Back to KINYRadio.com

The Juneau Daily News

Latest Edition

Weekly Poll | News Center | Weather | Site Map | Air staff | Help | Contact Us | Home

News of the North Now  Listen to our latest full-length local newscast right now, on-demand.

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




 


 

[Monday December 15th,  2014  12th  EDITION 4:00 P. M.]

Walker submits pared-down capital budget
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Bill Walker has submitted a stripped-down capital budget that mainly includes projects with federal or other match funding.

Walker submitted the budget Monday, along with an operating budget developed by his predecessor, former Gov. Sean Parnell, that Walker has not endorsed.

The Walker administration plans to submit revised versions of both budgets next year.

The capital budget submitted was pared-down from what Parnell proposed to include $106.7 million in unrestricted general funds.

Walker's budget director, Pat Pitney, said any add-ons will be closely scrutinized.

Even with the pared down capital budget, the state is looking at a potential $3.2 billion budget deficit if operating levels are consistent with those proposed by Parnell. The budget deficit for the current year is projected to be $3.5 billion, amid much-lower-than-expected oil prices.

Powdered alcohol? Not so fast, lawmakers say
DENVER (AP) — States are moving to ban alcohol in powdered form before the product goes on sale out of concern it will increase underage drinking.

The product, called "Palcohol," is touted by its inventor as a convenient way to mix a drink. But lawmakers nationwide say that convenience will only make it easier for children to access alcohol.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont have already banned powdered alcohol. And Minnesota, Ohio, and New York are also considering outlawing it.

Colorado Republican Rep. JoAnn Windholz is introducing a bill to ban Palcohol in the session that begins next month.

Lipsmark, the company that owns Palcohol, notes that federal regulators have determined the product to be safe. However, the company is waiting for labeling approval.

Eaglecrest Ski Areas announces Hilary Lindh scholarship winners
Scholarship winners were chosen based upon scholastic achievement, competitive spirit, and financial need.

Two Eaglecrest season passes were awarded in each division; kindergarten through fifth-grade, and sixth through twelfth-grade. This year’s winners are Maddy Roemeling, Krishna Bathija, Sierra Coronell, and Cain Ramsey.

“Despite the fact that we received fewer applications this year, the quality of all of the applications was very high making the final selection difficult.” said Julie Jackson, Community Outreach Supervisor at Eaglecrest Ski Area. Eaglecrest received eleven applications for this year’s competition.

Maddy Roemeling is a student with the Raven Homeschool program. She applied for the Hilary Lindh Scholarship so she could ski more, as skiing is her favorite sport. Her goal this season is to challenge herself on new runs and she can always be counted on to take “one more run”.

Krishna Bathija is a student at Harborview Elementary who recently learned to ski and “absolutely loved it”. His teacher described him as a “first rate scholar with a great competitive spirit”. Krishna’s goal is to get better so he can ski down the Ptarmigan Chair.

Sierra Coronell is a student at Juneau Douglas High School who enjoys snowboarding but hasn’t had many opportunities to get to Eaglecrest. With this scholarship she plans to use it every chance she can. Sierra’s competitive spirit has allowed her to become an academic scholar.

Cain Ramsey is a student at Yaakoosge Daakahidi High School who is described as a bright student with a willingness to learn and improve. His passion is snowboarding and his goal is to improve snowboarding skills and remain active outdoors.

The Hilary Lindh Scholarship was established in 1992 in recognition of Lindh’s Silver Medal in the 1992 Winter Olympics. She competed on the World Cup circuit for twelve years, competing in three Olympics. In 1997 Lindh won the World Cup Downhill Championship. 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.

Located on Douglas Island just 12 miles from downtown, Eaglecrest is Juneau’s community owned ski area offering 4 chairlifts, and over 640 acres of skiable terrain. The area includes a professionally staffed Snow Sports School, a full-service Rental and Repair Shop, the Eaglecrest Grill, and groomed Nordic Trails.

Murkowski, Sullivan get committee assignments
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has retained her spot on the Senate Appropriations Committee, while incoming senator Dan Sullivan was assigned to several committees he had hoped to land.

Senate Republicans announced committee assignments Monday. The assignments are subject to approval by the GOP conference and the full Senate.

Sullivan, who will take office next month, had expressed interest in serving on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, given the importance of fisheries to Alaska, as well as on the Environment and Public Works Committee and the Armed Services Committee.

He was assigned to all three, plus Veterans' Affairs. Sullivan is a Marine Corps reservist.

Murkowski is expected to chair the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She will also serve on Indian Affairs and on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees.

Sealaska land transfer bill passes Congress
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Officials with Sealaska Corp. are pleased by passage of federal legislation that will transfer about 70,000 acres within the Tongass National Forest to the Alaska Native corporation.

The provision, included within a defense bill, passed Congress late last week. It represents a compromised worked out by Sen. Lisa Murkowski and is intended to make final the land claims owed to Southeast tribes under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

The land transfer includes more than 68,000 acres available for logging, as well as land for renewable energy and tourism projects and cemetery and historic sites. It also includes about 150,000 acres of old-growth timber in new conservation areas.

Sealaska says its current land base, along with the acreage in the legislation, represents less than two percent of the Tongass.

University of Alaska President sets retirement date
University of Alaska President Patrick K. Gamble informed the Board of Regents on Friday that he plans to retire June 1, 2015. Gamble was appointed president, following a national search, on June 1, 2010.

Under Gamble's leadership, the university developed "Shaping Alaska's Future", an initiative to address 23 issues identified through an extensive outreach effort, and the effects or outcomes the institution is working to achieve to ensure UA is serving the learning, research, economic, social and cultural needs of Alaska and Alaskans. UA is already seeing positive results in a number of key areas including improved graduation rates, more degrees and certificates being awarded, and increases in numbers of degrees in high demand areas like engineering, health disciplines and teacher education.

Gamble noted, "We are up and running in moving the University of Alaska forward on a path that builds on excellence and enhances its sustainability. We have a solid team of strong leaders...the chancellors, provosts, and other system executives, as well as highly-engaged faculty and staff...who are working together and coming up with innovative ways to advance the university."

According to Board of Regents Chair Jo Heckman, "President Gamble has been the right leader to guide the University through a period of rapid change in the higher education landscape. While it is hard to see him leave, the work he's done makes the University of Alaska highly attractive to potential candidates for the position."

The Board of Regents will discuss the process for filling the president's position at a scheduled board retreat in January. Heckman went on to say, "President Gamble's commitment to the university and its students is a deep and genuine one. It capstones a lifetime of serving our country and our state. He deserves the time that retirement will allow to enjoy family and explore personal interests."

Permanent Fund Board approves private equity commitments
The Alaska Permanent Fund Board of Trustees adopted changes to the Corporation’s investment regulations, reviewed Fund performance and heard presentations on expected global stock performance and new investment strategies at its meeting on December 10 and 11 in Anchorage. In addition, the Board made two commitments to Dyal Capital Partners for investments in established private equity firms.

“It is to Alaskans’ advantage when we are able to make these sort of direct investments because the management fees are much lower than if we relied on an intermediary manager,” said Bill Moran, Board Chair. “Over the years we have increased the Board’s knowledge of private equity investments and built up the Corporation’s internal capability, so we are comfortable taking on internal investments.”

The Board-approved investment is in two parts: $50 million is committed to Dyal Capital Partners III, a fund that focuses solely on acquiring strategic minority positions in established private equity managers, and an additional $500 million is committed to a pool with which Dyal makes co-investments alongside the Dyal III fund. The advantage to the second commitment is that it is at a lower fee structure for the Permanent Fund, leveraging the research and due diligence of the primary fund to grow the allocation with cost advantages.

The Board adopted amendments to the regulations list of allowed Permanent Fund investments, after putting the comments out for public notice prior to the meeting as required by state law. The amendments included changing the requirements for outside advisors on new investments to conform to industry changes that have occurred since the regulations were first adopted, and moving asset class restrictions to the Board-adopted Investment Policy, where they should more appropriately reside. In 2005 the Board was first granted authority by the Legislature to create a list of allowed investments in regulation, replacing the list that had been in statute since the creation of the Corporation.

During the meeting, the Board’s general consultant Callan Associates provided an overview of the Fund’s performance by asset class and individual mandate. In addition, AEW Capital Management provided a review of the real estate investment trust portfolio (REIT) that the firm manages on behalf of the Fund.

The next regular meeting is scheduled for February 25 and 26 in Juneau.

Fairweather cancels today
Due to severe weather in Prince William Sound FVF Fairweather sailings for today are canceled.

Additional ferry service has been scheduled for Cordova - Whittier - Cordova on Tuesday, Dec. 16. Additional Information will be provided as necessary.

AMHS staff is contacting affected passengers.

For schedule information, please visit FerryAlaska.com or contact your local terminal by dialing 1-907-465-3941 or toll-free at 1-800-642-0066.

Bethel shelter reopens with new rules
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — The only homeless shelter in Bethel has reopened with more stringent rules for clients.

KYUK reports Bethel Winter House reopened late Friday. The shelter had opened for the season on Dec. 1 but was closed just over a week later after a person who coordinated volunteers quit and clients were found to have alcohol inside the shelter.

The all-volunteer shelter board has reorganized as a Lion's Club chapter. And they've instituted new rules for anyone wanting to spend the night.

Volunteers will search backpacks and coats, looking for alcohol or other intoxicants.

One woman refused to go through the search Friday night and was turned away.

The shelter opened last year after six people died from exposure the previous year in the southwest Alaska hub community.

Village fuel company reports 900-gallon gas leak
PETERSBURG, Alaska (AP) — Responders pumped an estimated 1,700 gallons of oily water from a secondary containment area after a fuel spill last week in the southeast village of Kake (KAYK).

KFSK-radio reports 900 gallons of unleaded gasoline spilled Dec. 7 at a tank farm owned by Kake Tribal Fuel.

Kake is a village of 600 on northwestern Kupreanof (koo-pree-AN-off) Island.

The leak was discovered when a resident smelled a strong fuel odor. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation says a thumb-size hole was found in the tank.

The DEC found no effects on wildlife from the leak and detected no gas flowing into Keku Strait.

An estimated 5,500 gallons of gas leaked into saltwater a year ago when a fuel line broke at Kake Tribal's dock.

Juneau woman seeks answers after dog electrocuted
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A Juneau woman is seeking answers after her pug was electrocuted on a city sidewalk.

Cheryl Buchanan was walking her dog, Siri, earlier this month when the dog stepped on an electrically charged junction box. A junction box encloses the junction of electric wires and cables. This one had a metal lid over it.

The city's risk manager, who is investigating liability, said the investigation could be concluded by early next week.

Buchanan says she was handcuffed by police at the scene for threatening or intimidating an officer. She said she was upset but not a threat. She was not arrested and is not facing charges.

Anchorage schedules hearing on marijuana sales ban
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage Assembly will take testimony Tuesday on a measure to ban marijuana sales within municipal boundaries.

Alaska voters last month approved a ballot measure to legalize recreational use of pot. The measure included a provision allowing municipalities to prohibit businesses that sell marijuana.

An ordinance opting Alaska's largest city out of legal marijuana sales was introduced by Assemblywoman Amy Demboski, who wants to be Anchorage's next mayor.

She says the municipality should take a wait-and-see approach and shouldn't be a guinea pig for commercial marijuana in Alaska.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports pro-marijuana forces are hoping to organize a large turnout in opposition to the ordinance sponsored by Demboski and two other assembly members.

Searchers recover body from Kuskokwim River
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The body of a southwest Alaska man has been recovered from the frozen Kuskokwim River.

KTUU-TV reports searchers Sunday found the body of Ralph Demantle, one of three people who disappeared while traveling by all-terrain vehicle from Bethel to Akiak (AK'-ee-ak).

Searchers continue to seek another man and a woman.

The three were last seen Thursday night in the Kwethluk area. They were reported overdue early Friday night.

Members of Bethel Search and Rescue over the weekend discovered tracks leading to an open lead in the river. The hole was marked but the three were traveling in the dark on flat, smooth ice with snow falling.

At ATV was recovered from the river Saturday before Demantle's body was found.

Murkowski Lauds Alaskan Priorities in 2015 Funding Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Several provisions championed by Senator Lisa Murkowski are included the federal spending bill that passed the Senate today and heads to the President’s desk. The bill to fund the federal government operations for Fiscal Year 2015 – with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security, which is funded through March – includes vital items related to the Arctic, military rural infrastructure, transportation, energy, education, and veteran support.
“This bill is not perfect, but it is the product of bipartisan negotiations and directs resources critical to our state – protecting the health and well-being of Alaskans and our fisheries, prioritizing our defense and investing in infrastructure for our state’s needs and America’s Arctic future,” said Murkowski. “I thank my colleagues for coming together to avoid another unnecessary government shutdown, and I thank them for recognizing the importance of these provisions for Alaska.”

[Sunday December 14th,  2014  4th  EDITION 1:20 P. M.]

Medicaid expansion could be months away in Alaska
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — State health commissioner Valerie Davidson says it could be July before the state is in a position to begin enrolling Alaskans under expanded Medicaid coverage.

Davidson said issues need to be worked out with a Medicaid eligibility system as well as with a Medicaid payment system that has been plagued by problems since going live in 2013.

She also said Gov. Bill Walker's administration needs legislative approval to receive and spend federal dollars that will serve as an underpinning to expanded coverage.

Walker, who took office Dec. 1, campaigned on expanding Medicaid coverage, something his predecessor resisted, citing cost concerns.

Walker has said he considers his appointment of Davidson — a vocal proponent of expanded Medicaid — a big step toward the state accepting expanded coverage.

3 missing after four-wheeler pulled from water
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Three people are missing after authorities say their four-wheeler was recovered from the Kuskokwim River.

Alaska State Troopers, in a dispatch, say the missing — two men and a woman — were reported overdue at about 5 p.m. Friday. Search efforts also began Friday.

Bethel Search and Rescue, on its website, said a set of all-terrain vehicle tracks were seen leading to an open hole. It said a four-wheeler, matching the description of the vehicle that the missing individuals were using, was recovered from beneath newly formed ice.

KTUU reports the search and rescue agency previously issued warnings about travel on the river due to thin ice and areas of open water.

Borough makes second attempt at ride-share program
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks North Star Borough is taking another shot at establishing a ride-share program as a way to reduce vehicle emissions.

Car rental company Enterprise Holdings has a $300,000 contract with the borough to operate the program, which launched in late September. No one has signed up yet.

The cost for a newer-model, all-wheel-drive vehicle would be $900 a month, plus gas, which Enterprise officials say would be divided among as many as seven people.

Enterprise director of sales Robert Lerch says the company wants to make this a sustainable business.

In 2010, the borough used grant money to buy four passenger vans and hired a contractor from Anchorage to operate a ride-share program.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the effort faltered. The vans are being given to Anchorage.

Fairweather sailing cancelled today
Due to severe weather in Prince William Sound FVF Fairweather sailings for Sunday, Dec. 14 are canceled. The ferry has been rescheduled to sail Cordova - Whittier - Cordova on Monday, Dec. 15.

AMHS staff is contacting affected passengers. For schedule information, please visit FerryAlaska.com or contact your local terminal by dialing 1-907-465-3941 or toll-free at 1-800-642-0066.

Hawaii's high gas prices dip below $3 a gallon, Alaska 2nd highest
HONOLULU (AP) — Gas prices are dipping below $3 a gallon in some parts of Oahu for the first time in seven years. But the state still has the highest gas prices in the nation, followed by Alaska and New York.

Chevron station owner Barney Robinson says prices haven't come down as quickly in Hawaii as the mainland because it takes longer for oil to get to the islands by ship. He says Hawaii is still burning through older, more expensive crude.

Hawaii motorists also pay high gas taxes. Robinson says they pay about 70 cents a gallon in taxes.

Hawaii News Now reports Hawaii has the highest average price of $3.75 a gallon. Alaska and New York are the only other states where the average price tops $3 a gallon.

Anchorage school board weighs charter loan program
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage School Board is scheduled to consider a proposal aimed at addressing facilities needs for charter schools.

The resolution, on Monday's agenda, would establish a $5 million fund from which charter schools could borrow to help deal with space concerns. The money would come from the Anchorage school district's unassigned fund balance.

The resolution was proposed by board member Natasha von Imhof, who has had two children go through a charter school that houses students between several facilities, including portable classrooms.

Other charters face similar concerns.

Mike Abbott, the district's chief operating officer, told the Alaska Dispatch News the district has tried to give charter flexibility in acquiring and maintaining facilities.

Charter schools are public schools run by outside groups.
 

[Saturday December 13th,  2014  7th  EDITION 7:32 P. M.]

Teaching assistant arrested for child pornography
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Prosecutors say an Anchorage teaching assistant arrested on child pornography charges admits he routinely traded pictures of children being sexually exploited.

KTUU reports that Brown worked with special education students at Huffman Elementary School for about seven years.

Prosecutors said in charging documents Friday that 33-year-old Daniel Alan Brown started downloading illicit images of children about a decade ago.

FBI Special Agent Angela Strouse says Brown primarily used a Russian-based website and Yahoo to locate child pornography.

The Anchorage School District and court documents suggest there's no evidence of Brown sexually abusing children.

An investigation is ongoing. Brown faces a count each of felony distribution and possession of child pornography.

District spokeswoman Heidi Embley says the school's principal and nurse are available to talk with concerned parents.

Man sentenced in Anchorage police dog stabbing
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man who stabbed an Anchorage police dog was sentenced to four years in prison.

Alaska Dispatch News reports Noel Hommerding was charged with first-degree assault on a police dog and in July and sentenced Friday.

At the time of the incident, the canine— named MP — was months from retirement.

Officer Nathan Keays had heard there was a man wielding a machete so he went to the scene with the dog.

Keays sent his four-legged partner after the fleeing suspect, and the dog bit Hommerding's arm.

Hommerding pulled a pocketknife and sliced MP three times in the head and neck. The dog survived after surgery.

Prosecutor Daniel Shorey says the long sentence reflects the community's strong disapproval of the attack.

Shorey says Hommerding apologized during the sentencing.

Sea lion's head goes missing from Alaska pier
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — A sea lion head has disappeared from a pier in Ketchikan, Alaska.

The head had belonged to a massive male sea lion that was found dead in July.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports the head had been dangling from the pier into the water so it could be examined after it was cleaned by ocean critters.

Scientist Gary Freitag of the University of Alaska Fairbanks had examined the animal's other tissues over the summer for clues to its cause of death. He was planning to examine the head after it was submerged for about six months.

But within two weeks the head was missing. Freitag says it looks like the rope was cut through.

Freitag says he can't imagine anyone taking it, because it was probably "pretty ripe."

2 Alaska ferries under construction in Ketchikan
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — Two new Alaska Class Ferries are officially under construction in Ketchikan.

Gov. Bill Walker was on hand Saturday for the Laying of the Keels ceremony at the Vigor Alaska's Ketchikan Shipyard. The ceremony marks the official start of construction for the newest ferries in the Alaska Marine Highway System.

Spokesman Jeremy Woodrow of the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities called it a historic moment for Alaska.

In December 2012 then-Gov. Sean Parnell canceled a 350-foot Alaska Class Ferry in favor of smaller boats because of cost overruns. He ordered a new, smaller design for the Alaska Class Ferry and limited the budget to $120 million for two 280-foot boats.

The two boats will be steel-hulled, twin-screw, diesel-powered passenger and vehicle ferries.

Delivery is expected by 2018.

Sen. Murkowski Applauds Final Passage of Sealaska Lands Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Friday secured final Senate passage of legislation supporting Southeast Alaska’s struggling timber industry and completing the federal land conveyance owed to the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian tribal shareholders of the Sealaska Native Regional Corp.

“It has taken seven years, but I’m proud to say that we finally completed the land conveyance for Southeast Alaska’s nearly 20,000 Native shareholders, and at the same time ensured that the region’s remaining timber mills have timber,” Murkowski said.

Murkowski’s Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization and Jobs Protection Act, which she originally introduced as S. 340, was included in the bipartisan package of lands bills approved Friday as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

The measure provides Sealaska, the Alaska Native regional corp. for Southeast Alaska, with 70,075 acres to finalize transfer of land owed to its Native shareholders under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).
“Some 43 years after passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the federal government will finally finish paying the debt we owe Natives for the settlement of their aboriginal land claims,” Murkowski said.

Under a compromise worked out by Murkowski, Sealaska will receive 68,400 acres for timber development, 1,099 acres for renewable energy resources and recreational tourism projects, and 490 acres of Native cemetery and historic sites.

Sealaska’s forested acreage is key to the survival of the local timber industry and the U.S. Forest Service’s efforts to successfully transition toward young-growth and away from old-growth logging in the Tongass. Sealaska currently produces about 40 percent of the Tongass’ timber and without the infrastructure the corporation funds, the rest of the industry might not be able to survive.

The measure also places 152,067 acres of old-growth timber in new conservation areas to protect salmon and wildlife habitat.

“Passage of this agreement is absolutely vital because an integrated timber industry is crucial for the economics of a timber industry, and for other industries that Southeast depends upon,” Murkowski said. “This bill also will allow Sealaska to transition from timber to promoting renewable energy development and tourism – all positives for the region. This is a good early Christmas present for the economy of the entire Panhandle.”

Coast Guard conducts medevac near Cold Bay, Alaska
KODIAK, Alaska — The Coast Guard medevaced a 23-year-old man with an injured hand from the 120-foot fishing vessel Trailblazer approximately 75 miles north of Cold Bay, Thursday.

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew forward deployed in Cold Bay safely hoisted the man and transported him to Anna Livingston Memorial Clinic in Cold Bay for further medical assistance.

Coast Guard 17th District command center watchstanders received the call for assistance from the operator of the Trailblazer that a deckhand had crushed his hand in a crab pot launcher and needed immediate medical attention. The duty flight surgeon conferred with contacts at the clinic and recommended a medevac. The watchstanders then dispatched the Jayhawk helicopter crew to the scene.

“Having assets in forward operating locations like Cold Bay during the busy fishing seasons is beneficial to mariners in times of distress,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Francell Abbott, watchstander, Coast Guard 17th District.

Weather on scene was reported as 17-mph winds, 10 miles visibility and a temperature of 37 degrees.

UA Board of Regents addresses teacher prep, rural education and adopts new policies
Rural education, teacher prep and teacher retention were topics of significant discussion during the University of Alaska Board of Regents meeting in Anchorage, Dec. 11-12. Regents heard from the deans of education from UAA, UAF and UAS on a collaborative plan to revitalize teacher education in Alaska. This ambitious plan will help to meet some of Alaska’s most pressing needs, while continuing to improve the quality of teacher education in Alaska. The plan can be found at http://www.boarddocs.com/ak/alaska/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=9QVCW483A05F.

Also on the topic of education in Alaska, the Board heard an update on Shaping Alaska’s Future Theme II: Productive Partnerships with Alaska’s Schools. Board members reported on their “homework assignments” to each talk with two superintendents at schools across Alaska. The progress report of Productive Partnerships can be found at http://www.boarddocs.com/ak/alaska/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=9R8NFD5FB531.

The UA Board of Regents adopted two new two policies, an employee furlough policy and a systemwide smoke-free, tobacco-free policy, during its two-day meeting in Anchorage. The smoke-free, tobacco-free policy is a revision to existing policy that will require all UA campuses and its statewide offices to be smoke-free, tobacco-free by Dec. 1, 2015. With this change in policy, UA joins more than 1,000 other universities that have developed similar smoke-free, tobacco-free policies.

Lt. Governor Byron Mallott presented an overview of the new administration and their vision for working with the University to address several challenges facing Alaska in the future. Governor Walker will name four new regents to the Board.

In addition to approving several resolutions of appreciation for departing staff and outgoing regents, the Board elected a new slate of officers, including new Chair Jo Heckman, Vice Chair Mike Powers, Secretary Kenneth Fisher and Treasurer Gloria O’Neill.

Regular university business included updates on state and federal relations, audit reports and construction reports. The regents approved the purchase of the Delta Mine Training Center. This productive partnership will help in meeting the demand for trained mining professionals in Alaska.

Find the complete board agenda at:
http://www.boarddocs.com/ak/alaska/Board.nsf/Public

[Friday December 12th,  2014  14th EDITION 3:58 P. M.]

JPD Crime of the Week: Business Burglary
Juneau Police say numerous items were stolen from the business, Nana’s Attic at 205 Seward Street, sometime between the night of December 10th and the morning of December 11th. 

The main door had been pried open and display cases were shattered. The suspect or suspects took dozens of items including costume jewelry, antique fishing equipment, foreign and collectable coins and currency, native style carvings, and silver-spoons. The total volume of property would be substantial to carry. The total value of the property is well over $5,000. The suspect left behind sleeping bag stuff sacks. Two of the stuff sacks were blue and tan and were a Walmart brand called Ozark Trails. One stuff sack was orange and was a Fred Meyer brand called Glacier Edge.

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.

Student at Thunder Mountain High charged after found with knife on campus
The Juneau Police Department School Resource Officer received a phone call from Thunder Mountain High School staff Thursday morning advising a student may have knives in his backpack.

Officers immediately began an investigation and attempted to locate the 15 year old male student.

At about 10:30am, the School Resource Officer was advised that the student was at Thunder Mountain High School. Prior to the officer’s arrival at the school, the student had been escorted to the office.

School staff had discussed the issue with the student and located a sheathed knife, drug paraphernalia and a plant substance resembling marijuana in his backpack.

The student was placed under arrest for Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance 4th degree and Misconduct Involving Weapons 4th degree. He was transported to and lodged at the Johnson Youth Center.

City Manager to reorganize 3 city departments to save money
City Manager Kim Kiefer announced today that she is reorganizing three city departments.

The first change will involve the merging of the Departments of Engineering and Public Works. Rorie Watt, the current Engineering Director, will take over management of the newly combined department.

Kirk Duncan, who is the current Public Works Director will be reappointed to manage the Parks and Recreation Department.

Ms. Kiefer also announced that the Parks and Rec Department will reorganize to merge the current Buildings Maintenance and Parks and Landscape Divisions into a single entity.

Brent Fischer will take on the newly merged division.

The department and division reorganizations go into effect on January 5, 2015. The restructuring of the departments will decrease staff by two, full- time positions. The anticipated savings will be approximately $275,000.

Ms. Kiefer hopes the CBJ can minimize the effects of any service reduction.

Lockheed Martin wins Alaska spaceport contract
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract to reconfigure a launch pad for medium lift rockets at the state of Alaska-owned Kodiak Launch Complex.

Alaska officials said in a release ahead of a Friday news conference that Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services will modify an existing small-lift launch pad to accommodate an upgraded version of Athena rockets.

Alaska Aerospace Corp. officials also said they will begin working with Lockheed Martin on details, but construction won't interfere with plans to have a damaged launch pad reconstructed by October.

Much of the design work for the medium launch facility is completed and will just need to be tweaked to meet the needs of the Athena IIS rocket.

Butler to return as Alaska's top doctor
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Jay Butler is returning to his job as the state's top doctor.

Health and Social Services Commissioner Valerie Davidson says in a release that Butler will be both the state's chief medical officer and director of the Division of Health.

Davidson also announced Jon Sherwood will be deputy commissioner for Medicaid and Health Care Policy.

Both appointments are effective immediately but subject to legislative approval.

Butler was previously the chief medical officer from 2007-09. He left to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Before returned to the state position, he was senior director of the Division of Community Health Services at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage.

Sherwood is a 25-year veteran of the state health department.

Submarine thriller to be filmed in Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A small Alaska port town will stand in as a Russian naval base in a new movie.

KTUU reports about 90 percent of the movie "Hunter Killer" will be filmed in Whittier.

Whittier officials said Friday that three months of pre-production will begin in January, followed by three months of filming.

The film is based on the 2012 novel "Firing Point" by George Wallace and Don Keith, about a standoff between American and Russian submarines.

Producers say Whittier was chosen because it resembles a Russian base. The town, with a population of 229, is located 30 miles southeast of Anchorage.

The cast hasn't been announced, but Martin Campbell will direct. His credits include "Casino Royale" and "Green Lantern."

The last major motion picture filmed in Alaska was "Frozen Ground," starring Nicolas Cage and John Cusack, in 2011.

Kodiak to close landfill incinerator
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — An incinerator used to burn everything from medical waste to sensitive documents, not to mention cremating pets, will close in Kodiak.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports the incinerator at the landfill will close in February.

The Kodiak Island Borough says it would be too costly to bring the incinerator into compliance to meet new state and federal regulations. The age of the 21-year-old incinerator is another concern.

Medical waste will have to be shipped to Anchorage for disposal. There's a shredding service available in Kodiak for document destruction, and the landfill will bury euthanized pets at the landfill that haven't been sent to Anchorage for cremation.

Troopers investigate commercial pot operation
WASILLA, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say they discovered 200 marijuana plants at a home in Wasilla.

Troopers Thursday were investigating a theft of $1,358 in power reported by Matanuska Electric Association and served a search warrant on a home.

Troopers say the marijuana plants found were in various stages of growth.

Investigators say the homeowner was cooking crack cocaine as officers investigated. The 44-year-old man was found hiding behind marijuana plants.

He was jailed on suspicion of felony theft and drug misconduct at Mat-Su Pretrial Facility.

Online court records Friday did not indicate he had been formally charged.

State launches program to track firewood moisture
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — State officials trying to combat polluted wintertime air have launched a program to document moisture content of firewood sold in problem neighborhoods.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports state air quality program manager Cindy Heil and other state officials met Thursday with woodcutters in Fairbanks to discuss the voluntary program.

It calls for customers to sign a form noting the moisture content of wood they buy.

Using green wood with high moisture content can lead to incomplete burning and more air pollution.

Heil says reporting moisture content could become mandatory if smoke pollution problems get worse.

State officials are attempting to address chronic fine particulate pollution in Fairbanks. Particulate is linked to heart attacks and decreased lung function.

Alaska regents OK tobacco ban
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The University of Alaska is going smoke-free.

KTUU reports the university's regents voted Thursday to make all campuses smoke- and tobacco-free by Dec. 1, 2015.

The regents are meeting this week in Anchorage. All three chancellors of the UA system supported the ban.

The resolution bans cigarettes, cigars, hookahs, water pipes, e-cigarettes, e-cigars and vape pens. It also forbids their use anywhere on a campus, including trails, parking lots and university-owned streets and sidewalks.

People will be allowed to smoke in their cars as long as they are not parked in a university-owned parking garage.

University of Alaska President Pat Gamble says giving people a year before the ban goes into effect gives them time to adjust.

Regulations increase math credits to graduate
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state board of education has adopted regulations requiring public high school students to complete three math credits in order to graduate.

According to the department of education, the requirement will begin with the current freshman class.

The department says 47 of Alaska's 54 school districts require more than two credits of math, as do most states.

The regulations were adopted last week.

Alaska Aerospace to announce Kodiak expansion
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska could be ready to get back into the space business.

Alaska Aerospace Corp. officials are expected to announce an expansion at the Kodiak Launch Complex.

The winner of competing proposals to build a pad to launch medium-lift rockets is expected to be revealed Friday afternoon during a news conference in Anchorage.

The project was shelved last January when the corporation didn't receive a federal grant to build a dock in Pasagshak, which would be needed to transport rockets by barge from Kodiak.

Officials also said at the time that they didn't want to expand until a launch was contracted and scheduled.

How to Draw Plants with Constance Baltuck
The Juneau-Douglas City Museum is hosting Constance Baltuck’s exhibit of new paintings during the month of December. Constance’s academic background in botany and science informs her passion for drawing and painting nature, which is the primary subject matter of her work.

She will be talking about this link between art and nature during a Coffee & Collections program this Saturday, December 13th from 10:30 to 12 noon. Joining Constance in conversation on the topic will be artist and naturalist Kathy Hocker and educator Mark Standley. Both of these individuals are equally passionate about linking the study of nature with other disciplines, about place-based education and about using art as a tool for discovery, understanding and appreciation.

On Sunday afternoon, from 3 to 5, Constance will teach a class called How to Draw Plants. In this workshop, she will share with participants some of her tricks and techniques for looking at and capturing on the page the endlessly fascinating shapes and textures of plants. She will also share resources to help participants continue their study of drawing and painting from nature. Adults and children aged 10 and older are welcome. The cost is $35 or $25 for those aged 10-12. All materials are included. Registration and payment are required to confirm a spot, and space is limited to 15 participants.

To register for the drawing class, or to learn about other upcoming programs, please visit: www.juneau.org/museum or call 586-3572. The Juneau-Douglas City Museum is located at 4th & Main Streets. Winter hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. Admission is free during the month of December thanks to the generosity of Michelle and Robert Storer.

It’s not too late to vaccinate – Get your flu shot today!
JUNEAU – It's National Influenza Vaccination Week and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) would like to remind people of the importance of getting their flu shot.

Flu season typically peaks between December and February but significant activity can occur as late as May. As long as flu viruses are spreading, it’s never too late to get a vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones. SEARHC is encouraging people who have not yet been vaccinated this season to get vaccinated now.

Flu symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and miserable days spent in bed. On an average, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized in the United States from flu complications each year. The flu also can be deadly. Estimates of yearly flu-associated deaths in the United States have been as high as about 49,000 people during the most severe season. This is why CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.

People at higher risk for serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia, can lead to hospitalization and even death, including young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and people with certain medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes or heart disease. If you fall under this category, getting the flu vaccine is especially important. It’s also important to get the vaccine if you care for anyone at high risk, including babies younger than 6 months because they are too young to get the vaccine.

Flu vaccines are offered in many locations such as, SEARHC clinics, doctor’s offices, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers. Most health insurance plans cover the cost of recommended vaccines, so check with your insurance provider for details of coverage.
For more information about influenza or the flu vaccine, contact your local clinic. Just be sure to get your flu vaccine and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Robots Return to Juneau for the 8th Annual FIRST® LEGO® League Robot Jamboree
Juneau, AK — Juneau hosts its 8th annual Robot Jamboree Saturday, where sixteen teams from around Southeast Alaska compete for a spot in the Alaska’s FIRST LEGO League (FLL) championship. Kids show their programming, engineering and math skills by building autonomous robots to perform specific missions.

All FLL Challenges are based on a real-world topic that is universally relevant. Kids will explore the topic of Education in this year’s “World Class” Challenge. Teams are hoping to teach adults about the ways that kids need and want to learn. Teams are also asked to learn and embrace FIRST LEGO League’s Core Values, which include treating others with respect, finding answers on your own, and having fun while you’re doing it.

The event will be held at Centennial Hall on Saturday, December 13 from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM with prime viewing activity from 12:45 – 2:00 PM. The public is encouraged to attend and cheer for the teams.

FIRST activities in Alaska are coordinated by the Juneau Economic Development Council’s STEM AK program with statewide funding from BP, Alaska Communications, and Alaska Airlines. The Juneau event is sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Juneau, Imagination Station, Southeast Conference, and Behrends Mechanical with in-kind support from Alaska Robotics and Boreal Controls Inc.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.

It's HoopTime: The Harlem Ambassadors vs KINY's Lynn Campbell
The Harlem Ambassadors are coming for HoopTime’s fundraiser on Sunday at 3:00 at TMHS, and KINY’s very own Lynn Campbell will be playing in the game too. Men's Coach at JDHS, Rob Casperson, says he's in as well. "It's been awhile since I've played but I'm looking forward to it. It should be a great experience. I've seen their stuff online. I've watched their videos. They do a lot of great things for bringing in kids and getting them excited. It's just a lot of fun."

The Harlem Ambassadors bring their own announcer with them so they will begin setting up in the school at 1:00. They will also have merchandise for sale. Ticket purchasers who attend the game will be placed in a drawing for an autographed basketball and there will also be an autograph session after the game.

Tickets can now be purchased at both locations of Hearthside Books. Tickets can also be bought through our board members and tickets may also be purchased online with a credit card at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/920215.

All proceeds will go to HoopTime’s high school aged team that will be chosen in the spring.

HoopTime also invited the girls’ and boys’ basketball teams from JDHS and TMHS to conduct their own food fundraisers. TMHS girls will run the concession stand; JDHS boys will hold a bake sale; and TMHS boys will have a spaghetti feed. Each team gets to keep all their profits for their particular venue.

[Thursday December 11th,  2014  10th  EDITION 5:13 P. M.]

Coast Guard, Sitka Fire Department assist vessel taking on water near Sitka
KODIAK, Alaska — The Coast Guard assisted a mariner aboard the 43-foot fishing vessel Stardust, which was taking on water southeast of Japonski Island in Sitka, Wednesday evening.

A Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team 38-foot Training Boat Special Purpose Craft crew and a Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew along with a team from the Sitka Fire Department transferred dewatering pumps to the Stardust and escorted the vessel to Sitka Harbor.

The operator was able to control the flooding with one of the pumps and had a friend tow him back to Sitka as the SPC-TB crew provided an escort.

“Our assets are always ready to respond to any situation, even when the crews are conducting training evolutions,” said Lt. Jason Condon, Jayhawk pilot, Air Station Sitka. “This case was a good demonstration of the collective effort between the Coast Guard and Sitka Fire and Rescue to effectively combine our skills and assets in order to render assistance to this mariner.”

Weather on scene was reported as 15 to 20-mph winds, cloudy and a temperature of 41 degrees.

Forest fire in Lemon Creek
Capital City Fire Rescue was dispatched for a tree on fire Wednesday afternoon. Captain Roy Johnson says the fire was approximately 100 feet into the woods down the trial at the end of Lund Street. It was extinguished using a 2 1/2 gallon water can.

Pictures were taken for evidence. The Fire Marshal and Forest Service Law Enforcement were notified.

S. Korean vessel heads to Bering Sea where 27 died
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A South Korean vessel is on pace to arrive Friday in the west Bering Sea, where a fishing ship sank, killing at least 27 people.

The commander of the U.S. Coast Guard in Alaska, Rear Adm. Dan Abel, said the Sambong was moving toward the area faster than expected.

The Coast Guard has been on the scene and involved in the search effort since Dec. 1. It plans to remain involved in search and rescue planning once South Korean officials take over.

South Korea also is basing search planes out of Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.

Seven people survived the sinking of the Oryong 501. Abel said the remains of 27 people have been recovered, while another 26 remain unaccounted for.

Rear Adm. Dan Abel, commander, 17th Coast Guard District, and Moon Duk-ho, consul general of the Republic of Korea in Seattle, discuss the search for the South Korean fishing vessel Oryong 501 during a meeting at the 17th District Headquarters in Juneau, Alaska, Dec. 11, 2014.

The Coast Guard will provide search and rescue planning assistance to South Korean search and rescue crews as they search for survivors and debris.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst.

 

Falling oil prices raise new concerns for states
Lower oil prices are raising new financial worries in some states that rely on oil taxes to pay for roads and other government services.

With oil prices around a five-year low, budget officials in about a half-dozen states have begun paring back projections for a continued gusher of revenues. Spending cuts have started in some places, and more reductions could be necessary if oil prices remain at lower levels during the coming year.

How well the oil-rich states survive the downturn may hinge on how much they have saved and how greatly they depend on oil revenues for basic services.

Texas has diversified its economy since oil prices crashed in the mid-1980s and isn't expressing concern. But Alaska remains heavily dependent on oil and will have to tap into savings.

Begich bids emotional farewell to US Senate
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Democratic Sen. Mark Begich has bid an emotional farewell to the U.S. Senate.

In a floor speech Thursday, Begich choked up talking about the history of the place and about his wife, Deborah Bonito.

He said it had been an honor to serve and that he was proud of the work accomplished during his term.

Begich lost his bid for re-election to Republican Dan Sullivan as part of a national wave that saw the GOP regain control of the Senate.

Begich, a leader in the Democratic conference, cast himself as an independent voice for Alaska, willing to work across party lines. Democratic colleagues praised him as a pragmatist who knows his state well.

California man pleads guilty to failed gold theft
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) A California man has pleaded guilty to attempting to steal gold from a mine at Manley Hot Springs.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 33-year-old Shaun Timothy Hull of Pollock Pines called in his plea to misdemeanor attempted theft from California and was sentenced to four years' probation.

Fairbanks Assistant District Attorney Joe Dallaire says the plea agreement was worked out in part because of the difficulty of extraditing Hull.

Hull's boss on July 19 reported that a gold nugget worth $1,900 went missing but was recovered when he asked Hull to turn out his pockets.

Prosecutors say bottles of gold concentrate were found in Hull's luggage.

After he was released on bail, he left for California.

Defense attorney JoyAnna Mickels says Hull doesn't plan to return to Alaska.

Fairbanks hears suggestions for cleaner air
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Nearly 50 people testified Wednesday that they want measures put in place by the Fairbanks North Star Borough to clean up the area's chronically polluted wintertime air.

Jimmy Fox says his dream is for children to breathe clean air but closing the gap between the dream and reality will require "carrots and sticks."

Fairbanks and North Pole have struggled to meet federal standards for fine particulate, which is linked to heart attacks and decreased lung function. Burning of wood to heat homes is a major source of particulate.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports a municipal vote in October will again allow the borough to address air pollution.

People Wednesday suggested bans on outdoor wood hydronic heaters, subsidized in-home air filtration systems, incentives for not burning wood and other measures.

Teaching assistant held on pornography charge
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man who worked as a teaching assistant at an Anchorage elementary school has been charged in federal court with distributing and possessing child pornography.

KTUU-TV reports David Alan Brown worked with special education students for seven years at Huffman Elementary School.

The FBI says activities that led to the charges did not involve the school or its students.

The school Tuesday sent a letter to parents announcing the arrest. Principal Darrell Vincek says he and the school nurse are available for discussing the matter with parents or students.

Juneau in running for Best Travel-Worthy State Capital
Juneau is in the running for the USA Today/10Best.com award for ‘Best Travel-Worthy State Capital’, but we’re currently behind Sacramento, CA and Carson City, NV is also making a big push.

You can help put Juneau on top of the heap by voting here:

 http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-travel-worthy-state-capital/juneau-alaska/?

Greens Creek Mine gets permit for a decade
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Wednesday applauded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for finalizing a waste-water and tailings disposal permit that will allow the Greens Creek Mine in Southeast Alaska to continue to operate for the next decade.

“Approval of this permit is good news for Southeast’s economy and provides greater certainty for the 410 employees who depend on paychecks from Greens Creek Mine to support their families,” Murkowski said.

The Corps of Engineers on Tuesday issued a Section 404 permit under the Clean Water Act to Hecla Mining Company allowing the company to expand its silver mining operations on Admiralty Island.

Peninsula voters will decide winter grocery tax
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — Voters in the Kenai Peninsula Borough will decide if a tax on grocery items during the winter months should be rescinded.

The Peninsula Clarion reports a petition has been filed to repeal a 2008 borough ordinance that requires cities in the borough to collect the tax between Sept. 1 and May 31. That ordnance requires big box retailers like Wal-Mart, Fred Meyer and Safeway to collect the tax in cities like Soldotna and Homer.

Initiative backer James Price of Nikiski says the tax is proportionately harder for families and people on a fixed income. He adds it's not best way to fund municipalities.

The petition was certified last Friday, and will appear on the Oct. 6 ballot.

Applications sought for Fish and Game commissioner
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) Applications are being requested for those interested in serving as commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game.

By law, the governor must appoint a commissioner from a list of qualified people nominated by the boards of fisheries and game, meeting in joint session. The governor retains the right to request additional nominations.

Applications are due Dec. 22.

Sam Cotten is serving as acting commissioner.

[Wednesday December 10th,  2014  12th  EDITION 9:00 P. M.]

State faces larger deficit amid lower oil prices
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state of Alaska is facing a $3.5 billion budget deficit this year, $2.1 billion more than when lawmakers left Juneau in April, amid slumping oil prices.

The price of oil, forecast at $105 a barrel in the spring revenue forecast, is now expected to average about $76 a barrel for the rest of the fiscal year, ending June 30.

The price is forecast to dip to $66 a barrel during fiscal year 2016, before rebounding.

The fall revenue forecast expects unrestricted general fund revenue of $2.6 billion this year, down from $5.4 billion in 2014.

Deputy Revenue Commissioner Jerry Burnett said that, combined with about $200 million in oil and gas credits, accounts for the budget deficit.

The forecast expects increases in oil production starting in 2016 and 2017.

Hash oil explosion, fire, damage North Pole rental home
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — An explosion and fire Monday that shifted a North Pole house wall off its foundation occurred as residents extracted hash oil from marijuana.

North Pole Fire Department Chief Buddy Lane tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that the two people inside acknowledged what they'd been doing when firefighters showed up.

Firefighters were able to limit the fire to the kitchen. Damage was estimated at $40,000.

The home's renter and a visitor told responders they had extracted hash oil in the bathroom and had moved to the kitchen to boil it down when the explosion occurred.

The extraction of hash oil, sought for its increased potency, typically involves passing liquid butane through a tube filled with marijuana.

Lane says the process likely left pockets of butane in the air that exploded.

Former police officer indicted on identity theft counts
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks grand jury has indicted a former North Pole police officer on identity theft charges.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 33-year-old Ryan D. Webb is charged with four felonies, including two counts of criminal impersonation and one each of theft and fraudulent use of an access device.

Prosecutors say Webb used another man's personal information to obtain a credit card.

Webb joined the North Pole Police Department in February 2009.

He was fired in February 2011. Police would not release the reason for the termination, citing confidentiality requirements.

Officer Chad Rathbun says the identity theft case occurred in January 2013, nearly two years after Webb left the department.

Police say the victim of the identity theft was Webb's former roommate.

Trial set for man charged in deaths of troopers
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Trial has been set for a Tanana man accused of killing two Alaska State Troopers last spring.

Nathanial Kangas has been charged in the deaths of Fairbanks-based Sgt. Scott Johnson and Trooper Gabe Rich last May in Tanana. A judge on Tuesday set trial in the case for April.

Superior Court Judge Paul Lyle also suggested a simulcast of the trial that could be shown in a Fairbanks courtroom.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that troopers who served with the slain officers have been a regular courtroom presence during hearings.

But one of the defense attorneys has raised concerns that their presence could intimidate a jury.

S. Korea to take over search after fishing disaster
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — South Korean officials are expected to take over on-scene control of search efforts following the deadly sinking of a fishing vessel in the western Bering Sea last month.

The U.S. Coast Guard has been overseeing the effort. Rear Adm. Dan Abel said with the scheduled arrival of the South Korean vessel Sambong this weekend, the Coast Guard plans to take on a role of search and rescue planning.

Seven people survived the sinking of the Oryong 501, which occurred in Russian waters. Abel said the remains of 27 people have been recovered. Another 26 remain unaccounted for, he said.

The commander of the Coast Guard in Alaska said two South Korean aircraft have been based out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage as part of the response.

BBB's 12 Schemes of Christmas
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and potentially the most profitable for scammers. Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington has put together a list of 12 common Christmas schemes to help consumers stay safe this holiday season.

12. Holiday surveys: In an effort to take advantage of cash-strapped holiday shoppers, scammers pose as popular retailers, e-mailing fake surveys to consumers and promising a credit to their accounts. Links to the “surveys” are often malicious.

11. Suspicious Santa sites: Steer away from “Santa” websites that request unnecessary personal information. Be especially wary of sites that fail to disclose contact details and privacy policies.

10. Puppy scams: Be careful about buying pets online. Consumers may be unwittingly buying from a puppy mill where dogs have health problems, or they may send money to a scammer and get nothing in return.

9. Fake charities: The holidays create a great opportunity for scammers to solicit donations to fill their own pockets. Beware of solicitations from charities that cannot deliver on their promises or pretend to be representing victims that do not really exist. Review charities first at give.org.

8. Pickpockets: Crowded malls and the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season make it easy for thieves to grab purses and wallets.

7. Fake coupons: Be cautious when downloading coupons. Make sure you are on a trustworthy website. Be suspicious of coupon sites that ask for personal information.

6. Stranded “grandkids”: The classic grandparent scam is still ongoing. Consumers should be suspicious of phone calls from a “family member” claiming to need help and asking for money to be wired overseas.

5. Malware e-cards: Links or attachments in e-cards could contain malware. Consumers should make sure their spam filters are set and up-to-date.

4. Counterfeit gifts: Be suspicious of sites that offer the “must have” toys, gadgets or luxury goods at prices that are too good to be true. These deceptive deals, pop-up ads and social media posts often take consumers’ money but leave them empty handed.

3. Stolen gift cards: Buy gift cards only from reputable dealers, not online or from individuals. It is easy for scammers to sell a card and pull out the funds before consumers can even give it as a gift.

2. Travel scams: Watch out for unexpected hotel and flight “confirmation” or “cancellation” notices, which trick consumers into clicking unsafe links to stop unreal reservations.

1. Deceiving deliveries: Do not accept notices about delivery delays or confirmations on unordered packages. Scammers often pose as well-known retailers or shipping companies to gain false credibility and access to consumers’ computers.
 

Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington is one of 112 in North America and the largest BBB by geographical service area. BBB is a neutral not-for-profit public reporting agency committed to trust in the marketplace. For more information on ethical business standards and BBB Accreditation, or to access free BBB Business Reviews, Charity Reviews, scam alerts or find local event information visit bbb.org.

Alaska Airlines 2nd, Delta 4th for on-time rankings
The federal government is out with a new ranking of the airlines that arrive on time most often.

Alex Stone, ABC News says, "If you were on Hawaiian Airlines in October, the Department of Transportation says you had the best chance of arriving on time. Hawaiian, Alaska, and Air Tran Airways - which is now owned by Southwest - take the top three spots. Followed by Delta, JetBlue, and Virgin America. The worst for on time arrivals? Envoy - which until recently was called American Eagle. Only 66 percent of its flights arrived on time in October."

Juneau coaches attend media training seminar
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Juneau School District has spent $11,000 to teach its coaches how to work professionally with the media.

Coaches and staff were instructed during a two-day seminar on ways to use effective language in handling tough questions and ending uncomfortable interviews.

They also were instructed on proper usage of social media and were encouraged to teach students how to properly use social media. Another topic discussed was whether coaches should "friend" students on their personal accounts.

The training sessions held in early December by Anchorage-based Gonzalez Marketing weren't a result of a specific incident.

The training came after several high-profile incidents, including allegations of hazing of athletes by upperclassmen and an assistant football coach who was accused of punching a player during an out-of-state camp.

Police: Felon killed prosecutor in jealous rage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Police in the country's northernmost community say a convicted felon shot and killed a state assistant prosecutor in a jealous rage over a woman.

Murder charges were filed Wednesday in Barrow against 47-year-old Ronald Fischer in the death of 48-year-old assistant district attorney Brian Sullivan.

North Slope Borough police say Sullivan was killed Monday night in the Barrow home of a woman who had a past relationship with Fischer.

Investigators say Sullivan was unarmed and seated on a couch when he was struck twice with blasts from a 20-gauge shotgun fired by Fischer.

They say security video from a nearby store shows Fischer entering the home.

Online court records did not list a lawyer for Fischer. Attorney Robert Campbell represented him this year in a felony case, but says he won't be handling Fischer's murder charge.

Sullivan was an Army veteran and former Washington state House representative.

FAA issues commercial drone permits to 4 companies
WASHINGTON (AP) — The government says it is granting four companies permission to use drones for aerial surveillance, construction site monitoring and oil rig flare stack inspections, bringing the total number of companies granted permits for commercial operations to 13.

The drones weigh less than 55 pounds and the firms have said they will they will keep the unmanned aircraft within line of sight of the operator.

Previously the only permits the Federal Aviation Administrational had issued were to two oil companies in Alaska and five aerial photography companies associated with television and film production.

The FAA said it has received 167 requests for exemptions from commercial entities.

The agency is under pressure from Congress to speed access to the U.S. skies for companies that want to operate drones.

Libertarian APOC seats
Governor Bill Walker's independent campaign is giving a boost to the Alaska Libertarian Party.

Libertarians get to name two members to the Alaska Public Offices Commission. The Alaska Dispatch reports that the five APOC Commissioners have four seats reserved for the top two parties in the gubernatorial election. Alaska Democrats didn't run a candidate, backing the "Unity Ticket" of Walker and Byron Mallott. That means the distant third-place finish by the Libertarian candidate lets the party split four APOC seats with the Republican party.

The Governor will choose from a list of four Libertarian nominees when the term of a Democrat on the Commission expires in March. Another seat opens up in 2017.

Alaska Democratic Party spokesman Zack Fields tells the Alaska Dispatch that supporting Walker for Governor was more important than winning APOC seats.

Alaska heroin and TV
Two people were arrested in Nome and charged with distributing heroin.

Alaska State Troopers say 22-year old Kevin Beamish and 22-year old Yvonne Adkison were taken into custody last Thursday as part of a year-long investigation. Troopers say a search of a home turned up 10 grams of suspected heroin,
as well as scales, packaging material, and over 1-thousand dollars cash.

The Alaska Dispatch reports that Adkison had been featured in the Discovery Channel T-V series "Bering Sea Gold" as a dive tender on her family's gold dredge.

Meanwhile, British T-V viewers are getting a different view of Alaska.

The B-B-C show "Extreme School" featured Anchorage's Holy Rosary Academy. The episode that aired November 24th showed two British students, considered underachievers, immersed in the school's traditional Catholic curriculum.
Camera crews filmed the episode at the school for one week last December.

On U-S T-V dials, the Sportsman Channel is promoting its Alaska material. In addition to airing a full season this week of its "Project Alaska" series, Sportsman Channel announced a second season of "Amazing America with Sarah Palin,"
with the former Governor going to Texas to hunt feral hogs.

We're #26 !!!
According to the special 25th Edition of America’s Health Rankings, Alaska ranks 26th this year when compared with other states. The 2014 report illustrates Alaska has its share of strengths and challenges.

Among the state's strengths are
· Low levels of air pollution: Alaska ranks 1st in the country, with 4.9 micrograms of fine particles per cubic meter.
· Low prevalence of low birthweight: Alaska ranks 1st in the U.S. with 5.7 percent of live births considered underweight.
· Low infant mortality rate: Alaska ranks 2nd in the country, with 4.5 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Alaska’s Challenges
· High incidence of infectious disease: Alaska ranks 46th for its combined score of Chlamydia, Pertussis, and Salmonella
· Low immunization coverage among teens: Alaska ranks 48th in the U.S., with only 52.2 percent of teens receiving immunizations.
· Low immunization coverage among children: Alaska ranks 46th in the U.S., with only 63.9 percent of children receiving immunizations.

The data in the report come from well-recognized outside sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Medical Association, FBI, Dartmouth Atlas Project, U.S. Department of Education and Census Bureau.

Group plans 41-unit senior complex in Juneau
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — New affordable housing units will be built in Juneau for low-income seniors.

The Alaska Housing Finance Corp. has awarded $9 million in financing for a 41-unit complex.

It will be built by the Juneau nonprofit St. Vincent de Paul and partner agency GMD Development of Seattle. The complex will include studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments with retail space for St. Vincent de Paul's thrift store on the ground floor.

It will sit on 1.3 acres of land located near Juneau International Airport. Officials hope to break ground late next summer.

The charity organization also wants to renovate its two other Juneau properties along with another one in Haines.

Judge asks if settlement possible in voting case
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A federal judge has asked the state and the Alaska Native plaintiffs who sued over the translation of voting materials to see if they can reach a settlement.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason in September ordered the state to take additional steps to provide voting materials to Alaska Native voters with limited English ahead of the November elections.

Last week, she said had begun reviewing the state's compliance report and asked that the plaintiffs and the state discuss whether a full or partial settlement of the case was possible.

Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, who took office Dec. 1, said he hadn't looked at the case in detail. But he said his desire would be to settle the case in a way that meets the needs of the Alaska voter.

[Tuesday December 9th,  2014  12th  EDITION 9:24 P. M.]

New governor means high expectations for attendance at Holiday Open House
With a new governor, expectations were high Tuesday afternoon at the 2014 Governor's Holiday Open House.

KINY Radio asked Lisa Boman, Executive Residence Manager, about how many people usually attend,  "Typically 3000 to 3500 ... This year with the new governor, I'm anticipating just over 4000." 

Boman said they began work on the event in September, two months before the election that found Bill Walker the winner in Alaska's race for governor.  The group of around 100 volunteers lined up entertainment with the schools in early fall, so that the music teachers and students would have plenty of time to practice Christmas carols. 

As for the final tally on treats, Boman said they ordered 25,500 cookies plus 220 pounds of fudge and candy. This was the first year they offered a gluten-free cookie.

(Picture courtesy of KINY's Kendall Weaver - Pictured L to R:  Mrs. Toni Mallot, Lt. Gov Byron Mallot, Governor Bill Walker, First Lady Donna Walker}

Walker hopes to have appointments in place in weeks
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Bill Walker hopes to have all his appointments in place in the next several weeks.

Walker took office Dec. 1, and so far has named a handful of permanent department heads, including Gary Folger, a Public Safety commissioner under former Gov. Sean Parnell kept on by Walker.

Walker was asked Tuesday whether he planned to keep Mike Hanley in place as Education commissioner and Larry Hartig as head of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Both also served under Parnell.

Walker said he wouldn't read too much into Hanley and Hartig remaining in place but said he would consider retaining both.

If Hanley is not asked to stay, the board of education would get involved. By law, the board would pick a new commissioner, subject to approval by the governor.

Board of Fisheries increases Chitina dipnetter bag limit
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Bag limits will increase next year for dipnetters seeking salmon in the Copper River at Chitina (CHIT'-nah).

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Alaska Board of Fisheries over the weekend in Cordova voted to increase the take to 25 salmon for permit holders plus 10 more salmon for each person in their household.

Chitina Dipnetters Association President Chuck Derrick says it's the first bag limit increase in memory.

The 2014 bag limit was 15 salmon for a household of one and 30 salmon for a household of two or more.

The change will allow more fish to be caught by permit holders with large families.

Derrick says the association advocated for the change with large families in mind.

Suspect arrested in Alaska prosecutor death
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A former Washington state representative working as an assistant district attorney in Alaska was killed Monday night in a shooting.

KTUU-TV reports 48-year-old Brian Sullivan died Monday night in a shooting at a home in Barrow, the northernmost community in the United States.

North Slope Borough officials say a man was taken into custody. The suspect's name was not immediately released.

Interim North Slope Borough Police Department Chief Darryl Holman requested that Alaska State Troopers assist in the investigation and Fairbanks troopers were preparing to fly to Barrow.

Sullivan on his website described himself as a military veteran who served as an Army judge advocate general.

Sullivan served in the Washington state House from January 1997 to January 2001.

Tribes could issue protective orders against non-Natives
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Senate has passed legislation that would allow Alaska tribes to issue and enforce protective orders against non-Natives.

Sen. Mark Begich's office said the provision passed as a pared-down version of a safe families' bill, through a legislative maneuver known as unanimous consent.

There was no floor vote, but Democrats and Republicans agreed to let it pass.

The provision would repeal what has been referred to as the Alaska exemption to the Violence Against Women Act.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the measure would be taken up by the House before the holiday recess.

A spokesman for Rep. Don Young said the House also has the ability to move fast and that the hope was to get the bill passed.

Sale pending for Kodiak seafood processing plant
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — A fish processing plant in Kodiak is changing owners.

KMTX-radio reports Trident Seafoods will buy the Western Alaska Fisheries processing plant from Westward Seafood, which is owned by Maruha-Nichiro.

Trident in an announcement Monday says it has signed a letter of intent to purchase the plant. A purchase price was not announced.

Trident expects to complete the deal by Dec. 31.

The processing plant handles pollock, cod, salmon and other species. The location about a half mile from Trident's Kodiak plant.

Western Alaska Fisheries merged with Westward Seafoods in 2001. It processes 45 million pounds of seafood per year. Westward's main plant in Dutch Harbor handles 245 million pounds per year.

Dog in Juneau electrocuted on city sidewalk
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A dog has died after stepping on a charged junction box on a Juneau city sidewalk.

The city and borough's engineering director, Rorie Watt, said the junction box is city property. Watt said the matter is being investigating.

He said all of Juneau's street lighting wires are located underground in conduits, protected by junction boxes on the sidewalk with metal lids over them.

A Juneau Police spokesman said a woman was walking her dog around midnight Saturday when the dog stepped on a metal lid and was electrocuted. The woman, whose name was not released, wasn't injured.

City and borough risk manager Jennifer Mannix said she called the dog's owner to apologize.

Mannix said she had never heard of something like this happening in Juneau before.

Canyon river runner fined in trash, firewood case
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A Grand Canyon river runner from Alaska has been fined $1,500 and ordered to pay roughly $1,000 of court costs for dumping trash into the Colorado River and for illegally collecting driftwood for campfires.

A federal magistrate in Flagstaff on Dec. 1 sentenced 75-year-old Nels Nichols Niemi (KNEE'-me) of Haines on two misdemeanor convictions stemming from an Oct. 29 trial.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says evidence showed that Niemi was a trip leader for a group that dumped trash and garbage into the river daily during a 12-day trip and that he also collected driftwood to make fires each night.

U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo said the prosecution and sentence should remind Colorado River users that rules and regulations protecting the Grand Canyon National Park will be vigorously enforced.

Avalanche survivor says mountain gave warning sign
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A man who survived an avalanche in mountains south of Delta Junction says he and his partner heard warning signs of snow pack instability but concluded they could continue skiing safely.

Mike Hopper tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner he may have been too confident on a route he had taken many times before.

The 63-year-old Hopper was buried for more than two hours Saturday, but dug himself out.

The avalanche killed 35-year-old Erik Peterson, a former coach at West and Dimond high schools in Anchorage who had recently moved back to Delta Junction.

Hopper says they heard the "whomp" of snow settling as they crossed a gently sloping valley but concluded that snow higher up would be more stable.

The avalanche hit in steeper terrain.

Man dies of gunshot wound at Mat-Su hospital
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man who showed up last week at a Palmer hospital with a gunshot wound has died.

KTUU-TV reports 24-year-old Forrest Bieber of Anchorage was one of two men who on Dec. 1 drove to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center to seek treatment for gunshot wounds. The second man was treated and released.

Alaska State Troopers took calls of two home invasions that day but spokeswoman Beth Ipsen says investigators don't have concrete information to link the cases.

In the first, a woman living in a home outside Wasilla said two men broke into her home and beat her.

In the second, a resident living near Wasilla said he exchanged gunfire with two men who invaded his home.

The resident was treated for a gunshot wound at Mat-Su Regional.

Volunteers bring Santa to remote Alaska village
SHISHMAREF, Alaska (AP) — Volunteers in the Operation Santa Program and the Alaska National Guard brought Christmas to the remote Inupiat Eskimo community of Shishmaref, on Alaska's western coast, over the weekend.

Children received toys, coats, school supplies and the rare treats of apples and oranges along with ice cream.

Why ice cream in a town 25 miles south of the Arctic Circle? Shishmaref senior Cheyenne Nayokpuk says the answer is simple: "'Cause everybody loves ice cream."

It's the 58th year for the program to bring a little holiday cheer to remote Alaska villages, where poverty is widespread and these may be the only toys children will receive.

Different villages are chosen each year to spread the wealth. Operation Santa last made a visit seven years ago to Shishmaref, which is located about 600 miles northwest of Anchorage.

Fee changes proposed for Mendenhall Glacier area
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service is considering raising the fee to enter the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center in Juneau.

The agency also is considering expanding the fee area beyond the visitor center to areas popular with tourists, such as the Steep Creek and Photo Point trails and restroom facilities.

It cites as reasons declining budgets and an effort to improve the visitor experience. Visitation has more than doubled since 1999, when the agency began collecting fees.

The proposal would raise the daily fee to enter the center from $3 to $5 for those 16 and older. Season passes would go from $10 to $15.

The agency, in a release, said it planned to continue not charging fees in the winter.

If approved, the fee increase would begin in May 2016.