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[Wednesday, April 23, 2014  6TH  EDITION 6:25  P.M.]

Lawmakers work toward agreement on education
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — There might be a break in the legislative logjam in Juneau.

The Senate's chief negotiator, Kevin Meyer, said late Wednesday afternoon that the House had made a "respectful offer" that he hoped to sell to his caucus. Meyer declined to provide details but said he thought it was a "good compromise, from our position to their position."

The Senate and House have been at odds over education funding.

Much of the day was marked by delayed meetings and floor sessions, while majority caucuses met and talks continued between the Senate and House's chief negotiators, Meyer and Rep. Mike Hawker.

Failure to reach agreement on an education package by the scheduled end of session Sunday sent lawmakers into overtime. Wednesday marked Day 93 of what was scheduled to be a 90-day session.

Two car wreck, one totaled, one damaged at Egan and Medenhall
A rear-ending accident left one vehicle totaled and one damaged in the area of Egan Drive and Mendenhall Loop Road. It happened Wednesday morning just before 8:00.

A 49 year old woman driving a Honda CRV rear-ended a Honda Pilot driven by a 37 year old female. The 2010 Honda CRV was totaled and the driver was cited for failing to maintain a safe distance. The Honda Pilot suffered approximately $1,000.00 in damage and was able to be driven away from the scene.

Underage and Intoxicated, woman drives with small child in vehicle
An underage intoxicated woman driving with small child in vehicle was arrested in Wasilla Tuesday night.

Alaska State Troopers were called to a disturbance off of Ocean Avenue. The caller reported the individuals causing the disturbance left in a 1995 white Ford Escort northbound on (Kuh-nick) Knik Goose Bay Rd. around 9:30 p.m.

The driver was identified as 20 year-old Arielle L. Hausmann of Wasilla. She was under the legal drinking age of 21 and had been driving under the influence of alcohol with the 5-year old child in the vehicle, according to Troopers. .

Hausmann was arrested for DUI, Minor Operating After Consuming Alcohol, Endangering the Welfare of a Child in the 1st Degree and Minor Consuming Alcohol. She was remanded in Mat-Su Pretrial Facility with bail set at $1,500.

Governor signs air ambulance services legislation
(Juneau, Alaska) – Governor Sean Parnell Wednesday signed legislation allowing air ambulance service providers to offer annual membership agreements and ensuring Alaskans are able to subscribe to this service.

The Governor commended Senator Stedman and Representative Cathy Munoz for their work on this legislation that he said will undoubtedly result in significant reductions in out-of-pocket costs for Alaskans.

Governor Parnell also also thanked the men and women behind Alaska’s air ambulance companies as unsung heroes who provide life-saving services every day.

Senate Bill 159, sponsored by Senator Bert Stedman, provides the framework by which an air medevac company can continue offering its AirCare program, which helps pay for flying seriously ill or injured people to hospitals outside of Southeast Alaska at costs that can run as high as $100,000 per flight.

Governor Parnell signed Senate Bill 159 at the Airlift Northwest hanger with Representative Cathy Munoz, members of Airlift Northwest’s flight crew, Executive Director Chris Martin and Alaska Regional Manager Shelly Deering.

House, Senate winnow down calendars
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The House and Senate have winnowed down their calendars, awaiting resolution on the education bill and capital budget, the last major pieces in play in this extended session.

The Senate had five House bills on its calendar Wednesday. It also noticed a proposed constitutional amendment to create a transportation infrastructure fund. That measure remained in the Senate Finance Committee.

The House had a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at helping lower the cost of student loans. Also pending was a bill to finance the
Knik Arm crossing project. If the House takes it up, it will have to decide whether to agree to the Senate approach.

The House also had the capital budget calendared. But a vote on that is pending resolution on an education package.

Meyer: Funding remains a stickler
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Senate's chief negotiator on an education package said the two sides were making good progress on all points of difference except on additional funding.

Sen. Kevin Meyer says he thinks the House and Senate can resolve virtually all their other issues. But funding — and particularly, whether money is inside or outside the per-student funding formula — remained a stickler.

He says the Senate majority favors keeping any additional money outside the formula, which some lawmakers think is broken and in need of review.

The Senate majority proposed $100 million in additional aid over three years, plus support for other programs and initiatives.

The House proposed an increase of about $300 over three years in the formula and $30 million in one-time funds outside it.

Man saved from deflating raft
The Coast Guard, Air Force and the Alaska State Troopers partnered to rescue a man in a deflating raft in Cook Inlet between Fire Island and Kincaid Park Tuesday night.

An Air Force airplane and Coast Guard helicopter arrived on scene and used the helicopter’s rotor wash to push the man’s deflating raft to shore where he was met by Alaska State Troopers at 8:19 p.m.

The Troopers flew the man to Providence Hospital for further evaluation.

Smokey 6th floor at Baranoff Hotel, patrons evacuated
Capital City Fire Rescue responded to a fire alarm at the Baranoff Hotel Tuesday morning around 7:00.

Captain Chad Cameron says crews found the 6th floor full of smoke from food on the stove.

That floor had to be ventilated and hotel occupants had to wait outside until the alarm was cleared.

Juneau drug arrest
While serving an arrest warrant, Juneau Police Officers observed evidence of drug use and applied for and received a search warrant for the residence.

Officers ultimately seized over 155 grams of heroin which is equivalent to .35 pounds. The street value is an estimated $155,000 dollars. 8.7 grams of methamphetamine was also seized, with a street value of $2600.

Four handguns, and two rifles were also seized in the search. One handgun was fully automatic, which is illegal to possess without a permit.

Additional charges are anticipated.

PD makes warrant arrest
The Juneau Police Department SWAT Team saw action Tuesday morning.

JPD Lt. Kris Sell tells us that around 11:00 a.m., members of the Juneau Police Department SWAT Team and other JPD officers served an arrest warrant on 45 year old William Byron Benedict of Juneau.

Benedict was arrested without incident at a residence in the 1900 block of Lemon Creek Road.

The arrest warrant is a result of a federal grand jury who indicted Benedict for attempted possession of methamphetamine and heroin with intent to distribute.

According to Sell, firearms were located in the residence as well as drug paraphernalia. Additional charges are expected.

Oscar-nominated director of sled dog film dies
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Oscar-nominated filmmaker who directed and produced a documentary detailing a 1925 sled dog run in Alaska to deliver life-saving serum has died.

Daniel Anker died Monday at age 50. His wife, Donna Santman, says her husband died of pneumonia, a complication of his lymphoma.

Anker's film, "Icebound," details the five-day run to Nome following a deadly diphtheria breakout. The film opened the Anchorage International Film Festival in December.

Santman says her husband most recently was working on a documentary about late director Sidney Lumet.

Anker was nominated for an Academy Award in 2001 for another documentary, "Scottsboro: An American Tragedy."

The New York filmmaker is survived by his wife of 12 years and their two children.

A funeral is scheduled for Thursday at the Plaza Jewish Community Chapel in Manhattan.

Someone steals Easter collection plate from church
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Someone helped themselves to the collection plate at First United Methodist Church in downtown Anchorage.

And they had to go through a safe to get to it.

KTUU reports the Rev. Ronald Myers arrived to work Monday morning and realized the safe had been broken into. Someone helped themselves to the large collection of cash donated by those attending Easter services the day before.

Jennifer Miller, the church's administrative assistant, says about 200 people attended the holiday service, and is convinced one of them was there to scout the church for the later theft.

The collection plate is usually split between paying the church's bills and giving to Anchorage charities.

The church intends to now strengthen its security. Police are investigating the theft.

Sign-Ups for Denali Road lottery to open May 1
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Sign-ups for the annual Denali Road lottery are set to begin May 1.

Officials with Denali National Park and Preserve say people can apply for the lottery until midnight May 31.

People can no longer sign up for the lottery by regular mail. Entries can be made online or by phone.

Winners of the four-day lottery will be announced in mid-June.

Under the lottery, 400 vehicles will be allowed to travel the road with day-long permits each day from Sept. 12 to Sept. 15, weather permitting.

Officials say the road will be open for the entire 92-mile length if weather permits.

Fishing company pleads guilty in Alaska case
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A fishing corporation has been fined after pleading guilty to illegal fishing operations in Alaska state waters.

Fishermen's Finest Inc. is based in Kirkland, Wash., and executives there did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

The Anchorage Daily News says the company pleaded guilty in a Cordova court on Monday.

As part of a plea agreement, the company will pay a $12,500 fine, of which $2,500 is suspended for a three-year probationary period.

Also, the company will pay a forfeiture of more than $10,000 for the illegal catch.

An investigation by Alaska State Wildlife Troopers found that the company violated state law by catching and retaining 11,000 pounds of Lingcod.

Sgt. Brent Johnson says the case was spurred by confusion over state and federal regulations.

Fairbanks council rejects labor agreement
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks City Council has rejected a labor contract for the second time in two weeks.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the council Monday night rejected the labor contract covering 42 office workers and department heads.

It was the identical contract the council rejected two weeks ago, but brought back for consideration by Mayor John Eberhart.

Eberhart wanted the council to take another look after the city finance department overestimated how much of a deficit the contract would cause in 2016 budget.

It would give workers a 2.5 percent increase in wages and benefits in 2014 and 2 percent each of the next two years.

Council members took another look, but said they still have concerns about the red ink projected for 2016 and sent it back to negotiators.

Court shooting sheds light on 'Tongan Crips'
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — This week's fatal shooting of a gang member by a U.S. marshal inside Salt Lake City's federal courthouse during the man's trial has put the spotlight on his relatively unknown street gang.

Authorities say the 25-year-old Siale Angilau was a member of the city's "Tongan Crip Gang." Gang experts say it is comprised of young men of Tongan, Samoan and other Pacific Island descent who have been pulling off robberies and assaults since the late 1980s in the Salt Lake City area following a model set by a gang established years earlier in Inglewood, Calif.

The gang ascribes to the "Crip" culture, wearing blue and viewing "Bloods" as rivals.

The FBI reports in its most recent gang assessment of 2011 that the gang has a presence in Utah, California and Alaska.

Conference committee meets on education
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — House and Senate negotiators are trying to find common ground on an education package as lawmakers hope to wrap up the extended legislative session.

The six-member conference committee, comprised of three representatives and three senators, met for the first time Tuesday, and got a rundown of differences between the House and Senate approaches to HB278.

Rep. Mike Hawker, who chairs the committee, said funding is probably the biggest sticking point. The House and Senate took different approaches to providing additional aid to schools.

There were some other issues, too, that were flagged for further discussion, including bond debt reimbursement, impact of raising the required local contribution level for schools and teacher tenure.

The session was scheduled to end Sunday but ran long after lawmakers failed to reach agreement on education.

House begins debate on capital budget
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) One of the last big pieces to be resolved before lawmakers wrap up their work is the capital budget.

The House began taking up amendments Monday, while waiting for the Senate to send over an education bill.

The capital budget could be a vehicle for additional education funding. A conference committee had been appointed to try to hammer out a negotiated education package.

Capital spending in the budget, as it left the House Finance Committee early Monday, was about $2.2 billion.

In floor amendments, a provision was stripped that would have appropriated $10,000 to the governor's office for providing information about the possible effects of ballot initiatives.

Parnell signs HB284
Alaska is joining an interstate agreement calling for a balanced budget amendment to the U. S. Constitution.

Governor Parnell on Tuesday signed HB-284, which not only calls for a convention to adopt the amendment but prospectively ratifies the result.

The Bill, modeled on a compact shared by the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC.Calls for an amendment to prevent the Federal Government from spending more than it takes in, unless the debt is approved by a majority of state legislatures. HB-284 is separate from a "convention of states" Resolution HJR 22, which calls for a Constitutional Convention not just on the topic of federal standing but also term limits and federal jurisdiction.

That measure passed the Senate 12-8 Saturday and is heading to the governor's desk.

Juneau hosts coaching seminar for coaches
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — About 50 coaches, representing nearly every region of Alaska, converged on Juneau Tuesday to talk about domestic violence.

The Juneau Empire reports the coaches were in the capital for an all-day training conference titled, "Coaching Boys Into Men."

The intent of the national program is to get coaches to talk to their teams about domestic violence and sexual assault.

The program teaches young men respect for women and healthy relationships.

It started in 2001 in California, and the program was first implemented in Juneau four years ago by John Blasco, the Thunder Mountain boys basketball coach. He says his players now are more conscientious about words they use and how they act.

JPD: DUI and wreck Tuesday
Juneau Police arrested a man for DUI after a wreck Tuesday.

A police bulletin shows that there was a single vehicle accident near mile 32 of Glacier Highway Tuesday morning around 7:30.

20 year old Robert Brian was placed under arrest for driving under the influence.

JPD responds to report of drug activity, man arrested for no license
Juneau Police responded to a report of drug activity in the 9000 block of Long Run Drive Monday night just before 11:00.

A police bulletin states that several people were contacted and the investigation continues into alleged drug possession by a 21 year-old man.

30 year-old Brandon Stephens was cited for driving without a license, and his vehicle was impounded.

JPD: One arrested for trespassing, one for trespassing and larceny
Joseph Yaletchko returned to a business in the 6500 block of Glacier Highway Tuesday morning around 11:00 after he was issued a Criminal Trespass Letter. Yaletchko was arrested for Criminal Trespass and transported to Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

During the same incident, Chelsea Nusbaum returned to a business, at the 6500 block of Glacier Hwy, after she was issued a
Criminal Trespass Letter. She had concealed merchandise while in the business and left the store without paying. Nusbaum was arrested for Larceny and Criminal Trespass and transported to the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

AK Delegation to FCC: Fulfill universal service obligations for Alaska
WASHINGTON, DC – Alaska’s Congressional delegation raised concerns this week with the Federal Communications Commission about its lack of progress in fulfilling universal service goals established by Congress that are crucial to expanding Alaska’s telecommunications network.

Universal service is the "principle" that all Americans should have access to communications services.

In a letter sent to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, along with Congressman Don Young, emphasized the need for the FCC to adopt policies and funding formulas to ensure the FCC achieves the universal service goals in the Telecommunications Act. In their letter, attached, the delegation wrote:

In the letter, the delegation expressed concern on a number of aspects in which the Commission’s policies appear to digress from the universal service goals established by Congress in the Communications Act. The delegation wants the FCC to maintain and expand the incomplete telecommunications network in Alaska. The letter reminds the FCC of the lack of roads, extreme distances, topographical and climatic challenges in rural Alaska result in extraordinarily high construction and operational costs.

Senator Lisa Murkowski says, the FCC must ensure that its changes to universal service truly incentivize Alaskan carriers to develop broadband infrastructure in the state.

Senator Mark Begich said strong telecommunications services open the door for learning and commerce that can lead to successful, self-reliant people and economies.

Congressman Don Young said he met with FCC Chairman Wheeler last month and discussed his many concerns for infrastructure needs across the state. Young added that Wheeler and his staff made a serious commitment not to ignore the unique challenges facing Alaska, including the high cost of new construction, restrictions to our short building season, and the construction of much needed infrastructure in remote communities.

BP sells interest in 4 Alaska fields
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — BP announced Tuesday it is selling its interests in four North Slope fields to Hilcorp.

BP is selling all its interests in the Endicott and Northstar fields and half its interests in the Liberty and Milne Point fields.

These fields produce about 20,000 barrels of oil a day, less than 15 percent of BP's net North Slope production. The Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. says there has been an average of nearly 580,000 barrels a day flowing through the trans-Alaska pipeline from the North Slope this year.

The company says about 250 employees working these fields should learn more about the status of their jobs soon.

BP says in a release the sale will allow it to concentrate on Prudhoe Bay field and help advance an Alaska liquefied natural gas project.

Crime bill moves to governor
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Legislature has passed a sweeping crime bill.

Lawmakers gave final approval early on Monday morning as they attempted to finish the session within 90 days, but lawmakers weren't able to find common ground on the education bill and capital budget. They remained in session on Tuesday.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the crime bill attempts to address Alaska's growing prison population by keeping low-level offenders out of prison and working on reducing Alaska's recidivism rate.

The bill now heads to Gov. Sean Parnell for his signature.

Tardy lawmakers push Alaska legal pot vote to fall
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A ballot measure that could make Alaska the third state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana is getting pushed back to the November ballot because lawmakers couldn't end their session on time.

State election officials confirmed Monday that the marijuana initiative and two others can't be on the Aug. 19 primary ballot. State law requires at least 120 days between the legislative session and the election for initiatives.

The Alaska Legislature was supposed to end the 90 day session Sunday, but lawmakers couldn't agree on an education bill and the funding for it. When lawmakers reconvened Monday, that pushed the three initiatives to November.

A public referendum on Alaska's oil tax structure will still go ahead in August.

Election officials confirm initiatives bumped back
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — It's official: the three initiatives that had been slated to appear on this year's primary ballot have been bumped to November after lawmakers went into extended session Monday.

State election officials confirmed the change affecting initiatives on legalization of recreational marijuana, a minimum wage increase and requiring legislative approval for a large-scale metallic sulfide mining operation in the Bristol Bay region.

A legislative attorney has said statutory and constitutional provisions require that at least 120 days pass after the regular session adjourns before the day of the election for purposes of initiative placement. A law passed last year moved up the primary date in even-numbered years by one week, putting it at Aug. 19 this year.

The referendum on Alaska's oil tax structure will still appear on the primary ballot.

Anchorage airport police lose track of explosive
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Police at the Anchorage airport lost track of a small quantity of explosives used for training bomb-sniffing dogs.

The explosive was attached to a rental car that a customer drove away Monday at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

Airport Police and Fire Chief Jesse Davis tells KTUU the explosive was recovered Monday afternoon in the Anchorage area.

He says the amount of explosives in the vehicle was small and didn't pose a threat to the driver or the public.

The department is reviewing policies to make sure officers don't lose track of explosives again.

Donors to bond groups faces election fines
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Some donors to school bond campaigns are facing hefty fines from state election regulators.

The Anchorage Daily News reports some could be fined as much as $19,000.

State law requires both groups formed to back bond proposals, like School Bonds Yes!, and individual donors of $500 or more to file reports with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

Many contributors to bond groups are engineering firms, like the one owned by Bob Bell. He was also co-chair of Anchorage Bonds Yes!.

His firm received notice that it faces a fine of $50 for every day it hadn't reported its donation. The letter noted that was due 381 days earlier.

APOC Executive Director Paul Dauphinais says it's not a new law and others have correctly and timely filed their paperwork.

Nenana Ice Classic clock ticking down to breakup
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Organizers of the Nenana Ice Classic hooked up the clock Monday that will determine this year's winner in Alaska's largest guessing game.

Thousands of Alaskans have bought tickets, guessing the exact date and time the Tanana River ice will break up in Nenana. The winner will claim a jackpot of about $300,000.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the clock is connected by cable to a wooden tripod anchored in the Tanana River ice about 300 feet from shore. When the ice breaks up and the tripod moves or falls, the cable tightens and stops the clock.

Last year, the ice went out at 2:41 p.m. on May 20, the latest breakup in the history of the 98-year-old event. A couple from Kenai won more than $318,000.

Former Alaska soldier due in military court
A U.S. soldier accused of deliberately killing two unarmed teenage boys as they herded cattle in Iraq seven years ago is due in military court.

Sgt. 1st Class Michael Barbera is set for a preliminary hearing today at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. Barbera was most recently stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

Fairbanks hatchery opens to the public
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The public will have the first opportunity this weekend to tour a $50 million fish hatchery in Fairbanks.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will open the Ruth Burnett Sport Fish Hatchery to the public on Friday.

The opening is in conjunction with the opening of the annual Fairbanks Outdoor Show, which also starts Friday at the nearby Carlson Center.

The hatchery will offer visitors the opportunity to see where tens of thousands of fish are grown yearly for sport anglers.

A 5,000-gallon aquarium with hatchery-raised fish inside will greet visitors entering the building.

The hatchery has been open 18 months, but did have funding to staff the visitors center, which is known as the Tanana Valley Fisheries Center.

Wounded Bear being sought in Kodiak
Alaska State Troopers received a report Monday of a Kodiak bear killing domesticated fowl in the Woodland Acres subdivision.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers and an Alaska Department of Fish & Game bear biologist responded to the area and while on scene, the bear was possibly shot by a resident of Kodiak.

Officials are currently attempting to locate the bear, which is believed to be wounded. The bear may be located in the Woodland Acres subdivision between Puffin Drive, Sharatin Road and the Spruce Cape area.

AST reminds residents of Kodiak the location of the bear is not absolute and the bear may be located in another area.

AST requests local residents to be vigilant of their surroundings and to immediately report any bear activity or sightings.

Illegal moose kill, antler transport brings fine
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 67-year-old Fairbanks man has been fined $10,000 for helping to shoot an under-size moose and for shipping the antlers out of Alaska.

The U.S. Attorney's office says Leslie Zerbe (ZUR'-bee) also was barred in federal magistrate court from hunting for two years.

Prosecutors say Zerbe in 2009 helped a friend from Michigan shoot a bull moose with antlers just more than 42 inches wide in the Ferry Trail Management Area.

Prosecutors say Zerbe had a cabin in the area and knew that moose had to have antlers at least 50 inches wide to be harvested.

Also, the moose had only three brow tines on each side and needed to have four.

Vehicle hits curb, stains sidewalk
A vehicle was leaking oil and staining the sidewalk after colliding with a street curb on Coleman Street Sunday just after noon.

A Capital City Fire Rescue bulletin says absorbent pads were used to absorb the spill.

There were no injuries from the one vehicle accident.

No windshield leads to arrest for no license
If he'd only had a windshield, police may never have known he had no license.

Juneau Police stopped a a Ford Bronco on Haloff Way after it was observed being driven without a windshield Sunday night just after 8:00.

The driver, 43 year-old Calvin Weimer, was cited for driving without a license and the vehicle was impounded.

Juneau man changes plea to no contest, fined $500
During a non-jury trial on Monday, Zachary M. Worrell, age 30 of Juneau, entered a change of plea to No Contest in regards to one count of operating a commercial gillnet within 500 yards of a salmon stream.

The case was the result of a charge against Worrell after he was observed by state aircraft deploying his commercial gillnet from the Fishing Vessel Minter Bay near the mouth of Bessie Creek in commercial fishing district 15 north of Juneau.

State law forbids operating commercial fishing gear within 500 yards of any salmon stream.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game's anadromous stream catalog lists Bessie Creek as supporting chum salmon presence, pink salmon spawning and coho salmon rearing. Worrell was fined $500.

Two reports of domestic violence arrests Sunday in Juneau
Two men were arrested on two separate domestic violence reports Sunday in Juneau.

43 year old Alonzo Rumfelt was arrested for Assault Domestic Violence in the 3300 block of Park Place for placing another person in fear of imminent physical injury. Rumfelt was transported to and lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center Sunday afternoon around 2:30. He was held without bail per the bail schedule.

52 year old Martin Aguirre was arrested for Assault Domestic Violence in the 1000 Block of Coogan Drive for placing his girlfriend of about 4 years in fear of being injured after he was yelling and grabbed her glasses off her face. Aguirre was transported to and lodged at Lemon Creek Correctional Center without bail Sunday night a little after 7:00.

Haines man arrested after disconnecting phone as wife calls 911
Alaska State Troopers and Haines Borough Police responded to a report of a domestic disturbance at a residence near 18 mile of the Haines Highway Sunday night.

Investigation showed that John Donald, age 53, of Haines had assaulted his wife in their residence around 11:00 p.m.. and then disconnected the phone when she attempted to call 911.

Donald was arrested without incident and remanded to the Haines jail pending arraignment.

Hypodermic needles seen, wanted man arrested on the Kennecott
Alaska State Troopers responded to the Alaska Marine Highway ferry terminal in Ketchikan after receiving a report that two male passengers onboard the "Kennecott" were observed with hypodermic needles.

Troopers contacted 49 year old Kenneth R. Bradley of Washington and his adult male companion. Investigation revealed Bradley was wanted in Alaska for unrelated charges of Reckless Endangerment. Bradley was taken into custody without incident and transported to Ketchikan Correctional Center where he was remanded on the warrant.

Bail was set at $2,500.00. Several backpacks were seized for investigative purposes.

Food Recalls in Alaska
Two food products have been recalled in Alaska.

Kraft Foods Group, Inc. has issued a recall for packages of Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners that may instead contain Classic Cheese Dogs, a product that contains milk, a known allergen. The recalled product, packaged in individual consumer-sized packages and cases to retailers, may be identified by the establishment number “Est.537H,” located inside the mark of inspection. Consumers with questions about the recall should contact Kraft Consumer Relations at 855-688-4386.

Hickory Farms, Inc. has issued a recall for Farmstand Recipe Chipotle Ranch Sauce because the label does not state that the product contains buttermilk powder, a known allergen. The recalled product may be identified by the “Best If Used By” date located above the back label. Consumers with questions about the recall should contact the company at 800-762-5558.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

Alaska DEC has confirmed these products were available in Alaska. To date, no illnesses or reactions have been reported in Alaska or elsewhere.

3 adults and 1 child rescued from vessel near Whittier
The Coast Guard rescued three adults and one child aboard a disabled vessel approximately 13 miles northeast of Whittier Saturday.

A Coast Guard 45-foot response boat from Station Valdez safely transported the boaters and their 15-foot vessel to Whittier.

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage received a call from a man reporting a friend had texted him a distress message late Friday night saying his vessel was out of gas. Sector Anchorage personnel issued an urgent marine information broadcast and made contact with the people aboard the disabled boat by cell phone to learn their location. The Station Valdez crew was directed to launch after it was determined no good Samaritans were able to respond.

"The passengers aboard this vessel wisely informed their family and friends of where they were headed and how long they would be gone and reached out for assistance before the situation deteriorated,” said Lt. Matthew Mitchell, command center chief, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. "The Coast Guard recommends boaters also file a float plan with their local harbormaster and carry additional means of communication and flares aboard their vessels for when cell phone reception is unreliable."

There were no reported injuries.

Update: Coast Guard investigates grounding of fishing boat
SITKA, Alaska (AP) — Two crewmembers from a fishing vessel were able to walk from their grounded vessel to a waiting Coast Guard helicopter for rescue.

The Coast Guard says in a release that there were no injuries in the Monday morning incident in Sitka Sound.

Authorities say the 50-foot fishing vessel Mirage was grounded in low tide near Low Island, about 10 miles west of Sitka.

The Mirage, which doesn't appear to have any damage, has about 1,000 gallons of diesel aboard.

The crew will attempt to refloat the Mirage during high tide Tuesday. The Coast Guard will investigate the grounding.

Begich Comments on NOAA Arctic Action Plan
U.S. Senator Mark Begich was both pleased and concerned following the release Monday of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Arctic Action Plan:

Begich said he is glad the administration continues to plan for changes in the Arctic, But he stated that we need more than just plans sitting on a shelf saying that without a serious commitment of resources, the U.S. will find itself unprepared for growing activity in the Arctic.

According to Begich, NOAA has taken some concrete action, including developing an Arctic version of its oil spill response management software, and is starting to improve Arctic weather and sea-ice forecasts, but there is still too much to do.

The Senator pointed out that the U.S. Government Accountability Office, in a report issued last week, noted that only 1% of the nation’s waters in the Arctic have been charted with modern methods. In other areas we are relying on leadline surveys made during the age of sail.

Begich believes that unless the administration commits serious resources to Arctic science, we will be decades behind other nations when it comes to Arctic development.

Feds charge 3 in counterfeiting cases
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Three Alaskans have been charged in two separate counterfeiting cases.

The U.S. attorney's office says 42-year-old Eugene David Downey Jr. of Anchorage faces four counts of passing counterfeit $50 bills at Anchorage-area stores.

In a separate case involving two Chugiak residents, 28-year-old Matthew Lee Daley faces seven counts and 30-year-old Christa Louise Speiser is charged with four counts of passing and making counterfeit money. They are accused of bleaching $1 and $5 bills and using computers to make the notes into $50 and $100 bills. Authorities allege they passed the bills at stores in Eagle River last November.

Prosecutors say Downey and Daley are under arrest, and an arrest warrant has been issued for Speiser. There was no indication from online court records that any have lawyers.

Kodiak police say drug bust was biggest ever
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — Kodiak police say a weekend drug bust — with a street value of nearly $2.2 million — was the biggest ever in department history.

Kodiak radio station KMXT reports police seized more than a pound-and-a-half of methamphetamine and nearly 2 ounces of heroin.

The Anchorage Daily News reports Eric McDaniel, a 44-year-old resident of Washington state, was arrested. Police chief Ronda Wallace says in a statement that they have been investigating him since January.

Police say they lured him from his hotel room Saturday morning and arrested him. Police say they found the drugs in a subsequent search of the hotel room. McDaniel's girlfriend fled when she saw police.

Legislature approves operating budget
The State House Sunday afternoon unanimously approved an operating budget for next fiscal year.

House Finance Co-Chair Alan Austerman told the House that the spending plan amounts to $9.1 Billion.

The Senate voted 14 to 4 later in the day to adopt the conference committee report.

Senate Finance advances education bill
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Senate Finance Committee has advanced a broad-ranging education bill that adds more money to public education and raises the required local contribution for schools.

The committee has proposed $100 million in extra funding for districts over the next three years, in addition to support for charter schools, residential schools, correspondence programs and other initiatives. The $100 million would be distributed to districts outside the per-student funding formula known as the base student allocation.

Some lawmakers say the formula needs to be examined. The committee, in its rewrite of HB278, proposes a study of how the state funds education.

But critics say having the extra funding in the formula ensures it's there and helps districts plan.

The bill raises the local mill levy and allows for greater voluntary contributions by municipalities.

Pension debt bill clears Legislature.
The State House has gone along with the Senate's approach for addressing Alaska's pension obligation.

The Senate's Finance Committee suggested putting $2 billion from savings into the teachers' retirement system and $1 billion into the public employees' system. The plan calls for lower annual payments than Governor Sean Parnell proposed but payments would extend out from 5 to 9 years.

Parnell proposed a $3-billion infusion, too, but broken out between the two systems differently.

Revenue Commissioner Angela Rodell said the plan works well, and the administration did not have any problems with it.

The idea behind the committee plan is to improve the health of the pension systems while reducing the pressure on the state budget over the next decade, an effort, as co-chair Pete Kelly said, to preserve reserves.

The Senate changes to House Bill 385 were okayed by the House Sunday afternoon on a unanimous vote.

Natural gas line bill  approved by lawmakers
The State House approved a Senate bill on the last day of the regular session that sets the state's participation in a major liquefied natural gas project.

The vote was 36 to 4. Juneau Representative Sam Kito III was among the no votes.

The Senate later concurred with House changes on a 16 to 4 vote.

SB 138 now backs to the Senate for concurrence in House changes.

The bill from Gov. Sean Parnell would set state participation at about 25 percent in a project also being pursued by TransCanada, the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., and the North Slope's major players. It would allow the project to move to a stage of preliminary engineering and design and cost refinement.

It also would allow the state to negotiate project-enabling contracts that would be brought back to lawmakers for consideration.

Some supporters expressed cautious optimism that this would lead to a long hoped-for project. Critics questioned if this was the best deal for the state.

Legislature passes bill honoring Native languages
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Legislature has passed a bill symbolically recognizing 20 Alaska Native languages as official languages of the state.

Supporters of HB216 staged a sit-in at the Capitol Sunday, which was the last scheduled day of the 90-day session, to urge lawmakers to take up the bill. Because this is the second year of this Legislature, any bills not passed by adjournment will die.

Supporters filled the Senate galleries, waiting for the bill to be taken up. They stood during the debate and applauded following the vote, which came after 3 a.m. Monday. At least one woman wiped away tears.

The bill prompted emotional testimony in committee hearings. Sen. Fred Dyson, who carried the bill on the floor, said this was a way to show respect for Alaska's indigenous people.

Bill designates Juneau house for Lieutenant Governor's lodging
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Senate has passed a bill that would designate an historic house in downtown Juneau as the official residence of the state's lieutenant governor.

The amendment, from Juneau Democratic Sen. Dennis Egan, was accepted to HB246, a bill that would add land to Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge in Fairbanks.

Egan last year proposed budget language calling on the Department of Natural Resources to negotiate with the governor's office to establish the House of Wickersham State Historic Site as lodging for the lieutenant governor when he or she is in the capital city. The department manages the site.  The house would remain open to public tours and events.

But the Legislature did not provide funding requested by the governor for renovations aimed at making the upper floors more hospitable.

The House on Sunday afternoon concurred with the Senate change on a unanimous vote.

Dog ticks a growing concern in Alaska
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Many people think ticks can't live in Alaska but a state veterinarian says that's not the case.

Some ticks, such as hare ticks, have always survived in the state, but non-native dog ticks have also been found in Alaska, raising concerns for dogs, wildlife and the risk of spreading diseases to people.

Kimberlee Beckmen of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner ticks on small mammals like snowshoe hares, squirrels and birds are endemic to the state.

In the past three years, Beckmen also has found at least two types of non-native dog ticks surviving in Alaska.

Ticks carry diseases, such as Lyme disease, that can be transmitted to people. Dog ticks also pose a risk to moose and other wildlife.

Police ID Ontario bank robbery suspect
ONTARIO, Ore. (AP) — Oregon authorities say they have a name and sketchy background information about a man who fatally shot himself after a bank robbery, and they're appealing for help to find his relatives.

Oregon State Police said Monday the man was 71-year-old as Joseph Thomas Johnston, reported living most recently in a Mohave Valley, Ariz., mobile home park.

The police said he drove to the Pacific Northwest in March to see a friend named "Paul" who was reported ill.

Police said Johnston shot himself after he was pulled over by an officer investigating a robbery April 10 at Bank of the West in Ontario, Ore.

Johnston is described as diabetic and having unspecified ties in several states including Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Ohio, Maryland, and Florida.

Sons testify in Kodiak Coast Guard murder trial
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The sons of the man charged with murder in the deaths of two co-workers at a Kodiak Coast Guard communications station say they never saw their father with a silver handgun, a weapon authorities say likely was used in the crime.

Cable and Matthew Wells testified Monday in the trial of 62-year-old James Wells.

He's charged in the deaths of Petty Officer First Class James Hopkins and civilian Richard Belisle (BEL'-eye-ul).

Matthew Wells is a Portland, Ore., police officer. He says his father's preferred sidearm in bear country was a .44-caliber Ruger handgun.

He says his father didn't own a silver Smith & Wesson .44-caliber revolver that could have been involved.

Defense attorneys continue to call character witnesses who are testifying that Wells was not a violent person.

UPDATE:  Fugitive caught by Juneau Police
A fugitive from justice has been apprehended by Juneau Police. 

The police department says Nicholas Alexander Detemple was picked up Saturday night.

Detemple was the focus of the most recent Juneau Crime Line.  There was a warrant for the arrest of 26 year old Detemple for violating his parole on an original charge of misconduct involving a controlled substance in the third degree.

Police say Detemple has a history of having weapons in addition to being associated with drugs.

An off duty police officer saw Detemple on April 6 near the airport driving a 1999, green Volkswagon Passat. Police say the suspect recognized the officer and nearly struck him with his car while fleeing.  It's estimated Detemple was traveling at 80 miles per hour on Glacier Highway near Jordan Avenue when he fled the area.

Suspected drunk driver jailed after accident on Montana Creek Road
Juneau Police says a man who caused a a traffic accident on Montana Creek Road was intoxicated.

In addition to drunk driving, a police bulletin says 22 year old Eric Moy was cited for driving without a valid license and no insurance.

Moy was jailed at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center and his vehicle was impounded.

Police say his breath alcohol content was point 216 percent. The legal limit is point 80.

Details on the accident police say Moy caused were not detailed in the bulletin issued Sunday afternoon.

Police bulletin reports two DV arrests Saturday
The bulletin issued by Juneau Police Saturday afternoon details two domestic violence arrests.

In one case Friday night, a man took swings at officers.

The bulletin says 51 year old Jeffrey Justice fought with police while being served with a a domestic violence protective order in the 2800 block of Mendenhall Loop Road.

Justice was jailed at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

The other came just before one Saturday morning in the 300 block of Fourth Street.

The bulletin says 25 year old Nathan Davis interfered with the report of a domestic violence crime by forcibly taking a telephone that was being used to call 911.

Davis was jailed at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center on no bail.

Garage fire doused in the Valley
Capital City Fire Rescue responded to a report of a garage fire in the Mendenhall Valley Sunday afternoon.

Fire Marshal Dan Jager says the call from 9446 Carroll Place came in at 3:30.

The home owner thought the fire was in the garage so Jager says they cut a hole in the roof above the garage and found where the fire was

Jager says the cause of the fire was discarded smoking materials that were placed in a plastic coffee can that had cat litter in it.

The fire marshal said the plastic melted and ignited and burned up the exterior wall of the house to the roof eave and into attic space.

No injuries were reported. Jager says all occupants were able to escape from the house.

While one of the homeowners called 911, the other got a garden house and knocked down the fire.

Damage caused an estimated $3,000 damage. Jager says the home was insured.

Special Assembly meeting for manager's evaluation
The Assembly conducted a special meeting Monday evening to take up City Manager Kim Kiefer's evaluation.

Kiefer was asked on Action Friday to offer a self evaluation.

She said that the Assembly should look at what it brought up last year and how she has responded to points brought up then.

Kiefer added that members should look at whether she's moving forward as they directed on their goals.

Murkowski seeks to empower medical volunteers during disasters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski Monday introduced the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act four days after the 50th anniversary of Alaska’s Good Friday earthquake – to protect volunteer health care providers assisting in disaster areas from civil liability when providing care outside their home community to victims. The bill would allow health professionals to use their medical liability insurance across state lines when volunteering after a serious disaster.

Murkowski said, there is a longstanding physician shortage which already makes it difficult for Alaskans to access medical care. If a serious natural disaster were to shake Alaska, there would not be enough volunteers to assist those who really need it. This bill would allow health care professionals to cross state lines and use their hard earned skills to help out.

The Alaska State Medical Association also supports this legislation adding that, “given Alaska’s geographic size and transportation challenges, it is vital to minimize the number of hurdles in getting qualified healthcare providers to a disaster scene as soon as possible.

This bill would allow for a health care provider’s professional liability insurance to carry across state lines during a declared disaster or emergency.

There is a bipartisan companion bill in the House called The Good Samaritan Health Professional Act,HR 1733, which was introduced in the 113th Congress by Representative Republican Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Democrat Jim Matheson from Utah.

Attempt to stop Anchorage indoor tennis facility
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage Assemblyman Bill Starr is trying to stop Mayor Dan Sullivan's administration from spending on a new indoor tennis facility.

Starr says when the administration proposed replacing outdoor courts, it didn't make clear it intended an entirely new tennis center in the Turnagain neighborhood.

Mayor Sullivan says it only makes sense to replace the outdoor courts with ones that can be used 12 months a year.

Anchorage Daily News reports the money comes from the $2.5 million parks bond approved in April 2013.

On Tuesday the Assembly will consider Starr's proposal to stop spending money on an indoor tennis facility.

Carnival cancels 15 port calls in Ketchikan
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — Ketchikan will have about 30,000 fewer cruise ship passengers this summer after technical issues prompted one line to cancel 15 port calls.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports Carnival Cruise Lines had 20 port calls scheduled this summer.

But the liner Miracle has a technical issue that will lower its top speed from 21 knots to anywhere between 18 to 20 knots.

By bypassing Ketchikan, the Miracle will spend more time in Juneau and Sitka.

After the ship completes its Alaska and Hawaii schedules this year, it will report to drydock in early 2015 for repairs.
(Ketchikan Daily News)

Palmer driver nearly hits Trooper vehicle while texting
A Palmer woman got the attention of Alaska State Troopers as she was texting while driving late Saturday morning in Palmer.

That's because 20 year old Madison Miller drove left of the center line in a no passing zone causing a Trooper in the ongoing lane and her to take evasive action.

Troopers stopped her Ford F350 truck and issued misdemeanor citations for texting while driving and reckless driving.

She was released on scene with a promise to appear in court, according to the Trooper dispatch.

Northrim Bank makes sizeable donation to UAS
Northrim Bank President and CEO Joe Beedle  has  presented UAS Chancellor John Pugh with three checks totaling $35,000 at the bank's Economic Luncheon in Juneau earlier this month.

A check totaling $25,000 was given for the School of Management in support of travel for the Community Outreach Coordinator to Alaska's smaller communities.

The two remaining checks were for $5,000 each given in support of UAS' Ketchikan and Sitka campuses.

Northrim is headquartered in Anchorage with branches in Fairbanks, Eagle River, Wasilla and now Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka.

Young not pleased with another delay on Keystone Pipeline decision
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Alaskan Congressman Don Young released a statement Friday saying it was not a good Friday for American jobs and infrastructure. His statement came following the announcement by the Obama Administration to further delay its decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Congressman Young added that It’s been more than five years since the first application for the Keystone XL Pipeline was submitted to the State Department for approval, and we are still waiting to hear back from an Administration that chooses political strategy and party politics over a project that would boost our economy by adding more than 42,000 new jobs.

Feds: USPS worker takes disability, goes fishing
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A former U.S. Postal Service employee in Anchorage was arraigned Friday on charges he accepted at least $334,000 in disability and worker's comp payments while he spent his summers fishing.

The U.S. attorney's office says in a Friday release that 56-year-old Amacio Zamora Agcaoili Jr. was indicted by a federal grand jury on 18 counts, including theft of government funds.

They claim every summer between 2009 and 2013, he went dipnetting and fishing on multiple occasions despite being on disability.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Yvonne Lamoureux also claims Agcaoli lied about not working when he was paid for preparing tax returns and immigration paperwork.

Authorities also claim he failed to tell the Social Security Administration about his worker's comp payments, to which he wasn't entitled.

NTSB releases report on crash near Bethel
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report says a small commercial plane was flying at about 3,400 feet when it crashed near Bethel, killing the two pilots on board.

KYUK Radio says investigators still don't know what caused the Cessna 208 operated by Hageland Aviation to go down during a training flight. NTSB investigator Clint Johnson says it appears the plane went into a steep dive.

Killed in the April 8 crash were 42-year-old Derrick Cedars of Bethel and 46-year-old Greggory McGee of Anchorage. No others were on board.

The burned wreckage was found near Three Step Mountain.

The NTSB also is investigating the November crash of another Hageland Aviation Cessna 208. Four people were killed and six injured in the crash of that commuter flight.

Hageland Aviation is part of Ravn Alaska.

High court: state has duty to protect inmates
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Supreme Court says a former prison inmate can move forward with a lawsuit claiming corrections officers failed to protect him from another inmate.

The justices said in an opinion Friday that the state has a duty to protect inmates in its custody.

The Anchorage Daily News says Richard Mattox was seriously injured by another prisoner in 2007. He said he warned officers of trouble with inmates in his prison block.

Mattox sued the state for negligence, but Palmer Superior Court Judge Vanessa White threw the case out in 2011. The judge said Mattox didn't show that the corrections department had been given notice of a specific threat against him.

The high court said that bar is too high.

State lawyers say they're disappointed with the decision.
(Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News)

Alaska unemployment rate now only one-tenth percent lower than national average
Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in March, up one-tenth of a percentage point from February. The comparable national rate was 6.7 percent.

This is the closest the national rate has come to Alaska's since surpassing it in November 2008, according to State Labor Economist Caroline Schultz.

As the national rate has crept down she says it has become increasingly evident it will soon drop below Alaska’s rate after a long stretch of being higher.

That says more about the U.S. economy’s continuing recovery than about any fundamental change for Alaska, according to Schultz. She says the state’s rate had always been higher than the nation’s until the recession pushed the U.S. rate close to double its pre-recession level.

Schultz says Alaska’s rate climbed too, but less dramatically, and returned more quickly to its historical average.

Alaska’s not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in March, down from 7.7 percent in February.

Along with longer days and hints of spring, Schultz says March heralds the beginning of the unadjusted rate’s descent into summer lows as seasonal work picks up. Rates fell in 26 of 29 boroughs and census areas from February to March.

The North Slope Borough continued to have the lowest rate in the state in March, at 4.3 percent.

The Wade Hampton Census Area in western Alaska had the highest unemployment rate in the state at 25.8 percent, up from 25.5 percent in February. The Hoonah-Angoon Census Area in Southeast Alaska was a close second at 25.7 percent. That fell from 26.3 percent in February.

Juneau's rate last month was 5.4 percent, down one-tenth of a percent from February.

The rate in Anchorage fell two-tenths of a percent to 5.5 percent in March.

In the Mat Su Borough the rate was 8.7 percent, down one-tenth from the previous month.

The rate in Fairbanks fell in March to 6.3 percent from 6.6 in February.

On the Kenai Peninsula, the rate dropped from 8.9 percent in February to 8.5 in March.


For the Haines Borough, the rate went from 13.6 percent in February to 11.8 in March.

The rate in Skagway was 21.8 percent down from 25.6 in February.

For Ketchikan the rate declined from 8.7 percent in February to 8.3 last month.

Sitka say a decline from 7.1 percent to 5.9 in March.

For the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census area the rate in March stood at 18.5 percent, down from 20.2 in February.

Unemployment rates fall in 21 US states last month
JOSH BOAK, AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than two-thirds of the states reported job gains in March, as hiring improves for much of the country during what has been a sluggish but sustained 4 1/2-year recovery.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates dropped in 21 states, rose in 17 and was unchanged in the remaining 12. Meanwhile, hiring increased in 34 states and fell in 16.

The unemployment rate varies from as low as 2.6 percent in North Dakota to as much as 8.7 percent in Rhode Island. South Carolina has experienced the sharpest decline over 12 months to 5.5 percent from 8 percent.

The rate nationwide stayed at 6.7 percent in March for the second straight month.

Employers added 192,000 jobs nationwide in March, close to the average monthly gains of the past two years.

Fire department provides reminders for motorists encountering emergency vehicles
Capital City Fire Rescue is reminding motorists on the protocol for responding when they encounter emergency vehicles on Juneau roadways.

Fire Marshal Dan Jager says people need to pull over to the side of the road.

He says some people do pull over but on the wrong side.

The rules for emergency vehicles if they are approaching from behind and have their lights on call for motorists to move to the shoulder on the right side of the road. Once they pull over they must stop. Jager says many people just slow down.

Jager said on Juneau Radio Center's Action Line last week that he believes people want to do the right thing, but just panic and forget what they should do.

Fire Marshal's office outlines rules for burn permits
It's open burning season in Juneau.

The season opened April 1 and continues through October 31.

The Capital City Fire Rescue Fire Marshal's Office talked about the burning season on Action Line this week.

Deputy Fire Marshal Sven Pearson said permits can be applied for online. He suggested googling Juneau Burn Permit to find the application.

He said it only takes a couple of minutes to fill out the permit request.

Residents not in compliance will face fines and could lose their burn privileges for the whole season, according to Fire Marshal Dan Jager.

If they continue without a permit, the fire department can pursue criminal charges that comes with more severe monetary fines and up to a year in jail.

For the most part the fire marshal says most people try to follow the rules the best they can.

Judge rejects witness in Kodiak Coast Guard trial
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An inmate will not be taking the stand for the defense in a Kodiak Coast Guard double homicide case — at least for now — after a judge ruled Friday there's no proven connection between him and the case.

Prosecutors successfully objected to calling 38-year-old Jason Barnumgot in the murder trial of 62-year-old James Wells. U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler says there was no reason for him to appear "other than to frighten the jury."

Wells is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the death of two co-workers in a workshop of the Kodiak Island Communication Station.

FBI agents questioned Barnum about the Kodiak deaths three months after he was arrested in a separate case in September 2012. They showed him pictures of people and told him he was not a suspect.

Barnum was arrested and charged with shooting at an Anchorage police officer interviewing people about burglaries. That case is pending.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline said Friday he hadn't seen a sufficient connection to allow Barnum to be called as a defense witness.

Jury convicts Anchorage man in stabbing death
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 32-year-old Anchorage man has been convicted of repeatedly stabbing another man to death after chasing him down on foot.

The Anchorage District Attorney's Office says in a release that a jury found Tidiane Kone guilty of first- and second-degree murder on Friday. He was charged in the August 2012 death of Adrian Beaver.

Kone was also convicted of two counts of assault for stabbing another man, Lovie Houston, who was with Beaver. Houston was treated and released the same night of the stabbings.

Authorities say Kone has several criminal convictions since 2005, including one felony. He was on electronic monitoring as part of his pretrial release in another case when the stabbings took place.

He faces between 20-to-99 years when he is sentenced Sept. 12.

Quake aftershock hits remote Alaska area
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 4.7 magnitude earthquake aftershock struck in a remote Alaska area above the Arctic Circle, several hours after a more powerful temblor hit the zone.

The Alaska Earthquake Information Center says it has no reports that the latest quake, which struck shortly before 10 p.m. Friday, caused any damage.

Friday morning, the Center said a magnitude 5.5 quake hit in the same Brooks Range region and was felt in the hub community of Kotzebue and at the Red Dog Mine, but there were no damage reports.

Two minutes after that earthquake, a magnitude 5.3 aftershock hit, following by three additional aftershocks — two at magnitude 3.7 and one at magnitude 4.1.

The latest quake was centered about 14 miles east-northeast of Noatak, in northwest Alaska.

Alaska village advances to national mascot finals
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The northwest Alaska village of Deering may be tiny, but its school mascot is in the running for a national championship of nicknames.

The Deering Northern Lights already got the top vote in a poll by USA Today over high schools from Alaska and five other Western states.

The Anchorage Daily News says online voting for the national championship opened up Friday and ends at 10 a.m. AKDT April 25.

The Centralia Orphans of Illinois are the defending national champions. They're back again this year.

Altogether, 10 schools are in the running for a $2,000 cash prize.

All voting is done online: Contest rules allow people to cast as many votes as they want, as long as they are 13 or older.

Deering is home to 130 people.
(Anchorage Daily News)

Kenai could impose no-wake zones during fishery
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — The city manager in Kenai will be able to create no-wake zones for the harbor during the crowded dipnet season.

The Peninsula Clarion reports a new ordinance was passed last week, giving the city manager the discretion to regulate boat speed.

Kenai City Council member Bob Molloy says residents have expressed concerns about both boat wakes in high tide during the peak fishery season and damaged property from the wakes.

He says people expressed concerns when up to 600 small boats are zipping up and down along a two-mile stretch of Kenai Harbor.

The ordinance gives the city manager the power to create temporary or permanent no-wake zones, reducing speed to 5 mph during high tides.
(Peninsula Clarion)

Snohomish County to get $7.6M from FEMA
SEATTLE (AP) — Members of Washington's congressional delegation say the Federal Emergency Management Agency will give Snohomish County nearly $7.6 million as the first payment in a grant program that reimburses local governments for spending on recovery after federally declared disasters.

The payment from FEMA's Public Assistance Grant Program was announced Tuesday as President Obama toured the site of the March 22 Oso mudslide. Forty-one victims have been identified and two people are still missing.

U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and U.S. Reps. Suzan DelBene and Rick Larsen say the money represents a 75 percent reimbursement for costs Snohomish County submitted to the federal government 30 days into the recovery effort.

County Executive John Lovick says he's "truly appreciative of this first installment of public assistance as we continue the important work ahead of us."

WA Mudslide:  County council readies construction moratorium
EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — The Snohomish County Council has drafted an emergency, six-month moratorium to ban new housing construction within a half-mile of landslide hazard areas, such as the Oso community hillside that collapsed March 22.

The Daily Herald of Everett reports the proposal would affect coastal bluffs and mountain valleys. The newspaper says an estimated 30,000 people already live in parts of the county with known landslide dangers.

The measure is expected to be introduced at Wednesday's council meeting. It would not apply to projects with completed building applications.

The Oso mudslide that has claimed 41 lives, with two people still missing, stretched more than a mile.

Widow seeks $7 million after deadly Wash. mudslide
EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — The lawyer for a woman whose husband died in the Oso mudslide says her client has filed claims seeking a total of $7 million from Washington state and Snohomish County.

Lawyer Corrie Yackulic said Friday that Deborah Durnell wants to learn exactly why a hillside gave way and what government officials knew about risks to those living below in the small community of Oso, 55 miles northeast of Seattle.

The Daily Herald of Everett reports that Thomas Durnell is among 39 people known to have died in the March 22 slide. Another four people are missing.

State and county officials say they have just begun their review of the claims.

County property records show the Durnells bought their home in 2011. The lawyer says they were unaware of the history of slides from the hill above.
(The Daily Herald)

Sullivan opens field office in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan has opened a campaign field office in Fairbanks.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the office that opened Saturday will serve as Sullivan's base for campaigning in the Interior.

Sullivan is running against fellow Republicans Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller for the opportunity to face Sen. Mark Begich in the general election.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)

Fairbanks takes 2nd look at rejected contract
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks City Council will reconsider a union contract proposal it rejected last month.

The three-year contract with city office workers and managers includes a 2.5 percent pay and benefit increase this year and a 2 percent raises over each of the next two years.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the council rejected the contract last month, but will take another look Monday.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is one of four unions that have contracts with the city. The 42 city workers organized under IBEW include mostly City Hall office workers, including departmental heads and administrative assistants.

An official with IBEW Local 1547 tells the newspaper the city administration agreed to put it up for another vote after further discussions with the union.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)

Settlement will allow land sale for Anchorage park
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Boys and Girls Clubs of Alaska have settled a lawsuit that will allow the organization to sell Anchorage property to the city for a 17-acre park.

The Waldron Lake property was sold by to the organization in 1972 by Marcy Trent at a fraction of its worth. Her family says Trent intended that it be reserved as a park.

Trent was an avid runner who died in a bear attack.

The organization eventually wanted to sell the land to the city but a claim on the property was made by the widow of Marcy Trent's second husband. The woman speaks limited English and claimed she was duped into signing away her interest.

The Anchorage Daily News reports the claim was addressed in an out-of-court settlement.
(Anchorage Daily News)

Fairbanks tries to improve water quality
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Fairbanks officials are launching a public-education effort in an effort to reduce water pollution.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that many residents are apparently unaware that storm drains lead directly into the Chena River or Noyes Slough.

Jackson Fox, the city's planning and permitting manager, says Fairbanks is continually trying to educate residents about how their actions can affect local water quality. When the snow melts each spring in Fairbanks, it can wash a lot of nasty stuff down storm drains. That includes antifreeze, oil or transmission fluid that leaked from vehicles during the winter, as well as litter and pet waste.

The city will be circulating a 23-question survey throughout the community this summer. The goal is to try to learn about people's habits as well as educate them. The city did a similar survey six years ago and found that about 50 percent of the approximately 200 people who responded did not know that storm drain runoff flows directly into local streams and ponds.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)

Woman gets 'deal of lifetime" in pot sentence

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A prosecutor concedes he was giving a Juneau woman the "deal of a lifetime" when she was sentenced for a misdemeanor instead of a felony after a pot-grow operation was found in her home.

Juneau District Attorney James Scott calls the circumstances surrounding the prosecution of Bonnie E. Odom as a "one-off."

He said he agreed to a misdemeanor because she didn't have a criminal record and police only found out about the 55 plants because of an unrelated incident that brought police to her home.

The Juneau Empire reports that Alaska law states any more than 25 plants is considered a felony.

Her lawyer says she uses the marijuana for medical purposes. She received a year of probation instead of jail time.

Alaska business students form cannabis industry association
(FAIRBANKS) - A group of graduate students studying business administration at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Management announced the formation of the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Legislation. They seeks to establish a coalition of reputable business owners, educated consumers, and prominent persons in the community with the purpose of influencing future cannabis legislation.

The group's Executive Director, Brandon Emmett, says that Ballot Measure 2 establishes a regulated system in which private sector businesses can benefit from the multi-million dollar marijuana industry that already exists in this state. He said his groups goal is to work closely with the appropriate Alaska regulatory agencies, as well as state and local legislators to enact cannabis regulations that serve the best interest of the Alaskan people, the Alaskan economy, as well as consumer groups.

Other members of CRCL leadership include UAF MBA candidates, Shaun Tacke and Frank Berardi.

The group has begun meeting with members of the business community and plans to continue its coalition building efforts this summer so that it is prepared to hit the ground running after the vote on Ballot Measure 2 this fall.

2 Wash. men accused of hauling 45 pounds of pot
MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State Police in southern Oregon have arrested two Washington state men accused of hauling about 45 pounds of marijuana and a small amount of hashish as they drove north on Interstate 5.

State police say a trooper stopped their station wagon late Thursday night for a speeding violation.

KDRV-TV reports that police estimate the value of the drugs at more than $110,000.

Police say 23-year-old Ryan Longley from Lake Tapps, Wash., and 22-year-old Coty Hammond of Spanaway, Wash., were booked into the Jackson County Jail for investigation of felony unlawful possession and delivery of marijuana.

Alaska part of Lowe's settlement case
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Lowe's Home Centers has agreed to pay a $500,000 federal penalty in settling claims that its contractors in at least nine states, including Alaska, broke environmental rules for addressing lead paint dust during home renovation projects.

As part of the deal announced by the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency, Lowes also pledged to adopt a compliance program for dealing with lead paint during the renovation programs offered through its more than 1,700 stores.

Denali Road open to Mile 30
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The first 30 miles of the road into Denali National Park and Preserve opened for the season Friday.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the road has been cleared as far as 60 miles into the park, but traffic has to stop at Mile 30.

People can park there, and hike or bike further into the park.

Seattle mayor to unveil plan for minimum wage hike
SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has announced he will unveil on Thursday his plan to increase the minimum wage in the city.

The mayor's announcement came as his advisory group of business, labor, non-profits and other representatives apparently did not agree on a plan. Murray had created the group late last year to chart a plan following a pledge to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

In a statement, Murray says he hopes that the advisory group manages to reach an agreement by Thursday. If not, he's ready to present his plan.

In Seattle, the prevailing debate is not whether the minimum wage will be increased to $15, but how and when. Business groups want a training wage, a phase-in period and for a total wage to count health care, commissions, tips and bonuses. Meanwhile, a group led by socialist City Council member Kshama Sawant is lobbying for an immediate wage hike for large businesses and a three-year phase-in for small and medium sized employers.

Seattle businesses launch $15 minimum wage group
SEATTLE (AP) — As the debate over whether to raise Seattle's minimum wage to $15 an hour continues, a business coalition has launched its own public campaign.

Mayor Ed Murray has given his advisory committee a deadline of April 24 to present their proposal on the issue.

The group OneSeattle launched its public campaign this month. It's coalition of local small and medium-sized employers with the backing of the large business associations, like the Washington Restaurant Association.

They say they want to see the $15 minimum wage but they want a temporary training wage, a phase-in period, and the ability to count health care, commissions, tips and bonuses in total wages.


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