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[Friday, May 17, 2013 11TH EDITION
2:50 P. M.]
Unemployment in Alaska declines in April, Juneau
tied for lowest rate
Alaska's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6 percent in April,
down two tenths of percent from March.
The last time Alaska's unemployment rate was as low was in mid-2007.
The comparable national rate was 7.5 percent. It's the 54th month in a row
Alaska's rate was below the U. S. rate.
The non-seasonally adjusted rate was 6.3 percent, down from 6.6 in
Rates went down in nearly all of the state's boroughs and census areas.
Exceptions included Anchorage and Nome were rates were unchanged. They
went up in the Kodiak Island Borough and the Aleutians West and Bethel
Rates in Skagway, Denali Borough and the Hoonah-Angoon census area declined
more than four percentage points due to the start of this year's tourism
Juneau's rate went from 4.6 percent in March to 4.4 in April. Juneau was
tied with North Slope Borough for the lowest rate in the state last
The highest was the Wade Hampton Census Area in western Alaska at 21.4
State appeals dismissal of roadless rule
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state of Alaska is appealing the dismissal of
its challenge to a federal roadless rule in national forests.
A federal judge in March said Alaska's challenge was too late, falling
outside the limit for appeals.
The 2001 rule restricts road construction in national forest areas
without roads. An exemption was made in 2003 for the Tongass National
Forest in southeast Alaska.
But a federal judge in 2011 overturned that decision, and the state sued
both to overturn the original rule and rejection of the Tongass
The state, in a release Friday, contends the six-year limitation on
suing should be extended. The state argues it promptly sued twice and
in-between could not challenge the rule because it wasn't in effect.
CBJ assessment appeals way up
Appeals of CBJ property assessments are up this year.
The deadline was the end of business Wednesday.
CBJ Finance Director Bob Bartholomew says the Assessors Office received
596 appeals or requests for corrections
That's higher than the average from the last two years which was
between 350 and 400.
But Bartholomew says it's in line with what they were expecting due to
the change in methodology they implemented this year.
The modeling for assessing land values was changed so the total value
allocated between land and structures changed as well.
The finance director says they've been working since appeals started
coming in over the last month to resolve them.
Those that can't be resolved will go before the Board of Equalization.
State to recover $376K in Medicaid case
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state of Alaska is expected to share in a
$500-million settlement over state and federal allegations that an
India-based pharmaceutical manufacturer distributed adulterated drugs.
The Department of Law says the drugs resulted in false or fraudulent
claims being submitted to Alaska's Medicaid program.
According to a release, the company, Ranbaxy, agreed to pay the states
and federal government $350 million in civil damages and penalties, as
well as $150 million in criminal fines and forfeitures.
Alaska is expected to recover more than $376,000.
Terms of the deal were announced by Michigan's attorney general on
Governor & DNR Commissioner to present
exploration proposal to U. S. Chamber
Governor Parnell and his Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan
will be in Washington, D. C. next week to make an announcement on a
proposal for the exploration of hydrocarbons on federal lands in Alaska.
The announcement will be made at a press conference Monday hosted by the
U. S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy.
Karen Harbert, the institute's president and CEO, will join the Governor
and the commissioner at the press conference which is timed for 7 a.m.
Alaska time that day.
Seattle has big appetite for Copper River
SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — An annual rite of spring in Seattle — the arrival
of the first planeload of Copper River salmon from Cordova, Alaska — is
scheduled Friday morning at Sea-Tac Airport.
A few of the first fish will hit the grill in a cook-off of local chefs
near the Alaska Air Cargo warehouse.
Joining the competition this year is Master Sgt. Robert Schulman, a
31-year Air Force Reserve chef representing the 446th Airlift Wing at
Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Copper River salmon are prized for their high oil content and flavor.
They typically bring the highest prices at restaurants and fish markets.
Alaska Airlines carries hundreds of thousands of pounds of Copper River
salmon a year.
Sealaska lands legislation advances in U. S.
The Sealaska Lands Bill will advance to the U. S. House Resources
Committee following a hearing of the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska
Native Affairs chaired by Alaska Congressman Don Young Thursday.
The legislation conveys over 70,000 acres promised the Native regional
corporation as part of the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
Companion legislation transferring 3,380 acres to sustain the
corporation's timber industry in the interim was also advanced to the
Like legislation is also under consideration in the U. S. Senate.
Forest Service dedicating new lab in Juneau
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service is dedicating its new
forestry sciences laboratory in Juneau this weekend.
Saturday's ceremony will included free guided tours and the raising of
carved house posts.
The Forest Service, in a release, says the 12,000-square-foot facility
is next to the University of Alaska Southeast campus and will provide an
opportunity for Forest Service research scientists to work with
university faculty and students.
The lab will be home to research on such things as climate change,
forest health and uses of natural resources. It has energy-efficient
features and features regionally sourced building materials.
The dedication ceremony begins at 3 p.m.
Man accused of Coast Guard killings wants
Man accused of Coast Guard killings wants release
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — A man accused of killing two men at the Coast
Guard station on Kodiak Island wants to be released from custody as he
awaits his trial.
James Wells is scheduled to appear in federal court in Anchorage Monday.
The Kodiak Daily Mirror says the 61-year-old man is proposing a release
plan that includes 24-hour home detention with electronic monitoring in
the home of the third-party custodians, who live in Kodiak and have
known Wells for 20 years.
Wells is charged with murder in the fatal shootings of Coast Guardsmen
Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins and retired Chief Petty Officer
Richard Belisle in April 2012.
He is set to go on trial in federal court in February 2014.
(Kodiak Daily Mirror)
Bethel woman gets 22 years in death
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — A Bethel woman will serve 22 years in prison for
killing her boyfriend.
KYUK Radio reports Brenda Evans was sentenced earlier this month for the
death of Charles Beaver. She earlier this year pleaded guilty to
An affidavit attained by the Bethel radio station says Beaver died after
suffering what appeared to be multiple stab wounds on Feb. 22, 2012, at
the home the two shared. The document says it appears someone tried to
start a fire in the house.
She says she went out that night to get him a cigarette and found him on
the floor when she returned. However, police say witnesses claimed the
two had been fighting, and he was trying to evict her from the home.
Alaska video details rural airports
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska transportation officials say the second
video of a two-part series focuses on the challenges of building and
maintaining rural airports in the state.
The series was produced by the state Department of Transportation.
The newly released second video — "Alaska's Aviation Lifeline: Counting
the Costs" — was filmed at airports across the state.
The first video — "Alaska Aviation Lifeline Story" — was released last
year and shows how aviation is a lifeline for 82 percent of communities
in the state.
Interior issues new drilling rule on public land
MATTHEW DALY,Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is proposing a rule that
would require companies that drill for oil and natural gas on federal
lands to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing
operations. The new "fracking" rule replaces a draft proposed last year
that was withdrawn amid industry complaints that federal regulation
could hinder an ongoing boom in natural gas production.
The rule proposed Thursday relies on an online database used by Colorado
and 10 other states to track the chemicals used in fracking operations.
FracFocus.org is a website formed by industry and intergovernmental
groups in 2011 that allows users to gather well-specific data on
thousands of sites.
Environmental groups and other critics say the site has loose reporting
standards and allows companies to avoid disclosure by declaring certain
chemicals trade secrets.
Alaska Congressman Don Young calls the
He says the rule is is unwarranted and unnecessary on federal and tribal
Young called it yet another example of the growing number of burdensome
administrative regulations that are prohibiting real economic growth in
He added that states like Alaska already have some of the most stringent
regulations in the country and thinks any new ones should come at the
Agency to consider Alaska lake seals as
DAN JOLING,Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A federal agency says it will consider a
petition seeking to list a population of harbor seals living in a
freshwater Alaska lake as a threatened or endangered species.
The National Marine Fisheries Service says it has accepted a Center for
Biological Diversity petition to list seals that live in Iliamna (il-lee-AHM'-nah)
Lake 200 miles southwest of Anchorage.
The agency has a Nov. 19 deadline to perform a status review of the
seals, estimated to number estimated 250 to 350 adults, and can propose
a listing or reject it.
A listing would present a potential environmental hurdle to the Pebble
The proposed open-pit copper and gold mine would require a 140-mile road
to Cook Inlet. About 50 miles would pass along the lake shore, where
seals hunt for salmon.
Park Service seeks public comment on park
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The National Park Service is taking public
comment on draft land protection plans for two Alaska parks.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that the draft protection plans
were released this week for Lake Clark National Park and Preserve and
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve.
Land protection plans are required for all national park areas that
contain private or nonfederal lands or interests. The plans are done to
guide activities inside park boundaries to protect park lands.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
Yukon River breakup causing flooding in Eagle
EAGLE, Alaska (AP) — Breakup on the Yukon River has begun and there is
flooding in Eagle, a small community of fewer than 100 people in eastern
Alaska near the border with Canada.
Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve ranger Pat Sanders says the ice
began moving on Thursday. The preserve is northwest of the town.
Sanders says water and ice was lapping Friday at the sides of buildings
nearest the river front, and the village of Eagle is cut off from the
main town. The good news is that water levels have dropped some in the
main town because water is flowing well in the river's main channel.
There are no reports of injuries. Paramedics are available if needed.
States to get initial money from Japanese gift
BECKY BOHRER,Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — West Coast states affected by debris from the 2011
tsunami in Japan are about to receive an initial $250,000 each from a $5
million gift from Japan for cleanup.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is distributing the
money and will allocate the remainder on an as-needed basis.
The pool of funds has taken a hit, with NOAA using $478,000 from it to
remove a dock that washed ashore on a remote beach on Washington's
The state of Alaska is preparing to ask for up to $750,000 in additional
funds to help with clean up this summer.
Unlike in other states, many of the beaches targeted for cleanup in
Alaska are remote or difficult to access. And there is a narrow window
in which to conduct cleanup operations.
Small quake recorded near Homer
A small earthquake was recorded Thursday evening in Southcentral Alaska.
The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer reports the
4.4 magnitude tremor occurred at 9:25 p.m. and generated no tsunami danger.
Its epicenter was 30 miles southwest of Homer and 150 miles southwest of
It was a depth of 39 miles.
Alaska volcano continues to erupt, with lava,
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A remote Alaska volcano continues to erupt,
spewing lava and ash clouds.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory said Thursday a continuous cloud of ash,
steam and gas from Pavlof Volcano has been seen 20,000 feet above sea
level. The cloud was moving to the southeast Thursday.
John Power, the U.S. Geological Survey scientist in charge at the
observatory, estimates the lava fountain rose several hundred feet into
Onsite seismic instruments are picking up constant tremors from the
eruption at Pavlof, located about 625 miles southwest of Anchorage.
Residents of Cold Bay, 37 miles away, have reported seeing a glow from
Pavlof is among the most active volcanoes in the Aleutian arc, with
nearly 40 known eruptions, according to the observatory.
Mount St. Helens 33rd blast anniversary Saturday
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Saturday is the 33rd anniversary of the 1980
eruption of Mount St. Helens that killed 57 people, knocked down a
forest and filled the sky and rivers with volcanic ash.
The mountain in southwest Washington may be the best known volcano in
the state, but it's not the only one or the most dangerous.
The U. S. Geological Survey says Mount Rainier could be one of the
deadliest volcanoes in the world because of its location near Tacoma and
Seattle. Volcanic gases could rapidly melt snow and ice and generate a
huge mudslide called a lahar that could flow through some populated
Other volcanoes in Washington are Mount Baker in Whatcom County, Glacier
Peak in Snohomish County and Mount Adams in Yakima County.
Snow is in forecast four Southcentral Alaska
Snow in mid-May?
It's not unheard of, but it has a lot of Alaskans saying enough is
National Weather Forecasters say snow is in the forecast this weekend
for the residents of Southcentral Alaska.
According to the Anchorage Daily News, forecasters say Anchorage can
expect up to 3 inches of snow in the city and more on the Hillside from
Friday night to Saturday morning.
Forecasters say the snow is being caused by unseasonably cold weather
that is setting records around the state.
They say long-held records for cold have already toppled this May in
Snow, cold has delayed opening of Denali Highway
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Unusual snow and cold this spring has delayed the
opening of the scenic Denali Highway.
The state transportation department says the mostly gravel, 135-mile
highway — taken by some tour companies during the summer season — is
typically open by May 15.
The department, in a release, says crews start opening the highway,
connecting Cantwell to Paxson, in April. But it says crews have had less
time to work on the road this year because they've been called back to
their normal duty stations to clear snow on the Richardson, Glenn and
Department spokeswoman Meadow Bailey says crews also have had to reopen
sections of road they'd previously cleared because of drifting snow.
The department suggests drivers visit 511.alaska.gov or call 511 for the
latest road conditions.
Hunter enters plea in caribou-killing case
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A 41-year-old Wasilla man has been fined $1,000
for a 2011 hunting violation along the Sheenjek (SHEEN'-jek) River.
Alaska Wildlife Troopers say Michael Jennings was one of four hunters
who killed 18 caribou but salvaged only 200 pounds of meat.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Jennings in a deal with
prosecutors pleaded guilty to a single count of removing antlers before
salvaging all the edible meat. He will be prohibited from hunting
through May 10, 2014.
Prosecutors dismissed 12 other charges.
State and federal wildlife investigators say Jennings gave varied
explanations for not recovering the meat.
He told investigators one carcass smelled bad and he suspected it was
diseased. He said another caribou was shot but walked away.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
2 teens accused of placing fake bomb at Homer
HOMER, Alaska (AP) — Two teenagers have been arrested after allegedly
leaving a fake bomb at Homer High School.
The Homer News reports 18-year-old Zachary Fraley and a 16-year-old boy
were arrested Thursday after being identified by school officials as
those behind the prank.
Police say an object looking like an explosive device was left in a
stairwell. The school's 370 students were temporarily evacuated Thursday
Homer Police Chief Mark Robl says it was a metal coffee can with wires
protruding from it. A battery was found inside the can, but police say
it wasn't a viable explosive.
Fraley was being held at the city jail, and the younger boy was released
to his parents. Both face a charge of terroristic threatening.
(The Homer News)
Anchorage man runs onto frozen lake to avoid
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police say a young man who didn't
want to return to jail ran out onto the uncertain ice of an Alaska lake
to escape officers armed with an arrest warrant.
Police spokeswoman Dani Myren says officers were sufficiently concerned
about the thickness of the ice covering Cheney lake that none of them
wanted to venture onto it. So a standoff ensued.
KTUU-TV reports that police negotiators and Fire Department dive teams
were staging on the lakeshore when the young man finally surrendered
late Thursday afternoon.
Myren says officers went to a home earlier in the afternoon to serve
19-year-old Siaosi Sila with a warrant alleging failure to comply with
probation conditions. The spokeswoman says Sila saw police as he
approached the home in a vehicle, bailed out and headed for the lake.
It wasn't immediately clear why he was on probation.
Rescued man allegedly bites State Trooper
One of the two people pulled out of the Kenai River last Saturday was
charged with assault after he allegedly bite an Alaska State Trooper.
In a dispatch posted Thursday, Troopers says they were contacted
by a motorist that afternoon reporting two people in the water who were
being pulled down river while holding on to the outside of a raft.
Troopers went to the scene near mile 53 of the Sterling Highway in
Cooper Landing and were able to contact the pair near the bridge there.
The dispatch says both were wet and intoxicated.
Investigation revealed that 39 year old Andrew Beitel of Anchorage had
been operating the raft. Troopers say he was in the initial stages of
hypothermia and became uncooperative and belligerent with Troopers and
He was arrested for operating under the influence and disorderly
Beitel was transported to Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna for
evaluation and treatment. It was at the hospital that the dispatch says
he bite the Trooper. At that point, he was charged with assault on a
police officer in the fourth degree.
Following his discharge from the hospital, he was taken to the Wildwood
Pretrial facility and jailed on a $1,250 bond.
UPDATE: Washington state releases draft
rules for legal pot
GENE JOHNSON,Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) — Officials in Washington state are taking their first stab
at setting rules for the state's new legal weed industry.
Among the preliminary draft regulations released Thursday: They want to
track marijuana plants from "seed to store," and while they're putting a
cap on the number of retail stores in each county, they're not planning
to limit the number of licensed pot growers or processors.
Voters last November made Washington and Colorado the first states to
legalize the sale of taxed marijuana to adults over 21 at state-licensed
stores. Washington's Liquor Control Board has spent nearly the past
eight months developing rules for the industry.
Juneau to participate in Bike to Work Day
It's Bike to Work Day Friday
John McConnochie of Juneau Free Wheelers says they will have an aide
station set up at Twin Lakes from 6:30 to 8 in the morning.
Two schools participated in last week's Bike to School Day.
McConnochie says there were 114 cyclist at Floyd Dryden Middle School.
Gastineau Elementary had 80 bike to school.
It's all part of National Bike Month.
UAS Community Day set for Saturday
It's the annual community day on the Auke Lake Campus of the University
of Alaska Southeast Saturday.
That's according to Chancellor John Pugh who said it is scheduled from
11 a. m. to 4 p.m.
It be highlighted by music, food, games and a dunk tank, he says.
Pugh says he hasn't totally agreed to volunteer for the student
Maritime Festival set for Sunday in Juneau
The Juneau Economic Development Council is putting on its annual
Maritime Festival this Sunday in Alaska's Capital City.
The event aims to celebrate Juneau's maritime and fishing industries
through a variety of family friendly activities.
Marie Franklin is the JEDC's Programs and Communications Officer and she
talked about some those activities while a guest on Action Line this
She says they'll have sailboat and canoe rides, boat building and other
Franklin says one of the huge draws for the event is the filet
challenge. That competition consists of a lot of professionals but also
amateurs who are great at fileting, she says.
The participants will be working with Rock Fish and Salmon, according to
She says competitors will be pitted against each other to see how
quickly they can filet the fish, how honed their skills are and how much
of the fish they recover.
According to Franklin, the fish are weighed before and after to see how
much meat the competitors actually get off of them.
It's usually a rowdy, good time, she says.
They'll also have a fish marinade contest.
If you'd like to sign up for that or another competition, volunteer at
the event or if you'd just like more information on Juneau's Maritime
Festival, you can visit
The Maritime Festival will run from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.
AP Source: Maloofs reach agreement to sell Kings
(AP) — A person familiar with the deal says the Maloof family has
reached an agreement with a Sacramento group headed by software tycoon
Vivek Ranadive to sell a 65 percent controlling interest in the Kings at
a total franchise valuation of $535 million.
The person, speaking on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press
late Thursday night because they weren't authorized to talk publicly,
said there are about 30 investors in the group.
An official announcement is expected Friday.
The NBA is expected to officially approve the agreement next week. The
person said the agreement has to be closed by May 31.
On Wednesday, the NBA Board of Governors rejected a bid from a Seattle
group that wanted to buy and move the franchise to the Pacific
Family of adventurers takes on Mauna Kea
HILO, Hawaii (AP) — A Swiss
couple and their four children are stopping on the Big Island this
weekend to climb to the summit of Mauna Kea.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that the adventurous family so far has
navigated more than 60,000 nautical miles and climbed the highest peaks
on five continents. After the Mauna Kea volcano, they will sail for
Alaska where they will climb Mt. McKinley, North America's biggest
mountain at 20,320 feet.
Dario Schwoerer and his wife, Sabine, began their odyssey in Switzerland
in 2000. The family travels aboard a solar-powered, 50-foot sloop. They
plan to spend the winter in Alaska and then sail the Northwest Passage
to the Atlantic Ocean.
They expect that their journey will end in 2017 after 18 years of ocean
Old Tacoma totem pole 'should be laid to rest'
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A group of people helping decide what to do with a
failing totem pole in Tacoma says the century-old landmark should be
taken down and left to decay in a public place as part of the city's
A member of the advisory group, J.D. Elquist, recently told the city
Landmarks Preservation Commission the pole should be "laid to rest,"
possible in a park with signs telling its history.
The News Tribune reports the 83-foot pole at Fireman's Park has been
braced because of rot. Consultants say it's a falling hazard.
The commission will consider what to do with the pole at its June 12
(The News Tribune)
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.