House Finance proposes $9.1B operating
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The House
Finance Committee has proposed a $9.1 billion state
That compares to Gov. Sean Parnell's $12.2 billion proposal. But it
took out the $3 billion that Parnell proposed be transferred from
savings to help pay down the state's unfunded pension liability.
Lawmakers have not yet decided how to address that issue.
The authorized level of spending at the start of the current fiscal
year was $10.5 billion.
Subcommittees were asked to find cuts without harming the critical
services of departments.
The bill unveiled by the committee Monday cuts about $41 million in
unrestricted general funds from what Parnell proposed. That category
of funding refers to money that isn't restricted in its use by the
law, constitution or something else.
Public testimony will be taken this week.
Juneau residents are invited to a public testimony hearing at the
Capitol Tuesday between 1:30pm- 2:45 pm in the House Finance
Aurora ferry sailings canceled
Sailings of the ferry Aurora to/from Valdez will
be canceled through Thursday, March 6, due to mechanical issues with
the Valdez Ferry Terminal vehicle ramp.
Tuesday all sailings to Tatitlek are
Begich: Public money for public schools
BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich says Alaskans should
never amend the state constitution as a "fix" for education.
Proposed constitutional amendments pending before state lawmakers
would allow for public money to be used for private or religious
schools. Supporters see this as a way to allow for more choice in
where parents send their kids to school but critics fear it could
siphon needed money from public schools. The measures need
two-thirds vote in each the state House and Senate to pass.
Begich told state lawmakers public dollars are for public schools,
Begich says there is already plenty of school choice in Alaska's
public system and there are "examples of excellence" everywhere.
But he also questioned whether the state was adequately funding
Assistance for correspondence
BY MIKE COPPOCK, Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Senate Education Committee is
questioning the constitutionality of a bill that would fund the
purchase of student equipment and technology services for
correspondence schools and home schooling.
The bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican from Wasilla,
calls for an increase from an 80-percent base student allocation for
those involved in correspondence and home schooling to 100 percent.
The bill, in committee Monday, calls for establishing grant programs
to fund technology equipment.
The issue of the bill's constitutionality centers on taking the
state Department of Education and Early Development out of a
supervisory role for the program as called for in the bill.
The bill remains in committee.
Bill: Bar partisan activity on city-paid
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage senator has introduced
legislation seeking to bar municipal employees from engaging in
partisan political activity while traveling on local government
SB205, from Sen. Berta Gardner, would require municipalities to
adopt ordinances barring elected municipal officials or other
municipal employee from engaging in partisan political activity —
like fundraising — when city or borough money is used to pay for the
The bill, introduced last week, has been referred to three
Panel advances call for convention of
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A proposal urging a convention of the states
to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution has advanced from the
House Finance Committee.
HJR22 would place Alaska on record as urging Congress to call a
convention of the states to propose constitutional amendments that
"impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power
and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of
office of federal government officials." HJR22 is sponsored by North
Pole Republican Rep. Tammie Wilson.
The resolution is meant to serve as a "continuing application"
making the request until at least two-thirds of state legislatures
around the country make similar petitions.
Former champion continues early lead in Iditarod:
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) —
Four-time champion Martin Buser (BOOZ'-uhr)
was first to go thru the checkpoint at Rohn Monday, 188 miles into
the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
But the jockeying for the lead remains fluid until mushers begin
taking a mandatory 24-hour layover and two eight-hour rests.
Kelly Maixner (MAX-ner) from Big Lake, Alaska made it in to the Rohn
checkpoint at 11:26 am Monday followed by Michael Williams, Jr. at
1:59 Monday afternoon.
Sixty-nine mushers began the race to Nome on Alaska's Western coast
Sunday afternoon in Willow. Only one musher, Cindy Gallea, has
dropped out so far.
PETA calls for end of Iditarod
Mushers from around the world have gathered in
Anchorage, Alaska, for the Iditarod, which kicked off Sunday.
However, not everybody is celebrating the iconic dog sled race.
PETA spokesperson Lindsay Rajt (RITE) believes all dog lovers should
call for an end to the race.
Rajt said, "These participants are motivated by one thing, that's
the cash prize and the glory of the win, and they're going to do
almost anything to attain it, and that includes putting dogs' lives
at risk. A lot of these dogs pull muscles; they get stress
fractures; they become sick with intestinal viruses or bleeding
stomach ulcers; they suffer from dehydration, diarrhea, pneumonia,
People stuck on Alaska ice floe rescued
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) —
Members of the Alaska Air National Guard have rescued five people
who were stranded after breaking through an ice floe in a river.
State Department of Military and Veterans Affairs officials say the
people were on the Knik River when their all-terrain vehicle became
stuck in the ice floe.
Officials say the stranded people called Alaska State Troopers, who
were unable to respond because of night restrictions and the lack of
hoisting equipment. Troopers contacted the Alaska Rescue
Coordination Center late Saturday night.
The guard sent a helicopter crew, who rescued the stranded party
early Sunday by hoisting them up one at a time.
The people rescued were taken to the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center,
where they were released to troopers.
Guard spokeswoman Kalei Rupp says no one was injured.
Juneau' school superintendent a finalist for
job in Idaho
Juneau School Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich is a finalist for a like
position in Nampa, Idaho.
That came to our attention via a report from KTVB-TV in Boise,
The station reports that Gelbrich and another finalist are scheduled
to be interviewed by the Nampa School Board on Monday and then
attend a public reception that evening.
Gelbrich is quoted in that report as saying that he is delighted to
be considered for the job.
The interim superintendent is scheduled to retire in June.
Gelbrich was one of five finalists in January for the
superintendent's job in Kalispell, Montana.
Pipeline assessment panel appointments raise
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks North Star Borough is raising
concerns about Gov. Sean Parnell's appointment of two former oil
industry employees to the State Assessment Review Board.
That's the board that sets the tax value of the trans-Alaska
An Alaska Supreme Court decision last month found the pipeline for
2006 should have been valued at nearly $10 billion, not the $850
million claimed by pipeline owners.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Parnell has appointed Bernard
Washington and Dennis Mandell, both of whom have years of experience
working for North Slope oil companies.
Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said the appointments will bring
a "fresh perspective" to the board.
Borough attorney Rene Broker said the borough is concerned about
getting a fair hearing on how the pipeline should be taxed.
(Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner)
Anchorage police discrimination trial
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Trial is scheduled to begin Monday in a
lawsuit alleging racial discrimination by the Anchorage Police
The Anchorage Daily News reports that two former undercover
detectives, Alivin Kennedy and Eliezer Feliciano, sued nearly four
years ago, saying they missed out on the assignments they wanted
after their drug unit was disbanded.
Kennedy, who is black, also alleges he was the victim of racial
profiling in a traffic stop by another officer.
Municipal Attorney Dennis Wheeler says the city is paying an outside
law firm more than $350,000 to defend against the lawsuit. Anchorage
has settled previous suits filed by officers who were represented by
the plaintiffs' attorney, Ken Legacki.
But Wheeler says the city is sick of dealing with what he calls
"baseless allegations" and is prepared to fight the lawsuit in
The witness list reads like a who's who of Anchorage law
enforcement. It includes Anchorage Chief Mark Mew, former chief Rob
Heun, and several top deputies, as well as the president of the
Anchorage police union and Karen Loeffler, the US attorney for
(Anchorage Daily News)
Alaska wolf killings upset National
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Fish and Game officials killed an
Eastern Interior wolf pack last week, and the National Park Service
— which had been studying the animals — is none too pleased.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (http://is.gd/yxghT9 ) that
all 11 wolves in the Lost Creek pack near Yukon-Charley Rivers
National Preserve were shot. That included the pack's alpha pair,
which had been fitted with tracking collars as part of an ongoing
Doug Vincent-Lang, acting director for the Alaska Division of
Wildlife Conservation, says the wolves were in an area adjacent to
the preserve that has been targeted by the state for aerial predator
control, which is part of an effort to boost moose and caribou
But Yukon-Charley Superintendent Greg Dudgeon said the shootings are
a setback for a long-term study of wolf behavior that began roughly
20 years ago. He said the Lost Creek pack had been monitored for the
past seven years.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
Pipeline protesters arrested at White
WASHINGTON (AP) — Police arrested hundreds of people who strapped
themselves to the White House fence on Sunday to protest the
proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The protesters were mostly college students who participated in a
peaceful march that began at Georgetown University and ended outside
the White House. They chanted "climate justice now" and carried
signs with slogans such as "don't tarnish the earth" in an effort to
persuade President Barack Obama to reject the pipeline. They say it
will worsen global warming.
Protesters were passionate but quite orderly. Police were waiting
for them with buses and vans to speed the process. Protesters
cheered as U.S. Park Police warned them that blocking the sidewalk
or strapping themselves to the fence would lead to their arrest. In
all, 372 were arrested, police said.
February in Juneau colder and drier
February in Juneau was
colder and drier than normal but not record breaking.
Meteorologist Tom Ainsworth says
precipitation amounted to was 1.98 inches, 2.15
inches below normal. In contrast, he says snowfall was 10 inches
above normal with a monthly total of 26.8 inches at the airport.
The average temperature for the month was 23.9 degrees, that's 6.2
degrees below normal. Lows were on the colder side throughout the
month with an average of only 15.7 degrees at night , 9.2 degrees
The minimum daily temperature for the
month was 0 degrees on the 12th. The maximum temperature for the
month was 41 on the 26th. The monthly average of high temperatures
was 32.1 degrees.
Winds throughout the month were primarily from the southeast with an
average speed of 5.3 miles per hour at the airport.
The highest wind recorded there was 42
miles per hour on the 15th.
The highest gust recorded at the
Federal Building downtown was on the 24th at 43 miles per hour.
CCFR dispatched Friday night for an infant
CPR call and structure fire
Capital City Fire Rescue was simultaneously
dispatched to the valley for two separate emergencies Friday night.
The first was for CPR in progress on an infant around 10:30 p.m.
Crews arrived to find a healthy newborn.
All resources then rerouted to a commercial structure fire on
First arriving units reported smoke coming from an automotive repair
Bystanders also reported large volumes of smoke had been coming from
Crews were deployed to the interior and the roof to investigate and
quickly confirmed there was no active fire in the structure.
They determined the smoke may have been due to recent auto work that
had just stopped prior to the call.
Assistant Chief Brian Long said JPD was also on the scene to assist.
Drunk driver damages yard, bumper and cargo left behind
Alaska State Troopers and Saxman VPSO received a
tip of an intoxicated driver in the 300 block of South Tongass
Highway Friday afternoon.
Investigation revealed that William Rivera, age 25 of Saxman, was
not only operating a pick up truck while intoxicated, but had driven
off the roadway and into the yard of a residence causing
approximately $400.00 damage.
Portions of the trucks rear cargo and front bumper were left at the
Rivera was contacted just after 5 p.m. in the 2700 block of South
Tongass Highway where his vehicle stopped due to a buoy rope getting
wrapped around the rear axle.
Further investigation revealed that Rivera had a loaded rifle in the
passenger area of the vehicle.
Rivera was on conditions of release at the time for an unrelated
Rivera was also cited for Driving With an Expired License, Refusal
to Submit to a PBT and Failure to Provide Proof of Insurance.
He was transported to the Ketchikan Correctional Center pending
Nighttime bullying focus of Crime Line
Bullying in the downtown area is the focus of the most recent Juneau
The Juneau Police Department has
received reports that individuals frequenting the downtown bars may
be acting in coordination as part of a pattern of behavior designed
to intimidate and even assault other bar patrons.
The behavior appears to be bullying in
nature and JPD would like to address the activity as soon as
The police department has received information that there may be
specific individuals who are instigating the behavior. When officers
have attempted to gather information some people have expressed a
concern that they may be harassed by the unnamed instigators for
talking to police.
JPD is soliciting information, including anonymous tips, about
anyone suggesting or inspiring two or more people to harass,
intimidate, or assault others in the downtown bar environment.
Crimeline is completely anonymous and
persons reporting information may be eligible for a reward. The web
address is juneaucrimeline.com.
Sex trafficking apprehended in
The Alaska Bureau of
Investigations, Special Crimes Investigations Unit (SCIU), has
received information about a male who was exploiting several women
between and Anchorage and the Mat-Su Borough who were in the sex
Investigators were able to identify the male as Jeron Mason Batts,
age 33, of Anchorage.
Investigators also learned that Batts would procure patrons of the
sex trafficking trade for the women who worked for him and in return
would receive either a portion or the entire proceeds for the sexual
acts performed by the women.
At least one of the women who worked for him reported that Batts
threatened her with physical force if she did not perform.
A search warrant was executed at Batt's residence Thursday.
While at the residence, Batts created a diversion at the door before
investigators could make entry inside the home, causing a delay
before investigators could properly secure the home and preserve any
evidence found at the home.
Subsequently, investigators learned that some of the key evidence
had been destroyed as they searched the home.
Batts was arrested on a warrant specifying Sex Trafficking charges
and Tampering with Physical Evidence.
The warrant was personally served at the Anchorage Jail, with no
Barricaded suspect surrenders to Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police say a
29-year-old man who barricaded himself in a home surrendered after
an overnight standoff.
The case began with a domestic violence call late Saturday night in
which a woman said her boyfriend had struck her several times in the
face and threatened to shoot her. Police arrived to find the
boyfriend, identified as Brandon Wilson, barricaded inside.
The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment while police
negotiated with the suspect. SWAT officers were called to assist
around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, and just before 6 a.m., Wilson emerged and
Police say he was arrested for investigation of assault in the third
degree and taken to the Anchorage Jail.
Troopers: Pilot unhurt after plane loses
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say a 41-year-old
Oregon man landed a small plane on a frozen lake in Alaska after his
aircraft lost power.
Troopers say Jason Robinson was not hurt in the incident reported
Thursday. He was the only one on board the Cessna 207 operated by
Bethel-based Yute Air.
Robinson's hometown was not immediately disclosed.
Troopers say Robinson landed the plane on the lake about 15 miles
out of the western Alaska village of Nightmute.
People on snowmobiles transported Robinson to the village.
The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified.
An official with Yute Air did not immediately return a call for
Fairbanks Lady on the Lam
Alaska State Troopers want information on the
whereabouts of Ruth A. Jenson, 46 of Fairbanks.
Troopers received a report of an
Unlawful Evasion incident on Thursday.
Jenson failed to return to the North
star Center following an approved release for employment during the
If anybody has information on Jenson's
location please call AST at 451-5100.
Coast Guard performs medevac near Dutch
A 40-year-old man was medevaced from the 559-foot
bulk carrier vessel Ken Ei, 100 miles northwest of Dutch Harbor,
The Coast Guard 17th District command center in Juneau was contacted
by the master of the vessel reporting that a crewmember was
suffering from abdominal distress. The Coast Guard duty flight
surgeon said there was the possibility of appendicitis.
The man was flown to Anchorage for medical care.
Sitka citation for crab pot
Alaska Wildlife Troopers, Sitka Post, on Friday,
contacted Kacy Field, 32 of Sitka, after inspecting Dungeness Crab
gear in Camp Coogan that did not meet the biodegradable escape
Field was issued a $110 citation in Sitka District Court for
operating a subsistence Dungeness Crab pot without the required
biodegradable escape mechanism.
Falcons and Crimson Bears wrap up regular
The basketball teams at
Thunder Mountain and Juneau Douglas High Schools wrapped up the
regular season this weekend.
The men's game Friday night ended in a 67 to 66 victory for the JDHS
The Thunder Mountain men redeemed themselves Saturday night though,
77 to 66.
The Thunder Mountain Lady Falcons subdued the Lady Crimson Bears
twice, 45 to 34 on Friday, and 47 to 41 on Saturday.
Six month delay 'optimistic' for Seattle
SEATTLE (AP) — An official for the contractor boring the Seattle
Highway 99 tunnel says a six month delay in the stalled construction
is a "slightly optimistic" forecast.
Seattle Tunnel Partners project manager Chris Dixon says Friday his
firm and the Japanese company that built the massive digging
machine, dubbed Bertha, have narrowed down their options to three
shafts of different sizes. Dixon says a team from Hitachi-Zosen will
have a finalized report on their options in about 10 days.
Dixon says building and designing a shaft to access Bertha will take
about 2 months and then repairs would have to take place.
Bertha ground to a halt in the first week of December about 1,000
feet into the 1.7-mile tunnel route.
Despite banning legal pot, Yakima seeks tax
YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Despite banning the sale,
growing and processing of legal marijuana, the Yakima City Council
is seeking tax money from the upcoming pot industry.
The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the city council voted
unanimously Friday to seek state tax revenue raised by businesses in
cities that do allow legalized marijuana. Yakima joined a letter by
the Association of Washington Cities asking the state to share
recreational marijuana taxes with cities.
City staff and police argued that legalized marijuana from other
parts of the state will strain public resources in the city.
Councilman Dave Ettl says the city's position is not hypocritical.
Alison Holcomb, who led the initiative that legalized marijuana,
says cities like Yakima contribute to public-safety problems by
banning marijuana and pushing it into illegal activity.
California's Governor balking at pot
legalization in his state
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California Governor Jerry Brown isn't ready for
the Golden State to become the Stoner State. Brown says legalizing
pot in California might not be a good idea because people could take
it to extremes.
He says potheads might cause California to lose its edge in a very
Brown tells NBC's "Meet the Press" he's watching to see how Colorado
and Washington state handle recently legalized pot sales.
The question will be on Alaska's Primary Election ballot in August.
State extends interior mental health
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The state has extended a contract with an
organization to provide mental health services in Alaska's interior.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner says the Division of Behavioral
Health has granted a two-year contract extension to Fairbanks
Community Mental Health Services.
The contract with the Anchorage-based organization was initially set
to expire this summer. With the extension, the contract is effective
through July 2016.
The organization was formed last year by Anchorage Community Mental
That followed a closure of its predecessor, Fairbanks Community
Behavioral Health Center, which has announced plans to file for
The contract extension follows a reconsideration of the state
agency's original plan to consider competing proposals for interior
mental health services again this summer.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
Annual Alaska ice guessing game
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's biggest guessing game has begun in
earnest with the timing equipment now in place.
Workers set up a tripod Sunday on the Tanana River in the tiny
community of Nenana, about 55 miles south of Fairbanks.
As soon as the ice begins to move, the tripod tips on the shifting
ice and stops a clock.
The 98-year-old game is a popular form of wagering in Alaska,
drawing entries from across the state and elsewhere.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports several dozen spectators
watched Sunday as crews raised the tripod on the ice, which usually
moves between late April and the first two weeks of May.
People pay $2.50 a guess to predict when the ice goes out in the
Last year's classic produced a jackpot of $318,500.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
Pearl Jam executive heading to prison
SEATTLE (AP) — A former executive with Pearl Jam
is heading to prison for 14 months after being caught for bilking
The seattlepi.com reports 55-year-old Rickey Charles Goodrich
pleaded guilty to theft charges in December. He used his position as
chief financial officer at Pearl Jam's management company — Curtis
Management — to steal $380,000 in the four years before he was fired
Seattle Police determined Goodrich's thefts cost the management
company $566,000, including investigative expenses. King County
prosecutors were prepared to ask that Goodrich be sentenced to six
months in prison, if he paid back the band prior to Friday's
hearing. He failed to do so.
Goodrich is expected to report to the Department of Corrections
early in March. He was sentenced in King County Superior Court.