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[Friday, April 18, 2014 10TH EDITION 5:07  P.M.]

Kiefer reacts to public's reaction to proposed budget reductions
City Manager Kim Kiefer talked about the reaction to her proposed budget cuts while a guest on Action Line Friday.

She says the community is definitely not happy with me.

"I didn't take this job to be popular," she said. I took it to try and make the hard decisions and moving those forward."

She's hearing the most complaints over her proposal to close the Augustus Brown Pool. There are also some complaints on her suggestion to close the Mt. Jumbo Gym.

She says a number of people have commented that she's focusing on downtown and Douglas because there are also some reductions for libraries and the museum which would also impact those areas.

Kiefer says she wasn't targeting anything. She says she's looking at where they provide services and for the most part they have provided services in the downtown area. It's just been recently that the city has added facilities in the Valley.

The city is looking to bridge an estimated $12 Million short fall over the next two fiscal years.

She says next Wednesday night's Assembly Finance Committee will be really important as the body considers her proposal for a mill rate increase.

Gelbrich on Action Line: "I will always watch what is happening in Juneau"
Outgoing Juneau School District Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich provided a swan song of sorts while a guest on Action Line Thursday.

He said he would love to have the community know how much of a privilege it's been to live and work in Juneau.

The friends he met and engaged here are life time friends, he said.

Gelbrich said Juneau is a special place..." that has the potential to get it done, to get it absolutely right, but we've got to come together to do that."

He said that is his hope for Juneau and he said he will always be watching what is happening here.

Gelbrich's resignation is effective June 30th.

The School Board hopes to have his replacement on board by July 1.

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

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

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

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

UPDATE: Wreck on Egan
Juneau Police and Capital City Fire Rescue responded to a two vehicle accident on Egan Drive at the Glacier Highway and Channel Drive intersection Thursday afternoon.

Police closed down the outbound lane of Egan and detoured traffic onto Glacier Hwy around Twin Lakes while working the wreck that happened around 4:00 P.M.

The investigation showed that the driver of a white 1998 Toyota Corolla, driven by twenty four year old Marina Ogai, was driving outbound on Egan Drive, and was approaching the hospital intersection on Glacier Highway, when she failed to stop at a steady red light. The Toyota Corolla went through the intersection and struck a black 2001 Jeep, which was entering the intersection from Glacier Highway. The Jeep was being driven by fifty eight year old Rudy Isturis.

No injuries were reported at the scene, but Rudy Isturis later went the Bartlett Regional Hospital for a medical evaluation. Both vehicles sustained significant damages and are believed to be totaled.

The outbound lane of Egan Drive was closed down for about twenty minutes.

Marina Ogai was cited for failing to stop at a steady red light and failing to show proof of insurance.

Crime Line focused on catching fugitive
A fugitive from justice is the focus of the most recent Juneau Crime Line.

The police department is attempting to locate Nicholas Alexander Detemple.

There's a warrant for the arrest of 26 year old Detemple for violating his parole on an original charge of misconduct involving a controlled substance in the third degree.

Detemple is described as five feet, 10 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds.

Detemple has tattoos completely covering the sides and front of his neck up to his chine. His hair is short and dark.

An off duty police officer saw Detemple on April 6 near the airport driving a 1999, green Volkswagon Passat. Police say the suspect recognized the officer and nearly struck him with his car while fleeing.

It's estimated Detemple was traveling at 80 miles per hour on Glacier Highway near Jordan Avenue when he fled the area.

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

Citizens are advised to avoid approaching Detemple and to call the police department to report his location.

Tips can also be provided anonymously by logging on the Juneau Crime Line. Citizens providing tips could be eligible for a reward.

Alaska House passes gov's pension plan
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska House has passed Gov. Sean Parnell's plan for taking $3 billion from savings to address the state's unfunded pension obligation.

Lawmakers rejected a proposed amendment to tighten language to fix annual payments to the teachers' and public employees' retirement system at $343 million and $157 million, respectively. But Rep. Cathy Munoz said that language took away some flexibility. The bill calls for payments up to those amounts.

Another proposal, to remove the specific annual payments altogether, was withdrawn. Rep. Charisse Millett said she was leery of putting a dollar amount in statute, given the state's tough budget outlook, and wanted to at least have the conversation.

HB385 passed 38-2.

It now goes to the Senate, where Finance Committee members have been studying different possible approaches to the issue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

House Finance tackles gas line amendment
BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The House Finance Committee is nearing the end of its work on a bill aimed at advancing a major liquefied natural gas project.

The committee did a relatively light rewrite on the bill, after powering through amendments late Thursday. Co-chair Bill Stoltze planned to bring the bill back for discussion before it's sent to the floor.

SB138, from Gov. Sean Parnell, would set state participation in the project at about 25 percent. It's also aimed at moving the project into a phase of preliminary engineering and design.

Much of the heavy lifting on the bill on the House side was done in House Resources, which completed its work just last week. The gas line bill is one of the major pieces left in the session before the scheduled end Sunday.

Bill addressing Medicaid funding of abortions signed into law by Governor
What counts as a "medically necessary" abortion under the state Medicaid program is now defined in law.

Governor Parnell on Thursday signed SB 49, one day after the Senate agreed with changes made to the bill in the House.

The main difference was the removal of language to expand access to state-funded contraception. it was replaced with non-binding intent language.

The change may have cost one vote, as Bethel Senator Lyman Hoffman opposed concurrence Wednesday, after supporting the bill last year.

North Pole Senator John Coghill introduced the bill in response to court rulings that require the state Medicaid program to pay for abortions along with other reproductive health services, but only when medically necessary.

The term had not been defined, but now includes a list of conditions that threaten a woman's physical health.

A similar regulation adopted by the Parnell Administration earlier this year is being challenged in court.

House passes bill calling for study on tax credits
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska House has passed legislation aimed at getting a better handle on how certain tax credit programs are working.

HB306, from Rep. Steve Thompson, adds sunset dates for certain tax credit programs, including the state's film tax credit program, which would sunset in 2016.

Thompson says the idea is to get an in-depth analysis of the programs and to gauge their effectiveness. If they're worthy, he says they will be renewed.

The bill passed 38-1, after minority-led efforts to push back the repeal date of a veterans' employment credit and to remove the film credit repeal from the bill failed.

The co-chairs of the House Finance Committee praised the bill; Rep. Alan Austerman said it was probably the best bill the House would pass all year.

Senate Finance unveils education bill rewrite
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Senate Finance Committee has overhauled a broad-ranging education bill, opting to provide additional aid to districts outside the per-pupil funding formula known as the base student allocation.

Committee co-chair Kevin Meyer said the bill will provide more choices in education and incentivizing districts to do things differently.

He said the hope with this package is that it will lead to change and capitalize on programs that work.

The draft rewrite of HB278 borrows from numerous education bills and proposals that have been pending this session. It would add support for charter schools, residential schools and correspondence study programs. It calls for funding to improve Internet service for certain schools. It also calls for a study of how the state funds education.

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

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

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

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

The House must approve the addition to the bill.

Distillery bill headed to Governor
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Five craft distilleries will be treated like breweries in Alaska, meaning they can offer samples and sell directly to customers.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports a bill approved by the Legislature will allow distilleries to offer tours and open gift shops.

People on the tours could get up to 3 ounces of spirits to sample on site.

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

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

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

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

The burned wreckage was found near Three Step Mountain.

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

Hageland Aviation is part of Ravn Alaska.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Douglas regional Fish and Game office announces temporary move
(Juneau, AK) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game Douglas Regional Office is temporarily moving.
The office at 803 3rd Street on Douglas Island is being renovated over the next 18 months. During construction the office will temporarily relocate to the Bill Ray Center at 1008 F Street, directly across the street from the Goldbelt Building.

The move will begin on April 21st and public service counters at the Douglas office will be operating only minimally during the transition. Public service counters will be open for business at the Bill Ray Center starting April 28. All services previously available on that date as well.

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

The season opened April 1 and continues through October 31.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Widow called to testify in Coast Guard murder case
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The wife of a Coast Guardsman shot to death two years ago at a Kodiak communications station says she didn't shoot her husband and his co-worker.

Deborah Hopkins was called as a defense witness in the trial of James Wells, who's charged with first-degree murder in the death of Petty Officer First Class James Hopkins and civilian employee Richard Belisle (BEL'-eye-ul).

Defense attorneys contend investigators immediately focused in on Wells and ignored other possible suspects.

Defense attorney Peter Offenbecher questioned Deborah Hopkins about an affair her husband had, their finances, her familiarity with the shop were her husband was murdered and guns in their home.

During cross-examination, special assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen Duigan directly asked Deborah Hopkins if she had murdered her husband. Hopkins said she had not.

In addition, a federal judge says defense attorneys in the murder trial, for now, cannot call a witness in custody on another case.

Judge Ralph Beistline (BEYEST'-line) ruled today (Friday) that 38-year-old Jason Barnum did not have a sufficient connection to testify in the trial of Wells.

Barnum acknowledged being in Kodiak at the time but says he didn't know the slain men.

Barnum is charged with attempting to kill an Anchorage police officer at hotel in September 2012.

Barnum is heavily tattooed and prosecutor Karen Loeffler (LEF'-lur) says there's no reason to call him as a witness other than to frighten the jury.

State won't seek retrial in Yakutat cold case
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state won't seek a retrial on a first-degree murder charge for a man accused of killing his girlfriend in Yakutat in 1996.

The Juneau Empire reports Alaska prosecutors announced their decision Thursday. Last week, a jury convicted Robert D. Kowalski of second-degree murder in the death of Sandra M. Perry. The jury deadlocked on the more serious first-degree murder charge.

Assistant Attorney General James Fayette asked a judge on Thursday to dismiss the first-degree count.

Sentencing for the second-degree murder charge was set for July 18.

Alaska investigators at first concluded Perry's death was accidental. The case was reopened after Kowalski was convicted of killing another girlfriend six years ago in Montana. Both women were shot in the head at close range, and Kowalski claimed both were accidents.
(Juneau Empire)

Remote Alaska quake followed by aftershock
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A moderate earthquake was recorded Friday morning in Alaska above the Arctic Circle, and was followed by an aftershock almost as powerful.

The Alaska Earthquake Information Center reports in a release that the quake was felt in the hub community of Kotzebue and at the Red Dog Mine, but there were no immediate reports of damage.

The quake in the Brooks Range region of Alaska had a magnitude of 5.5, and was located at a depth of about 15 miles. It was followed two minutes later by an aftershock that had a magnitude of 5.3.

The quake was centered about 15 miles northeast of Noatak, in northwest Alaska.

Anchorage psychiatrist charged with fraud
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 39-year-old Anchorage psychiatrist is accused of billing Medicaid more than $300,000 for services never provided.

The Anchorage Daily News says Shubhranjan Ghosh is charged by the state with medical assistance fraud, scheme to defraud and evidence tampering. Ghosh is the founder and sole practitioner at Ghosh Psychiatric Services.

He was arrested Tuesday. His arrest comes after a string of unrelated charges connected to Medicaid in what the state calls a continuing crackdown on billing fraud.

The Alaska Medicaid Fraud Control Unit has charged 77 people with Medicaid fraud, abuse or neglect since October 2012.

Assistant attorney general Andrew Peterson says that compares to about 30 people the decade before.

Charging documents say the Ghosh investigation began in September 2013.

It's unclear if Ghosh has an attorney.
(Anchorage Daily News)

3 more Washington mudslide victims identified
EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — Authorities have identified three more bodies pulled from the debris of the mudslide that swept through the Washington town of Oso last month, leaving four names left on the list of the missing.

The Snohomish County medical examiner's office said Thursday it has now identified all 39 victims it has received.

The latest are 4-year-old Wyatt M. Ruthven of Arlington, 64-year-old Sandra K. Miller of Everett, and 52-year-old Ronald P. Dequilettes of Arlington. All died of multiple blunt force injuries.

The March 22 slide buried dozens of homes in the community 55 miles northeast of Seattle. Steady rain Thursday is complicating the search and recovery effort, and officials worry about rising water from the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River.

Remote Alaska quake followed by aftershock
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A moderate earthquake was recorded Friday morning in Alaska above the Arctic Circle, and was followed by an aftershock almost as powerful.

The Alaska Earthquake Information Center reports in a release that the quake was felt in the hub community of Kotzebue and at the Red Dog Mine, but there were no immediate reports of damage.

The quake in the Brooks Range region of Alaska had a magnitude of 5.5, and was located at a depth of about 15 miles. It was followed two minutes later by an aftershock that had a magnitude of 5.3.

The quake was centered about 15 miles northeast of Noatak, in northwest Alaska.

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

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

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

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

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


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