advances to finals in Ski Town Throwdown
Juneau's Eaglecrest ski area overwhelmed the competition
in the Final Four of Powder Magazine's Ski Town
The vote was 4,569 for Eaglecrest and 1,811 for the ski
resort in Mt. Bohemia, Michigan.
Eaglecrest will now
advance to the finals against either Stevens Pass in
Washington State or Crested Butte in Colorado.
There will be five days of
voting beginning December 9 with people allowed to vote
once every 24 hours.
Meanwhile, Eaglecrest will open as scheduled for the
season this Saturday on a limited basis.
The Porcupine Chair will
run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to service the Muskeg and
Dolly Varden trails. A small terrain park feature will
be set up on Dolly Varden as well.
Maiden meeting of Auke Bay group
The first meeting of the newly created Auke Bay Steering
Committee is this evening.
CBJ Community Development Director Hal Hart says the
committee will organize with the election of officers
and plan the next steps.
the committee's charge is to develop an area plan to
guide future growth, he says.
The meeting is scheduled from 6 to 9 in the Glacier View
Room on the Auke Lake campus of the University of Alaska
LeConte sailings canceled again
for the state ferry LeConte. The LeConte sailing
schedule for Thursday has now been canceled due to
ongoing repairs on its bow thruster.
The vessel is scheduled to complete sea trials late
today. Upon successful testing of the bow thruster,
officials say the ferry will transit from Ketchikan to
Juneau tonight and will resume scheduled service as
early as Friday.
AMHS staff is contacting
affected passengers; for more information, please call
your local terminal by dialing 1-907-465-3941 or
toll-free at 1-800-642-0066.
Public artwork selected for new
and Archives Complex
JUNEAU – Artists been chosen and commissioned to create
public artwork for the State Library, Archives & Museum
(SLAM) building project in Juneau. Walter Gordinier of
Portland, Oregon; Evon Zerbetz of Ketchikan, Alaska; and
Martin Shelton of Bellingham, Washington (formerly of
Juneau) were selected through an open call in
coordination with the Alaska State Council on the Arts
and the SLAM project Percent for Art advisory
A ten-month design and
concept development phase provided a unique opportunity
for collaboration and dialogue with these three artists
and the advisory committee representing ECI Hyer
Architects; the Alaska Division of Libraries, Archives
and Museums; Alaskan artists; the Department of
Transportation & Public Facilities and ASCA. The total
planned budget for the artwork development, fabrication
and installation is 1% of the building construction
costs, a total amount of $1,000,000.
The construction of the
SLAM project is well under way in Alaska’s capital, for
the Department of Education & Early Development’s
Division of Libraries Archives and Museums. Completion
date for the SLAM project is the spring of 2016. Partial
funding has allowed the multi-year construction project
to begin in 2012. Additional funding, $37.215 million,
is necessary to complete the project on time and within
Parnell wants reduced spending
in next budget
BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sean Parnell says he'd like
to see state spending well below current levels for the
upcoming fiscal year.
Parnell is expected to release his budget proposal next
He says revenues are expected to be lower because of
lower oil prices and declining production. The
Legislature earlier this year passed an oil tax cut
aimed at spurring more production.
Critics said the cut could put the state treasury at
risk, but Parnell says the revenue coming in under the
new tax will be comparable to that of the old system at
He says he wants to address one of the biggest drivers
of the budget: the nearly $12-billion unfunded pension
liability. He also wants a capital budget focused on
maintaining state infrastructure and finishing projects
Parnell: No plans at this time
for gas tax bill
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sean Parnell says he's not
planning to introduce gas-tax legislation at this time.
Parnell, in his 2012 State of the State address, set out
benchmarks for progress on a major gas pipeline project.
He said if those were met, the 2013 Legislature could
take up gas tax legislation designed to advance the
They were met, and in his 2013 speech, he laid out new
benchmarks, all but one of which was met. Parnell said
he was under no obligation to pursue gas tax legislation
this year, given the missed benchmark.
On Tuesday, he said he would propose legislation for the
upcoming session if he saw "demonstrable progress" on a
He says it's a question of timing and what's required to
maintain Alaska's interest in a project.
State: Revenue lower due to oil
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state is expecting nearly $2
billion less in oil and gas production taxes this year,
which Revenue officials say has more to do with
lower-than-expected oil prices and declining production
than with the new oil tax law.
The fall revenue forecast, released Wednesday, shows the
state expects to receive nearly $2.1 billion in
unrestricted revenue from the production tax. That
compares to nearly $4.1 billion in fiscal year 2013 and
an estimated $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2015.
Revenue Commissioner Angela Rodell says lower oil prices
are expected to continue having the largest impact on
the state's revenue picture.
Oil revenues account for more than 90 percent of
Alaska's unrestricted revenue, which is money that isn't
restricted in its use by the law, constitution or
State Education Board to meet in
The State Board of Education and Early Development opens
a two day meeting in Anchorage Thursday.
Eric Fry of the Education Department says the panel will
take up proposed regulations that effect the operation
of residential programs by school districts.
He says it would change regulations to match a new state
law. The key point, he says, is that it allows these
programs to operate in segments of less of a full year.
Fry says the panel will also take up proposed
regulations that would give school districts more
flexibility in the kind of assessments they give to
young children to see how well they're reading.
Public comment will be taken beginning at 8 a.m.
Thursday by calling 1-855-463-5009. For participation
from Juneau, call 463-5009.
The proceedings will be streamed via the Legislative
Information Office web site beginning at 8 Thursday
morning and at 8:30 Friday morning.
Federal extended unemployment
Benefits end Dec. 28
JUNEAU, Alaska—In accordance with federal law, the
Emergency Unemployment Compensation program is ending.
The last payable week of EUC is Dec. 28, regardless of
any remaining balances. The program will end as
scheduled, unless extended by Congress.
The EUC end does not affect those receiving regular
state unemployment benefits of up to 26 weeks.
The Employment Security Division, which administers the
Unemployment Insurance Program, has notified about 6,500
unemployed workers in Alaska who will be affected by the
ending of the federal program.
Those affected have been notified about alternative
resources for household aid, including contacting the
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services for a
public assistance eligibility assessment and United Way
of Anchorage’s Alaska 2-1-1.
Alaskans affected by the loss of EUC benefits are urged
to contact the nearest Job Center for job search
assistance, resume building assistance and other
employment services to aid in a transition to
sustainable employment. The Alaska Job Center networks
may be contacted online at Jobs.Alaska.Gov or by calling
Brokers see progress in health
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Officials working with Alaska's
health insurance marketplace website say it continues to
have issues but is making progress.
The website HealthCare.gov began operating about two
months ago and counselors and brokers had trouble
signing people up.
Private broker Enroll Alaska shut down for three weeks
at the end of October after determining that the site
had an incorrect subsidy calculator for Alaska.
Enroll Alaska chief operating officer Tyann Boling tells
the Anchorage Daily News that enrollment numbers are now
coming up dramatically.
Boling says that on a scale of one to 10, the website is
about a seven. Boling says problems can arise on a
(Anchorage Daily News)
Murkowski sets up email
connection again to hear about Skagway post office
Two full time employees of the post office in Skagway
were dismissed in the last week, leaving only one
employee to operate the facility.
That's according to Alaska U. S. Senator Lisa Murkowski
who in response is re-activating a direct e-mail
connection to her staff and the U. S. Postal Service.
The senator set up a similar system last year in
response to issues in Skagway that resulted in delayed
The comments submitted then were passed on to the agency
resulting in improved service, according to a release
from the senator's office.
As holiday mail increases, Senator Murkowski is inviting
all Skagway residents to share their observations and
experiences vial the e-mail address as she works with
the Postal Service to look at Skagway's postal needs and
The email address is available on the latest edition of
Juneau Daily News Online at KINY Radio dot com.
over emails settles case
BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska scientist whose
observations of drowned polar bears helped galvanize the
global warming movement has retired as part of a
settlement with a federal agency.
Charles Monnett (moh-NAY') was briefly suspended in 2011
during an investigation into a polar bear research
contract he managed. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy
Management found no evidence of scientific misconduct
but reprimanded Monnett for improper release of
government documents that an official said were later
used against the agency in court. The documents included
emails related to Arctic drilling for oil and gas.
When Monnett returned to work, his prior research
portfolio had been reassigned. He filed a complaint,
seeking, among other things, a job transfer.
Under the settlement, the 65-year-old Monnett will
receive $100,000 but cannot seek Interior Department
work for five years.
Fairbanks woman arrested for
murder of young son
The mother of an 18 month old child has been arrested on
a homicide charge in the death of the boy in Fairbanks.
An autopsy was conducted on the child after 24 year old
Amber Lynn Swanson brought the boy to Fairbanks Memorial
Results of the autopsy showed the child had suffered
blunt force trauma prior to his death.
Swanson told Alaska State Troopers that she found her
son outside of her vehicle on Friday after she had
fallen asleep and awoke to find the passenger side
window rolled down.
She claimed that the boy died the next day, on Saturday.
She didn't bring him to the hospital until Sunday
evening. Hospital officials confirmed that the child had
been dead for some time.
Swanson was arrested for murder in the first degree
Tuesday and jailed at the Fairbanks Correctional Center.
Man found in Alaska sentenced to
life in jail in Washington State
CHEHALIS, Wash. (AP) — A former Alaska man convicted of
killing a couple in their 80s during a 1985 robbery in
Washington state will spend the rest of his life in
Rick Riffe (ryf) was given a sentence Tuesday in
Chehalis, Washington, of nearly 103 years for the attack
that killed Ed and Minnie Maurin.
Cold case detectives tracked down Riffe in July 2012 at
his home in King Salmon.
His brother John also was accused of the crime but died
Fairbanks city councilman blocks
federal grant proposal
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks city councilman who
routinely votes unsuccessfully to reject federal grant
money finally won a budget skirmish this week.
Councilman Lloyd Hilling cast the lone "no" vote Monday
to submit a grant proposal for a new city ambulance.
One other councilman was absent and another late. The
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Hilling's "no" vote
kept the grant proposal resolution from getting the four
votes it needed to pass.
Hilling is a University of Alaska Fairbanks economics
He says the city should pay for things it wants.
He says Fairbanks residents are people of means and
competent to muster funds to take care of their own
Hilling says it's in a sense preposterous to be leeching
off the populace of the United States for extra money.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
Holiday open house at
Governor's House set for Tuesday, December 10
The Governor's Annual Christmas and Holiday Open House
is scheduled for next week.
The Governor's House will be open for the event from 3
to 6 p.m. Tuesday, December 10.
A release from the Governor's Office says more than
24,000 cookies are being prepared and more than 100
pounds of fudge and chocolate candies will be served.
Members of the Governor's cabinet will serve hot apple
cider and holiday treats to guests waiting in line
outside the residence.
Entertainers from local community and school groups will
perform both inside and outside the residence.
Gingerbread houses made by Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School
students will be on display, according to the release.
Musk oxen seen around Bethel
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say musk
oxen have been seen in and around the Bethel area, and
people should keep their distance.
Troopers say the musk oxen have been seen near homes, on
winter trails and near the local waterfront.
According to troopers, musk oxen can move long distances
quickly and they often appear in new areas overnight.
Troopers say people should take safety measures to view
the animals, which can be aggressive and easily
Troopers say dogs should be kept away because they are
seen as predators and musk oxen will protect themselves
accordingly. Troopers also say it's a good idea for
people to stay at least 150 feet away.
Palin says 'war on Christmas' is
LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — Sarah Palin promoted her new book
and complained about what she called a "war on
Christmas" in an appearance at Liberty University.
The former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential
candidate told students at the Christian university that
"revisionists" are trying to turn the Christmas season
into a "winter solstice season," creating a greater
divide between church and state.
The News & Advance reports that Palin's remarks prompted
thunderous applause from students at the university
founded by Jerry Falwell.
After Palin's convocation speech, hundreds of students
waited in line for signed copies of her latest book,
"Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of
(The News & Advance)
Anchorage homes near Chester
Creek see flooding
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage temperatures have
been in the teens or colder for weeks but residents near
a creek are dealing with a problem usually seen in
The Anchorage Daily News reports a handful of residents
are reporting flooding from Chester Creek.
City hydrologist Jeff Urbanus says the cold snap caused
water to freeze at the bottom of the creek and all the
way to the surface. The phenomenon is called "anchor
Water that's still flowing oozed out of the creek banks
and into basements and crawl spaces of homes near Valley
of the Moon Park.
Urbanus says warmer weather will cure the long-term
problem by breaking the creek ice and allowing the
surface of the creek to freeze over.
(Anchorage Daily News)