Investigators: Cause of Alaska
plane crash unknown
RACHEL D'ORO, Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Federal responders say it's too
early to know what caused a commuter plane to crash in
remote southwest Alaska, killing four people and
injuring another six on board.
The National Transportation Safety Board is
investigating the crash of the Hageland Aviation Cessna
208 one mile southeast of the village of Saint Marys
The pilot and three passengers were killed and six other
passengers survived. Five were listed in fair condition
Monday at Anchorage hospitals. The sixth survivor has
been treated and released.
Investigators with the NTSB and the Federal Aviation
Administration arrived Sunday to the wreckage site, 470
miles west of Anchorage.
Clint Johnson, chief of the NTSB's Alaska regional
office, says the goal is to document the wreckage before
moving the plane to Anchorage or Bethel.
LeConte out of service now
The state ferry LeConte is out of commission now through
Wednesday due to a bow thruster problem.
It was scheduled to back into service Tuesday, but is
still undergoing repairs in Ketchikan.
It's now scheduled to resume normally scheduled service
CBJ panel scheduled to take
public comment on potential off highway vehicle park
Public comment will be taken at Tuesday evening's
meeting of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee
on possible locations for an off highway vehicle park.
Parks and Recreation Director Brent Fischer was a guest
on Capital Chat Monday.
The department asked the National Off Highway
Conservation Committee for help this summer in
identifying potential areas.
He says the group identified four areas since they feel
no one area will accommodate all uses.
The areas included a parcel of land at Mile 35 that the
city has been assessing.
Another was in the Lemon Creek area near Costco which is
currently used as a gravel pit.
They also looked at two other areas that were considered
and rejected in the past, but this time with a different
One was the rock quarry on Fish Creek Road leading to
Eaglecrest that Fischer mentioned. He says the group has
come up with different ideas and alternatives to
The other is the rock quarry owned by Goldbelt at the
end of the road by Echo Cove.
The PRAC meeting convenes at 6 p.m. in Assembly Chambers
at City Hall.
State releases oil tax
BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state has released regulations
to implement Alaska's oil tax law, including use of
metering to help determine what oil qualifies for
special tax breaks.
The law, aimed at spurring more production, sets a 35
percent base tax rate and provides a capped, per-barrel
credit that the Parnell administration expects will
apply to the vast majority of the legacy fields.
It also provides tax breaks for so-called "new" oil.
Lawmakers debated how best to define new oil. Metering
would relate to one type of new oil, that coming from
acreage added to existing producing reservoirs.
Separate meters wouldn't be required for each well,
addressing an industry concern. But Rep. Beth Kerttula
worries the regulations create a loophole that would
allow oil from existing pools to get a better tax rate.
Fire marshal investigating
suspicious vehicle fire
A suspicious vehicle fire from Sunday evening is under
Brent Clancy of Capital City Fire Rescue says the call
came in just before 8:30. He says they were dispatched
to the visitors center in the Switzer Village trailer
park at 6590 Glacier Highway.
Firefighters found a 1997 green Ford Explorer with
visible flames coming from the rear of the vehicle.
Clancy says the rear cargo door was found ajar.
He says the fire was quickly extinguished.
November brings wet and cold
weather to Capital City
November in Juneau was wet and cold.
Meteorologist Kimberly Vaughn says the average
temperature was 30 degrees, 3 degrees below normal.
The warmest day came on the first of the month when it
reached 45 degrees. The coldest was on the 19th when it
dipped to 8 above.
The forecaster says precipitation was reported in over
two-thirds of the month.
A total of 6.69 inches was measured at the airport,
point 7 inches above normal.
Snowfall amounted to 19.2 inches, 6.1 inches above
normal. There was a record snowfall of 10 inches on the
The forecaster says winds prevailed mainly from the
southeast at the airport. The strongest gust was 46
miles per hour there on the 22nd.
There was an 83 mile per gust in the downtown area on
Alaska Students Named to U.S.
Senate Youth Program
JUNEAU -- John
Walsworth of Homer and Shanelle Afcan of Marshall have
been named Alaska’s representatives to the U.S. Senate
Youth Program by the Alaska Department of Education &
John Walsworth is a senior
at Homer High School. Shanelle Afcan is a senior at Mt
Edgecumbe High School, the state-run boarding school in
In addition, each student
receives a $5,000 scholarship. The program, including
all expenses for Washington Week, is funded by the
Hearst Foundation. Grant Ackerman and Emily Sexton, both
of Fairbanks, were named alternates.
Two student delegates from
each state, the District of Columbia, and Department of
Defense schools will participate in an intensive
week-long educational program in Washington, D.C., in
March. Students will hear policy addresses from
senators, cabinet members, officials of the Departments
of State and Defense, and directors of federal agencies.
Students will meet a Supreme Court justice. Members of
the military serve as mentors.
Carter to host webcast on
national parks expansion
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Alaska students from
Glennallen, King Salmon and schools near Wrangell-St.
Elias National Park will be part of a webcast hosted by
former President Jimmy Carter to commemorate the
anniversary of the Alaska National Interest Lands
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the hour-long
event begins at 2 p.m. Monday.
Carter in 1980 signed the act that doubled the size of
the national park system.
The law expanded the park system by 43 million acres and
protected more than 100 million acres of federal lands
It created 10 new national parks and increased acreage
of three parks.
The National Park Service estimates the webcast will be
seen by 90,000 students.
It's titled, "Celebrating President and Mrs. Carter and
Their Contributions to the National Park Service."
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
25 newly elected mayors gather
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — More than two dozen
newly-elected American mayors are gathering at Harvard
University this week for a three-day leadership
New Fairbanks Mayor John Eberhart is among those
The seminar on Transition and Leadership for Newly
Elected Mayors, co-sponsored by the U.S. Conference of
Mayors, will run from Wednesday until Friday at Harvard
University's Institute of Politics at the John F.
Kennedy School of Government.
Institute Director Trey Grayson says the seminar is an
opportunity for new city leaders to engage with and
learn from academics, policy experts and political
practitioners on the urgent issues and complex
challenges of governing today.
The newly elected mayors will participate in a variety
of sessions that include transitioning from the campaign
to office, finance and administration, jobs and the
economy, public safety, education and technology.
Palmer man charged with felony
PALMER, Alaska (AP) — A Palmer man suspected of driving
drunk with a gun and children in his pickup has been
charged with felony driving under the influence.
Alaska State Troopers say 33-year-old Joseph Cleaver was
also charged with weapons misconduct and child
Troopers say a passenger, 30-year-old Darren Hildebrand
of Anchorage, was also intoxicated. He was charged with
weapons misconduct and endangering the welfare of a
A caller at 10 p.m. Sunday reported seeing a truck
weaving near Palmer.
An officer stopped the truck and determined Cleaver was
driving on a revoked license and had three previous DUI
convictions, including two in the last decade.
The officer found a loaded gun and two children under 6
in the truck.
Cleaver and Hildebrand remained jailed Monday at Mat-Su
Klukwan man jailed on drunk
driving and drug charges
A Klukwan man was arrested Friday on several charges
after Alaska State Troopers found his vehicle abandoned
in a ditch at Milepost 22 of the Haines Highway.
Investigation revealed that 38 year old Andrew Hotch was
intoxicated and lost control of the vehicle.
Troopers also found Hotch in possession of about
one-quarter ounce of marijuana.
He was charged with drunk driving and misconduct
involving a controlled substance in the sixth degree.
Hotch was jailed in Haines on $1,500 bail pending
Inmate accused of assaulting
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say an
inmate is accused of punching a correctional officer in
the face at the Anchorage Correctional Center.
Troopers say the male inmate became disruptive with
medical staffers on Wednesday.
According to troopers, the inmate initially complied
with commands, then spun around and hit one of the male
correctional officers, which resulted in an injury to
the officer's mouth and nose.
The officer was treated at a local hospital and
Troopers say the investigation is continuing.
Troopers: Man assaulted
girlfriend for 10 hours
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Tetlin Junction man faces
multiple felony charges after state troopers say he held
his girlfriend against her will and assaulted her for
more than 10 hours.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Alaska State
Troopers arrived in the village outside Tok and found
the woman with bruises and two black eyes.
She says 44-year-old Tony Tom Titus attempted to
strangle her and menaced her with a knife. She says he
threatened to shoot her, her children and the police if
she reported the assault.
Troopers arrested Titus after finding clumps of the
woman's hair in a garbage can.
He faces charges of kidnapping, second-degree felony
assault, third-degree felony assault and two counts of
fourth-degree misdemeanor assault.
Man attacked in Big Lake
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man staying at a home in Big
Lake was assaulted on Thanksgiving morning.
Alaska State Troopers say 23-year-old Benjamin Lawson
was sleeping in the house on Knapp Road when two men
kicked in the door at attacked him.
Troopers say the men pulled him out of bed between 3:30
a.m. and 4 a.m. and attacked him with fists. Spokeswoman
Beth Ipsen says Lawson may have been kicked.
A woman in the home was not hurt. KTUU-TV reports the
woman witnessed the assault.
Lawson refused care from medics but visited Mat-Su
Regional Hospital later. Ipsen says he suffered bruises.
Ipsen says no motive for the attack was immediately
Eaglecrest Opening Day Dec. 7
Dec. 2, 13 – A flurry of activity is taking Eaglecrest
Ski Area by storm in preparation for the limited Opening
Day on Dec. 7.
Eaglecrest announced that
Porcupine Chair will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to
service the Muskeg and Dolly Varden trails. A small
terrain park feature will be set up on Dolly Varden as
“The snow making system at
Eaglecrest is adding nicely to the snow Mother Nature
has already sent our way,” says Eaglecrest General
Manager, Matt Lillard. “The upper mountain needs a bit
more snow before we can safely open it.
Lift tickets for adults,
seniors, and teens will be $15; youth and children
tickets will be $10. Eaglecrest also plans to open the
Rental Shop during operating hours, as well as the
Eaglecrest Grill and Mountain Lift Coffee with select
menu items. The Snow Bus will not be in operation for
The Snowsports School will
hold beginning ski and snowboard lessons. Advanced
reservations for limited openings can be made by calling
907-790-2000, ext. 211
UPDATE: Eaglecrest "Cinderella Story" continuing
Voting in the final four of Powder Magazine's Ski Town
Throwdown is set for today and Tuesday.
Juneau's Eaglecrest ski area representing the Great
White North bracket goes up against Mt. Bohemia,
Michigan representing the Big East.
Eaglecrest Manager Matt Lillard says you can vote once
every 24 hours. So he says if you vote at 8 Monday
morning, you have to wait until after 8 on Tuesday
Lillard says The Great White North is favored in the
competition by Powder Magazine editors. He says the
editors believe that will be the case since that region
has had the biggest voter turnout.
As of Monday evening,
Eaglecrest was leading Mt Bohemia 2,458 to 967.
The other two finalists are Stevens Pass in Washington
State and Crested Butte in Colorado.
Go to the Eaglecrest web page for voting links.
Eaglecrest Hilary Lindh
Scholarship competition underway
Juneau, AK - Nov. 25, 13 – Eaglecrest Ski Area is
excited to hold the Annual Hilary Lindh Scholarship
Competition again this year. The Scholarship Competition
is hosted by the Eaglecrest Board of Directors, which
will award four 2013/2014 Season Passes. Two passes will
be awarded to each division; kindergarten through
fifth-grade, and sixth through twelfth-grade.
Scholarship winners will
be chosen based on scholastic achievement, competitive
spirit, and financial need. “We are looking for students
whose competitive spirit reflects Hilary Lindh’s
commitment to ski racing,” says Julie Jackson, Community
Outreach Supervisor at Eaglecrest Ski Area. All
applicants who turn in completed application packets and
meet all judging criteria will receive an Eaglecrest
lift ticket and equipment rental.
Applications are available
at all Juneau Public Schools, Raven & IDEA Home School
offices and online at SkiJuneau.com. These should be
submitted to Eaglecrest via fax, e-mail, or mail.
Alternatively, applications may be submitted in person
at the Eaglecrest Ticket Window or any Juneau Public
School by noon, Friday, Dec. 5. The 2013 recipients will
be announced via SkiJuneau.com on Monday, Dec. 16, 2013.
The Hilary Lindh
Scholarship Competition was established in 1992 in
recognition of Lindh’s Silver Medal in the 1992 Winter
Olympics At a young age she started skiing at Eaglecrest
and began dedicating years of hard work to downhill ski
racing. Lindh was inducted into the U.S. Ski and
Snowboard Hall of Fame in April 2006 and the Alaska
Sports Hall of Fame in February 2009.
For questions regarding
the 2013 Hilary Lindh Scholarship Competition visit
SkiJuneau.com or call Eaglecrest at (907) 790 – 2000,
Trooper OK to set traps on private property
WASILLA, Alaska (AP) — A review has found that a
longtime Alaska State Trooper didn't break any laws by
setting snares baited with moose heads on private
property near Wasilla.
The Anchorage Daily News reports that's because the area
that the trooper and his trapping partner used to access
the property wasn't posted with no-trespassing signs.
John Cyr, a trooper who works wildlife cases out of
Palmer, and partner Rick Ellis set the snares for coyote
and fox on land that belongs to Ralph Kircher, an Alaska
native who now lives in Auburn, Wash.
Kircher says he opposes trapping for sport, and that no
one asked permission from him or from the couple that
leases the land for a gravel pit near Colony High
Alaska Wildlife Trooper Capt. Burke Waldron, who
supervises Cyr, says that under state law it's not
criminal trespassing if the land isn't posted.
(Anchorage Daily News)
Western states ask feds to back
off on listing wolverines as threatened species
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An organization of wildlife
officials for Western states is asking the federal
government to delay a decision on a possible listing for
wolverines as a threatened species.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports the Western Association of
Fish and Wildlife made the request during a meeting in
Salt Lake City earlier this month.
It's estimated there are fewer than 300 of the elusive
carnivores in the Lower 48. A threatened listing could
mean an end to trapping the animals for their fur
State officials object to a listing based solely on
fears climate change could shrink the wolverine's
favorite wintry terrain along the spine of the Rocky
Mountains and other Western ranges.
Federal officials say they aren't trying to use the
wolverine as a means to regulate greenhouse gases.
(The Salt Lake Tribune)
Air quality alerts for
Fairbanks, North Pole
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks North Star
Borough has issued an alert for unhealthy air conditions
in North Pole because of high levels of particulate
The Daily News-Miner says the unhealthy air quality
alert is in effect through Monday. People with
respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children
are being advised to avoid prolonged exertion. Everyone
else should limit prolonged exertion.
In Fairbanks, the air also was deemed unhealthy for
sensitive groups. People with respiratory or heart
disease, the elderly and children should avoid prolonged
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
Rural Fairbanks power customers
see rate decrease
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Rural Fairbanks power customers
will be receiving good news on their December electric
Golden Valley Electric Association projects a $4
decrease in bills for an average customer because of
lower fuel expenses.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports fuel and the
cooperative's purchase power charge have dropped by 24
percent in two years.
Wind power, declining oil prices and cheaper natural gas
power purchased from Anchorage's Chugach Electric have
helped lower expenses.
Golden Valley says the average monthly residential bill
will be about $146 based on the use of 660 kilowatt
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
Anchorage schools see 25 percent
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage School District
officials say nearly one-fourth of the student
population changes school locations annually.
The Anchorage Daily News reports switching schools often
happens when parents move to different homes because
rent has increased or other reasons connected to
Some schools have a turnover rate of 50 percent.
Fairview Elementary principal Daniel Barker says the
last rate recorded for his school was 30 percent. He
says switching schools "affects everything" as students
make new friends and catch up to what their peers are
studying in school.
Barker says October and November are known for wild
fluctuations in student population.
Marcus Wilson, the principal at North Star Elementary,
which has seen 50 percent turnover in a year, says
changing schools means constant catch-up mode for
students and teachers.
(Anchorage Daily News)
out for Anchorage holiday deals
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Annie Luck's Black Friday
started Wednesday and included a mannequin.
The 53-year-old Anchorage woman set up a lawn chair at 4
p.m. Wednesday to stake out first place in line for the
opening of Best Buy at 6 p.m. Thursday.
The Anchorage Daily News reports Luck wore five pairs of
pants and five shirts to stay warm in 16-degree
Luck was shopping for three teenage sons. She figured
she could save $1,100 by getting to the store early for
two laptop computers and three iPods.
She spent part of Wednesday night sleeping in her car. A
dummy in a face mask and construction hat held her
Luck says she wished she could have been home to cook
Thanksgiving dinner but she's "going with the flow now."
( Anchorage Daily News)
State suspends Medicaid billing
by home health care provider
Department of Health and Social Services suspended the
Medicaid billing privileges of home-health-care business
Good Faith Services as of Nov. 25, 2013. Good Faith
offers in-home care, transportation and care
coordination services to Medicaid recipients.
The Department is required
to suspend billing if a business that bills Medicaid has
both a credible allegation of fraud against it and it is
being investigated for Medicaid fraud.
In February, 2013, the
Department of Health and Social Services’ Medicaid
Program Integrity section and Division of Senior and
Disabilities Services asked the state Department of
Law’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit to investigate
Health and Social Services
alleges that Good Faith billed the state for services
that its employees did not provide.
The state Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is investigating,
and has charged 39 company employees with Medicaid
fraud. The state has not charged the company with fraud.
The Medicaid billing
suspension is temporary; it would become permanent
should there be a conviction of a crime related to these
allegations. The company has appealed the suspension.
“We will continue to
support this ongoing investigation to protect the
integrity of the Medicaid program,” said Senior and
Disabilities Division Director Duane Mayes.
The Department of Health
and Social Services routinely refers cases to the
Department of Law for further investigation.
Southeast non-profits win Rasmuson grants
The Rasmuson Foundation has awarded $9.7 Million in
awards to support non-profit activities and continue
initiatives aimed at strengthening the nonprofit sector
and Alaska communities.
Three awards were made in Southeast Alaska.
Haines Assisted Living, Incorporated, will use a
$400,000 award and a challenge grant up to $99,000 to
construct a new veterans housing complex and centralized
nonprofit center to provide wellness services to
veterans and the broader community there.
The Ketchikan Youth Initiatives will receive two grants
amounting to $98,300 and $20,000 to compete interior
renovations of a community youth center.
The Organized Village of Kasaan will receive a $450,000
grant to restore the last Haida Clan House in Alaska.
$50,000 of the award requires a match.