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[Monday October 20th, 2014  11th  EDITION 4:37 P. M.]

Power restored within thirty minutes in numerous areas this afternoon
Power went out in numerous areas today around 3:10 PM, including downtown, West Juneau, Douglas, the Valley, Lena Loop, and out the road. 

AEL&P's Debbie Driscoll says all power was restored within 30 minutes.  She called the problem a load shed that caused multiple feeders to open. 

Begich urges more airport screenings for Ebola
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has urged the president to expand health screenings at more international airports, including Anchorage, in response to Ebola concerns.

In a letter to President Barack Obama, Begich said such "sensible travel restrictions" must be considered to help contain the outbreak in West Africa and prevent its spread to the U.S.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she isn't sure adequate protocols are in place to protect health care workers and the American public.

She said until that certainty exists, the Obama administration should consider banning or restricting travel from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, nations hit hard by the outbreak.

Last week, an epidemiologist for the state questioned the efficacy of additional airport screenings since people may not show symptoms for up to 21 days after exposure.

Candidates start final push as early voting starts
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Early voting has started in Alaska, as the candidates in the state's hotly contested U.S. Senate race begin their final push.

Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, whose campaign has been urging Alaskans to vote early, planned to cast his ballot on Monday in Anchorage and to hold a news conference defending his record as mayor of that city, a job he held prior to his election in 2008.

Meanwhile, Republican challenger Dan Sullivan was scheduled to be in Homer on Monday evening.

The two are scheduled to participate in a forum in Soldotna on Tuesday, one of a handful of forums and debates that both have agreed to ahead of the Nov. 4 election.

The race could help decide control of the Senate. Republicans see Begich as vulnerable.

Coast Guard completes international assist, disabled vessel safely moored
JUNEAU, Alaska — Coast Guard assets and personnel assisting the Canadian coast guard returned to their units after the disabled vessel, Simushir, was safely towed by commercial tugboats to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Monday.

“The trusted partnership we have with our Canadian counterparts continues to be a vital component to protecting lives at sea and mitigating potential maritime emergencies,” said Rear Adm. Dan Abel, commander, Coast Guard 17th District. “We are pleased this case ended with a positive outcome; preparing for the worst case scenario is the first step in an effective prevention and response plan.”

Coast Guard 17th District watchstanders in Juneau received a request for assistance on Friday from the Rescue Coordination Center in Victoria, who reported the Simushir had lost propulsion while transiting from Port Angeles, Wash., to Russia, and was at risk of running aground on the Queen Charlotte Islands with 11 crewmembers and approximately 168,000 gallons of fuel.

The Coast Guard forward deployed an Air Station Sitka Jayhawk helicopter crew Friday and an Air Station Kodiak C-130 Hercules crew with a State of Alaska Emergency Towing System on Saturday to the town of Sandspit on Moresby Island to provide search and rescue assistance to Canadian coast guard crews. The 17th District also stood up their incident management team to direct Coast Guard assets and personnel support. Coast Guard Sector Juneau deployed six members, including the sector’s commander, to Ketchikan to establish the foundation for a unified command and to exercise their sub-area contingency plan with state and local partners.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter SPAR, a 225-foot seagoing bouy tender homeported in Kodiak, was diverted Friday to the Simushir’s location with a State of Alaska Emergency Towing System onboard and arrived Saturday. The SPAR stayed on scene and kept in close communication with the Canadian coast guard vessels and the commercial tugboat, Barbara Foss.

The Barbara Foss took the Simushir into tow Saturday and safely transited to Brown Passage, where two other tugboats took over and brought the freight vessel into Prince Rupert.

“Assistance provided by the U.S. Coast Guard in the form of the USCGC SPAR and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter at the ready in Sandspit, B.C. highlights the ongoing support that the U.S. and Canada provide to each other,” said The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “And for that I would like to extend my appreciation.”

Official: Kenai Peninsula residents oldest
HOMER, Alaska (AP) — A state official says the Kenai Peninsula has some of the highest percentages of older Alaskans in the state.

The Homer News says Alaskans 50 and older account for 36 percent of the population on the peninsula, compared with 27 percent of the population in that age group statewide.

State demographer Eddie Hunsinger discussed Alaska's growing senior population during a presentation Friday at the Homer Senior Center.

Hunsinger's discussion was part of the first South Peninsula Senior Summit.

Hunsinger says the aging trend is expected to keep climbing. In two decades, seniors aged 65 and older on the peninsula are expected to make up nearly 25 percent of the population there, compared with 15 percent statewide and 20 percent nationwide.

Juneau musician donates $100K to local causes
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A Juneau musician marked his 87th birthday by donating $100,000 to four local organizations.

The donation by Ron Maas is to be divided equally among Juneau Jazz & Classics, Juneau Alaska Music Matters, the Juneau Symphony and the Glory Hole, a shelter and soup kitchen.

Maas, a trumpeter and leader of the Thunder Mountain Big Band, says when he was growing up, his family never had much to eat. He said he learned the need to help others.

Maas and his wife are long-time members of Juneau's arts scene and have made major donations before, including a $50,000 gift to the symphony and a scholarship to the Sitka Fine Arts Camp.

In 2008, they received a Mayor's Award for Patrons of the Arts.

Bike parts found behind Juneau apartment house
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Juneau police say they have no explanation for a stash of stolen bicycle parts found behind an apartment house in the Mendenhall Valley.

Lt. David Campbell reports that most Juneau bike thefts are crimes of opportunity and people steal them to get around, not to strip them.

Michelle Norman says she loaned her bike to a friend of her daughter and it was stolen outside a store.

The girl's stepfather received a tip about stolen bikes and found the Norman's bike frame among tires and wheels piled up behind Coho Apartments.

Norman says it will probably be cheaper to buy a new bike than to add handlebars, front forks, wheels, gears, pedals, shifters and brakes to her recovered bike frame.

First measurable snow falls in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The first measurable snow of the season has fallen in Alaska's largest city.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports six-tenths of an inch fell on Sunday at the National Weather Service's Sand Lake office.

And that was just the start. The agency says in a statement that another 1.5 inches fell there after midnight.

Snow depths from the first snowfall varied widely over the municipality.

Eagle River had three-tenths of an inch of snow, but one part of the Hillside south of O'Malley Road had 7 inches. There was also a measurement of 8 inches of snow along Turnagain Pass early Monday morning.

Alaska resumes issuing licenses to gay couples
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Gay couples can start getting married in Alaska on Monday.

Phillip Mitchell, with the state Department of Vital Statistics, said couples who completed applications last week before the courts issued a stay can start picking up their licenses Monday morning. He also tells The Associated Press in an email that offices across the state will again be taking marriage applications for same-sex couples.

A federal judge on Oct. 12 ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. The state intends to appeal, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay for the state to seek relief from the U.S. Supreme Court.

However, the nation's highest court denied the state's request for a stay on Friday, when marriages offices were closed for a state holiday.

Cab passenger dies after crash with SUV
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A woman riding in a cab died after a crash in midtown Anchorage but the cause of death has not been determined.

KTUU-TV reports two women and a 2-year-old child were in the cab at 7:30 p.m. Friday when it was struck by a sport utility vehicle that rolled through a stop sign at 40th Avenue and Denali Street.

Initial police reports said the women had received injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

However, at 3 a.m. Saturday, police learned one of the women had died. An autopsy was ordered to determine whether the crash played a role in the death.

The driver of the SUV, 35-year-old Bjarne Rasmussen, was issued a citation for failure to stop at a stop sign. He also was transported to a hospital.

Fairbanks air plan won't include local measures
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The official overseeing state efforts to clean up winter air around Fairbanks says any new measures taken by local government probably will not immediately make it into a cleanup plan required by the federal government.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation says the federal Environmental Protection Agency requires a cleanup plan by the end of the year.

Air Quality Division chief Alice Edwards says the state plan was conceived before Fairbanks North Star Borough voters this month rejected a continued ban on local air pollution controls.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the state plan has to include scientific modeling to show federal air standards can be met.

Fairbank's wintertime air is regularly out of compliance with federal standards because of particulate emitted by people heating with wood as an alternative to expensive heating oil.

Sen. Murkowski Releases GAO Report on Crude Exports
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today welcomed the release of a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) suggesting that lifting the ban on crude oil exports could decrease gasoline prices and grow the economy.

“This latest review by the GAO is a welcome addition to the growing body of analysis supporting the case for greater oil exports,” Murkowski said.

The report, available here, outlines a number of potential outcomes of lifting the ban, including greater oil production, economic growth and lower gasoline prices. GAO states:
“Removing export restrictions is expected to increase the size of the economy, with implications for employment, investment, public revenue, and trade. For example, removing restrictions is expected to contribute to further declines in net crude oil imports, reducing the U.S. trade deficit.”

GAO also states:
“The studies we reviewed and most of the stakeholders we interviewed suggest that consumer fuel prices, such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, could decrease as a result of removing crude oil export restrictions. A decrease in consumer fuel prices could occur because they tend to follow international crude oil prices rather than domestic crude oil prices, according to the studies and most of the stakeholders.”

The report also recommends that the Department of Energy re-examine the size of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

AFN convention this week in Anchorage

The Alaska Federation of Natives holds its annual convention this week in Anchorage.

The theme of this year's gathering is "Rise As One."

The convention opens Thursday with guest speakers including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and National Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby.

Two hometown speakers will present a joint keynote address Thursday: Miriam Aarons, Communications Director for Bering Strait Native Corporation and former NFL player Mao Tosi.

The agenda for Friday's session includes the usual speeches from elected officials and candidates, and one item never seen before at A-F-N: a 5-minute update on ebola virus preparedness.

The A-F-N convention, billed as Alaska's largest annual gathering, is expected to attract up to 5-thousand attendees to the Dena'ina Convention Center in downtown Anchorage.

[Sunday October 19th, 2014  5th  EDITION 6:21 P. M.]

State lays claim to land along refuge boundary
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The state is seeking conveyance of nearly 20,000 acres on the western boundary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The state says the lands were requested under the Alaska Statehood Act and Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. But Gov. Sean Parnell says the federal government has been improperly drawing the boundary.

In a release, Parnell says his administration began a review of the boundary after the Department of Natural Resources received bids for oil and gas tracts in the area in 2011.

He says conveyance will bring the acreage under state control for oil and gas exploration.

Maureen Clark, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, told APRN the agency received the state's request and was checking if the issue was the subject of prior litigation.

Parnell meets with Guard members
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sean Parnell met with Alaska National Guard members amid ongoing criticism about the administration's response to allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct within the Guard.

Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow says this was a drill weekend and hundreds of Guard members attended the town hall at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Sunday.

Leighow said by email that Parnell was addressing changes that are being implemented within the Guard and taking members' questions. She says Guard leadership was not in attendance.

A report from 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. In response, Parnell asked the leader of the Guard to resign.

Parnell vowed to implement the report's recommendations to help restore confidence.

Files allege misconduct among recruitment officers
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Investigative files show years of alleged sexual and other misconduct among officers within the Alaska Army National Guard's Recruiting and Retention Battalion.

The files, leaked to the Alaska Dispatch News, were prepared between 2010 and 2014.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports the files describe a unit in which officers cheated on their wives, bullied civilians, drank to excess and made demeaning comments about women, including fellow soldiers.

Most of the leaked files contain portions of the full investigations and do not provide defense statements from the officers or the final results of the investigations.

Gov. Sean Parnell has been criticized for not acting quickly enough in response to allegations of misconduct within the Guard. News organizations and others have requested information on the administration's response and Guard records.

Record number registers for ultra race
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A record number of people have signed up for the White Mountains 100-mile ultra race north of Fairbanks.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 155 people signed up for 65 slots in the race, scheduled for March.

A lottery determines the roster and wait list.

There are three divisions: biking, running and Nordic skiing. Ninety-six people signed up for the bike race, 31 people signed up for the ski race and 28 for the run.

Returning are the reigning winners and record holders in the men's and women's bike division, Josh Chelf and Amber Bethe. Also back is two-time women's foot race champion and record holder Laura McDonough.

The 65-person field currently includes racers from a handful of states in the Lower 48, two from Canada and one from Spain.

Restoration plan taking longer than expected
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Government attorneys say a restoration plan for addressing lingering effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill is taking longer than expected to complete.

The six-step plan includes testing of possible bioremediation technologies.

The attorneys, in a recent court filing, said it will be necessary to apply what was learned from the testing to all known or predicted oiled sites before moving ahead. They proposed another update to the court by June 30.

Lawsuits brought against Exxon Mobil Corp. by the state and federal governments after the 1989 spill led to a $900 million settlement and a consent decree that included a clause that would allow the governments to seek additional funds for restoration projects.

In 2006, the governments demanded $92 million but haven't asked a judge to enforce the provision.

Ketchikan officials to consider prayer at meetings
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly is set to consider whether to begin its meetings with a prayer.

A public hearing and vote are scheduled for Monday.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports that there was disagreement at an earlier meeting about whether non-religious speakers would be allowed to deliver invocations and how much time would be set aside for prayer.

One proposal would set time limits of 30 seconds to 90 seconds for prayers or meditative observances "with a positive and cooperative focus." Another would allow representatives of all faiths and denominations to deliver invocations, including moments of silence.

Update: Coast Guard Cutter SPAR open house in Juneau, Alaska, cancelled
JUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard Cutter SPAR open house scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 19, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Coast Guard Pier in Juneau has been canceled.

The SPAR has been diverted to provide assistance to the Canadian Coast Guard, who are responding to a freight vessel adrift off the coast of British Columbia’s Queen Charlotte Islands.

Man fleeing with stolen TV runs in front of JPD patrol cars
It was bad timing for one thief in Juneau Saturday night. A man running from a store with a TV over his head ended up crossing the road just as a procession of Juneau Police patrol cars approached.

Four Juneau Police officers were traveling in a procession on Glacier Highway near Northwood Street on Saturday just before midnight. The officers were en route to a location to follow-up on an assault case from the day before.

As the officers approached the intersection of Glacier and Renninger Street, a man ran in front of the patrol cars carrying a large object over his head. The man was running toward Renninger Street from the direction of WalMart. The officers contacted the man as he placed a 42” flatscreen TV into the back of a pickup truck in the parking lot of a nearby apartment complex. Investigation revealed the man had stolen the TV from WalMart and exited through an emergency exit in the back of the store, where police found him running across the street.

The suspect, 33 year-old Berton Atlas Tullis, was arrested and charged with Larceny. He was taken to Lemon Creek Correctional Center and later released.

Alcohol did not appear to be a factor.

Contractors are starting repair work on the Salmon Creek Road Monday to repair an 80-foot section of the road that washed away last winter after heavy rains. As a safety measure, the trail will be closed to the public during these repairs. Repairs are expected to be completed by the end of November.

The damaged section is located about a mile up from the gate, halfway between the gate and the old upper power house where the actual Salmon Creek Trail to the dam begins. The damage is not far from where a larger section of road washed out in 2005, also causing a temporary road closure.

The 30-year-old road is part of the Salmon Creek Hydro Project regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and operated and maintained by AEL&P.

Image of road damage taken in January 2014 by Scott Willis of AEL&P

American tug towing disabled Russian cargo ship to Prince Rupert, B.C.
OLD MASSETT, B.C. - The stricken Russian container ship Simushar is under tow again off the north coast of British Columbia.

The Canadian Forces' joint rescue co-ordination centre in Victoria says the ocean-going American tug boat Barbara Foss has a secure line attached to the ship.

Spokesperson Acting Sub Lt. Melissa Kia says the owners of Russian vessel plan to have it taken to Prince Rupert.

Kia says the winds and seas have calmed significantly since yesterday, and at their current speed of seven nautical miles per hour the ships should reach port later today.

The Canadian Coast Guard vessel Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the U.S. Coast Guard vessel Spar are providing escort service.

A mechanical failure left the Simushar drifting in heavy seas Thursday night, sparking fears it could run aground and spill hundreds of tonnes of fuel along the pristine shores of Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands.

A Canadian Coast Guard vessel tried towing Simushar yesterday, but the tether kept breaking.

Kia says there have been no such problems since the bigger and better equipped tug took over.

[Saturday October 18th, 2014  5th  EDITION 9:58 P. M.]

Proposal would run recycling program as non-profit
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks-North Star Borough is looking 300 miles south in the hopes of finding a better solution to trash and recycling.

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough runs a recycling program as a non-profit, with eight employees and 400 volunteers.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports an ordinance going before the assembly for a vote next week would spend $75,000 on updating a municipal recycling plan from 2005.

And Assemblyman John Davies thinks the Mat-Su model works. It pays the bills with donations, a $75,000 municipal grant and by selling high-quality baled recyclables to brokers in Washington.

Davies says recycling might make financial sense if the rate for selling bundled recyclables by the ton is comparable to what it costs to bury a ton of trash in the landfill.

Coast Guard responds to vessel aground near Ketchikan
A Coast Guard Station Ketchikan boatcrew and an Air Station Sitka helicopter crew responded to a 38-foot fishing vessel aground with one person aboard near Ketchikan, Saturday morning.

The Ketchikan boatcrew recovered the boater from the beach and transferred him to Station Ketchikan.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau watchstanders received a report of a vessel aground at Lyman Anchorage in Clarence Strait.

Watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast for assistance from any nearby mariners and requested the launch of the Station Ketchikan crew.

The Jayhawk helicopter crew, returning from a previous mission, was diverted to the scene to assist. A good Samaritan vessel, the Guardian, answered the UMIB and proceeded to the location.

Once on scene, the Station Ketchikan boatcrew launched a workskiff and recovered the boater from the beach. They returned to Ketchikan where the boater was reunited with his family with no medical assistance needed.

“We encourage all mariners to ensure emergency and safety equipment is in good working order,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Durham, watchstander, Sector Juneau. “Proper use of personal floatation devices and emergency equipment greatly helps in locating and rescuing mariners in distress”.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Weather on scene was reported as 17 mph winds and 2-foot seas.

CCFR responds to fire on Gee St. Friday afternoon
Capital City Fire and Rescue responded to a house fire in the 9000 block of Gee Street Friday afternoon. Assistant Fire Chief Ed Quinto reports that smoke was billowing out of the front door when responders arrived. The fire was quickly extinguished and contained to the kitchen area.

The kitchen sustained an estimated $30,000 in damage. No injuries were reported.

Light earthquake felt in Anchorage; no damage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Earthquake Center says a light quake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.3 was felt in Anchorage and nearby communities Friday night.

The center says it has received no reports of damage.

The quake hit at 9:32 p.m. at a depth of 38 miles. It was centered on the Kenai Peninsula, about 80 miles south-southwest of Anchorage, and was felt in Anchorage, Homer, Kenai, Ninilchik and Soldotna.

The center says a minor aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 3.6 was recorded four minutes later, at 9:36 p.m. in almost the same location. There were no reports that it was felt or caused damage.

Alaska jobless rate unchanged from August
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's unemployment rate was 6.8 percent last month.

State labor officials say in a web posting that remains unchanged from August.

However, officials said it is higher than the 5.9 national unemployment rate.

The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.9 percent, which was lower than the 6.2 percent in August.

Officials said September traditionally has the lowest unadjusted rate as school starts back up and tourism hasn't fully leveled off.

[Friday October 17th, 2014  13th  EDITION 4:16 P. M.]

Week long celebrations in Sitka in observance of Alaska Day
In Sitka, Alaska Day is marked with a week long celebration.

Sitka served as the capital of the Alaska Territory until 1906, when the seat of government was relocated north to Juneau. Transfer of Russian claim of Alaska to the United States occurred October 18, 1867 in Sitka.

Events continue through Sunday. Find the events list at

Supreme Court denies Alaska's request for stay
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Gay marriages will resume Monday in Alaska.

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell's spokeswoman says the state will comply with a federal court judge's order to allow gay marriages to continue.

However, Sharon Leighow says in an email to The Associated Press that the state will continue to seek a review of the matter by the full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday denied the state's request to halt gay marriages while the state appeals.

A federal judge last Sunday struck down Alaska's law as unconstitutional. Another judge in Arizona issued the same ruling there Friday, and that state's conservative attorney general decided not to contest it any further.

Joshua Decker with the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska called on Parnell to follow suit.

However, Leighow says Parnell swore an oath to uphold the state constitution and will continue with the appeal to the federal appeals court.

Lap pool reopened
Dimond Park Aquatic Center had to close the Lap Pool today.

A chlorine part broke. They had to shut down the pool until it was fixed. It has been fixed and replaced. This afternoon they had to wait for chlorine levels to return to normal before reopening.

Container ship on way from US to Russia loses power off British Columbia coast@
HAIDA GWAII, B.C. - A container ship on its way from Washington state to Russia lost power and was drifting Friday off the coast of British Columbia.

The Canadian Forces' joint rescue co-ordinationcentre in Victoria said the Simushir was about 10 miles (16 kilometres) off Haida Gwaii.

Acting Sub. Lt. Ron MacDougall said there were concerns the vessel could run aground in heavy winds. The Canadian and U.S. Coast Guards were responding.

MacDougall said there were 11 people on board. A helicopter was dispatched to remove the captain, who was injured.

The ship was carrying 440 tons of bunker oil and 55 tons of diesel.

US rig count down 12 to 1,918
HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by 12 this week to 1,918.

The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,590 rigs were exploring for oil and 328 for gas. A year ago there were 1,739 active rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained two rigs, while West Virginia and Wyoming each increased by one.

Oklahoma decreased by seven rigs, New Mexico was down four, Alaska was off two and Arkansas, California and North Dakota each dropped one.

Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Utah were unchanged.

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

Supreme Court denies Alaska's request for stay
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday denied the state of Alaska's request to put a stop to gay marriages pending an appeal.

Justice William Kennedy denied the request in a written order Friday morning.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess on Sunday ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Couples began applying for marriage licenses on Monday, beginning a three-day clock before ceremonies could be held. However, some couples received waivers to the wait period and married immediately.

The state filed notice of appeal to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and sought a stay while the appeal is being considered. The court only issued a stay until 11 a.m. AKDT Friday to give the state time to petition the high court.

Kosciusko is Alaska's newest city
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A small community in southeast Alaska is the state's newest city.

A state commissioner signed incorporation documents this week for Edna Bay, which has a population of 49.

The community is located on Kosciusko (kah-zee-UH'-sko) Island 90 miles northwest of Ketchikan.

Elections officials earlier this month certified results of an election involving locals in Edna Bay on whether to incorporate. State officials say residents voted 33 to 6 to incorporate.

Officials say the state is helping in establishing a new city council, and plans to work with it in coming months.

Arizona same-sex ruling follows the others
Within days of Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage being overturned by a federal judge, another federal judge from Alaska has done the same for Arizona.

U.S. District Judge John Sedwick issued a four-page ruling today (fri) that found Arizona's same-sex marriage ban violates the constitutional rights of equal protection and due process.

Sedwick was based in the Alaska district until 2011, when he became a semi-retired senior judge within the 9th circuit, which includes both Alaska and Arizona.

In his ruling, Sedwick refused to issue a stay, adding that the Supreme Court was unlikely to intervene, given the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last week against similar language in Idaho and Nevada.

Senator plans to investigate Guard situation
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — State Sen. Lesil McGuire says the Legislature will hold hearings into the troubled Alaska National Guard, but she's getting push back from the Senate president.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports McGuire also will call for a special investigator into allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct within the Guard.

However, Senate President Charlie Huggins says he doesn't know if the Legislature will do anything but muddy the water.

After allegations of sexual assault within the agency, a federal report released Sept. 4 found evidence of fraud and ethical misconduct. Critics said Gov. Sean Parnell, who is seeking re-election next month, didn't act quickly enough.

Huggins says it doesn't make sense to hold hearings with the election next month. But he's not convinced hearing are the best approach later, either.

Pot-smoking teacher receives criticism, support
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A veteran Juneau elementary school teacher, who publicly acknowledged in a newspaper opinion piece that he smokes marijuana, will not be disciplined by school administrators.

Adam Berkley is receiving both support and criticism from parents, but that disciplinary measures are not planned.

Superintendent Mark Miller says moral turpitude regulations within the Professional Teaching Practices Commission specify that drug use at work is unacceptable.

Miller says that what employees do in their free time is up to them and that Berkley is within his rights.

Berkley possesses a medical marijuana license and says it's used to treat epilepsy.

He also supports recreational pot use by adults.

He plans to meet next week with parents who have expressed concerns about his use of marijuana.

Body of missing woman found in east Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The body of a woman reported missing in Anchorage has been found in the Mountain View neighborhood.

KTUU-TV reports the body of 54-year-old Irma Williams was found Wednesday.

Her family last saw were a month ago and reported her missing Sept. 15.

Police are asking the public for information regarding the death. The department's homicide unit is investigating.

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.

Police spokeswoman Dani Myren says Williams was not considered a vulnerable adult and had not previously been reported missing.

Jury acquits man in pipeline false statement case
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A federal jury has acquitted a Fairbanks man of lying to the FBI as it investigated the 1978 bombing of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the jury returned a not guilty verdict Thursday on three counts in the trial of 62-year-old Phillip Martin Olson.

Prosecutors said Olson told investigators he had participated in setting off an explosion on the pipeline and that another man, identified as C.D. in charging documents, had also participated.

The other man denied any role in the explosion.

The statute of limitations had passed for prosecution of the bombing, which caused a crude oil leak of 12,000 to 14,000 barrels east of Fairbanks.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Bottini (boh-TEE'-nee) says by email the verdict surprised him because evidence was strong.

Association seeks to reopen Bethel flight school
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — The Association of Village Council Presidents is working on a new funding plan to reopen its flight school in Bethel.

The association closed the school last year, citing high operating costs and diminished federal funding. The school originally opened in 2003.

AVCP president Myron Naneng tells KYUK that reopening the school is part of an economic development strategy.

The association is pursuing a new plan for funding as a regional training center.

Naneng hopes to have funding in place to begin operations in early 2015.

Vilsack to headline Begich fundraiser
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is set to headline a fundraiser for Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.

The event is scheduled for Wednesday evening in Anchorage.

Begich is facing a tough re-election fight against Republican candidate Dan Sullivan, who topped Begich in fundraising during the last quarter.

[Thursday October 16th, 2014  11TH  EDITION 4:48 P. M.]

Waterline Break in Douglas
At 3:00 this afternoon a waterline break occurred between John St. and Lawson Creek Road.  Residences in that area are currently without water.

Kirk Duncan, Director of Public Works says crews are on sight and working to resolve the problem.  As of 4:30 pm there was no estimate of when water will be back on.  Please be cautious of crews working along the roadside.

Winter Forecast/Temperature Prediction
NOAA's Climate Prediction Center Thursday announced it's forecast for the winter months December through February. Director Mike Halpert, speaking at a teleconference, had this prediction on temperatures, "That outlook favors warmer than average conditions out west, along the U-S/Canadian border eastward into New York and New England and as well as for Hawaii and Alaska. Below average temperatures are favored in the south central and southeastern parts of the nation."

Halpert said an expected mild El Nino in the Pacific makes extreme cold in the northern sections of the US less likely. "Typically when we see El Nino even the weaker ones we see warmer conditions if not in the US we see it up on the parts of Western and Central Canada and Alaska. And so that again would make that really cold arctic air that would have to spill down through that area in our country less likely. So again the idea of seeing a repeat of last winter is just not particularly likely."

JPD Crime Line Crime of the Week: Gas siphoning in numerous neighborhoods
Between September 18th and the 24th, several Juneau residents reported gas siphoned from vehicles. There was 44 gallons taken from the 1900 block of Lemon Creek Road, 40 gallons from the 1700 block of Glacier Highway and 5 gallons from the 4200 block of North Douglas.

All of the vehicles involved were built in the mid-1990s. Vehicles built after 2000 often have a valve that shuts off gas if a vehicle rolls. The valve is a fire protection device that also prevents someone from pushing a hose into the gasoline. JPD recommends drivers of vehicles built before the year 2000 consider a locking gas cap, especially if gas has already been stolen. Thieves will tend to return to a vehicle where they have previously been successful.

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.

Parnell: State at low risk for Ebola
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sean Parnell says Alaska is at low risk for Ebola infections but he says the risk is real and the state is taking steps to be prepared.

Parnell held a news conference Thursday in Anchorage that included the state's chief epidemiologist, Joe McLaughlin, and epidemiologist Michael Cooper.

He said a task force has been created to coordinate planning and preparedness and that he's asked for regular updates. Parnell also said the health department has been directed to continue activities with health care facilities that include training and exercises.

Cooper said there has long been a quarantine station at Alaska's largest airport, in Anchorage, for infectious illnesses. He questioned the efficacy of enhanced screening for Ebola at airports, given that people can develop systems up to 21 days after exposure.

Man charged with vandalizing wildflower meadow
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — A 19-year-old Kasilof (kah-SEE'-lauf) man suspected of damaging city of Kenai land planted with colorful wildflowers has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The Peninsula Clarion reports a pickup driven by Josiah Mcelwain (MAC'-el-wayn) was found at 3:30 a.m. Monday stuck in a ditch near the meadow.

Kenai Police Sgt. Ben Langham says witnesses reported a truck driving back and forth in the 1.4-acre field along the Spur Highway, creating deep ruts.

Langham says the truck was still moving in the field when officers arrived.

City parks and recreation director Bob Frates (frayts) estimates half the field was destroyed.

Online court records did not list an attorney for Mcelwain.

Sitka tribe to develop shellfish testing lab
SITKA, Alaska (AP) — The Sitka Tribe of Alaska is planning to build a lab to test shellfish for naturally occurring toxins that could pose a health threat to subsistence harvesters.

The development of the lab is being funded by a $527,000 grant from the Administration for Native Americans, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Daily Sitka Sentinel reports the lab will allow the tribe and six other tribal organizations to assess vulnerability in their communities for health risks.

Sitka Tribe of Alaska's resource protection director Jeff Feldpausch says the lab won't certify beaches for shellfish harvesting. But he says it can "raise a red flag" about risks.

Feldpausch says the lab will serve as an early warning system about the presence of toxins.

Chief: Bad communication in notifying wrong family
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Juneau police used the social media site Facebook to find the next of kin for a man killed in a car crash last week. But they used the page for the wrong Justin Priest.

Police identified the victim as 33-year-old Justin Priest and found a Facebook page for a man with the same name, from Anchorage.

Police asked Alaska State Troopers for help verifying the family's relationship. But a Troopers spokeswoman said the message they received was for a death notification. The wrong family was notified.

Police Chief Bryce Johnson called it a communication error. He said efforts will be made to prevent this from happening again.

He also said police would continue to use Facebook as a tool to help find next of kin.

Palmer police investigate body near fairgrounds
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Palmer police say a man found dead Tuesday night near the Alaska State Fair fairgrounds was apparently struck by a vehicle.

KTUU-TV reports police are releasing few other details about the death of 31-year-old David T. Beard.

Palmer Police Department Cmdr. Lance Ketterling says in a statement that Beard's body was found just before 10 p.m. Tuesday in grass off the Glenn Highway.

Ketterling says a Palmer police officer found the body. Police are examining the vehicle that they believe struck him.

Ketterling says police need to confirm "a lot of details" before more information can be released.

Senator takes blame for absence from pamphlet
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A candidate statement from a Fairbanks state senator is absent from the state informational pamphlet sent to voters, but he's not blaming the Division of Elections.

Republican Pete Kelly tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner he missed messages from the Elections Division for submitting a statement and called too late to make its deadline.

He's running against Democrat Tamara Kruse Roselius.

The Division of Elections sends two letters to notify candidates of the opportunity to be in the pamphlet — most of the time.

The division acknowledges it failed to send proper notification to independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker.

He was not included in the pamphlet sent to voters last week. The division planned to print and send a supplemental pamphlet for gubernatorial and lieutenant governor candidates.

New Sullivan ad features Condoleezza Rice
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan's national security experience is the focus of a new ad featuring former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Sullivan worked with Rice as an assistant secretary of state from 2006 until January 2009. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves.

In the spot, released Thursday, Rice says the nation and world face serious security threats. She says Sullivan's national security experience will make the country safer.

Sullivan is challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in a race that could help decide control of the Senate.

Rice appeared in a similar ad earlier this year for the super PAC American Crossroads, attempting to swat down criticism of Sullivan's time away from the state.

Jury deliberates pipeline false statement case
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks jury has begun deliberations for a man charged with making false statements about the 1978 bombing of the trans-Alaska pipeline.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Phillip Martin Olson ,if convicted, could face up to five years in prison.

The FBI says an agent interviewed Olson in November and January and that Olson acknowledged responsibility for the pipeline explosion on Feb. 15, 1978, east of Fairbanks.

The resulting small hole allowed 12,000 to 14,000 barrels of crude oil to spill before it could be sealed.

The statute of limitations had run out for charges in the bombing.

Federal prosecutors say Olson lied and said another man had assisted him in setting off the explosion, costing the FBI time and resources investigating.

Panel says SB 21 working
A new state panel appears satisfied that Alaska's oil production tax is working as intended. The Oil & Gas Competitiveness Review Board met for the first time Wednesday.

The board created as part of S-B 21, the tax law enacted last year, includes industry experts, state officials, and two members of the public appointed by the governor.

The panel heard Wednesday that the decline in production has slowed, and the state is collecting more revenue than under the previous tax system.

S-B 21 survived a referendum at the August election.

The review board is set to report its findings to the legislature before the start of the next session in January.

Appeals court halts gay marriages in Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a temporary halt to gay marriages in Alaska.

The federal appeals court in San Francisco issued the stay late Wednesday afternoon. It's allowing the state until Friday to get a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.

If that stay isn't issued, the federal court action dissolves at 11 a.m. Friday, when gay marriages will be allowed to go forward.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess on Sunday struck down Alaska's ban on same-sex marriages as unconstitutional.

Gay couples began applying for marriage certificates Monday, beginning a three-day clock to when ceremonies could be held on Thursday. However some couples received waivers from judges and have already married.

Police name driver killed in crash with house
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police have identified the man who was killed when his sedan hit a house.

Police say the driver was 58-year-old Ralph Edward Lockhart of Anchorage.

He died after his car left the street early Tuesday morning, struck a tree and drove into a corner of a house.

No one in the home was injured.

Police say Lockhart was declared dead at the scene.

The investigation continues.

State to discuss Ebola preparedness
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — State officials are planning a news conference to provide an update on Alaska's Ebola preparedness plan.

Gov. Sean Parnell, health commissioner Bill Streur, chief epidemiologist Joe McLaughlin and epidemiologist Michael Cooper will hold the news conference on Thursday in Anchorage.

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make Ebola test kits available in Alaska as a precautionary measure. Earlier this week, he also called for the need for frequent communication with the public to ensure accurate information is available.