School Board to listen to Budget Committee
The School District's Budget Committee presents its recommendations
to the School Board during a special meeting of this evening.
Public testimony will also be taken.
The School Board will take up the
committee's recommendations in first reading at its regular meeting
on Tuesday, March 11.
A resolution up for action calls for a significant increase in the
base student allocation within the state's Foundation Formula. It
also calls for a multi-year funding plan.
An executive session is planned to take up the evaluation of
Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich.
For the second time, in the last month, Gelbrich is a finalist for a
He's now one of two finalists for the superintendent's job in Nampa,
Idaho. A decision by the school board there is anticipated on
Gelbrich was one of five finalists for a position in Kalispell,
Montana in January.
House Finance balks over planned exiting
BY MIKE COPPOCK, Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The House Finance Committee expressed concern
Tuesday over how the Alaska Department of Education and Early
Development would terminate the high school exit exam under a bill
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Pete Higgins, a Republican from
Fairbanks, would phase out the high school exit examination. It
would also give 2,272 Alaskans holding a letter of achievement until
June 2015 to take the test. It would cost the state about $1.4
million to extend the contract with the company that performs the
Rep. David Guttenberg, a Democrat from Fairbanks, said the students
in question already have met curriculum requirement. That means they
could receive a diploma without taking the test, and that could save
the state money.
The bill was held by the committee.
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 were given a chance
to testify early Wednesday afternoon. There were calls for
increases in education and municipal revenue sharing among many
Committee advances bill rejecting pay raises
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The House Finance Committee has advanced a
bill that would reject pay raises for the governor, lieutenant
governor and main department heads.
SB125 was moved from committee without objection Tuesday.
The bill would reject pay raises that were recommended by the State
Officers Compensation Commission as a way for those offices to catch
up with pay increases for other executive-branch employees.
It has already passed the Senate.
State campaign for safe surrender awareness
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The death of a newborn has sparked an
advertising campaign by the state to make the public aware of a new
law allowing mothers to safely relinquish their babies without fear
The Anchorage Daily News reports the state of Alaska is launching a
$50,000 campaign in raising awareness on the Safe Surrender for
Infants Act passed in 2008.
This is four months after a female soldier was charged after
allegedly leaving her infant to die in an Eagle River Park.
The law allows a parent to give up a baby at a police station, fire
station or hospital up to 21 days after birth with no questions
According to the Alaska Department of health and Social Services,
infant abandonment is rare.
(Anchorage Daily News)
Parnell: Flint Hills liable for
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell says a new buyer
of the North Pole refinery will be not be held responsible for
groundwater contamination that leaked from the plant but that won't
be the case for the current owner.
Parnell in a letter to Flint Hills Resources says the state will not
lower environmental standards or clear Flint Hills of responsibility
in return for an offer to pay part of the cost of piping water to
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Parnell says Flint Hills will
remain responsible for contamination after a sale.
Flint Hills in February announced plans to close the plant.
Parnell says he rejects Flint Hills attempts to shift responsibility
to the refinery's previous owner and to the state, which owned the
ground beneath the refinery.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
UPDATE: Begich doesn't support a carbon tax
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich's campaign is running
radio ads taking aim at the brothers behind Americans for
The conservative group last month began running an ad that said
Begich is on record supporting a carbon tax and urging Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid to make it a priority. That claim stemmed
from a 2010 letter Begich signed with 11 other senators.
Begich said he doesn't support a carbon tax. Two fact check
organizations found the ad distorts or exaggerates Begich's
Charles Koch and David Koch back Americans for Prosperity and are
leaders of Koch Industries Inc., which recently announced plans to
close the Flint Hills refinery at North Pole.
Begich's campaign in its ad refers to them as "billionaire
outsiders" who turned their backs on Alaska.
Funding for pipeline coordinator not in
BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — President Barack Obama has proposed cutting
the funding for the federal coordinator's office for Alaska gas line
Federal coordinator Larry Persily says it's not just a matter of
money but also of the office's authority. The office was created as
part of a 2004 law focused on an Alaska gas pipeline project that
would serve North American markets. The project has shifted since
the law's passage.
The state currently is weighing whether to pursue an equity stake in
a liquefied natural gas project that would be capable of overseas
U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, in a speech to state lawmakers Monday, said
he was working to extend the benefits of the office to any Alaska
Fairclough: Raise tax rate for 25
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An Eagle River senator says she would like to
see the tax rate in the gas line bill increased to give the state a
full 25 percent stake in a liquefied natural gas project.
Sen. Anna Fairclough said during a Senate Finance Committee meeting
Monday that she would like to see an analysis by the Legislature's
consultants on how competitive Alaska's tax structure is.
The committee is considering a bill aimed at advancing the
mega-project and plans to take public testimony Tuesday. Under the
proposal, the state's equity stake would be determined by its
royalty share and gas tax rate.
The state is mulling a stake of 20- to 25 percent. The currently
proposed tax rate is 10.5 percent, which would put the state's
overall share at about 22 percent.
UPDATE: Some House Dems support
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Some members of the House Democratic minority
say they support returning to a longer legislative session.
But Anchorage Rep. Max Gruenberg says he doesn't think there's
interest among the Legislature's leadership to do so.
Voters in 2006 approved changing the maximum length of a regular
session from 121 days to 90 days. The 90-day session took effect for
the 2008 session. Since then, there has been periodic talk about, or
bills introduced to, return to longer sessions.
Minority members have raised concerns with the pace with which some
bills are moving and opportunities for public comment.
Republican Senate President Charlie Huggins says he supports the
idea of 90-day sessions in even-numbered years and budget sessions
in odd-numbered years that would run as long as necessary to delve
into state budgets.
Goldbelt Heritage project to be presented to
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee will listen to a
proposal put forth by the Goldbelt Heritage Institute during its
meeting this evening.
Randy Wanamaker, the vice chair of the Goldbelt Board and the
Assembly liaison to the PRAC, says elder Paul Mareks and Richard
Steele will make the presentation on the three-part Tlingit Native
art project that involves two totem poles and two wood panel
The totem poles would be erected at Savikko Park in Douglas. One
would be a traditional pole that would tell the story of the
migration of the Tlingit People to Douglas 9,000 years ago. The
other contemporary pole would tell the stories of civil rights
activist Elizabeth Peratrovich and the Douglas Indian Village.
Wanamaker says the wood panels could provide cultural information
for Gastineau Elementary School that would tell people the heritage
and history of the Douglas Tlingit community that existed there for
many centuries. The school is on the site of long forgotten and
recently discovered Native graves.
In addition to the heritage foundation, the collaborative project
involves the Douglas Indian Association, the Juneau School District
and the CBJ Parks and Recreation Department.
The committee also plans to elect officers.
The meeting convenes at 6 p.m. in Assembly Chambers at City Hall.
Juneau's federal courthouse named
after Judge Boochever
The U. S. Courthouse in Juneau is now known as the Robert Boochever
It was named after the former federal appeals court judge and Alaska
State Supreme Court justice during a dedication ceremony Monday
that featured Alaska U. S. Senator Mark Begich.
Boochever came to the Territory of Alaska in 1946 as an assistant U.
S. attorney. He became a partner in the law firm of Faulkner and
Banfield where he practiced for 25 years.
He was appointed to the State Supreme Court in 1972 where he served
for eight years including three as chief justice.
In 1980, President Carter appointed Boochever to the U. S. Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals. He was the first Alaskan to serve on that
Boochever passed away in 2011 at the age of 94.
Canoe rescue in Homer
Troopers responded to a
boater in distress in Kachemak Bay Monday night.
Mark Makris, age 27, of Anchorage, was attempting to reach Seldovia
from Homer by canoe.
Makris departed the Homer Harbor approximately around 5:30 Monday
evening with the intent of reaching Seldovia within five hours.
Troopers were able to locate and rescue Makris around 10:30 p.m. and
return him to the Homer Harbor without injuries.
Possibly stolen large green safe
found in Fairbanks
A Department of
Transportation employee discovered a large green Remington weapon
safe while removing snow from the shoulder of the road on the Elliot
Alaska State Troopers discovered someone forced the safe open and
its contents may be stolen.
Anyone with information regarding the theft of a safe matching the
description provided is asked to contact the Alaska State Troopers
Vandalized vehicles at Anton Larsen
Bay boat ramp
Alaska State Troopers say
several vehicles having been vandalized near the Anton Larsen Bay
boat ramp, located approximately 17 miles west of Kodiak.
Investigation revealed nine vehicles had one or more windows smashed
out on each.
The damage is reported to have occurred sometime between Saturday,
March 1st and Monday March 3rd, 2014.
AST has only been able to identify two victims and suspects many of
the other victims do not have any knowledge of the damage incurred.
With damage estimated in the thousands of dollars, charges of felony
criminal mischief apply.
Troopers are requesting the public's assistance to identify the
Call Crimestoppers anonymously at 907-486-3113 or call the Alaska
State Troopers at 907-486-4121.
Juneau woman arrested for failure to
A 62 year old Juneau woman
was arrested Monday morning for an outstanding arrest warrant for
Failure to Appear on the original charges of Misconduct Involving a
Susan Riley was arrested by Alaska State Troopers at 10360 Glacier
Hwy. Bail was set at $2,500.00.
Riley was transported to the Lemon Creek Correctional Center where
she was remanded.
Home births still rising, driven by white
moms, Alaska leads nation
ATLANTA (AP) — A new government report says home births have risen
to their highest level in about four decades but are still only a
fraction of all births.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday that
a little more than 1 percent of U.S. births occur at home. Experts
say they remain largely a phenomenon of white women and those who
live in remote areas.
Alaska had the most out-of-hospital births — about 1 in 17. Women in
remote locations may not be able to get to hospitals in time for
In the 20th century, births shifted from homes to hospitals.
Out-of-hospital deliveries were down to 1 percent by 1969.
But around 2004, they began inching up again and reached about 1.36
percent in 2012. That translates to about 35,000 births in homes and
another 16,000 in freestanding, birthing centers.
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 woman jailed for failure to show in
court to answer drug charges
Alaska State Troopers have arrested a Juneau woman on a warrant for
failure to appear in court in connection with drug charges.
A trooper dispatch says 62 year old Susan Riley was arrested at
about nine this morning (Tuesday) in the ten thousand block of
Riley was originally charged with two counts of misconduct involving
a controlled substance in the second degree.
She was jailed at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center on $2,500
Anchorage office heavily damaged by
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage office of a nonprofit
organization has been heavily damaged by vandalism and a 17-year-old
boy is in custody in connection with the crime.
The Anchorage Daily News says the Fireweed Lane office of the
Muscular Dystrophy Association of Alaska was broken into on Sunday
Police say the office was smeared with blood, soaked with water and
strewn with shattered window glass and broken equipment.
Police say the suspect was found within an hour of the initial
report and he has been charged with felony counts of criminal
mischief and burglary. His name has not been released because he is
Kristin George, the organization's board president, says five
computer monitors also were destroyed, as well as phones and a
printer, artwork and medical supplies.
(Anchorage Daily News)
UPDATE: 1st Wash. state pot license goes to
GENE JOHNSON, Associated
SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state's first legal marijuana license is
going to a guy named Green.
The Associated Press has learned that Spokane grower Sean Green, the
chief executive of a company called Kouchlock Productions, is due to
be issued a producer-processor license at the state Liquor Control
Board meeting in Olympia on Wednesday morning.
Philip Dawdy, a longtime marijuana activist who is handling media
calls for Green, confirmed the news Tuesday and said Green won't be
giving interviews until after the license is issued. The license
will initially allow him to grow 21,000 square feet of cannabis.
Green has run medical marijuana dispensaries in Shoreline and
Spokane for the past few years. Dawdy says he was one of the first
dispensary operators in the state to pay all applicable state taxes,
and that he always plays by the rules.
Washington State Senate: No tax
breaks for pot production
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Senate has unanimously passed a measure
that would exclude producers of marijuana and marijuana-infused
products from qualifying for agriculture tax breaks.
The measure passed Tuesday and now heads to the House for
consideration. Under Senate Bill 6505, the industry would be
excluded from three dozen different tax breaks, largely surrounding
The measure is one of a variety of proposed changes to the marijuana
industry as the state works to implement the voter-approved law.
Washington voters passed Initiative 502 in November 2012 to legalize
and regulate the recreational use of pot by adults over 21, and the
first state-licensed pot stores are expected to open in the coming
months. The nation's first recreational sales began Jan. 1 in
Colorado, which legalized marijuana the same time as Washington.
Lawmakers press admin, again, on pot
ALICIA A. CALDWELL, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Some Republicans in Congress are pressing the
Obama administration for more information about where it stands on
legalizing marijuana and the government's plans to enforce
longstanding federal drug laws.
In a second congressional hearing on U.S. marijuana policy, Rep.
John Mica of Florida said the country is currently, quote — "in a
state of conflict and chaos" when it comes to marijuana.
Under federal law, marijuana is among the most dangerous drugs and
is illegal, but the Justice Department has made clear it won't
target businesses in states where marijuana has been declared legal
as long as they follow local laws.
In an election year that could tip the balance of power in
Washington, some Republicans have accused the administration of
cherry-picking which federal laws to enforce.
UN body condemns US states'
legalization of pot
LONDON (AP) — The United Nations' drug watchdog agency says that the
legalization of marijuana in the U.S. states of Colorado and
Washington poses a threat to the international fight against drug
In a report published Tuesday, the International Narcotics Control
Board said that it "deeply regrets" moves by those two states to
lift restrictions on the sale and use of cannabis.
The board said the moves violate drug control conventions and called
on national authorities to block the states' moves. The U.S. Justice
Department has made clear it won't go after state-legal businesses
even though federal law still bans marijuana consumption.
The INCB, which has no enforcement power, has previously voiced its
opposition to legalization.
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.
Juneau to host Region V basketball
The Region V Basketball Tournament gets underway in Juneau
In 4A men's play, Ketchikan and Juneau Douglas tip off at 8:30 p.m.
The winner advances to play number one seed Thunder Mountain
Thursday at 5 p.m.
In 4A women's play, Thunder Mountain and Juneau Douglas clash at
6:45 Thursday evening.
The winner takes on Number One seed Ketchikan at 3:15 Thursday
In 3A men's play, its Petersburg vs. Mt. Edgecumbe at 9:45 Wednesday
morning. Number one seed Sitka will play the winner at 1:15 Thursday
In the 3A women's tournament, Petersburg and Sitka play at 8
Wednesday morning. The winner meets Mt. Edgecumbe at 11:30 Thursday.
In the first round of play in the 2A men's tournament Wednesday
afternoon, Metlakatla meets Haines at 1:15 and Craig and Wrangell
play at 5.
In the 2A women's tourney Wednesday, its Metlakatla and Haines at
11:30 a. m. and Craig vs Wrangell at 3:15 p.m.
UPDATE: Lindner takes Iditarod lead,
Neff two minutes behind
There's a new leader along the Iditarod Trail.
Sonny Lindner was the first out of the Nikolai check point late this
Two minutes behind him is Hugh Neff.
Leaving 17 minutes after Neff was Ailey Zirkle.
Nicolas Petit left early this afternoon followed by Aaron
Martin Buser was first into that checkpoint at 1:09 this morning.
He's still there and may be opting to take his mandatory 24 hour
Sixty nine started the race Sunday. Six have since scratched.
They include veteran mushers DeeDee Jonrowe and Lynwood Fielder.
Both scratched after going through the treacherous Dalzell Gorge.
Iditarod officials said Jonrowe told checkpoint personnel she was
"beat up physically" in the gorge.
Fielder cited a "physical injury from driving the gorge.
Also dropping out at the Rohn check point today were Gus Gwenther,
and Mike Santos.
Jim Lanier dropped out at Rainy Pass Monday.
Cindy Gallea scratched after reaching the checkpoint at Skwentna
Petit ranted to an Iditarod website reporter for 15 minutes about
the poor trail conditions after arriving in Nikolai.
Navy seeks permit for Northwest training
SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Navy is seeking to renew permits to conduct
sonar and explosive exercises off the Washington, Oregon and
California coasts, raising concerns among marine mammal advocates.
The training area stretches from the inland waters of Puget Sound to
the northern coast of California. The area is home to endangered
whales such as orcas, humpback and blue, as well as seals, sea lions
The Navy says it need to carries out the exercises to maintain and
train combat-ready naval forces.
The Navy's current five-year permit expires in 2015. It has issued a
draft report outlining potential environmental impacts as it seeks
to expand exercises.
Public meetings have been held in Washington, and are scheduled for
Oregon, California and Alaska.
Small group of gray whales return to Puget
MANUEL VALDES, Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) — A male gray whale that frequently visits the Puget
Sound has come back this year to feast on shrimp, marking the start
of an annual stay by a small group of these big marine mammals in
Washington state inland waters.
The Pacific Whale Watch Association says that the gray whale named
"Little Patch" was seen this past weekend for the first time this
year. He's one of a group of about a dozen primarily male gray
whales that feast on ghost shrimp in north Puget Sound waters for
about three months during spring. The whales then continue their
migration to Alaska.
Cascadia Research Collective biologist John Calambokidis says these
grays are a peculiar group that breaks off the main northbound
migration, seemingly because they have discovered good feeding in
Puget Sound waters.
Michigan city to strike ban on being
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — It's soon expected to be OK to be
willfully annoying in Grand Rapids.
The Grand Rapids Press reports that the City Commission is nixing a
38-year-old section of city code that states "no person shall
willfully annoy another person."
City Attorney Catherine Mish recommended repealing the language,
saying the wording is "unconstitutional in terms of being vague" and
"simply unenforceable." A final decision is expected March 11.
Even with the change, related crimes such as obstructing someone in
a public place or assault would still be on the books.
Mish has been scouring city code to find archaic rules.
Last year, rules that got a look included one prohibiting people
from riding horses on a sidewalk and another allowing jail time for
failing to return a library book.
(The Grand Rapids Press)