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[Monday November 24th,  2014  13th  EDITION 5:33 P. M.]

Holiday gifts galore at 32nd annual Juneau Public Market, vendors from 30 cities coming
The 32nd annual Public Market takes place Thanksgiving weekend, November 28th through the 30th, at Centennial Hall and the Juneau Arts & Culture Center.

Peter Metcalfe, Alaska-Juneau Public Market manager, tells News of the North, that you'll find "just about anything you can think of appropriate for holiday gifts." He adds that it's "largely arts and crafts, but it's a pretty wide variety. It includes a lot of jewelry, clothing, some manufactured, much of it handmade. There's jellies and jams and gourmet chocolates."

The event is open Friday from noon to 7 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the Juneau Arts & Culture Center is free, and $7 for a weekend pass to Centennial Hall.


Approximately 175 vendors are coming in from communities throughout Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. 40% of the 2014 vendors did not present last year, and one quarter of all vendors are new to the Public Market. Of the new vendors, three are coming from Northwest Alaska: Kotzebue, Shishmaref, and Savoonga; other new Alaska vendors are coming in from Talkeetna, Haines, Gustavus, Pelican, Kake, Petersburg, and Craig. In all, vendors will be coming in from 30 cities, not including about half of all vendors who live in the Juneau borough.

Find more information at www.juneaupublicmarket.com

Juneau Chief Petty Officers Association to host holiday Seniors Dinner
The Juneau Chief Petty Officers Association is scheduled to host the 40th Seniors Dinner at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall on Dec. 7.

The event is only open to Senior Citizens and one caregiver, if needed. The event will begin with a social hour at 5 p.m. and dinner will be served promptly at 6 p.m.

Care-A-Van will be available for transportation. Attendees should call 463-6194, from Dec. 1-6, in order to reserve transportation to the dinner. If you call the day of the dinner requesting a ride, they may not be able to pick you up.

The Juneau Chapter of the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association has organized this event since 1974. Many sponsors throughout the community fund the dinner through generous donations.

Judge invalidates part of school funding mechanism
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A borough has successfully challenged one facet of how the state of Alaska funds education.

Ketchikan Superior Court Judge William B. Carey has invalidated the local contribution requirement for school districts. Carey ruled for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, which sued over the state's requirement that it must pay a local contribution to the school district to fund education.

The state says in a statement it's disappointed and is evaluating appeal options. A lawyer for the district didn't immediately return a message.

Carey found the state's requirement is a dedicated fund, which violates the Alaska Constitution.

However, Carey said the district wasn't entitled to a refund of the $4 million it paid in last year.

JPD awards employee for technical service and citizen for bravery
Both a Juneau Police Department employee and a Juneau resident will be recognized as JPD holds its Quarterly Awards Ceremony on Tuesday morning at 8:30.

JPD Network Specialist II, Branden Holloway, will be awarded the Outstanding Police Service Medal. Since 2005, Branden has worked for JPD’s Information Technology Division and has worked on virtually all departmental technological upgrades and improvements. Branden established JPD’s wireless network, upgraded the phone system, maintained the Communications Center’s 911 system, developed report processes for staff, put mobile computers in patrol cars, and much more. These technology upgrades were complex and resulted in major improvements in police services.

CBJ citizen Rob Steedle will be awarded the JPD Citizen’s Certificate of Bravery. In essence, on October 5th, 2014, Rob called 911 after witnessing a man break into a neighbor’s house. The male then went to Rob’s house, broke down the arctic entry door, and attempted to break through the interior door. Two frightened people inside the house barricaded the inner door with a couch. Rob went outside and distracted the male away from the house. Without using force, and at great personal risk, Rob calmed the male down and stabilized the incident until police arrived.

Hilcorp acquires LNG plant that supplies Fairbanks
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Hilcorp Corp. will buy the liquefied natural gas plant that supplies Fairbanks Natural Gas.

The Alaska Journal of Commerce reports Hilcorp will buy the Point MacKenzie LNG plant from Titan Alaska LNG, a subsidiary of Fairbanks Natural Gas.

Fairbanks Natural Gas President and CEO Dan Britton says the sale grew from discussions between Fairbanks Natural Gas and Hilcorp about a longer-term gas supply. Britton is also president of Titan.

Fairbanks Natural Gas serves about 1,100 mixed residential and commercial customers in the core of Fairbanks.

Hilcorp has a contract in place to supply the plant through 2018.

Hilcorp spokeswoman Lori Nelson says the Titan plant represents an opportunity expand within the state.

The Regulatory Commission of Alaska must approve the sale.

State budget director retires
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov.-elect Bill Walker will have to fill some key jobs in the next few weeks, including that of state budget director.

Office of Management and Budget Director Karen Rehfeld retired last Friday.

Walker takes office from Parnell on Monday, and must submit his first budget by Dec. 15. And crafting this document will come as the state faces a $3 billion budget deficit because of declining oil prices.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports that a Walker transition team official also has asked for the resignations of 250 key people in Parnell's administration by this Friday.

Parent objects to showing of drug documentary
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A Juneau mother says her 12-year-old daughter came home from a school health class with a little too much insight into how to cook and smoke methamphetamine.

Tauni Duncan objected after her daughter watched a documentary, the National Geographic Channel's "World's Most Dangerous Drug," as part of a drug awareness curriculum.

The documentary contains scenes with a police officer demonstrating how the drug can be made with household supplies. He leaves out key ingredients.

Duncan says the school at a minimum should have sent a letter informing parents that the documentary was going to be shown.

Juneau School District chief of staff Kristin Bartlett says health teachers have shown the film for years and believe it's an effective way of communicating the dangers of drugs.

Police in riot gear break up street party
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A spokeswoman for the Anchorage Police Department says it was necessary for officers early Sunday to don riot gear to break up an impromptu downtown street party.

Anita Shell says police were outnumbered five to one and people had begun hitting police cars with their hands.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports police at 2:30 a.m. responded to a report of shots fired at Third Avenue and E Street as bars were closing.

A block away at Fourth Avenue and D Street, about 200 people were shouting and dancing to music blasting from a Cadillac Escalade.

Police say officers told the owner to turn the music down and the crowd became unruly.

Shell says there didn't appear to be any connection between the street party and the reported shots.

21 states push to overturn Md. gun-control law
HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Twenty-one states are asking a federal appeals court to overturn provisions of Maryland's gun-control law that ban 45 assault weapons and a limit gun magazines to 10 rounds.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey led the coalition in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in the Fourth U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia last week.

The brief says the law violates the Second Amendment right to keep firearms in homes for self-protection.

The other states are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming, and Kentucky.

A U.S. District Court judge in Baltimore upheld the provisions in August.

The state of Maryland has until Dec. 31 to respond to the filing.

Walker policy conference
Policy discussions usually held behind closed doors were wide open at a conference over the weekend organized by Governor-elect Bill Walker.

As part of the transition ahead of next Monday's swearing-in ceremony, Walker called together 250 Alaskans to explore different areas of state policy. Participants included former legislators and cabinet commissioners, Republicans and Democrats.

Walker tells KTVA-11 he wanted people from every region of Alaska, "We get the best input with the more people we have involved in the process. There is some risk associated with doing that, but the bigger risk to us is that we exclude people."

The Alaska Dispatch reports that recommendations included suspending several large infrastructure projects, such as the Susitna River Dam, the Knik Arm Crossing, the road out of Juneau, and the Alaska stand-alone pipeline, while maintaining momentum on a north slope L-N-G pipeline.

The health subcommittee also recommended expanding Medicaid, a policy rejected by the current administration.

The work of the conference will be compiled in a report to be publicly released within the next two weeks.

Fairbanks foreclosures increase; heating a factor
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The rate of foreclosures in Fairbanks is creeping up and the high cost of keeping homes warm may be a factor.

Fairbanks Neighborhood Housing Services executive director Laura Burke tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that homeowners are struggling to keep up.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough counted 150 foreclosures occurred through September in the Fairbanks Recording District.

That's up from 137 for the same time period last year and 102 in 2011.

Elsewhere in the state, foreclosures are down.

Audrey Foldoe (FOHL'-doh), a real estate professional in Fairbanks for more than 30 years, says some people bought homes a decade ago when prices were high and can't sell them for what they owe.

She agrees that fuel is a big factor in keeping up with monthly payments.

Department of Energy Approves Alaska LNG Project Export License
Washington, D.C – Less than two months after calling upon the Department of Energy to expeditiously approve an export license for the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Alaska, Congressman Don Young has received positive news; the federal agency has granted long term authorization for the proposed Alaska LNG Project to export LNG to free-trade agreement (FTA) nations.

“Restricting the ability to export LNG would effectively kill the dream of constructing a natural gas pipeline, something we Alaskans have worked on for years,” said Congressman Don Young. “Today’s announcement by the DOE is a positive step in the right direction and moves us closer to bringing our state’s tremendous resources to market. Not only would this project add much needed revenue to the state and provide well paying jobs, it could also provide the Alaskan people access to more affordable energy. As this process moves forward, I remain committed to ensuring red-tape and federal roadblocks don’t stand in the way.”

[Sunday November 23rd,  2014  5th  EDITION 3:20 P. M.]

Suspicious fire 5th in same building in past month
Capital City Fire Rescue responded to the Merchant's Wharf for a fire in a restroom Saturday night around 6:30.

Upon arrival, fire personnel discovered a small fire had occurred on the first floor women's restroom. There was light smoke present. Employees from nearby businesses called 911 to report the fire and quickly extinguished the fire with a pitcher of water.

CCFR Fire Marshal's responded and are working with Juneau Police Department and have a person of interest identified with this suspicious fire.

There was minimal damage sustained, the smoke and odor were taken care of by building staff and there were no injuries reported.  The sprinkler system was not activated.

This is the fifth suspicious fire set in this building in the last month.

Anyone with information about any of these fires is strongly encouraged to contact the fire marshal's office at 586-5322 or Juneau Police Department at 586-0600.

The sprinkler system that extinguished a fire in a bathroom at Bartlett Regional Hospital on November 2nd caused thousands of dollars in damage. Juneau police say 26-year-old Robert Edward Johnson arrested and charged with felony arson in the 2nd degree in that case.

Caring is Sharing Food Drive
The Caring is Sharing Food Drive hosted by Juneau Radio Center at Foodland IGA on Friday brought in 12,562 pounds of food.

Southeast Alaska Food Bank Manager, Darren Adams, says, "Thank you to Juneau for your generosity. It was an amazing day and we helped feed a lot of people because of it."



Juneau Radio Center's Jerry James and Mike Clasby at the Caring is Sharing Food Drive
 

Anchorage police respond to spate of calls
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police responded to separate incidents involving shots fired early Sunday, plus a report of blood and shell casings in an alley.

Police around 2:30 a.m. came across an "unsanctioned" street party they say became unruly when officers ordered the owner of the vehicle blaring music to turn it off. Two people were charged with failing to disburse and disorderly conduct.

Two homes in another area were hit by gunfire but there were no reported injuries.

In another call, police made two arrests at a house party and gave citations for underage drinking. Those believed to have fired shots prompting that call fled.

Police say a man with a reported nail gun injury to his hand turned up at a hospital but officers believe his wound is from a gunshot.

Walker announces first Cabinet picks
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov.-elect Bill Walker has picked Mark Myers to be his Natural Resources commissioner.

Walker also announced Randall Hoffbeck as his choice for Revenue commissioner.

Myers is a former director of the state Division of Oil and Gas who most recently has served as vice chancellor of research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Hoffbeck formerly served as a petroleum property assessor for the state and as a North Slope Borough finance director.

Walker takes office Dec. 1.

Myers would replace Joe Balash, a key figure in efforts to advance a major liquefied natural gas project. Hoffbeck would replace Angela Rodell.

Outgoing Gov. Sean Parnell said he will not request the resignations of the current commissioners. He said it will be up to Walker, if Walker wants to do that.

Computer science students seek software proposals
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Computer science students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks are looking for software design proposals as part of their learning process.

UAF officials say the projects allow public service and private organizations, as well as governments, to get free software while students get experience.

Officials say more than 65 successful projects have been developed by students over the past two decades.

Project clients work with students and are involved in evaluating the results.

Dec. 1 is the deadline to submit proposals and get feedback allowing the submission of revised proposals.

Jan. 13 is the final deadline to submit proposals for software design projects.

Marijuana advocates hope Maine goes legal next
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine marijuana advocates say their state is in position to become the first state in the Northeast to legalize recreational use of the drug.

Marijuana legalization proponents around the country scored a series of wins on election night, when Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. all went legal. Supporters of legalization in Maine say their efforts are buoyed by a ballot initiative in South Portland that legalized small amounts of marijuana in the state's fourth-largest city. Portland voters also legalized marijuana in Maine's largest city in 2013.

Maine supporters are crafting a legalization ballot initiative for the 2016 election cycle. The state constitution says the petitioners will need to collect about 61,000 signatures to get the item on the ballot. Organizer David Boyer says the drive will begin soon.

Changes planned for Great Alaska Shootout
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Changes are coming to this year's Great Alaska Shootout.

The annual college basketball tournament will take place in the University of Alaska Anchorage's new arena, Alaska Airlines Center, under new sponsorship by GCI. Spectators will be allowed to drink beer or wine in a designated portion of the arena, a tourney first. There will be no smoking in the parking lot. And six teams will be making their debuts in the event, which begins Tuesday.

The $1-million shot contest also is going away, though UAA associate athletic director Tim McDiffett says there are new promotions planned. No one ever banked the big-money shot.

UAA men's coach Rusty Osborne told the Alaska Dispatch News it should be an enjoyable experience for fans.
 

[Saturday November 22nd,  2014  4th  EDITION 6:09 P. M.]

Fairbanks prisoner accused of soliciting murder
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — An imprisoned former chiropractor and gun dealer from Fairbanks has been accused of attempting to solicit the murder of federal officers while behind bars.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Guy Christopher Mannino, 56, has been in prison since Oct. 2013 awaiting sentencing for federal weapons charges.

The office of the U.S. Attorney says the solicitation attempt occurred between Sept. 8 and Nov. 6 of this year.

Mannino was charged with a single count of soliciting murder of several officials. That charge carries a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison. The charging document doesn't say how many officers were threatened.

Last year Mannino was charged but never indicted with setting off a recreational explosive at a gun range. The shock wave from the blast damaged several homes.

Study: World's most acidic sea water in Bering Sea
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Scientists are saying the world's most acidic ocean waters are found during the cold winter months in the Bering Sea.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports researchers at Columbia University released a series of maps tracking changes in global marine activity.

The Bering Sea has shallow waters, a broad continental shelf and ocean currents that deposit nutrients from around the world. Geochemist Taro Takahashi says those conditions make for wonderful fisheries. But the sea also receives large amounts of runoff from rivers, which dump carbon-rich sediments and fresh water. And it's partially enclosed by land, so acidic waters are more likely to become trapped.

The maps are based on 40 years' worth of measurements. They show how acidity in marine waters around the globe changes with the seasons.

Celebration of life planned for missing hiker
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A celebration of life has been planned for a Juneau hiker who went missing earlier this year.

The ceremony honoring Sharon Buis is scheduled for Monday evening in Juneau.

The 48-year-old Buis went missing in late May. The experienced outdoorswoman did not show up for a scheduled hike and her car was found at the Mount Roberts trailhead.

Searches of trails in the area were conducted by the Alaska State Troopers and volunteers. Juneau police have kept the matter open as a missing person's case.

Buis' family has invited community members who knew Buis and those involved in the search to Monday's ceremony.

Midterm elections get a yawn, but not in Alaska
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Only about a third of American voters cast their ballots in this year's midterm elections — the worst showing in at least five decades.

Turnout is historically low for non-presidential elections, and in November it was even lower than usual.

But each year there are some states that are overachievers.

This year, Maine, Wisconsin, Colorado, Alaska, Minnesota and Oregon all had voter turnouts of more than 50 percent.

Experts say there are many reasons for relatively high voter turnouts. Especially controversial races and ballot measures drive voters to weigh in.

In Oregon this year, a ballot measure calling for the legalization of marijuana helped persuade people to cast ballots.

The pot measure passed.

[Friday November 21st,  2014  12th  EDITION 6:02 P. M.]

Fire and EMS Themed Carnival
You’re Invited to the 2nd Annual Lynn Canal Fire Station Open House ~ A Fire and EMS Themed Carnival ~ Saturday, from 12:30pm-4:30pm.

Meet members of Capital City Fire Rescue and learn about the services provided by the crew 'Out the Road', while enjoying these fun activities:

Soup and Dessert Fundraiser
Hands Only CPR Classes
Donning and Doffing Fire Gear
Low Profile Maze
Fire and Medical Themed Carnival Games
Explore our First out Apparatuses
Test out the Fire Hose
Door Prizes and More!

The Push in Ceremony will be at 4pm to officially introduce the new Squad 55, Saturday at the 2nd Annual Lynn Canal Fire Station Open House.

Alaska unemployment unchanged since August
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's unemployment rate stood at 6.8 percent in October, a full percentage point above the national average.

The state labor department says the difference between the two is getting closer to the gap that existed before the recession.

During the recession, Alaska's seasonally adjusted rate fell below that of the national rate, as Alaska wasn't hit as hard by the economic slowdown. But the national unemployment rate has been on a downward trend.

Alaska's unemployment rate has been at 6.8 percent since August. It stood at 6.6 percent in October 2013.

JPD Crime of the Week:  Man on video captured during break-in of business
A man broke into a business in the 8600 block of Teal Street on Monday November 10th around 7:00 in the evening,

The suspect pried open the cash register and took about $150 dollars. Police say the man was captured on video while inside the business. 

Juneau Police released this picture on Friday:

  

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.

Pipeline projects gets an export approval
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A federal agency has approved the export of liquefied natural gas from a proposed mega-project in Alaska to free-trade nations.

The U.S. Department of Energy said Friday that the automatic approval, which was required by law, should not be read to indicate the department's views on a still-pending request to export to non-free trade countries, like Japan.

Pacific Rim nations such as Japan have been eyed as possible markets for the project, which is being pursued by the state, TransCanada Corp., and the North Slope's three major energy companies. A final decision on whether to build the project has not been made.

Federal pipeline coordinator Larry Persily said more significant than Friday's order was the relatively little opposition the department received related to the project's export license application.

Parnell won't choose adjutant general on way out
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell says he won't appoint a new adjutant general before leaving office.

In September, Parnell asked for and received the resignation of then-adjutant general Thomas Katkus amid a report into allegations of misconduct in the Alaska National Guard. The National Guard Bureau's Office of Complex Investigations found that victims did not trust the system because of a lack of confidence in the command.

A team that included Parnell aides and the adjutant general for Arizona reviewed applicants for the job. Parnell said the team sent him three recommendations.

But he said those recommendations will go to Gov.-elect Bill Walker, who will be sworn in on Dec. 1. He said the new leader of the guard needs to have the stamp of approval from the incoming administration.

UAS students protest possible tobacco ban
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An anti-smoking event Thursday at the University of Alaska Southeast drew dissenters protesting a possible tobacco ban under consideration for UA campuses.

Protesters displayed homemade signs against the possible ban during a Great American Smokeout Event sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

Regents are considering a measure that would ban tobacco and related products including electronic cigarettes on campuses no later than Dec. 1, 2015.

People could still smoke in cars on campus.

Student Jarmyn Kramlich says just because tobacco bans are popular at colleges elsewhere, it doesn't mean it's the right thing to do in Alaska.

Andrew McDonough says the university's effort to control a legal habit for students is disrespectful. He says the matter is less about smoking and more about personal freedoms.

Remains identified as missing homeowner
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say human remains found in a home near Ketchikan have been identified as the missing homeowner.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports that the remains are identified as those of 49-year-old homeowner Ralph Smith.

Troopers responded to reports of a man firing a weapon Nov. 12 near Ward Cove, just northeast of Ketchikan.

Troopers say Smith left the home, told a family member it was on fire and then drove off. He parked his pickup and fired off a couple of shots.

Authorities don't believe Smith was aiming anyone. Smith then disappeared, and authorities believe he went back into the burning home.

Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters says the fire appears to have been intentionally set.

The fire is under investigation.

Tool to help track changes in ocean chemistry
SEATTLE (AP) — A new research tool is allowing scientists to better track changes in ocean chemistry along the U.S. West Coast.

The tool launched this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides real-time ocean acidification data along the coast and in some protected bays.

University of Washington oceanographer Jan Newton led the collaborative effort. She says the information can help shellfish growers make decisions about when and how to grow shellfish. It also acts as an early warning system about ocean acidification along the West Coast.

Acidification is caused when oceans absorb carbon-dioxide emissions, mostly from the atmosphere. Research has shown souring seas have damaged certain marine organism such as oysters and corals.

The data comes from sensors installed at shellfish farms and hatcheries and other monitoring sites in Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska and Hawaii.

Paralegal charged with misusing law database
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A Juneau grand jury has indicted a former paralegal employed by the city's law department on a felony charge of improper use of the statewide law enforcement database.

60-year-old Roxie Starr is charged with "criminal use of a computer" and scheduled for arraignment Dec. 3.

Prosecutors say Starr without authorization obtained information Aug. 8 from the Alaska Public Safety Information Network. Her employment with the city ended Sept. 9.

APSIN is operated by the state Department of Public Safety.

Juneau District Attorney James Scott says workers with APSIN access are trained on confidentiality rules and sign a form acknowledging they will not misuse it.

Scott says it contains confidential information such as a person's criminal history and contacts with police.

Starr had no comment Thursday.

Teens indicted after detention center escape plot
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — Five teenagers have been indicted in connection with an escape plot at the Kenai Peninsula Youth Facility that injured two unarmed guards.

The Peninsula Clarion reports 18-year-old Cody Rosenthal and four 16-year-old boys are charged with assault, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and riot in the Nov. 7 incident. Authorities say one of the juveniles placed a guard in a choke-hold until he went unconscious.

Rosenthal and two minors also are charged with escape. The two other minors are charged with attempted escape.

According to online records, Rosenthal is represented by the state Public Defender Agency, which did not immediately return a call seeking comment Friday.

The minors are charged as adults, but The Associated Press does not typically name juveniles charged with crimes.

Authorities say Rosenthal was quickly caught, and two of the minors did not leave the facility. Two others remained at large before being arrested in Nikiski the following day.

US rig count up 1 to 1,929
HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by one this week to 1,929.

The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,574 rigs were exploring for oil and 355 for gas. A year ago there were 1,761 active rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Oklahoma gained seven rigs, Texas increased by four, Pennsylvania was up three and Alaska and Louisiana increased one each.

Colorado declined by five, North Dakota was down four, Kansas and Wyoming dropped two apiece while New Mexico and Ohio each lost one.

Arkansas, California, Utah and West Virginia were unchanged.

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

Official: Agency serious about Tongass transition
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the Forest Service is serious about transitioning the nation's largest nation forest from old-growth timber harvests to young-growth harvests.

Robert Bonnie, undersecretary for natural resources and environment for USDA, responded this week to criticism that the Forest Service had done little to make the transition on the Tongass National Forest. The Forest Service falls under USDA.

Bonnie said USDA is comfortable with the investments being made.

Tongass Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole said the Forest Service, over the past year, has begun several projects focused on young growth.

The agency has set a goal of a 10- to 15-year transition to give timber mills in southeast Alaska time to change their operations to handle smaller trees.

Ex-UA employee charged with theft of airline miles
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — State prosecutors have filed a felony theft charge against a former University of Alaska employee suspected of taking more than $4,000 in university airlines miles and credits for personal use.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports an auditor in January noticed irregularities in an Alaska Airlines EasyBiz account that 39-year-old Jennifer Lynn Mahler administrated for the statewide Office of Human Resources.

A complaint filed by UA Fairbanks Police deputy chief Stephen Goetz says auditors found that Mahler used the account for personal and family travel.

Goetz says Mahler used $2,697 in credits and $1,512 in miles without UA permission.

Goetz says Mahler repaid the university and said she mixed up personal account information with the university travel account.

Governor-elect Walker vows support of mining industry
Governor-elect Bill Walker is assuring Alaska's oil & gas and mining industries that he's not their enemy.

In his first public appearance since winning the election, Walker spoke Thursday at a meeting of the Resource Development Council in Anchorage. Walker assured the R-D-C that he would not put a stop to the ongoing development of a north slope natural gas pipeline.

Although he previously called the Parnell administration's gas line deal "fatally flawed," Walker now says it needs only minor adjustments.

"I am not going in to try to fix something that's not broken. I am not taking office to try to slow anything down. There are a lot of things that are working very well, " Walker said.

Walker also vowed to respect Parnell's oil tax law, known as S-B 21, now that it survived a repeal attempt at the August election.

Trial begins in 2012 Anchorage murder case
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A trial has begun for a 24-year-old Anchorage man charged with kidnapping and first-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend in 2012.

Bukurim Miftari (BOO'-kur-im mif-TAHR'-ee) is also charged with second-degree murder and evidence tampering in the death of 30-year-old Kristen Reid.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports Reid's naked body was found in a ditch on Fairbanks Street near International Airport Road. She had been shot through her left temple but was alive.

She was declared brain dead three days later and removed from life-support.

Assistant District Attorney Laura Dulic in an opening statement Thursday said Miftari killed Reid because their relationship was falling apart and he couldn't suppress his emotions.

Defense attorney George Dozier said Reid made enemies selling drugs and that Miftari did not shoot anyone.

Federal court rejects Alaska's appeal
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The state of Alaska has lost another attempt to reinstate a ban on same-sex marriage, and Gov.-elect Bill Walker has changed his stance on the issue.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the federal appeals court for the West rejected the state's request that an 11-judge panel review the district court decision that found the state's ban unconstitutional.

The state could appeal again to the federal court or to the U.S. Supreme Court. The state has spent more than $100,000 defending the ban.

As a candidate, Walker said he wouldn't pursue costly litigation with little chance of success, even though he personally believes marriage should be between a man and a woman.

But now his spokeswoman says Walker wants a proper analysis before making any decision on the lawsuit.

State to offer salvage timber for business sales
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Businesses will be able to bid on timber salvaged from two wildfires near Delta Junction through 13 sales offered by the Alaska Division of Forestry.

Officials say the sales are scheduled to take place Dec. 17 at the Delta area forestry office near mile to 267 of the Richardson Highway.

Some of the sales will be by oral auction. Others will be by sealed bids.

Participants must have current state business licenses. They also must provide minimum bid deposits specified in online descriptions and maps of sale areas.

Winning bidders must collect the wood themselves.

Five of the sales are from a burn area about 20 miles north of Delta Junction. The other sales are from a burn area about 10 miles west of Delta Junction.

[Thursday November 20th,  2014  12th  EDITION 10:02 P. M.]

Public invited for coffee and doughnuts with Docks and Harbors Friday morning
Port Director Carl Uchytil is inviting the public and harbor patrons to coffee and doughnuts Friday morning. 

He also updates us on Thursday night's meeting, "The board approved the following: a Mt. Roberts Tram lease amendment, which will now be submitted to the CBJ Lands Committee for action; the 2016 CIP list; a conditional use permit which would modify the use agreement at the Auke Bay Loading Facility; and the calendar 2015 schedule of meetings. The public is also reminded that the Harbor Master and Port Director will be at the Yacht Club from 7:30 AM until 9:00 AM Friday morning and will be presenting coffee and doughnuts to anybody interested in talking about all things docs and harbors."

Caring is Sharing Food Drive, Friday at Foodland to benefit Southeast Alaska Food Bank
The "Caring is Sharing Food Drive" is Friday at Foodland IGA.  Juneau Radio Center stations will be broadcasting live all day, asking for your help to fill the shelves of the Southeast Alaska Food Bank. Bring your donations and meet the radio stations' staff and local celebrities. 

Darren Adams, a recent guest on Capital Chat, said, "This is by far and away our biggest food drive of the year and this is our way of kicking off the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and holiday season."

Capital Chat host, Sharon Gaiptman, said she hopes this year's food drive yields more than that of a couple of years ago when the Caring is Sharing Food Drive collected more than 23,000 pounds of food. She also explained how "celebrities" and "regular people" will be "locked up in jail and calling out the troops" to help bail them out with donations.

Adams explained food items do not have to be purchased at Foodland. He added that the food drive is a good time to clean out the pantry and see what you may already have to share. There are not many restrictions on what food can be accepted. He said they are not allowed to take homemade items or outdated baby food, and meats have to be commercially produced and packaged. He stressed if you're not sure of the expiration date, to donate it anyway, because not only will it will be checked, but many foods are good after the sell-by or use-by date. "We go through our food so fast, the food that's donated today will probably be in the stomachs of those that are hungry tomorrow."

The Caring is Sharing Food Drive is Friday from 6AM to 6PM at Foodland IGA.

Gas smell at Harborview Elementary, no source found
Capital City Fire Rescue Station One was dispatched to Harborview Elementary for a smell of natural gas this morning at 11:42.

Captain Noah Jenkins says that crews found a faint smell of mercaptan, the gas added to propane to make it smell, at the front door. The hazmat team walked around and through the school with gas detectors, but were unable to find anything out of the ordinary. Construction sites and businesses in the area were contacted and were found to not be using propane.

School staff on scene stated there have been repeated incidents of the smell in the building but maintenance staff have been unable to find any source.

Where's the snow?
One week before Thanksgiving, much of the nation is digging out from snowstorms, but the ground is bare in Alaska's largest city, and the capital has only seen a few flurries.

This time of year, Anchorage normally has nearly 17 inches of snowfall. Instead, it's seen less than 4 inches — and that snow has melted in unseasonably warmer weather.

In fact, a light rain fell this week, only to later freeze into a slick layer on roads and trails.

Without snow in Anchorage, local skiers are hitting the trails on roller skis, and local high school cross-country ski teams are practicing by running and hitting school gyms.

National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Dixon says the same system that is pushing frigid conditions from the north to the Lower 48 states is bringing warmer conditions to Alaska from the south. He says it should be winding down over the weekend.

Meteorologist Tim Steffan with the National Weather Service in Juneau tells News of the North, "We have not received much if any snow for this area although on Sunday the Juneau International Airport picked up some flurries, so we recorded a trace of snowfall. We are expecting some cooler temperatures to move in by next week and the rain to begin to mix with snow, but at this time we don't see any significant snowfall in the forecast."

Kenai Peninsula lynx hunting, trapping on hold
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — Hunting and trapping of lynx is on hold in the Kenai Peninsula until about 2020.

The Peninsula Clarion says the Alaska Department of Fish and Game sent a reminder to hunters and trappers earlier this month about the closure.

The closure of two game units on the Peninsula deviated this year deviates from the way the lynx season has been restricted in previous years.

Lynx are roughly on a six-year abundance cycle in the region, with populations tied to snowshoe hare numbers.

Fish and Game biologist Jeff Selinger says lynx hunting was allowed in past years even though trapping season was closed because most of the animals were taken by trapping and snaring.

But now there is a higher percentage of lynx being shot rather than trapped or snared.

Teen driver dies in crash northeast of Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A 16-year-old Fairbanks driver died Wednesday in a one-car crash northeast of the city.

Alaska State Troopers say Rebekah Navrot was driving with a passenger on Steele Creek Road and lost control of her sedan. The car left the roadway and rolled.

She was not wearing a seat belt and was killed. An autopsy by the state medical examiner has been scheduled.

Troopers took a call on the crash at about 6:30 p.m.

Troopers say the passenger in the car also was not wearing a seat belt but was not injured.

Death of woman near Anchorage park ruled homicide
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The state medical examiner says a woman found dead near a northeast Anchorage park was the victim of a homicide.

The body of 54-year-old Irma Williams was found on Oct. 15 by a passer-by near Lions Park in the Mountain View neighborhood.

Anchorage police say they took a call Sept. 30 from Williams' family saying she had not been seen for a few weeks. She previously had been in regular contact.

Police are not releasing details on how she died but are asking people for information on her whereabouts before Sept. 30.

Police previously said Williams was a frequent visitor to Mizelle, Lions and Davis parks and often rode a blue bicycle that may have been equipped with a white basket.

She was not considered a vulnerable adult.

Alaska North Slope lease sale takes in $54.5M
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The state Department of Natural Resources says companies and investors submitted $54.5 million in high bids Wednesday for petroleum leasing on 524,387 acres on the central North Slope of Alaska.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports the bidding was the richest North Slope auction in 21 years. The state Division of Oil and Gas recorded a little more than $5.1 million in last year's North Slope area-wide lease,

Two firms, Dallas-based Caelus Energy and 70 & 148 LLC, were the most active bidders this year.

Caelus earlier this year acquired the Alaska assets of Pioneer Natural Resources Inc..

70 & 148 LLC is a subsidiary of Denver-based Armstrong Oil and Gas. The company offered multimillion-dollar high bids for tracts on the Colville River Delta.

Coast Guardsmen accept plea in game waste case
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Two Coast Guard petty officers suspected of leaving a dead deer and ducks along a Juneau road have pleaded guilty to state hunting violations.

Twenty-six year-old James Robert Schmidt and 27-year-old Christopher Caleb Hyde were originally charged with misdemeanor counts of failure to salvage all edible meat.

Schmidt under a plea agreement Nov. 6 was fined $500 fine and Hyde was fined $300.

A tip led Alaska Wildlife Troopers on Oct. 1 to a deer and four ducks left along Montana Creek Road. Antlers had been removed from the deer.

Assistant District Attorney Angie Kemp says the plea deal for violations rather than a misdemeanor conviction was appropriate. She says the men didn't have a criminal history and took responsibility for their actions.

UA Fairbanks picks firm for power plant design
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — An Iowa-based engineering company has been picked to help design a new $245 million coal-fired power plant at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Stanley Consultants has been awarded a $13.6 million contract for planning the plant.

The existing plant is nearing the end of its useful life after 50 years.

The new 22-megawatt plant will provide power and electricity to the campus from a location adjacent to the current plant.

Stanley Consultants previously worked with the school to study options for the new plant. The company will work with Fairbanks-based Design Alaska to provide design and engineering work.

The design is to be completed by early 2016 and construction is due to be finished in 2018.

Assault and robbery in the valley
On 11/19/14 at about 9:05 PM, a 27 year old male reported he had been assaulted behind a business in the Valley. The male reported he was kicked in the face and the subjects had taken his wallet and Kindle tablet. Police obtained a first name for the suspect and a general description.

On 11/20/14 at about 12:07 AM an officer on patrol located a male matching the suspect description walking on Mall Road. A second male was contacted on Mall Road and questioned about the incident. The two males were detained and transported to the Juneau Police Department for questioning.

At about 2:15 AM, police obtained search warrants for the male’s backpacks. A Kindle tablet was located in one of the male’s backpacks.

The two males, 30 year old Matthew Gilchrest, a local resident and 23 year old William Stauffer, also a local resident were arrested for Robbery in the Second Degree and Assault in the Fourth Degree. Both males were transported to and lodged at the Lemon Creek Correction Center and held without bail.

The victim was transported to the Bartlett Regional Hospital for his injuries. His injuries appear to be non-life threatening.

Alcohol was a factor in this incident.

Seattle councilwoman arrested in wage protest
SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — A Seattle city councilwoman was among four people arrested during a protest calling for a $15 per hour minimum wage for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport workers.

The Seattle Times reports that Councilwoman Kshama Sawant said before Wednesday's protest that it was her "obligation as a public servant" to exercise civil disobedience.

King County sheriff's Sgt. DB Gates says the four were arrested for investigation of disorderly conduct. They reportedly remained in a street during the protest near Alaska Airlines headquarters in the Seattle suburb of SeaTac.

Residents of SeaTac, the city that surrounds the airport, have approved a $15 minimum wage. Separately, the Port of Seattle, which operates the airport, has said it has the authority to increase the minimum wage for some airport workers. The issues of the Port's wage authority and whether the SeaTac minimum wage should apply to the airport are playing out in court.

In a statement, Alaska Airlines says it supports fair wage jobs and voluntarily increased wages in April for more than 1,000 vendor employees at the airport. It also says it stands with the airline industry trade group, Airlines for America, as the group challenges the legality of the Port wage mandate.

Health consortium closes medical training unit
SITKA, Alaska (AP) — The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium has ended a Sitka-based emergency medical training program.

The Daily Sitka Sentinel reports that the closure ends three decades of training in first aid, CPR and emergency medical services.

Consortium spokeswoman Stacy Smith says the program had been funded by grants. After those ended in recent years, the consortium picked up the tab for the service it offered the community for free.

Smith notes that other providers in Sitka offer training courses and the consortium felt it was duplicating those services.

Montana Creek Road to be closed for winter
The City and Borough of Juneau does not provide winter maintenance along Montana Creek Road beyond the Hank Harmon Rifle Range.

For safety reasons, the gate allowing vehicular access beyond the Hank Harmon Rifle Range will be closed for the season on Friday, November 21.

The gate will reopen May 1, or when conditions allow.

A parking lot adjacent to the Hank Harmon Rifle Range was expanded this summer to accommodate parking for winter recreational users.

[Wednesday November 19th,  2014  15th  EDITION 5:26 P. M.]

Coffee and doughnuts with Docks and Harbor officials
Docks and Harbor officials are copying the local cops and offering harbor patrons a chance to chat over coffee and doughnuts Friday.  The Port Director and Harbor Master will be hosting coffee and doughnuts at the Yacht Club from 7:30 AM to 9:00 AM Friday. Port Director, Carl Uchytil, tells News of the North, "The purpose of the gathering, modeled after Coffee with a Cop, is to provide greater opportunity for harbor patrons to meet with docks and harbor officials in an informal setting."

At Thursday night's Docks and Harbor Board Meeting, the board will consider a proposed lease amendment for the Mt. Roberts Tram property lease, review the Fiscal Year 2016 to Fiscal Year 2021 CIP project request, and hear a recommendation to modify the Auke Bay Loading Facility conditional use permit.  The meeting will start at 5:30 in CBJ Chambers.

Overdue hunter rescued in Sitka
The Coast Guard rescued a stranded hunter from the Carmel Mountain area near Sitka Wednesday.

An Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew transfered the 69-year-old man to Air Station Sitka where waiting medical personnel checked him for signs of hypothermia. 

Air Station Sitka personnel recieved a report of the stranded hunter from the Sitka Police Department after his wife reported him overdue from his trip.  Watchstanders at the Sector Juneau Command Center assumed control of the case and launched the helicopter crew to rescue the man.

"This case is a good example of how planning ahead and having good communication with loved ones can aid a successful rescue," said Cmdr. Pete Melnick, operations officer, Coast Guard Air Station Sitka. "The Coast Guard reminds hunters to leave a travel plan including campsite locations and estimated trip duration with family or friends before beginning any hunting trip. It's also recommended to bring more than one means of communication when possible and to always carry a signal device such as a mirror or flares for the event of a rescue."

The weather on scene was reported to be calm.

 

John Delong, of Sitka, Alaska, stands with Petty Officer 2nd Class Brendan Dent, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Vaughn and Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Ransom from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka after his rescue from the Carmel Mountain area near Sitka Nov. 19, 2014. Delong was stranded on the island while hunting after his boat became submerged. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Cmdr. Pete Melnick

UPDATE:  Murder suspect arrested at JIA, puppy sent south
A man wanted on murder charges was arrested at Juneau International Airport last night.  A Juneau Police Officer working at JIA reported that a man was possibly sleeping near the small commuter flight section just before 8:00 PM. Moments later, it was determined that the 24 year old male, Taylor Pass, had an outstanding extraditable warrant from Dakota County Minnesota.

Pass was arrested on a no bail warrant charging probation violation stemming from original felony charges of Second Degree Murder with Intent, Second Degree Assault with a Dangerous Weapon and First Degree Murder Premeditated. 

Pass was transported to and lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center on the charge of Commitment to Await Requisition. 

Pass was with a 26 year old female, who is also from Minnesota, and was also traveling with a Siberian Husky puppy.  Erann Kalwara, JPD Public Information Officer, told News of the North "An officer transported that dog to the humane society where it's in safe keeping right now and they're coordinating return to family members down south."

Woman dies of injuries suffered in trailer fire
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A woman pulled Tuesday from a burning mobile home in east Anchorage has died.

The Anchorage Fire Department says the woman died early Wednesday at a city hospital.

The department says it will not release the name of the woman.

Firefighters at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday were dispatched to the home in Glenncaren Trailer Court in the 2200 block of Muldoon Road.

They found a double-wide trailer in flames and were told a woman remained inside, trapped in a rear bedroom.

Firefighters entered through a bedroom window and found the woman in a bathroom adjoining the bedroom.

The woman's daughter escaped through a bedroom window.

Firefighters say the fire started in the home's living room near an entertainment center. The cause is unknown.

Report critical of Tongass timber transition
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A research firm says the U.S. Forest Service has done little to transition the nation's largest national forest in southeast Alaska to young-growth timber harvests.

Headwaters Economics also says the agency continues to invest disproportionately in a timber industry that it says provides relatively few jobs while neglecting "more economically important industries," like tourism and fishing.

The firm says that despite the dwindling Southeast timber industry and a promise by the Forest Service to transition out of old-growth harvests, the agency has continued to generously fund its timber program in the Tongass National Forest.

The agency planned to discuss its plans for the Tongass late Wednesday afternoon.

State spends $100K defending gay marriage lawsuit
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The state has spent more than $103,000 to defend a lawsuit that overturned Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports plaintiffs are seeking nearly $259,000 in legal fees from the state. If those fees are awarded, the cost to the state would total more than $360,000.

Included in the cost is $9,600 to Washington, D.C., attorney S. Kyle Duncan, who worked with the state to appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court and 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A federal judge in October ruled the ban violates the U.S. constitutional guarantee of due process and equal protection.

After the appeals court lifted a temporary stay and the Supreme Court denied a review of the case, the state has asked federal appeals court panel for a review.

BP: Deal with Hilcorp completed
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — BP has closed the sale of its interests in four North Slope oil fields to Hilcorp.

BP president for Alaska operations Janet Weiss made the announcement Wednesday.

The company announced in April that it was selling all its interests in the Endicott and Northstar fields and half its interests in the Liberty and Milne Point fields.

Weiss said the sale would allow BP to focus on Prudhoe Bay and pursuing a major liquefied natural gas project. The sale involves the planned layoff of 275 workers and transfer to Hilcorp or early retirement of another 200 people.

Weiss said the companies have asked federal regulators to allow Hilcorp to become the operator of the long-planned Liberty project. BP plans to work with Hilcorp on submitting a project development and production plan.

Teen indicted in fatal Juneau car crash
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A Juneau grand jury has indicted an 18-year-old driver involved in a fatal car crash.

William M. Buchkoski was indicted on four felony counts in the March 26 death of a passenger in his sport utility vehicle, 18-year-old Jessica Louise Billy.

Investigators say Buchkoski was driving on Yandukin Drive near Juneau International Airport and attempted a left turn onto Old Dairy Road but did not yield to a semi. The big truck T-boned the SUV.

A second passenger, 20-year-old Shadd Rudick, was critically injured and remains at a rehabilitation center in Everett, Washington.

The grand jury indicted Buchkoski on manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and two felony assault counts.

He will be arraigned Dec. 17.

Floating strip club flourishes in Kodiak
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — After a bumpy start, a floating strip club is finding prosperity in the waters off Kodiak.

Darren Byler, owner of Wild Alaskan, a crab boat converted to a strip club, tells KTVA-TV that business has been "wildly successful" in the commercial fishing port.

Customers reach the club by water taxi. A few days after it opened, a complaint that the vessel was overloaded led to law enforcement agencies and the Coast Guard briefly closing the club.

Byler says the charge was unfounded, undeserved and embarrassing.

Kodiak's city manager Aimee Kniaziowski (ken-yah-ZHAHV'-skee) says Byler addressed public safety concerns. She says it pays city taxes but operates in state waters.

The business charges $20 per hour as a charter fee and allows only 12 customers on board at a time.

State releases proposed air quality rules
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Proposed state regulations that could help clean up air in Fairbanks would limit what can be burned in wood stoves.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports proposed regulations released Monday would prohibit burning painted, stained or treated wood.

They would also ban the burning of garbage, oily waste products and plastics.

The standards would be tougher in winter for areas with chronic air pollution such as much of Fairbanks and North Pole.

In October through March, people operating wood-fired heating devices in those areas could only burn dry wood, wood pellets and manufacture-approved biomass fuels or starter fuels.

The Fairbanks area in winter is regularly out of compliance with federal air standards because of particulate emitted from wood burned by people trying use an alternative to expensive home heating oil.

Walker adds Chief of Staff
Governor-elect Bill Walker has added a Chief of Staff to his transition team.

The Alaska Dispatch reports that former Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Jim Whitaker has been tapped for the job. Whitaker and Walker had worked together on the Alaska Gasline Port Authority, when Walker was Mayor of Valdez.

Whitaker served in the state house as a republican but was invited to speak at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Walker last week named republican and democratic co-chairs of his transition team, which is organizing a policy conference in Anchorage this weekend ahead of the December 1st swearing-in ceremony.

Man found dead had sled dogs seized 1 day earlier
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man who was found dead in downtown Anchorage last week was under investigation after police seized 12 emaciated sled dogs from his Girdwood home.

Anchorage police identified the man Tuesday as 50-year-old Dario Martinez, of Girdwood. His body was found hanging from a tree Thursday in an office building parking lot across Second Avenue from the entrance to the city's coastal trail.

One day earlier, animal control officers had found the 12 starving and thirsty dogs at his home. Another dog died of starvation.

Alaska business records show Martinez owned a sled dog operation in Girdwood.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports Martinez ran the Iditarod in 1999, finishing in 40th place.

Alaska State Troopers say its animal neglect investigation is closed with Martinez's death. Anchorage police say they have been unsuccessful in locating Martinez's next of kin.

Pot supporter fights subpoena of records
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The owner of a medical marijuana business is fighting a subpoena as part of an investigation into whether the activities of the Alaska Cannabis Club are subject to campaign finance and disclosure laws.

Charlene Egbe, also known as Charlo Greene, says the Alaska Public Office Commission's request for records is tantamount to harassment.

The commission is scheduled to consider enforcement of the subpoena Wednesday.

Egbe made headlines in September when, while reporting on a story for an Anchorage TV station, she outed herself as the pot club's owner, quit her reporting job and vowed to work to legalize marijuana.

A commission campaign disclosure coordinator says it appears that Egbe or her club engaged in activities supporting a ballot measure to legalize recreational use of pot.

UAF students organize coffee roaster event
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Students from the University of Alaska Fairbanks are organizing an event to showcase brews by local coffee roasters.

UAF officials say the Friday event is organized by students from a UAF School of Management class.

The event is scheduled to take place between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Fairbanks branch of Northrim Bank.

It's the third year the School of Management has been involved in the event.

2 injured in Chiniak banya explosion
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — Two people in a rural Kodiak Island community were injured when they accidentally used fuel instead of water in a sauna-like building.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports the man and woman were treated at a Kodiak hospital after the explosion Tuesday in Chiniak. The woman was to be flown outside Kodiak for further care.

Alaska State Troopers say they were in a banya Tuesday when they accidentally used fuel oil instead of water.

Troopers spokesman Eric Olsen said they are investigating, but don't believe it was anything other than an accident.

Chiniak is located about 45 miles southeast of the city of Kodiak.

[Tuesday November 18th,  2014  10th  EDITION 5:00 P. M.]

Two water line breakages reported by CBJ Public Works
A contractor doing some excavating along the 3500 Block of North Douglas broke a water service line at approximately 3:00 p.m. Public Works has shut down the water to approximately 20 homes in that area. Crews are working to get the waterline repaired. There is no estimated time of when water service might be restored.

CBJ Public Works has also been notified of a water line break on Andreanoff Drive. Homes in that area may experience low water pressure or loss.

The department apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your patience. When service resumes, customers may encounter water discoloration or minor disruptions in service. To clear the discoloration, first wait until the work crew leaves the area, then run the cold water tap (preferably in your bathtub) until the water runs clear. Please watch for crews working in the roadway, use caution, and obey traffic controls. For more information, contact CBJ Water Utility Office at 780-6888; for after-hours emergencies, call 586-2165.

With frosty and slick roads, wrecks are on the rise
Since roads have been frosty, icy, and slick over the past few days reports of wrecks have been on the rise.

There was a single vehicle wreck this morning on Egan at Vanderbilt Hill.  Capital City Fire Rescue Captain Chad Cameron says one patient was taken to the hospital.

Then there was a crash in the area of 3300 Riverside Drive this afternoon around 2:20.

JPD, CCFR and EMS responded to find a 1999 white Toyota Camry, upside down and on its roof. The Toyota had extensive damage and is believed to be totaled.

The driver and only occupant of the vehicle was identified as a 58 year old female Juneau resident. The driver was transported to Bartlett Regional Hospital for a medical evaluation. The injuries don’t appear to be life threatening.

Riverside Drive, between Rivercourt Way and Stephen Richards Drive, was closed off for about twenty minutes; traffic was diverted onto the side streets. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Kuskokwim 300 a 12-dog race in 2015
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — The organizers of the Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race have changed the rules to reduce the number of starting dogs from 14 to 12.

KYUK says a driving idea for the reduction was to encourage more local teams to run the full race.

Kuskokwim 300 race manager Zach Fansler says some teams with midsize kennels don't always have 14 dogs ready to go.

Many large teams use the race as a testing ground for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

The race is scheduled to begin Jan. 16.

Fansler says mushers expressing interest in running include four-time Iditarod winners Lance Mackey and Martin Buser, and Martin's son Rohn Buser, who won last year's Kuskokwim 300.

High court seeks update on redistricting case
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks-area plaintiffs who sued over Alaska's redistricting plan have appealed a judge's decision awarding them more than $310,000 in attorneys' fees and costs.

Attorneys for George Riley and Ronald Dearborn had requested nearly $440,000, including about $120,000 in appellate fees.

The appeal was made to the Alaska Supreme Court, which late last month put the appeal on hold, pending a possible settlement among the parties.

The parties have been asked to report back to the court by Dec. 19.

A lower court judge this summer ordered the Alaska Redistricting Board to pay about $296,000 in attorneys' fees and nearly $17,000 in costs.

In appealing, the plaintiffs questioned, among other things, whether the trial court erred in excluding appellate costs and in not awarding paralegal fees.

Glory Hole patrons organizing turkey baskets for needy families need turkeys
Every year, Glory Hole patrons distribute Thanksgiving boxes to families in need.

Director Mariya Lovishchuk tells News of the North, "We have 200 families signed up and we have about 26 turkeys. The first distribution day is this Saturday and people are going to come and most are families or four, five, or six and most have children, so it would be really, really horrible if we could not deliver the turkey baskets to them." She says they are doing good on mashed potatoes, corn, and beans; but are short on butter, rolls, and pies.

"Money would be amazingly helpful because then we could just go buy the stuff. We are located at 247 S. Franklin St. and our phone number is 586-4159.  If you call us in advance we can even run out to your car and get them.  That's the amazing thing.  The patrons really organize the whole thing.  Actually no folks at the Glory Hole get this."

Thanksgiving dinner items can be delivered to the Glory Hole downtown on Franklin any day between 7:00 AM and 9:30PM. 

Alaska voter turnout highest for midterm since '94
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Voter turnout in Alaska was the highest it has been in a midterm general election in 20 years.

The latest results from the Division of Elections showed turnout for the Nov. 4 election at 56 percent. The 1994 midterm saw turnout of 64 percent.

This year's ballot included hotly contested races for U.S. Senate and governor and ballot measures to legalize recreational use of marijuana, raise Alaska's minimum wage and require legislative approval of the proposed Pebble Mine.

Wednesday is the deadline for the division to receive absentee ballots postmarked outside the U.S.

In 2010, when another high-profile Senate race was decided, turnout stood at 52 percent.

Report on tribal youth and violence urges action
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — American Indian and Alaska Native children are exposed to violence at rates higher than any other social group in the nation, according to a new report that urges creation of a new Native American affairs office, additional federal funding and other measures to combat the problem.

A U.S. Department of Justice advisory committee released the report Tuesday that reflects information gathered at public hearings across the country in 2013 and 2014.

Based on the public input and research, the committee assessed the effects of violence on tribal youth and came up with an action plan.

Committee co-chair and former U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota said during a teleconference that the report's goal is to be a catalyst for action by Congress and the Obama administration.

Vessel runs aground, twice, near Kodiak
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — A man has been charged with driving under the influence after running a landing craft aground near Kodiak.

Authorities arrested Edward Dyer after a crew member on Sunday reported that his skipper was intoxicated and the vessel had run aground near St. Herman Harbor.

KMXT reports that Dyer faces additional misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment and assault. A bail hearing was scheduled for Wednesday.

After the Coast Guard released the vessel, its owner came to take possession and nearly made it through the channel before running aground on Near Island on Monday.

The Coast Guard says the vessel has been refloated.

Assemblywoman: city should opt out of pot sales
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage assembly member wants the city to opt out of the commercial marijuana trade.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports Assemblywoman Amy Demboski of Eagle River — who has announced she's running for mayor — will introduce an ordinance to ban commercial marijuana establishments.

Alaska voters Nov. 4 approved a measure to legalize recreational use of pot and it prevailed with 51 percent of the vote in Anchorage according to results so far.

The ballot measure allows communities to prohibit businesses that sell marijuana and Demboski says she's introducing an ordinance to do so.

She says the city shouldn't be a guinea pig for commercial marijuana in Alaska. She said she wants to see how regulations are developed and then decide whether to opt back in.

State complains about leased building air quality
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Air quality tests show high levels of carbon dioxide and dust in a Juneau office building the state is leasing for about 160 employees.

The state had been receiving complaints from employees about headaches and diesel fumes at the Bill Ray Center.

The state has been leasing the building, owned by First National Bank, since March while a state office building in Douglas is renovated.

The state hired a firm to do air quality tests when the bank did not immediately respond to its request for testing. The state has since notified the bank it is out of compliance with its lease.

A senior vice president with the bank said First National has responded in good faith and hired its own consultant to evaluate the building.

Underwear bandit arrested
A alleged "underwear bandit" has been arrested in Kodiak.

Eighteen year-old Ryan Cornelio is charged with a series of burglaries during which Alaska State Troopers say women's underwear was usually stolen. The Alaska Dispatch reports that Cornelio was arrested Monday when officers were responding to a burglary in progress. The suspect fled, but State Troopers were able to track the getaway vehicle.

Troopers were investigating seven burglaries in Kodiak over the last three months, and three other attempted break-ins.

Last week, Kodiak residents were notified that the cases were likely connected.

Alaska-based soldiers to return from Afghanistan
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Army officials say nearly 300 Alaska-based soldiers are scheduled to return to Fort Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Tuesday after deployments to Afghanistan.

Officials say the soldiers represent three different units. They will be reunited with family and friends at short ceremonies at the military bases.

The soldiers returning to Fort Wainwright are from the aviation task force of the 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment.

The soldiers returning to JBER are members of the 23rd Engineer Company.

Also returning to JBER are members of the Headquarters Company for the 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.

Forest Service urges safety near Juneau glacier
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service is cautioning residents to be safe when visiting the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area.

The agency, in a release, said it is impossible to predict lake ice stability regardless of temperatures or ice thickness. It recommends people stay away from the glacier's terminus, including ice caves and icebergs.

The Forest Service said the popular Mendenhall Glacier ice cave has deteriorated significantly over the past year, possibly due to heavy rains and summer melting, leaving it vulnerable to collapse.

[Monday November 17th,  2014  8th  EDITION 4:52 P. M.]

Active Alaska volcano calms down _ for now
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — One of Alaska's most active volcanoes has calmed down since spewing ash up to 35,000 feet into the air over the weekend, but scientists say the volcano has a pattern of prolonged eruptions of varying intensity.

Pavlof Volcano began erupting Wednesday, culminating with a major blast Saturday that lasted seven or eight hours before its seismic activity dramatically dropped.

The National Weather Service warned aircraft to avoid the area over the weekend because of the ash plume.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory says the volcano has erupted more than 40 times in recorded history, including earlier this year and last year.

Begich concedes Senate race to Sullivan
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has conceded the Alaska Senate race to Republican Dan Sullivan.

Begich called Sullivan to congratulate him Monday. He said he urged Sullivan "to adopt a bipartisan resolve in the Senate."

Sullivan led the one-term incumbent Begich by about 8,100 votes on election night Nov. 4, and maintained an edge as ballot counting continued.

In a statement, Begich said he was proud of the work he accomplished, in areas including energy development, veterans' health care and protecting postal service in Alaska.

He said the state deserves a bright future with expanded economic opportunity and a strong, prosperous rural Alaska. He also said he supports equality for all Alaskans and the results of an election have never diminished his desire to achieve those goals.

AIDEA approves loan for Wasilla theme park
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority will loan money to a company building a theme park in Wasilla.

KTUU-TV reports the state agency is loaning $5.4 million to Oregon businessman John Schweiger for the 58,000 square-foot Valley Family Fun Center.

It will be built next to Mat-Su Cinema.

AIDEA (AY'-dah) external affairs officer Karsten Rodvik says construction is scheduled to begin next spring and finish before the end of the year.

He says the theme park will feature go-karts, laser tag and a laser maze.

Surveyor rescued after night in wilderness
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — A logging surveyor who became lost in thick forest south of Ketchikan was found safe but near hypothermic after a night in the cold.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports 57-year-old William Johnson was found just after 8 a.m. Saturday by the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad.

Johnson was dropped off by skiff Friday morning and walked from a road that circles a forestry unit.

Chris John of the rescue squad says Johnson got into steep terrain with vegetation so thick he had to crawl and lost his way.

Searchers at around midnight found Johnson's truck and coat, leaving them concerned that he was without warm clothing.

John says Johnson was eventually located by yelling.

He was unable to walk back to a boat and was lifted out by helicopter.

BBB announces a $10,000 scholarship video challenge

Anchorage, Alaska — November 17, 2014 — Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington has officially launched the 2015 Students of Integrity Scholarship.

High school seniors in the Northwest will have a chance to win a $10,000 scholarship by creating a 90-second video that demonstrates how BBB helps people become smart consumers.

Michelle Tabler, BBB-Alaska Regional Manager, told News of the North, "The videos can focus on one of the following areas:  identity theft and fraud, online marketplace scams, phony online reviews, or charity scams."

“BBB values the importance of higher education and teens who personify high ethics,” BBB CEO Tyler Andrew said. “We believe this scholarship will enable a student to pursue both in a fun and creative way.”

Students can check their eligibility and apply online. A panel of judges from all three states will choose the winning entry in March. The deadline to apply is January 30, 2015.

The winner will receive a $10,000 scholarship and travel expenses to Portland where BBB will present him or her with a check at the March 28 Portland Trail Blazers game at the Moda Center.

Students may apply individually or in groups. The video entries of the top 15 finalists will be posted on BBB’s YouTube channel for public viewing.

Click here to learn more.

Full-day kindergarten considered in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District is considering full-day kindergarten at all of its elementary schools.

A presentation is scheduled for Tuesday's school board meeting on the additional costs and changes needed to implement such a program.

School board president Heidi Haas told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner the intent is not to vote for approval but to give board members and administrators an opportunity to discuss the viability of such a proposal.

Three nontraditional district schools offer full-day kindergarten. Haas said the high number of applications at those schools indicates an appetite for that option.

But she said not all board members think that is the way to go.

Cost estimates for a district-wide program range from about $1.5 million to $4 million, depending on the class size
.

CPR saves at Juneau Airport
At approximately 6:00 this morning, the Juneau Police Department received a 911 call that an 81 year-old male Juneau resident was having a medical emergency at the Juneau International Airport.

The report indicated that the male had lost consciousness. JPD Sergeant David Wrightson was working at the airport and located the male in less than one minute. The male did not have a pulse and Sergeant Wrightson began performing CPR.

Capital City Fire Rescue paramedics arrived at the airport in less than five minutes. Prior to the arrival of the paramedics, the male had regained consciousness. The male was transported to the Bartlett Regional Hospital for further medical treatment.

CCFR paramedics said that Sergeant Wrightson’s quick actions in performing CPR had saved the man’s life.

Juneau dentists buy back candy for troops
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A Juneau orthodontist has adopted a sweet trend: Sending donations of Halloween candy to U.S. troops at home and abroad.

Brent Tingey paid $1 per pound of candy turned in by children over the holiday through an increasingly popular concept initiated by Operation Gratitude, which sends tens of thousands of care packages to troops each year.

Tingey and others at Tingey Orthodontics rallied local dentists to also get involved. They also helped distribute flyers to local schools to spread the word about the program.

The response included a 130-pound donation of leftover Halloween candy from Glacier Valley Elementary School.

Tingey says he plans to repeat the effort next year and hopes it becomes an annual event.

Police seize drugs with street value of $110K
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police are announcing a major drug seizure in a weekend operation by the department's Special Assignment Unit.

KTUU-TV reports police Friday night seized drugs with a street value of about $110,000 from a home on Rocky Mountain Court near Russian Jack Park.

Police say officers found 24 grams of heroin, 101 grams of cocaine and 683 grams of methamphetamine.

Police say the seizure disrupted the business of a supplier to 100 customers.

Police arrested a 39-year-old woman and a 33-year-old man. Online court records Monday did not indicate that they had been formally charged.

2 charged with home invasion, kidnapping
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Two men have been charged with a robbing and kidnapping a North Pole resident last week.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 57-year-old Bill Kraus of Fairbanks and 40-year-old Isaac Horman are charged with kidnapping, robbery, burglary and felony assault.

Alaska State Troopers say Krauss was armed with a gun Wednesday when he and Horman forced their way into a home and demanded that two people inside hand over cellphones.

Troopers they drove off with one person, called the person's acquaintance and demanded money.

Troopers say their vehicle left the roadway and drove into a ditch and the kidnapped person was able to escape.

Kraus was arrested Friday and Horman on Saturday. Both remained jailed Monday.

What's happening at UAS this week
It’s International Education Week at UAS with events every day this week Nov. 17-21 , 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

TODAY AND Wednesday-National Student Exchange & Study Abroad Information Sessions at Spike’s Café’
Learn about all your Exchange & Study Abroad opportunities at UAS, both national and international! We will be right by Spike's to answer any and all questions you may have. Check it out!

Thursday, Nov. 20, 2 p.m. Egan Classroom 115
Come hear UAS ISEP students from Austria & Germany discuss life at their home universities!
 
Thursday, Nov. 20, All Day, Mourant Cafeteria
One Day Stand Against Tobacco

Join us in initiating a smoke-free campus for the day! We ask all willing smokers to set aside those cigarettes for a day, or choose off-campus locations to smoke. Do this for the interest of the campus environment, the health of those around you, and the health of yourself. Stop by our booth in the Mourant from 11- 3 for more information, resources, specialists, and give-aways!

Friday, Nov 21st
Deadline to Withdraw from Full-Term Classes

Phone: 796-6100
Email: registrar@uas.alaska.edu

Website: http://www.uas.alaska.ed

6 p.m.-REC
Native Olympics, N.O., Practice and Competition
Strength training since time immemorial! “They (Native Olympic events) originated from the northern part of Alaska probably more than 2,000 years ago. The [Native] people from the interior of Alaska created a series of games to teach their kids important survival skills.” Ricardo Worl We'll practice jumping, strength, and endurance events such as but not limited to: one foot high kick, scissor broad jump, one arm reach, seal hop, leg wrestling, and stick pull.
 

Fri-Sun. Nov. 21-23
S.C.R.I.P.T club presents F2M a play written by Patricia Wettig, and directed by Bryan Crowder.

Location: Hendrickson Bldg | 113
Cost: $5 student / $10 non-student
Phone: 796-6517
Email: jypres@uas.alaska.edu

Website: http://www.uas.alaska.edu/student_gov/index.html

Dates November 21, 2014, Weekends 7:30 PM
November 22, 2014, Weekends 7:30 PM
November 23, 2014, Weekends 7:30 PM

Final Evening at Egan, Friday, Nov. 21 7 p.m. Egan Library
You’re invited to participate in a very important community discussion at this season's final Evening Egan; part of an on-going community effort for a way forward to  make healing racism and historical violence a local priority. Racism in Juneau: Reflection and Discussion. Friday, November 21st, 7 p.m. in the Egan Library at the University of Alaska Southeast. 


Yule Ball
Saturday, Nov. 22, 7 p.m. REC Center
A semi-formal, Harry Potter themed dance featuring live music by the Thunder Mountain Big Band & ballroom dance instruction! This event is free and open to the UAS and Juneau communities. The dance is November 22nd at 7pm and runs to 11pm. Dance instruction is 7:30pm-8:30pm. Delicious snacks provided. No experience required.