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[Thursday, May 16, 2013 14TH
EDITION 4:30 P. M.]
UPDATE: Bryce Johnson excited to get started as
Juneau's new Police Chief
Officials with the City and Borough of Juneau have announced the
candidate they've selected to replace outgoing Police Chief Greg
City Manager Kim Kiefer tells us they've selected Bryce Johnson, who's
currently the Assistant Bureau Commander with the Salt Lake City Police
He will be on the ground next week in Juneau, Kiefer says, so he'll have
a couple days of overlap with Chief Browning before he leaves.
Then, according to Kiefer, Johnson will be back in Juneau starting full
time on June 3rd.
The City Manager says they're in the final stages of the background
check, but they don't see any problems with him clearing all of those so
they decided to get the announcement out.
In a telephone interview, Johnson expressed his excitement and says he's
honored to have been chosen. He's excited to come up and meet all of the
officers and get to know them and the community better.
It's a huge change for his family, he says, coming from a hot desert
environment where it never rains. They're just excited and really
looking forward to it, Johnson says.
In terms of Johnson's ability to start almost immediately and have some
time to overlap with Chief Browning, Kiefer thinks that's very
The Assistant Chief, Page Decker, is retiring on May 31st, the same day
as Browning, so Kiefer says with both of those guys gone it's very
important that Johnson was able to arrange his schedule to come up here
and have some overlap.
That way Browning can fill Johnson in on what he's been working on, the
different projects and issues they're currently dealing with and also
focus on big picture things, she says.
Johnson says that with Browning's pending retirement and plans to move
out of Juneau, getting into town a bit early gives him a chance to talk
with the outgoing chief as there's a lot going on.
One of the ongoing projects Johnson noted is the fact that Juneau Police
will be taking over security services at the Juneau International
Airport and hiring seven new officers.
Johnson says he thinks that's the biggest expansion in the history of
the department so it'll be nice to get a little bit of continuity and
figure out what the current plan is there and how they can build on
Kiefer says it's also very important for people to know that Chief
Browning was actively involved in the assessment and interview process,
both with helping select the final candidates and taking part in the
When we asked Kiefer if Johnson will be selecting his own Assistant
Chief, she indicated that he would.
Kiefer asks the community to welcome Johnson.
She says he'll be moving his family up here in the middle of June and
she asks that people extend a warm hand of friendship to him as he deals
with the same learning curve that anyone else would when starting a new
Chief Browning is retiring after being with the Juneau Police Department
since 2000 and serving as Police Chief since 2006.
No decision yet on possible interim City
Attorney for Juneau
The City and Borough of Juneau has decided to wait before coming
up with an interim plan to bridge any gap they may see between the
departure of outgoing City Attorney John Hartle and the start date of
Hartle's set to retire at the end of June and the subcommittee tasked
with developing recommendations for the Assembly during the ongoing
search for his replacement met on Tuesday.
Assemblymember Randy Wanamaker sits on that subcommittee and
talked about their meeting on Action Line Wednesday, saying they
discussed the search process as it's been set up and implemented.
He says they also received an update from Human Resources on their
posting in newspapers and online of the ad for the job itself.
They also discussed when they're going to have to sit down and discuss
whether or not they'll have to hire an interim City Attorney in case
they don't have a selection that can start by the time Hartle retires,
Basically, Wanamaker says, it looks like it's too early for them to try
and make that type of decision, so they'll wait until the close of the
application period on June 10th.
Then he says they'll take a look at the applications they have and what
the timeline might be for actually selecting someone and getting them
That way they'll know what kind of time period they're trying to fill,
according to Wanamaker.
According to Wanamaker, that gives them a better idea of who and how to
fill that time and there would be a variety of options to do so,
including appointing someone internally.
No decision's been made on any of that, he says, and added that they
could also contract someone in private practice if need be.
There's a variety of ways to do it and each has it's advantages and
Until they know what kind of time period they're working with, whether
it be a few weeks or a few months, they can't make a decision on how to
CBJ assessment appeals way up
Appeals of CBJ property assessments are up this year.
The deadline was the end of business Wednesday.
CBJ Finance Director Bob Bartholomew says the Assessors Office received
596 appeals or requests for corrections
That's higher than the average from the last two years which were
between 350 and 400.
But Bartholomew says it's in line with what they were expecting due to
the change in methodology they implemented this year.
The modeling for assessing land values was changed so the total value
allocated between land and structures changed as well.
The finance director says they've been working since appeals started
coming in over the last month to resolve them.
Those that can't be resolved will go before the Board of Equalization.
Firearm found at Valdez middle school
VALDEZ, Alaska (AP) — The discovery of a firearm at a middle school in
Valdez prompted officials to lock down all schools in the district.
KCHU reports police are investigating how the firearm got into the
school Tuesday. They aren't releasing much information, including what
type of firearm it was.
Officers were also sent to the elementary and high schools to look for
Valdez Police Chief Bill Comer says so far, they haven't found a reason
why the firearm was brought to Gilson Middle school.
He says no one is at risk. He based on that on talking to teachers and
administrators, who reported no signs of aggression at the schools or
threats being made.
Official recommends dog be killed following
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The head of the Mat-Su Borough animal control
division is recommending that a sled dog belonging to Iditarod musher
Jake Berkowitz be killed after the husky attacked and seriously injured
a 2-year-old girl in Big Lake.
Berkowitz's attorney says the musher plans to fight to the keep the dog,
Wizard, who is under quarantine at the borough animal shelter.
Attorney Myron Angstman says there was no reason for the child to be in
the kennel last Friday.
Mike Patterson, an attorney for the family of Elin Shuck, says the girl
had been at the dog yard before.
The Anchorage Daily News ) says the girl was unresponsive when medics
arrived. The child was flown by helicopter from Berkowitz's Apex Kennels
to an Anchorage hospital.
(Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News)
Salmon season underway in Alaska
Alaska's salmon season officially opens today (Thursday with the arrival
of kings and reds to the Copper River.
The Alaska Department of Fish and G ame is forecasting a total harvest
of 179 million fish, which would be a 40-percent increase from last year
and the eighth largest on record.
Alaska's wild salmon account for 90 percent of all wild salmon in North
Senate confirms physicist Moniz as energy chief
MATTHEW DALY,Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has unanimously confirmed President Barack
Obama's nominee to lead the Energy Department.
Physicist Ernest Moniz is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. Moniz replaces Steven Chu, who served as energy secretary in
Obama's first term.
Moniz was an energy undersecretary in the Clinton administration.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina had delayed a vote on
Moniz for several weeks. Graham was protesting Obama's plan to cut about
$200 million from a South Carolina project to turn weapons-grade
plutonium into fuel for nuclear reactors.
Graham and other GOP lawmakers said the plan jeopardized a plant being
built at the Savannah River nuclear site.
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden is chairman of the Senate Energy Committee. He
calls Moniz smart, savvy and solution-oriented.
Interior issues new drilling rule on public land
MATTHEW DALY,Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is proposing a rule that
would require companies that drill for oil and natural gas on federal
lands to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing
operations. The new "fracking" rule replaces a draft proposed last year
that was withdrawn amid industry complaints that federal regulation
could hinder an ongoing boom in natural gas production.
The rule proposed Thursday relies on an online database used by Colorado
and 10 other states to track the chemicals used in fracking operations.
FracFocus.org is a website formed by industry and intergovernmental
groups in 2011 that allows users to gather well-specific data on
thousands of sites.
Environmental groups and other critics say the site has loose reporting
standards and allows companies to avoid disclosure by declaring certain
chemicals trade secrets.
Alaska Congressman Don Young calls the
He says the rule is is unwarranted and unnecessary on federal and tribal
Young called it yet another example of the growing number of burdensome
administrative regulations that are prohibiting real economic growth in
He added that states like Alaska already have some of the most stringent
regulations in the country and thinks any new ones should come at the
Agency to consider Alaska lake seals as
DAN JOLING,Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A federal agency says it will consider a
petition seeking to list a population of harbor seals living in a
freshwater Alaska lake as a threatened or endangered species.
The National Marine Fisheries Service says it has accepted a Center for
Biological Diversity petition to list seals that live in Iliamna (il-lee-AHM'-nah)
Lake 200 miles southwest of Anchorage.
The agency has a Nov. 19 deadline to perform a status review of the
seals, estimated to number estimated 250 to 350 adults, and can propose
a listing or reject it.
A listing would present a potential environmental hurdle to the Pebble
The proposed open-pit copper and gold mine would require a 140-mile road
to Cook Inlet. About 50 miles would pass along the lake shore, where
seals hunt for salmon.
Alaska Airlines receives top rating for
Alaska Airlines made the ABC News' Wall Street report Wednesday.
The report included the fact that Alaska received the highest marks in a
North American airline satisfaction study by J. D. Power and Associates.
Jet Blue was ranked as the top low cost air carrier.
The company's Marianne Lindsey says they're pretty proud with the
rating. She says it's the sixth in the row they have achieved top
Lindsey says 11,500 passengers who flew on a major North American
carrier were surveyed for the study which measured customer satisfaction
on a wide range of things including costs, in-flight services, flight
crews, baggage, check-ins and reservations.
Alaska volcano continues to erupt, with lava,
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A remote Alaska volcano continues to erupt,
spewing lava and ash clouds.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory said Thursday a continuous cloud of ash,
steam and gas from Pavlof Volcano has been seen 20,000 feet above sea
level. The cloud was moving to the southeast Thursday.
John Power, the U.S. Geological Survey scientist in charge at the
observatory, estimates the lava fountain rose several hundred feet into
Onsite seismic instruments are picking up constant tremors from the
eruption at Pavlof, located about 625 miles southwest of Anchorage.
Residents of Cold Bay, 37 miles away, have reported seeing a glow from
Pavlof is among the most active volcanoes in the Aleutian arc, with
nearly 40 known eruptions, according to the observatory.
Forest Service dedicating new lab in Juneau
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service is dedicating its new
forestry sciences laboratory in Juneau this weekend.
Saturday's ceremony will included free guided tours and the raising of
carved house posts.
The Forest Service, in a release, says the 12,000-square-foot facility
is next to the University of Alaska Southeast campus and will provide an
opportunity for Forest Service research scientists to work with
university faculty and students.
The lab will be home to research on such things as climate change,
forest health and uses of natural resources. It has energy-efficient
features and features regionally sourced building materials.
State closes Unit 23 muskox hunting season
KOTZEBUE, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is
closing a muskox hunting season because of illegal killing of animals.
Department biologist Peter Bente says in a department announcement that
hunting will be closed for the 2013-2014 regulatory year in Unit 23 west
of the Noatak (NO'-ah-tak) River.
The department says five cows were illegally killed in addition to a
legal hunting harvest of five bulls in the 2012-2013 season.
That exceeds the harvest quota and the department says conservation of
the herd requires closure of the next season.
The Noatak River starts in the Brooks Range and flows west to the
Chukchi (chuk-CHEE') Sea north of Kotzebue (KAHTZ'-eh-bew).
Hunter enters plea in caribou-killing case
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A 41-year-old Wasilla man has been fined $1,000
for a 2011 hunting violation along the Sheenjek (SHEEN'-jek) River.
Alaska Wildlife Troopers say Michael Jennings was one of four hunters
who killed 18 caribou but salvaged only 200 pounds of meat.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Jennings in a deal with
prosecutors pleaded guilty to a single count of removing antlers before
salvaging all the edible meat. He will be prohibited from hunting
through May 10, 2014.
Prosecutors dismissed 12 other charges.
State and federal wildlife investigators say Jennings gave varied
explanations for not recovering the meat.
He told investigators one carcass smelled bad and he suspected it was
diseased. He said another caribou was shot but walked away.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
2 teens accused of placing fake bomb at Homer
HOMER, Alaska (AP) — Two teenagers have been arrested after allegedly
leaving a fake bomb at Homer High School.
The Homer News reports 18-year-old Zachary Fraley and a 16-year-old boy
were arrested Thursday after being identified by school officials as
those behind the prank.
Police say an object looking like an explosive device was left in a
stairwell. The school's 370 students were temporarily evacuated Thursday
Homer Police Chief Mark Robl says it was a metal coffee can with wires
protruding from it. A battery was found inside the can, but police say
it wasn't a viable explosive.
Fraley was being held at the city jail, and the younger boy was released
to his parents. Both face a charge of terroristic threatening.
(The Homer News)
Rescued man allegedly bites State Trooper
One of the two people pulled out of the Kenai River last Saturday was
charged with assault after he allegedly bite an Alaska State Trooper.
In a dispatch posted today (Thursday), Troopers says they were contacted
by a motorist that afternoon reporting two people in the water who were
being pulled down river while holding on to the outside of a raft.
Troopers went to the scene near mile 53 of the Sterling Highway in
Cooper Landing and were able to contact the pair near the bridge there.
The dispatch says both were wet and intoxicated.
Investigation revealed that 39 year old Andrew Beitel of Anchorage had
been operating the raft. Troopers say he was in the initial stages of
hypothermia and became uncooperative and belligerent with Troopers and
He was arrested for operating under the influence and disorderly
Beitel was transported to Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna for
evaluation and treatment. It was at the hospital that the dispatch says
he bite the Trooper. At that point, he was charged with assault on a
police officer in the fourth degree.
Following his discharge from the hospital, he was taken to the Wildwood
Pretrial facility and jailed on a $1,250 bond.
Alaska guardsman first group to summit Denali
DENALI NATIONAL PARK AND PRESERVE, Alaska (AP) — The first group to
summit Mount McKinley this year included five members of the Alaska Air
The guard says in a release the five reached the peak of the 20,320-foot
mountain on May 9.
The five members of the 212th Rescue Squadron conducted the climb of the
tallest mountain in North America to enhance their winter survival
The men began the climb on April 26th, going up about 2,000 feet to
3,000 feet a day.
The group included Maj. Matt Komatsu, Chief Master Sgt. Paul Barendregt,
Tech. Sgt. Kyle Minshew, Staff Sgt. William "Bill" Cenna and Staff Sgt.
This is the 100th anniversary of the first successful summit of Mount
McKinley, known locally by its Athabascan name, Denali.
UPDATE: Washington state releases draft
rules for legal pot
GENE JOHNSON,Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) — Officials in Washington state are taking their first stab
at setting rules for the state's new legal weed industry.
Among the preliminary draft regulations released Thursday: They want to
track marijuana plants from "seed to store," and while they're putting a
cap on the number of retail stores in each county, they're not planning
to limit the number of licensed pot growers or processors.
Voters last November made Washington and Colorado the first states to
legalize the sale of taxed marijuana to adults over 21 at state-licensed
stores. Washington's Liquor Control Board has spent nearly the past
eight months developing rules for the industry.
Juneau to participate in Bike to Work Day
It's Bike to Work Day Friday
John McConnochie of Juneau Free Wheelers says they will have an aide
station set up at Twin Lakes from 6:30 to 8 in the morning.
Two schools participated in last week's Bike to School Day.
McConnochie says there were 114 cyclist at Floyd Dryden Middle School.
Gastineau Elementary had 80 bike to school.
It's all part of National Bike Month.
NBA owners reject Sacramento Kings move
DALLAS (AP) — NBA owners voted Wednesday to reject the Sacramento Kings'
proposed move to Seattle, the latest in a long line of cities that have
tried to land the franchise.
The vote followed a recommendation made last month by the NBA's
relocation committee and may have finally brought an end to an emotional
saga that has dragged on for nearly three years.
A group led by investor Chris Hansen has a deal to buy the team. Hansen
hoped to move the franchise to Seattle and rename it the SuperSonics.
The original Sonics were moved to Oklahoma City in 2008 and were renamed
Seattle still without NBA after relocation denied
SEATTLE (AP) — After nearly four months of pondering the return of
professional basketball, Seattle was left feeling jilted again after the
NBA Board of Governors rejected the prospective relocation of the
Sacramento Kings with no promise of a future team for fans in the Puget
The board voted 22-8 Wednesday in Dallas to deny the move of the
franchise. That set off a string of anger and frustration on social
media from NBA fans in Seattle anxious at the possibility of seeing the
Instead, it's another waiting game for Sonics fans.
If there is hope for Seattle fans, it came from NBA Deputy Commissioner
Adam Silver, who indicated that expansion was discussed for the future
and, "We fully expect we will return there one day."
Hansen, McGinn down but not out after
SEATTLE (AP) — The man behind the bid to return professional basketball
to the Puget Sound region is sounding down, but not out, following the
vote by the NBA Board of Governors against his proposal to relocate the
Sacramento Kings to Seattle.
A few hours after Wednesday's announcement in Dallas, investor Chris
Hansen posted a statement to his SonicsArena.com website thanking fans
for their support and saying, "Our day will come...and when it does it
will just be that much sweeter for the struggle."
He also thanked the league and its owners for their time and
consideration, and said he looked forward to hearing back on an
agreement to join the Kings' owners as limited partners in the
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says the city's memorandum of understanding
with Hansen is for five years, and officials will continue working to
bring the NBA back to Seattle.
He says, "I share the disappointment of Sonics fans about today's vote.
But we are in this for the long haul."
Battle for Kings' ownership still on
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — With one victory already down, Sacramento
Mayor Kevin Johnson is putting on a full-court press to win another
contest — the ownership battle for the NBA's Kings.
The league's Board of Governors voted 22-8 Wednesday against a proposal
to relocate the franchise to Seattle and restore the SuperSonics name.
With that issue settled, attention now turns to who will own the team.
Seattle investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer negotiated
a backup plan over the weekend involving a minority stake in the Kings
with the Maloofs retaining majority ownership and keeping the team in
Sacramento. The contingency plan was to take effect if the NBA denied
the pending sale and relocation.
But Johnson says the focus now is on an effort by a Sacramento-based
group to acquire the Kings from the Maloof family.
He said Wednesday that process would take place "around the clock for
the next two days."
Swiss family to sail from Hawaii to Alaska to
(AP) - A real-life "Swiss Family Robinson," a Swiss couple and their
four children will set sail from Hawaii for Alaska to climb Mt.
Dario Schwoerer and his wife, Sabine, began their odyssey in Switzerland
in 2000 and have navigated more than 60,000 nautical miles, according to
the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
The family will first navigate the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii's Big
Island this weekend.
Former UAA hockey player says
investigation is ridiculous
(AP & KINY) - A former Alaska Anchorage hockey player acknowledges he
had an altercation with ex-coach Dave Shyiak, but says it didn't rise to
the level of the abuse alleged by a former teammate.
In an email to The Associated Press, Nick Haddad called the university
Former teammate Mickey Spencer wrote university officials on May 1,
claiming Shyiak violently struck Haddad two years ago during a practice
after Haddad had made a mistake during a team drill.
Shyiak was fired after eight losing seasons with the Seawolves.
Unusual looking bank robber sought in Oregon's
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — This bank robbery suspect should be easy to spot.
Police in Portland, Oregon, say they're looking for a man with an
artificial tan color to his skin and an orange bandage on his nose.
Oh, and he might have red ink on his body and clothing since the dye
pack he got along with an undisclosed amount of money exploded.
Police say the "bad tan bandit" robbed a Bank of the West branch
Wednesday afternoon in southeast Portland.
Starting pit ready for Seattle boring machine
SEATTLE (AP) — Bertha's bed is ready.
Seattle Tunnel Partners finished building a pit — 80 feet deep and 400
feet long — that will serve as the launch pad for a huge boring machine
The Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce reports the 7,000-ton machine that
arrived in pieces aboard a ship from Japan is being reassembled in the
Drilling on a two-mile Highway 99 tunnel under downtown Seattle starts
this summer. The tunnel is expected to open in 2015, allowing the
removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
(Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce)
Wash. state woman spots stolen car in drive-thru
KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) — A Washington woman whose car was stolen from her
apartment complex saw the stolen SUV hours later — in the drive-thru of
the McDonald's restaurant where she works.
The Tri-City Herald reports Virginia Maiden called police Tuesday after
seeing her SUV in the drive-thru.
Officers arrested the driver, a 22-year-old Kennewick woman, at the
Police found clothes in the car that had been stolen from department
News of the North' content copyright of Alaska Broadcast Communications
Inc. and Juneau Alaska Communications LLC. Any unauthorized use will be
prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.