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[Wednesday, April 16, 2014 5TH  EDITION 10:05 A.  M.]

Delta practicing approaches to Juneau
Is it a bird? It's not Super Man, but it was a big plane spied approaching Juneau's Airport Wedesday morning.

Airport Manager Patty deLaBruere confirms its a Delta Airlines 757 doing practice approaches in advance of its May 29th scheduled flight service in to Juneau.

The seasonal service will include one flight a day that gets here in the evening and leaves the next morning.

Colorado man to lead Juneau's hospital
The Bartlett Regional Hospital Board of Directors has hired a chief executive director.

Charles "Chuck" Bill of Durango, Colorado, will begin the job effective May 12.

Bill has served as the assistant administrator of Physician Development at Centura Health Physician Group in Durango since July of 2013. He has twenty plus years of health care experience prior to that.

Bill will be paid an annual salary of $315,000. He'll also receive a signing bonus of $31,500 and a relocation package of $31,500.

Additional incentives may be paid on an annual basis based on healthcare industry performance metrics at the discretion of the board, according to a release from the hospital.

Answers to 6 key questions issues part of wireless plan and ordinance work
The Planning Commission conducted a work session and special meeting last night devoted to the wireless tower plan and ordinance.

During the work session, Community Development Director Hal Hart says the panel was advised by the CBJ Department of Law that it needs to provide the Assembly an ordinance that addresses six key items including which kind of towers will only require a building permit; under what circumstances would a tower require a conditional use permit; how will towers be linked to set back policies and what will the set backs be; how will the height question be addressed generally; how will towers requiring a light or navigational light be handled; and what approach will the commission take for providing public notice.

Public testimony was taken at the special meeting after the work session. The commission heard from a representative of the A-T and T and representatives of neighborhoods from around the city and borough.

Hart says the commission will now meet with staff to finalize the ordinance for public comment and action and then submitted to the Assembly.

The plan and ordinance are scheduled to be in place by May 19th. That's the end of the moratorium on the erection of new towers imposed by the Assembly.

Superintendent salary figure set as search begins for Gelbrich's replacement
As the search begins to replace Juneau School District Superintendent Glen Gelbrich, the School Board has decided to bump the annual salary to $162,000.

That was the recommendation of a board search committee to the full body, according to Board President Sally Saddler

Saddler says the search committee compared salaries of superintendents from around the state and some Pacific Northwest communities.

She says they sought to strike a balance. They wanted to make it wasn't so low that it would screen out good candidates or so high that it would be something the district couldn't afford.

Saddler said on Action Line Tuesday that Gelbrich was hired at a salary of $150,000.

He accepted a $5,000 raise at one point but declined a two percent hike in subsequent years.

If he would have accepted the raises, Saddler says Gelbrich would be making about $168,000.

Forums that seek public input into the search for a new superintendent are on tap this week.

Two on Wednesday evening from 6:30 to 7:30 are scheduled in the libraries of both high schools.

There's another scheduled for Thursday evening at the same time at the D-Z Middle School Library.

Saddler says ideally they would like to have a new superintendent on board by July 1. Gelbrich's resignation is effective June 30th.

Forums scheduled and online survey available to provide input on superintendent search
The public is being asked by the Juneau School Board to weigh in on the search for a new superintendent of schools.

The opening comes with the resignation of Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich which is effective June 30.

Three forums are planned this week.

A release from the school district says community involvement in the forums and feedback from an online survey help guide the selection of a superintendent.

Two of the forums are set for Wednesday evening. They will be held at the libraries at Juneau Douglas and Thunder Mountain High Schools from 6:30 to 7:30.

The other is Thursday evening from 6:30 to 7:30 in the Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School Library.

The online survey will be available until 8 a.m. on Friday.

JDHS Site Council looking for new members
The JDHS Site Council is looking for a diverse group of committed parents and community members to fill 4 seats on the 2014-15 Site Council.

The Site Council is an advisory group made up of constituents from every part of the JD community -- students, teachers and staff, parents, community members -- and a school board liaison and the principal. There are two 2-year terms open for parent members and one 2-year and one 1-year term open for community members.

Parent members must have a son or daughter enrolled at JD in the 2014-15 school year. Community members may or may not have a student enrolled at JD.

Interested people should submit a brief letter of intent to the JDHS main office by 3:45 on Friday, May 2. Details and a form are available at

Elections will be held at the monthly May Site Council meeting, Monday, May 5, 5-7 pm in the JDHS library. Nominees are invited to give a brief statement and participate in the voting.

Mallott calls for Parnell to veto SB 49
Democratic Candidate for Governor Byron Mallott is calling on Governor Parnell to veto the measure that further defines medically necessary abortions for purposes of Medicaid funding.

Senate Bill 49 cleared the Legislature this week.

Mallott says the bill blatantly ignores Alaskan's constitutional right to privacy. He says determining when an abortion is necessary should be a matter between a woman and her doctor.

Enforcement of identical language in state regulations has already been put on hold by a court. The case is going to trial on April 29th.

Unless Governor Parnell vetoes the bill, Mallott says the state will inevitably end up in more costly litigation.

House panel advances governor's pension plan
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The House Finance Committee has advanced Gov. Sean Parnell's plan for addressing the state's pension obligation.

It's not clear whether that's the plan lawmakers ultimately decide to go with. The Senate Finance Committee is also studying the issue.

Parnell proposed moving $3 billion from savings toward addressing the public employees' and teachers' retirement system with about $1.9 billion of that going toward the public employees system. The plan calls for $500 million annual payments after that.

The state is currently on a schedule that calls for escalating payments on pace to exceed $1 billion. Parnell's plan would lower those payments.

House Bill 385 appears on today's House calendar.

Air ambulance bill passes House

The State House approved Senate legislation Tuesday relating to air ambulance service providers, including membership agreements and regulation of air ambulance service providers.

SB 159 will allow the continuation of the Airlift Northwest membership program that was in place for several years.

The State Division of Insurance found the company no longer operated under a business model that met exemptions provided under state law.  Juneau Representative Cathy Munoz said during her floor speech that the company is currently organized as  a non-profit medical provider under the University of Washington.

The bill was approved on a unanimous 35 to 0 vote. It was also approved unanimously by the Senate.

SB 159 must go back to the Senate where it will be asked to concur with House changes.

If it doesn't differences would be ironed out in a conference committee.

Legislature passes bill on AGDC appointment
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Legislature has passed a measure allowing out-of-state residents to serve on the board of a corporation that could play a key role in a major liquefied natural gas pipeline project.

The Senate's 13-7 vote makes clearer the way for Richard Rabinow, a former pipeline company executive from Texas, to serve on the board of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.

Gov. Sean Parnell appointed Rabinow last September and has defended the appointment as falling within his discretion under the constitution. Rabinow faces confirmation Thursday.

Supporters of HB383, including House Speaker Mike Chenault, have said it was an oversight to not explicitly allow for out-of-state residents to serve on the board. They say they want the best people possible to serve.

Opponents say Alaskans should make policy decisions for Alaskans.

Sponsor pulls bill allowing guns on UA campuses
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The sponsor of a bill to allow people to carry concealed handguns on university campuses has asked that it be pulled this year.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports North Pole Republican Sen. John Coghill asked the Senate Finance Committee to not take up the Senate Bill 176 this year.

Coghill on Tuesday said the bill has practical and safety issues the Legislature can't answer at this time.

The bill faced opposition from University of Alaska leaders. In fact, during one hearing, University of Alaska President Pat Gamble said the bill was simply unacceptable.

The university's current policy is to allow firearms on campus if they are locked in vehicles or stored in designated gun lockers.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)

Huggins: Late Saturday target to finish work
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Senate President Charlie Huggins says lawmakers are aiming to complete their work by Saturday night.

Sunday is the scheduled end of the 90-day session, but that's Easter. Legislative leaders have said they'd like to complete their work before then, if possible.

There are several major pieces in play, including the budgets and bills dealing with education, the state's unfunded pension obligation and setting the state's participation rate in a major liquefied natural gas project.

Also pending is a bill to raise Alaska's minimum wage. The House narrowly passed such legislation Sunday, amid questions of lawmakers' motives. Voters are scheduled to vote on a similar measure later this year.

Huggins says the bill would need to have the votes to reach the Senate floor. He said that could be a challenge.

Hughes apologizes for news release headline
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska House members apologize for a news release on a breastfeeding initiative that had the words "smart and sexy" in the headline.

HCR18 sponsor Rep. Shelley Hughes said she intended to draw attention to the issue but not the kind it garnered.

She apologized Tuesday for the "poor choice of words" and said she was sorry if she offended anyone.

She and House Speaker Mike Chenault took responsibility for the news release, sent from the majority office Monday after legislative passage of the resolution. It was intended to support and recognize benefits of breastfeeding but wound up spawning jokes, some off-color.

Hughes, in the Monday release, said the Legislature is fond of natural resource development and it's time to "endorse the extraction of this God-given, abundant and renewable natural resource."

Death toll in Washington mudslide rises to 37
EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — The death toll from the mudslide that hit the Washington town of Oso has risen to 37.

The Snohomish County medical examiner's office said Tuesday it has received one more victim. The person's name has not been released.

The sheriff's office says seven other people are still listed as missing.

A search for bodies continues in the debris left when the March 22 landslide raced across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River and buried dozens of homes in the riverfront community about 55 miles northeast of Seattle.

Fairbanks releases more info on super's leave
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Fairbanks North Star Borough School District officials say the superintendent was placed on leave earlier this month while authorities investigate how the school handled an alleged sexual abuse case involving an employee.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the investigation began after a high school tutor was charged late last month with sexual abuse of a minor, allegedly on school property.

The school district April 7 placed Superintendent Pete Lewis on leave, but declined to say why. The district said at the time, and reiterated Monday, it's not a disciplinary action.

Board President Heidi Haas released more information Monday before another closed-door session.

She says the board was going into executive session to investigate liability exposure issues. She said these covered the "alleged abuse, negligent hire, retention and supervision claims."
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)

Alaska Seaplanes announces expansion to Sitka.
Alaska Seaplanes will initiate twice-daily scheduled IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) service between Kake and Sitka, with fares starting at $149. Service between Juneau and Kake will also be expanded, with a third mid-day roundtrip offering increased flight options for Kake passengers.

The move intends to meet demand in Kake passenger traffic, which has grown steadily over the last two years as a result of Alaska Seaplanes’ migration to larger Piper Chieftain and Cessna Caravan platforms for a majority of flights in and out of Kake.

Alaska Seaplanes is the only scheduled operator of IFR capable commuter aircraft in the Juneau market.

The expanded flight schedules are set to begin on May 24th.

Family members testify in Kodiak homicide case
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The sister and brother-in-law of a Kodiak man charged with killing two Coast Guard communication station co-workers say he became irate when the topic of their deaths came up two months later.

Theresa and Donald Kiele (KEE'-lee) says James Wells became animated and said the dead men were incompetent and not qualified to work in the shop were antennas were built and repaired.

The Kieles testified Tuesday in the trial of Wells, who's charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of Richard Belisle (BEL'-eye-ul) and James Hopkins on April 12, 2012.

Prosecutors say they were shot shortly after beginning work.

Wells claims he was delayed by a flat tire. Prosecutors contend he drove to the shop in his wife's sport utility vehicle, shot the men and returned home.

Saint Marys man dead in ATV accident
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A Saint Marys man has died in a one-vehicle crash involving an all-terrain vehicle.

Alaska State Troopers say in a web posting that 27-year-old Joe Bryan Joe died at the scene of the accident, near the confluence of the Andreafsky and Yukon rivers.

Troopers were notified of the death about 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Joe's next-of-kin have been notified, and the body will be sent to Anchorage for an autopsy.

A passenger on the ATV received minor injuries, and was treated at a local clinic.

Troopers say alcohol and poor weather are believed to have played a role in the accident.

Child porn indictment for former UAA instructor
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage grand jury has indicted a former astronomy and physics instructor at the University of Alaska-Anchorage on 14 child pornography charges.

Assistant Attorney General Adam Alexander said Tuesday that state troopers are trying to locate 37-year-old Curtis Osterhoudt.

The indictment accuses him of distribution and possession of child porn both at his residence and in his office at UAA.

KTUU-TV reports that the university's roster of incoming faculty for the 2012-2013 school year listed Osterhoudt's initial employment as an assistant professor of physics.

If convicted, he faces a sentencing range on each count of 2-12 years, with a maximum sentence of 99 years.

Family of inmates found dead in cells calling for investigations
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The families of two inmates who died this month in Alaska jails are asking the state Department of Corrections to investigate.

Amanda Kernak died at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center on April 10 and David Mosley died at the Anchorage Correctional Complex on April 4.

Corrections officials say both deaths are under investigation.

Soldier, nephew of Oso slide victims, found dead
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A soldier found dead in the woods near Olympia was the nephew of two presumed victims of last month's devastating landslide in Washington state.

Capt. Cynthia Holuta of the Army's 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord says Spc. Christopher Dombroski had visited the site of the landslide near Oso several times to assist with search and recovery efforts. As reported earlier by KING-TV, he was the nephew of Steve and Theresa Harris, who are listed among the missing in the landslide.

The 20-year-old Dombroski was from Wasilla, Alaska. He had been missing since Sunday night in the Capitol Forest near Olympia. Thurston County search teams found his body Tuesday morning and said he appeared to have suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Authorities said no foul play was suspected but the death remains under investigation.
(The Olympian)

Man pleads guilty to harassing bear hunters
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — A Petersburg man who kept a hunter from shooting a black bear has pleaded guilty to harassment.

Alaska State Troopers say 48-year-old Scott Newman changed his plea last month to a case stemming from late last spring.

According to a summons issued in the case, Newman on May 25 was 30 miles south of Ketchikan at Smeaton Bay and scared off two hunters about to kill a black bear.

Trooper say Newman told the hunters to leave and that he didn't want them back in the area.

Newman was fined $500, ordered to pay restitution of $650 for the cost of the hunt and placed on probation for one year.

Parnell release outlines campaign debate schedule
Governor Parnell's reelection campaign has issued a release saying Parnell has confirmed and committed to participate in eight debates.

None are scheduled in Juneau.

There are three prior to the Primary Election. They include two in Anchorage on April 28 and 30 and in Fairbanks on August 12.

The debates prior to the General Election are August 28 in Kodiak; October 1 in Ketchikan; October 8 in Soldotna; October 21 in Fairbanks; and October 28 in Anchorage.

Parnell holding virtual town hall
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sean Parnell is hosting an online town hall Wednesday.

He is inviting people to send in questions on education and other "key" issues facing the state via Facebook and Twitter or by email, at Twitter users are asked to use #AskAKGov.

Spokeswoman Sharon Leighow says beginning at 6 p.m., there will be a live stream from the governor's house as he takes questions.

While Parnell's office has held telephone town halls in the past, Leighow said this will be the first virtual town hall.

It comes with the scheduled end of session looming on Sunday.

Kuskokwim ice not thick enough for auto travel
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — It may be that time of the year where you need to keep your automobiles off the Kuskokwim River.

KYUK reports the river ice is melting enough that conditions could be dangerous for heavy vehicles.

Kwethluk village public safety officer Max Olick says the river is not safe enough for autos, and he urged caution when people are traveling.

If people do intend to travel on the river, they should inform others of their travel plans.

He says there is standing water on the river and pot holes.

Walgreens plans 2 stores in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The nation's largest drug store plans to open two locations in Fairbanks this year.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Walgreens is planning stores on the Old Steese Highway and in West Fairbanks.

The Chicago-based retailer already operates seven Walgreens stores in Anchorage, Eagle River and Wasilla. It has more than 8,700 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and several U.S. territories.

Couple donates $2.5M to UAF
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A late Fairbanks couple has provided for a $2.5 million donation to the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the donation from Leonard and Marjorie Wright is one of the largest individual donations ever to UAF.

The donation will support scholarships and provides as much as four years assistance to students in any degree program who demonstrates both merit and financial need.

Marjorie Wright earned her teaching degree from UAF in 1958, and made the donation part of her will. She died last year.

Her husband, who died in 2007, had a construction business in Fairbanks while she taught in North Pole.

The couple's nephew, Galen Dreis, says "giving back was part of who they were as individuals."

German Shepherd called to jury duty in New Jersey
BRIDGETON, N.J. (AP) — At least one prospective juror in New Jersey could take a bite out of crime.

Cumberland County has summoned IV Griner to jury duty. The only problem is IV is a 5-year-old German Shepherd.

Her owner tells KYW-TV in Philadelphia he figured out the mistake as soon as the summons arrived at his Bridgeton home.

The dog's owner is Barrett Griner IV. He uses the Roman numeral for four in his name. He named his dog using the letters "I'' and "V."

The county's judiciary coordinator says the computer likely misplaced the Roman numeral for Barrett's last name and mailed the summons.


' News of the North' content copyright of Alaska Broadcast Communications Inc. and Juneau Alaska Communications LLC. Any unauthorized use will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.