Back to

The Juneau Daily News

Latest Edition

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

Established March 13, 1995 "Alaska's First Online Newspaper"
greenbar.gif (834 bytes)


'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.


Due to an internal promotion, Juneau Radio Center is looking to employ a Traffic Coordinator. No, we won’t have you out on Egan, waving the cars by … in broadcasting, ‘traffic’ refers to scheduling program material, specifically, the commercials. The person we’re looking for will enjoy working on a computer, possess a keen eye for detail and have the ability to prioritize the daily workload.

We will train you in VT – our broadcast software – and provide you the necessary tools to succeed.

Please email your resume to 


[Monday, April 14, 2014 10TH EDITION 8:28 P.  M.]

Library bids opened...Dawson apparent low bidder
The bids are in for Juneau's new library at Dimond Park.

Library Director Robert Barr says they had three qualified bidders.

The apparent low bidder is Dawson Construction at $11 Million.

That's slightly higher than the engineer's estimate of $10.6 Million, but Barr is not concerned.

He says the difference can be made up either through changes in the project or additional grant funding or donations.

He says a ground breaking won't be scheduled until the Assembly okays the bid award.

The Assembly Public Works Committee is scheduled to review the bid today.

The new library is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2015.

Assembly COW to hear updates on flood plain mapping, economic plan and housing
The Assembly Committee of the Whole will receive an update at Monday evening's meeting on flood plain mapping by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that would have had a costly impact to some Juneau residents as originally drafted.

Mayor Merrill Sanford talked about that on Action Line Friday. He said progress has been made in Washington, D. C. by the city's lobbyists and by members of the state's Congressional delegation.

The mayor says they've been working with all Juneau residents who have property in the flood zone to have it accurately mapped. He says the Community Development Department has worked with the 265 property owners who saw increases in their insurance coverage or could not obtain insurance at all.

The committee will be updated on work to date on the Assembly's goal of crafting a ten year economic development plan.

That process was kicked off recently with a town meeting and the mayor is pleased with the start that's been made.

Members will review their housing matrix to mark progress that's been made on the goal to create additional affordable housing in the community.

In a meeting just prior to the Committee of the Whole, the Lands Committee will take up the rezoning of Pederson Hill that is aimed at accommodating the construction of housing.

The Lands Committee convenes at 5 p.m. Monday and the Committee of the Whole at 6.

Revised sailings for Kennicott
Due to a high volume of traffic, the Kennicott departed Kodiak Monday approximately 7 hours behind schedule.

The vessel will sail a revised schedule this week.

The ferry will resume its previously published schedule Thursday departing Ketchikan en route to Bellingham, Wash.

An updated schedule is available at AMHS staff is contacting affected passengers.

Teen arrested for DWI
19 year old Joseph Satron was arrested on Glacier Hwy Sunday afternoon around 4:30 for DWI.

Satron registered .199% breath alcohol content.

He was transported to and lodged at LCCC.

Explosion on Shell Simmons Drive injurers one
There was an outside gas or vapor combustion explosion Sunday morning on Shell Simmons Drive.

Capital City Fire Rescue was dispatched just after 6:00 A.M. in response to the explosion and for emergency medical services. One patient was transported to Bartlett Regional Hospital for further care.

Approximately 2-3 gallons of ethylene glycol had exploded in the area. The spill was contained and the agency was advised to finish cleaning the area.

Inmate found dead at Eagle River women's jail
EAGLE RIVER, Alaska (AP) — A 24-year-old inmate at a women's prison has been found dead in her cell.

The Alaska Bureau of Investigations Major Crimes Unit announced Monday that the inmate was found dead last Thursday in her cell at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River.

Correctional officers found Amanda Kernak of Kokhanok unresponsive during a routine security check at 1:35 a.m.

A release says lifesaving efforts weren't successful.

Authorities say no foul play is suspected, and the State Medical Examiner's Office took custody of the body. Her next-of-kin have been notified.

A Department of Corrections spokeswoman says Alaska State Troopers are investigating Kernak's death.

Family seeks answers in Alaska inmate's death

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 20-year-old California parolee found dead in his Alaska jail cell was being held even though his case had been dismissed more than a week earlier.

The Alaska fugitive case against Davon Mosley of Bakersfield, Calif., was dropped March 27 after California authorities declined extradition.

Mosley was arrested in Anchorage March 16 on a fugitive warrant from California. He died April 4.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Kaci Schroeder declined to comment, saying the death is under investigation.

His fiance, Vernesia Gordon, said officials kept her from visiting Mosley after March 23. Gordon also says Mosley, who was schizophrenic and bipolar, told her he wasn't allowed to take his medications.

Gordon has hired a lawyer to investigate.

Mosley served 14 months in California after attacking family members with a machete.

Minimum wage bills wins by narrow margin in House
The State House approved legislation Sunday evening that would preempt the minimum wage initiative that is scheduled to appear on the August Primary Election.

The current minimum wage in Alaska is $7.75.

The initiative would raise that to $8.75 on Jan. 1, 2015, and to $9.75 a year later.

House Bill 384 would increase the minimum wage to $9.00 initially and then to $10 a year later.

It would be adjusted annually for inflation after that. If that amount is less than one dollar above the federal minimum wage, than it would be one dollar above.

The House bill would take effect six months earlier than the initiative.

Critics of the legislation said a similar ballot question was preempted by the Legislature in 2002, but the minimum wage was gutted a year later.

The measure was approved on a narrow 22 to 18 vote.

It passed on reconsideration on the same legislative day 21 to 19 and was sent to the Senate.

Chenault talks to floor to call out actions of minimum wage lobbyist, lobbyist responds
House Speaker Mike Chenault handled over his gavel to Majority Leader Lance Pruitt after the minimum wage debate to air his complaints over what he considered the unsavory lobbying by a backer of the minimum wage initiative.

Former Labor Commissioner Ed Flanagan flashed a sign of a dollar sign during last week's hearing on the bill by the House Labor and Commerce Committee.

Chenault told members they voted for they believed was good public policy and that the House will not be coerced, threatened, or strong armed into any other decision than the vote they took.

In his opinion Flanagan says the speaker was overreacting and intentionally so to what he admitted was a clumsy attempt to get the attention of a committee member to inquire about a fiscal note.

That was spurred by a $2,000 Department of Labor statement of cost which Flanagan thought could merit a Finance Committee referral.

He said the speaker confronted him in a capitol building hallway afterwards. He didn't realize until afterwards that the fiscal note had been zeroed out.

Flanagan realized that what he did could be misconstrued and he offered an apology to Chenault.

Flanagan said a Finance referral would have slowed the measure down which he was interested in doing.

Flanagan says its his opinion that the legislation is aimed at knocking the initiative off the ballot.

UPDATE:  Medicaid funding bill  clears the Legislature
The Alaska House approved legislation Sunday evening that would further define medically necessary abortions for purposes of Medicaid funding.

The Senate bill is similar to regulations adopted by the state health commissioner that are being challenged in court.

The measure was approved on a 23 to 17 vote and sent back to the Senate which must concur with House changes or send it to a conference committee.

The House version of SB49 removes language added in the Senate, calling for expanded family planning services.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. John Coghill, supported removing that language, calling it a mandate beyond what the state offers. Minority Democrats sought unsuccessfully to reinsert that provision, saying improved access to those services will help reduce unplanned pregnancies and abortions.

Supporters say the state shouldn't have to pay for elective abortions. Critics say the bill raises constitutional questions.

The Senate concurred in the House changes.

The bill now goes to the Governor.

Young rival Dunbar raises nearly $17K in quarter
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Democratic U.S. House hopeful Forrest Dunbar has reported raising nearly $17,000 during the first quarter of this year.

Dunbar reported having about $27,000 on hand as of March 31. He also reported a $12,000 debt to the state Democratic party for campaign help.

Dunbar is seeking his party's nomination for the seat that's been held by Republican Rep. Don Young since 1973.

Young reported bringing in more than $77,000 between January and March and ending the quarter with nearly $700,000 on hand.

Dr. Walter Soboleff Day bill passes Senate unanimously
The State Senate Saturday unanimously approved the House bill that makes Nov. 14 of each year Dr. Walter Soboleff Day in Alaska.

The Tlingit elder died in 2011 at the age of 102.

His old friend Eagle River Senator Fred Dyson carried the bill on the floor.  He remembered Soboleff as a man who lived with dignity and had a tremendous impact on others.

Ground was broken last year by the Sealaska Heritage Institute on the Walter Soboleff Center in downtown Juneau. The center is to be dedicated, in part, to furthering public understanding of Alaska Native cultures.

The measure now goes to the Governor.

Juneau jury in cold case murder returns guilty verdict
A Juneau Superior Court jury has returned a verdict in the trial of 53 year-old Robert Kowalski of Columbia Falls, Montana, after a four week trial.

The jury on Friday found Kowalski guilty of murder in the 2nd degree for the shooting death of Sandra Perry, of Seattle, Washington, according to a dispatch from Alaska State Troopers.

The shooting occurred in Yakutat on July 21st 1996. Perry was 38-years old at the time of her death.

The jury found that Kowalski had acted with extreme indifference to the value of human life in killing Perry.

Kowalski had also been charged with murder first degree for the incident, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict on that charge.

A status hearing will be held in late April to determine if the state intends to retry Kowalski on the murder in the first degree charge, after which a sentencing date will be set. Kowalski could receive a sentence of 5 to 99 years in prison.

Over 20 witnesses from four states were called by the state to Juneau to testify during the month long trial.

Foot chase causes trooper and suspect to fall through ice
Alaska State Troopers received a 911 call reporting a male seemed to be impaired at Hamilton's Store in Cooper Landing Sunday afternoon around 5:45.

The male was seen leaving in a silver sedan, heading northbound towards Anchorage. The vehicle was stopped at mile 37.5 of the Seward highway.

The male passenger was identified as Jacob McGrew, 36 of Minnesota, and was confirmed to have an extraditable warrant out of Minnesota. McGrew refused to cooperate and fled on foot where he ran through a swamp and fell through the ice. The Trooper also broke through the ice.
The water was about waist deep. The Trooper was able to apprehend McGrew.

McGrew was transported by Cooper Landing EMS to Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna to be evaluated before being remanded. The Trooper was not injured and did not need medical attention.

Tire expert testifies in Kodiak murder trial
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A tire expert says it's unlikely that a nail found in the tire of the man charged in a Kodiak double homicide was picked up on a roadway.

Gary Bolden says the long nail likely was perpendicular to the tread and probably inserted mechanically.

Bolden testified Monday in the trial of James Wells, who's charged with murder in the shooting deaths of Richard Belisle (BEL'-eye-ul) and James Hopkins on April 12, 2012 at a Coast Guard Communication Station on Kodiak Island.

Wells worked with the victims and claimed he was delayed that morning because he stopped to change a flat tire.

Prosecutors say he instead drove to the shop at the communications station, shot his co-workers and returned home to establish an alibi.

Investigator testifies on timing of Kodiak murders
DAN JOLING, Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A Coast Guard investigator says James Wells had time to drive to a Coast Guard communications station, gun down two co-workers and head for home during a 34-minute period when a security camera recorded his truck along a Kodiak road.

Joe Sturgis testified Monday in the trial of Wells, who's charged with murder in the deaths of Richard Belisle (BEL'-eye-ul) and James Hopkins on April 12, 2012.

Prosecutors are trying to account for Wells' whereabouts that morning from 6:48 to 7:22 when his truck was recorded passing the Coast Guard base gate and returning.

Wells claims he stopped to check on a soft tire and drove home to change it.

Sturgis says driving at the speed limit gave Wells time to reach the communications station and return.

Alaskan Pulitzer Prize winner for music
The 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner for music is John Luther Adams. a onetime executive director of the Northern Alaska Environmental Center.

The Alaska-based composer and author's work has long been inspired by the natural world he's experienced, and the Pulitzer committee was attracted to the real-world feel of "Become Ocean," which was informed by the waters off the coast of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

The committee said the composition is a "haunting orchestral work that suggests a relentless tidal surge, evoking thoughts of melting polar ice and rising sea levels." The piece was commissioned by the Seattle Symphony, which debuted the work in June.

The 60-year-old has taught at Harvard University, The Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Alaska. He has also been a composer in residence with the Anchorage and Fairbanks symphonies and Arctic Chamber Orchestra.

Police arrest alleged drunk shooter
A man who police say was drunk and shooting a rifle was arrested in an area behind Costco Sunday.

Sergeant Chris Gifford says a resident called at about 6 p. m. to report what sounded like a handgun being fired in the area of Commercial Boulevard.

He says officers found a man at the end of Anka Street.

Thirty-six year old Mathew Passmore was arrested for drunk driving and misconduct involving weapons in the fourth degree.

He provided a sample of his breath which revealed a breath alcohol concentration of .291%. The legal limit is .08%

Passmore was jailed at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center. The vehicle he was driving was impounded.

Authorities respond to oil spill at downtown hotel
An oil spill roused Capital City Fire Rescue at about 12:30 Saturday morning.

Captain Lynn Ridle says they were dispatched to the Prospector Hotel to meet with officials from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

The captain says air readings were taken in the area underneath the parking. He says results concluded inflammatory readings were within normal ranges.

He says DEC officials deployed absorbent materials.

There was no information on the size of the spill; however, a police bulletin says sometime near 12:45 A.M. Saturday, an unknown person drained an unknown amount of heating fuel from a business in the 300 block on Wittier St. The Prospector is at 375 Whittier St.

Pull alarm at airport bumped by back pack
Capital City Fire Rescue responded to the airport at around six Sunday evening on a fire alarm that turned out to be false.

We'll told someone accidentally hit the pull station with their back pack.

The Alaska Airlines flight from Sitka was delayed in landing as a result.

Bicyclist hit by car faces charges
An errant bicyclist is facing charges as the result of a collision with a vehicle at Mendenhall Loop and Stephen Richards Drive Saturday.

Capital City Fire Rescue Captain Chad Cameron said the patient, a 56 year old man,  was found around 5:45 P.M. in the middle of the street, conscious and complaining of diffused pain. He was transported to the hospital for evaluation of his injuries.

Preliminary investigation by police showed that the bicyclist was intoxicated, riding against the lane of traffic and crossed into the oncoming lane of travel, striking  a 2004  Dodge Durango.

The driver of the Dodge Durango, a 22 year old woman,  was cited for failing to carry and show proof of insurance.

A citation is pending for the bicyclist for causing the collision.

Stolen bicycle
Juneau Police say a 49 year old male reported a theft of a bicycle from the 3300 Block of Nowell Ave. Saturday morning.

The freestyle bmx type bicycle was taken between the hours of 7:30 A.M. and 10:00 A.M.

It was valued at $300 dollars and was described as flat black in color, with pegs attached to the front and back.

Tips can be reported at

Man, 49, arrested for breaking into parent's home
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — A 49-year-old Ketchikan man has been charged of breaking into his parent's home to steal booze and their vehicle.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports that Clifford G. Lervick was arraigned on Friday in Ketchikan District Court on first-degree burglary and first-degree vehicle theft among other charges.

Charging documents say Lervick broke into his parent's home on March 28 when they were on vacation. Police investigating estimated the damage to the home at a $1,000. Officers began looking for Lervick when he was recorded by a security camera at the home.
(Ketchikan Daily News)

Second strong earthquake hits Solomon Islands
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Another powerful earthquake has struck the Solomon Islands, the second strong temblor of the day to hit the South Pacific country.

The magnitude-7.7 quake struck at 11:36 p.m. local time Sunday, with an epicenter 328 kilometers (204 miles) southeast of Honiara, the capital, and a depth of 20 kilometers (12 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

On Sunday morning, a magnitude-7.6 quake in the same area triggered large waves in the Solomon Islands.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage from either quake.

Following the first earthquake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center canceled a tsunami warning after issuing an alert for some Pacific islands.

The Solomon Islands was already reeling from flash floods that struck April 3, killing 23 people and leaving 9,000 homeless.

Vandalism in Valley neighborhood under investigation
The Juneau Police Department responded to a Valley neighborhood Saturday morning in response to acts of vandalism.

Police say four residences, two vehicles and one boat were spray painted in the area of Brothers Avenue, Thunder Street and Erin Street.

An investigation is continuing.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Juneau Police Department or log on to Juneau Crime Line to report their tip. Tipsters can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward.


JPD Crimeline: Car theft and vandalism
This week's Juneau Police Department "Crime of the Week" focuses on cart thefts and vandalism.

During the night of March 14th and early morning on March 15th a 2014 green Chevy Blazer was stolen from Riverwood Drive. Stereo items and sunglasses were also stolen out of other vehicles on Riverwood Drive.

During the early morning hours of March 15th, the suspects in the stolen vehicle were associated with multiple tire slashings in Switzer Village. A resident of Pine Street reported the vehicle abandoned in that area at about 5:41 in the morning.

One witness said she saw three young males in the stolen Blazer when it was left on Pine Street. Two sweatshirts were found in the stolen vehicle and may have belonged to the suspects.

The stolen vehicle had been left unlocked with the keys in the console. Residents are reminded not to leave vehicles unlocked or to hide keys inside the vehicle.

Anyone with information is encouraged to log on to the Juneau Crime Line Web site and report their tip.


2 arrested on outstanding AST warrants
Two people were arrested  by Juneau Police on outstanding warrants in front of McDonalds Friday afternoon.

Melani Maus was arrested on two outstanding warrants. Two Juneau Alaska State Trooper warrants, one for $10,000 and another for $2,500, relate to contempt of court chartes.

Zachary Ison was arrested on a $1,000 Trooper warrant charging him with failure to appear on a bail appearance for the original charge of misconduct involving a controlled substance in the 4th degree.

16 year old arrested for child porn possession
A juvenile was arrested on Possession of Child Pornography charges Thursday.

The Alaska Bureau of Investigation's Technical Crimes Unit contacted the 16 year old near Wasilla during an investigation into the distribution of child sexual abuse images using mobile devices on the "MeetMe" and "Kik" social networks.

An Alaska State Troopers report says electronic devices were seized and evidence was found that corroborated the allegations.

The teen was remanded at Mat-Su Youth Facility.

ConocoPhillips to resume Kenai LNG shipments
NIKISKI, Alaska (AP) — ConocoPhillips says it will resume exports of liquefied natural gas from a Kenai Peninsula facility.

The company in a Monday release says it has received authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy to export LNG from the Nikiski plant to Free Trade Agreement and non-agreement countries for two years.

ConocoPhillips says it plans to resume exports this spring. The company had previously said it would consider exporting again from Cook Inlet if there was enough natural gas for Southcentral Alaska utilities.

Last year, the utilities signed agreements securing their supply of gas through early 2018.

The Nikiski LNG plant was closed two years ago. The orders from the government will allow it to ship 40 billion cubic feet of LNG over a two-year period.

Energy Department seeks methane hydrate proposals
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy is looking for research proposals that could advance what's known about methane hydrates, a potential new source of fossil fuel.

Methane is the main ingredient of natural gas. The department describes methane hydrate as a lattice of ice that traps methane molecules but does not bind them chemically. Methane is released when the material is warmed or depressurized.

Methane hydrate is found on Alaska's North Slope and in sediment on the outer continental shelf.

The department is offering grant money for research projects in Alaska that could explore how to economically extract methane. The department is also seeking researchers to document methane hydrate deposits in outer continental shelf waters.

The department anticipates federal funding of $20 million over two years for research projects.

Gov's pension plan gets municipal support
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Municipal leaders on Saturday expressed support for Gov. Sean Parnell's approach to addressing the state's unfunded pension obligation.

They also supported keeping the municipal contribution to the public employees' retirement system at its current level. Municipal leaders feared lawmakers would propose raising the local contribution, though no such proposal has been made.

During a House Finance Committee hearing Saturday afternoon, mayors, assembly members and borough finance directors praised Parnell's plan to move $3 billion from savings toward addressing the public employees' and teachers' retirement systems.

Committee co-chair Rep. Alan Austerman, R-Kodiak, said if the municipal share went up, that would help with upfront payments toward the liability. But he said municipalities weren't stepping forward and offering to do so. He said this is not just the state's liability.

UPDATE:  Alaska Senate passes capital budget
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Senate has passed a $2.2 billion state capital budget on a 19-1 vote.

Reconsideration was given Friday, but not taken up on Saturday, so the measure now moves to the House.

Senate Finance Committee co-chair Kevin Meyer said he thought members had done a good job of trying to limit spending while also addressing critical needs.

The bill includes funding to complete the state archives, museum and library in Juneau and the engineering building at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Capital funding in the package is about $110 million less overall than that approved by lawmakers last session.

The amount approved was slightly higher than what was reported when the bill left Senate Finance. Materials provided with the bill at that time weren't completely reflective of updated totals.

Kelly withdraws proposed shift on Judicial Council
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Senate sponsor of a proposed constitutional amendment to change the makeup of the Alaska Judicial Council has withdrawn the measure.

Sen. Pete Kelly, in a floor speech Saturday, said he probably did not have the 14 votes needed for SJR21 to pass. But he still laid out his arguments for why he felt the proposal was important, including the need for more regional representation on the panel.

Senate Minority Leader Hollis French said the court system works well. He said supporters of SJR21 had a hard time showing that change was needed.

SJR21 would have raised from three to six the number of non-attorney members on the council, leaving at three the number of attorney members. It also would have made attorney members subject to legislative confirmation.

Senate passes proposed amendment on student loans
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Senate has passed a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at helping lower the cost of student loans.

The vote was 19-1, with Sen. Bert Stedman voting against.

SJR23, from Sen. Anna Fairclough, proposes a change to the state constitution to allow for authorization of state general obligation debt for funding student loans.

The executive officer of the Alaska Student Loan Corp. has said the proposal would allow the corporation to leverage the state's credit rating to achieve the lowest possible costs for financing state education loans and making loans more widely available.

The measure still must be considered by the House.

Constitutional amendments require two-thirds vote of each the House and Senate before it can qualify for the ballot.

Senate passes bill on sex assault prevention
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Senate has unanimously passed legislation aimed at sexual assault awareness and prevention programs in schools.

SB216 has been called "Erin's Law," after Erin Merryn, a sexual abuse victim leading an effort to implement such programs nationwide. A similar bill is pending in the House.

The bill calls on school boards, in consultation with the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, to implement policies establishing a training program for employees and students in kindergarten through 12th grade. It also calls for publications on sexual abuse and prevention to parents, students and staff. Information would be age-appropriate, include warnings signs of an abused child and steps kids can take to prevent and report abuse.

The bill would take effect in 2016.

Medicaid funding bill scheduled for more House debate Sunday
The Alaska House will continue debating a bill on Sunday that would further define medically necessary abortions for purposes of Medicaid funding.

The bill is similar to regulations adopted by the state health commissioner that are being challenged in court.

The House debated and voted on amendment 4 to SB49 Thursday evening. It sought to require state Medicaid funding for expanded family planning services for income-eligible individuals. It failed to pass the house 22 to 18.  Several other proposed changes were defeated.

The House will resume debate Sunday on abortion legislation. House Speaker Mike Chenault said two representatives were leaving yesterday and picking the matter up on Sunday would allow for them to be present to vote.

Judge rules on winning parties in redistricting
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A judge has found the Fairbanks-area plaintiffs who sued over plans to redraw Alaska's political boundaries are entitled to "full reasonable" legal fees and costs.

Superior Court Judge Michael McConahy found George Riley and Ronald Dearborn to be the prevailing litigants in the lawsuit against the Alaska Redistricting Board from the filing of the original complaint in 2011 until July 14, 2013. He found the board to be the prevailing party on litigation after that date.

It's unclear how much the plaintiffs might be entitled to. McConahy requested an itemized statement.

A board attorney said the decision was being reviewed.

While the city of Petersburg and Alaska Democratic Party were not prevailing parties, McConahy determined they were public interest litigants and no fees or costs can be awarded against them.

Alaska ad proudly ties Dem senator to 'Obamacare'
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats have spent months debating how to answer conservatives' attacks on President Barack Obama's health care law.

Friends of an embattled Democratic senator now are fighting back by proudly linking him to "Obamacare."

An independent group in Alaska is airing a TV ad that praises Democratic Sen. Mark Begich. It says he helped people obtain insurance even if they have "pre-existing conditions" such as cancer.

The 30-second ad doesn't mention Obama or his health care law by name.

But it features an Alaska woman saying Begich helped her obtain insurance that previously was denied because of her breast cancer. That's a main feature of the law.

The ad is among the first to unapologetically associate a Senate Democrat with the health care law in a tightly contested election.

JDHS Site Council looking for new members
The JDHS Site Council is looking for a diverse group of committed parents and community members to fill 4 seats on the 2014-15 Site Council.

The Site Council is an advisory group made up of constituents from every part of the JD community -- students, teachers and staff, parents, community members -- and a school board liaison and the principal. There are two 2-year terms open for parent members and one 2-year and one 1-year term open for community members.

Parent members must have a son or daughter enrolled at JD in the 2014-15 school year. Community members may or may not have a student enrolled at JD.

Interested people should submit a brief letter of intent to the JDHS main office by 3:45 on Friday, May 2. Details and a form are available at

Elections will be held at the monthly May Site Council meeting, Monday, May 5, 5-7 pm in the JDHS library. Nominees are invited to give a brief statement and participate in the voting.

Forums scheduled and online survey available to provide input on superintendent search
The public is being asked by the Juneau School Board to weigh in on the search for a new superintendent of schools.

The opening comes with the resignation of Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich which is effective June 30.

Three forums are planned this week.

A release from the school district says community involvement in the forums and feedback from an online survey help guide the selection of a superintendent.

Two of the forums are set for Wednesday evening. They will be held at the libraries at Juneau Douglas and Thunder Mountain High Schools from 6:30 to 7:30.

The other is Thursday evening from 6:30 to 7:30 in the Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School Library.

The online survey will be available until 8 a.m. on Friday.

UAF injections probe may include ex-students
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A University of Alaska Fairbanks investigation of its medical assistant program has found that students may have been practicing injections with an unauthorized solution as far back as 2010.

An assistant professor has been placed on paid leave as the university reviews the injecting of about 30 students with a solution not intended for human use.

The university initially thought the improper injections were limited to the current academic year. But university spokeswoman Marmian Grimes tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that officials now believe the solution may have also been used four years ago.

The university is using an independent lab to determine whether the solution contains substances that would be harmful to humans.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)

State Supreme Court: Dispute needs local resolution
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Supreme Court agrees with a lower court ruling that a village dispute needs to be settled locally.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner says the dispute began with a lawsuit filed against Mount McKinley Bank by one group claiming leadership of the Healy Lake Village tribe. Another group also claims it is the rightful leader.

In its decision Friday, the Supreme Court dismissed the case filed by the group led by Robert Fifer, saying the tribe's constitution dictates the establishment of a tribal court that would resolve the dispute.

The court agreed with a November Superior Court ruling at it did not have the jurisdiction to determine who should govern.

The lawsuit was filed after the bank refused to change the signatory authority to reflect the alleged leadership change.
(Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner)

Washington state man to lead Sitka tribe
SITKA, Alaska (AP) — A Washington state man is the new general manager for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska.

KCAW reports Lawrence SpottedBird begins work on Monday.

SpottedBird, a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, has more than three decades experience working with tribes and Native American entrepreneurs on business and economic development. He currently owns the consulting business SpottedBird Development, with offices in Hobart, Okla., Bremerton, Wash., and Anchorage.

From 1999 to 2000, he was general manager of Shaan Seet, the village Native corporation in Craig, Alaska, on Prince of Wales Island.

He replaces Allen Bell, the tribal attorney, who has been interim manager since Ted Wright resigned in October.

Man, sons rescued after wife calls for help
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say a 39-year-old Eagle River man and his two sons were rescued after they were reported overdue from a hike.

Nicholas Janes, 11-year-old John Janes and 15-year-old Austin Janes were transported by a National Guard helicopter crew to an Anchorage hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

KTUU says Eagle River resident Kathern Janes call troopers at about 6 p.m. Saturday when her husband and two sons had not returned from the hike that they started that morning.

The woman told troopers the three were not dressed for winter alpine conditions and did not have the equipment to camp out overnight.

The father and sons were found by searchers around midnight near Glacier Lake.

After attack, officials kill 4 bears in Florida
LAKE MARY, Fla. (AP) — Florida wildlife officials have killed four bears after an attack on a woman in a suburban subdivision.

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers say they shot one bear and euthanized three others Sunday night.

Forty-five-year-old Terri Frana was attacked by a large bear in her driveway Saturday. Frana's husband tells WFTV that the bear had his wife's head in her mouth and dragged her about 4 feet toward a wooded area.

He says she managed to escape from the bear's jaw, and then ran inside the house, where she collapsed.

She was treated at a hospital and released.

Officials say the bear that was shot was aggressive and didn't react to them as a bear normally would.

Experts say this is the time of the year when bears leave their winter dens.

Grand jury indicts Soldotna man on tax counts
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted a 59-year-old Soldotna man suspected of failing to file tax returns for four years and filing false tax returns for three years.

The Peninsula Clarion reports James Back was arrested last week at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and freed on $10,000 bail.

Federal prosecutors say Back filed false tax returns from 2006 to 2008, claiming his wages of nearly $400,000 as a pipeline technician for Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. were not income. He also claimed refunds totaling $110,111.

Prosecutors say Back filed no returns from 2009 to 2012 despite earning up to $500,000 in that period.

He is charged with three counts of filing false returns and four counts of failing to file returns.
(Peninsula Clarion)

'64 quake focus of Anchorage Museum exhibit
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An exhibit recalling the devastating 1964 Alaska earthquake features the good and the bad of the quake.

KTVA reports the exhibit called "Riskland: Remembering the 1964 Earthquake" opened Friday at the Anchorage Museum. It will run until mid-September.

The earthquake was the second highest ever recorded at magnitude 9.2. The quake and resulting tsunamis killed 131 people.

But curator Greg Danner says there were positives that came out of the quake, and the exhibit attempts to highlight them, as well.

Among those are advances that have been made in science in the last 50 years.

Fairbanks expands its inebriate patrol
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Fairbanks has expanded its inebriate patrol.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that two vans now take inebriated people into protective custody from anywhere within city limits, not just the downtown core.

The patrol also expanded its hours so it operates seven days per week from 9 a.m. until 2 a.m.

The patrol operated by the Downtown Association of Fairbanks gets about half of its $300,000 annual budget from private donors and the rest from the Fairbanks city and borough governments.

Mayor John Eberhart wanted a larger patrol to keep city police officers and firefighters from getting tied up with non-emergency inebriate calls.

His budget increased the city's contribution from $50,000 to $125,000.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)

Savoonga carver dies in Nome
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A well-known carver from Savoonga has died after he was hit while walking in Nome.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that 54-year-old Wagner Wongittilin was hit by sport-utility vehicle at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Bering Street around 1 a.m. Saturday. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital shortly after.

Authorities say the driver of the SUV had abandoned the vehicle, but came back to the area a short time later to report the accident to police.

Police say in a release that charges are pending following a review by the district attorney's office.

Foster Farms salmonella outbreak continuing
LIVINGSTON, Calif. (AP) — Federal health officials say a salmonella outbreak linked to Foster Farms chicken isn't over and has now infected 524 people in 25 states and Puerto Rico.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the updated numbers on Wednesday. The agency reported in January that the outbreak appeared to be over. It has been going on since March 2013.

The CDC noted an up tick in illnesses in February.

The outbreak led to a public health alert from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for raw chicken packaged at three Foster Farms facilities in California.

Though no one has died, the CDC says the outbreak strains have been resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics.

Foster Farms says it has implemented a salmonella control program that has reduced the prevalence of salmonella in its products.

Opponents carve anti-pipeline message into field
NELIGH, Neb. (AP) — Opponents of a proposed pipeline to carry Canadian oil south to the Gulf Coast have carved a message of resistance into a Nebraska field in the project's path.

The 80-acre artwork, which was done last week and reads "Heartland#NoKXL," is the latest protest environmentalists and landowners have employed against TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

Critics of the pipeline want President Barack Obama to reject the project because they fear it could contaminate groundwater and contribute to pollution.

TransCanada has said the pipeline will have upgraded safety measures, including remote control shut-off valves and frequent inspections. It has already built the southern leg of the pipeline between Oklahoma and Texas.

The section of the project that still needs approval would cross Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.

Lawmakers look to combat seafood fraud
BRUCE SMITH, Associated Press
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (AP) — Lawmakers in state capitals and in Washington are working to see that consumers are getting what they think they are getting when buying seafood.

More than 90 percent of America's seafood is imported and mislabeling is rife.

The conservation group Oceana reported last year that 33 percent of the more than 1,200 seafood samples it purchased and tested nationwide were mislabeled. Only seven of the 120 samples of fish purported to be red snapper really were red snapper based on DNA testing.

Lawmakers in states including Maryland and South Carolina have introduced truth in labeling bills.

And the Safety and Fraud Enforcement for Seafood Act has been introduced in both chambers of Congress. It would require information, such as where and when seafood was caught, to follow seafood through final sale.

Wounded Alaska based soldier to run Boston Marathon with prosthetic leg
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A member of Fort Wainwright's Stryker Brigade who lost his leg in combat plans to run in the Boston Marathon next Monday.

The Tacoma News-Tribune reports that Edward Lychik plans to run on a new prosthetic leg with a team honoring the memory of an 8-year-old boy killed in last year's blast.


' 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.