's narration doesn't mention Sullivan, instead focusing on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich and why Miller thinks Begich should be replaced.

Tea Party Express executive director Taylor Budowich says his group has been following the race and thought now would be the perfect time to get involved. He thinks the ad will help consolidate conservatives around Sullivan.

UPDATE: Ketchikan assembly rejects meeting prayer proposal
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly has turned down a proposal to begin regular meetings with prayer.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports the proposal failed 5 to 2 Monday following public testimony from both sides of the issue.

Some of those speaking in favor of meeting prayers talked about the long-standing practice of legislative prayers in the nation.

Some opponents said they would feel alienated by prayer at meetings and others said such a policy would discourage people from attending.

The assembly also rejected a proposed amendment to put the issue on the 2015 local ballot.

Local minister Bill White asked if he would be welcome to deliver a prayer during citizen comments.

Borough Mayor David Landis said he personally would enjoy hearing from White.

US Rep. Don Young apologizes after suicide comment
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Rep. Don Young has apologized after telling students at a high school where a child recently committed suicide that people kill themselves when there's a lack of support from family and friends.

Wasilla High School Principal Amy Spargo says students and adults at the assembly took offense because it was as if they were being blamed.

She says after that, the event became more confrontational.

Spargo says she went for the microphone when a response by Young to gay marriage, which he opposes, seemed to rile students further.

Young, the longest serving Republican in the House, has a history of colorful, sometimes offensive, quips, and has made headlines recently more for gaffes than policy.

His office told the Alaska Dispatch News that the congressman should have been more sensitive.

Suspected impaired driver charged with assault
WASILLA, Alaska (AP) — A Wasilla man suspected of driving while impaired with two people in his car has been charged with felony assault after they were hurt in a crash.

Alaska State Troopers say 44-year-old John Murtha was arrested Monday night. He remains in custody at Mat-Su Pretrial Facility.

Troopers took a call just before 10 p.m. Monday that a car had crashed into a utility pole on Forest Lake Drive outside Wasilla.

Troopers say the car crossed the opposite lane and hit the pole.

The two passengers were taken to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center.

Murtha was charged Tuesday with the felony assault counts and a misdemeanor driving under the influence count. His bail was set at $15,000.

Fairbanks schools won't suspend recruitment
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Administrators in the Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna school districts have suspended military recruiting at schools after allegations of sexual advances by recruiters but officials in Fairbanks say they have no plans to limit visits.

Fairbanks school board President Heidi Haas tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner she's not concerned about problems with recruiters at district schools.

She says no instances of misconduct were reported in Fairbanks and the district has procedures in place for school staff to report concerns.

Anchorage School Superintendent Ed Graff placed a moratorium on visits after news reports that at least one Alaska National Guard recruiter had made unwelcome advances on high school students in schools.

Graff said Monday student safety is the district's top priority.

The Mat-Su district suspended visits Tuesday.

Invasive species workshop planned for Anchorage
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — University of Alaska Fairbanks officials say an invasive species workshop is scheduled to take place in Anchorage next week.

The UAF Cooperative Extension Service is hosting the three-day event, which begins Tuesday. The workshop will be held at the Anchorage Marriott Downtown hotel.

Officials say topics to be covered include caribou control on Kagalaska Island and detection of marine invasive species.

Participants also will receive training on weed management and herbicides.

Open houses set for gas line project
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A dozen open houses are set to be held in the coming weeks to provide information on a major proposed liquefied natural gas project.

The office of federal coordinator for Alaska gas pipeline projects says officials with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will attend the meetings.

The current schedule begins Oct. 28 in Nikiski and ends Nov. 20 in Houston.

The office says several open houses have already been held and others are expected.

The state is pursuing the mega project with BP, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp., TransCanada Corp. and the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.

[Tuesday October 21st, 2014  16th  EDITION 8:42 P. M.]

Public meeting on Juneau’s sales tax exemptions Thursday
The City and Borough of Juneau’s Assembly Tax Exemption Review Committee (TERC) is holding a public meeting, on several senior citizen related sales tax exemptions, Thursday from 5:00pm to 7:00pm in the Assembly Chambers in City Hall.

The TERC has held 7 meetings to discuss options for potential changes to various sales and property tax exemptions. The objective of this meeting is to solicit input from the public on the following specific exemptions:

1.Senior Citizen Sales Tax Exemptions

    a)Narrow the exemption to 3 essential purchases: Food, Residential, Electricity, and Heating Fuel
    b)Narrow the exemption to a “needs based” program, based on income level
    c)Eliminate the exemption entirely
    d)Other options to change senior citizen exemptions

2.At the conclusion of testimony on the above items the committee will take public comments on other tax exemptions or revenue options, with the remaining time.

The agenda for this meeting can be found by going to:
http://www.juneau.org/clerk/ASC/TAX/TaxExemptionReviewCommittee2014.php

If you are unable to attend this meeting the committee is planning to have additional public meetings on tax exemptions and the next meeting is scheduled for October 29, 2014.

Local SEABIA contractors volunteer weekend on repairs to Eagle River Boy Scout Camp
This past summer the local non-profit, Southeast Alaska Building Industry Association (SEABIA), coordinated a volunteer work party weekend to tackle a number of much needed repairs at camp that would benefit from the technical expertise of builder/contractors.

After a couple months of coordination efforts by Laura Baker, Executive Officer of SEABIA, the work party was nearing fruition. The project scouting began with a group hike in July to identify work to be done. As the weekend of August 22-24 approached, donated labor and materials were secured from SEABIA members.


Work started on Friday evening after a group of the volunteers met at the trail head and started loading up materials, equipment, tools and camping gear and began the two mile hike in to camp. When they arrived at camp, they were surprised to see another of the volunteers, Rich Harris, had already arrived via plane with a beach landing! Over the successful weekend, work to repair and replace the roof on two cabins at Elk Camp, Riddell #1 & #2 that were in pretty bad shape was completed; fallen trees near trail were sawed up and hauled away; two leaking skylights at a cabin in Eagle Camp were replaced; proper roofing was put on a previously made make-shift wood shed; and other miscellaneous work around camp was completed.

A full contingency of volunteers were on hand, including SEABIA builder contractors: Greg Stopher, Stopher Construction; Russ McDougal, Mac’s Design & Construction; Victor Banaszak, VRB Construction; and Rich Harris, RH Development; along with Dave Hanna, Alaska Concrete Casting; Brad Fail with VRB Construction; Mike Ban, EXIT Realty; Laura Baker, SEABIA Executive Officer and of Mac’s Design & Construction; Judy Lum a State fisheries biologist; Susan Stopher of Stopher Construction with their support team, Amelia (10) and Oliver (7). In addition to the SEABIA group, Boy Scout camp manager volunteers Jerry Taylor and Dave Behrends were on hand to help with hauling logistics and more.

A special thanks also goes out to SEABIA members Alpine Construction, Design North, Icy Straits Lumber & Milling, Perseverance Glass, Alaska Outdoor Wearhouse & Embroidery, Tyler Rental, Don Abel’s Building Supply and Valley Lumber & Building Supply for their contributions of materials, supplies and/or equipment!

There is already talk about what to tackle on the project list for contractor work next year.

Sullivan seeks to tie Begich to Obama, Reid
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Republican Dan Sullivan repeatedly sought to tie Democratic Sen. Mark Begich to President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid during a candidate forum in Kenai.

The comments built off what's become a common refrain for Republicans in a race that could help decide control of the Senate and followed a new ad from Sullivan in which he says Begich is "with Obama, and I'm with you."

Begich disputed Sullivan saying he'd support Reid's re-election as leader, saying he'd back whoever would make the floor process more open.

Begich also dismissed the characterization of him as the deciding vote on the federal health care law as a line used against other Democrats.

Begich said he's an Alaska Democrat, who is pro-gun, pro-development and supports public education and privacy rights.

Ketchikan Assembly says "no" to prayer rules
The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly turned down new rules for prayers at official meetings.

An ordinance up for a vote Monday would have added prayer to the Assembly agenda and set out a procedure for approving invocations.

The Assembly gave preliminary approval earlier this month, but Ketchikan's community radio station reports that the measure failed Tuesday 5-to-2.

Some assembly members said making prayer official might alienate some residents.

Ketchikan Mayor David Landis noted that prayer can be offered at meetings during public comment.

Local governments nationwide have been adopting similar rules after the U-S Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that sectarian prayers at public meetings do not violate the first amendment, provided all faiths are represented.

Elders and youth conference focuses on language
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Native languages are the theme of the annual First Alaskans Institute's Elders and Youth Conference taking place this week in Anchorage.

The three-day yearly event that kicked off Monday will be followed by the annual conference of the Alaska Federation of Natives that runs through Saturday.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports 17-year-old Devlin Anderstrom of Yakutat gave the keynote speech at the downtown Dena'ina (deh-NIE'-nah) Civic and Convention Center.

Anderstrom told the crowd that Native language connects people to their land, their past and people who love them most.

The teenager, a Yakutat High School senior and Tlingit (CLINK'-it) language apprentice, gave his speech first in Tlingit, then in English.

Anderstrom told conference attendees that values of elders and ancestors only really come across in the Native language.

Decorative tusks, bone taken from thrift shore
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Church officials have reported the theft of ivory elephant tusks and whale bone from a thrift store in Juneau.

The Holy Trinity Episcopal Church runs the downtown shop and reported the theft to police Saturday.

The tusks were described as being carved with lines of little elephants. The whale bone bore a carving of an Alaska Native woman holding a child.

Lt. David Campbell, a police spokesman, said the tusks were being sold at the shop for $150 each and the whale bone for $450. He said police had no leads and had found no signs of forced entry.

Church Administrator Alison Talley said the store normally does not experience much theft. But she said someone recently stole a homemade donation box.

State, refinery reach agreement on cleanup
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Owners of the shuttered North Pole refinery and the state of Alaska have agreed on cleanup methods for a leak of an industrial chemical at the site.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the agreement for the cleanup of sulfolane was worked out between Flint Hills Resources Alaska, the Alaska Department of Law and the Department of Environmental Conservation.

The agreement sets binding requirements for cleanup and containment methods.

It contains provisions for cleanup at the refinery but not the surrounding area.

Kristin Ryan of the Environmental Conservation Department says Flint Hills already has been complying with most of the provisions in the agreement.

Flint Hills spokesman Jeff Cook says a cleanup off the site will be the next step.

Alaska earthquake felt in state's interior
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Seismologists say a moderate earthquake struck Alaska and was felt in communities of the state's interior.

The Alaska Earthquake Center says the 5.0 magnitude earthquake occurred at 4:36 p.m. Monday.

State seismologist Michael West says the quake was centered about 40 miles northwest of Fairbanks and was felt there and other communities, including Nenana and Salcha.

There are no immediate reports of injury or damage.

West says seismologists are trying to determine if the quake was connected to a 5.0 magnitude quake that occurred Aug. 30 near the same location.

The National Tsunami Warning Center says Monday's earthquake is not expected to trigger a tsunami.

Anchorage School District bans military recruiters
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage School District has banned military recruiters from the district's campuses.

KTVA reports that the decision follows recent reports that allege recruiters from the Alaska Army National Guard made inappropriate advances toward high school students.

Superintendent Ed Graff calls the reports absolutely unacceptable. He says the school is reviewing its policies on adult-student boundaries to make the school's expectations clear.

Last week, KTVA received documents stating that members of the Alaska Army National Guard's recruiting staff were offering students alcohol and inviting them to parties.

Witnesses say a married recruiter had sexual relations with a female student.

Lt. Col. Lee Knowles from the Guard says the school hasn't contacted them, and he finds it regrettable that the district took this stance based on a media report.

Anchorage conducting survey on homelessness
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage health officials say locals can participate in a survey looking for ideas on how to end homelessness in the city.

Officials say the goal of the survey is to provide information toward developing a five-year plan aiming for a solution to the problem.

Those involved in developing the plan are the Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services, the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness and a subcommittee of the Housing and Neighborhood Development Commission.

27 apply for adjutant general job in Alaska
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A selection team will forward for Gov. Sean Parnell's consideration finalists from among 27 applicants to serve as adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard.

The team, appointed by Parnell, includes Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, adjutant general for Arizona; Parnell aides Cindy Sims and Randy Ruaro and state labor commissioner Dianne Blumer.

Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said the panel represents a cross section of expertise, including labor, legal and military matters. She said the panel is conducting interviews this week.

Parnell plans to personally interview the finalists. Applicants include Brig. Gen. Leon "Mike" Bridges, the acting adjutant general.

The position opened up after Parnell asked for the resignation of Thomas Katkus following release of a scathing report into allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct within the Guard.

Autopsy being performed on Sitka downing victim
SITKA, Alaska (AP) — An autopsy is being conducted on a man who drowned in the ANB Harbor in Sitka.

The Daily Sitka Sentinel reports 41-year-old Richard T. Hatten was unresponsive when he was pulled from the water last Thursday. Friends found him in the water near the dock and pulled him out.

Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. Police say he was in the water for about an hour before his body was found. He had been staying on a boat in the harbor.

Surveillance video at the harbor shows Hatten leaving the harbor and returning later. Police Lt. Jeff Ankerfelt says the video shows Hatten appearing unsteady on his feel before falling off the dock.

Wanted man flees from police; involved in hit and run
Monday morning around 11, a Juneau Police Department officer saw a vehicle being driven by 42 year old Jose Angel Munoz, a man with a $10,000 warrant on a prior charge of felony DWI and misconduct involving drugs in the 4th degree. That warrant had been out since September 26, 2014 and officers had been unable to find Munoz.

The officer who saw Munoz attempted a traffic stop near Juneau Douglas High School. Munoz fled the stop. After following about a block the officer slowed down and created about two blocks of space between him and Munoz to try and keep Munoz from driving recklessly in a residential and school area. Munoz turned up into the Highlands neighborhood and the officer lost sight of him.

Another JPD officer joined in the search for Munoz. Munoz was next seen by that second officer as Munoz was coming down Behrends Avenue at a high rate of speed and failed to negotiate a left turn onto Glacier Avenue. Munoz was struck by a car that had the right of way. Munoz fled the collision on foot but was caught by the second officer, also on foot, and held at taser point. Munoz surrendered to that officer.

The driver of the car in the collision with Munoz was an 82 year old Douglas woman. She was transported to Bartlett Hospital as a precautionary measure. She was later found to be uninjured. She did ask the case officer who came to check on her at the hospital if she had helped to catch the suspect. She was assured by the officer that she had.

Munoz now faces five new charges in addition to those that led to the warrant. Munoz was found in possession of narcotics and was charged with misconduct involving drugs in the third degree (B felony), failure to stop at the direction of a peace officer (C felony), failure to render aid (C felony) and two A misdemeanors, reckless driving, and driving without a valid license.

Munoz was lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

Changes in Alaska National Guard leadership
Transitions in senior leadership for the Alaska National Guard were made yesterday at the direction of Governor Sean Parnell.

Brig. Gen. Mike Bridges met with three leaders in key positions to notify them of personnel changes involving them, effective immediately.

Based upon the totality of the OCI report and findings, the governor directed the following actions:
Brig. Gen. Catherine Jorgensen is removed from her position as chief of staff and land component commander for the Alaska Army National Guard. Acting Army chief of staff is Col. John Woyte.

Brig. Gen. Donald S. Wenke is removed from his position as the commander of the 176th Wing, Alaska Air National Guard. Assuming command of 176th Wing is Col. Blake Gettys.

Col. Edith Grunwald is removed from her position as the director of human resources for the Alaska National Guard. Acting director of human resources is Lt. Col. Emma Thyen.

These changes were made to help restore trust, and foster faith and confidence in the leadership of the Alaska National Guard.

Deliberate steps will continue to be made to improve the organization and its culture, and additional changes will take place as appropriate.

JPD enhances Halloween enforcement and your costume
Trick out your Halloween costume with a treat from Juneau Police this Halloween and feel safer with more officers on patrol.

Juneau Police Department will be conducting enhanced enforcement on Halloween, Friday, October 31st. In addition to normal staffing for a Friday night, an additional nine officers are scheduled to work. The additional officers will focus on providing a police presence and respond to incidents, both in town and for the entire road system.

In a release, Lieutenant David Campbell offers these Halloween safety tips: "Motorists are reminded that there will be more pedestrians on the street than normal. Please drive safely near pedestrians and watch for people running from house to house in neighborhoods. Pedestrians are reminded to watch for motorists and cross streets at designated crosswalks if available. Pedestrians are advised to wear bright clothing, walk in groups, have adult supervision, and carry a light source. If trick or treating, do not enter a stranger’s house and only accept unopened store bought treats."

To help pedestrians be seen, JPD has a limited supply of red and blue LED flashing clip lights available at no charge. The lights can be picked up at the JPD front counter during normal business hours. Supplies are limited to two lights per person.

"Purple Ice," Disco Open skate to raise domestic violence awareness
It's a "Purple Ice," Disco Open skate Wednesday, co-hosted by Juneau Alaska National Organization for Women members, the Aiding Women from Abuse and Rape Emergencies (AWARE) center, and the Treadwell Arena. 

The Disco Open Skate is to raise awareness of domestic violence. 

Adult skate is $6.  Youth skate is $5.  Senior skate is $4.  Skate rental is $2.25.

Bring a new bath towel for the AWARE shelter and get a free skate rental for the night. 

Alaska has the nation's highest rates of rape and domestic violence against women and women are more likely to be killed by men in Alaska than in any other state.  59% of women in Alaska and 55% in Juneau reported they had experienced intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence, according to a recent survey by the University of Alaska Justice Center.

Disco skate Wednesday night at the Treadwell Arena on Douglas Island from  6:30 - 8:00. 

[Monday October 20th, 2014  11th  EDITION 4:37 P. M.]

Power restored within thirty minutes in numerous areas this afternoon
Power went out in numerous areas today around 3:10 PM, including downtown, West Juneau, Douglas, the Valley, Lena Loop, and out the road. 

AEL&P's Debbie Driscoll says all power was restored within 30 minutes.  She called the problem a load shed that caused multiple feeders to open. 

Begich urges more airport screenings for Ebola
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has urged the president to expand health screenings at more international airports, including Anchorage, in response to Ebola concerns.

In a letter to President Barack Obama, Begich said such "sensible travel restrictions" must be considered to help contain the outbreak in West Africa and prevent its spread to the U.S.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she isn't sure adequate protocols are in place to protect health care workers and the American public.

She said until that certainty exists, the Obama administration should consider banning or restricting travel from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, nations hit hard by the outbreak.

Last week, an epidemiologist for the state questioned the efficacy of additional airport screenings since people may not show symptoms for up to 21 days after exposure.

Candidates start final push as early voting starts
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Early voting has started in Alaska, as the candidates in the state's hotly contested U.S. Senate race begin their final push.

Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, whose campaign has been urging Alaskans to vote early, planned to cast his ballot on Monday in Anchorage and to hold a news conference defending his record as mayor of that city, a job he held prior to his election in 2008.

Meanwhile, Republican challenger Dan Sullivan was scheduled to be in Homer on Monday evening.

The two are scheduled to participate in a forum in Soldotna on Tuesday, one of a handful of forums and debates that both have agreed to ahead of the Nov. 4 election.

The race could help decide control of the Senate. Republicans see Begich as vulnerable.

Coast Guard completes international assist, disabled vessel safely moored
JUNEAU, Alaska — Coast Guard assets and personnel assisting the Canadian coast guard returned to their units after the disabled vessel, Simushir, was safely towed by commercial tugboats to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Monday.

“The trusted partnership we have with our Canadian counterparts continues to be a vital component to protecting lives at sea and mitigating potential maritime emergencies,” said Rear Adm. Dan Abel, commander, Coast Guard 17th District. “We are pleased this case ended with a positive outcome; preparing for the worst case scenario is the first step in an effective prevention and response plan.”

Coast Guard 17th District watchstanders in Juneau received a request for assistance on Friday from the Rescue Coordination Center in Victoria, who reported the Simushir had lost propulsion while transiting from Port Angeles, Wash., to Russia, and was at risk of running aground on the Queen Charlotte Islands with 11 crewmembers and approximately 168,000 gallons of fuel.

The Coast Guard forward deployed an Air Station Sitka Jayhawk helicopter crew Friday and an Air Station Kodiak C-130 Hercules crew with a State of Alaska Emergency Towing System on Saturday to the town of Sandspit on Moresby Island to provide search and rescue assistance to Canadian coast guard crews. The 17th District also stood up their incident management team to direct Coast Guard assets and personnel support. Coast Guard Sector Juneau deployed six members, including the sector’s commander, to Ketchikan to establish the foundation for a unified command and to exercise their sub-area contingency plan with state and local partners.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter SPAR, a 225-foot seagoing bouy tender homeported in Kodiak, was diverted Friday to the Simushir’s location with a State of Alaska Emergency Towing System onboard and arrived Saturday. The SPAR stayed on scene and kept in close communication with the Canadian coast guard vessels and the commercial tugboat, Barbara Foss.

The Barbara Foss took the Simushir into tow Saturday and safely transited to Brown Passage, where two other tugboats took over and brought the freight vessel into Prince Rupert.

“Assistance provided by the U.S. Coast Guard in the form of the USCGC SPAR and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter at the ready in Sandspit, B.C. highlights the ongoing support that the U.S. and Canada provide to each other,” said The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “And for that I would like to extend my appreciation.”

Official: Kenai Peninsula residents oldest
HOMER, Alaska (AP) — A state official says the Kenai Peninsula has some of the highest percentages of older Alaskans in the state.

The Homer News says Alaskans 50 and older account for 36 percent of the population on the peninsula, compared with 27 percent of the population in that age group statewide.

State demographer Eddie Hunsinger discussed Alaska's growing senior population during a presentation Friday at the Homer Senior Center.

Hunsinger's discussion was part of the first South Peninsula Senior Summit.

Hunsinger says the aging trend is expected to keep climbing. In two decades, seniors aged 65 and older on the peninsula are expected to make up nearly 25 percent of the population there, compared with 15 percent statewide and 20 percent nationwide.

Juneau musician donates $100K to local causes
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A Juneau musician marked his 87th birthday by donating $100,000 to four local organizations.

The donation by Ron Maas is to be divided equally among Juneau Jazz & Classics, Juneau Alaska Music Matters, the Juneau Symphony and the Glory Hole, a shelter and soup kitchen.

Maas, a trumpeter and leader of the Thunder Mountain Big Band, says when he was growing up, his family never had much to eat. He said he learned the need to help others.

Maas and his wife are long-time members of Juneau's arts scene and have made major donations before, including a $50,000 gift to the symphony and a scholarship to the Sitka Fine Arts Camp.

In 2008, they received a Mayor's Award for Patrons of the Arts.

Bike parts found behind Juneau apartment house
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Juneau police say they have no explanation for a stash of stolen bicycle parts found behind an apartment house in the Mendenhall Valley.

Lt. David Campbell reports that most Juneau bike thefts are crimes of opportunity and people steal them to get around, not to strip them.

Michelle Norman says she loaned her bike to a friend of her daughter and it was stolen outside a store.

The girl's stepfather received a tip about stolen bikes and found the Norman's bike frame among tires and wheels piled up behind Coho Apartments.

Norman says it will probably be cheaper to buy a new bike than to add handlebars, front forks, wheels, gears, pedals, shifters and brakes to her recovered bike frame.

First measurable snow falls in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The first measurable snow of the season has fallen in Alaska's largest city.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports six-tenths of an inch fell on Sunday at the National Weather Service's Sand Lake office.

And that was just the start. The agency says in a statement that another 1.5 inches fell there after midnight.

Snow depths from the first snowfall varied widely over the municipality.

Eagle River had three-tenths of an inch of snow, but one part of the Hillside south of O'Malley Road had 7 inches. There was also a measurement of 8 inches of snow along Turnagain Pass early Monday morning.

Alaska resumes issuing licenses to gay couples
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Gay couples can start getting married in Alaska on Monday.

Phillip Mitchell, with the state Department of Vital Statistics, said couples who completed applications last week before the courts issued a stay can start picking up their licenses Monday morning. He also tells The Associated Press in an email that offices across the state will again be taking marriage applications for same-sex couples.

A federal judge on Oct. 12 ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. The state intends to appeal, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay for the state to seek relief from the U.S. Supreme Court.

However, the nation's highest court denied the state's request for a stay on Friday, when marriages offices were closed for a state holiday.

Cab passenger dies after crash with SUV
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A woman riding in a cab died after a crash in midtown Anchorage but the cause of death has not been determined.

KTUU-TV reports two women and a 2-year-old child were in the cab at 7:30 p.m. Friday when it was struck by a sport utility vehicle that rolled through a stop sign at 40th Avenue and Denali Street.

Initial police reports said the women had received injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

However, at 3 a.m. Saturday, police learned one of the women had died. An autopsy was ordered to determine whether the crash played a role in the death.

The driver of the SUV, 35-year-old Bjarne Rasmussen, was issued a citation for failure to stop at a stop sign. He also was transported to a hospital.

Fairbanks air plan won't include local measures
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The official overseeing state efforts to clean up winter air around Fairbanks says any new measures taken by local government probably will not immediately make it into a cleanup plan required by the federal government.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation says the federal Environmental Protection Agency requires a cleanup plan by the end of the year.

Air Quality Division chief Alice Edwards says the state plan was conceived before Fairbanks North Star Borough voters this month rejected a continued ban on local air pollution controls.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the state plan has to include scientific modeling to show federal air standards can be met.

Fairbank's wintertime air is regularly out of compliance with federal standards because of particulate emitted by people heating with wood as an alternative to expensive heating oil.

Sen. Murkowski Releases GAO Report on Crude Exports
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today welcomed the release of a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) suggesting that lifting the ban on crude oil exports could decrease gasoline prices and grow the economy.

“This latest review by the GAO is a welcome addition to the growing body of analysis supporting the case for greater oil exports,” Murkowski said.

The report, available here, outlines a number of potential outcomes of lifting the ban, including greater oil production, economic growth and lower gasoline prices. GAO states:
“Removing export restrictions is expected to increase the size of the economy, with implications for employment, investment, public revenue, and trade. For example, removing restrictions is expected to contribute to further declines in net crude oil imports, reducing the U.S. trade deficit.”

GAO also states:
“The studies we reviewed and most of the stakeholders we interviewed suggest that consumer fuel prices, such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, could decrease as a result of removing crude oil export restrictions. A decrease in consumer fuel prices could occur because they tend to follow international crude oil prices rather than domestic crude oil prices, according to the studies and most of the stakeholders.”

The report also recommends that the Department of Energy re-examine the size of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

AFN convention this week in Anchorage

The Alaska Federation of Natives holds its annual convention this week in Anchorage.

The theme of this year's gathering is "Rise As One."

The convention opens Thursday with guest speakers including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and National Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby.

Two hometown speakers will present a joint keynote address Thursday: Miriam Aarons, Communications Director for Bering Strait Native Corporation and former NFL player Mao Tosi.

The agenda for Friday's session includes the usual speeches from elected officials and candidates, and one item never seen before at A-F-N: a 5-minute update on ebola virus preparedness.

The A-F-N convention, billed as Alaska's largest annual gathering, is expected to attract up to 5-thousand attendees to the Dena'ina Convention Center in downtown Anchorage.

[Sunday October 19th, 2014  5th  EDITION 6:21 P. M.]

State lays claim to land along refuge boundary
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The state is seeking conveyance of nearly 20,000 acres on the western boundary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The state says the lands were requested under the Alaska Statehood Act and Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. But Gov. Sean Parnell says the federal government has been improperly drawing the boundary.

In a release, Parnell says his administration began a review of the boundary after the Department of Natural Resources received bids for oil and gas tracts in the area in 2011.

He says conveyance will bring the acreage under state control for oil and gas exploration.

Maureen Clark, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, told APRN the agency received the state's request and was checking if the issue was the subject of prior litigation.


Parnell meets with Guard members
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sean Parnell met with Alaska National Guard members amid ongoing criticism about the administration's response to allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct within the Guard.

Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow says this was a drill weekend and hundreds of Guard members attended the town hall at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Sunday.

Leighow said by email that Parnell was addressing changes that are being implemented within the Guard and taking members' questions. She says Guard leadership was not in attendance.

A report from the National Guard Bureau's Office of Complex Investigations found that victims did not trust the system because of a lack of confidence in the command. In response, Parnell asked the leader of the Guard to resign.

Parnell vowed to implement the report's recommendations to help restore confidence.


Files allege misconduct among recruitment officers
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Investigative files show years of alleged sexual and other misconduct among officers within the Alaska Army National Guard's Recruiting and Retention Battalion.

The files, leaked to the Alaska Dispatch News, were prepared between 2010 and 2014.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports the files describe a unit in which officers cheated on their wives, bullied civilians, drank to excess and made demeaning comments about women, including fellow soldiers.

Most of the leaked files contain portions of the full investigations and do not provide defense statements from the officers or the final results of the investigations.

Gov. Sean Parnell has been criticized for not acting quickly enough in response to allegations of misconduct within the Guard. News organizations and others have requested information on the administration's response and Guard records.


Record number registers for ultra race
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A record number of people have signed up for the White Mountains 100-mile ultra race north of Fairbanks.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 155 people signed up for 65 slots in the race, scheduled for March.

A lottery determines the roster and wait list.

There are three divisions: biking, running and Nordic skiing. Ninety-six people signed up for the bike race, 31 people signed up for the ski race and 28 for the run.

Returning are the reigning winners and record holders in the men's and women's bike division, Josh Chelf and Amber Bethe. Also back is two-time women's foot race champion and record holder Laura McDonough.

The 65-person field currently includes racers from a handful of states in the Lower 48, two from Canada and one from Spain.


Restoration plan taking longer than expected
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Government attorneys say a restoration plan for addressing lingering effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill is taking longer than expected to complete.

The six-step plan includes testing of possible bioremediation technologies.

The attorneys, in a recent court filing, said it will be necessary to apply what was learned from the testing to all known or predicted oiled sites before moving ahead. They proposed another update to the court by June 30.

Lawsuits brought against Exxon Mobil Corp. by the state and federal governments after the 1989 spill led to a $900 million settlement and a consent decree that included a clause that would allow the governments to seek additional funds for restoration projects.

In 2006, the governments demanded $92 million but haven't asked a judge to enforce the provision.


Ketchikan officials to consider prayer at meetings
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly is set to consider whether to begin its meetings with a prayer.

A public hearing and vote are scheduled for Monday.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports that there was disagreement at an earlier meeting about whether non-religious speakers would be allowed to deliver invocations and how much time would be set aside for prayer.

One proposal would set time limits of 30 seconds to 90 seconds for prayers or meditative observances "with a positive and cooperative focus." Another would allow representatives of all faiths and denominations to deliver invocations, including moments of silence.


Update: Coast Guard Cutter SPAR open house in Juneau, Alaska, cancelled
JUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard Cutter SPAR open house scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 19, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Coast Guard Pier in Juneau has been canceled.

The SPAR has been diverted to provide assistance to the Canadian Coast Guard, who are responding to a freight vessel adrift off the coast of British Columbia’s Queen Charlotte Islands.

Man fleeing with stolen TV runs in front of JPD patrol cars
It was bad timing for one thief in Juneau Saturday night. A man running from a store with a TV over his head ended up crossing the road just as a procession of Juneau Police patrol cars approached.

Four Juneau Police officers were traveling in a procession on Glacier Highway near Northwood Street on Saturday just before midnight. The officers were en route to a location to follow-up on an assault case from the day before.

As the officers approached the intersection of Glacier and Renninger Street, a man ran in front of the patrol cars carrying a large object over his head. The man was running toward Renninger Street from the direction of WalMart. The officers contacted the man as he placed a 42” flatscreen TV into the back of a pickup truck in the parking lot of a nearby apartment complex. Investigation revealed the man had stolen the TV from WalMart and exited through an emergency exit in the back of the store, where police found him running across the street.

The suspect, 33 year-old Berton Atlas Tullis, was arrested and charged with Larceny. He was taken to Lemon Creek Correctional Center and later released.

Alcohol did not appear to be a factor.

SALMON CREEK TRAIL CLOSURE
Contractors are starting repair work on the Salmon Creek Road Monday to repair an 80-foot section of the road that washed away last winter after heavy rains. As a safety measure, the trail will be closed to the public during these repairs. Repairs are expected to be completed by the end of November.

The damaged section is located about a mile up from the gate, halfway between the gate and the old upper power house where the actual Salmon Creek Trail to the dam begins. The damage is not far from where a larger section of road washed out in 2005, also causing a temporary road closure.

The 30-year-old road is part of the Salmon Creek Hydro Project regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and operated and maintained by AEL&P.

Image of road damage taken in January 2014 by Scott Willis of AEL&P

American tug towing disabled Russian cargo ship to Prince Rupert, B.C.
OLD MASSETT, B.C. - The stricken Russian container ship Simushar is under tow again off the north coast of British Columbia.

The Canadian Forces' joint rescue co-ordination centre in Victoria says the ocean-going American tug boat Barbara Foss has a secure line attached to the ship.

Spokesperson Acting Sub Lt. Melissa Kia says the owners of Russian vessel plan to have it taken to Prince Rupert.

Kia says the winds and seas have calmed significantly since yesterday, and at their current speed of seven nautical miles per hour the ships should reach port later today.

The Canadian Coast Guard vessel Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the U.S. Coast Guard vessel Spar are providing escort service.

A mechanical failure left the Simushar drifting in heavy seas Thursday night, sparking fears it could run aground and spill hundreds of tonnes of fuel along the pristine shores of Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands.

A Canadian Coast Guard vessel tried towing Simushar yesterday, but the tether kept breaking.

Kia says there have been no such problems since the bigger and better equipped tug took over.
 

[Saturday October 18th, 2014  5th  EDITION 9:58 P. M.]

Proposal would run recycling program as non-profit
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks-North Star Borough is looking 300 miles south in the hopes of finding a better solution to trash and recycling.

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough runs a recycling program as a non-profit, with eight employees and 400 volunteers.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports an ordinance going before the assembly for a vote next week would spend $75,000 on updating a municipal recycling plan from 2005.

And Assemblyman John Davies thinks the Mat-Su model works. It pays the bills with donations, a $75,000 municipal grant and by selling high-quality baled recyclables to brokers in Washington.

Davies says recycling might make financial sense if the rate for selling bundled recyclables by the ton is comparable to what it costs to bury a ton of trash in the landfill.

Coast Guard responds to vessel aground near Ketchikan
A Coast Guard Station Ketchikan boatcrew and an Air Station Sitka helicopter crew responded to a 38-foot fishing vessel aground with one person aboard near Ketchikan, Saturday morning.

The Ketchikan boatcrew recovered the boater from the beach and transferred him to Station Ketchikan.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau watchstanders received a report of a vessel aground at Lyman Anchorage in Clarence Strait.

Watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast for assistance from any nearby mariners and requested the launch of the Station Ketchikan crew.

The Jayhawk helicopter crew, returning from a previous mission, was diverted to the scene to assist. A good Samaritan vessel, the Guardian, answered the UMIB and proceeded to the location.

Once on scene, the Station Ketchikan boatcrew launched a workskiff and recovered the boater from the beach. They returned to Ketchikan where the boater was reunited with his family with no medical assistance needed.

“We encourage all mariners to ensure emergency and safety equipment is in good working order,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Durham, watchstander, Sector Juneau. “Proper use of personal floatation devices and emergency equipment greatly helps in locating and rescuing mariners in distress”.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Weather on scene was reported as 17 mph winds and 2-foot seas.

CCFR responds to fire on Gee St. Friday afternoon
Capital City Fire and Rescue responded to a house fire in the 9000 block of Gee Street Friday afternoon. Assistant Fire Chief Ed Quinto reports that smoke was billowing out of the front door when responders arrived. The fire was quickly extinguished and contained to the kitchen area.

The kitchen sustained an estimated $30,000 in damage. No injuries were reported.

Light earthquake felt in Anchorage; no damage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Earthquake Center says a light quake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.3 was felt in Anchorage and nearby communities Friday night.

The center says it has received no reports of damage.

The quake hit at 9:32 p.m. at a depth of 38 miles. It was centered on the Kenai Peninsula, about 80 miles south-southwest of Anchorage, and was felt in Anchorage, Homer, Kenai, Ninilchik and Soldotna.

The center says a minor aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 3.6 was recorded four minutes later, at 9:36 p.m. in almost the same location. There were no reports that it was felt or caused damage.

Alaska jobless rate unchanged from August
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's unemployment rate was 6.8 percent last month.

State labor officials say in a web posting that remains unchanged from August.

However, officials said it is higher than the 5.9 national unemployment rate.

The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.9 percent, which was lower than the 6.2 percent in August.

Officials said September traditionally has the lowest unadjusted rate as school starts back up and tourism hasn't fully leveled off.

[Friday October 17th, 2014  13th  EDITION 4:16 P. M.]

Week long celebrations in Sitka in observance of Alaska Day
In Sitka, Alaska Day is marked with a week long celebration.

Sitka served as the capital of the Alaska Territory until 1906, when the seat of government was relocated north to Juneau. Transfer of Russian claim of Alaska to the United States occurred October 18, 1867 in Sitka.

Events continue through Sunday. Find the events list at www.alaskadayfestival.org.

Supreme Court denies Alaska's request for stay
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Gay marriages will resume Monday in Alaska.

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell's spokeswoman says the state will comply with a federal court judge's order to allow gay marriages to continue.

However, Sharon Leighow says in an email to The Associated Press that the state will continue to seek a review of the matter by the full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday denied the state's request to halt gay marriages while the state appeals.

A federal judge last Sunday struck down Alaska's law as unconstitutional. Another judge in Arizona issued the same ruling there Friday, and that state's conservative attorney general decided not to contest it any further.

Joshua Decker with the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska called on Parnell to follow suit.

However, Leighow says Parnell swore an oath to uphold the state constitution and will continue with the appeal to the federal appeals court.

Lap pool reopened
Dimond Park Aquatic Center had to close the Lap Pool today.

A chlorine part broke. They had to shut down the pool until it was fixed. It has been fixed and replaced. This afternoon they had to wait for chlorine levels to return to normal before reopening.

Container ship on way from US to Russia loses power off British Columbia coast@
HAIDA GWAII, B.C. - A container ship on its way from Washington state to Russia lost power and was drifting Friday off the coast of British Columbia.

The Canadian Forces' joint rescue co-ordinationcentre in Victoria said the Simushir was about 10 miles (16 kilometres) off Haida Gwaii.

Acting Sub. Lt. Ron MacDougall said there were concerns the vessel could run aground in heavy winds. The Canadian and U.S. Coast Guards were responding.

MacDougall said there were 11 people on board. A helicopter was dispatched to remove the captain, who was injured.

The ship was carrying 440 tons of bunker oil and 55 tons of diesel.

US rig count down 12 to 1,918
HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by 12 this week to 1,918.

The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,590 rigs were exploring for oil and 328 for gas. A year ago there were 1,739 active rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained two rigs, while West Virginia and Wyoming each increased by one.

Oklahoma decreased by seven rigs, New Mexico was down four, Alaska was off two and Arkansas, California and North Dakota each dropped one.

Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Utah were unchanged.

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


Supreme Court denies Alaska's request for stay
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday denied the state of Alaska's request to put a stop to gay marriages pending an appeal.

Justice William Kennedy denied the request in a written order Friday morning.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess on Sunday ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Couples began applying for marriage licenses on Monday, beginning a three-day clock before ceremonies could be held. However, some couples received waivers to the wait period and married immediately.

The state filed notice of appeal to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and sought a stay while the appeal is being considered. The court only issued a stay until 11 a.m. AKDT Friday to give the state time to petition the high court.

Kosciusko is Alaska's newest city
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A small community in southeast Alaska is the state's newest city.

A state commissioner signed incorporation documents this week for Edna Bay, which has a population of 49.

The community is located on Kosciusko (kah-zee-UH'-sko) Island 90 miles northwest of Ketchikan.

Elections officials earlier this month certified results of an election involving locals in Edna Bay on whether to incorporate. State officials say residents voted 33 to 6 to incorporate.

Officials say the state is helping in establishing a new city council, and plans to work with it in coming months.

Arizona same-sex ruling follows the others
Within days of Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage being overturned by a federal judge, another federal judge from Alaska has done the same for Arizona.

U.S. District Judge John Sedwick issued a four-page ruling today (fri) that found Arizona's same-sex marriage ban violates the constitutional rights of equal protection and due process.

Sedwick was based in the Alaska district until 2011, when he became a semi-retired senior judge within the 9th circuit, which includes both Alaska and Arizona.

In his ruling, Sedwick refused to issue a stay, adding that the Supreme Court was unlikely to intervene, given the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last week against similar language in Idaho and Nevada.

Senator plans to investigate Guard situation
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — State Sen. Lesil McGuire says the Legislature will hold hearings into the troubled Alaska National Guard, but she's getting push back from the Senate president.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports McGuire also will call for a special investigator into allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct within the Guard.

However, Senate President Charlie Huggins says he doesn't know if the Legislature will do anything but muddy the water.

After allegations of sexual assault within the agency, a federal report released Sept. 4 found evidence of fraud and ethical misconduct. Critics said Gov. Sean Parnell, who is seeking re-election next month, didn't act quickly enough.

Huggins says it doesn't make sense to hold hearings with the election next month. But he's not convinced hearing are the best approach later, either.

Pot-smoking teacher receives criticism, support
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A veteran Juneau elementary school teacher, who publicly acknowledged in a newspaper opinion piece that he smokes marijuana, will not be disciplined by school administrators.

Adam Berkley is receiving both support and criticism from parents, but that disciplinary measures are not planned.

Superintendent Mark Miller says moral turpitude regulations within the Professional Teaching Practices Commission specify that drug use at work is unacceptable.

Miller says that what employees do in their free time is up to them and that Berkley is within his rights.

Berkley possesses a medical marijuana license and says it's used to treat epilepsy.

He also supports recreational pot use by adults.

He plans to meet next week with parents who have expressed concerns about his use of marijuana.

Body of missing woman found in east Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The body of a woman reported missing in Anchorage has been found in the Mountain View neighborhood.

KTUU-TV reports the body of 54-year-old Irma Williams was found Wednesday.

Her family last saw were a month ago and reported her missing Sept. 15.

Police are asking the public for information regarding the death. The department's homicide unit is investigating.

Williams was a frequent visitor to Mizelle, Lions and Davis parks and often rode a blue bicycle that may have been equipped with a white basket.

Police spokeswoman Dani Myren says Williams was not considered a vulnerable adult and had not previously been reported missing.

Jury acquits man in pipeline false statement case
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A federal jury has acquitted a Fairbanks man of lying to the FBI as it investigated the 1978 bombing of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the jury returned a not guilty verdict Thursday on three counts in the trial of 62-year-old Phillip Martin Olson.

Prosecutors said Olson told investigators he had participated in setting off an explosion on the pipeline and that another man, identified as C.D. in charging documents, had also participated.

The other man denied any role in the explosion.

The statute of limitations had passed for prosecution of the bombing, which caused a crude oil leak of 12,000 to 14,000 barrels east of Fairbanks.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Bottini (boh-TEE'-nee) says by email the verdict surprised him because evidence was strong.

Association seeks to reopen Bethel flight school
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — The Association of Village Council Presidents is working on a new funding plan to reopen its flight school in Bethel.

The association closed the school last year, citing high operating costs and diminished federal funding. The school originally opened in 2003.

AVCP president Myron Naneng tells KYUK that reopening the school is part of an economic development strategy.

The association is pursuing a new plan for funding as a regional training center.

Naneng hopes to have funding in place to begin operations in early 2015.

Vilsack to headline Begich fundraiser
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is set to headline a fundraiser for Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.

The event is scheduled for Wednesday evening in Anchorage.

Begich is facing a tough re-election fight against Republican candidate Dan Sullivan, who topped Begich in fundraising during the last quarter.

[Thursday October 16th, 2014  11TH  EDITION 4:48 P. M.]

Waterline Break in Douglas
At 3:00 this afternoon a waterline break occurred between John St. and Lawson Creek Road.  Residences in that area are currently without water.

Kirk Duncan, Director of Public Works says crews are on sight and working to resolve the problem.  As of 4:30 pm there was no estimate of when water will be back on.  Please be cautious of crews working along the roadside.

Winter Forecast/Temperature Prediction
NOAA's Climate Prediction Center Thursday announced it's forecast for the winter months December through February. Director Mike Halpert, speaking at a teleconference, had this prediction on temperatures, "That outlook favors warmer than average conditions out west, along the U-S/Canadian border eastward into New York and New England and as well as for Hawaii and Alaska. Below average temperatures are favored in the south central and southeastern parts of the nation."

Halpert said an expected mild El Nino in the Pacific makes extreme cold in the northern sections of the US less likely. "Typically when we see El Nino even the weaker ones we see warmer conditions if not in the US we see it up on the parts of Western and Central Canada and Alaska. And so that again would make that really cold arctic air that would have to spill down through that area in our country less likely. So again the idea of seeing a repeat of last winter is just not particularly likely."

JPD Crime Line Crime of the Week: Gas siphoning in numerous neighborhoods
Between September 18th and the 24th, several Juneau residents reported gas siphoned from vehicles. There was 44 gallons taken from the 1900 block of Lemon Creek Road, 40 gallons from the 1700 block of Glacier Highway and 5 gallons from the 4200 block of North Douglas.

All of the vehicles involved were built in the mid-1990s. Vehicles built after 2000 often have a valve that shuts off gas if a vehicle rolls. The valve is a fire protection device that also prevents someone from pushing a hose into the gasoline. JPD recommends drivers of vehicles built before the year 2000 consider a locking gas cap, especially if gas has already been stolen. Thieves will tend to return to a vehicle where they have previously been successful.

Anyone with information is encouraged to log on to the Juneau Crime Line Web site and report their tip. You may also call JPD at 586-0600. You may be eligible for a reward.

Parnell: State at low risk for Ebola
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sean Parnell says Alaska is at low risk for Ebola infections but he says the risk is real and the state is taking steps to be prepared.

Parnell held a news conference Thursday in Anchorage that included the state's chief epidemiologist, Joe McLaughlin, and epidemiologist Michael Cooper.

He said a task force has been created to coordinate planning and preparedness and that he's asked for regular updates. Parnell also said the health department has been directed to continue activities with health care facilities that include training and exercises.

Cooper said there has long been a quarantine station at Alaska's largest airport, in Anchorage, for infectious illnesses. He questioned the efficacy of enhanced screening for Ebola at airports, given that people can develop systems up to 21 days after exposure.

Man charged with vandalizing wildflower meadow
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — A 19-year-old Kasilof (kah-SEE'-lauf) man suspected of damaging city of Kenai land planted with colorful wildflowers has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The Peninsula Clarion reports a pickup driven by Josiah Mcelwain (MAC'-el-wayn) was found at 3:30 a.m. Monday stuck in a ditch near the meadow.

Kenai Police Sgt. Ben Langham says witnesses reported a truck driving back and forth in the 1.4-acre field along the Spur Highway, creating deep ruts.

Langham says the truck was still moving in the field when officers arrived.

City parks and recreation director Bob Frates (frayts) estimates half the field was destroyed.

Online court records did not list an attorney for Mcelwain.

Sitka tribe to develop shellfish testing lab
SITKA, Alaska (AP) — The Sitka Tribe of Alaska is planning to build a lab to test shellfish for naturally occurring toxins that could pose a health threat to subsistence harvesters.

The development of the lab is being funded by a $527,000 grant from the Administration for Native Americans, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Daily Sitka Sentinel reports the lab will allow the tribe and six other tribal organizations to assess vulnerability in their communities for health risks.

Sitka Tribe of Alaska's resource protection director Jeff Feldpausch says the lab won't certify beaches for shellfish harvesting. But he says it can "raise a red flag" about risks.


Feldpausch says the lab will serve as an early warning system about the presence of toxins.


Chief: Bad communication in notifying wrong family
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Juneau police used the social media site Facebook to find the next of kin for a man killed in a car crash last week. But they used the page for the wrong Justin Priest.

Police identified the victim as 33-year-old Justin Priest and found a Facebook page for a man with the same name, from Anchorage.

Police asked Alaska State Troopers for help verifying the family's relationship. But a Troopers spokeswoman said the message they received was for a death notification. The wrong family was notified.

Police Chief Bryce Johnson called it a communication error. He said efforts will be made to prevent this from happening again.

He also said police would continue to use Facebook as a tool to help find next of kin.


Palmer police investigate body near fairgrounds
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Palmer police say a man found dead Tuesday night near the Alaska State Fair fairgrounds was apparently struck by a vehicle.

KTUU-TV reports police are releasing few other details about the death of 31-year-old David T. Beard.

Palmer Police Department Cmdr. Lance Ketterling says in a statement that Beard's body was found just before 10 p.m. Tuesday in grass off the Glenn Highway.

Ketterling says a Palmer police officer found the body. Police are examining the vehicle that they believe struck him.

Ketterling says police need to confirm "a lot of details" before more information can be released.


Senator takes blame for absence from pamphlet
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A candidate statement from a Fairbanks state senator is absent from the state informational pamphlet sent to voters, but he's not blaming the Division of Elections.

Republican Pete Kelly tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner he missed messages from the Elections Division for submitting a statement and called too late to make its deadline.

He's running against Democrat Tamara Kruse Roselius.

The Division of Elections sends two letters to notify candidates of the opportunity to be in the pamphlet — most of the time.

The division acknowledges it failed to send proper notification to independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker.

He was not included in the pamphlet sent to voters last week. The division planned to print and send a supplemental pamphlet for gubernatorial and lieutenant governor candidates.

New Sullivan ad features Condoleezza Rice
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan's national security experience is the focus of a new ad featuring former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Sullivan worked with Rice as an assistant secretary of state from 2006 until January 2009. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves.

In the spot, released Thursday, Rice says the nation and world face serious security threats. She says Sullivan's national security experience will make the country safer.

Sullivan is challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in a race that could help decide control of the Senate.

Rice appeared in a similar ad earlier this year for the super PAC American Crossroads, attempting to swat down criticism of Sullivan's time away from the state.

Jury deliberates pipeline false statement case
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks jury has begun deliberations for a man charged with making false statements about the 1978 bombing of the trans-Alaska pipeline.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Phillip Martin Olson ,if convicted, could face up to five years in prison.

The FBI says an agent interviewed Olson in November and January and that Olson acknowledged responsibility for the pipeline explosion on Feb. 15, 1978, east of Fairbanks.

The resulting small hole allowed 12,000 to 14,000 barrels of crude oil to spill before it could be sealed.

The statute of limitations had run out for charges in the bombing.

Federal prosecutors say Olson lied and said another man had assisted him in setting off the explosion, costing the FBI time and resources investigating.

Panel says SB 21 working
A new state panel appears satisfied that Alaska's oil production tax is working as intended. The Oil & Gas Competitiveness Review Board met for the first time Wednesday.

The board created as part of S-B 21, the tax law enacted last year, includes industry experts, state officials, and two members of the public appointed by the governor.

The panel heard Wednesday that the decline in production has slowed, and the state is collecting more revenue than under the previous tax system.

S-B 21 survived a referendum at the August election.

The review board is set to report its findings to the legislature before the start of the next session in January.

Appeals court halts gay marriages in Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a temporary halt to gay marriages in Alaska.

The federal appeals court in San Francisco issued the stay late Wednesday afternoon. It's allowing the state until Friday to get a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.

If that stay isn't issued, the federal court action dissolves at 11 a.m. Friday, when gay marriages will be allowed to go forward.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess on Sunday struck down Alaska's ban on same-sex marriages as unconstitutional.

Gay couples began applying for marriage certificates Monday, beginning a three-day clock to when ceremonies could be held on Thursday. However some couples received waivers from judges and have already married.

Police name driver killed in crash with house
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police have identified the man who was killed when his sedan hit a house.

Police say the driver was 58-year-old Ralph Edward Lockhart of Anchorage.

He died after his car left the street early Tuesday morning, struck a tree and drove into a corner of a house.

No one in the home was injured.

Police say Lockhart was declared dead at the scene.

The investigation continues.

State to discuss Ebola preparedness
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — State officials are planning a news conference to provide an update on Alaska's Ebola preparedness plan.

Gov. Sean Parnell, health commissioner Bill Streur, chief epidemiologist Joe McLaughlin and epidemiologist Michael Cooper will hold the news conference on Thursday in Anchorage.

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make Ebola test kits available in Alaska as a precautionary measure. Earlier this week, he also called for the need for frequent communication with the public to ensure accurate information is available.