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[Friday January 2nd, 2014  12TH  EDITION 10:45 P. M.]

City's first 2015 baby bounces into Juneau on the second day of the year
It's a boy! The first baby born in 2015 at Bartlett Regional Hospital was at 12:07 Friday January 2nd.

Elliot Michael Fanning measured 21" long and weighed 8lbs, 12oz. The proud parents are Luke and Christine Fanning. Elliot's big bother is Logan and his big sister is Adele.

When asked about the health of mother and new son, Luke told News of the North, "She's doing great. Everybody's healthy. I was really proud of her."

 

Luke Fanning, Logan Fanning (brother), Christine Fanning, Adele Fanning (sister), Baby Fanning

UPDATE: Crime of the Week, a hit and run at the bank
Juneau Police say the woman in their Crime of the Week photo has contacted them and taken responsibility. JPD also acknowledges an exchange of information between the two drivers involved in the incident and does not anticipate any charges.

Juneau Police on Friday released the picture of a woman accused of a hit and run in the Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union parking lot.

The Juneau Police Department said they wanted to contact the woman who is believed to have backed a red Toyota Tacoma pickup into a Mazda Protégé on December 9.

Lt. Kris Sell tells us, "The damage to the Mazda was not extensive and it is possible the woman driving the pickup was not aware she had damaged a vehicle. Security footage does show the incident. The picture being released is of the driver when she was inside the bank."

Anyone with information is encouraged to log on to http://juneaucrimeline.com and report any tips. You may also call JPD at 586-0600. You may be eligible for a reward.

Juneau Douglas City Museum First Friday exhibit features 12 guest community curators
The Juneau-Douglas City Museum along with the Friends of the Museum invite you to celebrate the community-curated exhibit Ordinary Things / Extraordinary Tales opening on First Friday, January 2nd, 2015, from 4:30 to 7:30 pm.

In an essay titled “Looking at Artifacts, Thinking About History”, authors Steven Lubar and Kathleen Kendrick state, “Curators make it their mission to discover and tell these stories, to put objects back into history.” They suggest that there are five ways to think about artifacts which, as it turns out, perfectly capture the points of view of the twelve guest curators who were invited to select an object from the Museum’s collection, looking through the lens of their professional life and to write a personalized label in response to their selection.

“Artifacts tell their own stories” as Ferry Captain Wayne Carnes illustrates in the label that accompanies his selection of a marine compass. “Artifacts connect people” is clearly on display via the Jensen-Peterson families’ table and chairs selected by CBJ Accounts Payable Supervisor Sherry Patterson. Dr. Emily Kane’s poetic musing about an empty tin of boric acid demonstrates that “artifacts mean many things” while Physical Therapist Patrick Ripp’s word portrait of the hands that made the spruce root basket he selected shows how “artifacts capture moments”. Finally, Nurse Keith Goering’s selection of a head used in the study of the pseudoscience of phrenology and Miner Jerry Harmon’s powder punch both show that “artifacts reflect changes” while at the same time reflect how things can also remain the same through time.

The curators mentioned above are joined by Chemist Michelle Bonnet Hale, Mechanic Larry Blatnick, Editor Genevieve Gagne-Hawes, Massage Therapist Melchi Nelson, Geological Engineer Mike Blackwell and Writer/Teacher Jim Hale in the creation of Ordinary Things / Extraordinary Tales, which is on display at the City Museum from January 2nd through Saturday, February 28th.

For more information regarding this event, exhibition opportunities or other upcoming programs, please visit: www.juneau.org/museum or call 586-3572. The Juneau-Douglas City Museum’s Fall/Winter Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. Admission is free during the month of January in memory of Harold O. Fossum.

Kitchen Chair, selected by Sherry Patterson, JDCM 92.09.004


Phrenology Head, selected by Keith Goering, JDCM 88.37.001 A-B

 

Condensation Chamber, selected by Michelle Bonnet Hale, JDCM 2007.22.004 A-B



Fairbanks man sentenced for firing gun from pickup
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks man who fired a gun from a pickup window has been fined and sentenced to community service.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Craig Logan Lant was fined $300 and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service.

A driver in the Goldstream Valley west of Fairbanks called Alaska State Troopers in August to report the shot fired from the truck.

He said Lant had fired across a road into trees.

A Fairbanks grand jury indicted Lant on a felony count of weapons misconduct.

In an agreement last month with prosecutors, Lant pleaded guilty to misdemeanor weapons misconduct.

Colorado pot symposium draws Alaska officials
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Law enforcement officers and other public officials from Alaska will be traveling to Colorado for a symposium on governing and marijuana.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports at least a dozen public officials will attend the three-day conference that starts Jan. 14 in Lone Tree, a suburb of Denver.

Alaska voters in November approved legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

Fairbanks Police Department Deputy Chief Brad Johnson says he wants to learn as much as he can from the Colorado experience with legalized pot.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough planning director plans to join Johnson at the symposium.

Gov. Bill Walker's spokeswoman Grace Jang says representatives from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, the Department of Revenue, the Attorney General's office and the municipality of Anchorage also will attend.

Traffic deaths jump to highest level since 2007
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The state Highway Safety Office says traffic fatalities climbed in 2014.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 65 people died in wrecks last year, more than the previous six years and the most since 75 people died in 2007.

Counting pedestrians and cyclists, 70 people died.

Highway Safety Office research analyst Miles Brookes says it's too early to say precisely how many fatal wrecks involved drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Brookes says so far about 38 percent had been confirmed to have involved drivers with blood-alcohol levels over the legal limit.

Legislature debuts redesigned website
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Legislature's website,
http://akleg.gov, has a new look.

The Peninsula Clarion reports the updated site debuted Dec. 26. It's been designed to be more user-friendly, and includes a new version of the BASIS tool, which allows people to track a bill throughout the legislative process.

The new website also includes a "Live Now" tab so people can watch committee hearings online from the website. Previously, people had to go to a different website for live TV.

The legislative website will be friendlier for smartphone and tablet users as it automatically resizes to the user's screen.

The debut comes just ahead of the 2015 legislative session, which starts Jan. 20.

3 men see snout, free moose buried in avalanche
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A moose buried by an avalanche on an Alaska mountain had its luck changed by three men passing on snowmobiles.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports that the three Matanuska-Susitna Borough residents spotted the animal's snout sticking out of the snow and used shovels to free the moose.

Marty Mobley, Rob Uphus and Avery Vunichich were on at outing Sunday at Hatcher Pass about 55 miles northeast of Anchorage when they passed a small hillside that had both ski and moose tracks.

When they returned an hour later, an avalanche had covered the tracks.

Mobley says he saw something move in the debris and it turned out to be a snout, not a skier.

After 10 minutes of digging, the moose stood up, towered over its rescuers and ran off.

Only one arrested for drinking and driving New Year's Eve
Juneau Police report only one driving while intoxicated charge being issued on New Year's Eve.

A JPD bulletin says a 17 year old male was arrested for DWI after he backed into a parked vehicle in Sealaska Plaza.

His passengers, 18 year old Zane Henricksen, 19 year old Demetrius Campos, 18 year old Toriana Fogg, and 18 year old Andrea Gordon were all cited and released for Minor Consuming Alcohol.

Inmate assaulted by five at LCCC, sent to Anchorage for care
Alaska State Troopers say an inmate at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center was transported to Anchorage for medical treatment after he was assaulted by five inmates.

Troopers were notified of the assault at the medium-security facility shortly before 5 Wednesday morning. Troopers say the inmate who was assaulted sustained an eye injury. The assault is being investigated.

Kodiak bears mostly laying low despite warm winter
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — Despite Kodiak's warm winter, most bears around the road system have been keeping to themselves — with one notable exception.

Fish and Game Department regional supervisor Larry Van Daele says one bear has been making regular appearances around trash day in the Selief and Larch areas.

Van Daele says the bear seems to come out on Tuesdays, which is garbage day. The bear hits the roll carts and trash bins and then goes away for a while.

KMXT reports the bear has not exhibited aggressive behavior toward people.

Van Daele says the bear is a consistent nuisance, however, and the police department is keeping a close eye on it.

[Thursday January 1st, 2014  5th  EDITION 4:36 P. M.]

Judge blocks termination of Alaska National Guard officer
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A state judge has temporarily blocked the termination of one of three Alaska National Guard officers fired in October by then-Gov. Sean Parnell.

Brig. Gen. Catherine Jorgensen sued this week to keep her job.

Alaska Dispatch News reports that Anchorage Superior Court Judge Andrew Guidi agreed Wednesday to issue a temporary order barring the state from carrying out the dismissal.

Jorgensen alleges Parnell fired her without cause in a "political Hail Mary" to save himself.

Parnell ran an unsuccessful bid for re-election after the release of a scathing report into allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct within the guard. Critics said Parnell didn't act quickly enough in addressing problems within the guard.

Guidi says his order will remain in place until a broader hearing, possibly in mid-January.

State submits air-quality regulations to EPA
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Alaska environmental regulators have submitted the state's plan for addressing the chronic pollution in the area during winters.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the state Department of Environmental Conservation adopted new regulations Wednesday that tackle air-quality measures.

The state had a year-end deadline set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Regulations combine existing rules, research and scientific modeling in Alaska's State Implementation Plan.

The EPA requires such documents for states to prove they're serious about cleaning up areas falling short of the federal Clean Air Act.

Collecting public input, the state has encountered pushback from anti-regulation critics, as well as those who did not think regulations were going far enough.

Alice Edwards with the DEC says the new rules are simplified, but more stringent.

Public comment period begins for Kodiak composting proposal
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — A public comment period has begun for a proposal by the city of Kodiak to turn sewer sludge into compost.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports the city's permit application has been submitted to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, which is proposing to issue the permit.

The public may comment to the DEC's solid waste program by 5 p.m. Jan. 20.

The location for the permit is borough property that would be transferred to the city if the permit is issued.

The city has a contract with Quayana Development Corp., which is doing a smaller-scale compost program at the landfill.

Application period for Alaska dividend begins
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — With the new year, eligible Alaskans can begin signing up for the 2015 Permanent Fund Dividend.

The application period begins on New Year's Day and continues through March 31.

People can sign up online or pick up forms at designated distribution centers.

Eligible Alaska residents received checks of nearly $1,900 in October when the 2014 dividend was distributed. The money comes from investment profits from the state's oil wealth savings account.

To qualify for a dividend, new residents must live in Alaska for a full calendar year.

The fund was established in 1976 after North Slope oil was discovered. The state began distributing dividend checks in 1982.

Alaska has no income tax. Residents, however, must pay federal taxes on the payout.

North Dakota, Alaska locked in rivalry for oil, population
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Forget South Dakota. North Dakota's most similar sister state these days is some 2,000 miles away.

Alaska and North Dakota once had little more in common than wintry weather and elbow room. But the two states have been in a rivalry over population numbers and crude oil output for the past several years.

North Dakota is bettering Alaska on crude production and the number of residents now.

Recent Census Bureau data show North Dakota recaptured the 47th most populous state from Alaska, which had held the ranking for the past decade.

North Dakota has a record of more than 739,000 residents, roughly 3,000 more than Alaska.

North Dakota passed Alaska in 2012 to become the second-leading oil-producing state in the U.S., behind Texas.
 

[Wednesday December 31st, 2014  11th  EDITION 3:52 P. M.]

Walker says no delay in marijuana regulations
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker says he's confident the rule-making process for commercial marijuana sales can proceed on time.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the announcement comes two weeks after Walker said he was considering a 90-day delay in implementing a regulatory system for legal marijuana sales.

Walker says in a statement issued Tuesday that officials assured him the timelines can be met as outlined in the ballot initiative passed by voters in November.

Ballot Measure 2 decriminalizes the possession, use and non-sale transfer of up to an ounce of marijuana when the new law takes effect Feb. 24.

The initiative also set in motion the legalization and permitting of marijuana sales. That is the process Walker discussed delaying earlier in December at a Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Suspect plans guilty plea in Homer harassment case
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The attorney for a Homer man suspected of harassing an intoxicated, unconscious teenager at a 2012 party says his client will plead guilty to felony evidence tampering and hindering prosecution charges.

Defense attorney Phillip Weidner says 22-year-old Anthony Resetarits also will plead guilty to misdemeanor harassment and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

A Kenai grand jury indicted Resetarits and his brother in September 2013 on felony charges of sexual assault.

A judge in August dismissed the charges, citing problems with information presented to the grand jury.

New charges filed Tuesday say Anthony Resetarits deleted photos of the incident and encouraged others to do so.

Weidner says Resetarits did not sexually assault the teen but acknowledges responsibility for his inappropriate conduct, which was a product of his own intoxication.

Fairbanks man convicted of impersonating officer
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fort Wainwright man suspected of pretending to be an Alaska State Trooper has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor impersonation of a public servant.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 19-year-old Jake Taylor Crain reached a plea agreement with prosecutors on the charge and was sentenced to 14 days in jail, which he had already served while awaiting the outcome of the case.

Crain in November was arrested by Alaska State Troopers, who took complaints that Crain had used police-style lights to pull drivers over on the Richardson Highway.

Prosecutors presented a case of felony impersonation to a Fairbanks grand jury, but jurors declined to indict Crain.

Crain as part of the plea agreement forfeited his lights. He also was issued a $300 speeding ticket.

Search continues for missing couple
Searchers have found more leads as they look for a couple who disappeared on the Kuskokwim River.

Bethel Search & Rescue discovered some eyeglasses, flashlights, and other items that may belong to George Evan and Sally Stone. The couple was reported missing on an ATV trip from Bethel to Akiak, December 11th. The ATV driver, Ralph Demantle, was found dead about 10 miles from Bethel.

Sonar equipment is allowing searchers to scan the riverbed under the ice.

Gas prices continue to slide
Gasoline prices in Anchorage have dropped below 3 dollars, on average.

Triple-A puts the average price at $2.96 per gallon for regular, about 40 cents less than a month ago.

Alaska and Hawaii are the only states with average gas prices above 3 dollars.

Triple-A shows Missouri has the cheapest gas, averaging a dollar-92 per gallon.

Freedom Caucus in Alaska Legislature
A subset of the Republican-led majority is forming what they call a "Freedom Caucus."

Chaired by Eagle River representative Lora Reinbold, the group currently has three other members: Representatives Wes Keller of Wasilla, Shelley Hughes of Palmer, and newly-elected Cathy Tilton, whose district spans from Chugiak to Wasilla.

Reinbold tells the Alaska Dispatch that the caucus meets for an hour each week, with the goal of "defending freedom" -- specifically on ways to cut the budget.

Reinbold says other house members have been invited to join.

NANA names new chief financial officer
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — NANA Regional Corp. has named a new chief financial officer.

Officials with the regional Alaska Native corporation say Jens Beck's appointment will be effective Sunday.

Officials say Beck also will be the CFO for NANA Development Corp., NANA's wholly-owned subsidiary.

Beck has also served as CFO and senior vice president at Arctic Slope regional Corp. Energy Services.

Kotzebue-based NANA has more than 13,000 Inupiat Eskimo shareholders.

NANA covers a 38,000-square-mile region in northwest Alaska.

Incoming GF&P head cleared in ethics complaint
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The incoming secretary of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks was cleared of ethics allegations in Alaska, though critics say it was due to a technicality.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard last week announced that South Dakota native Kelly Hepler will replace Jeff Vonk, who is retiring in January after serving as Game and Fish secretary since 2007.

Hepler works with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The Argus Leader reports that he was among several public officials in that state accused in August of not reporting gifts from a lobbying organization. The Alaska Public Offices Commission determined last month that Hepler did nothing wrong.

A spokesman for Daugaard says Hepler was up front about the matter when approached about the South Dakota job.

Christmas tree recycling begins Friday, Jan. 2
Free Christmas tree recycling brought to you by CBJ & Capitol Landfill is available January 2-31, 2015. Drop off location is at Capitol Landfill by the metal recycling station. Please have the trees clean; no lights, tinsel or flock. Last year trees had a lot of contamination, so help us keep this program operating cost effectively by keeping the tree clean..

For more information you can logon to Juneau.org /Public works/ waste management/recycling. Or you can call Solid Waste Coordinator Jim Penor at 780-6009.

CHARR gets you home free and safe this New Year's Eve at participating businesses
Juneau Lynn Cannel CHARR is giving you a safe ride home again this New Year's Eve. Leeann Thomas, Proprietor of the Triangle Club, tells News of the North, "This is our 10th year and we have fifteen participating businesses. You can find posters around town. When you're done having fun on New Year's Eve, you have the server call you a free cab."

They have 25 cabs and a new vehicle to use this year, the van that will loop around downtown and Douglas. If you don't live in those areas you can get a free cab at participating establishments.

Baby orca born to endangered whale population
SEATTLE (AP) — The Center for Whale Research says a baby orca has been born to the endangered population of killer whales that frequent Puget Sound.

Research center scientist Ken Balcomb says he and another scientist spotted the new baby Tuesday in J pod. That's one of three families of whales that spend time in the inland waters of Washington state and Canada.

He says the mother whale is J-16, a 43-year-old female that has had three surviving calves and two non-surviving calves.

The new baby is estimated to be a day or two old and appeared healthy.

The baby orca was seen swimming with its mother and 8-year-old sister off the Canadian Gulf Islands of British Columbia.

The news is being celebrated after the death of a 19-year-old pregnant orca earlier this month.

The birth brings the Puget Sound orca population to 78.

[Tuesday December 30th, 2014  10TH  EDITION 9:20 P. M.]

Alaska State Troopers say Wisconsin man missing since August
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers are seeking the public's help in a search for a 72-year-old Wisconsin man who disappeared in August.

Troopers say Roger Yaeger of Eagle River, Wisconsin, traveled to Alaska over the summer to view wildlife. Family members last heard from Yaeger Aug. 8 when he visited a relative in Wasilla.

Troopers traced Yaeger's subsequent travel to Fairbanks, where he turned in his rental car a day or two after his Wasilla visit.

Troopers were contacted a few weeks ago by relatives who said Yaeger didn't return emails for an extended period of time. According to troopers, Yaeger had told relatives he was going to travel around Alaska and would update them around Christmas.

Troopers say there is no record of Yaeger flying in Alaska or leaving the state.

Northrim Bank employees raise nearly $10,000 for Southeast Alaska's United Way
The 2014 Workplace Campaign at Northrim Bank to benefit Southeast Alaska's United Way is being reported as a huge success and raised more money than any previous year at Northrim Bank. Employees pledged contributions of $5,145.52. The company match was $2,575.76. Special events money for Southeast was $1,800 for a grand total of $9,521.28 raised by Northrim employees in the Southeast branches. Employees raised 9% more in 2014 than they did in 2013.

United Way of Southeast Alaska CEO Wayne Stevens tells News of the North that Northrim employees held fundraisers and made workplace pledges in Sitka, Ketchikan, and Juneau, where Northrim has branches, and were very successful in their efforts, raising almost $10,000. Stevens said some employees made home-made dishes or knitted scarves to sell at their fundraisers.

Stevens added, "We appreciate the gracious employees that participate.I encourage other employers to think about participating. Workplace Campaign pledge is a great way to introduce employees to the art and act of philanthropy."

In accepting the check on behalf of United Way of Southeast Alaska, Campaign Co-Chair Rustan Burton noted that 1 in 3 people in Southeast Alaska would be impacted by a United Way partner agency at some point their lives. Statistically speaking, this means virtually every family living here will be touched in some way, shape or form by United Way of Southeast Alaska.


Air emergency canceled
Due to the increasing air movement in the Mendenhall Valley, the City and Borough of Juneau has canceled its Air Emergency.  Woodstove and fireplace burning can resume.

The City would like to thank those residents affected by the Air Emergency for their cooperation.

Lost hunter rescued in Minto Flats Game Refuge
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Responders say Alaska Air National Guard members rescued a hunter who became lost in the Minto Flats Game Refuge.

Alaska National Guard officials say the man was rescued uninjured on Monday. His name was not disclosed.

The man was hunting with others over the weekend when his snowmobile developed problems. Officials say the man stayed behind to work on the machine and told the group he would catch up later, but he never showed up.

The group contacted Alaska State Troopers, who launched the helicopter search until nightfall. They contacted the Rescue Coordination Center, which has night vision equipment.

Responders found the man near a campfire. His snowmobile had broken down again.

Officials say the hunter was flown to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, where he was released to troopers.

Alaska prepares to offer grizzly license plates
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Alaska is bringing back the bear to license plates.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Alaskans next spring will be able to choose license plates of blue and gold that reflect state flag colors or a new version of plates last offered in 1976 that feature a grizzly bear.

Outgoing state Rep. Peggy Wilson sponsored a measure last session to bring back the grizzly plates. House Bill 293 passed unanimously in the final days of the 2014 session.

The old grizzly plates had red lettering, beige mountains and a brown bear on its hind legs on a white background.

The new plates feature a darker bear on a fading blue background with a silhouette of the Alaska Range.

Alaska fish and game boards to vet applicants
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Officials involved in Gov. Bill Walker's transition efforts say few people may have applied to become Alaska's next Fishing and Game commissioner because the acting commissioner is among the four applicants.

Ted Spraker, chair of the state Board of Game, says he would think twice about putting his name in if the competition included someone already selected by the governor. Sam Cotten was named interim commissioner on the same day Walker took the oath of office.

By law, the governor must appoint a commissioner from a list of qualified people nominated by the boards of fisheries and game, meeting in joint session. The governor retains the right to request additional nominations.

Alaska Dispatch News says the boards are planning a joint meeting in January to vet the four applicants.

2015 Inaugural Ball Update:
Inaugural Ball Co-Chairs reflect on purpose of events and plans for contributions
The nonprofit Alaska Inaugural Committee has announced that seven communities have taken the initiative to plan and host inaugural balls for newly elected Governor Bill Walker and Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott. Inaugural balls are longstanding traditions and are typically held in several locations around the state. Eight inaugural balls were held for Governor Parnell, six for Governor Palin.

The Walker Mallott inaugural balls and related expenses are funded through ticket sales and fundraising. No state funds are used for these celebrations. Sponsorships and donations are accepted by the Committee to help cover the costs involved. In most communities, the ticket price is considerably less than the actual cost per individual as a result of private donations that subsidize the expenses. As in the past, the Committee looks forward to donating excess funds to charitable organizations.

Committee co-chairs, Lindsay Hobson and Mandy Mallott, have identified the following dates and locations for the upcoming balls:

Jan. 3 - Valdez
Jan. 10 - Juneau
Jan. 17 - Nome
Jan. 24 - Fairbanks
Feb. 6 - Wasilla
Mar. 7 - Ketchikan
Date to be determined - Kenai

Up to date information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alaska-Inaugural-Ball-2015/1572412382990413

and www.akinauguralball.com

Lance Mackey enters 2015 Yukon Quest field
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — One of the biggest names in long-distance dog mushing has signed up for the Yukon Quest, the 1,000-mile race between Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and Fairbanks.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports four-time champion Lance Mackey entered the race Monday.

He's replacing Jimmy Lebling, who had planned to run his first race with a team from Mackey's Comeback Kennels.

Mackey says changes among his kennel staff led him to decide to enter the race. The Fairbanks musher says the Quest is in his backyard and it's hard not to want to be a part of that.

Mackey will race against three other former champions, including Allen Moore, who has back-to-back titles the last two years.

Former champions Hugh Neff and Jeff King are also part of the 28-team field.

BLM seeks applicants for White Mountains artist
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Candidates are being sought for a federal Bureau of Land Management artist-in-residence program to take place this winter at the White Mountains National Recreation Area.

BLM officials say the weeklong program is open to artists in nearly any media, including photography, painting, writing, music and printmaking.

The artist would be expected to donate use of a piece of artwork inspired by their time at the area north of Fairbanks. The artwork would be used to help promote public lands.

Officials say the agency provides transportation between Fairbanks and a rustic cabin in the area.

The recreation area includes a dozen recreation cabins and more than 240 miles of winter trails that are maintained.

The deadline to apply is Feb. 6.

Air Emergency issued by CBJ
Due to the temperature inversion which continues to exist in the Mendenhall Valley, the
City and Borough of Juneau has issued an Air Emergency effective immediately.

The area covered by this Emergency extends from the Airport north to the Mendenhall
Glacier, west to Montana Creek, south along the east shore of Auke Lake and includes
the east half of the Mendenhall Peninsula.

The Air Emergency means that all
woodstove and fireplace burning is prohibited except for pellet stoves.

For an update
on the status of this Air Emergency, please call 586-5333.

[Monday December 29th, 2014  11TH  EDITION 4:56 P. M.]

Woman dies in Koyuk residential fire
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say an 82-year-old woman has died in a house fire in the western Alaska village of Koyuk.

Troopers were notified Sunday afternoon that Ethel Adams was found dead in her home after the fire was put out by firefighters.

Troopers say 42-year-old Dale Adams escaped the fire. He was flown to Anchorage to be treated at a hospital for injuries.

A young boy escaped without injury.

Troopers say the cause of the fire will be investigated.

The state medical examiner's office will conduct an autopsy.

Koyuk is 90 miles northeast of Nome.

Lower 48 colder than Alaska
For the first time ever, Anchorage, Alaska will not have a single day in a calendar year dip below zero-degrees, according to ABC News.

Rick Thoman of the National Weather Service says due to a shift in winds, it's not uncommon for temperatures to drop in parts of the U-S: "When Alaska is warm, it's often the case that somewhere in the lower 48 is unusually cold." Frost warnings are in effect in Southern California. The last time the official temperature dropped below zero degrees in Anchorage was December 26, 2013.

Militia head seeks delay in federal appeal
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Convicted militia leader Schaeffer Cox is seeking a second delay in his appeal for a conviction of conspiring to murder public officials, soliciting others to commit murder and weapons charges.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September granted an attorney for Cox a 90-day extension to file opening briefs.

Appeal attorney Myra Sun has requested another 30 days to prepare, citing the volume of case material. Sun says the record in the case includes more than 500 pages and hundreds of exhibits.

Prosecutors are not opposing the delay.

US rig count plummets 35 to 1,840
HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. plunged by 35 last week to 1,840.

The Houston firm said Monday in its weekly report that 1,499 rigs were exploring for oil and 340 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago 1,757 rigs were active.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Oklahoma gained four rigs, Ohio rose by two and Louisiana and Colorado were up one each.

California dropped by 17, Texas lost 16 and North Dakota and West Virginia were down three apiece. Alaska, Kansas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wyoming each fell by one.

Arkansas and Utah were unchanged.

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

Colorado company backs out of Tulsequah agreement
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The company trying to reopen the Tulsequah Chief Mine has lost a financial backer.

Colorado-based Royal Gold provided Chieftain Metals Corp. with a $10 million advance in December 2011 but has backed out of the agreement.

Chieftain announced Dec. 23 that the company will use part of an $18.5 million bridge loan to repay Royal Gold.

The $10 million advance from Royal Gold was contingent on results of a feasibility update. Chieftain filed its 2014 feasibility study Dec. 1.

The agreement had called for Royal Gold to invest an additional $45 million for construction.

No reason was provided in a company announcement for the termination of the agreement.

Alaska Regional Development Organization Recognition
The Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development (DCCED) is pleased to announce that the Yukon-Kuskokwim Economic Development Council (YKEDC) has fulfilled the requirements to be designated Alaska’s newest Alaska Regional Development Organization (ARDOR).

YKEDC is the state’s eleventh ARDOR and is supported by the Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP), which provides social and cultural services to 56 communities in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Region. “The ARDOR designation is especially helpful for this region of Alaska,” said AVCP president Myron Naneng Sr. “YKEDC will connect economic development and support services to this region and will be of great assistance in growing our community’s economic base.”

The ARDOR program is in its 27th year, and continues to promote the development and implementation of regional development strategies by local organizations intimately familiar with the communities they serve. The State of Alaska provides ARDORs with baseline funding support which is leveraged against additional private and public funding sources. The ARDOR partnerships are concrete examples of local communities leveraging state funds to create and drive economic development.

UAF, Purdue students win engineering challenge
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Two University of Alaska Fairbanks students and one from Purdue University have won an engineering competition that sought ideas for extracting heavy oil from Alaska's North Slope.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Max Martell and Stephen Nemethy III of UAF and Sally Ann Keyes of Purdue will split a $2,000 prize offered by the UAF eLearning and Distance Education program.

Heavy oil has the consistency of peanut butter. It's abundant on the North Slope but challenging for producers to remove.

Heavy oil is commonly extracted by using heat, which creates problems in areas laden with permafrost.

Martell, Nemethy and Keyes proposed using sub-freezing fluid, such as liquid carbon dioxide, to keep nearby areas frozen.

The contest drew more than 75 submissions from 14 universities.

Woman killed in Anchorage pedestrian crash
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police say a woman pedestrian died when she was struck by a vehicle on a rural city street.

KTUU-TV reports the woman was struck on O'Malley Road near its upper end in the city's Hillside area.

Police spokeswoman Anita Shell says the woman was in her 50s.

The accident occurred just after 5:30 p.m. Sunday near O'Malley Road's intersection with Main Tree Drive.

The name of the woman has not been released.

Police closed O'Malley Road afterward the accident and reopened it at 10:30 p.m.

JPD responds to two-car crash near airport
Around 2:30 Sunday afternoon, Juneau Police Department dispatch received a report of a motor vehicle crash with injuries near 2200 Trout Street on Glacier Highway. Personnel from the Juneau Police Department and Capital City Fire/Rescue responded to the scene.

The investigation revealed a 2004 Dodge pick-up operated by a 35 year old female Juneau resident was turning left off Trout Street from a stop sign onto Glacier Highway towards Egan Drive. A 2007 Subaru Forester operated by a 40 year old female Juneau resident was on Glacier Highway after turning off Egan Drive with the right of way. The Dodge truck entered the road way and was struck by the Subaru.

Two adult female passengers were transported to Bartlett Regional Hospital for apparent non-life threatening injuries.

The driver of the Dodge pick-up, Christina Wheaton, was cited for failure to yield when turning left and failure to carry proof of insurance.

Both vehicles sustained disabling damage in excess of $5,000.

Glacier Highway near Trout Street heading towards the airport was re-routed onto Old Dairy Road for about 35 minutes during the course of the investigation.

Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in this case.

Kenai drop-off kennels to be closed
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — The Kenai Animal Shelter is closing its drop-off kennels used by the public after hours.

The Peninsula Clarion says the outdoor kennels will no longer be available as of Wednesday.

The kennels have been available for more than 10 years and allowed people to drop off cats and dogs when the shelter was closed.

Officials say the kennels are being removed because people provided insufficient information about the animals and because weather conditions could be dangerous for the animals.

According to the city of Kenai, the drop-off kennels were used to take in 326 animals in 2013.

Animal control officer Stacie Mallette says the kennels were originally intended as a last resort, but they have become an easy way for people to get rid of pets.

Oil-drilling camp on North Slope hit by fire; no one hurt
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — KTUU-TV reports that an overnight fire broke out at the campsite of an Italian oil company's drilling project in the North Slope, but no one was injured.

Eni Petroleum spokesman Grande Whitney says everyone involved was safe after the fire at the company's Nikaitchuq Operations Camp north of the Kuparuk River unit operated by ConocoPhillips.

Whitney says the fire took place about midnight.

Petroleum News reported in August that Eni has been shifting the Nikaitchuq site since 2007 from conventional onshore drilling to lateral drilling targeting offshore oil deposits, reaching 25,000 barrels per day of production in June.

Whitney says everyone displaced by the fire was housed at a nearby camp. Eni Petroleum expects drilling work to continue without interruption.

[Sunday December 28th, 2014  7th  EDITION 3:30 P. M.]

Coast Guard rescues couple near Sitka when skiff runs aground
The Coast Guard rescued a man and woman after their 17-foot skiff ran aground near Sitka Saturday.

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jawhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka transferred both people to emergency medical personnel in Sitka.

Coast Guard command center personnel at Sector Juneau received a 911 call relayed by the Sitka Fire Department concerning the skiff and its occupants after it grounded near Kanga Bay 10 miles south of Sitka Saturday night. It was reported that both passengers were ejected from the skiff when it struck the shore and the male passenger had suffered injuries to his head and face. The skiff then drifted away from the couple before they could secure it.

The Sitka Fire Department launched a boat to respond and Sector Juneau watchstanders requested a helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka. The helicopter crew arrived to the scene and hoisted both passengers, and the Sitka Mountain Rescue vessel crew located the skiff.

“Our hoist capable helicopters are an ideal resource to respond to emergency medical situations in Southeast Alaska,” said Lt. Jason Condon, Jayhawk pilot, Air Station Sitka. “This case was a good demonstration of the collective effort between the Coast Guard and Sitka Fire and Rescue to effectively combine our skills and assets in order to render assistance to these mariners.”

The weather on scene consisted of 11-mph winds and clear skies at 29 degrees.



A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew hoists a couple after their 17-foot skiff grounded near Sitka, Alaska, Dec. 27, 2014. The passengers were taken to emergency medical personnel in Sitka. U.S. Coast Guard video provided by Air Station Sitka.

Few apply for Fish and Game commissioner
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — A meeting to review Alaska Fish and Game commissioner candidates has been canceled after only four people applied for the position.

The Peninsula Clarion says those who applied are acting Commissioner Sam Cotten, United Cook Inlet Drift Association director Roland Maw and two people from outside the state, Zachary Hill and Greg Woods.

The application deadline was Dec. 22.

By law, the governor must appoint a commissioner from a list of qualified people nominated by the boards of fisheries and game, meeting in joint session. The governor retains the right to request additional nominations.

The two boards are planning to hold a joint meeting to develop a list of qualified people for the commissioner's position.

Search and rescue finds overdue Sitka boater, man says he wasn't yet due back
Alaska State Troopers received a report of an overdue boater in the area of Vitskari Island Friday night.

Leroy Hughes, age 52 of Sitka, had left in his fishing vessel on Tuesday and was thought to be scheduled to return on Christmas Day.

The Coast Guard conducted an aerial search and they located Hughes' vessel unoccupied and moored in the area adjacent to Goddard Hot Springs, approximately 15 miles south of Sitka.

Two members from Sitka Mountain Rescue and a Sitka Police Officer boated to Goddard Springs and located Hughes. Hughes stated that it was a miscommunication with family on when he was to return to Sitka.

Sitka Assembly extends loan to a hospital by $1 million
SITKA, Alaska (AP) — The Sitka Assembly has approved a request to extend a line of credit for Sitka Community Hospital by $1 million.

The Daily Sitka Sentinel says the hospital is out of cash and needs the money to make payroll, cover health insurance for employees through January and pay for other expenses.

The Assembly voted Tuesday to extend the line of credit from its current level of $500,000.

Hospital CEO Jeff Comer says he did not know the full extent of financial problems when he was hired in September. He says the credit-line extension will give him "breathing room" to start working on solutions and pay bills.

Problems cited for the hospital's money woes include delays in collecting accounts and funds owed to Medicare following a credentialing problem.

Walker orders new spending on megaprojects halted
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has halted new spending on six high-profile projects, pending further review.

Walker issued an order Friday and cited the state's $3.5 billion budget deficit that's increase as oil prices have dropped.

Alaska Dispatch News reports the projects include a small diameter gas pipeline from the North Slope.

The other projects are the Kodiak rocket launch complex, the Knik Arm bridge, the Susitna-Watana hydroelectric dam, Juneau access road and the Ambler road.

Walker's budget director Pat Pitney says Alaska's "fiscal situation demands a critical look."

According to Walker's order, the hold on spending is pending further review.

Pitney says the administration intends to decide on project priorities near the start of Alaska's legislative session Jan. 20, and no later than a Feb. 18 legal budgeting deadline.

Rape conviction tossed over bad jury instructions
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man convicted of rape will have a new trial after his conviction was thrown out of court due to bad jury instructions.

Fifty-year-old Wilburn Dean Jackson was convicted of first-degree sexual assault and fourth-degree physical assault for a 2009 incident in Sitka.

But KTUU reports the Court of Appeals ruled that he will face a new trial. That's because the Superior Court didn't properly instruct the jury about the need for unanimity.

The jury had unanimously agreed the incident qualified as rape. But the appellate court says they weren't properly instructed on how to arrive at that conclusion.

At Jackson's trial, the defense and prosecution didn't object to the process, and the court didn't catch the error.

Jackson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Alaska court rules bison can roam freely on Kodiak
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The buffalo can roam freely again on Kodiak Island.

The state Board of Game had previously decided that free-ranging bison were considered "feral" when the animals strayed from state or federal lands. Then in 2007 the board authorized a hunt of escaped bison on Kodiak.

But a rancher sued to stop the hunt. He originally lost, but Alaska Dispatch News reports the Supreme Court overturned a lower-court ruling against him Friday.

The court says the board was wrong when it deemed the bison feral. They say the lower court hadn't properly considered that it was clear the bison belonged to ranchers.

The rancher, Charles Dorman, died five months ago at age 78. His attorney Tom Meacham says the outcome is bittersweet because Dorman isn't around to savor the victory.

[Saturday December 27th, 2014  4th  EDITION 9:06 P. M.]

Icy roads led to single vehicle rollover on Egan this morning
There was a one vehicle, rollover accident near the Hospital intersection on Egan Drive Saturday morning. The female driver hit a patch of ice then hit a light pole, slid off the road and rolled down an embankment. The driver was taken to Bartlett Hospital as a precaution.

JPD Sargeant David Wrightson says the driver was driving too fast for conditions. He urges all drivers to slow down because of the scattered areas of "black ice" that remain on area roads.

Man found dead in downtown Juneau
At approximately 3:00 AM Saturday morning, Juneau Police contacted a man sitting in an alcove on Front Street. Officers determined the man was not breathing and began CPR. Capital City Fire and Rescue paramedics arrived, and the man was later determined to be deceased. The man was identified as 45 year-old Stanwood Anthony Whitely.

Next of kin have been notified, and the body will be flown to Anchorage for an autopsy.

The death appears to be the result of natural causes, and alcohol appears to be a factor.

Alaska child struck by all-terrain vehicle dies
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 6-year-old boy who had been struck by an all-terrain vehicle died on Christmas Eve.

Alaska State Troopers say the boy from the Southwest Alaska village of Akiachak (AK'-ee-ah-chak) had been lying on a trail in the dark when he was struck.

Alaska Dispatch News reports the boy was identified as Zaret Wassilie.

Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen says other children were playing in the trail. She says Wassile was wearing dark clothing in an area with no lights. She says the driver didn't see him until the last minute, and didn't have time to avoid hitting him.

The driver was uninjured. No foul play is suspected, and alcohol was not a factor.

The village is 18 miles northeast of Bethel and has about 675 residents.

[Friday December 26th, 2014  9th  EDITION 3:57 P. M.]

JPD Crime of the Week:  Grinch steals disabled man's Christmas gift
The Juneau Police Department is looking for a Grinch who stole Christmas, or at least stole Christmas gifts. A disabled man who lives on a fixed income had saved up to buy his wife a pendant and matching earrings for Christmas this year. The evening of Christmas Eve he went to Fred Meyer and purchased the items. After the man paid for the jewelry he was struggling with some mobility issues and either dropped the bag containing the jewelry or looked away from the cart at the wrong time. Someone then took the bag containing the jewelry, worth $700.

With the help of the receipt and Fred Meyer staff, a picture of a similar pendant was located. The earrings match the pendant with a small diamond above oval cut Tanzanite.

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

Crime Line is a non-profit organization composed of a cross-section of the community and is designed to aid police agencies in their investigations. Tipsters are guaranteed anonymity and given a number when claiming a reward of up to $1,000.00. If you have information on this or any other crime, log on to www.juneaucrimeline.com

Police say fatal shooting started with argument
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Fairbanks police say a fatal shooting started over a woman's attempt to kick her younger cousin out of her apartment.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 25-year-old Emmalee Clark was arraigned Thursday on a charge of first-degree murder in the shooting death of 33-year-old Jeanelle Clark.

Emmalee Clark's bail was set at $500,000.

Fairbanks police detective Chris Nolan in a criminal complaint says Jeanelle Clark asked her cousin to leave and a fight broke out.

He says Emmalee Clark one point pinned her cousin to the floor but let her up.

Nolan says Emmalee Clark told investigators Jeanelle Clark tried to kick her and ordered her out, so she went to her suitcase, removed a .44-caliber handgun and shot the older woman in the face.

Warrant issued in death of Anchorage infant
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage Superior Court judge has issued a $50,000 manslaughter arrest warrant for a man suspected of involvement in the death of his 2-month-old daughter.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports 29-year-old Aaron Vanormer is being sought.

Anchorage police detective Deven Cunningham says in a criminal complaint that Vanormer used Spice, or synthetic marijuana, causing him to hallucinate and intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause the infant's death.

Police say Vanormer's wife was in jail for parole violations in June and Vanormer was responsible for the baby's care.

The baby's grandfather on June 24 checked on Vanormer at the Spenard Motel and found the baby motionless in the bathroom tub.


Police interviewed and released Vanormer in June.

Douglas Island hunters discover giant spruce burl
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Two hunters on Douglas Island made a bulging discovering on a Sitka spruce tree last week — a burl estimated at 7.5 feet high.

Burls are growths caused when a tree is stressed or injured.

U.S. Forest Service research forest pathologist Paul Hennon says he's never seen a bigger burl but the cause is unknown.

He says something triggers tree hormones to cause rapid cell division and uncontrollable growth not unlike cancer.

He says some sort of an irritant probably starts burl growth in spruce rather than a biological agent.

Burls are common in birch and redwood trees and prized by woodworkers for bowls or table tops, if they're big enough.

Legislative Leaders Request Immediate Action on Spending
ANCHORAGE-Due to the urgency to reduce state spending in light of falling oil prices, Senate and House Joint Leadership delivered a letter to Governor Bill Walker (I-Alaska) this week, requesting immediate budget implementations, including travel reductions and a freeze on hiring new state employees. The letter also requests that amendments for the FY 2016 operating budget be delivered as close to the start of session as possible, rather than waiting until the statutory deadline of February 18.

The letter was signed by incoming Senate President Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage), Speaker of the House Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski), as well the incoming Senate Finance Co-Chairs Senators Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River/East Anchorage) and Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks) and House Finance Co-Chairs Representatives Steve Thompson (R-Fairbanks) and Mark Neuman (R-Big Lake).

"For the past two years, we have been focused on stabilizing and then reducing the budget," said Senator Meyer. "With the recent drop in oil prices and the fact that 90 percent of the state's discretionary budget is funded by oil production, the need to cut spending has become even more urgent. That's why we are requesting immediate action from Governor Walker on certain issues and asking for him to expedite his submission of the budgets to the Legislature."

The letter suggested the following actions:

Implement immediate hiring freeze including all department vacancies

Limit agency travel to essential administrative duties or emergency response

Request departments produce FY 2015 accounting report for first six months of the fiscal year to see which agencies are working within the budget structure, which agencies are in danger of exceeding budget and thus requiring a supplemental budget, and which agencies have far greater resources available to them than necessary to carry out agency mission

Identify targeted reductions in discretionary agency operations, while preserving funding for essential services and all ongoing gas line and other statewide projects critical to education, energy security, infrastructure and the public safety of Alaskans

Review capital appropriations authorized more than five fiscal years ago and make recommendations to re-appropriate funds for projects that have been delayed, are not moving forward, or that should not move forward in this fiscal environment because of the phased nature or cost of the project.

The letter continued:

"Further, we understand you have suspended work on the statutorily required ten-year fiscal plans, which
demonstrate how you intend to balance budgets for each of the next ten years. Given the current fiscal
situation, we respectfully request that these fiscal plans are completed by the beginning of the legislative
session to be used in the fiscal policy and budget discussions during the upcoming legislative session."

"We appreciate that he's still settling in, assembling his cabinet and learning the scope of his office," said Speaker Chenault. "At the same time, under today's fiscal situation, we intend to hit the ground running once the gavel falls in Juneau. We only have 90 days to enact a budget; our Finance Committee Co-Chairs want departments before their subcommittees as soon as possible, ready to begin the discussions and negotiations needed to bring down operating costs."

No endangered listing for prized pinto abalone
SEATTLE (AP) — The National Marine Fisheries Service has decided not to list a prized 6-inch Pacific marine snail as endangered or threatened.

The federal agency said this week that its review found the pinto abalone is not currently in danger of extinction and does not warrant federal protection under the Endangered Species Act at this time.

The snail, valued for its delicate flavor and mother-of-pearl shell, were once abundant from Alaska to Baja California.

Two conservation groups petitioned the agency last year to conduct a status review for pinto abalone. The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Biological Diversity said they need protection because their populations have plummeted due to historical overfishing, poaching, climate change and other factors.

The agency said the shellfish will remain on the agency's "species of concern" list.

2 injured when SUV strikes disabled pickup
ANCHOR POINT, Alaska (AP) — An Anchor Point driver and a passenger were seriously injured Thursday in a Sterling Highway crash.

Alaska State Troopers say a truck driven by 29-year-old Mathany Christine Satterwhite broke down and was parked near Mile 145.5.

Anchor Point resident Nathan Sargeant came to Satterwhite's aid and pulled his van in front of the pickup to jump-start it.

Just before 6 p.m., a sport utility vehicle driven by 29-year-old Larry Pyatt of Anchor Point approached from the north.

Troopers say his SUV slid and struck the pickup.

The truck hit Satterwhite, who was trying to connect jumper cables. She was thrown into the ditch and she suffered serious injuries.

Her passenger, whose name and age was not listed, was pinned between the truck and van. Troopers say her injuries are life-threatening.

Longtime Barrow judge prepares to step down
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A judge who has served in America's northernmost community for more than three decades is retiring.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports the last day on the job for Barrow Superior Court Judge Michael Jeffery will be Dec. 28.

Jeffery will be 70, the mandatory retirement age for judges.

Jeffery in 1977 began working in Barrow as a legal services attorney. He was appointed Barrow's first Superior Court judge in 1982. Barrow previously was served by a Fairbanks judge.

Jeffery is known for expanding awareness of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. He encouraged a change to state law that lets judges lower sentences for people with FAS or related disorders.

Angela Greene, supervising public defender for Nome and Kotzebue, was appointed to replace Jeffery. She will be sworn in Dec. 30.

Small fire but the stove is toast
Capital City Fire Rescue put out a small Christmas evening fire inside a stove in a home on Meadow Lane, Thursday night around 9:00.

Captain Roy Johnston says the oven was removed and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Prosecutors say home invaders were seeking drugs
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police say the men charged with a home invasion Monday night in Eagle River were seeking drugs and cash.

KTUU-TV reports one of the three suspects told the others that a resident of the home had heroin and cash on hand that they could steal.

Thirty-five-year-old Ryan Duane Calhoun-Moudy, 34-year-old Matthew Fox and 28-year-old Brion Ingram were arraigned Wednesday on charges of felony assault, robbery, weapons misconduct and theft.

Police say Ingram and Calhoun-Moudy knocked on the door and forced their way into the home as Fox, a half-brother of the resident, waited outside in a car.

A man inside the home was hit in the head and shot in the leg. His wife heard the shot and hid with her 3-month-old baby and another child.

[Thursday December 25th, Christmas Day,  2014  5th  EDITION 7:22 P. M.]

UAF appeals postseason bans for 2 women's sports
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The University of Alaska Fairbanks is appealing NCAA postseason bans for its women's basketball and women's swimming teams.

The two sports were among the teams that received a postseason ban as part of penalties for NCAA infractions. Infractions covered nine of UAF's 10 sports teams.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Thursday Athletic Director Gary Gray said the appeal for women's basketball and swimming was filed about three weeks ago, making them eligible for postseason play.

Gray says university officials saw the NCAA's postseason bans as excessive.

The university says the infractions were a result of university errors and not anything athletes did.

The sanctions cover such things as the university not identifying students who hadn't earned the required number of credits or switched majors without filing the proper paperwork.

Police: Fairbanks woman shot, killed cousin
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Fairbanks police say a woman shot and killed her cousin on Christmas Eve.

KTUU-TV reports Emmalee Clark is charged with first-degree murder after allegedly telling a police dispatcher that she had just killed her cousin, Jeanelle Clark.

Investigators believe the shooting happened early Wednesday at a building in south Fairbanks. Police say they took the call at about 1 p.m.

Twenty-five-year-old Emmalee Clark couldn't be reached for comment Thursday at Fairbanks Correctional Facility. It's not clear if she has an attorney. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Thieves target Anchorage nonprofit's donated goods
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage nonprofit that helps people with disabilities has been contending with thefts and vandalism during the Christmas season.

The ARC of Anchorage says donation bins have been raided and delivery truck fuel tanks have been trained.

It's been happening at least twice a week, most recently on Christmas Eve.

KTVA-TV reports the thefts and damage have run into the thousands of dollars.

Operations Manager Ian Casey says Anchorage police are investigating.

Casey says the thieves are taking donated clothes and other household items away from people who have developmental disabilities.

Tools stolen from Ketchikan business
Ketchikan AST received a report of a theft from a business near the 1500 block of the North Tongass Highway sometime between December 20-21. The business owner reported 2 Stihl brand chainsaws and a Milwaukee brand cordless drill were stolen from the business warehouse.

Total value of the stolen items is estimated at $1200. Investigation will continue, anyone with information is asked to call AST at 225-5118. Your call may remain anonymous.


Expected snow turns to mostly rain
Mother Nature tried to deliver a blanket of snow for Christmas morning, but she couldn't keep the temperature low enough for it to last. The flurries fell Christmas Eve afternoon, creating a light dusting in some areas of Juneau, as the National Weather Service predicted up to two inches of the fluffy stuff. Forecasts say there could be some snow today, but it's expected to turn to rain by afternoon. More snow mixed with rain could come Friday. At least we can look forward to a dry, sunny Saturday with a high just above freezing.

Troopers Midway Through Holiday Anti-DUI Patrol Effort
(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – The Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers have been decking the highways with lights and sirens (falalalala la la la la) over the past two weeks. The high visibility enforcement effort, which started Dec. 10 and lasts until Jan. 4, 2015, is to ensure the safety of Alaskans while they participate in holiday celebrations.

For the first half of this effort (Dec. 10 to Dec. 23), troopers have:
- Arrested 37 drivers for driving under the influence with two of them being felony offenses.
- Charged 42 drivers with driving with a suspended or revoked license.
- Received 248 REDDI reports with 26 drivers contacted that were ultimately determined not to be DUI.
- Investigated 83 damage only crashes, 14 injury crashes and no fatal collisions.
- Of the 874 citations issued by Troopers, 346 were for speeding and 37 were for seatbelt or other occupant restraint violations.

The Department of Public Safety realizes that alcohol is a part of many festivities this time of year. If you plan on partaking, don’t be a red-nosed driver. Please have a plan in place to not drive impaired. The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is done annually around the holidays to encourage the motoring public to keep safety in mind and to keep this time of year from turning tragic. The focused enforcement by troopers over the holiday is intended to prevent major injury and fatality crashes through enhanced enforcement. While the troopers are out to curb DUIs, they will also be on the lookout for additional driver behaviors that often contribute to fatal crashes, such as speeding and driving too fast for conditions.

Please do your part in keeping our roadways safe by not driving impaired. Additionally, don’t hesitate to make a REDDI report by calling 911! (Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately).

Funding for the High Visibility Enforcement Campaign is funded by grants distributed by the Alaska Highway Safety Office.

Kuskokwim River trails marked from Bethel to villages
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Bethel Search and Rescue says Kuskokwim River trails from Bethel to some villages are marked with stakes and reflective tape where the ice is thick enough to support vehicles.

KYUK reports that responders emphasize that holiday travelers should stay on the marked trails because there is still open water in some places, as well as areas that froze over just recently.

Trails are marked downriver from Bethel to Napaskiak (nuh-PAHS'-key-ack), Oscarville and Napakiak (nuh-PAH'-key-ack).

Trails also are marked upriver from Bethel to Akiak (ACK'-ee-ack) and Kwethluk (KWEETH'-luk).

Saturday funeral for former Washington lawmaker
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The funeral for a former Washington state lawmaker who was fatally shot in Alaska earlier this month will be held Saturday in Tacoma.

The News Tribune reports the funeral for Brian Sullivan will be held at 11 a.m. at Bellarmine Preparatory School.

Sullivan served two terms in the Washington Legislature and was working as an assistant district attorney in Barrow, Alaska, at the time of his death.

He was shot and killed Dec. 8 in Barrow.

A man accused of shooting Sullivan in a jealous rage over a woman has been indicted on murder charges by a grand jury. Forty-seven-year-old Ronald Fischer was charged last week with first- and second-degree murder.

Woman dies in shooting in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Fairbanks police are investigating the shooting death of a woman at a residence Wednesday afternoon.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner says no one was immediately arrested after the shooting in a building in south Fairbanks.

Fairbanks city spokeswoman Amber Courtney says the gunshot was not self-inflicted.

She says police have been trying to determine whether the shooting was accidental or intentional.

The woman's name was not immediately released.
 

[Wednesday December 24th,  2014  11th  EDITION 5:47 P. M.]

Mother Nature to bring blanket of snow for Christmas in Juneau
Flurries began falling Christmas Eve afternoon and the National Weather Service says it's the precursor to the front coming in across Southeast Alaska.

Meteorologist Brian Bezenek expects it to start snowing more after midnight. "There should be white on the ground all around town tomorrow when everyone gets up in the morning. We're expecting one, maybe two inches if we're lucky."

Troopers say body of avalanche victim recovered
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say an avalanche survivor and another man have recovered the body of a Delta Junction man killed in the same avalanche.

Troopers say they were notified Tuesday over that the course of two days, 63-year-old Michael Hopper of Fairbanks and another man, Daniel Perpich, had hiked in and recovered the remains of 35-year-old Erik Peterson.

Peterson was killed Dec. 6 after he was caught in the avalanche while skiing in the eastern Alaska Range with Hopper.

The avalanche carried Hopper 150 feet down the slope, encasing all but his face and right arm in snow. Peterson landed 10 feet up the slope.

Hopper dug himself out after two hours. Troopers say Hopper dug into the snow where Peterson's glove was and found his friend dead.

The state medical examiner's office will perform an autopsy.

Soldier charged in Fairbanks weekend robberies
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fort Wainwright soldier suspected of holding up several people at gunpoint has been charged with robbery and misdemeanor theft.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 23-year-old Keith Downing was arrested Sunday and police are seeking other suspects.

Police Sunday morning received several reports of pedestrians robbed at gunpoint, including two at 1:17 a.m. outside a strip club.

The men told police that three suspects pulled up in a car and two got out with guns, a shotgun and a handgun.

The witnesses told investigators the armed men stole their belongings and drove off in a gray Volkswagen Jetta.

Downing was charged in the holdup outside the strip club and an earlier robbery.

Downing remained jailed Wednesday. Online court records did not indicate he was represented by an attorney.

Grand jury indicts woman on false tax claim counts
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska federal grand jury has indicted a 58-year-old woman on charges of falsifying tax returns for residents of American Samoa, claiming refunds for work done in the territory.

Federal prosecutors say Pepe Anetipa was indicted on 28 counts of false claims for refunds totaling $202,000.

Anetipa moved from American Samoa to Anchorage in 2011 and began a tax service company in 2012.

Citizens of American Samoa can be issued Social Security numbers but are not required to file tax returns if all their income was from employers in American Samoa.

Prosecutors say Anetipa altered documents to indicate clients earned income in the United States instead of the territory and claimed refunds were owed.

Messages left with Anetipa's attorney, assistant public defender Jamie McGrady, were not immediately returned Wednesday.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station at the Marine Parking Garage
Beginning Friday, December 26th, the electric vehicle charging station at the Marine Parking Garage will be active and available for use. The charging station is located on level one between spaces 24 and 25. The station will be active between the hours of 8:00am and 10:00pm. All drivers parking in spaces 24 and 25 will need to pay the hourly parking fee of 75? an hour, but there will be no additional fees for the use of the charging station. Parking in spaces 24 and 25 is not limited to electric vehicles.

Hourly parking spaces in the Marine Parking Garage will also be extended; currently, hourly parking is only available in spaces 5 through 20. Beginning December 26th hourly parking will be available in spaces 5 through 25.

For additional information, please contact Parks and Recreation at 586-5226 Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm.

Audit finds room for improvement in Corrections Department
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A yearlong audit of the Alaska Department of Corrections has identified systemic problems, including an inadequate system for reviewing inmate deaths and factors that could affect the quality of health of those incarcerated.

The results of the $320,000 review comes at the end of a year the agency came under scrutiny over the way it handled a series of inmate deaths.

Alaska Dispatch News says Corrections is the first selected under a 2013 state law mandating a performance and budgetary audit of state departments at least once every decade.

The Legislative and Budget Audit Committee extended the scope of the audit and paid an additional $23,000 for a deep look at the quality of inmate health care.

The report says Corrections is "moderately effective" in primary functions of confining inmates.

Bulldozer breaks through thin ice on Nenana River
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Thin ice has claimed another vehicle trying to cross a river in interior Alaska.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports a bulldozer trying to cross the Nenana River at the city of Nenana plunged through ice.

The engine and the top of the heavy machine's fuel tank remained above the water Sunday.

The bulldozer was crossing at a location that's traditionally used as an ice bridge.

Tom DeRuyter of the state Department of Environmental Conservation says the bulldozer owner has reported no fuel entering the river.

Two vehicles last week broke through thin ice on the Chena River in Fairbanks.

3 men charged in Eagle River home invasion
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police have arrested three men suspected of an Eagle River home invasion.

KTUU-TV reports three adults and two children were in the home at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday when armed men broke in.

A resident was hit in the head and shot in the leg.

Police say 35-year-old Ryan Duane Calhoun-Moudy was arrested 15 minutes later when officers with a police dog tracked him down.

Officers later in the morning located a suspected get-away vehicle.

Police say 34-year-old Matthew Fox and 28-year-old Brion Ingram emerged from an apartment, entered the compact sport utility vehicle and tried to drive away.

Police spokeswoman Anita Shell says officers blocked the SUV and it rammed four police cars before the men surrendered.

They are charged with felony assault, robbery, theft and weapons misconduct.

Theater in Anchorage to show "The Interview"
An independent movie theater in Anchorage plans to show a film that was pulled from wide release due to violent threats.

The Bear Tooth in Spenard said Tuesday it would show "The Interview," a comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader, starting Friday, January 2nd. Last week, Sony Pictures canceled the scheduled Christmas day release after receiving threats against theaters that showed the movie.

This week, the company decided to give the movie a limited release, and several independent theaters around the country have scheduled showings.

The Bear Tooth doesn't usually have first-run movies from major studios.

Alaska's population rank gives way to North Dakota
Alaska's climb up the state population ladder has been knocked down a rung thanks to North Dakota's oil boom.

The Alaska Dispatch reports that North Dakota has bumped Alaska back to the 48th most populous state -- with only Vermont and Wyoming having fewer people.

North Dakota claimed 47th place by adding 16-thousand new residents this year, while Alaska was one of six states to shrink, with a net population loss of 527. That leaves Alaska with an estimated population of 736,732 compared to North Dakota's 739,482.

Alaska had surpassed North Dakota in the 2010 census by about 40 thousand people, but since then North Dakota has grown by about 70,000.

Fatal Vehicle Accident on George Parks Highway in Denali National Park and Preserve
DENALI PARK, Alaska: Denali National Park and Preserve rangers responded yesterday to a head-on vehicle accident involving two vehicles and resulting in the deaths of both drivers. There were no passengers in either vehicle.
Park rangers arrived on the scene, near milepost 236 on the George Parks Highway, and found both vehicles engulfed in flames.

The accident involved a pick-up truck traveling south and a sport utility vehicle heading north on the two-lane highway.
The National Park Service (NPS) received a 911 call reporting the accident at 10:08 a.m., park rangers and an Alaska state trooper arrived on the scene at approximately 10:22 a.m.

The highway was closed for most of the day, a state Department of Transportation vehicle piloted motorist through the accident site periodically, and the highway reopened just before 10:30 p.m.

Because the crash occurred within park boundaries and on federal land, the NPS is leading the investigation with assistance from the Alaska State Troopers investigative unit which is based in Fairbanks.

The cause of the accident is unknown at this time.

The identity of neither victim will be released until the state medical examiner can make a positive identification.

[Tuesday December 23rd,  2014  10th  EDITION 5:15 P. M.]

SEARHC Outpatient Clinic Holiday Schedule
SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) outpatient clinics will be closed on Christmas Day, Thursday, December 25th, and New Year’s Day, Thursday, January 1, so SEARHC employees can spend time with their families during the holidays.

The SEARHC Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau will close at 3:00 pm on Christmas Eve, December 24th, and at 5:00 pm on New Year’s Eve, December 31st. The Outpatient Clinic at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka will remain open during regular business hours on those days.

As always, SEARHC will have staff working during the holidays to take care of any inpatients staying at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka, and there will be 24-hour emergency room staff available at the hospital during the holidays.

AEL&P warns of scam
AEL&P is warning it's customers that they are receiving from their commercial business clients reports of attempted scamming.  AEL&P's Debbie Driscoll says no residential clients have reported scammers calling yet. 

A caller will pose as being from AEL&P and say that a check for an account payment was sent but was not signed.  Driscoll reminds customers to not give out account or personal information and call AEL&P about any suspicious calls pertaining to the company at 780-2222.

Police investigate Eagle River home invasion
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police say they are questioning a suspect in a home invasion early Tuesday morning in Eagle River.

Police say two intruders just before 3:30 a.m. entered a home on Caribou Street, where three adults and two children were sleeping. The intruders demanded money.

Police say one a man inside was hit in the head with an object and shot in the leg. He was taken to a hospital.

The intruders fled after the robbery.

Police using a dog tracked one suspect and found him after about 15 minutes.

Police say a second suspect may have fled in a 2007 silver Ford Escape with Alaska license plate FTX326.

Police are asking for a call if the compact sport utility vehicle is spotted.

The home intrusion was first reported by KTUU-television.

Walker signs LNG agreement with Japanese energy company
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has signed an agreement with a Japanese energy company formally declaring a commitment to form a partnership in developing Alaska's liquefied natural gas market.

Walker called the memorandum of understanding signed with Resources Energy Inc. Tuesday an important first step for the state's energy future. Under the previous administration, the state and Japanese agencies agreed to keep the lines of communication open over a proposed mega-LNG project.

Resources Energy CEO Shun Shimizu says the company will first focus on a smaller scale LNG project in Cook Inlet and later would like to work on the larger North Slope gas development.

Officials say Japanese prefectures have been considering LNG to replace nuclear energy following the massive 2011 earthquake that shut down the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Senator Murkowski Wishes Alaska Happy Holidays
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today shared her thoughts on the holiday season with Alaskans.

“Ho ho ho, and Happy Holidays, Alaska! “We’ve got a lot of snow-starved Alaskans had to wait a little bit longer this year, but our state has finally turned into the winter wonderland we’ve come to enjoy during the holidays. I may be a little biased, but I think it’s the perfect setting to celebrate this special time of year with friends and family.

“I’d encourage you all to take a moment – between the parties, shopping, and hustle and bustle – to focus on the spirit of the season: generosity and joy, both of which we have in abundance here in Alaska. Allow your inner child to surface in smiles or song or pure simple enjoyment – whether out and about with your kids, or with friends and loved ones. Focus on all the blessings we enjoy.

“As you focus on what you have, remember also those who are in need. This is the season to pitch in and lend a hand to those who perhaps have less. It can be a simple gesture or a large donation - we all can help, even in the smallest of ways.

“The men and women who protect our nation 24 hours a day should be in our thoughts during the holidays, as they should be at all times of the year. To those who serve and to their families: we thank you for your service and all that you do for a grateful nation.

“From my family to each and every one of you: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and let’s all have a great New Year! Take care.”

Avista Announces Donations Totaling $100,000 in Juneau, Alaska
SPOKANE, Wash. – Avista Corp. today announced that it is making donations totaling $100,000 to benefit six organizations in the City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska. These gifts come as the company celebrates its merger with Alaska Electric Light & Power Company (AEL&P), which was finalized on July 1, 2014.

The organizations to receive donations are the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, Juneau Salvation Army, The Glory Hole Shelter, United Way of Southeast Alaska, the University of Alaska Southeast and Bartlett Regional Hospital Foundation.

“We are very pleased that AEL&P has joined Avista. We look forward to a long and productive working relationship with the company and the residents, businesses and organizations of Juneau,” said Dennis Vermillion, senior vice president, Avista Corp. and chairman of the board for AEL&P. “Avista has a legacy of community support that dates back to the founding of our company in 1889. We invest substantially in our communities because we care about those who live in the places we all call home. It’s simply the right thing for us to do.

“Avista and AEL&P hold similar values embedded in a culture of trust, innovation and collaboration,” Vermillion continued. “We believe that being active partners with those who serve the community strengthens the area’s social, cultural and economic vitality and enhances the quality of lives of the people served by our company.”

Avista Corp. 2014 Juneau Donations:
Organization Donation
Juneau Arts & Humanities Council     $ 4,000
Juneau Salvation Army                   $10,000
The Glory Hole Shelter                   $12,000   
United Way of Southeast Alaska      $12,000
Bartlett Regional Hospital Foundation $12,000
University of Alaska Southeast         $50,000

Fairbanks borough mayor to form marijuana working group
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A panel will be created in the Fairbanks North Star Borough to guide development of rules governing commercial marijuana enterprises.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that borough Mayor Luke Hopkins is hoping to get regulations developed as early as February. The group is expected to begin meeting in early January.

The effort follows the passage in November of Ballot Measure 2, which allows the possession, use and non-sale transfer of marijuana in Alaska, beginning Feb. 24.

Marijuana sales aren't likely to begin until at least May 2016. The measure gives the state many months to develop and implement its own regulations.

Communities can opt out of allowing sales, but such bans likely would be politically unpopular, with the measure approved by a wide margin of voters.

Minimum wage measure could boost bus driver pay
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A decision by voters to increase Alaska's minimum wage could bring a bump in the minimum that must be paid to the state's school bus drivers.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports a state law passed in 1989 requires school bus drivers to be paid at least twice the minimum wage.

The law does not force employers to increase driver pay mid-way through a contract but could kick in with new contracts.

The state's minimum wage since 2009 has been $7.75 per hour. That means school bus drivers for five years have had hourly wages of at least $15.50.

Ballot Measure 3, approved in November, will increase the minimum wage by $1 per hour on Feb. 24 and by another dollar to $9.75 per hour on Jan. 1, 2016.

Anchorage negotiates for police shooting range
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Municipal officials in Anchorage have begun talks to acquire land for a new police training facility.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports the city will negotiate with Eklutna Corp. for 34 acres of land that could be used for a planned South Central Law Enforcement Tactical Range.

The land is next to the Birchwood Shooting Range. The facility is estimated to cost $13 million.

A funding request to the Alaska Legislature describes it as a dedicated outdoor shooting facility with four tactical shooting ranges.

A small-arms shooting range would mimic a city environment where officers could practice tactics such as forced entry.

Eklutna Corp. had proposed a long-term lease for its land. Municipality spokesman Bryce Hyslip says buying the property would save the city a significant amount of money.

New species of bat identified at UAF
Researchers at the U-A-F Museum of the North have discovered a species of bat that no one had realized was native to Alaska.

Specimens of Yuma bat were found in the museum's collection, but only recently identified by a careful analysis.
The Alaska Dispatch reports that a dozen specimens collected in the lower panhandle in the 1990s had been misidentified as the most common bat species in Alaska, the little brown bat.

The Yuma bat also ranges in British Columbia, but its discovery in Alaska adds to the six other bat species known to live in the state.

The study was published in a special issue of Northwestern Naturalist.

Legislature looking at office allowances
The Legislature is reconsidering how to account for office allowances.

The proposed change would reclassify funds used for postage, stationery, and other office expenses as income. That way, rather than itemizing each expense, lawmakers would have more flexibility in how the money is spent -- though it would be subject to income tax.

The idea surfaced two years ago, before the change was put on hold. Now, Kodiak senator Gary Stevens, as co-chair of the council that manages administrative affairs, sent a survey to members about how to proceed.

House majority leaders replied Monday that they prefer the current system, because it requires members to be more transparent about their use of state funds.

The office allowances are 16-thousand dollars for house members and 20-thousand for senators. The amounts would be reduced if income taxes are withheld.

[Monday December 22nd,  2014  6th  EDITION 4:35 P. M.]

At least 2 dead in crash in Alaska's Denali National Park
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — At least two people have died in a two-vehicle collision at Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve.

Park spokeswoman Kathleen Kelly says the Monday morning crash occurred on the Parks Highway about 1.5 miles south of the park entrance. One of the vehicles was fully engulfed in flames and the front of the other vehicle, a pickup truck, burned.

Those killed were the two drivers, and Kelly said the bodies will be sent to the state medical examiner's office for autopsies.

It's unknown if any others were involved in the crash. There are no known witnesses to the accident, which Kelly said occurred on clear road conditions.

Because the crash occurred within park boundaries, the National Park Service is leading the investigation rather than state troopers, who are assisting.

Woman arrested for smuggling oxycodone from Seattle to Ketchikan
The Alaska Bureau of Investigation's Southeast Alaska Cities Against Drugs task force and K-9 Lutri arrested 32 year old Terra Adams of Hydaburg on Sunday night
for her role in the smuggling of 367 Oxycodone 30 milligram tablets from Seattle to Ketchikan. 

Charges include Conspiracy to Commit Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree and Attempted Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree.  The street value of each tablet in the Ketchikan and Prince of Wales Island area is $100 per tablet making the total estimated street value to be $36,700.

Sitka hospital to request loan from city
SITKA, Alaska (AP) — Sitka Community Hospital administrators are planning to go before the city Assembly on Tuesday to formally request $1.5 million from the city in a 9-month line of credit to address a cash flow emergency.

Hospital CEO Jeff Comer tells the Daily Sitka Sentinel that the hospital has "zero days' cash on hand." Comer says the hospital is going to the Assembly because it is getting into a crisis mode.

City administrator Mark Gorman says the city's financial help will not be an outright grant to the hospital.

The loss in operations was $2.2 million between July 2013 and November 2014.

Comer says the hospital's financial situation is not affecting the quality of patient care.

He says the city assistance will help the hospital through the next nine months.

Fire, looters add up to bad day for Fairbanks store
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) A fire and would-be looters added up to a bad day for a Fairbanks outdoors retailer.

Fairbanks police say a fire broke out early Sunday morning inside The Prospector store, forcing a temporary closure.

Fire officials speculate a boiler malfunction caused the fire. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported smoke from the fire initiated the sprinkler system, which doused the fire.

Then, as employees were cleaning up the mess, KTUU reports three looters tried to sneak in a back door, which had been propped open.

KTUU says police were nearby investigating another complaint and saw a commotion in the parking lot as employees tried to detain the suspects.

Police say the three attempted to flee, but were caught by police and arrested.

JPD Holiday caution: drinking and driving
The Juneau Police Department asks all Juneau residents to be especially careful while driving during the winter holidays. We recognize that celebrating with family and friends may include drinking alcoholic beverages.

It is important for party goers to be safe and not put others at risk when traveling to and from social gatherings. As a host you can help by coordinating safe rides home for guests.

If you are driving over the holidays, don’t drink. Having alcohol in your system can create a noticeable impairment. Be focused on your driving, avoid distractions such as cell phones, always wear your seatbelt and ensure your passengers are buckled up as well.

Please be careful and help us make this a safe and happy holiday season for our community.

3 suspects arrested in theft of metal at hatchery
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say thieves stealing metal from the Eklutna Salmon Hatchery caused an estimated $30,000 damage to the facility.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports three men have been arrested in the case and six other suspects have been identified.

Troopers say the damage may have occurred over weeks.

The intruders cut through walls to reach copper wire in locked portions of the building.

Steel and aluminum also were taken.

The hatchery is operated by a nonprofit group, the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association. The hatchery opened in 1982 and operated regularly until 1998.

It's now a backup facility for the Trail Lakes Hatchery in Kenai and is used in summer by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to rear 400,000 king salmon released in the Eklutna Tailrace.

Pedestrian dies in Anchorage weekend crash
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police have released the name of a 32-year-old man killed by a car while walking on a downtown street.

Police say Christopher Thompson died on west 12th Avenue when he was struck by a car driven by a man delivering newspapers.

Police took a call on the accident just before 2:30 a.m. Saturday from a resident.

Police say Thompson became trapped under a sedan driven by Rommel Ramos, who remained at the scene.

Anchorage Fire Department responders were able to remove Thompson from under the car but he was declared dead.

Police say the case remains under investigation.

[Sunday December 21st,  2014  4th EDITION 4:17 P. M.]

Canadian mine near Alaska border wins approval
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Canadian government is allowing a proposed open-pit mine near the southeast Alaska border to advance.

Canada's Ministry of the Environment on Friday found the Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects when mitigation measures are taken into account.

The project, known as the KSM, is in northwest British Columbia. It is northeast of Ketchikan and east of Wrangell.

Brent Murphy of mine owner Seabridge Gold says the project has won approval of the provincial and federal governments and can move ahead with permitting.

CoastAlaska reports investors are being sought to develop the proposed $5.3-billion mine.

The KSM deposit is upstream of two rivers that enter the ocean within about 50 miles of Ketchikan.

Mine opponents fear the project will pollute rivers and harm salmon.

2 vehicles sink on ice stretch used as a shortcut
At least two vehicles recently sank into the Chena River on a section long used as an ice-covered shortcut between Airport Way and Chena Small Tracts Road.

Bob Weaver, the owner of Ron's Towing, said a rented SUV driven by an out-of-state motorist sank Dec. 15 after making a left turn onto the river from Pike's Waterfront Lodge. No one was hurt.

The tow company was being followed by a camera crew, but Weaver told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner the incident was not staged.

Alaska State Troopers helped rescue the driver of another vehicle on Tuesday. Sgt. Brian Wassmann said two troopers found a 20-year-old woman standing on the roof of the vehicle helped her to shore. A dog trapped in the vehicle died.

Man shot in downtown Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police say a man was shot outside a downtown bar early Sunday morning.

Police spokeswoman Anita Shell said the man suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot to the torso. He was taken to a local hospital.

Shell told KTUU the incident occurred around closing time.

Police said there were several people in the area at the time of the shooting, but they said early Sunday afternoon that they did not have a suspect or motive in the case.

UPDATE: Holiday Cup scores from Saturday
Over 400 athletes are expected to compete in the 22nd edition of the Holiday Cup which began Saturday and runs until the 31st at Dimond Park Field House.

Marty McKeown with ReMax of Juneau, second-year sponsor of the free event, brought us some scores from Saturday:

Elementary School Division:
Snowflake United vs. Jolly St. Kicks 3 -3
Reigning Snowballs vs. Real Frosty 6 - 0

Highschool Division:
Squad vs. Falconers 5-4
Wrecking Ball vs. BK Crew 3-0

College Division:
Chipmunks vs. Roaring Chestnuts 6-4

Classic Division:
Santa Slayers vs. Ringadingding 2-2
Nutcrackers vs. Spicy Nutmegs 3-2

Masters Division:
Big Wergers vs. Wolfpack 5-3
Mistle Toes vs. Galaxy 6-2
Silent Knights vs. Dugs Dump 5-3

For more information you can logon to holidaycup.org

Walker names Drygas as labor commissioner
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Bill Walker is continuing to fill out his Cabinet, naming Heidi Drygas to be state labor commissioner.

Drygas previously served as general counsel for the Alaska District Council of Laborers. Walker said Drygas has extensive experience in labor relations and will be an asset to his administration.

Drygas replaces Dianne Blumer. Her appointment is subject to legislative approval.

Walker also announced that Larry Hartig would remain as commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Walker cited Hartig's commitment to public service and knowledge of environmental and natural resource issues. Hartig has held the position since 2007.

Walker named Darwin Peterson as his legislative director. Peterson most recently served as chief of staff to Republican Sen. Bert Stedman of Sitka.

Walker made the announcements by news release on Friday.

New director plans Alaska's Medicaid expansion
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's new Medicaid expansion project director plans to extend health care coverage to some of Alaska's lowest-income residents.

Alaska Dispatch News reports Chris Ashenbrenner was appointed by Gov. Bill Walker when he created the new position.

The planned expansion will extend Medicaid coverage to all Alaskans who earn up to 138 percent of the poverty level. That amounts to about $20,120 per year.

Before that can happen in Alaksa, Ashenbrenner will have to work through a series of hurdles. The state's Medicaid eligibility and payment systems have been plagued with defects.

Medicaid expansion was one of the key points during Walker's campaign against former Gov. Sean Parnell.

The state health department's commissioner Valerie Davidson says they needed someone with a track record of taking on heavy projects.
 

[Saturday December 20th,  2014  3rd  EDITION 4:36 P. M.]

Alaska airman gets 18-year sentence for DUI death
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska airman has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for a drunken driving collision that took the life of a 20-year-old woman.

Alaska Dispatch News reports Lane Douglas Wyatt had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, first degree assault and drunken driving.

Citari Townes-Sweatt died in 2013 after Wyatt ran a red light in East Anchorage and hit the car she was driving. Assistant district attorney Will Taylor says friends tried to prevent Wyatt from driving.

Twenty-four-year-old Wyatt says there's nothing he can do to make things right. He apologizes to the family and says he doesn't know if he can forgive himself.

Townes-Sweatt's mother says she truly forgives Wyatt and he should forgive himself.

Wyatt was an Air Force airman at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

King Cove road lawsuit proceeds
A lawsuit over a proposed road out of King Cove may proceed on only two of its five claims.

U-S District Judge H. Russel Holland, this week, dismissed three of the claims in the lawsuit filed by the City of King Cove and joined by the state. The judge disagreed that Interior Secretary Sally Jewell's decision to block a land swap for a road corridor through a wildlife refuge could be challenged under certain federal laws.

However, the judge found that plaintiffs could make a case that Jewell did not follow the National Environmental Protection Act and that her decision did not meet certain procedural requirements.

Congress and the Alaska Legislature approved a land swap for an 18-mile road to connect King Cove with the all-weather airport at Cold Bay. In August, Jewell repeated her denial, on the grounds that the road might damage waterfowl habitat in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.

Vickie Williams Appointed Dean of School of Management
The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Vickie Williams as the new Dean of the School of Management. She replaces Mr. John Blanchard, who served as Dean for three years and who has returned to a faculty role. The School of Management offers associate and bachelor's degrees in business and accounting and also offers the online Master's degree in Public Administration online throughout the state.

Dean Williams is a highly qualified UAS faculty member whose academic qualifications include MBA, CPA, and CGMA degrees and credentials plus extensive public- and private-sector experience in business and accounting.
Dean Williams service as a faculty member at UAS dates back to 1995. She is a tenured faculty member in Accounting and previously served as Chair of the UAS accounting program. Previously she served as Treasurer of the City and Borough of Juneau and as an accountant with both Citicorp and Arthur Andersen of New York City.

"Over the years I have been able to pass on my passion for numbers to our accounting students and have worked with many great faculty and staff," said Williams. "I am thrilled to take on new challenges and work with all the programs in the School of Management. We have a great family at UAS!"

"Dean Williams brings to this leadership position a wealth of experience and exceptional dedication to student success," said UAS Provost Rick Caulfield . She is widely respected by faculty and staff in the university system and in professional business and accounting circles. Her successful teaching experience and her community engagement will serve our students well."

The appointment, approved by Chancellor Pugh and UA President Patrick Gamble, was made after broad consultation with School of Management faculty and staff and community partners.

[Friday December 19th,  2014  14th  EDITION 11:37 P. M.]

Stranded hunter near Juneau rescued
A stranded hunter was rescued from Chicagof Island near Juneau Friday evening. Although separated from his hunting party, he was able to communicate with them using his handheld radio. Petty Officer 1st Class Georgette Lopez, watchstander, Coast Guard Sector Juneau, said, “The radio provided us with a GPS location that aided us in quickly locating him during night hours.”

Sector Juneau command center watchstanders received a report of a hunter in distress and sent a Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew. They hoisted the hunter and transferred him to Hoonah.

The weather on scene was reported as 32 degrees with moderate rain.

Bomb threat in Anchorage postpones JDHS game
A bomb threat called into East High School in Anchorage this afternoon postponed the T-bird Classic basketball tournament.  Barrow and Juneau Douglas High School were to play at 3:00.

There were no classes today, but the gym was open for the tournament. The school was locked down briefly and evacuated. Anchorage police responded just before 2 p.m. 

Barrow won 78 to 70.

49 kids to Shop With A Cop
You could wake to lots of sirens Saturday morning, but hopefully it's just the kids going out to Shop With A Cop.

The Capital City Chapter of the Alaska Peace Officers Association will conduct its 4th annual Shop With A Cop outing Saturday morning and will do a second outing on Tuesday, December 23. Due to the overwhelming generosity of Juneau, donating over $10,000 to this event, officers will shop with a total of 49 children between the two events.

APOA would like to warn the public, this party might get a little loud. Kids like sirens and officers are going to indulge the kids. There will be a marked car parade from Nugget Mall to Walmart Saturday, December 20th, starting at about 10:30 in the morning. Tuesday’s event will feature a bus carrying kids from the AWARE Shelter escorted by marked vehicles containing other kids. There may be some lights and sirens noticed by the public on December 23rd, at about 4:15 in the afternoon. Juneau Police Department Chief Bryce Johnson has volunteered to ride on the bus and sing Christmas songs with the kids. Organizers are saying that party bus will be rocking.

In addition to the children buying presents for their loved ones, officers will buy the children presents they pick out that will be delivered Christmas Eve, and 12 families will have Christmas dinner purchased.

APOA would like to thank the community for such a tremendous level of support.


Santa's coming to the Auke Bay Fire Station Christmas Open House
Bring the kids to the Auke Bay Fire Station Christmas Open House this Saturday afternoon 1:00 - 4:00. Assistant Chief Quinto will be reading Christmas Stories and Santa is stopping by, to ride on board the Auke Bay Fire Department Truck.

Santa's route starts at Gruening Park. He will travel to Berners Ave/Radcliffe Road, continuing to Glacier View Trailer Park, traveling with fire fighters and elves on to Portage Blvd and Aspen Avenue. From there he will be visiting Thunder Mountain Trailer Park and then it's on to Montana Creek subdivision, ending at the University Housing.

Fire Fighters and elves will be handing out candy canes on the route to all the kids.

Massive B.C. gold mine near Alaska border gets environmental approval
VANCOUVER - The federal government has approved the environmental assessment application for the massive KSM gold and copper mine in northwestern British Columbia near the Alaska border.

The mine, which is owned by Seabridge Gold Inc. (TSX:SEA), is considered the largest undeveloped gold reserve in the world and also has copper, silver and molybdenum deposits.

The project would be just 35 kilometres from the Alaska border, and in August the state took the rare step of asking the Canadian government for involvement in the approval process over concerns for its rivers and fish.

But the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency concluded in its report that the KSM project isn't likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

Seabridge CEO Rudi Fronk says the company was confident it would receive the approval because it has spent six years and (Canadian) $200 million working with government, the state of Alaska, and local First Nations.

Fronk says Seabridge is talking with several major mine companies to find a partner to invest in the project, which will likely cost about (Canadian) $5 billion to build.

Arctic offshore drill company enters guilty pleas
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A drilling company has pleaded guilty to committing environmental and maritime crimes in Alaska's Arctic.

Bernie G. Wolford Jr., president of Noble Drilling U.S. LLC, appeared in federal court in Anchorage on Friday after reaching an agreement with prosecutors earlier this month.

Wolford said the $8.2 million fine and $4 million in community service payments would be paid Friday. He declined to comment further after the hearing.

Noble operated the drill ship Noble Discoverer and the drill unit Kulluk in support of Royal Dutch Shell PLC's offshore drilling efforts in 2012.

According to the agreement, Noble Drilling's violations included keeping false records or failing to record details surrounding its handling of oil on the vessels. The company also failed to notify the U.S. Coast Guard of hazardous conditions aboard the Noble Discoverer.

FAA authorizing 1st drone in Nevada test program
BOULDER CITY, Nev. (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration is authorizing the first drone that will fly in Nevada as part of the federal drone test site program.

Dignitaries including Gov. Brian Sandoval, Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Joe Heck were on hand Friday for the ceremony in Boulder City.

The agency is issuing a Test Site Special Airworthiness Certificate to "Magpie," a drone built by the company Sensurion.

Magpie was scheduled to take a test flight during the ceremony.

Nevada is one of six states chosen last December as national sites for drone testing. Alaska, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia were the others.

The FAA does not allow commercial use of drones but plans to gather data from test sites to develop operational guidelines by the end of 2015.

US rig count down 18 to 1,875
HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. fell by 18 this week to 1,875.

The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,536 rigs were exploring for oil and 338 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago 1,768 rigs were active.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Arkansas gained three rigs, Kansas and New Mexico each rose by two and Alaska and Pennsylvania were up one apiece.

North Dakota declined by seven, Oklahoma by six, Texas down four, Louisiana off three, and Ohio and West Virginia each decreased two.

California, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming were unchanged.

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

UA President announces plan to conduct a national search to fill UAS Chancellor position
President Patrick K. Gamble today announced the university will conduct a national search to fill the University of Alaska Southeast chancellor's position. Current Chancellor John Pugh will retire in May. Gamble considered input from faculty, staff, students and community members in making the decision. He noted, "We have some excellent in-state candidates who will certainly be considered in the process. I spent a couple of days meeting with various groups in Juneau, getting input on the search process and the attributes needed for the position. The important stakeholders expressed the opinion that a national search would provide an opportunity to further deepen the pool of quality applicants."

Heading the search committee is University of Alaska Southeast Vice Chancellor of Administration Michael Ciri. The committee will include representation from the faculty, staff and administration. The job will be advertised starting in January.

Applications will be accepted through February and reviewed during the first two weeks of March. Telephone and in-person finalist interviews will take place in late March and April.

President Gamble will make the final decision, with plans to have a new chancellor selected by May.

JPD's Crime of the Week
Between the night of December 16th and the morning of December 17th, there was a burglary of a Juneau spa called “Rejuvenations” at 3017 Clinton Drive near Safeway.

The main door had a window broken which is how the suspect accessed to the business. The safe at the business was taken, probably without being opened. It is believed the suspect will need commercial grade tools to open the safe. The safe is designed to need a combination put into a digital key pad plus a key to open.

Witnesses say there has been a suspicious dark colored box van frequenting that area over the last week. That van may be associated with this burglary.

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

Ruling allows trust status for Alaska tribal lands
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A court decision is allowing Alaska tribes to apply for federal trust status for their lands.

The U.S. Department of Interior published a final regulation in a prolonged dispute between tribes, the agency and the state of Alaska.

At issue was an interpretation of the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act that held that Alaska tribes had lost that right under the settlement act.

Four tribes and one Alaska Native individual filed a lawsuit in 2006 over the matter.

The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., rejected the state's position that the settlement act mandated different treatment for tribes in Alaska. The state is appealing.

Trust status means local and state governments cannot tax economic development initiatives tribes may develop on their lands.

Walker considers delay in legal marijuana sales
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker says he's considering a 90-day delay in implementing legal marijuana sales.

Alaska voters in November approved legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Walker told the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce he's exploring a delay in the part of the measure that allows for commercial sales.

The ballot measure specified that adults no longer would be arrested under state law for possessing up to an ounce of pot outside their homes, 90 days after election results were certified. That date is Feb. 24.

The state has nine more months to produce regulations for commercial sales, three months to begin accepting applications and three months after that to issue permits.

Commercial growers could produce marijuana for sale in May 2016 under the timeline.

Weird weather lingers in Alaska's largest city
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A week before Christmas, Alaska's largest city should look like a postcard wonderland. It should be the last place you'd expect to see equipment making snow.

A spate of weird weather is lingering in Anchorage, which is almost 2 feet behind typical snowfall totals by this time of the coldest season.

With just days to go until solstice Sunday signals the official start of winter, bare ground can be seen in places and temperatures have been averaging in the 30s.

For the most part, it's even been too warm to make snow for local ski haunts, although a slight dip in temperatures allowed the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage to manufacture powder Thursday on some trails.

Temperatures are expected to be above or near normal through the end of the year.

Unemployment rate at 6.6 percent in November
Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in November, down slightly from
October’s 6.7 percent. The comparable national rate was 5.8 percent.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate has remained relatively stable in Alaska for the past two years.
The national rate has continued to decline, and it’s not yet clear when it will stabilize. In the 10
years before the most recent national recession, Alaska’s rate was usually about 2 percentage
points higher than the national level.

Alaska’s not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in November, up three-tenths of a percentage point from October’s 5.9 percent. November’s rate was essentially the same as the prior year’s 6.3 percent.

Around the state, jobless rates increased in 24 out of 29 boroughs and census areas, typical
for November. The lowest rate was in the North Slope Borough, where winter construction bucks
the normal statewide seasonal trend. Anchorage and Juneau also had low rates, at 4.8 and 4.7
percent, respectively. The highest unemployment rate was in the Municipality of Skagway at 19.2
percent, narrowly edging out Wade Hampton Census Area at 19.0 percent.

AMHS Fares to Increase Summer 2015
(JUNEAU, Alaska) – The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) announced Thursday that fares on the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) will increase 4.5 percent for travel beginning May 1, 2015.

The new fare structure will go into effect January 1, 2015. The rate increase will not affect reservations made prior to the effective date. Some fares will not be affected by the new tariff structure. Fares that are disproportionately higher than the majority of AMHS fares will remain unchanged.

“In 2005 AMHS revenues accounted for nearly half of the system’s operating budget. Today revenues cover less than one third of the operating budget,” said ADOT&PF Deputy Commissioner Reuben Yost.

The fare increase will help cover operating costs and meet revenue targets for AMHS. In 2013 revenues recovered approximately 31 percent of AMHS operating costs, which required $119.3 million from the state General Fund. The fare increase is the first since 2007 and is expected to generate an additional $1.8 million in revenue.

The fare increase is consistent with preliminary tariff recommendations that were presented to the Marine Transportation Advisory Board on December 12, 2014. A copy of the meeting packet, including the presentation, is available at dot.alaska.gov/mtab.

Travelers are encouraged to make reservations in advance either online at FerryAlaska.com, by calling 1-800-642-0066, or visiting ferry terminal staff throughout the system. Making advance reservations is the best way to guarantee space for passengers and vehicles, and it allows the system to operate more efficiently. Fare information is available online or from reservations agents.

[Thursday December 18th,  2014  10th  EDITION 11:31 A. M.]

Gamble reflects after announcing retirement
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — University of Alaska president Pat Gamble says he loves coming to work every day. But at age 69, and with the university system in a position he feels comfortable with, Gamble says it's time to retire.

UA announced Monday that Gamble will retire June 1, after five years.

In an interview, Gamble said his proudest point in the job has been bringing the leaders of the three main universities together to work on issues across the system rather than having the universities compete for resources.

Gamble plans to guide the university system through what is expected to be a tough budget year, with the state facing deficits.

Gamble says the goal is for UA to get through the rough stretch without losing the gains it has made in recent years.

Juneau officials cut state funding request list
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Juneau officials are whittling down a list of state funding requests amid potential state budget deficits of more than $3 billion for both this year and next due to low oil prices.

The Finance Committee for the CBJ agreed Wednesday to prioritize five projects out of an original list of 29.

The new list includes a water treatment plant, well improvements, a communications tower update, a rebuild of the Douglas Harbor and additional snow-clearing machines that could handle narrow sidewalks.

Assembly members agreed that airport and school officials would be consulted for their top priorities, which would be added to a list for future years.

The city itself faces a $7.2-million deficit for 2016.

Alaska marijuana activist in dispute with business neighbor
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A former Alaska television reporter who quit her job on-air and vowed to work toward legalizing marijuana is involved in a dispute with a business neighbor.

Alaska Dispatch News says marijuana activist Charlo Greene and neighbor Sarha Shaubach have filed for seven restraining orders against each other and associates within the past week.

Greene, founder of the Alaska Cannabis Club, shares the same downtown Anchorage address as Shaubach, owner of the Alaska Center for Alternative Lifestyles.

Shaubach says the dispute began when Greene would not allow a fire inspector to enter Greene's portion of the building.

Greene, whose legal name is Charlene Egbe, declined to discuss the allegations in detail.

Hose failure blamed for sickening soldiers
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Army investigators in Alaska have concluded that a corroded vent hose on a field stove caused carbon monoxide poisoning that sickened 23 soldiers during a September exercise.

Army Alaska spokesman Lt. Col. Alan Brown tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that the carbon monoxide came from a gas-fueled oven used to heat trays of food in a kitchen tent.

Investigators concluded the corroded hose was not properly connected and kept gas inside the tent.

None of the soldiers in the incident Sept. 25 near Eielson Air Force Base suffered life-threatening injuries. Nineteen were treated and released. Four showed elevated carbon monoxide levels in their blood but recovered after hospital stays.

The soldiers were part of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Ambler road hearing draws opposition, supporters
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A two-day hearing in Fairbanks on a proposed 200-mile road to the Ambler Mining District brought out sharp opposition from Alaskans who say traditional hunting grounds would be threatened and wilderness values would be lost.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Alaska Natives and non-Natives expressed concerns about increased access and industrial contamination at the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority hearing.

Brooks Range lodge owner John Gaedecke (GED'-eh-kee) questioned whether the state should be supporting foreign mining interests and neglecting its own people.

PJ Simon of the Allakaket (al-ah-KA'-ket) Tribal Council questioned whether jobs would be forthcoming for villagers who now rely heavily on subsistence living.

NovaCopper, Inc. CEO Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse (NOO'-wen-heyes) says proposed mines in the Ambler Mining District have the potential to create hundreds of jobs.

Government sues to recover costs of sunken vessel
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The federal government is suing the owner of a 117-foot boat that sank in Cordova and was cleaned up at public expense.

KTUU-TV reports the government seeks $1.6 million from John Mehelich, who later appeared as a gold dredge captain on the Discovery channel show "Bering Sea Gold."

The 147-ton vessel Sound Developer sank in August 2009 at its mooring in Cordova Harbor. The lawsuit says the vessel leaked more than 450 gallons of fuel and oils.

The lawsuit says Mehelich hired a company to raise and clean up the vessel but then cut off contact with the company.

The federal government assumed the cleanup and the vessel was raised and decontaminated by Dec. 20, 2011.

Federal attorneys say Mehelich has refused to reimburse the government.

Group to provide rural dog care in YK villages
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — A nonprofit veterinary group will provide free spay and neutering services for dogs in two Yukon-Kuskokwim villages this week.

KYUK reports the Alaska Native Rural Veterinary group will be in Tuntutuliak (tun-too-TOO'-lee-ack) and Kongiganak (kong-EE'-guh-nuk) on Wednesday and Thursday.

Group leader Angie Fitch in Fairbanks says it's too expensive for people in rural Alaska to fly dogs for care, and there are no vets in the villages.

So they try to visit about 20 villages a year to offer spay and neuter services and vaccinations. Those include rabies and booster shots. They will also provide shots for eligible cats.

Ketchikan City Council to discuss possible tobacco tax
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — The Ketchikan City Council is set to begin a discussion on whether the southeast Alaska town should implement an excise tax on tobacco products.

KRBD reports the council is scheduled to take up the matter at its meeting Thursday.

Council member Judy Zenge requested the discussion and city finance director Bob Newell worked on a report on the subject.

Newell looked at similar taxes in other communities in Alaska. He says as much is $552,000 could be generated for city revenues annually from such a tax.

31 mushers sign up for Kuskokwim 300

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Thirty-one mushers have signed up for the Kuskokwim 300 next month.

That's the largest field in two decades, according to race manager Zach Fansler.

KYUK reports that Jeff King, DeeDee Jonrowe, Martin Buser and Lance Mackey will be among the racers. Past champion John Baker and partner Katherine Keith of Kotzebue also are set to race.

The number of dogs per team has been lowered, from a limit of 14 dogs to 12.

The race begins Jan. 16 in Bethel.

Public input process on pot regulation to come 
Dozens of Anchorage residents voiced their opposition this week and swayed their assembly to kill a proposed measure that would ban legal marijuana sales within that city's boundaries.  Soon, you too can throw in your two cents about how you'd like to see the selling of pot regulated in Alaska.

Alcohol Control Board Director Cindy Franklin tells News of the North, "There will be a public input process. We're right now planning to follow the regular process that already exists in state law for creating regulations, which requires a public input period. We have some FAQ's up on our website relating to the marijuana initiative. We have a sign up form on our website for anyone that's interested in following the regulatory process. People can put their emails in there and they'll receive updates if there are any additional questions and answers added to the FAQ's. Ultimately, when the public process for the regulations begins, they will receive an email."  Link to the website here.

The Alcohol Control Board has been tasked with developing the process of regulation, unless the legislature creates a separate board.

Alaska voters approved legalization of recreational marijuana use last month, however the law does allow cities to opt out of sales within its municipal boundaries.

[Wednesday December 17th,  2014  9TH  EDITION 5:56 P. M.]


Donations over the top for the 4th Annual Shop with a Cop
Donations exceeded expectations this year, so kids from at least 12 families will get to ride in a marked police vehicle and have a uniformed officer to assist them this Saturday as they Shop with A Cop.

"The Alaska Peace Officers Association has been overwhelmed with generosity from citizens of Juneau and even people out of town who have been so generous that our total funds to go shopping is right around $10,000 right now. So we are going to be able to take all the families who are on our list.", said Capital City Chapter of the Alaska Peace Officers Association Board Member Lt. Kris Sell. "These kids are going to have a really great holiday. I never saw this coming when we put out this request of funds. I completely underestimated the avalanche of goodwill that would come our way. This is a community that really cares."

Donations were so great that the association is directing those that want to donate to give to other charities, such as St. Vincent's. They are also contacting the AWARE shelter to see if the kids there can be taken shopping on a different day.

Pipeline coordinator's office to close
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The office of the federal coordinator for Alaska gas pipeline projects is shutting down.

Federal coordinator Larry Persily says the office was not funded in the budget passed by Congress last week.

The office was created in a 2004 law aimed at helping advance an Alaska gas pipeline project that would serve North American markets. That project, however, was scrapped amid changes in the market.

Currently being pursued is a liquefied natural gas project that would be capable of overseas exports.

Persily said the lack of clear authority for his office to be involved with a new project was becoming more of an issue. Congress did not act to address that.

He said the project ultimately, though, will live or die based on its economics, not whether his office exists.

Names released in NW Montana plane crash
POLSON, Mont. (AP) — Authorities have identified the pilot killed in a plane crash in northwest Montana as 33-year-old Brett Thoft, of Wasilla, Alaska.

In addition, a passenger injured in the crash was identified as Tim Schauss, of Lake County. He is listed in critical condition at Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

The small plane crashed in Lake County near Flathead Lake at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday on a hillside northwest of Ronan.

Lake County authorities believe the two-seat Piper had taken off from the Ronan airport on a sight-seeing flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Man sentenced to 99 years in Anchorage hotel shooting death
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 50-year-old man has been sentenced to 99 years in prison for the fatal shooting of his former supervisor at an Anchorage hotel.

Alaska Dispatch News reports Javier Martinez was sentenced Tuesday for the October 2011 death of 55-year-old Kerry Fadely following his termination at the Millennium Alaskan Hotel.

Fadely's death led to a new standard in Alaska when the state Supreme Court ruled her same-sex partner was eligible for benefits. In July, the high court rejected the denial of survivor benefits to Fadely's partner, Deborah Harris.

Martinez, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, also was sentenced in federal court last year to 65 years in prison for identity theft, weapon violations and illegally entering the United States. The sentence imposed Tuesday will run consecutive to the federal sentence.

Alaska ferry project caught in flap over US steel
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A U.S. requirement that American steel be used to update an Alaska ferry terminal is causing some tension with Canadian officials.

The terminal is on Canadian soil, in British Columbia, but the land is leased to the state of Alaska.

Under a 50-year lease signed last year, the state is to rebuild the terminal facilities and docking structure on that land.

Most of the construction funding would come from the Federal Highway Administration, which has "Buy America" requirements for steel, iron and manufactured products used in projects it funds. The rest of the funding would come from the state.

The Canadian ambassador to the U.S. says requiring the steel for the project to be produced in America is unacceptable. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has pledged to work toward a solution that benefits both sides.

Juneau clinic faces staffing challenges
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A Juneau health center that faced closure earlier this year over funding now is struggling to keep top positions filled.

The longtime face of the Front Street Community Health Center, nurse practitioner Janna Brewster, has left. The center does not have a dentist and by month's end, the interim executive director will be gone.

The center provides health services to homeless and low-income individuals in Juneau. It has a temporary contract with an Anchorage-based nurse practitioner.

The clinic has been using an outside company to try to find and hire staff. But the board's president said the board's preference would be to hire a nurse practitioner and dentist from within the local area.

AIDEA may extend deadline for natural gas project
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Board is considering an extension of a deadline for the firm that wants to build a North Slope liquefied natural gas plant for trucking gas to interior Alaska.

AIDEA (AY'-dah) in September signed an agreement with MWH Global for ownership and operation of an LNG plant.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports MWH projected the plant's cost at $185 million but the estimate is now $228 million.

The plant, at that price, would produce gas that community leaders say is too expensive.

The AIDEA contract is due to expire at the end of the year. Two utilities have requested an extension to allow MWH to bring down the project cost and board member Gary Wilken says a short extension is in the works.

Man charged in death of woman found near park
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage grand jury has indicted a man in the death of a woman whose body was found near a municipal park.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports 46-year-old Michael Memeo is charged with first- and second-degree murder and evidence tampering in the death of 54-year-old Irma Williams.

Police say Memeo was Williams' ex-boyfriend.

Williams was reported missing Sept. 30. Family members said they had not seen her for two weeks.

Williams' body was discovered Oct. 15 near Lions Park in the Mountain View neighborhood on Anchorage's northeast side. The state medical examiner concluded she was the victim of a homicide.

Police spokeswoman Dani Myren says Memeo was already in custody Tuesday for other reasons.

He was scheduled for arraignment Wednesday.

Anchorage kills measure to opt out of pot sales
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage Assembly has rejected a proposed ordinance that would have banned legal marijuana sales within municipal boundaries.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports assembly members listened to four hours of testimony Tuesday and voted 9-2 to kill the measure proposed by Assemblywoman Amy Demboski.

Alaska voters approved legalization of recreational marijuana use last month. Demboski said she hoped the city would take a "wait and see approach" before the Alaska Legislature created marijuana regulations.

Most people testifying Tuesday opposed the ordinance.

Medical marijuana user June Pittman-Unsworth said she has no legal way to obtain marijuana. She called the ordinance premature and open-ended.

Assemblyman Bill Starr said he was fearful the "opt out" message would put key Anchorage lawmakers on the sidelines during discussions of state marijuana regulations.

Soldotna man gets prison time for tax evasion
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 60-year-old Soldotna man gets 16 months in prison and a $10,000 fine for federal tax crimes.

The U.S. attorney's office says in a release James R. Back also paid over $17,000 for costs of his prosecution and paid more than $113,000 in back income taxes. He was convicted on the seven tax crimes in October.

Authorities said he earned more than $125,000 as a pipeline technician at Prudhoe Bay. Yet he claimed his wages were zero dollars in 2006, '07 and '08, and didn't file returns from 2009-2012.

Officials said during this time, he put more than $140,000 to a retirement plan, had investments worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, owned real estate and bought more than $400,000 in gold and silver bullion.

Some fees at state parks rising Jan 1
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Fees for some activities at Alaska state park facilities are set to increase on Jan. 1.

The Department of Natural Resources says fees will rise for overnight camping and boat launching and for annual parking and boat launching passes.

Daily parking fees at trailheads or other developed areas won't change.

The department says the cost of an annual parking pass hasn't changed since 2004 while state park operational costs have risen over 20 percent.

The annual parking pass fee will increase by $10, with a second pass for the same family going up by $5. Annual boat launch fees will go up by $25, with a second pass for a family going up by $10.

Overnight camping and boat launch fees will vary but generally increase by about $5.

[Tuesday December 16th,  2014  13th  EDITION 5:22 P. M.]

Drill fluids released after gasket fails
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — ConocoPhillips has reported a 3,500-gallon leak of a drilling mud, brine and diesel mixture following a gasket failure at a Kuparuk drill site.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said the release was discovered early Monday morning and reported to the state several hours later.

The department, in a report, says about half of the mixture spilled to a gravel pit and the rest to a closed reserve pit. The department says the spilled material had frozen and was not spreading.

ConocoPhillips Alaska spokeswoman Natalie Lowman says there were no injuries or environmental impacts from the leaked waste drilling fluids. She said there also was no production impact.

She said cleanup is progressing faster than expected and the spill volumes are expected to be less than initially reported.

Obama withdraws Alaska's Bristol Bay from drilling
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — President Barack Obama is withdrawing Alaska's Bristol Bay from consideration for oil and gas drilling.

The decision announced Tuesday under the federal Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act means no leases will be sold for petroleum drilling in the area. The bay provides 40 percent of America's wild seafood and supports up to $2 billion in commercial fishing every year.

Obama says in a video announcement that the natural resource is too precious to be put out to the highest bidder.

Bristol Bay is north of the Alaska Peninsula, which juts out west from mainland Alaska at the start of the Aleutian Islands chain.

Alaska's Republican U.S. senator, Lisa Murkowski, says the petroleum industry hasn't shown interest in the region and she's not objecting to the president's decision at this time.

Broker enrolls about 1K Alaskans in latest signup
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A broker established to help individuals sign up for private health insurance has enrolled about 1,000 Alaskans in the first month of the latest open enrollment period.

That includes renewals and new sign-ups. Aimee Crocker, operations manager for Enroll Alaska, says most of those enrolled by the broker this period have been renewals.

Overall enrollment figures aren't yet available. Alaskans also can sign up themselves.

Monday marked the deadline for individuals to sign up for coverage beginning Jan. 1. People have until Feb. 15 to sign up for 2015 coverage through the federally run online marketplace.

Crocker says unlocking accounts for renewal clients has been frustrating.

She says website passwords were reset in April and some individuals have had to get temporary passwords or find documentation with their identification number.

Military chaplain installed as Catholic bishop
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — An active-duty military chaplain has been installed as the bishop of the nation's northernmost Catholic diocese.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Most Rev. Chad Zielinksi was installed as bishop for the Fairbanks Diocese on Monday.

Pope Francis last month named the 50-year-old Zielinksi to the position. He had been the active-duty chaplain at Eielson Air Force Base. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011.

Zielinski is the sixth bishop for the 11,000-member diocese, which has been without a local spiritual leader since Bishop Donald Kettler was appointed to lead The Diocese of St. Cloud in Minnesota.

Zielinski is a native of Detroit. He attended seminary at Mount Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon.

Fort Greely to get $50M under spending bill
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Congress has approved $50 million toward a ground-based missile defense system at Fort Greely.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the funding was included in a $1.1 trillion spending plan that passed last weekend.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports an effort is underway to increase from 26 to 40 the number of interceptor missiles at Fort Greely as part of a missile-defense expansion announced last year.

Murkowski spokesman Matthew Felling said the funding will help prepare a previously mothballed missile field for the interceptors that will be added.

Troopers release names of missing riders
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Bethel-area responders along the Kuskokwim River report no new success in the search for a man and woman missing on an all-terrain vehicle.

Alaska State Troopers say 26-year-old George Evan and 27-year-old Sally Stone likely plunged into an open lead in the river near Kwethluk.

KTUU-TV reports the body of a third rider, Ralph Demantle, and an ATV were pulled from the river over the weekend.

Troopers say alcohol was a factor in the accident and that Evan and Stone were most likely on the ATV when it went into the water.

The three were traveling Thursday night from Bethel to Akiak. Searchers found tracks leading to the ice hole.

Searchers used chain saws, ice axes and drag bars to search the edges of the hole.

Fairweather sailings cancelled
Due to severe weather in Prince William Sound additional Cordova - Whittier - Cordova FVF Fairweather sailings for Tuesday, Dec. 16 are canceled. Additional ferry service has been scheduled for Cordova - Whittier - Cordova on Wednesday, Dec. 17, weather permitting. Additional Information will be provided as necessary.

AMHS staff is contacting affected passengers. For schedule information, please visit www.FerryAlaska.com or contact your local terminal by dialing 1-907-465-3941 or toll-free at 1-800-642-0066.

Fuel spills from tanker crash on Dalton Highway
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A lane of the Dalton Highway was closed when a tractor-trailer carrying a load of fuel slid off the roadway.

Fuel leaking from the tanker compartment was cleaned up but responders had to deal with a fire that damaged the tractor-trailer.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Big State Logistics truck slid off the roadway Sunday night north of Wiseman.

The Department of Environmental Conservation says about 1,200 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from the rear tanker compartment.

Big State Logistics responders offloaded another 9,000 gallons and used absorbents on the spilled fuel.

The tractor-trailer caught fire Monday and the cause is unknown.

The driver was treated at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital for unspecified injuries.

Eyak to pay $2.5M fine to settle fraud case
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska Native village corporation will pay the federal government $2.5 million and give up claims to payments from a contract signed by subsidiaries tied to a fraud case.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that Eyak (EE'-ak) Alaska Native Village Corp. agreed to the terms to settle the fraud case.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports Eyak subsidiary EyakTek from 2005 to 2011 held a $1 billion contract with the Army Corps of Engineers.

The company's director of contracts, Harold Babb, accepted kickbacks from contractors from 2007 to 2011 and is serving a seven-year prison sentence.

Prosecutors say EyakTek and Eyak Services LLC submitted invoices for work not performed.

Eyak CEO Rod Worl says in a prepared statement the company wanted to resolve all of the claims.

Tanana man gets 180 days for assault of VSPO
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A 59-year-old Tanana man has pleaded guilty to assault after threatening a village public safety officer.

Arvin Kangas entered his plea Monday for placing Sgt. Mark Haglin in fear of physical injury. Officials say Kangas threatened to assault the officer, and then later looked at Haglin while pointing to a weapon.

Kangas received a 180-day sentence, of which 150 days were suspended.

The threats against Haglin on April 30 led to the arrival the following day of Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Scott Johnson and Trooper Gabe Rich to serve an arrest warrant.

Kangas' son, Nathanial, is accused of shooting and killing both officers while making the arrest.

The younger Kangas faces an April murder trial. Arvin Kangas remains in jail, facing evidence tampering and hindering prosecution charges from that day.

Whittier tunnel to close 1 night for repairs
WHITTIER, Alaska (AP) — The tunnel taking vehicle and train traffic to and from the port town of Whittier will be closed Thursday night.

Officials with the Alaska Department of Transportation say in a release that the closure is necessary to make repairs to the rail line running through the tunnel.

The 2.5-mile long Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel will close at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and reopen at 7:30 a.m., Friday.

Appeals court to reconsider Tongass case
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A federal appeals court is set to review a decision that allowed the Tongass National Forest to be exempt from federal restrictions on road-building and timber harvests in "roadless" areas.

An 11-member panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday.

In March, a divided three-judge panel sided with the state of Alaska and found the U.S. Department of Agriculture had legitimate grounds in 2003 to temporarily exempt the Tongass from the Roadless Rule.

The court in August granted a request for an 11-member panel to reconsider the case.

The case is scheduled to be argued in a courtroom in California.

Construction and trades opportunities in Juneau, including FREE training
There's construction and trades career opportunities in Juneau on Wednesday.

Come learn about and apply for FREE training with the Juneau Construction Academy. Classes include: carpentry, welding, electrical, plumbing, drywall, and safety trainings.

Meet representatives from the Building Trades unions and learn about apprenticeship opportunities. Meet construction and home builder employers. Meet UAS Construction Technology and Career and Tech Instructors.

It's sponsored by: Juneau Construction Academy, Juneau Building and Construction Trades Council, SEABIA, SERRC-The Learning Connection and UAS Career and Tech Programs.

This session on construction and trades opportunities will be from 5:30-7:00 at SERRC-The Learning Connection, 210 Ferry Way, downtown across from Marine Park.

For more information call 907-586-5718 or visit www.juneauconstructionacademy.org



[Monday
December 15th,  2014  12th  EDITION 4:00 P. M.]

Walker submits pared-down capital budget
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Bill Walker has submitted a stripped-down capital budget that mainly includes projects with federal or other match funding.

Walker submitted the budget Monday, along with an operating budget developed by his predecessor, former Gov. Sean Parnell, that Walker has not endorsed.

The Walker administration plans to submit revised versions of both budgets next year.

The capital budget submitted was pared-down from what Parnell proposed to include $106.7 million in unrestricted general funds.

Walker's budget director, Pat Pitney, said any add-ons will be closely scrutinized.

Even with the pared down capital budget, the state is looking at a potential $3.2 billion budget deficit if operating levels are consistent with those proposed by Parnell. The budget deficit for the current year is projected to be $3.5 billion, amid much-lower-than-expected oil prices.

Powdered alcohol? Not so fast, lawmakers say
DENVER (AP) — States are moving to ban alcohol in powdered form before the product goes on sale out of concern it will increase underage drinking.

The product, called "Palcohol," is touted by its inventor as a convenient way to mix a drink. But lawmakers nationwide say that convenience will only make it easier for children to access alcohol.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont have already banned powdered alcohol. And Minnesota, Ohio, and New York are also considering outlawing it.

Colorado Republican Rep. JoAnn Windholz is introducing a bill to ban Palcohol in the session that begins next month.

Lipsmark, the company that owns Palcohol, notes that federal regulators have determined the product to be safe. However, the company is waiting for labeling approval.

Eaglecrest Ski Areas announces Hilary Lindh scholarship winners
Scholarship winners were chosen based upon scholastic achievement, competitive spirit, and financial need.

Two Eaglecrest season passes were awarded in each division; kindergarten through fifth-grade, and sixth through twelfth-grade. This year’s winners are Maddy Roemeling, Krishna Bathija, Sierra Coronell, and Cain Ramsey.

“Despite the fact that we received fewer applications this year, the quality of all of the applications was very high making the final selection difficult.” said Julie Jackson, Community Outreach Supervisor at Eaglecrest Ski Area. Eaglecrest received eleven applications for this year’s competition.

Maddy Roemeling is a student with the Raven Homeschool program. She applied for the Hilary Lindh Scholarship so she could ski more, as skiing is her favorite sport. Her goal this season is to challenge herself on new runs and she can always be counted on to take “one more run”.

Krishna Bathija is a student at Harborview Elementary who recently learned to ski and “absolutely loved it”. His teacher described him as a “first rate scholar with a great competitive spirit”. Krishna’s goal is to get better so he can ski down the Ptarmigan Chair.

Sierra Coronell is a student at Juneau Douglas High School who enjoys snowboarding but hasn’t had many opportunities to get to Eaglecrest. With this scholarship she plans to use it every chance she can. Sierra’s competitive spirit has allowed her to become an academic scholar.

Cain Ramsey is a student at Yaakoosge Daakahidi High School who is described as a bright student with a willingness to learn and improve. His passion is snowboarding and his goal is to improve snowboarding skills and remain active outdoors.

The Hilary Lindh Scholarship was established in 1992 in recognition of Lindh’s Silver Medal in the 1992 Winter Olympics. She competed on the World Cup circuit for twelve years, competing in three Olympics. In 1997 Lindh won the World Cup Downhill Championship. Lindh was inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in April 2006 and the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame in February 2009.

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

Murkowski, Sullivan get committee assignments
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has retained her spot on the Senate Appropriations Committee, while incoming senator Dan Sullivan was assigned to several committees he had hoped to land.

Senate Republicans announced committee assignments Monday. The assignments are subject to approval by the GOP conference and the full Senate.

Sullivan, who will take office next month, had expressed interest in serving on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, given the importance of fisheries to Alaska, as well as on the Environment and Public Works Committee and the Armed Services Committee.

He was assigned to all three, plus Veterans' Affairs. Sullivan is a Marine Corps reservist.

Murkowski is expected to chair the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She will also serve on Indian Affairs and on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees.

Sealaska land transfer bill passes Congress
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Officials with Sealaska Corp. are pleased by passage of federal legislation that will transfer about 70,000 acres within the Tongass National Forest to the Alaska Native corporation.

The provision, included within a defense bill, passed Congress late last week. It represents a compromised worked out by Sen. Lisa Murkowski and is intended to make final the land claims owed to Southeast tribes under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

The land transfer includes more than 68,000 acres available for logging, as well as land for renewable energy and tourism projects and cemetery and historic sites. It also includes about 150,000 acres of old-growth timber in new conservation areas.

Sealaska says its current land base, along with the acreage in the legislation, represents less than two percent of the Tongass.

University of Alaska President sets retirement date
University of Alaska President Patrick K. Gamble informed the Board of Regents on Friday that he plans to retire June 1, 2015. Gamble was appointed president, following a national search, on June 1, 2010.

Under Gamble's leadership, the university developed "Shaping Alaska's Future", an initiative to address 23 issues identified through an extensive outreach effort, and the effects or outcomes the institution is working to achieve to ensure UA is serving the learning, research, economic, social and cultural needs of Alaska and Alaskans. UA is already seeing positive results in a number of key areas including improved graduation rates, more degrees and certificates being awarded, and increases in numbers of degrees in high demand areas like engineering, health disciplines and teacher education.

Gamble noted, "We are up and running in moving the University of Alaska forward on a path that builds on excellence and enhances its sustainability. We have a solid team of strong leaders...the chancellors, provosts, and other system executives, as well as highly-engaged faculty and staff...who are working together and coming up with innovative ways to advance the university."

According to Board of Regents Chair Jo Heckman, "President Gamble has been the right leader to guide the University through a period of rapid change in the higher education landscape. While it is hard to see him leave, the work he's done makes the University of Alaska highly attractive to potential candidates for the position."

The Board of Regents will discuss the process for filling the president's position at a scheduled board retreat in January. Heckman went on to say, "President Gamble's commitment to the university and its students is a deep and genuine one. It capstones a lifetime of serving our country and our state. He deserves the time that retirement will allow to enjoy family and explore personal interests."

Permanent Fund Board approves private equity commitments
The Alaska Permanent Fund Board of Trustees adopted changes to the Corporation’s investment regulations, reviewed Fund performance and heard presentations on expected global stock performance and new investment strategies at its meeting on December 10 and 11 in Anchorage. In addition, the Board made two commitments to Dyal Capital Partners for investments in established private equity firms.

“It is to Alaskans’ advantage when we are able to make these sort of direct investments because the management fees are much lower than if we relied on an intermediary manager,” said Bill Moran, Board Chair. “Over the years we have increased the Board’s knowledge of private equity investments and built up the Corporation’s internal capability, so we are comfortable taking on internal investments.”

The Board-approved investment is in two parts: $50 million is committed to Dyal Capital Partners III, a fund that focuses solely on acquiring strategic minority positions in established private equity managers, and an additional $500 million is committed to a pool with which Dyal makes co-investments alongside the Dyal III fund. The advantage to the second commitment is that it is at a lower fee structure for the Permanent Fund, leveraging the research and due diligence of the primary fund to grow the allocation with cost advantages.

The Board adopted amendments to the regulations list of allowed Permanent Fund investments, after putting the comments out for public notice prior to the meeting as required by state law. The amendments included changing the requirements for outside advisors on new investments to conform to industry changes that have occurred since the regulations were first adopted, and moving asset class restrictions to the Board-adopted Investment Policy, where they should more appropriately reside. In 2005 the Board was first granted authority by the Legislature to create a list of allowed investments in regulation, replacing the list that had been in statute since the creation of the Corporation.

During the meeting, the Board’s general consultant Callan Associates provided an overview of the Fund’s performance by asset class and individual mandate. In addition, AEW Capital Management provided a review of the real estate investment trust portfolio (REIT) that the firm manages on behalf of the Fund.

The next regular meeting is scheduled for February 25 and 26 in Juneau.

Fairweather cancels today
Due to severe weather in Prince William Sound FVF Fairweather sailings for today are canceled.

Additional ferry service has been scheduled for Cordova - Whittier - Cordova on Tuesday, Dec. 16. Additional Information will be provided as necessary.

AMHS staff is contacting affected passengers.

For schedule information, please visit FerryAlaska.com or contact your local terminal by dialing 1-907-465-3941 or toll-free at 1-800-642-0066.

Bethel shelter reopens with new rules
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — The only homeless shelter in Bethel has reopened with more stringent rules for clients.

KYUK reports Bethel Winter House reopened late Friday. The shelter had opened for the season on Dec. 1 but was closed just over a week later after a person who coordinated volunteers quit and clients were found to have alcohol inside the shelter.

The all-volunteer shelter board has reorganized as a Lion's Club chapter. And they've instituted new rules for anyone wanting to spend the night.

Volunteers will search backpacks and coats, looking for alcohol or other intoxicants.

One woman refused to go through the search Friday night and was turned away.

The shelter opened last year after six people died from exposure the previous year in the southwest Alaska hub community.

Village fuel company reports 900-gallon gas leak
PETERSBURG, Alaska (AP) — Responders pumped an estimated 1,700 gallons of oily water from a secondary containment area after a fuel spill last week in the southeast village of Kake (KAYK).

KFSK-radio reports 900 gallons of unleaded gasoline spilled Dec. 7 at a tank farm owned by Kake Tribal Fuel.

Kake is a village of 600 on northwestern Kupreanof (koo-pree-AN-off) Island.

The leak was discovered when a resident smelled a strong fuel odor. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation says a thumb-size hole was found in the tank.

The DEC found no effects on wildlife from the leak and detected no gas flowing into Keku Strait.

An estimated 5,500 gallons of gas leaked into saltwater a year ago when a fuel line broke at Kake Tribal's dock.

Juneau woman seeks answers after dog electrocuted
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A Juneau woman is seeking answers after her pug was electrocuted on a city sidewalk.

Cheryl Buchanan was walking her dog, Siri, earlier this month when the dog stepped on an electrically charged junction box. A junction box encloses the junction of electric wires and cables. This one had a metal lid over it.

The city's risk manager, who is investigating liability, said the investigation could be concluded by early next week.

Buchanan says she was handcuffed by police at the scene for threatening or intimidating an officer. She said she was upset but not a threat. She was not arrested and is not facing charges.

Anchorage schedules hearing on marijuana sales ban
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage Assembly will take testimony Tuesday on a measure to ban marijuana sales within municipal boundaries.

Alaska voters last month approved a ballot measure to legalize recreational use of pot. The measure included a provision allowing municipalities to prohibit businesses that sell marijuana.

An ordinance opting Alaska's largest city out of legal marijuana sales was introduced by Assemblywoman Amy Demboski, who wants to be Anchorage's next mayor.

She says the municipality should take a wait-and-see approach and shouldn't be a guinea pig for commercial marijuana in Alaska.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports pro-marijuana forces are hoping to organize a large turnout in opposition to the ordinance sponsored by Demboski and two other assembly members.

Searchers recover body from Kuskokwim River
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The body of a southwest Alaska man has been recovered from the frozen Kuskokwim River.

KTUU-TV reports searchers Sunday found the body of Ralph Demantle, one of three people who disappeared while traveling by all-terrain vehicle from Bethel to Akiak (AK'-ee-ak).

Searchers continue to seek another man and a woman.

The three were last seen Thursday night in the Kwethluk area. They were reported overdue early Friday night.

Members of Bethel Search and Rescue over the weekend discovered tracks leading to an open lead in the river. The hole was marked but the three were traveling in the dark on flat, smooth ice with snow falling.

At ATV was recovered from the river Saturday before Demantle's body was found.

Murkowski Lauds Alaskan Priorities in 2015 Funding Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Several provisions championed by Senator Lisa Murkowski are included the federal spending bill that passed the Senate today and heads to the President’s desk. The bill to fund the federal government operations for Fiscal Year 2015 – with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security, which is funded through March – includes vital items related to the Arctic, military rural infrastructure, transportation, energy, education, and veteran support.
“This bill is not perfect, but it is the product of bipartisan negotiations and directs resources critical to our state – protecting the health and well-being of Alaskans and our fisheries, prioritizing our defense and investing in infrastructure for our state’s needs and America’s Arctic future,” said Murkowski. “I thank my colleagues for coming together to avoid another unnecessary government shutdown, and I thank them for recognizing the importance of these provisions for Alaska.”

[Sunday December 14th,  2014  4th  EDITION 1:20 P. M.]

Medicaid expansion could be months away in Alaska
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — State health commissioner Valerie Davidson says it could be July before the state is in a position to begin enrolling Alaskans under expanded Medicaid coverage.

Davidson said issues need to be worked out with a Medicaid eligibility system as well as with a Medicaid payment system that has been plagued by problems since going live in 2013.

She also said Gov. Bill Walker's administration needs legislative approval to receive and spend federal dollars that will serve as an underpinning to expanded coverage.

Walker, who took office Dec. 1, campaigned on expanding Medicaid coverage, something his predecessor resisted, citing cost concerns.

Walker has said he considers his appointment of Davidson — a vocal proponent of expanded Medicaid — a big step toward the state accepting expanded coverage.

3 missing after four-wheeler pulled from water
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Three people are missing after authorities say their four-wheeler was recovered from the Kuskokwim River.

Alaska State Troopers, in a dispatch, say the missing — two men and a woman — were reported overdue at about 5 p.m. Friday. Search efforts also began Friday.

Bethel Search and Rescue, on its website, said a set of all-terrain vehicle tracks were seen leading to an open hole. It said a four-wheeler, matching the description of the vehicle that the missing individuals were using, was recovered from beneath newly formed ice.

KTUU reports the search and rescue agency previously issued warnings about travel on the river due to thin ice and areas of open water.

Borough makes second attempt at ride-share program
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks North Star Borough is taking another shot at establishing a ride-share program as a way to reduce vehicle emissions.

Car rental company Enterprise Holdings has a $300,000 contract with the borough to operate the program, which launched in late September. No one has signed up yet.

The cost for a newer-model, all-wheel-drive vehicle would be $900 a month, plus gas, which Enterprise officials say would be divided among as many as seven people.

Enterprise director of sales Robert Lerch says the company wants to make this a sustainable business.

In 2010, the borough used grant money to buy four passenger vans and hired a contractor from Anchorage to operate a ride-share program.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the effort faltered. The vans are being given to Anchorage.

Fairweather sailing cancelled today
Due to severe weather in Prince William Sound FVF Fairweather sailings for Sunday, Dec. 14 are canceled. The ferry has been rescheduled to sail Cordova - Whittier - Cordova on Monday, Dec. 15.

AMHS staff is contacting affected passengers. For schedule information, please visit FerryAlaska.com or contact your local terminal by dialing 1-907-465-3941 or toll-free at 1-800-642-0066.

Hawaii's high gas prices dip below $3 a gallon, Alaska 2nd highest
HONOLULU (AP) — Gas prices are dipping below $3 a gallon in some parts of Oahu for the first time in seven years. But the state still has the highest gas prices in the nation, followed by Alaska and New York.

Chevron station owner Barney Robinson says prices haven't come down as quickly in Hawaii as the mainland because it takes longer for oil to get to the islands by ship. He says Hawaii is still burning through older, more expensive crude.

Hawaii motorists also pay high gas taxes. Robinson says they pay about 70 cents a gallon in taxes.

Hawaii News Now reports Hawaii has the highest average price of $3.75 a gallon. Alaska and New York are the only other states where the average price tops $3 a gallon.

Anchorage school board weighs charter loan program
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage School Board is scheduled to consider a proposal aimed at addressing facilities needs for charter schools.

The resolution, on Monday's agenda, would establish a $5 million fund from which charter schools could borrow to help deal with space concerns. The money would come from the Anchorage school district's unassigned fund balance.

The resolution was proposed by board member Natasha von Imhof, who has had two children go through a charter school that houses students between several facilities, including portable classrooms.

Other charters face similar concerns.

Mike Abbott, the district's chief operating officer, told the Alaska Dispatch News the district has tried to give charter flexibility in acquiring and maintaining facilities.

Charter schools are public schools run by outside groups.
 

[Saturday December 13th,  2014  7th  EDITION 7:32 P. M.]

Teaching assistant arrested for child pornography
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Prosecutors say an Anchorage teaching assistant arrested on child pornography charges admits he routinely traded pictures of children being sexually exploited.

KTUU reports that Brown worked with special education students at Huffman Elementary School for about seven years.

Prosecutors said in charging documents Friday that 33-year-old Daniel Alan Brown started downloading illicit images of children about a decade ago.

FBI Special Agent Angela Strouse says Brown primarily used a Russian-based website and Yahoo to locate child pornography.

The Anchorage School District and court documents suggest there's no evidence of Brown sexually abusing children.

An investigation is ongoing. Brown faces a count each of felony distribution and possession of child pornography.

District spokeswoman Heidi Embley says the school's principal and nurse are available to talk with concerned parents.

Man sentenced in Anchorage police dog stabbing
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man who stabbed an Anchorage police dog was sentenced to four years in prison.

Alaska Dispatch News reports Noel Hommerding was charged with first-degree assault on a police dog and in July and sentenced Friday.

At the time of the incident, the canine— named MP — was months from retirement.

Officer Nathan Keays had heard there was a man wielding a machete so he went to the scene with the dog.

Keays sent his four-legged partner after the fleeing suspect, and the dog bit Hommerding's arm.

Hommerding pulled a pocketknife and sliced MP three times in the head and neck. The dog survived after surgery.

Prosecutor Daniel Shorey says the long sentence reflects the community's strong disapproval of the attack.

Shorey says Hommerding apologized during the sentencing.

Sea lion's head goes missing from Alaska pier
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — A sea lion head has disappeared from a pier in Ketchikan, Alaska.

The head had belonged to a massive male sea lion that was found dead in July.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports the head had been dangling from the pier into the water so it could be examined after it was cleaned by ocean critters.

Scientist Gary Freitag of the University of Alaska Fairbanks had examined the animal's other tissues over the summer for clues to its cause of death. He was planning to examine the head after it was submerged for about six months.

But within two weeks the head was missing. Freitag says it looks like the rope was cut through.

Freitag says he can't imagine anyone taking it, because it was probably "pretty ripe."

2 Alaska ferries under construction in Ketchikan
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — Two new Alaska Class Ferries are officially under construction in Ketchikan.

Gov. Bill Walker was on hand Saturday for the Laying of the Keels ceremony at the Vigor Alaska's Ketchikan Shipyard. The ceremony marks the official start of construction for the newest ferries in the Alaska Marine Highway System.

Spokesman Jeremy Woodrow of the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities called it a historic moment for Alaska.

In December 2012 then-Gov. Sean Parnell canceled a 350-foot Alaska Class Ferry in favor of smaller boats because of cost overruns. He ordered a new, smaller design for the Alaska Class Ferry and limited the budget to $120 million for two 280-foot boats.

The two boats will be steel-hulled, twin-screw, diesel-powered passenger and vehicle ferries.

Delivery is expected by 2018.

Sen. Murkowski Applauds Final Passage of Sealaska Lands Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Friday secured final Senate passage of legislation supporting Southeast Alaska’s struggling timber industry and completing the federal land conveyance owed to the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian tribal shareholders of the Sealaska Native Regional Corp.

“It has taken seven years, but I’m proud to say that we finally completed the land conveyance for Southeast Alaska’s nearly 20,000 Native shareholders, and at the same time ensured that the region’s remaining timber mills have timber,” Murkowski said.

Murkowski’s Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization and Jobs Protection Act, which she originally introduced as S. 340, was included in the bipartisan package of lands bills approved Friday as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

The measure provides Sealaska, the Alaska Native regional corp. for Southeast Alaska, with 70,075 acres to finalize transfer of land owed to its Native shareholders under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).
“Some 43 years after passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the federal government will finally finish paying the debt we owe Natives for the settlement of their aboriginal land claims,” Murkowski said.

Under a compromise worked out by Murkowski, Sealaska will receive 68,400 acres for timber development, 1,099 acres for renewable energy resources and recreational tourism projects, and 490 acres of Native cemetery and historic sites.

Sealaska’s forested acreage is key to the survival of the local timber industry and the U.S. Forest Service’s efforts to successfully transition toward young-growth and away from old-growth logging in the Tongass. Sealaska currently produces about 40 percent of the Tongass’ timber and without the infrastructure the corporation funds, the rest of the industry might not be able to survive.

The measure also places 152,067 acres of old-growth timber in new conservation areas to protect salmon and wildlife habitat.

“Passage of this agreement is absolutely vital because an integrated timber industry is crucial for the economics of a timber industry, and for other industries that Southeast depends upon,” Murkowski said. “This bill also will allow Sealaska to transition from timber to promoting renewable energy development and tourism – all positives for the region. This is a good early Christmas present for the economy of the entire Panhandle.”

Coast Guard conducts medevac near Cold Bay, Alaska
KODIAK, Alaska — The Coast Guard medevaced a 23-year-old man with an injured hand from the 120-foot fishing vessel Trailblazer approximately 75 miles north of Cold Bay, Thursday.

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew forward deployed in Cold Bay safely hoisted the man and transported him to Anna Livingston Memorial Clinic in Cold Bay for further medical assistance.

Coast Guard 17th District command center watchstanders received the call for assistance from the operator of the Trailblazer that a deckhand had crushed his hand in a crab pot launcher and needed immediate medical attention. The duty flight surgeon conferred with contacts at the clinic and recommended a medevac. The watchstanders then dispatched the Jayhawk helicopter crew to the scene.

“Having assets in forward operating locations like Cold Bay during the busy fishing seasons is beneficial to mariners in times of distress,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Francell Abbott, watchstander, Coast Guard 17th District.

Weather on scene was reported as 17-mph winds, 10 miles visibility and a temperature of 37 degrees.

UA Board of Regents addresses teacher prep, rural education and adopts new policies
Rural education, teacher prep and teacher retention were topics of significant discussion during the University of Alaska Board of Regents meeting in Anchorage, Dec. 11-12. Regents heard from the deans of education from UAA, UAF and UAS on a collaborative plan to revitalize teacher education in Alaska. This ambitious plan will help to meet some of Alaska’s most pressing needs, while continuing to improve the quality of teacher education in Alaska. The plan can be found at http://www.boarddocs.com/ak/alaska/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=9QVCW483A05F.

Also on the topic of education in Alaska, the Board heard an update on Shaping Alaska’s Future Theme II: Productive Partnerships with Alaska’s Schools. Board members reported on their “homework assignments” to each talk with two superintendents at schools across Alaska. The progress report of Productive Partnerships can be found at http://www.boarddocs.com/ak/alaska/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=9R8NFD5FB531.

The UA Board of Regents adopted two new two policies, an employee furlough policy and a systemwide smoke-free, tobacco-free policy, during its two-day meeting in Anchorage. The smoke-free, tobacco-free policy is a revision to existing policy that will require all UA campuses and its statewide offices to be smoke-free, tobacco-free by Dec. 1, 2015. With this change in policy, UA joins more than 1,000 other universities that have developed similar smoke-free, tobacco-free policies.

Lt. Governor Byron Mallott presented an overview of the new administration and their vision for working with the University to address several challenges facing Alaska in the future. Governor Walker will name four new regents to the Board.

In addition to approving several resolutions of appreciation for departing staff and outgoing regents, the Board elected a new slate of officers, including new Chair Jo Heckman, Vice Chair Mike Powers, Secretary Kenneth Fisher and Treasurer Gloria O’Neill.

Regular university business included updates on state and federal relations, audit reports and construction reports. The regents approved the purchase of the Delta Mine Training Center. This productive partnership will help in meeting the demand for trained mining professionals in Alaska.

Find the complete board agenda at:
http://www.boarddocs.com/ak/alaska/Board.nsf/Public

[Friday December 12th,  2014  14th EDITION 3:58 P. M.]

JPD Crime of the Week: Business Burglary
Juneau Police say numerous items were stolen from the business, Nana’s Attic at 205 Seward Street, sometime between the night of December 10th and the morning of December 11th. 

The main door had been pried open and display cases were shattered. The suspect or suspects took dozens of items including costume jewelry, antique fishing equipment, foreign and collectable coins and currency, native style carvings, and silver-spoons. The total volume of property would be substantial to carry. The total value of the property is well over $5,000. The suspect left behind sleeping bag stuff sacks. Two of the stuff sacks were blue and tan and were a Walmart brand called Ozark Trails. One stuff sack was orange and was a Fred Meyer brand called Glacier Edge.

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

Student at Thunder Mountain High charged after found with knife on campus
The Juneau Police Department School Resource Officer received a phone call from Thunder Mountain High School staff Thursday morning advising a student may have knives in his backpack.

Officers immediately began an investigation and attempted to locate the 15 year old male student.

At about 10:30am, the School Resource Officer was advised that the student was at Thunder Mountain High School. Prior to the officer’s arrival at the school, the student had been escorted to the office.

School staff had discussed the issue with the student and located a sheathed knife, drug paraphernalia and a plant substance resembling marijuana in his backpack.

The student was placed under arrest for Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance 4th degree and Misconduct Involving Weapons 4th degree. He was transported to and lodged at the Johnson Youth Center.

City Manager to reorganize 3 city departments to save money
City Manager Kim Kiefer announced today that she is reorganizing three city departments.

The first change will involve the merging of the Departments of Engineering and Public Works. Rorie Watt, the current Engineering Director, will take over management of the newly combined department.

Kirk Duncan, who is the current Public Works Director will be reappointed to manage the Parks and Recreation Department.

Ms. Kiefer also announced that the Parks and Rec Department will reorganize to merge the current Buildings Maintenance and Parks and Landscape Divisions into a single entity.

Brent Fischer will take on the newly merged division.

The department and division reorganizations go into effect on January 5, 2015. The restructuring of the departments will decrease staff by two, full- time positions. The anticipated savings will be approximately $275,000.

Ms. Kiefer hopes the CBJ can minimize the effects of any service reduction.

Lockheed Martin wins Alaska spaceport contract
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract to reconfigure a launch pad for medium lift rockets at the state of Alaska-owned Kodiak Launch Complex.

Alaska officials said in a release ahead of a Friday news conference that Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services will modify an existing small-lift launch pad to accommodate an upgraded version of Athena rockets.

Alaska Aerospace Corp. officials also said they will begin working with Lockheed Martin on details, but construction won't interfere with plans to have a damaged launch pad reconstructed by October.

Much of the design work for the medium launch facility is completed and will just need to be tweaked to meet the needs of the Athena IIS rocket.

Butler to return as Alaska's top doctor
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Jay Butler is returning to his job as the state's top doctor.

Health and Social Services Commissioner Valerie Davidson says in a release that Butler will be both the state's chief medical officer and director of the Division of Health.

Davidson also announced Jon Sherwood will be deputy commissioner for Medicaid and Health Care Policy.

Both appointments are effective immediately but subject to legislative approval.

Butler was previously the chief medical officer from 2007-09. He left to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Before returned to the state position, he was senior director of the Division of Community Health Services at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage.

Sherwood is a 25-year veteran of the state health department.

Submarine thriller to be filmed in Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A small Alaska port town will stand in as a Russian naval base in a new movie.

KTUU reports about 90 percent of the movie "Hunter Killer" will be filmed in Whittier.

Whittier officials said Friday that three months of pre-production will begin in January, followed by three months of filming.

The film is based on the 2012 novel "Firing Point" by George Wallace and Don Keith, about a standoff between American and Russian submarines.

Producers say Whittier was chosen because it resembles a Russian base. The town, with a population of 229, is located 30 miles southeast of Anchorage.

The cast hasn't been announced, but Martin Campbell will direct. His credits include "Casino Royale" and "Green Lantern."

The last major motion picture filmed in Alaska was "Frozen Ground," starring Nicolas Cage and John Cusack, in 2011.

Kodiak to close landfill incinerator
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — An incinerator used to burn everything from medical waste to sensitive documents, not to mention cremating pets, will close in Kodiak.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports the incinerator at the landfill will close in February.

The Kodiak Island Borough says it would be too costly to bring the incinerator into compliance to meet new state and federal regulations. The age of the 21-year-old incinerator is another concern.

Medical waste will have to be shipped to Anchorage for disposal. There's a shredding service available in Kodiak for document destruction, and the landfill will bury euthanized pets at the landfill that haven't been sent to Anchorage for cremation.

Troopers investigate commercial pot operation
WASILLA, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say they discovered 200 marijuana plants at a home in Wasilla.

Troopers Thursday were investigating a theft of $1,358 in power reported by Matanuska Electric Association and served a search warrant on a home.

Troopers say the marijuana plants found were in various stages of growth.

Investigators say the homeowner was cooking crack cocaine as officers investigated. The 44-year-old man was found hiding behind marijuana plants.

He was jailed on suspicion of felony theft and drug misconduct at Mat-Su Pretrial Facility.

Online court records Friday did not indicate he had been formally charged.

State launches program to track firewood moisture
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — State officials trying to combat polluted wintertime air have launched a program to document moisture content of firewood sold in problem neighborhoods.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports state air quality program manager Cindy Heil and other state officials met Thursday with woodcutters in Fairbanks to discuss the voluntary program.

It calls for customers to sign a form noting the moisture content of wood they buy.

Using green wood with high moisture content can lead to incomplete burning and more air pollution.

Heil says reporting moisture content could become mandatory if smoke pollution problems get worse.

State officials are attempting to address chronic fine particulate pollution in Fairbanks. Particulate is linked to heart attacks and decreased lung function.

Alaska regents OK tobacco ban
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The University of Alaska is going smoke-free.

KTUU reports the university's regents voted Thursday to make all campuses smoke- and tobacco-free by Dec. 1, 2015.

The regents are meeting this week in Anchorage. All three chancellors of the UA system supported the ban.

The resolution bans cigarettes, cigars, hookahs, water pipes, e-cigarettes, e-cigars and vape pens. It also forbids their use anywhere on a campus, including trails, parking lots and university-owned streets and sidewalks.

People will be allowed to smoke in their cars as long as they are not parked in a university-owned parking garage.

University of Alaska President Pat Gamble says giving people a year before the ban goes into effect gives them time to adjust.

Regulations increase math credits to graduate
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state board of education has adopted regulations requiring public high school students to complete three math credits in order to graduate.

According to the department of education, the requirement will begin with the current freshman class.

The department says 47 of Alaska's 54 school districts require more than two credits of math, as do most states.

The regulations were adopted last week.

Alaska Aerospace to announce Kodiak expansion
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska could be ready to get back into the space business.

Alaska Aerospace Corp. officials are expected to announce an expansion at the Kodiak Launch Complex.

The winner of competing proposals to build a pad to launch medium-lift rockets is expected to be revealed Friday afternoon during a news conference in Anchorage.

The project was shelved last January when the corporation didn't receive a federal grant to build a dock in Pasagshak, which would be needed to transport rockets by barge from Kodiak.

Officials also said at the time that they didn't want to expand until a launch was contracted and scheduled.

How to Draw Plants with Constance Baltuck
The Juneau-Douglas City Museum is hosting Constance Baltuck’s exhibit of new paintings during the month of December. Constance’s academic background in botany and science informs her passion for drawing and painting nature, which is the primary subject matter of her work.

She will be talking about this link between art and nature during a Coffee & Collections program this Saturday, December 13th from 10:30 to 12 noon. Joining Constance in conversation on the topic will be artist and naturalist Kathy Hocker and educator Mark Standley. Both of these individuals are equally passionate about linking the study of nature with other disciplines, about place-based education and about using art as a tool for discovery, understanding and appreciation.

On Sunday afternoon, from 3 to 5, Constance will teach a class called How to Draw Plants. In this workshop, she will share with participants some of her tricks and techniques for looking at and capturing on the page the endlessly fascinating shapes and textures of plants. She will also share resources to help participants continue their study of drawing and painting from nature. Adults and children aged 10 and older are welcome. The cost is $35 or $25 for those aged 10-12. All materials are included. Registration and payment are required to confirm a spot, and space is limited to 15 participants.

To register for the drawing class, or to learn about other upcoming programs, please visit: www.juneau.org/museum or call 586-3572. The Juneau-Douglas City Museum is located at 4th & Main Streets. Winter hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. Admission is free during the month of December thanks to the generosity of Michelle and Robert Storer.

It’s not too late to vaccinate – Get your flu shot today!
JUNEAU – It's National Influenza Vaccination Week and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) would like to remind people of the importance of getting their flu shot.

Flu season typically peaks between December and February but significant activity can occur as late as May. As long as flu viruses are spreading, it’s never too late to get a vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones. SEARHC is encouraging people who have not yet been vaccinated this season to get vaccinated now.

Flu symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and miserable days spent in bed. On an average, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized in the United States from flu complications each year. The flu also can be deadly. Estimates of yearly flu-associated deaths in the United States have been as high as about 49,000 people during the most severe season. This is why CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.

People at higher risk for serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia, can lead to hospitalization and even death, including young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and people with certain medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes or heart disease. If you fall under this category, getting the flu vaccine is especially important. It’s also important to get the vaccine if you care for anyone at high risk, including babies younger than 6 months because they are too young to get the vaccine.

Flu vaccines are offered in many locations such as, SEARHC clinics, doctor’s offices, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers. Most health insurance plans cover the cost of recommended vaccines, so check with your insurance provider for details of coverage.
For more information about influenza or the flu vaccine, contact your local clinic. Just be sure to get your flu vaccine and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Robots Return to Juneau for the 8th Annual FIRST? LEGO? League Robot Jamboree
Juneau, AK — Juneau hosts its 8th annual Robot Jamboree Saturday, where sixteen teams from around Southeast Alaska compete for a spot in the Alaska’s FIRST LEGO League (FLL) championship. Kids show their programming, engineering and math skills by building autonomous robots to perform specific missions.

All FLL Challenges are based on a real-world topic that is universally relevant. Kids will explore the topic of Education in this year’s “World Class” Challenge. Teams are hoping to teach adults about the ways that kids need and want to learn. Teams are also asked to learn and embrace FIRST LEGO League’s Core Values, which include treating others with respect, finding answers on your own, and having fun while you’re doing it.

The event will be held at Centennial Hall on Saturday, December 13 from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM with prime viewing activity from 12:45 – 2:00 PM. The public is encouraged to attend and cheer for the teams.

FIRST activities in Alaska are coordinated by the Juneau Economic Development Council’s STEM AK program with statewide funding from BP, Alaska Communications, and Alaska Airlines. The Juneau event is sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Juneau, Imagination Station, Southeast Conference, and Behrends Mechanical with in-kind support from Alaska Robotics and Boreal Controls Inc.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.

It's HoopTime: The Harlem Ambassadors vs KINY's Lynn Campbell
The Harlem Ambassadors are coming for HoopTime’s fundraiser on Sunday at 3:00 at TMHS, and KINY’s very own Lynn Campbell will be playing in the game too. Men's Coach at JDHS, Rob Casperson, says he's in as well. "It's been awhile since I've played but I'm looking forward to it. It should be a great experience. I've seen their stuff online. I've watched their videos. They do a lot of great things for bringing in kids and getting them excited. It's just a lot of fun."

The Harlem Ambassadors bring their own announcer with them so they will begin setting up in the school at 1:00. They will also have merchandise for sale. Ticket purchasers who attend the game will be placed in a drawing for an autographed basketball and there will also be an autograph session after the game.

Tickets can now be purchased at both locations of Hearthside Books. Tickets can also be bought through our board members and tickets may also be purchased online with a credit card at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/920215.

All proceeds will go to HoopTime’s high school aged team that will be chosen in the spring.

HoopTime also invited the girls’ and boys’ basketball teams from JDHS and TMHS to conduct their own food fundraisers. TMHS girls will run the concession stand; JDHS boys will hold a bake sale; and TMHS boys will have a spaghetti feed. Each team gets to keep all their profits for their particular venue.

[Thursday December 11th,  2014  10th  EDITION 5:13 P. M.]

Coast Guard, Sitka Fire Department assist vessel taking on water near Sitka
KODIAK, Alaska — The Coast Guard assisted a mariner aboard the 43-foot fishing vessel Stardust, which was taking on water southeast of Japonski Island in Sitka, Wednesday evening.

A Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team 38-foot Training Boat Special Purpose Craft crew and a Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew along with a team from the Sitka Fire Department transferred dewatering pumps to the Stardust and escorted the vessel to Sitka Harbor.

The operator was able to control the flooding with one of the pumps and had a friend tow him back to Sitka as the SPC-TB crew provided an escort.

“Our assets are always ready to respond to any situation, even when the crews are conducting training evolutions,” said Lt. Jason Condon, Jayhawk pilot, Air Station Sitka. “This case was a good demonstration of the collective effort between the Coast Guard and Sitka Fire and Rescue to effectively combine our skills and assets in order to render assistance to this mariner.”

Weather on scene was reported as 15 to 20-mph winds, cloudy and a temperature of 41 degrees.

Forest fire in Lemon Creek
Capital City Fire Rescue was dispatched for a tree on fire Wednesday afternoon. Captain Roy Johnson says the fire was approximately 100 feet into the woods down the trial at the end of Lund Street. It was extinguished using a 2 1/2 gallon water can.

Pictures were taken for evidence. The Fire Marshal and Forest Service Law Enforcement were notified.

S. Korean vessel heads to Bering Sea where 27 died
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A South Korean vessel is on pace to arrive Friday in the west Bering Sea, where a fishing ship sank, killing at least 27 people.

The commander of the U.S. Coast Guard in Alaska, Rear Adm. Dan Abel, said the Sambong was moving toward the area faster than expected.

The Coast Guard has been on the scene and involved in the search effort since Dec. 1. It plans to remain involved in search and rescue planning once South Korean officials take over.

South Korea also is basing search planes out of Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.

Seven people survived the sinking of the Oryong 501. Abel said the remains of 27 people have been recovered, while another 26 remain unaccounted for.

Rear Adm. Dan Abel, commander, 17th Coast Guard District, and Moon Duk-ho, consul general of the Republic of Korea in Seattle, discuss the search for the South Korean fishing vessel Oryong 501 during a meeting at the 17th District Headquarters in Juneau, Alaska, Dec. 11, 2014.

The Coast Guard will provide search and rescue planning assistance to South Korean search and rescue crews as they search for survivors and debris.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst.

 

Falling oil prices raise new concerns for states
Lower oil prices are raising new financial worries in some states that rely on oil taxes to pay for roads and other government services.

With oil prices around a five-year low, budget officials in about a half-dozen states have begun paring back projections for a continued gusher of revenues. Spending cuts have started in some places, and more reductions could be necessary if oil prices remain at lower levels during the coming year.

How well the oil-rich states survive the downturn may hinge on how much they have saved and how greatly they depend on oil revenues for basic services.

Texas has diversified its economy since oil prices crashed in the mid-1980s and isn't expressing concern. But Alaska remains heavily dependent on oil and will have to tap into savings.

Begich bids emotional farewell to US Senate
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Democratic Sen. Mark Begich has bid an emotional farewell to the U.S. Senate.

In a floor speech Thursday, Begich choked up talking about the history of the place and about his wife, Deborah Bonito.

He said it had been an honor to serve and that he was proud of the work accomplished during his term.

Begich lost his bid for re-election to Republican Dan Sullivan as part of a national wave that saw the GOP regain control of the Senate.

Begich, a leader in the Democratic conference, cast himself as an independent voice for Alaska, willing to work across party lines. Democratic colleagues praised him as a pragmatist who knows his state well.

California man pleads guilty to failed gold theft
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) A California man has pleaded guilty to attempting to steal gold from a mine at Manley Hot Springs.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 33-year-old Shaun Timothy Hull of Pollock Pines called in his plea to misdemeanor attempted theft from California and was sentenced to four years' probation.

Fairbanks Assistant District Attorney Joe Dallaire says the plea agreement was worked out in part because of the difficulty of extraditing Hull.

Hull's boss on July 19 reported that a gold nugget worth $1,900 went missing but was recovered when he asked Hull to turn out his pockets.

Prosecutors say bottles of gold concentrate were found in Hull's luggage.

After he was released on bail, he left for California.

Defense attorney JoyAnna Mickels says Hull doesn't plan to return to Alaska.

Fairbanks hears suggestions for cleaner air
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Nearly 50 people testified Wednesday that they want measures put in place by the Fairbanks North Star Borough to clean up the area's chronically polluted wintertime air.

Jimmy Fox says his dream is for children to breathe clean air but closing the gap between the dream and reality will require "carrots and sticks."

Fairbanks and North Pole have struggled to meet federal standards for fine particulate, which is linked to heart attacks and decreased lung function. Burning of wood to heat homes is a major source of particulate.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports a municipal vote in October will again allow the borough to address air pollution.

People Wednesday suggested bans on outdoor wood hydronic heaters, subsidized in-home air filtration systems, incentives for not burning wood and other measures.

Teaching assistant held on pornography charge
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man who worked as a teaching assistant at an Anchorage elementary school has been charged in federal court with distributing and possessing child pornography.

KTUU-TV reports David Alan Brown worked with special education students for seven years at Huffman Elementary School.

The FBI says activities that led to the charges did not involve the school or its students.

The school Tuesday sent a letter to parents announcing the arrest. Principal Darrell Vincek says he and the school nurse are available for discussing the matter with parents or students.

Juneau in running for Best Travel-Worthy State Capital
Juneau is in the running for the USA Today/10Best.com award for ‘Best Travel-Worthy State Capital’, but we’re currently behind Sacramento, CA and Carson City, NV is also making a big push.

You can help put Juneau on top of the heap by voting here:

 http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-travel-worthy-state-capital/juneau-alaska/?

Greens Creek Mine gets permit for a decade
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Wednesday applauded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for finalizing a waste-water and tailings disposal permit that will allow the Greens Creek Mine in Southeast Alaska to continue to operate for the next decade.

“Approval of this permit is good news for Southeast’s economy and provides greater certainty for the 410 employees who depend on paychecks from Greens Creek Mine to support their families,” Murkowski said.

The Corps of Engineers on Tuesday issued a Section 404 permit under the Clean Water Act to Hecla Mining Company allowing the company to expand its silver mining operations on Admiralty Island.

Peninsula voters will decide winter grocery tax
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — Voters in the Kenai Peninsula Borough will decide if a tax on grocery items during the winter months should be rescinded.

The Peninsula Clarion reports a petition has been filed to repeal a 2008 borough ordinance that requires cities in the borough to collect the tax between Sept. 1 and May 31. That ordnance requires big box retailers like Wal-Mart, Fred Meyer and Safeway to collect the tax in cities like Soldotna and Homer.

Initiative backer James Price of Nikiski says the tax is proportionately harder for families and people on a fixed income. He adds it's not best way to fund municipalities.

The petition was certified last Friday, and will appear on the Oct. 6 ballot.

Applications sought for Fish and Game commissioner
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) Applications are being requested for those interested in serving as commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game.

By law, the governor must appoint a commissioner from a list of qualified people nominated by the boards of fisheries and game, meeting in joint session. The governor retains the right to request additional nominations.

Applications are due Dec. 22.

Sam Cotten is serving as acting commissioner.

[Wednesday December 10th,  2014  12th  EDITION 9:00 P. M.]

State faces larger deficit amid lower oil prices
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state of Alaska is facing a $3.5 billion budget deficit this year, $2.1 billion more than when lawmakers left Juneau in April, amid slumping oil prices.

The price of oil, forecast at $105 a barrel in the spring revenue forecast, is now expected to average about $76 a barrel for the rest of the fiscal year, ending June 30.

The price is forecast to dip to $66 a barrel during fiscal year 2016, before rebounding.

The fall revenue forecast expects unrestricted general fund revenue of $2.6 billion this year, down from $5.4 billion in 2014.

Deputy Revenue Commissioner Jerry Burnett said that, combined with about $200 million in oil and gas credits, accounts for the budget deficit.

The forecast expects increases in oil production starting in 2016 and 2017.

Hash oil explosion, fire, damage North Pole rental home
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — An explosion and fire Monday that shifted a North Pole house wall off its foundation occurred as residents extracted hash oil from marijuana.

North Pole Fire Department Chief Buddy Lane tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that the two people inside acknowledged what they'd been doing when firefighters showed up.

Firefighters were able to limit the fire to the kitchen. Damage was estimated at $40,000.

The home's renter and a visitor told responders they had extracted hash oil in the bathroom and had moved to the kitchen to boil it down when the explosion occurred.

The extraction of hash oil, sought for its increased potency, typically involves passing liquid butane through a tube filled with marijuana.

Lane says the process likely left pockets of butane in the air that exploded.

Former police officer indicted on identity theft counts
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks grand jury has indicted a former North Pole police officer on identity theft charges.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 33-year-old Ryan D. Webb is charged with four felonies, including two counts of criminal impersonation and one each of theft and fraudulent use of an access device.

Prosecutors say Webb used another man's personal information to obtain a credit card.

Webb joined the North Pole Police Department in February 2009.

He was fired in February 2011. Police would not release the reason for the termination, citing confidentiality requirements.

Officer Chad Rathbun says the identity theft case occurred in January 2013, nearly two years after Webb left the department.

Police say the victim of the identity theft was Webb's former roommate.

Trial set for man charged in deaths of troopers
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Trial has been set for a Tanana man accused of killing two Alaska State Troopers last spring.

Nathanial Kangas has been charged in the deaths of Fairbanks-based Sgt. Scott Johnson and Trooper Gabe Rich last May in Tanana. A judge on Tuesday set trial in the case for April.

Superior Court Judge Paul Lyle also suggested a simulcast of the trial that could be shown in a Fairbanks courtroom.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that troopers who served with the slain officers have been a regular courtroom presence during hearings.

But one of the defense attorneys has raised concerns that their presence could intimidate a jury.

S. Korea to take over search after fishing disaster
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — South Korean officials are expected to take over on-scene control of search efforts following the deadly sinking of a fishing vessel in the western Bering Sea last month.

The U.S. Coast Guard has been overseeing the effort. Rear Adm. Dan Abel said with the scheduled arrival of the South Korean vessel Sambong this weekend, the Coast Guard plans to take on a role of search and rescue planning.

Seven people survived the sinking of the Oryong 501, which occurred in Russian waters. Abel said the remains of 27 people have been recovered. Another 26 remain unaccounted for, he said.

The commander of the Coast Guard in Alaska said two South Korean aircraft have been based out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage as part of the response.

BBB's 12 Schemes of Christmas
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and potentially the most profitable for scammers. Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington has put together a list of 12 common Christmas schemes to help consumers stay safe this holiday season.

12. Holiday surveys: In an effort to take advantage of cash-strapped holiday shoppers, scammers pose as popular retailers, e-mailing fake surveys to consumers and promising a credit to their accounts. Links to the “surveys” are often malicious.

11. Suspicious Santa sites: Steer away from “Santa” websites that request unnecessary personal information. Be especially wary of sites that fail to disclose contact details and privacy policies.

10. Puppy scams: Be careful about buying pets online. Consumers may be unwittingly buying from a puppy mill where dogs have health problems, or they may send money to a scammer and get nothing in return.

9. Fake charities: The holidays create a great opportunity for scammers to solicit donations to fill their own pockets. Beware of solicitations from charities that cannot deliver on their promises or pretend to be representing victims that do not really exist. Review charities first at give.org.

8. Pickpockets: Crowded malls and the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season make it easy for thieves to grab purses and wallets.

7. Fake coupons: Be cautious when downloading coupons. Make sure you are on a trustworthy website. Be suspicious of coupon sites that ask for personal information.

6. Stranded “grandkids”: The classic grandparent scam is still ongoing. Consumers should be suspicious of phone calls from a “family member” claiming to need help and asking for money to be wired overseas.

5. Malware e-cards: Links or attachments in e-cards could contain malware. Consumers should make sure their spam filters are set and up-to-date.

4. Counterfeit gifts: Be suspicious of sites that offer the “must have” toys, gadgets or luxury goods at prices that are too good to be true. These deceptive deals, pop-up ads and social media posts often take consumers’ money but leave them empty handed.

3. Stolen gift cards: Buy gift cards only from reputable dealers, not online or from individuals. It is easy for scammers to sell a card and pull out the funds before consumers can even give it as a gift.

2. Travel scams: Watch out for unexpected hotel and flight “confirmation” or “cancellation” notices, which trick consumers into clicking unsafe links to stop unreal reservations.

1. Deceiving deliveries: Do not accept notices about delivery delays or confirmations on unordered packages. Scammers often pose as well-known retailers or shipping companies to gain false credibility and access to consumers’ computers.
 

Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington is one of 112 in North America and the largest BBB by geographical service area. BBB is a neutral not-for-profit public reporting agency committed to trust in the marketplace. For more information on ethical business standards and BBB Accreditation, or to access free BBB Business Reviews, Charity Reviews, scam alerts or find local event information visit bbb.org.

Alaska Airlines 2nd, Delta 4th for on-time rankings
The federal government is out with a new ranking of the airlines that arrive on time most often.

Alex Stone, ABC News says, "If you were on Hawaiian Airlines in October, the Department of Transportation says you had the best chance of arriving on time. Hawaiian, Alaska, and Air Tran Airways - which is now owned by Southwest - take the top three spots. Followed by Delta, JetBlue, and Virgin America. The worst for on time arrivals? Envoy - which until recently was called American Eagle. Only 66 percent of its flights arrived on time in October."

Juneau coaches attend media training seminar
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Juneau School District has spent $11,000 to teach its coaches how to work professionally with the media.

Coaches and staff were instructed during a two-day seminar on ways to use effective language in handling tough questions and ending uncomfortable interviews.

They also were instructed on proper usage of social media and were encouraged to teach students how to properly use social media. Another topic discussed was whether coaches should "friend" students on their personal accounts.

The training sessions held in early December by Anchorage-based Gonzalez Marketing weren't a result of a specific incident.

The training came after several high-profile incidents, including allegations of hazing of athletes by upperclassmen and an assistant football coach who was accused of punching a player during an out-of-state camp.

Police: Felon killed prosecutor in jealous rage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Police in the country's northernmost community say a convicted felon shot and killed a state assistant prosecutor in a jealous rage over a woman.

Murder charges were filed Wednesday in Barrow against 47-year-old Ronald Fischer in the death of 48-year-old assistant district attorney Brian Sullivan.

North Slope Borough police say Sullivan was killed Monday night in the Barrow home of a woman who had a past relationship with Fischer.

Investigators say Sullivan was unarmed and seated on a couch when he was struck twice with blasts from a 20-gauge shotgun fired by Fischer.

They say security video from a nearby store shows Fischer entering the home.

Online court records did not list a lawyer for Fischer. Attorney Robert Campbell represented him this year in a felony case, but says he won't be handling Fischer's murder charge.

Sullivan was an Army veteran and former Washington state House representative.

FAA issues commercial drone permits to 4 companies
WASHINGTON (AP) — The government says it is granting four companies permission to use drones for aerial surveillance, construction site monitoring and oil rig flare stack inspections, bringing the total number of companies granted permits for commercial operations to 13.

The drones weigh less than 55 pounds and the firms have said they will they will keep the unmanned aircraft within line of sight of the operator.

Previously the only permits the Federal Aviation Administrational had issued were to two oil companies in Alaska and five aerial photography companies associated with television and film production.

The FAA said it has received 167 requests for exemptions from commercial entities.

The agency is under pressure from Congress to speed access to the U.S. skies for companies that want to operate drones.

Libertarian APOC seats
Governor Bill Walker's independent campaign is giving a boost to the Alaska Libertarian Party.

Libertarians get to name two members to the Alaska Public Offices Commission. The Alaska Dispatch reports that the five APOC Commissioners have four seats reserved for the top two parties in the gubernatorial election. Alaska Democrats didn't run a candidate, backing the "Unity Ticket" of Walker and Byron Mallott. That means the distant third-place finish by the Libertarian candidate lets the party split four APOC seats with the Republican party.

The Governor will choose from a list of four Libertarian nominees when the term of a Democrat on the Commission expires in March. Another seat opens up in 2017.

Alaska Democratic Party spokesman Zack Fields tells the Alaska Dispatch that supporting Walker for Governor was more important than winning APOC seats.

Alaska heroin and TV
Two people were arrested in Nome and charged with distributing heroin.

Alaska State Troopers say 22-year old Kevin Beamish and 22-year old Yvonne Adkison were taken into custody last Thursday as part of a year-long investigation. Troopers say a search of a home turned up 10 grams of suspected heroin,
as well as scales, packaging material, and over 1-thousand dollars cash.

The Alaska Dispatch reports that Adkison had been featured in the Discovery Channel T-V series "Bering Sea Gold" as a dive tender on her family's gold dredge.

Meanwhile, British T-V viewers are getting a different view of Alaska.

The B-B-C show "Extreme School" featured Anchorage's Holy Rosary Academy. The episode that aired November 24th showed two British students, considered underachievers, immersed in the school's traditional Catholic curriculum.
Camera crews filmed the episode at the school for one week last December.

On U-S T-V dials, the Sportsman Channel is promoting its Alaska material. In addition to airing a full season this week of its "Project Alaska" series, Sportsman Channel announced a second season of "Amazing America with Sarah Palin,"
with the former Governor going to Texas to hunt feral hogs.

We're #26 !!!
According to the special 25th Edition of America’s Health Rankings, Alaska ranks 26th this year when compared with other states. The 2014 report illustrates Alaska has its share of strengths and challenges.

Among the state's strengths are
? Low levels of air pollution: Alaska ranks 1st in the country, with 4.9 micrograms of fine particles per cubic meter.
? Low prevalence of low birthweight: Alaska ranks 1st in the U.S. with 5.7 percent of live births considered underweight.
? Low infant mortality rate: Alaska ranks 2nd in the country, with 4.5 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Alaska’s Challenges
? High incidence of infectious disease: Alaska ranks 46th for its combined score of Chlamydia, Pertussis, and Salmonella
? Low immunization coverage among teens: Alaska ranks 48th in the U.S., with only 52.2 percent of teens receiving immunizations.
? Low immunization coverage among children: Alaska ranks 46th in the U.S., with only 63.9 percent of children receiving immunizations.

The data in the report come from well-recognized outside sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Medical Association, FBI, Dartmouth Atlas Project, U.S. Department of Education and Census Bureau.

Group plans 41-unit senior complex in Juneau
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — New affordable housing units will be built in Juneau for low-income seniors.

The Alaska Housing Finance Corp. has awarded $9 million in financing for a 41-unit complex.

It will be built by the Juneau nonprofit St. Vincent de Paul and partner agency GMD Development of Seattle. The complex will include studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments with retail space for St. Vincent de Paul's thrift store on the ground floor.

It will sit on 1.3 acres of land located near Juneau International Airport. Officials hope to break ground late next summer.

The charity organization also wants to renovate its two other Juneau properties along with another one in Haines.

Judge asks if settlement possible in voting case
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A federal judge has asked the state and the Alaska Native plaintiffs who sued over the translation of voting materials to see if they can reach a settlement.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason in September ordered the state to take additional steps to provide voting materials to Alaska Native voters with limited English ahead of the November elections.

Last week, she said had begun reviewing the state's compliance report and asked that the plaintiffs and the state discuss whether a full or partial settlement of the case was possible.

Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, who took office Dec. 1, said he hadn't looked at the case in detail. But he said his desire would be to settle the case in a way that meets the needs of the Alaska voter.

[Tuesday December 9th,  2014  12th  EDITION 9:24 P. M.]

New governor means high expectations for attendance at Holiday Open House
With a new governor, expectations were high Tuesday afternoon at the 2014 Governor's Holiday Open House.

KINY Radio asked Lisa Boman, Executive Residence Manager, about how many people usually attend,  "Typically 3000 to 3500 ... This year with the new governor, I'm anticipating just over 4000." 

Boman said they began work on the event in September, two months before the election that found Bill Walker the winner in Alaska's race for governor.  The group of around 100 volunteers lined up entertainment with the schools in early fall, so that the music teachers and students would have plenty of time to practice Christmas carols. 

As for the final tally on treats, Boman said they ordered 25,500 cookies plus 220 pounds of fudge and candy. This was the first year they offered a gluten-free cookie.

(Picture courtesy of KINY's Kendall Weaver - Pictured L to R:  Mrs. Toni Mallot, Lt. Gov Byron Mallot, Governor Bill Walker, First Lady Donna Walker}

Walker hopes to have appointments in place in weeks
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Bill Walker hopes to have all his appointments in place in the next several weeks.

Walker took office Dec. 1, and so far has named a handful of permanent department heads, including Gary Folger, a Public Safety commissioner under former Gov. Sean Parnell kept on by Walker.

Walker was asked Tuesday whether he planned to keep Mike Hanley in place as Education commissioner and Larry Hartig as head of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Both also served under Parnell.

Walker said he wouldn't read too much into Hanley and Hartig remaining in place but said he would consider retaining both.

If Hanley is not asked to stay, the board of education would get involved. By law, the board would pick a new commissioner, subject to approval by the governor.

Board of Fisheries increases Chitina dipnetter bag limit
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Bag limits will increase next year for dipnetters seeking salmon in the Copper River at Chitina (CHIT'-nah).

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Alaska Board of Fisheries over the weekend in Cordova voted to increase the take to 25 salmon for permit holders plus 10 more salmon for each person in their household.

Chitina Dipnetters Association President Chuck Derrick says it's the first bag limit increase in memory.

The 2014 bag limit was 15 salmon for a household of one and 30 salmon for a household of two or more.

The change will allow more fish to be caught by permit holders with large families.

Derrick says the association advocated for the change with large families in mind.

Suspect arrested in Alaska prosecutor death
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A former Washington state representative working as an assistant district attorney in Alaska was killed Monday night in a shooting.

KTUU-TV reports 48-year-old Brian Sullivan died Monday night in a shooting at a home in Barrow, the northernmost community in the United States.

North Slope Borough officials say a man was taken into custody. The suspect's name was not immediately released.

Interim North Slope Borough Police Department Chief Darryl Holman requested that Alaska State Troopers assist in the investigation and Fairbanks troopers were preparing to fly to Barrow.

Sullivan on his website described himself as a military veteran who served as an Army judge advocate general.

Sullivan served in the Washington state House from January 1997 to January 2001.

Tribes could issue protective orders against non-Natives
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Senate has passed legislation that would allow Alaska tribes to issue and enforce protective orders against non-Natives.

Sen. Mark Begich's office said the provision passed as a pared-down version of a safe families' bill, through a legislative maneuver known as unanimous consent.

There was no floor vote, but Democrats and Republicans agreed to let it pass.

The provision would repeal what has been referred to as the Alaska exemption to the Violence Against Women Act.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the measure would be taken up by the House before the holiday recess.

A spokesman for Rep. Don Young said the House also has the ability to move fast and that the hope was to get the bill passed.

Sale pending for Kodiak seafood processing plant
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — A fish processing plant in Kodiak is changing owners.

KMTX-radio reports Trident Seafoods will buy the Western Alaska Fisheries processing plant from Westward Seafood, which is owned by Maruha-Nichiro.

Trident in an announcement Monday says it has signed a letter of intent to purchase the plant. A purchase price was not announced.

Trident expects to complete the deal by Dec. 31.

The processing plant handles pollock, cod, salmon and other species. The location about a half mile from Trident's Kodiak plant.

Western Alaska Fisheries merged with Westward Seafoods in 2001. It processes 45 million pounds of seafood per year. Westward's main plant in Dutch Harbor handles 245 million pounds per year.

Dog in Juneau electrocuted on city sidewalk
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A dog has died after stepping on a charged junction box on a Juneau city sidewalk.

The city and borough's engineering director, Rorie Watt, said the junction box is city property. Watt said the matter is being investigating.

He said all of Juneau's street lighting wires are located underground in conduits, protected by junction boxes on the sidewalk with metal lids over them.

A Juneau Police spokesman said a woman was walking her dog around midnight Saturday when the dog stepped on a metal lid and was electrocuted. The woman, whose name was not released, wasn't injured.

City and borough risk manager Jennifer Mannix said she called the dog's owner to apologize.

Mannix said she had never heard of something like this happening in Juneau before.

Canyon river runner fined in trash, firewood case
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A Grand Canyon river runner from Alaska has been fined $1,500 and ordered to pay roughly $1,000 of court costs for dumping trash into the Colorado River and for illegally collecting driftwood for campfires.

A federal magistrate in Flagstaff on Dec. 1 sentenced 75-year-old Nels Nichols Niemi (KNEE'-me) of Haines on two misdemeanor convictions stemming from an Oct. 29 trial.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says evidence showed that Niemi was a trip leader for a group that dumped trash and garbage into the river daily during a 12-day trip and that he also collected driftwood to make fires each night.

U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo said the prosecution and sentence should remind Colorado River users that rules and regulations protecting the Grand Canyon National Park will be vigorously enforced.

Avalanche survivor says mountain gave warning sign
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A man who survived an avalanche in mountains south of Delta Junction says he and his partner heard warning signs of snow pack instability but concluded they could continue skiing safely.

Mike Hopper tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner he may have been too confident on a route he had taken many times before.

The 63-year-old Hopper was buried for more than two hours Saturday, but dug himself out.

The avalanche killed 35-year-old Erik Peterson, a former coach at West and Dimond high schools in Anchorage who had recently moved back to Delta Junction.

Hopper says they heard the "whomp" of snow settling as they crossed a gently sloping valley but concluded that snow higher up would be more stable.

The avalanche hit in steeper terrain.

Man dies of gunshot wound at Mat-Su hospital
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man who showed up last week at a Palmer hospital with a gunshot wound has died.

KTUU-TV reports 24-year-old Forrest Bieber of Anchorage was one of two men who on Dec. 1 drove to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center to seek treatment for gunshot wounds. The second man was treated and released.

Alaska State Troopers took calls of two home invasions that day but spokeswoman Beth Ipsen says investigators don't have concrete information to link the cases.

In the first, a woman living in a home outside Wasilla said two men broke into her home and beat her.

In the second, a resident living near Wasilla said he exchanged gunfire with two men who invaded his home.

The resident was treated for a gunshot wound at Mat-Su Regional.

Volunteers bring Santa to remote Alaska village
SHISHMAREF, Alaska (AP) — Volunteers in the Operation Santa Program and the Alaska National Guard brought Christmas to the remote Inupiat Eskimo community of Shishmaref, on Alaska's western coast, over the weekend.

Children received toys, coats, school supplies and the rare treats of apples and oranges along with ice cream.

Why ice cream in a town 25 miles south of the Arctic Circle? Shishmaref senior Cheyenne Nayokpuk says the answer is simple: "'Cause everybody loves ice cream."

It's the 58th year for the program to bring a little holiday cheer to remote Alaska villages, where poverty is widespread and these may be the only toys children will receive.

Different villages are chosen each year to spread the wealth. Operation Santa last made a visit seven years ago to Shishmaref, which is located about 600 miles northwest of Anchorage.

Fee changes proposed for Mendenhall Glacier area
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service is considering raising the fee to enter the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center in Juneau.

The agency also is considering expanding the fee area beyond the visitor center to areas popular with tourists, such as the Steep Creek and Photo Point trails and restroom facilities.

It cites as reasons declining budgets and an effort to improve the visitor experience. Visitation has more than doubled since 1999, when the agency began collecting fees.

The proposal would raise the daily fee to enter the center from $3 to $5 for those 16 and older. Season passes would go from $10 to $15.

The agency, in a release, said it planned to continue not charging fees in the winter.

If approved, the fee increase would begin in May 2016.