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October 20th, 2014 11th
EDITION 4:37 P. M.]
Power restored within thirty minutes in numerous
areas this afternoon
Power went out in numerous areas today around 3:10
PM, including downtown, West Juneau, Douglas, the Valley, Lena Loop, and
out the road.
AEL&P's Debbie Driscoll says all power was
restored within 30 minutes. She called the problem a load shed
that caused multiple feeders to open.
Begich urges more airport screenings for Ebola
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has urged
the president to expand health screenings at more international
airports, including Anchorage, in response to Ebola concerns.
In a letter to President Barack Obama, Begich said such "sensible travel
restrictions" must be considered to help contain the outbreak in West
Africa and prevent its spread to the U.S.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she isn't sure adequate protocols are in
place to protect health care workers and the American public.
She said until that certainty exists, the Obama administration should
consider banning or restricting travel from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra
Leone, nations hit hard by the outbreak.
Last week, an epidemiologist for the state questioned the efficacy of
additional airport screenings since people may not show symptoms for up
to 21 days after exposure.
Candidates start final push as early voting starts
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Early voting has started in Alaska, as the
candidates in the state's hotly contested U.S. Senate race begin their
Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, whose campaign has been urging Alaskans to
vote early, planned to cast his ballot on Monday in Anchorage and to
hold a news conference defending his record as mayor of that city, a job
he held prior to his election in 2008.
Meanwhile, Republican challenger Dan Sullivan was scheduled to be in
Homer on Monday evening.
The two are scheduled to participate in a forum in Soldotna on Tuesday,
one of a handful of forums and debates that both have agreed to ahead of
the Nov. 4 election.
The race could help decide control of the Senate. Republicans see Begich
Coast Guard completes international assist,
disabled vessel safely moored
JUNEAU, Alaska — Coast Guard assets and personnel
assisting the Canadian coast guard returned to their units after the
disabled vessel, Simushir, was safely towed by commercial tugboats to
Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Monday.
“The trusted partnership we have with
our Canadian counterparts continues to be a vital component to
protecting lives at sea and mitigating potential maritime emergencies,”
said Rear Adm. Dan Abel, commander, Coast Guard 17th District. “We are
pleased this case ended with a positive outcome; preparing for the worst
case scenario is the first step in an effective prevention and response
Coast Guard 17th District watchstanders
in Juneau received a request for assistance on Friday from the Rescue
Coordination Center in Victoria, who reported the Simushir had lost
propulsion while transiting from Port Angeles, Wash., to Russia, and was
at risk of running aground on the Queen Charlotte Islands with 11
crewmembers and approximately 168,000 gallons of fuel.
The Coast Guard forward deployed an Air
Station Sitka Jayhawk helicopter crew Friday and an Air Station Kodiak
C-130 Hercules crew with a State of Alaska Emergency Towing System on
Saturday to the town of Sandspit on Moresby Island to provide search and
rescue assistance to Canadian coast guard crews. The 17th District also
stood up their incident management team to direct Coast Guard assets and
personnel support. Coast Guard Sector Juneau deployed six members,
including the sector’s commander, to Ketchikan to establish the
foundation for a unified command and to exercise their sub-area
contingency plan with state and local partners.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter
SPAR, a 225-foot seagoing bouy tender homeported in Kodiak, was diverted
Friday to the Simushir’s location with a State of Alaska Emergency
Towing System onboard and arrived Saturday. The SPAR stayed on scene and
kept in close communication with the Canadian coast guard vessels and
the commercial tugboat, Barbara Foss.
The Barbara Foss took the Simushir into
tow Saturday and safely transited to Brown Passage, where two other
tugboats took over and brought the freight vessel into Prince Rupert.
“Assistance provided by the U.S. Coast
Guard in the form of the USCGC SPAR and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter at
the ready in Sandspit, B.C. highlights the ongoing support that the U.S.
and Canada provide to each other,” said The Honourable Gail Shea,
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “And for that I would like to
extend my appreciation.”
Official: Kenai Peninsula residents oldest
HOMER, Alaska (AP) — A state official says the Kenai
Peninsula has some of the highest percentages of older Alaskans in the
The Homer News says Alaskans 50 and older account for 36 percent of the
population on the peninsula, compared with 27 percent of the population
in that age group statewide.
State demographer Eddie Hunsinger discussed Alaska's growing senior
population during a presentation Friday at the Homer Senior Center.
Hunsinger's discussion was part of the first South Peninsula Senior
Hunsinger says the aging trend is expected to keep climbing. In two
decades, seniors aged 65 and older on the peninsula are expected to make
up nearly 25 percent of the population there, compared with 15 percent
statewide and 20 percent nationwide.
Juneau musician donates $100K to local causes
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A Juneau musician marked his
87th birthday by donating $100,000 to four local organizations.
The donation by Ron Maas is to be divided equally among Juneau Jazz &
Classics, Juneau Alaska Music Matters, the Juneau Symphony and the Glory
Hole, a shelter and soup kitchen.
Maas, a trumpeter and leader of the Thunder Mountain Big Band, says when
he was growing up, his family never had much to eat. He said he learned
the need to help others.
Maas and his wife are long-time members of Juneau's arts scene and have
made major donations before, including a $50,000 gift to the symphony
and a scholarship to the Sitka Fine Arts Camp.
In 2008, they received a Mayor's Award for Patrons of the Arts.
Bike parts found behind Juneau apartment house
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Juneau police say they have no
explanation for a stash of stolen bicycle parts found behind an
apartment house in the Mendenhall Valley.
Lt. David Campbell reports that most Juneau bike thefts are crimes of
opportunity and people steal them to get around, not to strip them.
Michelle Norman says she loaned her bike to a friend of her daughter and
it was stolen outside a store.
The girl's stepfather received a tip about stolen bikes and found the
Norman's bike frame among tires and wheels piled up behind Coho
Norman says it will probably be cheaper to buy a new bike than to add
handlebars, front forks, wheels, gears, pedals, shifters and brakes to
her recovered bike frame.
First measurable snow falls in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The first measurable snow of
the season has fallen in Alaska's largest city.
The Alaska Dispatch News reports six-tenths of an inch fell on Sunday at
the National Weather Service's Sand Lake office.
And that was just the start. The agency says in a statement that another
1.5 inches fell there after midnight.
Snow depths from the first snowfall varied widely over the municipality.
Eagle River had three-tenths of an inch of snow, but one part of the
Hillside south of O'Malley Road had 7 inches. There was also a
measurement of 8 inches of snow along Turnagain Pass early Monday
Alaska resumes issuing licenses to gay couples
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Gay couples can start
getting married in Alaska on Monday.
Phillip Mitchell, with the state Department of Vital Statistics, said
couples who completed applications last week before the courts issued a
stay can start picking up their licenses Monday morning. He also tells
The Associated Press in an email that offices across the state will
again be taking marriage applications for same-sex couples.
A federal judge on Oct. 12 ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriages
was unconstitutional. The state intends to appeal, and the Ninth Circuit
Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay for the state to seek relief
from the U.S. Supreme Court.
However, the nation's highest court denied the state's request for a
stay on Friday, when marriages offices were closed for a state holiday.
Cab passenger dies after crash with SUV
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A woman riding in a cab died
after a crash in midtown Anchorage but the cause of death has not been
KTUU-TV reports two women and a 2-year-old child were in the cab at 7:30
p.m. Friday when it was struck by a sport utility vehicle that rolled
through a stop sign at 40th Avenue and Denali Street.
Initial police reports said the women had received injuries that were
not considered life-threatening.
However, at 3 a.m. Saturday, police learned one of the women had died.
An autopsy was ordered to determine whether the crash played a role in
The driver of the SUV, 35-year-old Bjarne Rasmussen, was issued a
citation for failure to stop at a stop sign. He also was transported to
Fairbanks air plan won't include local measures
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The official overseeing
state efforts to clean up winter air around Fairbanks says any new
measures taken by local government probably will not immediately make it
into a cleanup plan required by the federal government.
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation says the federal
Environmental Protection Agency requires a cleanup plan by the end of
Air Quality Division chief Alice Edwards says the state plan was
conceived before Fairbanks North Star Borough voters this month rejected
a continued ban on local air pollution controls.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the state plan has to include
scientific modeling to show federal air standards can be met.
Fairbank's wintertime air is regularly out of compliance with federal
standards because of particulate emitted by people heating with wood as
an alternative to expensive heating oil.
Sen. Murkowski Releases GAO Report on Crude Exports
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski,
R-Alaska, today welcomed the release of a new report by the Government
Accountability Office (GAO) suggesting that lifting the ban on crude oil
exports could decrease gasoline prices and grow the economy.
“This latest review by the GAO is a
welcome addition to the growing body of analysis supporting the case for
greater oil exports,” Murkowski said.
The report, available here, outlines a
number of potential outcomes of lifting the ban, including greater oil
production, economic growth and lower gasoline prices. GAO states:
“Removing export restrictions is expected to increase the size of the
economy, with implications for employment, investment, public revenue,
and trade. For example, removing restrictions is expected to contribute
to further declines in net crude oil imports, reducing the U.S. trade
GAO also states:
“The studies we reviewed and most of the stakeholders we interviewed
suggest that consumer fuel prices, such as gasoline, diesel, and jet
fuel, could decrease as a result of removing crude oil export
restrictions. A decrease in consumer fuel prices could occur because
they tend to follow international crude oil prices rather than domestic
crude oil prices, according to the studies and most of the
The report also recommends that the
Department of Energy re-examine the size of the Strategic Petroleum
AFN convention this week in Anchorage
The Alaska Federation of Natives holds
its annual convention this week in Anchorage.
The theme of this year's gathering is
"Rise As One."
The convention opens Thursday with
guest speakers including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and National
Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby.
Two hometown speakers will present a
joint keynote address Thursday: Miriam Aarons, Communications Director
for Bering Strait Native Corporation and former NFL player Mao Tosi.
The agenda for Friday's session
includes the usual speeches from elected officials and candidates, and
one item never seen before at A-F-N: a 5-minute update on ebola virus
The A-F-N convention, billed as
Alaska's largest annual gathering, is expected to attract up to
5-thousand attendees to the Dena'ina Convention Center in downtown
October 19th, 2014 5th
EDITION 6:21 P. M.]
State lays claim to land
along refuge boundary
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The state is seeking conveyance
of nearly 20,000 acres on the western boundary of the Arctic National
The state says the lands were requested under the Alaska Statehood Act and
Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. But Gov. Sean Parnell says
the federal government has been improperly drawing the boundary.
In a release, Parnell says his administration began a review of the boundary
after the Department of Natural Resources received bids for oil and gas
tracts in the area in 2011.
He says conveyance will bring the acreage under state control for oil and
Maureen Clark, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, told
APRN the agency received the state's request and was checking if the issue
was the subject of prior litigation.
Parnell meets with Guard members
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sean Parnell met with
Alaska National Guard members amid ongoing criticism about the
administration's response to allegations of sexual assault and other
misconduct within the Guard.
Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow says this was a drill weekend and
hundreds of Guard members attended the town hall at Joint Base
Elmendorf-Richardson on Sunday.
Leighow said by email that Parnell was addressing changes that are being
implemented within the Guard and taking members' questions. She says Guard
leadership was not in attendance.
A report from the National Guard Bureau's Office of Complex Investigations
found that victims did not trust the system because of a lack of confidence
in the command. In response, Parnell asked the leader of the Guard to
Parnell vowed to implement the report's recommendations to help restore
Files allege misconduct among recruitment officers
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Investigative files show years
of alleged sexual and other misconduct among officers within the Alaska Army
National Guard's Recruiting and Retention Battalion.
The files, leaked to the Alaska Dispatch News, were prepared between 2010
The Alaska Dispatch News reports the files describe a unit in which officers
cheated on their wives, bullied civilians, drank to excess and made
demeaning comments about women, including fellow soldiers.
Most of the leaked files contain portions of the full investigations and do
not provide defense statements from the officers or the final results of the
Gov. Sean Parnell has been criticized for not acting quickly enough in
response to allegations of misconduct within the Guard. News organizations
and others have requested information on the administration's response and
Record number registers for ultra race
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A record number of people have
signed up for the White Mountains 100-mile ultra race north of Fairbanks.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 155 people signed up for 65 slots in
the race, scheduled for March.
A lottery determines the roster and wait list.
There are three divisions: biking, running and Nordic skiing. Ninety-six
people signed up for the bike race, 31 people signed up for the ski race and
28 for the run.
Returning are the reigning winners and record holders in the men's and
women's bike division, Josh Chelf and Amber Bethe. Also back is two-time
women's foot race champion and record holder Laura McDonough.
The 65-person field currently includes racers from a handful of states in
the Lower 48, two from Canada and one from Spain.
Restoration plan taking longer than expected
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Government attorneys say a
restoration plan for addressing lingering effects of the Exxon Valdez oil
spill is taking longer than expected to complete.
The six-step plan includes testing of possible bioremediation technologies.
The attorneys, in a recent court filing, said it will be necessary to apply
what was learned from the testing to all known or predicted oiled sites
before moving ahead. They proposed another update to the court by June 30.
Lawsuits brought against Exxon Mobil Corp. by the state and federal
governments after the 1989 spill led to a $900 million settlement and a
consent decree that included a clause that would allow the governments to
seek additional funds for restoration projects.
In 2006, the governments demanded $92 million but haven't asked a judge to
enforce the provision.
Ketchikan officials to consider prayer at meetings
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — The Ketchikan Gateway Borough
Assembly is set to consider whether to begin its meetings with a prayer.
A public hearing and vote are scheduled for Monday.
The Ketchikan Daily News reports that there was disagreement at an earlier
meeting about whether non-religious speakers would be allowed to deliver
invocations and how much time would be set aside for prayer.
One proposal would set time limits of 30 seconds to 90 seconds for prayers
or meditative observances "with a positive and cooperative focus." Another
would allow representatives of all faiths and denominations to deliver
invocations, including moments of silence.
Update: Coast Guard Cutter SPAR open
house in Juneau, Alaska, cancelled
JUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard Cutter SPAR open house
scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 19, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Coast Guard Pier
in Juneau has been canceled.
The SPAR has been diverted to provide assistance to the Canadian Coast
Guard, who are responding to a freight vessel adrift off the coast of
British Columbia’s Queen Charlotte Islands.
Man fleeing with stolen
TV runs in front of JPD patrol cars
It was bad timing for one thief in Juneau Saturday night.
A man running from a store with a TV over his head ended up crossing the
road just as a procession of Juneau Police patrol cars approached.
Four Juneau Police officers were traveling in a procession on Glacier
Highway near Northwood Street on Saturday just before midnight. The officers
were en route to a location to follow-up on an assault case from the day
As the officers approached the intersection of Glacier and Renninger Street,
a man ran in front of the patrol cars carrying a large object over his head.
The man was running toward Renninger Street from the direction of WalMart.
The officers contacted the man as he placed a 42” flatscreen TV into the
back of a pickup truck in the parking lot of a nearby apartment complex.
Investigation revealed the man had stolen the TV from WalMart and exited
through an emergency exit in the back of the store, where police found him
running across the street.
The suspect, 33 year-old Berton Atlas Tullis, was arrested and charged with
Larceny. He was taken to Lemon Creek Correctional Center and later released.
Alcohol did not appear to be a factor.
SALMON CREEK TRAIL
Contractors are starting repair
work on the Salmon Creek Road Monday to repair an 80-foot section of the
road that washed away last winter after heavy rains. As a safety measure,
the trail will be closed to the public during these repairs. Repairs are
expected to be completed by the end of November.
The damaged section is located about a mile up from the gate, halfway
between the gate and the old upper power house where the actual Salmon Creek
Trail to the dam begins. The damage is not far from where a larger section
of road washed out in 2005, also causing a temporary road closure.
The 30-year-old road is part of the Salmon Creek Hydro Project regulated by
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and operated and maintained
Image of road
damage taken in January 2014 by Scott Willis of AEL&P
American tug towing disabled Russian cargo ship to
Prince Rupert, B.C.
OLD MASSETT, B.C. - The stricken Russian container
ship Simushar is under tow again off the north coast of British
The Canadian Forces' joint rescue co-ordination centre in Victoria says
the ocean-going American tug boat Barbara Foss has a secure line
attached to the ship.
Spokesperson Acting Sub Lt. Melissa Kia says the owners of Russian
vessel plan to have it taken to Prince Rupert.
Kia says the winds and seas have calmed significantly since yesterday,
and at their current speed of seven nautical miles per hour the ships
should reach port later today.
The Canadian Coast Guard vessel Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the U.S. Coast
Guard vessel Spar are providing escort service.
A mechanical failure left the Simushar drifting in heavy seas Thursday
night, sparking fears it could run aground and spill hundreds of tonnes
of fuel along the pristine shores of Haida Gwaii, also known as the
Queen Charlotte Islands.
A Canadian Coast Guard vessel tried towing Simushar yesterday, but the
tether kept breaking.
Kia says there have been no such problems since the bigger and better
equipped tug took over.
October 18th, 2014 5th
EDITION 9:58 P. M.]
Proposal would run recycling program as non-profit
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks-North Star
Borough is looking 300 miles south in the hopes of finding a better
solution to trash and recycling.
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough runs a recycling program as a non-profit,
with eight employees and 400 volunteers.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports an ordinance going before the
assembly for a vote next week would spend $75,000 on updating a
municipal recycling plan from 2005.
And Assemblyman John Davies thinks the Mat-Su model works. It pays the
bills with donations, a $75,000 municipal grant and by selling
high-quality baled recyclables to brokers in Washington.
Davies says recycling might make financial sense if the rate for selling
bundled recyclables by the ton is comparable to what it costs to bury a
ton of trash in the landfill.
Coast Guard responds to vessel aground near
A Coast Guard Station Ketchikan boatcrew and an Air Station Sitka
helicopter crew responded to a 38-foot fishing vessel aground with one
person aboard near Ketchikan, Saturday morning.
The Ketchikan boatcrew recovered the boater
from the beach and transferred him to Station Ketchikan.
Coast Guard Sector Juneau watchstanders
received a report of a vessel aground at Lyman Anchorage in Clarence
Watchstanders issued an urgent marine
information broadcast for assistance from any nearby mariners and
requested the launch of the Station Ketchikan crew.
The Jayhawk helicopter crew, returning from a
previous mission, was diverted to the scene to assist. A good Samaritan
vessel, the Guardian, answered the UMIB and proceeded to the location.
Once on scene, the Station Ketchikan boatcrew
launched a workskiff and recovered the boater from the beach. They
returned to Ketchikan where the boater was reunited with his family with
no medical assistance needed.
“We encourage all mariners to ensure
emergency and safety equipment is in good working order,” said Petty
Officer 2nd Class Adam Durham, watchstander, Sector Juneau. “Proper use
of personal floatation devices and emergency equipment greatly helps in
locating and rescuing mariners in distress”.
The cause of the incident is under
Weather on scene was reported as 17 mph winds
and 2-foot seas.
CCFR responds to fire on Gee St. Friday afternoon
Capital City Fire and Rescue responded to a house fire in the 9000 block
of Gee Street Friday afternoon. Assistant Fire Chief Ed Quinto reports
that smoke was billowing out of the front door when responders arrived.
The fire was quickly extinguished and contained to the kitchen area.
The kitchen sustained an estimated $30,000 in
damage. No injuries were reported.
Light earthquake felt in Anchorage; no damage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Earthquake Center
says a light quake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.3 was felt in
Anchorage and nearby communities Friday night.
The center says it has received no reports of damage.
The quake hit at 9:32 p.m. at a depth of 38 miles. It was centered on
the Kenai Peninsula, about 80 miles south-southwest of Anchorage, and
was felt in Anchorage, Homer, Kenai, Ninilchik and Soldotna.
The center says a minor aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 3.6
was recorded four minutes later, at 9:36 p.m. in almost the same
location. There were no reports that it was felt or caused damage.
Alaska jobless rate unchanged from August
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's unemployment rate
was 6.8 percent last month.
State labor officials say in a web posting that remains unchanged from
However, officials said it is higher than the 5.9 national unemployment
The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.9 percent, which was
lower than the 6.2 percent in August.
Officials said September traditionally has the lowest unadjusted rate as
school starts back up and tourism hasn't fully leveled off.
October 17th, 2014 13th
EDITION 4:16 P. M.]
Week long celebrations in Sitka in observance of
In Sitka, Alaska Day is marked with a week long
Sitka served as the capital of the Alaska Territory until 1906, when the
seat of government was relocated north to Juneau. Transfer of Russian
claim of Alaska to the United States occurred October 18, 1867 in Sitka.
Events continue through Sunday. Find the events list at
Supreme Court denies Alaska's request for stay
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Gay marriages will resume
Monday in Alaska.
Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell's spokeswoman says the state will comply with a
federal court judge's order to allow gay marriages to continue.
However, Sharon Leighow says in an email to The Associated Press that
the state will continue to seek a review of the matter by the full Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday denied the state's request to halt gay
marriages while the state appeals.
A federal judge last Sunday struck down Alaska's law as
unconstitutional. Another judge in Arizona issued the same ruling there
Friday, and that state's conservative attorney general decided not to
contest it any further.
Joshua Decker with the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska called
on Parnell to follow suit.
However, Leighow says Parnell swore an oath to uphold the state
constitution and will continue with the appeal to the federal appeals
Lap pool reopened
Dimond Park Aquatic Center had to close the Lap Pool
A chlorine part broke. They had to shut down the pool until it was
fixed. It has been fixed and replaced. This afternoon they had to wait
for chlorine levels to return to normal before reopening.
Container ship on way from US to Russia loses power
off British Columbia coast@
HAIDA GWAII, B.C. - A container ship on its way from
Washington state to Russia lost power and was drifting Friday off the
coast of British Columbia.
The Canadian Forces' joint rescue co-ordinationcentre in Victoria said
the Simushir was about 10 miles (16 kilometres) off Haida Gwaii.
Acting Sub. Lt. Ron MacDougall said there were concerns the vessel could
run aground in heavy winds. The Canadian and U.S. Coast Guards were
MacDougall said there were 11 people on board. A helicopter was
dispatched to remove the captain, who was injured.
The ship was carrying 440 tons of bunker oil and 55
tons of diesel.
US rig count down 12 to 1,918
HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes
Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the
U.S. declined by 12 this week to 1,918.
The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,590 rigs were
exploring for oil and 328 for gas. A year ago there were 1,739 active
Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained two rigs, while
West Virginia and Wyoming each increased by one.
Oklahoma decreased by seven rigs, New Mexico was down four, Alaska was
off two and Arkansas, California and North Dakota each dropped one.
Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Utah were unchanged.
The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.
Supreme Court denies Alaska's request
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court on
Friday denied the state of Alaska's request to put a stop to gay
marriages pending an appeal.
Justice William Kennedy denied the request in a written order Friday
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess on Sunday ruled the state's
ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
Couples began applying for marriage licenses on Monday, beginning a
three-day clock before ceremonies could be held. However, some couples
received waivers to the wait period and married immediately.
The state filed notice of appeal to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and
sought a stay while the appeal is being considered. The court only
issued a stay until 11 a.m. AKDT Friday to give the state time to
petition the high court.
Kosciusko is Alaska's newest city
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A small community in southeast Alaska is the
state's newest city.
A state commissioner signed incorporation documents this week for Edna
Bay, which has a population of 49.
The community is located on Kosciusko (kah-zee-UH'-sko) Island 90 miles
northwest of Ketchikan.
Elections officials earlier this month certified results of an election
involving locals in Edna Bay on whether to incorporate. State officials
say residents voted 33 to 6 to incorporate.
Officials say the state is helping in establishing a new city council,
and plans to work with it in coming months.
Arizona same-sex ruling follows the others
Within days of Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage being overturned by a
federal judge, another federal judge from Alaska has done the same for
U.S. District Judge John Sedwick issued a
four-page ruling today (fri) that found Arizona's same-sex marriage ban
violates the constitutional rights of equal protection and due process.
Sedwick was based in the Alaska district
until 2011, when he became a semi-retired senior judge within the 9th
circuit, which includes both Alaska and Arizona.
In his ruling, Sedwick refused to issue a
stay, adding that the Supreme Court was unlikely to intervene, given the
9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last week against similar language
in Idaho and Nevada.
Senator plans to investigate Guard situation
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — State Sen. Lesil McGuire
says the Legislature will hold hearings into the troubled Alaska
National Guard, but she's getting push back from the Senate president.
The Alaska Dispatch News reports McGuire also will call for a special
investigator into allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct
within the Guard.
However, Senate President Charlie Huggins says he doesn't know if the
Legislature will do anything but muddy the water.
After allegations of sexual assault within the agency, a federal report
released Sept. 4 found evidence of fraud and ethical misconduct. Critics
said Gov. Sean Parnell, who is seeking re-election next month, didn't
act quickly enough.
Huggins says it doesn't make sense to hold hearings with the election
next month. But he's not convinced hearing are the best approach later,
Pot-smoking teacher receives criticism, support
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A veteran Juneau elementary
school teacher, who publicly acknowledged in a newspaper opinion piece
that he smokes marijuana, will not be disciplined by school
Adam Berkley is receiving both support and criticism from parents, but
that disciplinary measures are not planned.
Superintendent Mark Miller says moral turpitude regulations within the
Professional Teaching Practices Commission specify that drug use at work
Miller says that what employees do in their free time is up to them and
that Berkley is within his rights.
Berkley possesses a medical marijuana license and says it's used to
He also supports recreational pot use by adults.
He plans to meet next week with parents who have expressed concerns
about his use of marijuana.
Body of missing woman found in east Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The body of a woman reported
missing in Anchorage has been found in the Mountain View neighborhood.
KTUU-TV reports the body of 54-year-old Irma Williams was found
Her family last saw were a month ago and reported her missing Sept. 15.
Police are asking the public for information regarding the death. The
department's homicide unit is investigating.
Williams was a frequent visitor to Mizelle, Lions and Davis parks and
often rode a blue bicycle that may have been equipped with a white
Police spokeswoman Dani Myren says Williams was not considered a
vulnerable adult and had not previously been reported missing.
Jury acquits man in pipeline false statement case
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A federal jury has acquitted
a Fairbanks man of lying to the FBI as it investigated the 1978 bombing
of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the jury returned a not guilty
verdict Thursday on three counts in the trial of 62-year-old Phillip
Prosecutors said Olson told investigators he had participated in setting
off an explosion on the pipeline and that another man, identified as
C.D. in charging documents, had also participated.
The other man denied any role in the explosion.
The statute of limitations had passed for prosecution of the bombing,
which caused a crude oil leak of 12,000 to 14,000 barrels east of
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Bottini (boh-TEE'-nee) says by email the
verdict surprised him because evidence was strong.
Association seeks to reopen Bethel flight school
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — The Association of Village
Council Presidents is working on a new funding plan to reopen its flight
school in Bethel.
The association closed the school last year, citing high operating costs
and diminished federal funding. The school originally opened in 2003.
AVCP president Myron Naneng tells KYUK that reopening the school is part
of an economic development strategy.
The association is pursuing a new plan for funding as a regional
Naneng hopes to have funding in place to begin operations in early 2015.
Vilsack to headline Begich fundraiser
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom
Vilsack is set to headline a fundraiser for Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.
The event is scheduled for Wednesday evening in Anchorage.
Begich is facing a tough re-election fight against Republican candidate
Dan Sullivan, who topped Begich in fundraising during the last quarter.
October 16th, 2014 11TH
EDITION 4:48 P. M.]
Waterline Break in
At 3:00 this afternoon a waterline break occurred
between John St. and Lawson Creek Road. Residences in that area
are currently without water.
Director of Public Works says crews are on sight and working to resolve
the problem. As of 4:30 pm there was no estimate of when water
will be back on. Please be cautious of crews working along the
NOAA's Climate Prediction Center Thursday announced
it's forecast for the winter months December through February. Director
Mike Halpert, speaking at a teleconference, had this prediction on
temperatures, "That outlook favors warmer than average conditions out
west, along the U-S/Canadian border eastward into New York and New
England and as well as for Hawaii and Alaska. Below average temperatures
are favored in the south central and southeastern parts of the nation."
Halpert said an expected mild El Nino in the Pacific makes extreme cold
in the northern sections of the US less likely. "Typically when we see
El Nino even the weaker ones we see warmer conditions if not in the US
we see it up on the parts of Western and Central Canada and Alaska. And
so that again would make that really cold arctic air that would have to
spill down through that area in our country less likely. So again the
idea of seeing a repeat of last winter is just not particularly likely."
JPD Crime Line Crime of the Week: Gas siphoning in numerous
Between September 18th and the 24th, several Juneau
residents reported gas siphoned from vehicles. There was 44 gallons
taken from the 1900 block of Lemon Creek Road, 40 gallons from the 1700
block of Glacier Highway and 5 gallons from the 4200 block of North
All of the vehicles involved were built in the mid-1990s. Vehicles built
after 2000 often have a valve that shuts off gas if a vehicle rolls. The
valve is a fire protection device that also prevents someone from
pushing a hose into the gasoline. JPD recommends drivers of vehicles
built before the year 2000 consider a locking gas cap, especially if gas
has already been stolen. Thieves will tend to return to a vehicle where
they have previously been successful.
Anyone with information is encouraged to log on to the
Juneau Crime Line Web site
and report their tip. You may also call JPD at 586-0600. You may be
eligible for a reward.
Parnell: State at
low risk for Ebola
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sean Parnell says Alaska
is at low risk for Ebola infections but he says the risk is real and the
state is taking steps to be prepared.
Parnell held a news conference Thursday in Anchorage that included the
state's chief epidemiologist, Joe McLaughlin, and epidemiologist Michael
He said a task force has been created to coordinate planning and
preparedness and that he's asked for regular updates. Parnell also said
the health department has been directed to continue activities with
health care facilities that include training and exercises.
Cooper said there has long been a quarantine station at Alaska's largest
airport, in Anchorage, for infectious illnesses. He questioned the
efficacy of enhanced screening for Ebola at airports, given that people
can develop systems up to 21 days after exposure.
Man charged with
vandalizing wildflower meadow
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — A 19-year-old Kasilof (kah-SEE'-lauf)
man suspected of damaging city of Kenai land planted with colorful
wildflowers has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol
The Peninsula Clarion reports a pickup driven by Josiah Mcelwain
(MAC'-el-wayn) was found at 3:30 a.m. Monday stuck in a ditch near the
Kenai Police Sgt. Ben Langham says witnesses reported a truck driving
back and forth in the 1.4-acre field along the Spur Highway, creating
Langham says the truck was still moving in the field when officers
City parks and recreation director Bob Frates (frayts) estimates half
the field was destroyed.
Online court records did not list an attorney for Mcelwain.
Sitka tribe to
develop shellfish testing lab
SITKA, Alaska (AP) — The Sitka Tribe of Alaska is
planning to build a lab to test shellfish for naturally occurring toxins
that could pose a health threat to subsistence harvesters.
The development of the lab is being funded by a $527,000 grant from the
Administration for Native Americans, which is part of the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services.
The Daily Sitka Sentinel reports the lab will allow the tribe and six
other tribal organizations to assess vulnerability in their communities
for health risks.
Sitka Tribe of Alaska's resource protection director Jeff Feldpausch
says the lab won't certify beaches for shellfish harvesting. But he says
it can "raise a red flag" about risks.
Feldpausch says the lab will serve as an early warning system about the
presence of toxins.
Chief: Bad communication in notifying wrong family
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Juneau police used the social
media site Facebook to find the next of kin for a man killed in a car
crash last week. But they used the page for the wrong Justin Priest.
Police identified the victim as 33-year-old Justin Priest and found a
Facebook page for a man with the same name, from Anchorage.
Police asked Alaska State Troopers for help verifying the family's
relationship. But a Troopers spokeswoman said the message they received
was for a death notification. The wrong family was notified.
Police Chief Bryce Johnson called it a communication error. He said
efforts will be made to prevent this from happening again.
He also said police would continue to use Facebook as a tool to help
find next of kin.
Palmer police investigate body near fairgrounds
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Palmer police say a man
found dead Tuesday night near the Alaska State Fair fairgrounds was
apparently struck by a vehicle.
KTUU-TV reports police are releasing few other details about the death
of 31-year-old David T. Beard.
Palmer Police Department Cmdr. Lance Ketterling says in a statement that
Beard's body was found just before 10 p.m. Tuesday in grass off the
Ketterling says a Palmer police officer found the body. Police are
examining the vehicle that they believe struck him.
Ketterling says police need to confirm "a lot of details" before more
information can be released.
Senator takes blame for absence from pamphlet
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A candidate statement from a
Fairbanks state senator is absent from the state informational pamphlet
sent to voters, but he's not blaming the Division of Elections.
Republican Pete Kelly tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner he missed
messages from the Elections Division for submitting a statement and
called too late to make its deadline.
He's running against Democrat Tamara Kruse Roselius.
The Division of Elections sends two letters to notify candidates of the
opportunity to be in the pamphlet — most of the time.
The division acknowledges it failed to send proper notification to
independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker.
He was not included in the pamphlet sent to voters last week. The
division planned to print and send a supplemental pamphlet for
gubernatorial and lieutenant governor candidates.
New Sullivan ad
features Condoleezza Rice
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate
candidate Dan Sullivan's national security experience is the focus of a
new ad featuring former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Sullivan worked with Rice as an assistant secretary of state from 2006
until January 2009. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps
In the spot, released Thursday, Rice says the nation and world face
serious security threats. She says Sullivan's national security
experience will make the country safer.
Sullivan is challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in a race that could
help decide control of the Senate.
Rice appeared in a similar ad earlier this year for the super PAC
American Crossroads, attempting to swat down criticism of Sullivan's
time away from the state.
pipeline false statement case
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks jury has begun
deliberations for a man charged with making false statements about the
1978 bombing of the trans-Alaska pipeline.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Phillip Martin Olson ,if
convicted, could face up to five years in prison.
The FBI says an agent interviewed Olson in November and January and that
Olson acknowledged responsibility for the pipeline explosion on Feb. 15,
1978, east of Fairbanks.
The resulting small hole allowed 12,000 to 14,000 barrels of crude oil
to spill before it could be sealed.
The statute of limitations had run out for charges in the bombing.
Federal prosecutors say Olson lied and said another man had assisted him
in setting off the explosion, costing the FBI time and resources
Panel says SB 21
A new state panel appears satisfied that Alaska's oil production
tax is working as intended. The Oil & Gas Competitiveness Review Board
met for the first time Wednesday.
The board created as part of S-B 21, the tax
law enacted last year, includes industry experts, state officials, and
two members of the public appointed by the governor.
The panel heard Wednesday that the decline
in production has slowed, and the state is collecting more revenue than
under the previous tax system.
S-B 21 survived a referendum at the August
The review board is set to report its
findings to the legislature before the start of the next session in
Appeals court halts gay marriages in Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals has issued a temporary halt to gay marriages in Alaska.
The federal appeals court in San Francisco issued the stay late
Wednesday afternoon. It's allowing the state until Friday to get a stay
from the U.S. Supreme Court.
If that stay isn't issued, the federal court action dissolves at 11 a.m.
Friday, when gay marriages will be allowed to go forward.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess on Sunday struck down Alaska's ban
on same-sex marriages as unconstitutional.
Gay couples began applying for marriage certificates Monday, beginning a
three-day clock to when ceremonies could be held on Thursday. However
some couples received waivers from judges and have already married.
Police name driver killed in crash with house
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police have
identified the man who was killed when his sedan hit a house.
Police say the driver was 58-year-old Ralph Edward Lockhart of
He died after his car left the street early Tuesday morning, struck a
tree and drove into a corner of a house.
No one in the home was injured.
Police say Lockhart was declared dead at the scene.
The investigation continues.
State to discuss Ebola preparedness
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — State officials are planning a
news conference to provide an update on Alaska's Ebola preparedness
Gov. Sean Parnell, health commissioner Bill Streur, chief epidemiologist
Joe McLaughlin and epidemiologist Michael Cooper will hold the news
conference on Thursday in Anchorage.
U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has asked the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention to make Ebola test kits available in Alaska as a
precautionary measure. Earlier this week, he also called for the need
for frequent communication with the public to ensure accurate
information is available.