Suspicious church fire under investigation
A suspicious fire set at the pulpit of Chapel by the Lake was
discovered early Tuesday morning.
Security guards called Capital City Fire Rescue after smoke was
discovered in the sanctuary.
The fire was out by the time the guards encountered the smoke.
Damage was estimated at between $3,000 to $5,000.
The cause is under investigation by the fire marshal.
New principal named for Riverbend, timeline
for Superintendent search decided
There was word at last night's School Board meeting of the hiring of
a new principal.
As part of the superintendent's report, it was announced that
Michelle Byer, the current principal of the Haines High School, will
be the new principal at Riverbend Elementary School.
During a works session prior to last night's regular meeting, the
School Board announced a time line for its search to find a
replacement for Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich.
School District Chief of Staff Kristin Bartlett says the board will
begin the process Thursday by soliciting input from community and
school district stakeholders.
She says the two month process will end at the beginning of June
with interviews of the finalists.
The board has set another meeting for Thursday to discuss financial
details such as the advertising budget for the search and a salary
for the new superintendent. The meeting is set for 4:30 p.m.
in the District Office Glacier Conference Room.
Gelbrich's resignation is effective June 30.
UPDATE: Troopers name 2 men killed in Alaska
RACHEL D'ORO, Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say the remains of
two pilots have been found in the wreckage of a small commercial
plane that crashed during a training flight near a southwest Alaska
The pilots who died in the crash Tuesday afternoon near Bethel
42-year-old Derrick Cedars of Bethel and 46-year-old Greggory McGee
The burned wreckage of the Cessna 208 operated by Hageland Aviation
was found near Three Step Mountain. Hageland says there is no way to
immediately determine who was at the controls.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.
The NTSB also is investigating the crash of another Hageland
Aviation Cessna 208 last November. Four people were killed and six
injured in the crash of that commuter flight.
Hageland Aviation is part of Ravn Alaska.
Man in pickup crash reports it as
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A Kenai man confounded authorities early
Tuesday, saying he had been in a plane crash.
Responders couldn't find a downed plane as reported by Denis
Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters tells the Anchorage
Daily News that it was only when Straughn was interviewed at an
Anchorage hospital did they learn he was actually in a vehicle
crash. He also said he was with a "Harley Davidson."
Hours later, troopers were informed of a pickup off the highway near
Bird Point. There were two people in the pickup, including the
driver, Harley W. Davidson of Anchorage. Peters says it appears
Davidson fell asleep while driving Straughn and a woman to Soldotna.
She says there were no serious injuries, and no immediate indication
that drugs or alcohol were involved.
Juneau bears starting to stir
The bears are out and about across the city and borough of Juneau.
We talked to two people on the front lines of the seasonal bear
watch on Wednesday's edition of Juneau Radio Center's Action Line.
One is Fish and Game Area Management Biologist Ryan Scott who says
the number of sightings and calls are starting to build. He says
they've had about a half dozen in different locations.
He figures by the middle of this month and into the first of next
month the numbers will grow.
Juneau Police Department Community Service Officer Sarah Dolan said
they received a report Tuesday of a bear in trash in the Lemon Creek
area. They've had previous reports of bears in the Highlands
As he has over the years, Scott warns people about stowing their
garbage properly and the handling of other attractants such as bird
feeders and fish scraps. He encourages residents to take down their
bird feeders for the season.
Dolan talked about the fine schedule for residents leaving garbage
exposed for bears. The first offense is $50. The second offense
within a two year period is $100 and a third and subsequent offense
within that time period is $300.
But she says their primary focus is education rather than handing
Additional information is available on the Fish and Game Department
web site or by calling 465-4265. Dolan says they are also available
to answer questions. That can be done by calling the police
department at 586-0600.
Alaska Man pleads guilty to 1993 Utah murder
OGDEN, Utah (AP) — A man arrested in the
20-year-old murder of a woman at an Ogden retirement home has
pleaded guilty to aggravated murder.
The Standard-Examiner of Ogden reports that 42-year-old Stephen
Ellenwood was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years to life in prison.
Ellenwood is accused of raping and beating 92-year-old Grace Mae
Odle in 1993, leading to her death six days later.
Ellenwood was arrested in May 2013 at his home in Haines, Alaska
after police captured him as he fled into the woods.
Authorities solved the case after they discovered DNA evidence that
linked Ellenwood to the sexual assault and beating of Odle.
Ellenwood previously spent time in an Idaho state prison where he
served a 2002 aggravated assault conviction.
investigates improper injections by students
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — University of Alaska Fairbanks officials
are reviewing procedures after students in a medical assistant
program were told to inject each other with a solution not approved
for human use.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports a clinical procedures
instructor in the university's Community and Technical College had
students repeatedly inject others with a solution intended to only
be used on training pads.
About 30 students in two classes were involved. It's not known how
many injections students received, but logs show the average student
got about 10 injections each. Officials say those logs may be
Students have complained of a burning sensation after the injection.
Some also had skin irritation.
The instructor has been placed on paid investigatory leave. UAF also
is investigating why complaints weren't escalated to administrators.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
Senate Finance advances budget bill
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Senate Finance Committee has advanced a
$2.1 billion capital budget.
Perhaps the biggest change compared with the draft unveiled earlier
this week was $245 million for a new heat and power plant at the
University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. That figure includes $157.5
million in anticipated bond revenue. The committee advanced a
separate bill increasing the borrowing limit of the Alaska Municipal
Bond Bank Authority as part of that overall package.
The committee also amended the capital budget to provide $2.1
million as a match provided that the federal government provides
funding for — and the U.S. Interior Secretary reverses her decision
on — a road linking King Cove and an all-weather airport at Cold
No new money was provided for the Susitna dam project, despite
House Resources advances gas line
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The House Resources Committee has advanced its
rewrite of legislation meant to advance a major liquefied natural
Some members expressed lingering concerns about whether this is the
best deal the state could get. But some expressed comfort, too, in
the work the committee put into the bill, in understanding the issue
and in working to protect the state's interest.
Resources considered dozens of amendments in a process that began
last Friday. The bill currently has two additional committees of
referral though House Speaker Mike Chenault has indicated the
referral to Labor and Commerce could be waived and the bill sent to
Letter lays out planned exit from
BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Within the next few months, the state and
TransCanada could terminate their relationship under the Alaska
Gasline Inducement Act, or AGIA.
Officials with the state and TransCanada signed a letter aimed at
clarifying the path forward.
TransCanada won an exclusive license to pursue a pipeline but much
has changed in the years since, including the type of project being
The state and TransCanada have signed a new agreement, spelling out
a proposed working relationship on a proposed liquefied natural gas
Lawmakers are considering legislation to advance that project.
The letter states within 90 days of legislation passing, the parties
would sign a preliminary commitment and agreement indicating how the
state could exercise an equity buy-back option with TransCanada.
They would then formally agree to abandon the AGIA license.
for Juneau Schools big issue at Assembly Finance Committee Meeting
The Juneau School District
budget tops the list of agenda items at tonight's meeting of the
Assembly Finance Committee.
Committee Chair Karen Crane says they will also look at capital
improvements programs, review the FY 15 capital improvement project
list, go over the bonded capital projects, and look at marine
passenger fee recommendations.
The meeting starts at 5:30 in Assembly Chambers.
Alaska State Ferries Join Green WATERS
(KETCHIKAN, Alaska) – The Alaska Department of
Transportation and Public Facilities was recently granted
certification for all eleven Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS)
ferries into the Passenger Vessel Association’s Green WATERS
The Green WATERS (We Are Taking
Environmental Responsibility/Stewardship) Program exists exclusively
for the passenger vessel industry as a voluntary program aimed
toward reducing waste and operating in a cleaner, greener, and more
sustainable marine environment.
“Minimizing the impact on our natural
environment is a responsibility that we take seriously.
Participating in the Green WATERS Program is a significant
achievement in our commitment to the environment,” said AMHS General
Manager Captain John Falvey.
As a part of the certification process
AMHS created a new Ship to Shore Environmental Guide to provide the
policies and procedures necessary for staff to respond to
environmental concerns quickly and efficiently. Other initiatives
AMHS has implemented include:
• Fueling with ultra-low sulfur diesel
• The use of environmental acceptable lubricants on vessels
• A new program to streamline hazardous waste and material
• Using online reservations, email, and direct deposit to reduce
• Recycling plastic and paper products
Microbrew industry growing in Alaska,
Juneau's brewery ranks high on national stage
Alaska's microbrew industry
is seeing rapid growth.
That's the subject of an article in the month's Alaska Economic
Trends published by the Research and Analysis Section of the
Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Economist Neil Fried (Freed) is the author.
He says Alaska ranks fourth in the nation for breweries per capita.
and fifth in small or craft breweries per capita.
We asked how Alaskan Brewing in Juneau is the state's largest
brewery and Fried says it ranks pretty high nationwide.
He says its the 24th largest brewery in the country and the 16th
largest craft brewery. So he says the company is also a big player
on the national scene.
Fried foresees continued growth. He reports some people are saying
five new ones are about to open their doors in Alaska, while others
say there are at least 12 in the planning stages.
Fried writes that twenty percent of alcohol consumed in Alaska in
2013 was craft beer, up from 6 percent in 2003.
Fried says as a result beer purchases from major breweries have
declined significantly in Alaska.
Brewery jobs in Alaska grew from 61 in 2002 to 290 last year.
The total payroll in 2012 was $7.6 Million.
For brew pubs, total employment last year was a little over 900 with
a total payroll in 2012 of nearly $19 Million.
Education bill rewrite leaves some
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Few legislators seemed completely satisfied
with the broad-ranging education that passed the state House after
hours of debate Monday.
The bill, HB278, underwent significant changes on the floor.
Representatives added $30 million in spending for schools and
severed from the bill a plan to address the teachers' retirement
The bill included elements related to charter schools, teacher
tenure and a call for state recommendations on salary and benefits
It bore a glancing resemblance to the bill Gov. Sean Parnell
originally introduced to bring changes to the state's education
Education Commissioner Mike Hanley said he would seek changes in the
Senate to address residential school stipends and repealing the high
school graduation exam. He said the bill doesn't represent
significant reforms but steps in the right direction.
Conference committee on operating
The conference committee on the operating budget for the state's
fiscal year 15 budget is ready to go to work.
The State Senate approved the spending plan Monday after turning
down 15 minority sponsored amendments.
The full bill was approved 16 to 4 and sent to the House.
The House Monday night refused to concur with Senate changes to its
The Senate this morning in turn refused to rescind from its changes
on a unanimous 20 to 0 vote.
Senate President Charlie Huggins then named the body's conferees.
Senators Pete Kelly and Kevin Meyer co-chair the Finance Committee.
Senator Lyman Hoffman is the ranking minority member on the
In anticipation the Senate would not rescind from its changes, the
House appointed its conference committee Monday after voting not to
concur. They will be Finance Co-Chairs Alan Austerman and Bill
Stoltze and Minority member Les Gara.
House passes bill addressing AGDC
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska House has passed
legislation to allow out-of-state residents to serve on the board of
the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., or AGDC.
The vote was 27-12. The bill still must to go to the Senate.
House Speaker Mike Chenault requested House Rules introduce HB383 to
address what he has called an oversight in legislation passed last
year setting up AGDC. Chenault has said the intent was to ensure the
most qualified people serve on the board, regardless of whether
they're Alaska residents.
The issue came to the fore with Gov. Sean Parnell's appointment to
the board of a Texas man and former pipeline company executive.
Critics of the appointment say Alaskans should be making policy
calls affecting Alaskans, and nothing prevents AGDC from hiring
out-of-state residents as consultants.
Coghill: Reluctance to move on
minimum wage bill
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) —
Senate Majority Leader John Coghill says there's probably reluctance
among senators to move forward on a bill to raise Alaska's minimum
Coghill chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and last month held a
hearing on two of the initiatives qualified for this year's ballot,
including a proposed minimum wage hike.
He told reporters initiative supporters expressed clearly their
desire to allow voters to decide the issue. He said that has given
the Senate some pause in moving forward with a bill.
A House committee last week introduced a minimum wage bill that
tracks closely with the initiative.
The Legislature can pre-empt a ballot initiative by passing
substantially similar legislation. That happened in 2002, and a year
later, lawmakers gutted the law. Supporters of the initiative fear
that could happen again.
State suspends grant for Anchorage tennis
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The state has suspended a $37 million grant
that would fund construction of a new indoor tennis facility that
was supported by Mayor Dan Sullivan.
The Anchorage Daily News reports the suspension follows questions
raised by state Sen. Lesil McGuire, who is running for lieutenant
governor against Sullivan.
Scott Ruby with the Alaska Department of Commerce says the entire
grant was suspended, rather than the $4.4 million earmarked for the
tennis courts. He says legislators provide the money "in one big
Concerns arose after Ruby's department received a copy of a letter
McGuire sent to Gov. Sean Parnell that included a legislative
attorney's opinion raising questions about the legality of the
Ruby says the grant is suspended until the state Department of Law
can review it.
Jury makes Alaska man forfeit house in pot
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A federal jury has forced a Palmer man to
turn his home over to the government because he used it for a
marijuana grow operation.
The U.S. attorney's office says 48-year-old Loren Kent Dodds was
convicted in U.S. District Court in Anchorage of manufacturing
Prosecutors in a release said he turned the lower level of his home
into a hydroponic grow operation, complete with motorized lights on
timers. Authorities say he also stole electricity to power the
He had two prior convictions for growing marijuana at the same
location, in 1994 and 2008. He was still on probation for the 2008
case when authorities last year found more than 600 marijuana plants
in the house.
Sentencing was scheduled for June 20.
Police: Alaska boy, 3, stabbed;
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police have arrested a woman in a
stabbing that critically injured her 3-year-old son.
Police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro says 40-year-old Tracia
Jordan-Sainte was arrested for investigation of one count of
attempted homicide and one count of assault.
Police and medics responded Tuesday afternoon and found the injured
child, who was transported to a local hospital.
Castro says the case remains under investigation.
KTUU-TV reports the woman was taken into custody at a residence at
an inn that provides transitional housing for homeless individuals
Woman arrested following assault of man in
Juneau Police arrested a woman early Tuesday morning in a domestic
Officers found an injured 38 year old man standing on Front Street
at 4 a.m.
He told police he had been assaulted by the woman under the Gold
Creek Bridge. The man said he had been stuck in the head with a
metal pipe and suffered lacerations to his face and ear.
Police say they contacted 39 year old Lorraine Paul who was arrested
on a charge of domestic violence assault in the third degree which
is a class C felony.
Police say alcohol was involved in the incident.
School board in Fairbanks places
superintendent on leave
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks North Star School Board has
placed its superintendent on administrative leave.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Pete Lewis will step aside
and that an assistant superintendent, Karen Gaborik (gah-BOR'-ik),
will work as acting interim superintendent.
The district announced the move Monday night in a brief press
release. No reason was given for the change in the terse
announcement put out at 10:37 p.m.
The announcement says the change was not a disciplinary action and
did not result from any determination of wrongdoing.
The announcement was issued after the board met in a session closed
to the public. The stated reason for the meeting was to discuss a
personnel investigation and potential claims against the district.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
Put on a
smile and maybe more, cameraman in public showers in Venetie
Patrons of public showers
in the village of Venetie may want to put on more than shower shoes
when bathing next time.
Members of the Fairbanks Rural Unit, VPSO Plessinger and VPSO Mark
received several complaints from the village of Venetie about
someone filming community members in the public showers. Those
reports came in on March 17 and again on Monday.
The suspect has been identified and the investigation continues.
Domestic violence call gets Togiak
man arrested for making moonshine
Dillingham Alaska State
Troopers received a call in regards to a physical assault in Togiak
early Monday morning just before 7:00. According to a trooper's
report, Frederick Antone, 36, of Togiak, had assaulted an adult
female and admitted to making moonshine in his residence. A homemade
still containing approximately 24 quarts of product was located
upstairs in the home.
Antone was arrested for Assault in the 3rd degree domestic violence
along with manufacturing distilled spirits in a local option area. A
records check showed Antone to have two prior convictions for
assault, which makes this assault a felony. There was also a charge
for the possession of 10.5 or more liters of distilled spirits in a
local option area. Antone was arrested and transported to the
Dillingham Correctional Facility and held without bail.
North Slope Borough school official to head
up school administrators council
Dr. Lisa Parady is the new executive director of the Alaska Council
of School Administrators.
She has been the assistant superintendent of the North Slope Borough
in Barrow for the last six years.
Before moving to Alaska, Parady served as chief of staff in the
Wyoming Department of Education, as director of the Wyoming
Department of Workforce Services, and as senior policy analyst in
the Governor's Office.
Begich reports bringing in more than
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S.
Sen. Mark Begich has reported bringing in more than $1 million
toward his re-election bid during the first quarter of this year.
It's the Democrat's highest fundraising quarter of this election
The money includes nearly $940,000 in contributions from individuals
and political committees, as well as transfers from other authorized
Begich's campaign says more than 1,500 Alaskans contributed to the
Begich reported having $2.8 million on hand, as of March 31.
Republicans see Begich's seat as key to their efforts to reclaim
control of the U.S. Senate.
GOP hopefuls in the race include Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, former
state Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan and Joe Miller,
the 2010 Republican nominee for Senate.
Alaska earthquake felt in Homer, Anchor
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Seismologists say a minor earthquake in
Alaska was felt in communities in the state's Cook Inlet region.
The Alaska Earthquake Center says the magnitude 3.9 earthquake
occurred shortly before 6 a.m. Wednesday.
The quake was felt in Homer and Anchor Point. It was located 36
miles northwest of Homer.
There are no immediate reports of damage.
Suspect subdued with help from police
WASILLA, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say one of their
trained dogs came to the aid of an officer assaulted by a suspect in
The unnamed suspect has not been charged.
The officer Monday night responded to a report of a fight at a home.
When he arrived, he saw a man on a porch who looked like he had been
in a fight.
As they spoke, the man began to fight the trooper and both fell off
the porch. The trooper says he warned the man to stop or he would
free the dog.
The fight continued and the officer by remote control released the
dog from his patrol car.
The dog, "Blazer," subdued the suspect. The officer and the suspect
were treated for injuries at Mat-Su Regional Hospital.
Fishermen suggest moratorium on Yukon king
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Another dismal forecast for returns of
Yukon River king salmon has some subsistence fishermen calling for a
Orville Huntington says it wouldn't hurt to take a few years off and
target other species to give kings a chance to recover.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Huntington spoke Tuesday in
Fairbanks during a planning meeting with fisheries managers from the
Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Huntington lives on the Koyukuk (KOY'-yoo-kuk) River, a tributary of
the Yukon. He works as director of wildlife and parks for the Tanana
The Yukon River king salmon run last year was the worst since 1982.
Biologists estimate 76,000 kings returned and subsistence fishermen
saw fishing limitations.
Biologists forecast a run of 64,000 to 121,000 kings this summer.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
More illnesses aboard Princess cruise
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Officials say the number of passengers believed
to be sick with the highly contagious norovirus has nearly doubled
aboard a cruise ship sailing to ports in California.
Princess Cruises spokeswoman Karen Candy said on Wednesday that 66
passengers and 17 crew members were sick and had to be isolated to
their cabins aboard the Crown Princess. That's up from about 37
passengers who reported being sick while the ship was in San
Francisco on Monday.
Officials believe norovirus is to blame for the illnesses. It is
spread person-to-person and can include nausea and diarrhea.
Candy says the ship's staff has disinfected door handles and other
The Crown Princess is on a seven-day cruise that includes stops in
San Diego and Santa Barbara. It ends in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Online newspaper buys Anchorage Daily News
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An online competitor is buying the
Anchorage Daily News, Alaska's largest daily newspaper.
Alaska Dispatch Publishing LLC, the parent company of the Alaska
Dispatch, announced the deal Tuesday. The Dispatch is buying the
Anchorage Daily News from The McClatchy Co. for $34 million.
Alice Rogoff is the online newspaper's publisher and majority owner.
She says in a release that the Dispatch is excited to add the "many
talented and accomplished employees of the Anchorage Daily News" to
The purchase includes the newspaper, its adn.com website and the
newspaper's property and operations in Anchorage. The Dispatch
intends to sell the real estate holdings to a local buyer, and the
newspaper will continue in its current location in East Anchorage as
The sale is expected to close in May.
Woman pulled from mudslide rubble shares her
SEATTLE (AP) — A young
woman pulled from the rubble of the Washington mudslide along with
her infant son is starting to recover physically from her ordeal
after six surgeries. But she and her doctor acknowledged Wednesday
that the emotional healing will take a long time.
Certain sounds bring 25-year-old Amanda Skorjanc right back to March
22, when a river of mud and debris destroyed her Oso neighborhood
and killed at least 35 people.
She was sitting with her son that Saturday morning watching videos
when the lights in her home started to blink. She looked out the
door and saw houses exploding. She held her son tightly and turned
away from the door.
Rescuers later found them trapped in a pocket formed by Skorjanc's
damaged couch and pieces of her roof.
Skorjanc had two broken legs, a broken arm and other injuries. Her
son is being treated at Seattle Children's Hospital.
Oso mudslide death toll at 36, plus
EVERETT, Wash. (AP) —
Detectives with the Snohomish County sheriff's office were able to
cross another name off the list of missing from the Oso landslide
and it's now down to 10 people.
The death toll from the March 22 slide grew to 36 Wednesday, with
the Snohomish County medical examiner's office still trying to
identify four of those people.
Searchers with dogs continue to probe
the debris field as the Army Corps of Engineers builds a berm to
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene
(del-BEN'-ee) says President Barack Obama plans to visit the scene
of Washington state's landslide later this month.
The Washington state Democrat says she talked with the president
Tuesday about the Federal Emergency Management Agency's continued
support as the area copes with the aftermath of last month's
Sea-Tac passengers warned about
SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — Port of Seattle police are warning passengers
to keep an eye on their luggage at Sea-Tac Airport.
Spokesman Perry Cooper says thieves posing as passengers have been
grabbing bags off luggage carousels. He says they watch for a bag
that has gone around three or four times and take it.
KIRO-TV reports Port of Seattle police have increased patrols with
uniformed and undercover officers.
Alaska Geographic Bee winner is Kodiak
A Kodiak seventh grader will represent Alaska at the National
Geographic Bee next month in Washington, D. C.
Thirteen year old Gray Harver won the Alaska Geographic Bee Friday
at the Egan Center in Anchorage.
Organizers report nearly 100 fourth through eighth graders competed
for the honor.
Harver says he'll continue to study and is looking forward to the
To qualify for the state bee, students had to take first place in
their school and pass qualifying exams.
The geography program at the University of Alaska School of Natural
Resources and Extension supports the Alaska Bee.