Court decision rejects CBJ arguments in
challenge of Petersburg boundary case
The Local Boundary Commission's decision to include land sought by
the City and Borough of Juneau in the new Petersburg Borough was
upheld this week in a ruling handed down in Juneau Superior Court.
CBJ filed a judicial appeal to claim lands south of Juneau that
constitute the northern boundary of the new borough.
The new borough would include Goldbelt Corporation holdings at
Hobart Bay amounting to about 25,000 acres, National Forest lands,
and Tracy Arm.
Juneau Assembly member Randy Wanamaker who also serves on the
Goldbelt Board of Directors tells us his reaction to the decision is
a personal one. As a member of the Native corporation board he's not
allowed to participate in the Assembly discussions or deliberations
on the matter.
But as a citizen of Juneau, Wanamaker considers the decision
unfortunate. He thought Juneau had a good case for its boundary
argument. Wanamaker believes the Boundary Commission failed to
seriously consider all of the economic and citizen issues. "Citizens
affected in that area live in Juneau, not in Petersburg," he said.
We're told the Assembly will conduct an executive session at Monday
night's Committee of the Whole meeting to decide if the decision
will be appealed.
Gelbrich loses out on job in Idaho
Juneau School Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich has come up short a
second time in his effort to find employment in the lower 48.
He was one of two finalists for a job with the school district in
Nampa, Idaho, but Dr. David Peterson, the superintendent of the
North Mason School District in Belfair, Washington, was the Nampa
School Board's choice.
That's according to a report from KTVB-TV in Boise, Idaho.
Gelbrich was one of five finalists earlier this year for the
superintendent's job in Kalispell, Montana.
Juneau access road discussed in the capital
(Juneau, AK) - A joint meeting of the legislative
Transportation Committees took a look at mega projects including the
Juneau Access project during a hearing today.
The project has now configured calls for a road up the east side of
Lynn Canal to the Katzehin River where shuttle ferries would then
transport passengers and vehicles to Haines and Skagway.
In opposition was Juneau resident Clay Good, who travels to Haines
where he owns property once a month. He said when Juneau voters were
asked they rejected the road in favor of ferries because the
proposed project is flawed. Good says he believes the proposed
project is specious and disingenuous. He added, "If the Department
of Transportation can't sell the Juneau Access Project to Juneau who
can they sell it to?"
Presenting a view in support was retired DOT employee Sandy Williams
of Juneau who chairs the Citizens Pro Road organization. Williams
said when Alaskans build the Lynn Canal Highway there will be some
challenges but nothing that can't be solved. He said the issue is
economics and that the road would provide saving to the state,
improve the economies of Juneau, Haines and Skagway and lower
transporting costs for users. Williams noted that there have been no
major road extensions built in Alaska in 34 years since the road
from Skagway to Carcross was built in the early eighties.
Juneau Senator Dennis Egan, who chairs the Senate Transportation
Committee, says he wishes they had built up the west side of Lynn
Canal when it was heavily favored by Juneau residents and vetoed by
the next state administration. If the road had been built when
originally planned Egan says, "We would not be having this
Governor Parnell has requested $35 Million in his capital budget
proposal for the Juneau Access project.
House Education amends Parnell's bill
BY MIKE COPPOCK, Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The House Education Committee has amended Gov.
Sean Parnell's omnibus education bill over complaints over the pace
with which the process was moving.
Republican Rep. Lora Reinbold said she had a problem with how fast
amendments were being adopted while two committee members were
absent. None of the amendments had details on their fiscal impact.
The majority of the amendments were taken from committee chairwoman
Lynn Gattis' education bill. They included tightening language in
the governor's bill with regards to eliminating the high school
Gattis has proposed setting aside a provision in Parnell's bill that
would raise the per-pupil funding formula known as the base student
allocation. Gattis said that was a matter for House Finance to
Continued work on Parnell's bill is planned for Monday.
Up to 7 inches of snow forecast for Juneau
A winter weather advisory has been issued for Juneau by the National
Meteorologist Geri Swanson says it's in effect from six this evening
to six Saturday morning.
She says to expect an accumulation of 3 to 7 inches.
The forecaster says they are looking for the snow to switch over to
rain which will add to difficulties in moving the snow when it mixes
Snow mixed with rain is forecast Saturday and then rain is likely
Juneau Police Crimeline "Crime of the Week"
Juneau Police Department's "Crime of the Week" focuses on a burglary
with stolen guns.
Police report that someone entered a home in the 8100 block of
Threadneedle Street on or about March 1and took five firearms. The
stolen guns are a 7mm rifle, a .338 Winchester magnum rifle with
synthetic stock, two .22 caliber rifles, and a .308 bolt action
rifle. Nothing else was taken from the home.
The Juneau Police Department has a long history of cases where the
thefts of firearms are ultimately linked to drug users. Typically
when someone motivated by getting money for drugs commits a firearm
theft there is an immediate attempt to sell the stolen item for a
fraction of its value for quick cash. Someone selling guns in this
situation may not have a reasonable explanation for having so many
guns to sell at once, may try and sell the guns out of a car, may
have ground off serial numbers, and may be unwilling to provide
JPD is asking for tips about these particular guns or anyone selling
firearms in a way that indicates the items are likely stolen.
Officers find license plate numbers and physical descriptions to be
particularly helpful when reported.
Anyone with information is encouraged to log on to the
juneaucrimeline.com website and report their tip.
Ketchikan man convicted of Coast
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A Ketchikan man who kicked a Coast
Guardsman in the face has been convicted of assault on a federal
The U.S. attorney's office in Anchorage says 56-year-old Jon William
Munhoven could face up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced
June 23 in federal court in Juneau. He was found guilty Thursday by
Munhoven was arrested on Sept. 2 when a 25-foot Coast Guard boat
from Ketchikan responded to a call for help from a vessel where a
man said Munhoven had bloodied his nose.
The Coast Guard crew placed Munhoven in handcuffs and he kicked a
member of the crew during the struggle.
Bench warrant leads to Troopers' arrest of
Thorne Bay man
A Thorne Bay was arrested Thursday by Alaska State Troopers on a
The warrant fro 58 year old Gregory Wonders was issued by the Craig
District Court for failure to appear on a petition to revoke
Alaska State Troopers on Prince of Wales Island located Wonders near
his residence and arrested him without incident.
He was jailed at the Craig City Jail on $500 bail pending
Owner of Albertson grocery stores purchases
An investment group led by Cerberus Capital Management, the owner of
several supermarket chains, has agreed to purchase Safeway.
That's according to a report in the Anchorage Daily News which says
the deal brings together Safeway and Albertsons.
The acquisition is worth ab out $7.64 Billion in cash and could top
more than $9 Billion pending other transactions.
Safeway acquired Alaska's Carr-Gottstein Foods in 1998.
Included in that deal was the store in Juneau.
Furnace fire self extinguished
There was a reported
furnace fire in the 1200 block of 5th St. in Douglas on Thursday.
The homeowner was alerted by a smoke detector and found black smoke
in her furnace room. She quickly closed the door and
Capital City Fire Rescue arrived around noon to find no smoke or
fire coming outside the residence. Fire crews entered the
boiler room and were met by a large amount of steam.
Investigation found that a small fire did occur from the boiler but
one of the water pipes had opened up and the water extinguished the
fire. No fire or smoke damage occurred in the house. The
boiler was damaged and will need to be replaced.
Assistant Chief Ed Quinto says it was fortunate that the water had
leaked out and put the fire out or the fire could have been extended
outside the furnace. No one was injured.
Chimney fire spurs call to fire department
Capital City Fire Rescue responded to a residential fire in the 911
block of Black Wolf Way in the Montana Creek area Thursday night.
Captain Roy Johnston says the call came in at about 7:30 and was
reported as a chimney fire with smoke in the residence.
He says they were told all occupants have evacuated.
By the time firefighters arrived on scene, the fire was already out.
The captain says the fire was contained to the chimney and the fire
Big Lake man charged with firing gun
BIG LAKE, Alaska (AP) — A Big Lake man suspected of firing a gun at
the home of a neighbor has been charged with felony assault.
Alaska State Troopers say 38-year-old Brandon Schatz is being held
without bail at Mat-Su Pretrial Facility.
Troopers just after 10 p.m. Thursday took a call of a disturbance
and responded to a Big Lake home.
Investigators say Schatz had fired a handgun five times at a
neighbor. No one was injured in the incident.
He's charged with six counts of felony assault, five counts of
felony weapons misconduct tied to firing a weapon at a dwelling, and
one count of misdemeanor weapons misconduct tied to firing a weapon
Online court records Friday did not indicate Schatz was represented
by an attorney.
Former crime lab employee charge with
DAN JOLING, Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A former employee of the State Crime Lab in
Anchorage has been charged with six felonies, including drug
misconduct and tampering with evidence.
The Department of Law in an announcement says 53-year-old Stephen
Palmer was arrested Thursday.
He's charged with scheme to defraud, drug misconduct and four counts
of evidence tampering. He's also charged with four misdemeanor
counts of official misconduct.
Alaska State Troopers launched an investigation seven months ago
after detecting irregularities in lab reference standards, the
controlled samples of illegal drugs kept at the state crime lab.
Prosecutors say investigators also determined drug evidence was
missing in cases worked by Palmer.
Prosecutors say they don't believe the irregularities discovered in
reference standards affected the validity of testing performed by
Permanent Fund enters European real estate
The Alaska Permanent Fund has entered the European real estate
The corporation has committed $418 Million to LaSalle Investment
Management to invest in real estate in the United Kingdom.
That's according to a release from LaSalle that was published in the
trade magazine Pensions and Investments.
The publication quotes a fund official as saying the corporation has
an existing relationship with LaSalle for the investment of $900
Million in U. S. real estate.
Fish Radio reports on Juneau's efforts to
bring jobs back to Alaska
Juneau aims to bring more Alaska fish science jobs back to Alaska.
Researchers at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center are tops at the
work they do. The Center is the research arm of NOAA Fisheries.
Their science forms the basis for setting Alaska fish quotas,
running observer programs, tightening bycatch limits, to name a few.
But, the Alaska Fisheries Science Center is located in Seattle.
Juneau Mayor Merrill Sanford wants bring those science jobs closer
to the resources they study.
There are other places in Southeast where some of these jobs could
go, and there’s Kodiak which has a big fishing industry where some
of the jobs could go. We want to look at all of that.
Mayor Sanford has created a task force to learn how those science
jobs might be brought back to Alaska. Attracting more federal jobs
to Juneau is an Assembly priority, as well as lab techs, and
"If we could move even a few or some to our own research centers in
our own fisheries areas, I think it would be a big advantage to us,"
NOAA Fisheries has fewer than 200 researchers in Alaska, mostly in
Juneau. The Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle lists over
400 on the job. That’s a long commute to and from the fishing
So how did the Center end up there in the first place? Julie Speegle
of NOAA in Juneau says that is where the geographical distribution
of the labor force developed around the time of statehood and it’s
mostly just been maintained there.
The Assembly task force will reveal its findings in six months.
Mayors seek assurances on gas line project
BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Borough mayors are asking to be part of the
discussions on terms related to a mega-liquefied natural gas project
that will affect local communities.
An agreement signed by the state and companies pursuing the project
says that subject to consultation between the state and local
governments, payments in lieu of property taxes would be paid by the
The mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, Mike Navarre, told the
Senate Finance Committee that consultation is not a strong word.
The mayors are seeking greater assurances for the level of input
they will have as the process moves forward.
The committee is weighing a bill that would make the state an equity
partner in the project and allow for the project to move into a
phase of preliminary engineering and design.
Republican group takes aim at Begich
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The National Republican Senatorial Committee
is planning robo-calls blasting U.S. Sen. Mark Begich over health
care and a carbon tax.
The calls are to be mainly geared toward registered Alaska voters
unaffiliated with any political party.
According to a script, the call says Begich "can't be trusted." It
says Begich told people if they liked their insurance plans, they
could keep them under the federal health care law. It also says
Begich changed his tune on a carbon tax.
Begich says he doesn't support a carbon tax. Fact check groups have
said claims made by another group that Begich was "on record"
supporting such a tax distort or exaggerate his position.
Begich says when he made the comments on insurance plans, it was
expected that people could keep their plans.
Begich proposes gas project bill
BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has proposed legislation
aimed at helping advance a liquefied natural gas project being
pursued by the state of Alaska.
The bill would amend a 2004 federal law that focused on an Alaska
gas line project that would serve North America projects to include
the project now under consideration.
It also would allow for the office of federal coordinator of Alaska
gas line projects, created under the 2004 law, to work on such a
It would keep in place deadlines for completing environmental
reviews and allow for grants to train and recruit workers in Alaska
to work on a project.
The bill also calls for expedited permitting for gas to Japan and
other countries for which exports would be deemed as promoting U.S.
national security interests.
Boy charged with felonies in
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A 16-year-old Fairbanks boy has been
charged in a home invasion shooting that left a man with a bullet in
Fairbanks police say Chester Clifton Fields Jr. and an accomplice,
21-year-old Isaiah Cross, on Feb. 25 entered an apartment at
Wedgewood Resort with guns drawn with the intention of robbing
Police say Fields fired a 9mm handgun that hit one of the apartment
Cross was carrying only a BB gun. He was struck by rounds fired by
the 30-year-old man injured by Fields. The man suffered a bullet to
his spine but is expected to survive.
Fields was arrested within blocks of the apartment.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Fields has been charged as an
adult with felony robbery, burglary and assault.
Application deadline extended for
Tongass Advisory Committee
The Alaska Region of the Forest Service has extended the deadline to
submit applications to serve on Tongass Advisory Committee.
The agency's Wendy Zirngibl says it's been extended until March
14th, but its not due to a lack of interest.
She says they are getting a good amount of interest.
The Federal Register Notice appeared slightly ahead of schedule, so
she says they lost about a week of outreach time at the beginning of
the application period. Zirngibl says the extension is intended to
make up for that lost time.
In addition there was some confusion as to whether people needed to
submit an electronic or hard copy application. She says they wanted
to make sure that those applications coming in by mail get to the
office in Petersburg by the deadline.
The focus for the group will be to provide input to Tongass Forest
officials as they work on an amendment to the forest plan that's
going to bring into consideration the management of young growth.
The Forest Service has established a goal of moving to a program
that is predominately second growth management within 10 to 15
They're looking applicants with diverse interests and identified 5
They are federally recognized tribes, Alaska Native organizations
and Alaska Native corporation representatives; national and regional
environmental conservation organizations; timber industry
representatives, federal, state and local government officials; and
representatives of other commercial users.
Additional information, including how to apply, is available on the
agency's web site.
Woman bound for Alaska has vehicle and
U-haul stolen in Washington town
EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — A woman traveling from Illinois to Alaska for
a new nursing job says she lost all her possessions when someone
stole her U-Haul and her minivan from the parking lot of an Everett,
KOMO-TV reports that Kristen Shaulis came out to the parking lot
yesterday morning to find the truck and vehicle had vanished.
KOMO says the Red Cross is giving her a ride to Bellingham today to
catch a ferry to Alaska.
New Alaska ACLU director named
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Joshua Decker has been named executive
director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska.
Decker had been serving as interim executive director since last May
after Jeff Mittman, who had served as executive director for five
years, left for another ACLU post.
Region V scores from Thursday, Friday's
In Region V basketball action Thursday, the Lady Kings from
Ketchikan defeated Thunder Mountain 45 to 42. The game ended with a
last second shot by the Falcons.
Ketchikan will play Thunder Mountain this evening after the
Falcons defeated Juneau Douglas today 44 to 39.
This evening's game tips off at 6:45.
On the men's side of the 4A ledger, Thunder Mountain defeated
Ketchikan 71 to 53.
Ketchikan and Juneau Douglas play this afternoon at 1:15. Thunder
Mountain plays the winner of that game this evening at 8:30.
In 3A men's action, Sitka defeated Mt. Edgecumbe 43 to 42. Mt.
Edgecumbe plays Petersburg this morning. The winner takes on Sitka
late this afternoon.
On the women's side of that bracket, Mt Edgecumbe beat Petersburg 40
to 36. Petersburg plays Sitka this morning with the winner playing
Mt Edgecumbe this afternoon.
In 2A men's play it was Metlakatla 58, Craig 47. Haines defeated
Wrangell 53 to 49.
On the women's side of that ledger, Metlakatla defeated Craig 38 to
31. Haines nipped Wrangell 36 to 34.
UPDATE: Buser takes Iditarod lead
Martin Buser is the first out of the Galena checkpoint to take the
lead on the Iditarod Trail.
Ailey Zirkle (AL'-ee ZUR'-kal)
was in there first this morning at 6:10 with Buser coming in at
The difference between them is that
Buser has already taken his mandatory 8 hour rest stop, while Zirkle
hasn't. It could be she has decided to do that in Galena.
Zirkle has never won the race but
finished second the past two years.
Also reaching Galena this morning was
Fifty-six mushers remain on the trail
Sixty-nine started the race in Willow Sunday.
Iditarod: 5 things to know about
RACHEL D'ORO, Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Punishing conditions along the early part
of Alaska's nearly 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race have
brought many mushers literally to their knees, knocking some out of
the running altogether.
As of Thursday morning, 12 mushers had dropped out — at least one
with a broken bone — and one was withdrawn, leaving 56 teams on the
trail. Long stretches of bare ground made conditions treacherous
hundreds of miles from the finish line in Nome on Alaska's western
The trail gets better, then worse, with rumors among mushers of more
icy patches with little snow on the final leg of the race along the
wind-whipped Bering Sea coast. The icy conditions are making for a
blazing fast trail - less snow means faster running but less
traction. Four-time champion Jeff King was the first to reach the
checkpoint at Ruby on Thursday, clocking in more than 24 hours
earlier and he did in 2006, when he last won the race.
Here are some key things to know about the rough ride:
WHERE'S THE SNOW?
Spare snow and bare rocky ground made for an icy, treacherous trail
between the checkpoints of Rainy Pass and Nikolai, more than 700
miles from the finish line. Many mushers crashed their sleds.
Veteran musher Hugh Neff, who won the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest
International Sled Dog Race in 2012, broke the brake pad and had to
get a replacement sled. Something people may not realize, he said,
is how much faster and uncontrollable it is crossing uncovered
terrain. "This is the craziest trail I've ever seen," Neff said in
McGrath, where he was taking a mandatory 24-hour layover.
MUSHERS BANGED UP
A hefty share of mushers were bruised, scraped and battered over the
steep or rocky sections of the trail. Ten of the mushers dropping
out were announced in Rainy Pass. Among those with serious injuries
is Scott Janssen, who broke his ankle trying to round up a loose dog
and earlier was knocked unconscious when he sled turned over and he
hit his head on a tree stump. Four-time champion Martin Buser
sprained his left ankle, but is forging ahead.
WHAT ABOUT THE DOGS?
The dogs have fared much better. There are some sore muscles, sure,
but most teams are holding up well. "There's a reason they call it
dog mushing and not human mushing, because the dogs are a lot
tougher than we are," Neff said. Some mushers are also carrying some
dogs that are tired, but that happens every year.
The bone-rattling ordeal transforms into a more normal ride farther
up the trail, with mushers sliding on better snow coverage. "Here on
out, it's nice," Neff said in McGrath. Conditions also look good on
the Yukon River, at least from the Athabascan village of Ruby. Ed
Sarten, an official with the local tribe, said he's heard there's
favorable snow cover, at least to the next checkpoint at Galena.
Even though this part of Alaska also has seen an unseasonably warm
winter, temperatures have cooled below freezing and the river just
got a couple inches of snow, which means better traction for
The news is not so great once mushers hit Unalakleet, where the last
leg of the race starts along the Bering Sea. Longtime local resident
Gregg Sumstad said he was out trapping for mink and marten this week
and encountered a slick trail with a lot of bare ground, much of it
no more than a ribbon of ice. "It's slippery," he said, noting the
last major snow fell in December followed by temperatures in the
mid-40s. "It's the least amount of snow I've ever seen."Quarantine
Tesoro drops sponsorship of Arctic Man
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Arctic Man Ski and Sno-Go Classic has
lost its major sponsor.
Race director Howard Thies tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that
Tesoro Corp. dropped its sponsorship of the event more than two
Thies says he's working to find a new sponsor. Tesoro had been
kicking in $25,000.
The event is held in the in the HooDoo Mountains near Summit Lake
about 160 miles south of Fairbanks.
The signature race features snowmobiles pulling skiers or
Contestants start atop a 5,800-foot summit, descend 1,700 feet, grab
the towrope of a snowmobile, get pulled up a gully and are
sling-shot down another hill for a 1,200-foot drop to the finish
Race officials say 13,000 spectators attended last year.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
5 invasive plants in Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The state Department of Natural Resources
has established a quarantine for five invasive aquatic plant species
that threaten to infest Alaska's rivers and lakes.
The plants have historically been found in the aquarium trade. They
— Canadian waterweed (Elodea canadensis)
— Western nuttallii (Elodea nuttallii)
— Brazilian waterweed (Egeria densa)
— Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata)
— Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum)
The Anchorage Daily News reports two of the five, Canadian waterweed
and western nuttalli, are currently the focus of an aggressive
containment effort. Ecologists warn they could threaten fish as well
as boating, float plane and commercial and sport fishing. Since
2009, they have been found in Fairbanks, the Kenai Peninsula and
The other three species are known as high-risk invasive aquatic
plant species in other places.
(Anchorage Daily News)
More drivers positive for pot in Washington
GENE JOHNSON, Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) — More drivers tested positive for marijuana in
Washington in 2013 — the first full year after the state legalized
pot — but officials so far say there's been no obvious,
corresponding jump in car accidents.
The Washington State Patrol says 1,362 drivers tested positive for
having active marijuana in their system — a jump of just under 25
percent from the year before. Of those, 720 had levels high enough
to lead to an automatic drugged driving conviction under the state's
legal pot law.
Nevertheless, a preliminary tally counts 99,690 crashes reported to
law enforcement in 2013, an increase of just 72 from the year
before. Of those, 443 were fatal — about the same as the previous