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December 15th, 2014 12th
EDITION 4:00 P. M.]
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
regular meeting is scheduled for February 25 and 26 in Juneau.
Due to severe weather in Prince William Sound FVF
Fairweather sailings for today are canceled.
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.
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
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.
hearing on marijuana sales ban
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage Assembly will take
testimony Tuesday on a measure to ban marijuana sales within municipal
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
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
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.”
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
December 13th, 2014 7th
EDITION 7:32 P. M.]
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
The measure also places 152,067 acres of
old-growth timber in new conservation areas to protect salmon and
“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
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
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:
December 12th, 2014 14th
EDITION 3:58 P. M.]
JPD Crime of the Week:
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.
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
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
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
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 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
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
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.
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
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
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
Alaska regents OK
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The University of Alaska is
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.
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
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
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
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
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:
will go to HoopTime’s high school aged team that will be chosen in the
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
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
Weather on scene was reported as 15 to 20-mph winds, cloudy and a
temperature of 41 degrees.
Forest fire in Lemon
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
survived the sinking of the Oryong 501. Abel said the remains of 27 people
have been recovered, while another 26 remain unaccounted for.
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.
Coast Guard will provide search and rescue planning assistance to South
Korean search and rescue crews as they search for survivors and debris.
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
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
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.
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
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
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:
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
“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.
e-cards: Links or attachments in e-cards could contain malware. Consumers
should make sure their spam filters are set and up-to-date.
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
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
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.
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
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
Coaches and staff were instructed during a two-day seminar on ways to use
effective language in handling tough questions and ending uncomfortable
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
· 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.
· 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
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.
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.
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
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
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
Derrick says the association advocated for the change with large families in
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
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
There was no floor vote, but Democrats and Republicans agreed to let it
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
If approved, the fee increase would begin in May 2016.