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[Wednesday July 23rd  2014  16TH  EDITION 10:01 P.M.]

Minor injuries after Alaska tourist train derails
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A popular tourist train derailed Wednesday in southeast Alaska, injuring up to a dozen passengers.

White Pass and Yukon Railroad President John Finlayson tells The Associated Press that the injured are being treated at a clinic in the tourist town of Skagway, about 100 miles northwest of Juneau.

A state Homeland Security official, David Lee, tells KTUU-TV that the injuries don't appear to be life-threatening.

Finlayson says railroad crews got power to the train, and it was able to return to Skagway with all the passengers. It wasn't immediately clear how many cars derailed.

He says the train is a popular tourist attraction, taking passengers on a three-hour, 40-mile roundtrip tour out of Skagway. It climbs to 2,865 feet at White Pass Summit, where the derailment occurred.

The cause remains under investigation.

SEARHC hosts presentation in Sitka on obtaining and using health insurance
SITKA, July 14, 2014 – SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) is hosting a free presentation to assist those that have signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace and would like to know more about how their insurance works.

The free presentation is on Thursday, July 24th, from noon to 1:00pm at UAS, in Room 106.

SEARHC reaches settlement with U.S. Indian Health Service
JUNEAU, July 23, 2014 – SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) has reached an agreement with the U.S. Indian Health Service (IHS) to settle SEARHC’s outstanding claims against the IHS for unpaid contract support costs (CSC). Under the agreement, the IHS has agreed to pay SEARHC $39.5 million plus interest, totaling approximately $53 million, to settle the organization’s CSC claims for the years 1999 through 2013.
SEARHC is a tribal health organization that compacts with the IHS under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) to carry out the federal government's obligation to provide health care services to the Alaska Native and American Indian people of Southeast Alaska. Contract support costs consist of those reasonable program expenses as well as other administrative and overhead costs associated with carrying out the health care services SEARHC provides on behalf of the IHS. These costs are required to be paid in full under the ISDEAA, SEARHC’s compact with the IHS, and recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions. SEARHC’s CSC claims arose from the IHS’ failure to pay these costs in full, which required SEARHC to utilize program funds meant to provide direct health care services to SEARHC patients in order to meet the shortfall. This settlement resolves SEARHC’s claims for 15 years of CSC underpayments by the IHS and will now permit SEARHC to devote more resources to providing direct health care services.

“This is a very good settlement and has concluded several years of legal wrangling and political advocacy in Washington, DC. I could not be more pleased to have these issues come to resolution and look forward to focusing our efforts in a more constructive direction,” said SEARHC President and CEO, Charles Clement.

SEARHC would like to recognize the efforts of Alaska Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski, and Congressman Don Young in working to hold IHS accountable for full payment of contract support costs and encouraging timely resolution of tribes’ and tribal organizations’ outstanding CSC claims. SEARHC is also appreciative of the commitment made by President Obama's Administration to honor Tribal contracts in the future.

Coast Guard, good Samaritans rescue 11 boaters in Alaska
Good Samaritans, with Coast Guard coordination, rescued 11 people from boating emergencies in four separate cases across Southern Alaska, Tuesday.

Sector Anchorage watchstanders received a mayday from the crew of the vessel Alaska Rose, that their vessel was on fire on the southwest side of Resurrection Bay with three people aboard. Good Samaritans quickly responded and transferred all personnel before the vessel became completely engulfed and sank. On-scene vessels reported a small sheen and very little debris. The boaters were safely transported to Seward.

In a separate case, Sector Anchorage watchstanders received a report from boaters on the vessel Poker Dogs, stating that they were taking on water in the vicinity of Port Wells with three people aboard. A good Samaritan nearby responded to the captain’s request for assistance and safely escorted the vessel back to Whittier.

Approximately four hours later, Sector Anchorage watchstanders received a report from a person on a 19-foot vessel, explaining that they were taking on water in the vicinity of Blackstone Bay with three people aboard. The operator was able to beach the vessel to prevent it from sinking. A good Samaritan overheard the initial call, responded and assisted in securing the vessel before transporting all three boaters to Whittier.

Coast Guard 17th District command center watchstanders in Juneau received a call on VHF-FM Channel 16 from boaters on the 26-foot fishing vessel Oracle after it became disabled due to an overheated engine with two people aboard. Sector Juneau issued a Marine Assistance Rescue Broadcast and placed the vessel on a 30-minute communications schedule. Good Samaritans aboard the fishing vessel Crista C responded and towed the Oracle safely to Haines.

Governor's Picnic Pics

KINY's Kendall Weaver interviewing the governor


Governor Sean Parnell being interviewed by News of the North's Lynn Campbell

Cruise passengers recount horror stories to Senate
WASHINGTON (AP) — A California woman called for more protections for passengers on cruise lines as she recounted before Congress the assault she suffered during a trip aboard a cruise ship.

She told senators during a hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill that she was choked and raped on a Royal Caribbean cruise by one of the line's employees.

She says that passengers have virtually no rights or protections.

Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia says her experience and other horror stories recounted at the hearing point to a lack of oversight and accountability for passenger safety in the cruise industry.

Rockefeller introduced a bill last year to improve protections for passengers on cruise ships. The hearing Wednesday was the second he has called to raise awareness of the issue.

Juneau cruise ship assault
Alaska State Troopers in Juneau responded to a report of an assault on the Holland America Line's Cruise Ship "Osterdam" Wednesday morning around 9:00.

A 78 year old male passenger from Nevada pushed a 13 year old male passenger from Virginia in a hallway on board the vessel.

This case is still under investigation.

Sullivan campaign reserves post-primary air time
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Dan Sullivan has reserved some air time past the Aug. 19 primary.

Records filed with the Federal Communications Commission show Sullivan's campaign reserved time in the fall on at least two TV stations.

Sullivan spokesman Mike Anderson says the campaign is not assuming anything but fully expects Sullivan to be the nominee. He said, as such, the campaign needs to be ready to fight on Aug. 20.

Anderson said by email that it's a smart strategy given the intense competition for post-primary airtime.

Sullivan is one of the three highest-profile candidates vying for the Republican nomination. The others are Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller.

Democratic Sen. Mark Begich is seeking re-election.

Begich: Action needed on veterans bill
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich says price shouldn't be the issue in passing legislation to address veterans' health care.

Concerns have been raised at the cost of a Senate proposal to build new clinics, hire new doctors and help veterans who can't get timely appointments to get outside care. Begich sits on the House-Senate conference committee charged with reaching agreement on a bill. He expressed frustration Wednesday that the panel has only met once and some members of Congress are balking at the cost.

He said members of Congress "didn't blink an eye" at spending $2 trillion on sending Americans to war.

He said those who want to "nickel and dime" veterans don't understand what they've done for the country or understand the government's obligation to provide the care they earned.

Relative of historic mining figure visits memorial
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — An Italian relative of the man whose discovery of gold in Interior Alaska helped spark the Fairbanks gold rush helped rededicate a monument to the discovery.

Adriano Pedroni was one of five Italians from Felice Pedroni's hometown of Fanano, Italy, who were on hand for Sunday's event.

Felice Pedroni is most commonly known in America as Felix Pedro. According to the Alaska Mining Hall of Fame Foundation, Pedro's discovery led to the 1902 Fairbanks gold rush. Pedro is also considered one of Fairbanks' founding fathers.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the stone monument honoring Pedro was installed in 1952. It has been rededicated annually by members of the organization Pioneers of Alaska.

North Pole man faces animal cruelty charges
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A North Pole man faces animal cruelty charges after four severely malnourished horses were found on his property.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports charges were filed Friday against Thomas Patrick Fisher. Alaska State Troopers began investigating after four horses were reported loose July 2 and seized by authorities the next day.

A veterinarian's report says the horses were malnourished and in poor to very poor condition due to abuse and neglect. Troopers say they couldn't find any horse feed on Fisher's property, and one hose had a leg wound so severe it couldn't put any weight on it.

Online court records didn't list an attorney for him and his home phone wasn't operating correctly Wednesday.

Fisher had a business license until 2009 for a venture called "Alaska Horseback Guides."

Arguments set in challenge to gay marriage ban
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Arguments are scheduled for October in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage.

Five same-sex couples, four married outside of Alaska and one unmarried couple, sued to overturn the ban in May. Alaska voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1998 defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

The state, in its response, said Alaska isn't required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. State attorneys also argue that Alaska, as a sovereign state, has the right to define and regulate marriage.

The case is being heard by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess.

The Oct. 10 arguments are set against the backdrop of judges in other states striking down bans similar to Alaska's as unconstitutional. A number of those decisions are being appealed.

Anchorage man arrested in traffic death
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 30-year-old is accused of providing alcohol to teenagers involved in a February traffic crash in Anchorage that killed one of them.

KTUU says Robert Lee Green III of Anchorage is charged with two felony counts of furnishing or delivering alcoholic beverages to minors. He was arrested Tuesday.

Seventeen-year-old Brandon Muller was pronounced dead at the scene of the Feb. 20 crash of an SUV he was driving. Two teenage passengers were injured.

Court documents say Green's actions directly contributed to the injury and/or death of another person while under the influence of alcohol.

The crash occurred after the SUV veered and hit a snow bank.

Police say the survivors and one other minor were charged with underage drinking.

Sarah Palin cited for speeding in Alaska hometown
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Sarah Palin is facing a $154 ticket for speeding in her hometown of Wasilla.

The former Alaska governor was pulled over July 16 and cited for driving between 10 and 19 mph over the speed limit.

The penalty includes a $144 fine and $10 police training surcharge.

An attorney for Palin said he didn't know details of the case but that Palin would pay the fine. A Wasilla Police Department spokesman did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

In discussing the ticket with TMZ, Palin made an auto racing reference, joking that she wasn't speeding, she was "qualifying."

Grand jury indicts 2 in lodge assault case
J
UNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A grand jury has returned indictments against two workers at a remote Alaska lodge after they allegedly threatened two guests with firearms.

The jury handed down assault and weapons misconduct charges Friday against 26-year-old Michael G. York of Denver and Devon G. Fernandez of Yakutat.

The two Icy Bay Lodge employees are accused of being intoxicated and brandishing a weapon June 27, when they confronted two people staying at the lodge and connected to a Diablo, California, gold exploration and mining company.

The Yakutat police chief had previously said the employees were upset over mining and its effects on Alaska, but court documents didn't list a reason for the confrontation.

An arraignment hearing was scheduled later Wednesday in Juneau for both men.

JPD's Crime of the Week
On July 17th, 2014, at about 5:50 in the afternoon, a 50 year old Juneau man reported someone had broken into his storage unit in the 1000 block of Salmon Creek Lane.

 Five firearms, four of them shotguns, were taken. The break in could have happened as early as March but likely happened shortly before July 14th, when a private security officer noticed the unit was unsecured and placed a lock on the door.

The victim had put his possessions in a storage unit while working out of town.

One firearm taken was a 20 gauge Benelli over and under with a unique blue foldable gun case that was locked. Another shotgun taken was an Ithaca 12 gauge side by side. There was also a Remington 20 gauge semi-auto shotgun and a Mossberg pump action shotgun taken. The last firearm taken was a very old .22 rifle.

The victim is also missing a bag of hockey gear including skates, pads, and a helmet. The suspect additionally took a black and silver racing bicycle, Tubbs brand snow shoes, and even a double mattress.

Anyone with information is encouraged to log on to the Juneau Crime Line Web site and report their tip. You may also call JPD at 586-0600. You may be eligible for a reward.

If you have information on this or any other crime, log on to http://juneaucrimeline.com

Cleanup of remote Alaska island underway
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — Cleanup of marine debris from a remote Alaska island is underway.

KMXT reports the effort on Tugidak Island is the second and final year of Kodiak Island Trails Network's debris removal project on the island.

The island is located southwest of the southern tip of Kodiak Island.

Network director Tom Pogson  says participants have been on the island now for two weeks.

Last year, the network collected 130 super sacks of marine debris from the island.

Pogson says 65 bags have already been collected so far this year in just seven days. Pogson says the crew spent the first week at the location setting up camp.

Man accused of stealing Alaska gold nugget
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A 32-year-old Northern California man is accused of stealing a $1,900 gold nugget from an Alaska mine where he was working.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Shaun Timothy Hull of Pollock Pines, California, is charged with felony theft after a Manley Hot Springs miner reported one of two nuggets discovered Saturday had been stolen.

According to a criminal complaint against Hull filed Monday, Hull's employer fired both workers.

The employer told authorities he asked Hull to turn out his pockets and that a 1.5 ounce nugget was found in his tobacco can. Authorities say Hull also had numerous bottles of gold concentrate in his luggage.

According to the complaint, Hull said he took the gold "because it was cool."

Former Bethel foster parent sentenced to 66 years
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — A former Bethel foster parent and day care operator has been sentenced to 66 years in prison in a child sexual abuse case.

KYUK reports that Peter Tony was sentenced Tuesday in Bethel on three consolidated child sexual abuse counts in which he pleaded guilty.

He will have no possibility of parole.

In a plea deal with prosecutors in February, the 70-year-old Tony pleaded guilty to charges of sexually abusing a minor in 2012 involving a 4-year-old girl his wife had in day care. He also pleaded guilty to the 1998 molestation of a 12-year-old girl.

He had faced seven felony counts.

Before running a small day care out of their home, Tony and his late wife Marylin were foster parents for 14 years until 1998.

Nome square closed for seeding project
NOME, Alaska (AP) — A famous green space in Nome has a little more orange to it.

KNOM reports temporary orange fencing has been placed around Anvil City Square. That's the area where the Old St. Joe's Hall and the giant gold pan sits, welcoming visitors to Nome.

New grass seed has been planted in the square and needs time to germinate. The fencing is intended to keep foot traffic and four-wheelers off the lawn this summer and snowmachines off it next winter.

The fencing should come down next year.

The grass seed is one phase of improvements planned at the square. City officials also will nearly double the size of the playground, adding new equipment and putting it on new rubber flooring.

The playground equipment is scheduled to arrive next month.

More fish added to 'unrestricted consumption' list
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state health department has added more fish species to the "unrestricted consumption list."

This follows expanded fish testing data and epidemiological studies.

The updated guidelines are intended to help Alaskans — particularly parents and women of childbearing age — make healthful choices.

The manager of the environmental public health program says the guidelines continue to underscore the health benefits associated with eating fish.

The list already included all five species of Alaska salmon. Added species include halibut up to 40 pounds, lingcod measuring up to 35 inches, Arctic cisco, black rockfish, Dolly Varden and sablefish.

[Tuesday July 22nd  2014  14TH  EDITION 7:48 P.M.]

Governor's Family Picnics in Juneau and Ketchikan
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sean Parnell and his wife, Sandy, will host the sixth annual Governor's Family Picnic Wednesday in Juneau.

The event will be held from 4:30-7:30 p.m. on Sandy Beach.

Free food will be the fare, including 200 pounds of salmon donated by John Moller. He's a commercial fisherman and also the governor's rural affairs adviser.

For those wanting more traditional picnic food, there will also be hot dogs, chips, and cookies.

The Parnells will help serve, as will members of his cabinet. Previous picnics have attracted more than 3,000 people in past years.4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

The governor says, "Sandy and I look forward to meeting Alaskans across this amazing state. As we all enjoy the spectacular days of summer, won’t you join us and your fellow Alaskans at one of the Governor's Family Picnics."


Juneau - Wednesday, July 23
Sandy Beach Pavilion
4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Ketchikan- Thursday, July 24
Ward Lake
4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Parking violations ordinance pulled, action delayed on Ski Board, pool board on ballot
The CBJ Assembly met last night in a regularly scheduled meeting. A resolution re-establishing the Juneau Local Emergency Planning Committee and adding a seat and alternate representing vulnerable populations passed 6-1. Of the ordinances scheduled for public hearing; the Secondhand Dealers ordinance was referred back to the Human Resources Committee and will see a public hearing in the August 11 meeting. The ordinance repealing the civil fine procedure and re-establishing certain parking and other violations as infractions was pulled because of a procedural issue.

The following ordinances were passed unanimously; funding to provide for commercial motor vehicle inspections, partial funding for the Alaska Juneau Gold Mine Power Tower Stabilization Project, partial funding for the Statter Harbor Launch Ramp and additional grant funding for the Alaska Mail Services Program.

The ordinance that garnered the most attention Monday night was an amendment that would grant the Ski Area Board the additional authority to manage and oversee the municipally-owned Treadwell Arena. The Assembly decided to delay action on this ordinance until next March.

There were several citizens who wanted to weigh in on the ordinance that would create an empowered board to operate and manage the municipally- owned aquatics facilities. Patty Ray, President of the Board of Trustees of the Glacier Swim Club, believes the "empowered board" would be a good idea for managing the pools. Lance Stevens, President-elect of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce reminded the board that their vote Monday night was only the first step in a process. The Assembly voted unanimously to pass the the ordinance, which will put it on the October 7 Municipal ballot.

Alaska sets record for number of visitors
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska has set a record for the number of tourists visiting the nation's northernmost state.

The State Division of Economic Development in a release says Alaska had 1.96 million visitors between May 1, 2013, and April 30, 2014.

That beats the previous mark by 5,000 visitors set during the 2007-2008 year.

There were 1.8 million visitors last year.

Commerce Commissioner Susan Bell attributes the increase to increased cruise ship calls in Alaska, and new national and international air service routes. The state also instituted an advertising campaign aimed at winter travelers.


Pebble wants notice of future EPA action
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The group behind the proposed Pebble Mine wants notification of any further action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would affect the project.

The request is part of a lawsuit by the Pebble Limited Partnership and Alaska Peninsula Corp.

The lawsuit alleges EPA exceeded its authority by invoking a process through which it could restrict or prohibit development of the Pebble deposit before the project goes through permitting.

EPA proposed restrictions that, while not outright banning mining of the Pebble deposit, would essentially block the type of project the mine's owners previously outlined.

The groups' attorneys say EPA received an extension for filing briefs without telling the court it was about to announce the proposed restrictions.

A Pebble spokesman said the proposed restrictions "amount to a de facto veto."

Jury convicts Anchorage man on meth charges
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A 55-year-old Anchorage man has been convicted on charges he possessed and trafficked methamphetamine sent to him through the U.S. mail from Anaheim, California.

The U.S. attorney's office says in a release that a federal jury found David Alan Gonzales guilty on Monday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage. Sentencing was set for Oct. 9.

Authorities said 52 grams of pure meth as mailed to him from California and intercepted at a processing center.

A co-defendant, Albert Diaz Gumataotao, was previously sentenced to 12 years in a federal prison.

Eagle River man accused of threatening trooper
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 47-year-old Eagle River man is accused of threatening to shoot an Alaska State Trooper unless the officer left a property the man didn't own.

Lawrence Young is charged with assault, disorderly conduct, driving under the influence and refusing to take a chemical test.

KTUU reports the trooper was driving on the Parks Highway Saturday when he saw Young in a pickup apparently waving him over for assistance, then taking off.

Troopers say the officer found the truck in the driveway of a nearby property, where Young shouted at him to leave the property or he would shoot him.

According to troopers, Young refused to remove his hands from his pockets. Troopers say Young was found to be intoxicated. He was arrested.

It's unclear if Young has an attorney.


Recreational pot qualifies for Oregon ballot
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon voters will be deciding this year whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

State elections officials certified Tuesday that the petitioners submitted enough valid signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

Election workers say there were roughly 88,500 valid signatures — about 1,400 more than required.

The measure would allow adults 21 and older to buy and possess marijuana. It gives the Oregon Liquor Control Commission the job of regulating and taxing marijuana.

Voters rejected a legalization measure two years ago, but little money was spent promoting it. The group backing this year's effort has received contributions from some of the same donors who backed successful marijuana initiatives in Washington and Colorado.

Parnell leads gubernatorial rivals in cash on hand
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott (muh-LOT') brought in nearly $300,000 during the latest fundraising period, more than Republican Gov. Sean Parnell.

But Parnell had $450,000 available as of Friday. Mallott had about $66,000, plus $10,000 in debts.

Bill Walker, who is running as an independent, brought in nearly $260,000, $170,000 of which he personally contributed. He had about $115,000 available.

Mallott's total includes about $50,000 in personal contributions and $55,000 from the Alaska Democratic party.

Parnell raised more than $285,000, including $100,000 from the state GOP, which endorsed him last year. The reporting period spanned from Feb. 2 through July 18.

Russ Millette (muh-LET'), one of Parnell's challengers in the Aug. 19 primary, reported raising $3,500 since announcing his plans to run in May. He had about $1,300 on hand.

Work starts on road to Tanana
TANANA, Alaska (AP) — Work has started on the first Alaska road in two decades to connect a Bush community to the road system.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports a kickoff celebration was held Monday for the one-lane gravel road, which will connect Manley Hot Springs to Tanana.

The $11 million road project is scheduled to be completed by December 2015, and is intended to be part of the eventual road to Nome. However, there are no plans in the works to extend the road beyond Tanana.

The road also doesn't quite make it to Tanana. The gravel lane will end on the south bank of the Yukon River, six miles upstream from Tanana. There's no plans now for a bridge, meaning people will have to take a 20-minute boat ride to Tanana.

Juneau-area harbor getting an update
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Work is scheduled to begin in October on an update to a Juneau-area harbor.

Statter Harbor, at Auke Bay, is set to get a sea walk, picnic pavilion and added parking. The idea is to provide a park-like feel once construction is complete.

This fall, plans call for hauling sand and rock to the site to stabilize the foundation on which the structures will rest.

Bidding for the stabilization project should begin next month.

The update of the harbor has been years in the making and is part of a 20-year master plan for Auke Bay.

Phase one, which cost $8 million, finished last year. This next phase is expected to cost $12 million.

Boy reaches plea deal in musk oxen killings
NOME, Alaska (AP) — A 12-year-old Brevig (Bre vick) Mission boy has reached a plea deal with state prosecutors in the 2012 killings of musk oxen.

KNOM reports the boy and another boy have been charged in connection with the deaths of seven musk oxen. Authorities say the boys chased the animals with four-wheelers and shot them with rifles over several days.

The names of the boys have not been released because of their ages.

The boys were charged in January with multiple counts of wanton waste of big game.

In a plea deal reached Friday, the boy agreed to forfeit all equipment used in the killings. He also will have to pay $3,000 in restitution and will remain on probation for one year.

The other boy's case remains open.

Troopers suspend search for missing village man
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say they've suspended their participation in the search for a 21-year-old Brevig Mission man who went missing one week ago.

Searchers found the clothing of Clarence Ray Olanna soon after he disappeared, but no other sign of him.

Olanna was last seen by his family July 15.

According to troopers, Olanna's clothing was found the following day on the shore near the western Alaska village.

The search for Olanna has involved four-wheelers, boats and an Alaska Army National Guard helicopter.

Sen. Murkowski visits US-Mexico border
Senator Lisa Murkowski says her trip to the U-S / Mexico border has shown her that the Federal government should be processing migrant children with greater efficiency.

Murkowski visited McAllen, Texas, with a bipartisan delegation on Friday, as well as Lackland Air Force Base, where many of the children are being housed.

About 57-thousand unaccompanied children, mostly fleeing violence in Central American countries, have crossed the border over the past year at double the previous rate.

In an interview with the Alaska Dispatch, Murkowski said enforcing laws while having a -quote- "humanitarian heart" are not mutually exclusive.

She says the situation may demand a change to a 2008 law that requires a lengthier review process, as opposed to the quicker process for children from Mexico.

Four Businesses Recognized for Beautifying Downtown
Juneau, Alaska (July 22, 2014) – The Twilight Cafe on Willoughby Avenue will receive the first ever Storefront Star Award, taking home the Grand Prize for making improvements to their building and storefront. Improvements include repainting the building, improving access for customers and landscaping with flowers.

The Storefront Star Awards are a part of Juneau Economic Development Council’s Downtown Revitalization efforts to recognize businesses and building owners for their contributions to an attractive, safe and vibrant Downtown Juneau.

Entrants were judged on the extent to which the business made improvements that enhanced general safety and the pedestrian experience, as well as contributed to the improved appearance of the neighborhood.

Says Northwind Architect Evelyn Rousso of the Storefront Star Awards Steering Committee, “We chose the Twilight Cafe for the Grand Prize because the entry embodied the true spirit of the competition. Just think how the overall feeling of the city would be nicer if all downtown business owners improved both access to their entrances and the presentation of their windows.”

Catherine Hill Cristobal, owner with her husband said, “My husband and I were so excited to learn we had been selected! We had no idea when we made the improvements that we would win; we just wanted to do the most we could to improve the look of the building and make it easier for customers to enter the building. We had to be careful with our limited funds and decided that paint and plants and better access were our priorities. We really appreciate this recognition of our efforts to better serve our customers and improve the look of the Willoughby District.”

Awards were also given to Bruce Abel for his exterior redesign of the former Salvation Army building on West Willoughby, new home to the Heritage Roasterie, and to the Goldstein Development Co. for improving the corner of Front and Seward by re-engineering the entry and, especially, by providing canopy lighting. “Lighting and walkability are key to the pedestrian experience”, says Margo Waring, consultant with JEDC supporting Downtown Revitalization efforts, “and this project should encourage others to light their canopies to provide for a safer pedestrian experience.”

Residents used social networks to award a People’s Choice selection.

The 2014 award went to longtime local favorite Annie Kaill’s.

The Storefront Star Awards will be presented on Tuesday, July 22 at 1PM at the Twilight Café at 324 Willoughby Avenue, next door to Bullwinkles pizza. The public is welcome to attend.

The Storefront Star Awards are supported by the Juneau Economic Development Council, The Alaska Committee, the Downtown Business Association, Princess Tours, Tourism Best Management Practices, the CBJ Juneau Historic Resources Advisory Committee and the Southeast Alaska Chapter of the American Institutes of Architects.

The vision of the downtown revitalization effort, through collaboration with residents and businesses, is that residents will utilize the downtown area as a year-round hub for living, leisure, government and business.

Juneau businesses should contact JEDC for more information on the upcoming 2015 Awards.

Contact: Brian Holst, JEDC Executive Director, bholst@jedc.org 523-2333. www.JEDC.org .

Alaska: woman dead, man hurt in Wasilla stabbing
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say a 19-year-old Wasilla man has been arrested, accused of fatally stabbing a woman at a home where he was living and seriously injuring a man.

KTUU-TV reports that troopers found 66-year-old Wasilla resident Mollie Ragonesi dead when they responded early Monday to a report of a double stabbing at a home. They say a man who was stabbed is reported in stable condition.

Troopers say they think the younger man set fire to his bedroom in the home, then stabbed the woman and man multiple times before another man subdued him.

Troopers said Monday evening that Kenneth Adams was arrested for investigation of second-degree murder, attempted murder and arson. He was held on $500,000 bail.

Alaska Guard members leave for Africa mission
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (AP) — About 20 Alaska Air National Guard members are scheduled to deploy Tuesday to the Horn of Africa as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The soldiers are members of the guard's high-risk rescue crew, the 212th Rescue Squadron, or the 176th Operations Group. The guard says in a release that part of the mission is to support partner nation operations in East Africa to defeat extremist organizations.

They will replace about 25 Alaska Guard members who have been conducting missions in Africa since May.

This deployment is for about three months, and guardsmen should be back by early October.

UAF solicits contractors for new power plant
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The University of Alaska Fairbanks is seeking proposals from qualified firms interesting in providing for construction management and general contracting services for a heat and power plant project.

State lawmakers earlier this year approved a funding package for a new plant, considered a priority for the university.

The solicitation estimates the total construction cost at $150 million.

Rescue at Gates of the Arctic Park
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —Airmen with the Alaska Air National Guard’s 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons rescued a man in Gates of the Arctic National Park, July 21.

The man had been rafting down the Kobuk River, northwest of Bettles, when his raft overturned, according to Capt. John Romspert, a controller with the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center.

“He was hiking and rafting using a pack-raft,” said Romspert. “He got himself into some big water and flipped over.”
Despite flipping his raft, the hiker managed to save his gear, Romspert explained. Among the gear the hiker packed was a personal locator beacon, which he used to contact the National Park Service.

“He had all of his gear, and when he looked at the remaining portion of the river he had to go through, he decided that he didn’t have the right equipment to continue down the river,” he said. “He was in a bad spot, and there was no way for him to get out.”

After contacting the National Park Service, the NPS concluded that they would need a helicopter to extricate the man from his location.

“The National Park Service didn’t have a helicopter, so they contacted us asking for assistance,” Romspert said.
The Air Guard accepted the mission and dispatched an HC-130 King aircraft from the 211th Rescue Squadron and an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th Rescue Squadron, each with a team of Guardian Angels from the 212th Rescue Squadron.

Guardian Angel teams are highly trained medical personnel made up of a pararescue specialist and a combat rescue officer who specialize in conducting high-risk rescue missions.

The personal locator beacon that the stranded hiker used was a DeLorme satellite messenger—a more recent innovation that enabled him to transmit text messages to NPS personnel, Romspert explained. As well, the beacon sent out a signal, giving rescue assets a location to hone in on.

“The beacon leaves little tick marks wherever the location of the device is, so they flew right out to that location and found him by the river,” he said.

Using the hoist capabilities of the Pave Hawk, the rescue crew pulled the hiker up into the aircraft and flew him back to Bettles. The man was then released to NPS park rangers to get medically reevaluated and released.

“He was okay,” said Romspert. “He wasn’t injured. He was well prepared, and that helped his situation.”

[Monday July 21st  2014  10th  EDITION 5:24 P.M.]

Former president George W Bush donates to Sullivan
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Contributors to Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Dan Sullivan's campaign include a former president and first lady.

Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, each contributed $1,250 to Sullivan in April. The donations show up on his latest financial disclosure, which spans from April through June.

Sullivan served as an assistant secretary of state in the Bush White House.

He is vying for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat held by Democrat Mark Begich, who is seeking re-election. The other prominent Republican candidates are Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller.

The quarterly filing deadline was last Tuesday. Both Sullivan and Begich have released their full disclosure reports.

Treadwell and Miller have yet to release any details about the past fundraising quarter.

The primary is Aug. 19.

17 billionth barrel flows down Alaska pipeline
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The trans-Alaska pipeline has moved its 17 billionth barrel of oil.

The operator of the 37-year-old pipeline, Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., announced the milestone Monday.

It has been nearly five years since the 16 billionth barrel flowed down the line, in October 2009.

The 800-mile pipeline is the economic lifeblood of the state, which relies heavily on oil revenues to run. The pipeline runs from the prodigious North Slope to Valdez, from where tankers are shipped.

Alyeska says the pipeline has generated about $180 billion in state revenue.

Oil flowing through the line has been on a downward trend since reaching a peak of 2.1 million barrels a day in the late 1980s.


Soldier mauled by bear was wearing protective gear
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Officials say a 26-year-old Alaska Army National Guard soldier was wearing a combat helmet and other protective gear when he was attacked by a bear while participating in a training exercise at a military base.

Sgt. Lucas Wendeborn of Valdez is being treated for puncture wounds and lacerations after the mauling Sunday at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Base officials say the female brown bear was defending her two cubs.

Guard spokeswoman Candis Olmstead says Wendeborn's injuries are not life-threatening.

Wendeborn was participating in a navigation exercise that involves giving soldiers compasses and maps and timing them as they make their way alone to locations on a course.

It was the second mauling at the base in two months. Jessica Gamboa, a soldier's wife, was badly mauled May 18 as she jogged.

Funeral held for woman who gave birth in coma
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — A funeral has been held in Bethel for a local woman who gave birth while in a coma after spending most of her pregnancy as clinically brain-dead.

KYUK says the family of 29-year-old Jessie Ayagalria also is holding an ongoing fundraiser to care for baby Faith. The funeral was held Saturday.

The baby was delivered by cesarean section July 8 at an Anchorage hospital. The family was notified of Ayagalria's death three days later.

Ayagalria's sister, Krissy Medina, plans to begin the process to legally adopt the baby.

Ayagalria's uncle, Henry Combs, says his niece's struggle with alcohol abuse led to her condition.

Ayagalria suffered a cardiac arrest in January.

That's when doctors discovered she was 12 weeks pregnant. The family agreed to put her on life support.

Parnell reports raising more than $285K
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell raised more than $285,000 during the latest reporting period, including $100,000 from the state Republican party.

Parnell reported having close to $450,000 on hand, with about one month to go before the primary. The other Republicans running are Russ Millette and Brad Snowden.

Millette was elected state GOP chairman during a boisterous 2012 election but was ousted by party leaders before taking over.

The report, filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, runs from Feb. 2 through July 18.

While the party generally does not get involved in primaries, late last year it endorsed Parnell for re-election, after the Democrats endorsed Byron Mallott as their pick.


Numerous cars vandalized, burglarized in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Numerous vehicles have been vandalized and burglarized at a south Anchorage apartment complex.

KTUU reports 12 cars were spray-painted over the weekend at the complex, located near Dowling Road's intersection with the New Seward Highway. Cars also had seats slashed and windshield wipers stolen.

The string of burglary and vandalism has been occurring for almost three weeks to cars parked at the complex.

Police spokeswoman Anita Shell says that in any vandalism situation, it's important for people not to touch any evidence left behind so fingerprints can be processed. She says it's also a good idea to file a police report.

Limo's 17 occupants uninjured in drive-by shooting
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police say there's been no reports of injuries after more than 30 rounds were fired at a limousine bus containing 17 people.

Police say 10 rounds hit the limo during the early Sunday morning shooting in Midtown Anchorage.

All but one of the limo's occupants fled the scene when the bus stopped.

The remaining witness told officers the limo's occupants had spent about two hours earlier in the evening at Al's Alaskan Inn. The witness wasn't aware of any altercations at the nightclub and said she didn't know why anyone would shoot at them.

Everyone inside ducked down when the shooting started.

Police collected more than 30 shell casings from four different guns from the shooting scene near 47th Avenue and Arctic Boulevard.

Companies file export application for Alaska LNG
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The companies pursuing a major liquefied natural gas project in Alaska have applied for an export license with the U.S. Department of Energy.

The application requests authorization to export up to 20 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas a year for 30 years.

Participants in the project include BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Corp., TransCanada Corp. and the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., or AGDC.

TransCanada owns the state's interest in the pipeline and gas treatment plant, with the state having an option to buy some of that back as the project progresses. AGDC holds the state's interests in liquefaction facilities.

High water sinks Fairbanks regatta
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — High water forced the cancellation of the Red Green Regatta in Fairbanks over the weekend.

Participants had been warned last week to plan for less clearance under bridges than in the past and to consider adjustments for tall boats. The main concern was with the low hang of the Veterans Memorial Bridge, which only allowed for several feet of clearance in the days leading to Sunday's scheduled regatta.

The event is sponsored by public broadcasting station KUAC. Assistant general manager Gretchen Gordon said organizers went over their options, including possibly changing the route or pushing the regatta back.

In the end, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the event was moved off the water, and into a parking lot, where entries were judged.

Crews work on Bethel harbor project
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Construction crews are working on an environmental protection project at the Bethel small boat harbor.

KYUK reports that crews are sloping the banks of the harbor and adding armor rock to protect it in the future.

Bethel port director Pete Williams says embankments have sloughed off into the harbor, causing it to get rather shallow.

This summer's state-funded, $3.7 million work is among the final steps of a multi-year dredging and harbor improvement project.

The work will involve reinforcement of the entrance channel. Crews also will be working on stabilizing the north and south sides of the harbor, and they will finish with the west side.

The work is slated for completion in mid-September.

Anchorage mulls fence regs to protect moose
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Municipal officials in Alaska's largest city are considering outlawing gothic style metal fences after five moose were gored to death in recent years.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports the Anchorage Assembly will conduct a public hearing Aug. 5 to consider regulating metal palisade fences with spiked pointed tips.

The fences stand between 4- and 6-feet and are usually found around private residences for both security and aesthetic reasons. But state wildlife biologists say moose get caught up, or gored by the tips when they try to jump over them.

The proposal would outlaw such fences shorter than 9 feet unless the tips are removed or the spikes capped.

Soldier mauled by bear at base in Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Officials say a National Guard soldier was mauled by a bear while participating in a training exercise at a military base in Alaska.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports the female brown bear was defending her cubs when it mauled the Alaska Army National Guard soldier Sunday morning at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

The soldier's name hasn't been released. The soldier was listed in stable condition Sunday afternoon.

Base officials say the soldier was participating in a navigation exercise that involves giving soldiers compasses and maps and timing them as they make their way alone to locations on the course.

Sunday's attack was the second mauling at the base in about two months.

Jessica Gamboa, a soldier's wife, was badly mauled May 18 as she jogged on a trail.

Search underway for Brevig Mission man missing
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say searchers have found the clothing of a Brevig Mission man who has been missing for nearly one week, but no other sign of him has turned up.

KTUU says 21-year-old Clarence Ray Olanna was last seen by his family last Tuesday.

Troopers say Olanna's clothing was found the following day on the shore near the western Alaska village.

The search for Olanna has involved boats, four-wheelers and an Alaska Army National Guard helicopter. Gusty winds prevented boaters from searching the waters on Saturday, and people on all-terrain vehicles searched from the village to Lost River.

The search continued on Sunday.

CBJ Assembly meets tonight
The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly meets in a regularly scheduled meeting at 7 tonight in Assembly Chambers. Several ordinances will be considered including new liquor license applications at Juneau International Airport, establishing a Ski Area Board and the creation of an empowered board to operate and manage the city-owned aquatics facilities.

The public hearing on the second-hand dealers ordinance has been postponed until the August 11, 2014 meeting.
 

[Sunday July 20th 2014  7th  EDITION 4:30 P.M.]

Parking tickets and more at CBJ Assembly Meeting
City manager Kim Kiefer told KINY Friday on Action Line that the "second-hand dealers" proposed ordinance, originally scheduled for public hearing at Monday night's CBJ Assembly meeting, has been postponed until August 11th.

There will be ordinances up concerning parking tickets, as well as changing the charter to have an empowered aquatic board and to have the Eaglecrest Board oversee Treadwell.

Suspect in 20-year-old Yakutat murder sentenced
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A man who long had been the suspect in the murder of a woman in Yakutat nearly 20 years ago has been sentenced to prison.

Robert D. Kowalski was sentenced to serve 40 years in prison on Friday. Kowalski was convicted of killing 39-year-old Sandra Perry in 1996, shooting her with a shot gun during a dispute.

During the sentencing trail, Kowalski continued to say the shooting was an accident.

The 53-year-old was only charged with first-and second-degree murder in connection to Perry's death because another one of his girlfriend's died in a nearly identical fashion, causing the Yakutat case to be re-opened. Kowalski fatally shot 45-year-old Lorraine Kay Morin in Montana in 2008. Kowalski was convicted of homicide via an Alford Plea for Morin's death.

Cyclist killed in Anchorage identified
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A cyclist killed in a collision with a pickup truck in Anchorage has been identified.

The Alaska News Dispatch reports the bicyclist was identified as 51-year-old Jeffery Dusenbury.

Dusenbury died shortly after being struck by a Chevy pickup truck in southeast Anchorage. A 17-year-old girl driving a black Chevy pickup was detained Saturday. Charges are pending. The girl will not be identified because she's a minor.

The driver left the scene of the collision before police tracked down the vehicle a few blocks away.

Kentucky fugitive caught in Ketchikan
The Alaska Bureau of Investigation's Southeast Cities Against Drugs task force, with the assistance of the Alaska State Troopers from the Ketchikan Post, arrested 39 year old Jay Campbell at a residence in Ketchikan after learning that he was a fugitive from justice out of Boone County, Kentucky.

The original offense for Campbell's extraditable arrest warrant was for violating the conditions of his felony probation related to possession of methamphetamine. Campbell was taken to the Ketchikan Correctional Center Sunday morning pending extradition. While undergoing the booking process at the Ketchikan Correctional Center, Campbell was found to have a Suboxone strip hidden in his mouth. Campbell was charged with Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree and Promoting Contraband in the First Degree, and was remanded without bail pending arraignment.

Arrest for heroin and meth on ferry from Bellingham
The Alaska Bureau of Investigation's Southeast Cities Against Drugs task force and K-9 Lutri, with the assistance of the Alaska State Troopers from the Ketchikan Post, found 23 year old Brittany Diaz of Washington at the Ketchikan terminal of the Alaska Marine Highway System, after her arrival on a ferry from Bellingham, in possession of heroin and methamphetamine.

Diaz was arrested Sunday morning for two counts of Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree. Diaz was remanded at the Ketchikan Correctional Center without bail pending arraignment.

Voter registration ends today
The State of Alaska, Division of Elections reminds us that the deadline to register or update your voter registration for the 2014 Primary election is Sunday July 20th..

For more information, call 957-3031.

Registration forms are at www.elections.alaska.gov.

Halibut over limit, disfiguring crab charges
Alaska Wildlife Troopers report finding two Juneau men, 56 year old Jonathan Stetson and 32 year old Trevor Shakespeare at Auke Bay after returning from a sport fishing trip on Wednesday The men were in possession of 20 unprocessed halibut, 12 halibut over their legal possession limit. They were also found in possession of four Dungeness crab that were disfigured in a manner that prevented the determination of size.

Both Stetson and Shakespeare were issued summons to appear in court for prohibited conduct general, regarding the over limit of halibut. Stetson was issued a summons for disfiguring crab. Both subjects were given arraignment dates of August 7th in the District Court at Juneau.

Summons issued for fishing just moments after fishery closed
Alaska Wildlife Troopers say as they were patrolling the Amagla Harbor Special Harvest Area seine fishery Thursday, they observed the fishing vessel "Favorite" operating a seine net 1 minute and 45 seconds after the fishery had closed at 3:00 PM.

The permit holder, Waico Hall, age 28 of Ketchikan, was issued a summons to appear in the District Court at Juneau on August 8th for commercial fishing closed period.

Juneau sex offender charges
Alaska State Troopers say a Juneau man was served with an arrest warrant for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in the First Degree.

50 year old Charles Fawcett Jr. was contacted at the Lemon Creek Correction Center on Friday. Bail was set at $10,000.00.


Forum on oil tax referendum set for Wednesday
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A forum on the oil tax referendum is scheduled for this week in Anchorage.

Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski and economist Gregg Erickson will argue in favor of the repeal, or a "yes" vote. Oil and gas policy consultant Brad Keithley and petroleum economist Roger Marks will argue for keeping the current tax structure in place, and a "no" vote.

The referendum will appear on the Aug. 19 ballot.

The forum, one of several held on the topic ahead of the primary, is scheduled for Wednesday at the Loussac Library.

It is being sponsored by Alaska Common Ground. Co-sponsors include the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

[Saturday July 19th 2014  5th  EDITION 8:59 P.M.]

CG Kodiak medivac
JUNEAU, Alaska — A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew medevaced a mariner from a cargo ship in the Gulf of Alaska 160 miles east of Kodiak Saturday.

The Jayhawk crew rendezvoused with the vessel, Horizon Kodiak, safely hoisted the injured 39-year-old man, who was reportedly suffering from chemical exposure, and brought him to Kodiak for medical attention.

Coast Guard 17th District command center watchstanders received the medevac request from the crew of the Horizon Kodiak Saturday morning and directed the launch of the Jayhawk crew and an HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew for oversight. The Horizon Kodiak crew, originally 200 miles from Kodiak, began closing distance to expedite the medevac.

Once on scene, the Jayhawk crew conducted the hoist and returned to Kodiak, where emergency medical personnel were waiting.

“Coast Guard crews in Alaska often perform long range medevacs at sea,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Erik Ihle, an operations specialist at the 17th District command center. “To ensure the safety of our own crews, as well as those we are rescuing, we often deploy more than one asset to assist in a response.”

The injured man was listed in stable condition upon transfer to emergency medical personnel in Kodiak.

Weather on scene was reported as 23 mph winds and six-foot seas.

(Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Diana Honings-Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak and Kodiak Fire Department personnel carry an injured mariner from an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to a waiting ambulance in Kodiak, Alaska, July 19, 2014.)

Seward St. closure for Oyster Fest
Seward Street between Front Street and Municipal Way will be closing for Oyster Fest today.

This section of Seward Street will be closed to parking and vehicle traffic Saturday from 9:00 A.M. until 10:00 P.M.

The Third Annual celebration of Alaska-grown oysters takes place downtown from 2pm to 8pm in the Sealaska Plaza.

Tickets ($12/half-dozen or $20/dozen) can be purchased on-site.

There will be music, outside food this year, contests, a beer garden, and a whole host of sauces to go on the oyster prepared by local restaurants.

Cyclist killed in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police say a cyclist was killed Saturday morning and the vehicle left the scene before police tracked down the driver a few blocks away.

The victim, a 51-year-old man, was pronounced dead at a local hospital. He has not yet been identified.

A 17-year-old girl driving a black Chevy pickup was detained Saturday, but no charges have yet been filed.

Police say the pickup struck the cyclist in southeast Anchorage.

Refinery owner loses water cleanup legal challenge
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A North Pole refinery owner has lost its latest challenge in a long-running attempt to get a petroleum company to pay for groundwater contamination that contributed to the refinery's closure.

Flint Hills Resources Alaska cannot pursue damages against the former owner of its North Pole refinery, Williams Alaska Petroleum, a Superior Court judge has ruled.

In November 2013, Judge Michael P. McConahy determined that the statute of limitations had expired by the time Flint Hills had filed its lawsuit. He made the same ruling this month.

The company wants to pursue damages against Williams for spilling the industrial chemical sulfolane at the site before Flint Hills purchased the refinery in 2004.

Sulfolane has been detected in a 3-mile long groundwater plume near the refinery.

 

[Friday July 18th 2014  19TH  EDITION 6:02 P.M.]

Mendenhall Glacier ice cave roof collapses
US Forest Service officials announced today that the roof/ceiling of the popular Mendenhall Glacier ice cave has collapsed near the entry.

Guiding company co-owner Becky Janes of Above and Beyond Alaska notified the Forest Service at noon Friday of the collapsed entrance. Above and Beyond Alaska is one of two commercial guiding companies holding permits to escort visitors along the west side of Mendenhall Glacier.

“The ice cave remains unstable and unsafe,” said Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center Director John Neary. “The collapse is a sign of structural weakness in the ice that may extend beyond the freshly broken ice.” Neary cautions people to stay away from the ice cave.

{This photo above of the collapsed ice cave entrance was taken by Kevin Crowley.

Because a man’s shoulder is visible, we get some size perspective.}

{Photo credit for ice cave images: Miles Gayton, Above and Beyond Alaska}

Roof of melting Alaska ice cave collapses
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Forest Service officials say a melting ice cave at a southeast Alaska glacier has collapsed.

Mendenhall Glacier naturalist Laurie Craig says there are no reported injuries from the collapse Thursday near the cave's entry.

Officials are cautioning people to stay away.

Craig says the cave is not easily accessible. Getting to it requires a rugged hike and a rock climb. By water, the cave is accessible by kayak, but visitors still must hike to it.

Earlier, officials said an aerial view of the popular cave showed significant deterioration at the entrance and a possibility of collapse.

Summer melting and heavy rainfall are possible sources of the ice cave's condition.

Officials they were notified about the collapse on Friday by a local tour company.

Coast Guard assists vessel taking on water near Ketchikan
JUNEAU, Alaska — Coast Guard Station Ketchikan crewmembers assisted the six-person crew of a fishing vessel taking on water near Ketchikan Friday morning.

A Station Ketchikan 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew and 25-foot Response Boat – Small crew rendezvoused with the vessel taking on water, deployed a team with dewatering pumps and escorted the 65-foot purse seiner back into port.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center watchstanders received a request for assistance from the fishing vessel Vernon’s crew, with a report that one foot of water was in the engine room. The watchstanders immediately issued an urgent marine information broadcast and directed the launch of the two boat crews.

Once on-scene, a Station Ketchikan boarding team began operating four dewatering pumps to control the flooding on the fishing vessel. The dewatering team stayed aboard the vessel as the Motor Life Boat crew escorted them back into Ketchikan.

“Our boat crews train on a variety of equipment so they are ready to assist and rescue mariners during emergency situations,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Kevin Smith, officer-in-charge, Station Ketchikan. “Ensuring that mariners in our area of responsibility are safe is the number one priority for our station.”

The cause of the flooding is under investigation.

Weather on scene was reported as 10 mph winds and 2-foot seas.

 

PHOTO CREDIT:  Coast Guard Station Ketchikan boarding team members help the crew of the fishing vessel Vernon dewater their engine room near Ketchikan, Alaska, July 18, 2014. The Station Ketchikan crew brought four pumps to manage the flooding aboard the purse seiner. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Station Ketchikan)
 

Alaska Supreme Court sides with tribal court
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Supreme Court sides with a tribal court in a child custody and sovereignty case.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the court on Friday ruled in the Simmonds v. Parks case that started in 2008.

The Minto Tribal Court terminated the parental rights of Edward Parks and Bessie Stearman. The court sent their child to a foster family.

Parks isn't a tribal member and sued to regain custody in state superior court. That court ruled the tribal court erred when it didn't allow Parks' attorney to speak before the child was given up for adoption.

But the Supreme Court reversed that ruling, saying Parks should have appealed the decision in tribal court and not the state court. It ordered the case sent back to superior court for dismissal.

Alaska's largest paper undergoes name change
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's largest newspaper will undergo a name change.

The Anchorage Daily News will officially become Alaska Dispatch News with the Sunday edition. Publisher Alice Rogoff and Editor Tony Hopfinger outlined that and other changes to advertisers during an outdoor luncheon Friday.

Alaska Dispatch Publishing LLC, the parent company of the online newspaper the Alaska Dispatch, purchased the Anchorage Daily News from The McClatchy Co. for $34 million earlier this year. The newspaper's new name fits with the use of the newspaper's established online address, adn.com, for the combined website.

The name change also reflects an emphasis on statewide news. Rogoff announced the newspaper will soon have bureaus in major Alaska hub communities. Hopfinger said Bethel will be first, likely followed by Nome and then Barrow.

The Sunday magazine, "We Alaskans," also will return, beginning this weekend.

Hikers stranded overnight rescued near Valdez
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Members of the Alaska Air National Guard have rescued five hikers stranded overnight on a cliff near Valdez.

Sgt. Edward Eagerton says there were no reported injuries.

The hikers became stranded on the steep terrain Wednesday. They contacted the Valdez Fire Department, which sent out four climbers, who couldn't reach the hikers right away because of the terrain and wet conditions.

A civilian helicopter crew tried to help, but couldn't reach the hikers. The crew dropped food and clothing, however.

The Guard went out in a helicopter and another aircraft Thursday morning after Alaska State Troopers contacted the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center.

By the time they arrived, two of the fire department climbers had reached the hikers. The firefighters guided the helicopter crew to a landing spot.

Whale narrowly escapes seaplane
Sea planes skidding across the water are a near everyday occurrence in the remote coastal village of Angoon, Alaska. The only other way to get there is by boat. It's not often, however, that a landing sea plane narrowly avoids a surfacing humpback whale, but that's what happened last week. "All the sudden, the pilot advanced the throttle and I didn't know why. I thought, 'Oh something must be wrong,'" said Thomas Hamm, who happened to be filming the landing.

As seen in the video, that last-second throttle was just enough to bounce the plane up and over the emerging whale, but not before the whale's spout blasted a mist of seawater onto the plane's passing windshield. The pilot said he didn't see the whale but was reacting to the commotion on the shore. Several people, Mann said, were pointing and yelling trying to alert the pilot to the whale's presence. Seconds after the near miss the plane landed safely and the whale coasted along unscathed.

State confirms rabies in bat in southeast Alaska
J
UNEAU, Alaska (AP) — State officials have confirmed rabies in a bat in southeast Alaska.

The state health department said biologists on Prince of Wales Island last Sunday trapped several Keen's Myotis bats, one of which was acting more aggressively and seemed possibly sick. It was euthanized and tested for rabies. The test came back positive Thursday.

The two prior cases of confirmed rabies in bats in Alaska were in 1993 and 2006, both in Southeast.

Louisa Castrodale, an epidemiologist with the state, says Alaska doesn't have a huge bat population. She says it is assumed there is bat rabies in southeast Alaska but the extent is not known.

She says the department wants to ensure anyone who may have been bitten by a bat doesn't discount their possible risk of exposure.

NASA project to check out summer sea ice
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — NASA is using a high-altitude, converted U2 spy plane to test technology over Arctic sea ice.

KUAC reports the long-winged ER-2 jet is based in Fairbanks for three weeks for testing and developing technology for satellite applications.

The three-week project using airborne laser technology will allow scientists to get a preview of a satellite mission NASA plans to launch in 2017. It's also a follow-up to a 2012 scan in Iceland using the laser technology, known as lidar.

The flights are being conducted at 65,000 feet over Arctic sea ice and Alaska glaciers.

Assistant NASA research scientist Kelly Blunt says the project will be used to develop a computer program to interpret the data collected.

The project operating out of Fairbanks began July 12 and continues until Aug. 1.

Rare blue-colored red king crab caught in Alaska
NOME, Alaska (AP) — A rare blue-colored red king crab was part of a fisherman's catch earlier this month in Nome, Alaska.

KNOM reports Frank McFarland found the blue crab in his pot when fishing on July Fourth off Nome. The blue crab is being kept alive at the Norton Sound Seafood Center until McFarland can have it mounted.

The rare crab has become a rock star of sorts, with people showing up at the center to have their photos taken with it.

Scott Kent, with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Nome, says he has no idea why the red king crab is blue, but suspects it's just a mutation.

Kent says the blue crab "turns up once in a blue moon."

UPDATE: EPA proposal could block huge Alaska mine
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing restrictions that would essentially block development of a planned massive gold-and-copper mine near the headwaters of a world premier salmon fishery in Alaska.

EPA regional administrator Dennis McLerran says mining would cause "irreversible damage" to salmon fisheries in Bristol Bay.

The announcement Friday marked the latest step in a rarely invoked process used to protect water resources.

The EPA is currently being sued by the group behind the proposed Pebble Mine and the state of Alaska for allegedly exceeding its authority.

Pebble Partnership CEO Tom Collier said while his group needs to analyze EPA's proposal, it is outraged that the agency took the step.

Bridge fishing raises concerns in Ketchikan
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — Ketchikan city leaders have been asked to come up with ideas to address concerns with fishing from the Stedman Street Bridge.

Residents who testified before the Ketchikan City Council on Thursday generally agreed that fishing should continue to be allowed in some way.

But there were concerns raised, too, about congested sidewalks, the potential for a tourist to get snagged with a fishing hook and kayakers getting hassled.

KRBD reports Mayor Lew Williams III suggested the city start enforcing some of its rules.

The discussion ended with the council directing city management to talk with the state and others about options. The state owns the bridge.

Gay marriage legal challenges: Where things stand
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — State same-sex marriage bans have been falling around the country since June 2013, when the nation's highest court ordered the federal government to recognize state-sanctioned gay marriages. The remaining state bans all face legal challenges to overturn them.

Gay and lesbian couples can now marry in 19 states and the District of Columbia, with Oregon and Pennsylvania being the latest to join the list. The others are: Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Maine, Maryland, Washington, Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Mexico and Illinois.

Same-sex couples cannot wed in the rest of the states.

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that Oklahoma's ban is unconstitutional, but the judges put the ruling on hold so it could be appealed. The decision comes three weeks after the same panel of judges reached the same conclusion on Utah's same-sex marriage ban.

A total of 14 gay marriage cases are pending in state and federal appeals courts, with judges reviewing a wave of pro-gay marriage rulings that have come in the past year. Those rulings all are on hold pending appellate court decisions.

Here's a look at where things stand with other legal challenges across the country:

— ARKANSAS: A state judge in Arkansas' largest county struck down the state's gay marriage ban, saying the state has "no rational reason" for preventing gay couples from marrying. The state Supreme Court brought the marriages to a halt and is weighing state officials' appeal.

— COLORADO: A state judge struck down the state's gay marriage ban on July 9, but put the ruling on hold pending the outcome of the appeal. Despite that order, several county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. More than 200 gay couples have wed in Boulder, Denver and Pueblo counties. The judge who issued the ruling has refused to stop that action. Colorado's Republican attorney general John Struthers is appealing to the state Supreme Court. He says he knows it's only a matter of time until gay marriage is legal in his state, but that he'll continue to defend his state's ban.

— FLORIDA: A judge ruled this week that gay and lesbian couples can marry in Florida's most gay-friendly county, siding with same-sex couples in the Florida Keys who challenged a voter-approved ban as discriminatory. But an immediate state appeal stopped couples from getting married.

— IDAHO: State officials announced they will appeal a decision from a federal judge overturning the state's same-sex marriage ban. The appeal is with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is scheduled to hear arguments on Sept. 8.

— INDIANA: A federal judge struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage June 25 in a ruling that allowed gay couples to wed before it was put on stay. That ruling is on appeal before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. In a separate case, that same federal appeals court recently ordered Indiana to acknowledge the out-of-state marriage of a lesbian couple, one of whom is terminally ill, on an emergency basis. That ruling applies just to one couple — not to others.

— KENTUCKY: A federal judge overturned the state's ban on gay marriage on June 30. The state is appealing to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The same judge previously ordered Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Attorney general Jack Conway said he would not defend the state's law, but the state has hired outside attorneys to handle the case and is appealing that to the same federal appeals court. The 6th Circuit will hear arguments in both cases, along with gay marriage cases in Ohio, Michigan, and Tennessee, on Aug. 6 in a single session.

— MICHIGAN: The 6th Circuit is reviewing Michigan's same-sex marriage ban that was overturned by a federal judge in March following a rare trial that mostly focused on the impact of same-sex parenting on children.

— NEVADA: Eight gay couples are challenging Nevada's voter-approved 2002 ban that was upheld by a federal judge in 2012. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has scheduled arguments for Sept. 8. Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto is refusing to defend the ban.

— OHIO: The 6th Circuit appeals court is reviewing two gay marriage cases from Ohio. The first involves recognizing gay marriages on death certificates, and the second involves an order for Ohio to recognize all out-of-state marriages.

— TENNESSEE: A federal judge ordered the state to recognize three same-sex couples' marriages while their lawsuit against the state works through the courts. Tennessee officials are appealing the preliminary injunction to the 6th Circuit.

— TEXAS: A federal judge declared the state's ban unconstitutional, issuing a preliminary injunction. The state is appealing to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court in New Orleans.

— UTAH, OKLAHOMA: The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled on June 25 that Utah must allow gay couples to marry, finding the Constitution protects same-sex relationships. The court made the same ruling on Oklahoma's ban Friday. Utah and Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly passed the bans in 2004.

— WISCONSIN: A federal judge in Madison struck down the state's ban in June, leading to more than 500 same-sex marriages in the state before the judge put her ruling on hold a week later pending an appeal. The Wisconsin attorney general is appealing the ruling to 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, which has not yet set a date for arguments.

— VIRGINIA: The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond heard arguments in May about Virginia's overturned ban and is expected to rule soon. Virginia's attorney general, Mark Herring, is one of seven in the country who has refused to defend a state gay marriage ban. A county clerk who was sued in Virginia is defending the ban.

— ELSEWHERE: Other states with court cases demanding recognition of gay marriage are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming. Most lawsuits challenge same-sex marriage bans or ask states to recognize gay marriages done in other states.

3 people rescued, dog dies, after boat capsizes
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — Three people have been rescued after their boat capsized on the Kenai River, but their dog died.

The Peninsula Clarion says nearby boaters pulled the people out of the water after the boat capsized Wednesday night after a wave went over the bow. None of three was injured.

Kenai police Lt. David Ross says the boaters were wearing life jackets.

Ross says that even though boats in the area may have contributed to the waves that caused the boat flip, having boats close by also made for a quick rescue.

A Kenai rescue boat transported two people back to land. The third person got a ride from a fellow boater.

Ross says the capsized boat was recovered.

JPD'S Crime of the Week
On July 5th, 2014, at about 2:30 in the afternoon, a 33 year-old Juneau man reported someone had siphoned or attempted to siphon fuel from his vehicle and a neighbor’s vehicle. The man also said his fuel door received about $150 damage from being pulled open.

A Juneau Police Department officer responded  to the 6200 Block of North Douglas Highway  and found fresh tire and shoe tracks in the area, believed to be from the suspect.

Those tracks were photographed. The shoes are size 11.5 or 12 with a herringbone pattern down each side with a recessed crosshatch pattern down the center. The tire tracks showed small squares and the vehicle was probably a smaller car.

Unemployment rates fell in 22 US states in June
WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates dropped in 22 U.S. states last month and stayed the same in 14, as the nation at large posted a fifth straight month of solid hiring.

The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates rose in 14 states. Meanwhile, employers added jobs in 33 states and cut back in 17.

The biggest drop in the unemployment rate occurred in Illinois, where it fell to 7.1 percent from 7.5 percent.

Stronger hiring has helped lower unemployment in many parts of the country. Nationwide, employers added 288,000 positions last month, capping the healthiest stretch of job gains in 15 years. The robust increases have helped cut the unemployment rate to 6.1 percent, the lowest in nearly six years.

The largest job gains, as a percentage of the workforce, occurred in Indiana, North Dakota and Oklahoma. Hiring rose 0.6 percent last month in each state.

The biggest job losses were in Alaska, where employment fell 1.7 percent, and West Virginia, where it dropped 1.2 percent.

Rocks along Kodiak road being removed
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — Work is underway to remove a section of a growing rockslide along a Kodiak road.

KMXT reports a company called Golden Alaska Excavating was contracted by the Alaska Department of Transportation to do the work on Rezanof Drive between piers 2 and 3.

Company owner Rick Ryser says rocks have been falling down the Pillar Mountain hillside over the road for several decades. He says the rocks have built up behind a rock wall to the point where it's a safety hazard for drivers.

Ryser says the city of Kodiak also played a role in the excavation decision because the rocks were getting in the way of work at Pier 3.

The work is expected to be completed in early August.

The filing period for Assembly and School Board Seats Opens August 8
Nominating Petitions are now available in the Municipal Clerk's office in City Hall and on line.

www.juneau.org/clerk/elections

The filing period for the City & Borough of Juneau Assembly and School Board opens Friday, August 8, 2014, at 8:00 a.m. Voters will elect three Assemblymembers and two School Board members at the October 7, 2014 Regular Municipal Election. Filing for the seats closes Monday, August 18, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.

Offices to be filled (elected by the voters at-large):

One (1) Areawide Assemblymember - 3 year term

One (1) District One Assemblymember - 3 year term

One (1) District Two Assemblymember - 3 year term

Two (2) School Board Members - 3 year terms

Candidates for office must be qualified voters of the City and Borough of Juneau:

(1) Qualified to vote in State elections;
(2) A resident of the municipality for at least thirty days immediately preceding the election;
(3) Registered to vote in state elections at a residence address within the municipality at least thirty days before the municipal election at which the person seeks to vote; and
(4) Not disqualified under Article V of the Alaska Constitution.

In addition, candidates for Assembly must be a resident of CBJ for at least one year immediately preceding election to office.

Also, candidates for Assembly District 1 and District 2 seats must reside in the district from which elected or appointed at the time of the Assembly member's election or appointment.

Alaska unemployment rate hit 6.4 percent in June
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's unemployment rate stood at 6.4 percent in June.

That compares to the revised May rate of 6.3 percent and a seasonally adjusted rate of 6.6 percent in June 2013.

The nation unemployment rate was 6.1 percent last month.

The state labor department says Alaska's unemployment rate returned to levels seen before the recession relatively quickly while the U.S. rate has recovered more slowly and continues to decline.

EPA proposes to block Alaska mine over salmon risk
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing restrictions that would essentially block development of a massive gold-and-copper prospect near the headwaters of a world-premier salmon fishery in Alaska.

The announcement Friday marked the latest step in a rarely invoked process used to protect water resources. EPA previously determined large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed posed significant risk to salmon.

EPA is currently being sued by the group behind the proposed Pebble Mine and the state of Alaska for allegedly exceeding its authority. They argue that EPA should not be able to veto the project before a mine plan is finalized and the project evaluated through the permitting process.

EPA said as part of its analysis it relied on plans the mine's owner filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2011.

Wasilla campground closed for renovations
WASILLA, Alaska (AP) — You won't be able to camp overnight at one campground in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough for the rest of this summer.

State officials say the Finger Lake State Recreation Site campground has been closed.

The closure is for renovations to be completed at the Wasilla campground.

Authorities say in a release that the boat launch and day-use area will remain open.

[Thursday July 17th 2014  17th  EDITION 10:11 P.M.]

Public testimony heard on second hand ordinance
The Human Resources Committee had a special meeting tonight and took public testimony concerning a proposed ordinance that would require second hand stores to report certain bought or donated items.

Jesse Kiehl, CBJ Assembly member, says they have a narrower version of the ordinance. "It really gets to just the things that are most often stolen: precious metals and gems, firearms, jewelry, tools, and electronics." Kiehl explained that there's more work to do on the proposed ordinance and it will be held until the August 11th Assembly meeting.

Ten people spoke, including business owners, charity workers, and victims of theft. Juneau Police Department provided a demonstration of the online reporting system.

CBJ Assembly makes appointments to Eaglecrest Board
The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly, at a Special Assembly Meeting tonight, reappointed Wayne Stevens and Bruce Garrison to the Eaglecrest Ski Area Board to terms beginning immediately and expiring June 30, 2017.

The Assembly thanks all those individuals who have been willing to serve and have submitted applications for consideration. CBJ still has a number of vacant seats on a variety of boards and commissions and anyone interested in serving is encouraged to submit an application. Additional information is available online.

Forest Service warns of imminent collapse of ice cave
The US Forest Service officials warn people to stay away from the cave due to potential for collapse.

A recent aerial observation of the popular Mendenhall Glacier ice cave reveals significant deterioration of the cave entrance. The entrance to the ice cave appears to be thinning dramatically and will soon collapse. New holes in the ice are opening and widening. The danger involved in entering this cave has likely increased considerably.

Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center Director John Neary flew over the ice cave on Wednesday en route to view the condition of Suicide Basin. Heavy rainfall and typical summer melting are the possible source of the deterioration of the ice cave. Ice caves are temporary natural phenomena with limited longevity. “Although ice caves are inherently dangerous because they occur under a melting glacier, this one seems particularly ready to collapse,” said Neary after his inspection flight.

A commercial tour company agrees. Above and Beyond Alaska is one of two companies with Forest Service commercial guiding permits for the west side of Mendenhall Glacier. In a written statement, Above and Beyond Alaska co-owner Becky Janes said, “[our] guides evaluate the condition of the cave on every one of their trips and on July 3, 2014 as a company they decided that the large cave along the glacier’s margin was unsafe to enter with clients.”

A collapse of the ice cave entrance could be fatal or cause serious injuries if falling ice or rock debris drop onto people or pets. A significant number of emergency rescues occur each summer on the glacier and nearby rock peninsula from trips and falls. There is no maintained trail to the ice cave.

On the Forest Service website, officials caution hikers and kayakers to be prepared for rugged conditions if they try to access the ice cave and glacier. The Forest Service advises wearing sturdy hiking boots and good outdoor clothing and quality raingear. Have a communication plan so a friend knows where you are traveling and your anticipated time of return. Carry dry clothing, food and water for survival in case of an unplanned overnight stay.

Additionally, officials ask people to stay at least 250 yards away from nesting birds.

Seward St. closure for Oyster Fest
Seward Street between Front Street and Municipal Way will be closing for Oyster Fest on Saturday.

This section of Seward Street will be closed to parking and vehicle traffic Saturday from 9:00 A.M. until 10:00 P.M.

The Third Annual celebration of Alaska-grown oysters takes place downtown from 2pm to 8pm in the Sealaska Plaza.

Tickets ($12/half-dozen or $20/dozen) can be purchased on-site.

There will be music, outside food this year, contests, a beer garden, and a whole host of sauces to go on the oyster prepared by local restaurants.

New TV show: Escaping Alaska
TLC’s new series ESCAPING ALASKA will premiere later this month.

The series features five young Alaskan natives who risk everything to leave their villages so they can experience life in sunny San Diego. Although they find it hard to leave their families and they take great pride in their heritage, they yearn to pursue their dreams in the Lower 48.

They will ultimately face the decision of whether to return to Alaska or leave home for good.

ESCAPING ALASKA premieres Sunday, July 27 at 10PM (ET/PT) 9PM (AKDT) on TLC.

State wildlife officials kill Anchorage bear
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — State wildlife officials have killed a black bear that was frequently seen in midtown Anchorage.

KTVA reports the bear was killed by Alaska Department of Fish and Game workers Thursday after several trash related incidents.

State wildlife biologist Jessy Coltrane says the incidents happened in heavily populated areas of Anchorage. The latest came Tuesday when police had to fire non-lethal rounds at the bear and her two cubs to move the sow away from trash cans.

Fish and Game officials did not say what the specific incident prompted them to kill the bear or what would become of her cubs.

The bear family had been seen frequently this year in the University of Alaska Anchorage area, including the nearby popular Goose Lake.

Update:  Water back on in Auke Bay area, could be turned off again
Water was back on around noon in the Auke Bay area of Glacier Highway today, from Fritz Cove to the Post Office, after being turned off this morning during ongoing work on the Auke Bay roundabout project.

When service resumes, customers may encounter water discoloration or minor disruptions in service. To clear the discoloration, first wait until the work crew leaves the area, then run the cold water tap (preferably in your bathtub) until the water runs clear.

Call 586-5254 with problems or questions. 

Public Works Director, Kirk Duncan, says service could be turned off again tonight or one night in the near future, but should be done so at 11:00 PM through the overnight hours. 

Alaska-based firefighters head south
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — More than 100 firefighters and other personnel from Alaska are headed south to help battle wildfires in the western United States.

Officials say rains have diminished the threat of wildfires in Alaska this summer, allowing resources to be sent to the Lower 48.

The Gannett Glacier and the White Mountain type two initial attack crews will head to Washington state.

Officials say crew members and support personnel from the state Division of Forestry and the Alaska Fire Service will head to Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Oregon and California to fight wildfires.

A hotshot crew on assignment in Canada's Northwest Territories is expected to return to Alaska next week.

Treadwell joins call to abolish IRS
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Mead Treadwell says the IRS should be abolished.

Treadwell, who is also Alaska's lieutenant governor, said the agency has lost the trust of the American people. He said he supports a "fair tax" instead, and would provide a more detailed statement on what that would entail.

Treadwell said the Republican candidates were asked about tax policy at a debate in Homer this week. He said the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status shows a fraudulent use of IRS authority.

Republican rival Joe Miller also has called for abolishing the IRS and changing the tax code.

A spokesman for Republican Dan Sullivan said it's important to put forth viable solutions to changing the tax code, rather than purporting to abolish entire agencies "for political purposes."

Murkowski, Begich have dustup over press release
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski's office requested that reference to her vote to advance for debate a contraception bill be removed from a press release from Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.

Both Alaska senators supported a failed effort to advance legislation aimed at restoring free contraception for women who get their health insurance from companies with religious objections.

But Murkowski spokesman Matthew Felling said the Republican's office took issue with a release saying Murkowski voted in favor of the measure when it was a procedural vote.

Reference to Murkowski was removed in an updated release.

Begich spokeswoman Heather Handyside said the language in the original release could have been clearer.

The dustup comes as Begich has been touting the level of cooperation between the two as he campaigns for re-election.

Risk of earthquake increased for about half of US
WASHINGTON (AP) — A new federal earthquake map dials up the shaking hazard just a bit for about half of the United States and lowers it for nearly a quarter of the nation.

The U.S. Geologic Survey updated Thursday its national seismic hazard maps for the first time since 2008, taking into account research from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami off the Japanese coast and the surprise 2011 Virginia temblor.

Most of the changes are slight. Project chief Mark Petersen said parts of Washington, Oregon, Utah, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming and Tennessee moved into the top two hazard zones.

Parts of 16 states have the highest risk for earthquakes: Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky and South Carolina.

Anchorage man dies in motorcycle crash
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police say a 31-year-old man has died in a motorcycle crash.

Nicholas Byers of Anchorage was pronounced dead early Thursday morning at the scene of the crash off of Upper Huffman Road.

Police say they received a call from a resident who heard the crash.

According to police, Byers was not wearing a helmet. An investigation is ongoing.

Ketchikan chaperones to get background checks
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — Volunteer school chaperones in Ketchikan who accompany students on overnight trips will now have to go through background checks.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports the Ketchikan School Board unanimously approved the policy change at its Wednesday meeting.

Schools Superintendent Robert Boyle says between 30 and 40 parents will be affected.

The Ketchikan School District already requires coaches and teachers to go through background checks. The policy change does not affect members of the U.S. Coast Guard and others with security cards.

The district's human resources director, Rick Rafter, says volunteer chaperones will not be fingerprinted, which is a more expensive process.

The background checks for volunteer chaperones are expected to cost between $80 and several hundred dollars apiece. Boyle says the cost will be paid by the district.

Anchorage bus routes arrive on Google Maps
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage bus routes and schedules are now available for smart phone users through the Google Maps application.

Anchorage officials announced Wednesday that the city's People Mover bus system partnered with Google to incorporate public transit data into the technology giant's mapping system.

The Anchorage Daily News says desktop users also can plan trips through the People Mover page on the city's website.

The partnership stems from an effort by Brendan Babb, who was part of a team of programmers who in 2012 won the Anchorage Economic Development Corp.'s Hackathon. The event featured programmers challenged to use government data to create apps and web tools.

Babb's team created a working model of the public transportation app. After the event, he volunteered to work with the municipality to develop the technology.

Research show permafrost can also cool
A researcher at U-A-F has documented a way melting permafrost can cool the climate, not just accelerate warming.
The study published this week in the journal "Nature" describes the climate effects of "thermokarst" lakes, which form when frozen soil thaws and creates water-filled depressions.

While thawing releases methane, a heat-trapping gas, in the short term, lead author Katey Walter Anthony of U-A-F's Institute of Northern Engineering found the lakes contribute to cooling over the long term. Vegetation in the lakes locks up carbon dioxide when the plants are frozen into new permafrost.

The study found "thermokarst" lakes in Alaska and Siberia became net carbon sinks about 5,000 years ago.

 However, the study notes that the carbon is not permanently trapped and will likely be released as a warming climate re-thaws more permafrost.

Lawmaker fined $14K for mismanaging campaign funds
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The minority leader of the Alaska House has agreed to a fine of $14,000 for mismanaging campaign funds.

Democratic Rep. Chris Tuck acknowledged mixing up campaign contributions with personal savings and not making accurate, timely disclosures.

He signed a consent agreement with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

APRN reports the agreement details a tangle of accounting problems, including a 2012 fundraiser Tuck didn't report as a contribution and a commission finding that Tuck managed campaign funds as a section of his personal banking account.

Besides the fine, Tuck must forfeit $6,000 in leftover campaign funds and correct past disclosures. The commission said Tuck took "great efforts" to address the problems once they were raised.

Tuck said the errors weren't intentional and that he wishes he had been more careful.

Fairbanks teen accused of arson to cover murder
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Police say a fire was intentionally set at a Fairbanks apartment building last winter to cover up a murder.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports additional indictments were returned by a grand jury Friday against 18-year-old Conar Lee Groppel.

Detective Peyton Merideth alleges Groppel killed 39-year-old Kristina Pence and then set fire to the 18-unit apartment building in late January. Another person, 50-year-old Jane Connolly, was killed in the fire and about 50 others were displaced.

Merideth declined to provide more details of how Pence was killed, citing the ongoing investigation.

Groppel now faces 16 counts, including arson and varying degrees of murder and manslaughter charges. He's pleaded not guilty.

Sterling home fire kills 11 puppies, 2 cats
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Fire officials say 11 boxer puppies and two cats were killed in a residential fire in Sterling that apparently started while the owners were away.

KTUU says the fire was discovered by neighbors Wednesday morning, about 2 ? hours after the owners had departed.

Firefighters responded in about five minutes and found smoke rising from the home. The fire was extinguished within 30 minutes.

The dead pets were found during a sweep of the building.

Central Emergency Services Brad Nelson says the deaths of the animals, particularly the puppies, hit firefighters hard. He says firefighters unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate one of the puppies.

The fire caused an estimated $60,000 in damages.

Nelson says the homeowners' insurers are planning an investigation after responders said the blaze started in the kitchen.

Strong earthquake rattles section of Alaska, Canada's Yukon Territory
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Seismologists say a strong earthquake rattled a section of Alaska and Canada's Yukon Territory.

The Alaska Earthquake Center says the 6.0 magnitude quake struck at 3:49 a.m. about 62 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Yakutat. There are no immediate reports of damage.

The quake was felt in Yakutat, as well as Whitehorse in the Yukon. Yakutat is a Gulf of Alaska community about 45 miles (72 kilometers) southwest of the Canada border.

Troopers say Valdez man dies in 4-wheeler crash
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say a 65-year-old Valdez man has died after he was pinned beneath his four-wheeler on a trail near Eureka.

Troopers say Ben Hopper was found dead on the Dillinger Pass trail. Troopers responded in a helicopter and found Hopper and the overturned vehicle on a remote section of the trail Thursday evening.

Troopers say Hopper had lost control of the four-wheeler while making a steep descent. The vehicle flipped and pinned Hopper beneath it.

The body was being sent to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

Work to start on tribal house in Bartlett Cove
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Site work will begin next month on a traditional tribal house on the shore of Bartlett Cove in southeast Alaska.

The nearly $3 million contract has been awarded to P.K. Builders of Ketchikan to build the traditional Huna Tlingit tribal house in Glacier Bay National Park.

The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2016.

Parnell signs crime, electronic bullying bills
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sean Parnell has signed legislation that criminalizes cyber-bullying.

SB128, from Sen. Kevin Meyer, classifies as harassment the sending or publishing of electronic communications that insults or intimidate a minor in a way that that person is in fear of physical injury.

It was one of several bills signed by Parnell on Wednesday.

He also signed a bipartisan omnibus crime bill, which is aimed at reducing the number of re-offenders.

[Wednesday July 16th 2014  18th  EDITION 5:04 P.M.]

High water levels could impact Fairbanks regatta
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Participants in a weekend regatta in Fairbanks may have to scale-down the height of their ships due to rising water levels on the Chena River.

KUAC is sponsoring the Red Green Regatta, and in a Facebook posting Wednesday warned boat builders to plan for less clearance under bridges than in the past and to consider adjustments for tall boats.

The regatta, scheduled for Sunday, is a local tradition. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports participants build floats from recycled materials and a required minimum of one roll of duct tape.

Fairbanks has been having a particularly rainy summer.

The National Weather Service shows the river at about 5 feet but forecasts it will rise to about 7 feet before falling back to 5 or 6 feet heading into the weekend.


Petersburg man injured in explosion at gravel pit
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Petersburg police chief says a man who was injured in an explosion detonated an explosive mixture in a gravel or rock pit owned by the borough.

Chief Kelly Swihart says there is no evidence that the 59-year-old man was trying to injure others since there's no homes or buildings nearby.

But Swihart says they don't know what he was doing there Sunday.

The injured man was taken to a Seattle hospital, where he was reportedly in serious condition Tuesday. Police have not released the man's name.

About 20 pounds of a commercially-available explosive material in a 5-gallon bucket was found in his vehicle. Authorities also found two other buckets of the material during searches at another location.

The explosives will be detonated.


Police ID woman whose body was found near downtown
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Police have released the identity of a woman whose body was discovered near downtown Anchorage this week.

The state medical examiner identified the body as that of 26-year-old Jessica Lake.

Authorities say Lake was originally from Hooper Bay but has been living in Anchorage for some time. Police say they've had reports she was homeless. Her body was found Tuesday near 13th Avenue and Hyder Street.

The cause of death hasn't been determined, but police continue to investigate. They ask anyone with information about her death to contact dispatch or Anchorage Crime Stoppers.

Lemon Creek Bus Service Restored
Due to the completion of construction in the Lemon Creek area Capital Transit will resume regular service to Davis Avenue and Lemon Creek Road.

Service will be discontinued on Lund Street and Central Avenue.

Hobby Lobby Bill Fails, Murkowski of only 3 republicans to vote in favor
A Democratic effort to reverse the Supreme Court's decision on the Obama administration's birth control requirement failed in the Senate Wednesday, with Alaska's Lisa Murkowski as one of the three only Republicans voting in favor.

The measure needed 60 votes to move forward. It got 56, with three Republicans -- Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Mark Kirk of Illinois, voting in favor.

Democrats insist they'll bring the issue up again.

New York senator Chuck Schumer said, "The supreme court got hobby lobby wrong. and with their vote today, senate republicans got it wrong, too. And women across the country aren't going to forget it."
(ABC News)


Alaska senators vote to advance contraception bill
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's U.S. senators voted to advance legislation aimed at restoring free contraception for women who get their health insurance from companies with religious objections.

The effort fell four votes short of the 60 needed.

The bill was a response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found requiring private companies to pay for forms of women's contraception to which they object violates the corporations' religious freedom.

Democratic Sen. Mark Begich co-sponsored the bill. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was one of three Republicans who voted in support.

Murkowski said her vote was consistent with her long-held belief regarding women's access to affordable health care, including contraception.

She said that while she wants to see the federal health care overhaul repealed, access to health care services shouldn't be restricted in the meantime.

Nome council rejects 10 percent sin-tax motion
NOME, Alaska (AP) — Nome council members have rejected a proposal to let residents decide whether to increase taxes on alcohol and tobacco products to 10 percent.

KNOM reports voters still will decide on an upcoming ballot whether to raise the tax to 8 percent from its current 5 percent.

Proponents say the 10 percent tax would help pay for the economic burden that drinking and smoking bring to Nome, such as ambulance services and detention costs.

Police Chief John Papasadora also backed the higher tax. He said across the board, arrests are alcohol-related.

But three council members voted down the 10 percent amount. Two of them, Stan Anderson and Louie Green Sr., said it was unfair for responsible drinkers and bar owners pay the tab for mistakes made by a few.


Young spokesman: Capitol incident misunderstanding
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A spokesman for Rep. Don Young says an incident in which Young crossed police tape intended to keep people away from an asbestos accident at the U.S. Capitol was overblown.

Roll Call, citing "multiple sources," said the Alaska Republican cursed at an officer who tried to stop him from entering the building. An accident involving asbestos work forced a temporary closure of the House side of the Capitol last week.

Young spokesman Matt Shuckerow said the report made it sound like Young was "bursting through walls."

He said Young volunteered to look for an alternate room for a weekly Bible study group to meet and briefly crossed a sectioned-off area to reach an adjacent part of the Capitol.

He called it a misunderstanding and said Young meant no disrespect.


UPDATE: Woman dies, man hospitalized after rescue at lake
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Wasilla police say a 20-year-old Wasilla woman died after being rescued from Lake Lucile, where she had tried to swim to shore for help while her non-swimming companion clung to their overturned canoe.

KTUU reports Arielle Housmann was submerged in the lake for more than one hour. Her companion, 24-year-old Michael Sexton of Palmer, was taken to a local hospital and expected to recover.

The early Wednesday morning rescue occurred after authorities received reports of screaming coming from the lake.

Police spokesman Rick Manrique says a local resident heard the screams, got on a boat and found Sexton, bringing him to shore.

A search was conducted for Housmann. Rescuers found her submerged in the lake's cold waters. She also was taken to the hospital, but could not be saved.


Kodiak museum prepares for community dig
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — The Alutiiq (a-LOO'-tick) Museum in Kodiak is preparing for its 17th annual community archaeology dig.

KMXT says the Community Archaeology Project began in 1997 and allows people older than 14 to participate in real research at an actual excavation site.

The dig is set to begin Monday and continue until Aug. 8 at the Kashevaroff site, among those the museum has excavated in Womens Bay. Museum official Amy Steffian says excavation at the site began last year.

People can participate Mondays through Fridays.

An informational meeting and volunteer orientation is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the museum.

Attendance is not mandatory, but the meeting will be an opportunity to get first pick of dates to participate.

Only 20 people, including museum staff, can work at the dig daily.


Glacier-like mass moves toward Alaska road
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Officials in Alaska are keeping an eye on a giant glacier-like mass of soil and rock that is moving down a mountain toward the only supply highway to the North Slope.

There's added concern since the trans-Alaska pipeline lies just hundreds of feet beyond the Dalton Highway.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the ice mass dubbed Frozen Debris Lobe A is about 142 feet from the highway, at mile marker 219. The highway serves as the supply road for oil companies working at Prudhoe Bay.

Researchers say it could reach and impact the highway in anywhere from three to 10 years. State transportation officials are planning to reroute the road there. The project has an early estimated cost of $68 million, and it is slated to begin in 2017.

UPDATE: Hearing held to address Alaska inmate deaths
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A legislative hearing to address a recent string of Alaska inmate deaths has prompted a call for legislation to establish a third-party independent review of such deaths.

The Anchorage Daily News says officials with the state Department of Corrections attended the hearing to answer for the deaths of five young inmates at state correctional institutions between April and June.

The packed hearing was convened by state Sen. Hollis French, an Anchorage Democrat.

State Rep. Andy Josephson, an Anchorage Democrat who attended the meeting, says he will research the idea for a third-party independent review and consider introducing a bill for the next legislative session.

DOC officials say the recent deaths aren't out of the ordinary. According to officials, 10 to 12 people die in Alaska jails each year.

Nugget Falls trail open again
The Nugget Falls trail at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center is now open for hikers.

Although the end of the trail near the falls is still under about 12 inches of water, most of the trail is dry, with only a few sections of two to three inch deep puddles. These should be drying out today. The end of the trail that drops onto the alluvial terrace near the falls may remain submerged through today. Hikers should use caution.

The Forest Service advises not walking through deep water on slippery rocks.

For more information, contact the Juneau Ranger District at 907-586-8800 or the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center at 907-789-0097.

Murkowski responds after Begich touts cooperation
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she and Democratic Sen. Mark Begich agree on many issues specific to Alaska. But the Republican says there's a "real departure" in where the two stand on a number of national issues.

Murkowski was responding to a recent Begich ad highlighting their relationship. Begich, in recent campaign stops and interviews, has said the two vote together more than any other split-party delegation, speaking to the level of cooperation between them.

Murkowski told the Anchorage Daily News the Senate has taken a lot of procedural votes this year and her willingness to call for up-or-down votes on some of the president's nominees has influenced the numbers cited by Begich's campaign.

Begich spokesman Max Croes says the record shows the two work together to represent Alaska.

Human remains found at Kotzebue work site
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A $30 million renovation project at the airport in Kotzebue has been put on hold after human remains were found.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports part of a hip bone was found Sunday as a trench was being dug.

Alaska Department of Transportation Project Engineer Mark Figley says on-site archaeologists said the bone was "pretty old."

He says the find wasn't unexpected, and officials had discussed the possibility of this happening before work started. The shoreline has been inhabited for thousands of years.

No other remains were found, and the archaeologists determined the remains had been disturbed before. The bones will be reburied.

Figley expects work to resume soon on the project to lengthen the runway, reroute a road and move a lagoon..

Work should be done before December.

UAF starts laying off people to meet budget
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Pink slips are being delivered as the University of Alaska Fairbanks attempts to cut $12 million from this year's budget.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports at least 40 positions are being cut this summer.

Pat Pitney is the university's vice chancellor for administration. She says the university has little choice but to cut staff.

The university has suffered from declining state funding and rising fixed costs. UAF officials are implementing across-the-board cuts from between 3 percent to 6 percent for all academic units, which translates to lost jobs.

The university employs about 2,000 people, with most of them in Fairbanks. Officials hope attrition takes up the bulk of the lost positions, but Pitney says the reductions are more targeted in some cases.

Hearing held to address Alaska inmate deaths
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A legislative hearing to address a recent string of Alaska inmate deaths has prompted a call for legislation to establish a third-party independent review of such deaths.

The Anchorage Daily News reports the hearing in Anchorage Tuesday brought Department of Corrections officials together to answer for the deaths of five young inmates at state correctional institutions between April and June.

The packed hearing was convened by state Sen. Hollis French, an Anchorage Republican.

State Rep. Andy Josephson, an Anchorage Democrat who attended the meeting, says he will research the idea for a third-party independent review and consider introducing a bill for the next legislative session.

DOC officials say the recent deaths aren't out of the ordinary. According to officials, 10 to 12 people die in Alaska jails each year.

Man, teenage girl rescued at Mat-Su lake
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers and Wasilla police have helped in the rescue of a man and teenage girl from Lucile Lake.

KTUU reports the early Wednesday morning rescue occurred after authorities responded to reports of screaming coming from the area around the lake.

Police spokesman Rick Manrique says authorities found a submerged canoe and the man, who was taken to a local hospital.

A search was conducted for the girl, and hours later rescuers found her submerged in cold waters. She also was taken to the hospital.

The conditions of the man and girl were not immediately available.

New home sought for Bethel Senior Center
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Operators of the Bethel Senior Center are looking for a home to move into.

KYUK says the Orutsararmiut (oh-ROOT'-sah-rah-rah-mewt) Native Council runs the Eddie Hoffman Senior Center out of a city building, but the operators can't afford to stay there.

Operators are set to move out at the end of September and turn the building over to the city, which plans to mothball it.

Councilman Mark Springer, whose day job is to run the center, discussed options in a brief meeting of the Bethel City Council and ONC.

Springer says operators are confident of being able to find a place.

Possibilities include the Lions Club or the Lulu Herron Center, which provides senior housing.

Alaska State Troopers say officer wounded man
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say one of their officers has seriously wounded a man accused of pulling a gun on the trooper after a chase on the Sterling Highway south of Anchorage.

KTUU-TV reports that troopers say Seward police informed them about a despondent man traveling Tuesday afternoon on the Seward Highway. In a statement, troopers say they tried to stop that driver, who took off at a high rate of speed.

A trooper made contact with the man after he got out of a vehicle on the Sterling Highway.

Troopers say the man pulled a gun from his trunk, refused the officer's commands and was shot. He was taken to an Anchorage hospital for treatment of what were described as serious injuries.

No troopers were hurt.

Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said she didn't have any additional details.

Alaska abortion-funding law put on hold by judge
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of an Alaska law that further defines what constitutes a medically necessary abortion for the purposes of Medicaid funding.

Superior Court Judge John Suddock says Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest raises "substantial issues" going to the merits of the law and is entitled to a hearing.

Regulations, similar to the law passed this year, were previously stayed pending resolution of the lawsuit brought against the state by Planned Parenthood. The law, however, does not include consideration of psychiatric disorders. The regulations do.

Suddock, in his order Tuesday, said restrictive legislation "enhances the risk of constitutional invalidity."

Planned Parenthood is challenging the law and regulations as unconstitutional. Supporters of the measures have said the state should not be required to pay for elective abortions.

Some GCI customers need new email addresses
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Some GCI customers will have to get new email addresses.

Tose affected have emails that end in the domain "alaska.com." About 3,000 people will need to change their addresses by the end of the year.

The domain came about years ago through an agreement with the Anchorage Daily News and GCI to cover all things Alaska. But the project never came to fruition, and GCI began issuing email addresses with the domain.

But now that the McClatchy Co. has sold the newspaper, GCI no longer has rights to use the email addresses.

GCI spokesman David Morris encourages people to get new addresses as soon as possible and not wait until Dec. 31.

Fort Knox wants to expands onto federal land
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks operator wants to expand its Fort Knox Gold Mine onto federal land.

Fairbanks Gold Mining Inc., which is owned by Kinross, has submitted the request to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to expand the open-pit gold mine.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that if it's approved, the company could perform soil sampling, geologic mapping and drilling on nearly 2,000 acres now occupied by the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration.

A permit would allow 250 bore holes to be drilled. Each hole would require a 24,00-square-foot drill pad.

NOAA uses the land next to the requested area for a satellite operations facility. It says it doesn't object, as long as the mine abides by certain conditions.

Public comment on the plan will be accepted until Aug. 11.


Pipeline project working to secure Nikiski land
J
UNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The senior project manager for the Alaska liquefied natural gas project says Nikiski remains the leading contender for the terminal site where gas would be liquefied and shipped to Asia.

Steve Butt says project officials are working with landowners on "fair and durable agreements." He says progress is being made but if for some reason the needed land cannot be secured, there are alternatives.

He declined to be more specific, except to say the alternative sites would be on the tidewater.

The project has moved into a phase of preliminary engineering and design that could last up to 20 months.

Butt says the name "Alaska LNG" has been trademarked for the project, and there are plans to submit an application for an export license soon.

Nome council ends debate on raising sin taxes
NOME, Alaska (AP) — Nome council members have rejected a proposal to let residents decide whether to increase taxes on alcohol and tobacco products.

KNOM reports the proposal would have put the question on an upcoming ballot to raise the tax to 10 percent from its current 8 percent.

Proponents say the added revenue would help pay for the economic burden that drinking and smoking bring to Nome, such as ambulance services and detention costs.

Police Chief John Papasadora also backed the higher taxes. He said across the board, their arrests are alcohol-related.

But three council members voted down the measure. Two of them, Stan Anderson and Louie Green Sr., said it was unfair for responsible drinkers and bar owners pay the tab for mistakes made by a few.

[Tuesday July 15th 2014  22nd  EDITION 5:26 P.M.]

Man kills bear trying to get into house
STERLING, Alaska (AP) — A Sterling man shot and killed a 9-foot brown bear that attempted to break into his home several times.

The Peninsula Clarion reports Jim Landess shot the 5-year-old male with a pistol July 7.

Landess told the Clarion in an email that the bear was pounding on the outside walls of his home.

He and a son were able to scare the bear off with a couple of shots fired into the air, and they went back to bed. But the bear came back about three hours later.

Landess said he grabbed his .45 pistol and fired about seven rounds at the bear from an upper deck.

Officials say Landess fulfilled his legal requirements by taking the hide and skull to authorities and filling out the proper paperwork.

Anchorage police move bear, cubs away from lake
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police shot sponge rounds to encourage a black bear and her two cubs to leave a popular lake area on Tuesday afternoon.

Police spokeswoman Anita Shell says police fired two less-than-lethal rounds at the bear near Goose Lake, and turned the situation over to the Department of Fish and Game.

KTUU reports bears have been seen throughout the summer on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. University officials sent an email to students telling them to be alert for the bears.

Goose Lake is a popular lake for Anchorage residents to swim, boat and tan.

Feds investigate after Petersburg explosion
PETERSBURG, Alaska (AP) — Authorities are investigating after a Petersburg resident was injured in an explosion.

KFSK reports that police are not releasing the name, gender or condition of the 59-year-old.

However, police say they got a 911 call Sunday afternoon. The caller said there was an injured person outside the hospital emergency room and dynamite might have been involved.

The person was moved inside the hospital, and officers found about 20 pounds of a gelatinized substance in a vehicle the person drove to the hospital. Authorities were consulted before the car was moved away.

FBI and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents arrived Monday to investigate.

Authorities have secured three sites in Petersburg. They say residue from unidentified explosion site and the vehicle tentatively been identified as a commercially available explosive.

5 Alaska wolf cubs arrive at new home in Minnesota
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Five wolf pups orphaned by a wildfire in Alaska are at their new home.

KTVA reports the wolves were flown from Anchorage to the Minnesota Zoo on Tuesday.

An official for the zoo near Minneapolis says the wolves will be quarantined for about a month before going on permanent display.

The five pups were taken to the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage on May 27 after being orphaned in the Funny River Fire on the Kenai (KEY'-nigh) Peninsula, near Soldotna.

The Alaska Zoo had the pups on display until Monday.

Governor to sign bill halting sale of ‘Spice’ in Alaska
ANCHORAGE-Governor Sean Parnell is planning to sign Senate Bill 173 on Wednesday in Anchorage. Sponsored by Senator Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage), SB173 aims to stop the sale of illicit synthetic drugs by banning misleading statements on packaging. Currently, the synthetic drugs, which are commonly used as alternatives to marijuana and cocaine, are being sold legally in stores statewide as potpourri, bath salts, plant food, and even iPod cleaner.

“The real truth here is ‘Spice’ is not nice,” said Senator Meyer. “Kids and parents see it sold legally in stores, and they think it is ok, but it’s not. ‘Spice’ is very dangerous and responsible for hundreds of deaths every year in the United States. It is my hope this new approach for keeping it off store shelves will make a big impact.”

Move your vehicles, cleaning on Gastineau Avenue
The City and Borough Streets and Fleet Maintenance Division will be performing clean-up operations along Gastineau Avenue to remove winter chips and other debris from the storm drainage system beginning Wednesday morning at 7:00am and continue until completion which is anticipated to be around 4:00 PM Wednesday.

The affected area will be Gastineau Avenue between 2nd Street and 215 Gastineau Avenue. Notices will be posted in areas that are to be cleaned, with the yellow "NO PARKING" signs prior to beginning. If you see these signs in your area, please remove your vehicle from Gastineau Avenue prior to the commencement of cleaning in order to facilitate a thorough cleaning of the street and storm drain system. Vehicles left in the designated cleaning area will be subject to relocation to facilitate the work.

No evening bus service to Mendenhall Mall during construction
Due to construction in the Riverside Drive area Capital Transit bus service has been disrupted.

Service will be discontinued to the Mendenhall Mall after 6:00pm each night through Thursday, July 17th or until construction is complete.

Please wait for the bus either at the James Street or the Atlin Drive bus stops.

Kenai launches new patrol enforcement boat
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — The city of Kenai has obtained a new rescue patrol boat to help with enforcement of a no-wake zone on the Kenai River.

The Peninsula Clarion reports the fire department launched the 22-foot rigid hull inflatable boat with the Kenai River dipnet season.

When the tide reaches 20 ? feet, flashing lights are activated on buoys to tell boaters to slow down to 5 mph.

The no-wake rule was approved by the Kenai City Council in April after residents voiced concerns of bank erosion and property damage created from boat wakes through a mile-long channel.

Kenai Battalion Chief Tony Prior says the target area is patrolled only during high tide.

The $108,000 dollar boat replaces a 30-year-old riverboat. Most of the cost was paid by a state grant.

Capital City Fire Rescue responds to turkey fryer fire and leaking propane tank
Capital City Fire Rescue was dispatched to to a report of a propane leak at the Auke Bay fish boating dock this morning at 9:47. An unsecured 200lb propane tank was found to be leaking from the back of a U-haul van. The crew was able to get to the van and shut off the valve. No one was injured.

Capital City Fire Rescue also responded to a reported structure fire in the 4600 block of Sawa Circle Monday afternoon at 4:15. The homeowner had a turkey fryer on a countertop that had spontaneously ignited. There were active flames under the fire, but the oil itself did not catch on fire. The husband was able to throw the cooking unit and fire outside. There was minimal damage to the countertop. The new fryer was completely damaged. The cause was electrical.


Anchorage police investigate woman's death
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police are investigating the death of a woman who was found outside near the downtown area.

Police received a report just before 5 a.m. Tuesday about the woman, who was discovered near 13th Avenue and Hyder Street.

According to police, the caller making the report said the woman appeared to be unconscious and not breathing.

At the scene, the woman was pronounced dead.


Begich reports his biggest fundraising quarter
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich brought in more than $1.26 million during the last quarter, his biggest haul so far this cycle. But his campaign spent nearly $2 million toward his re-election bid.

As of June 30, the Alaska Democrat had about $2.2 million available.

Spokesman Max Croes says a big expense has been TV and radio buys, but says the campaign is well positioned financially.

Begich edged Republican rival Dan Sullivan in fundraising for the first time since Sullivan entered the race last October. Sullivan reported bringing in nearly $1.2 million, with $1.7 million available at the end of the quarter.

Other prominent Republicans in next month's primary are Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller.

A fourth candidate, John Jaramillo, hasn't reported any fundraising.

Tuesday marked the reporting deadline.


Official sees tie between gas project, referendum
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The senior project manager for a major liquefied natural gas project says the decision made on next month's oil tax referendum could impact the project.

Steve Butt says the state and companies that hold leases have a shared interest in trying to monetize the resource in a way that works for them all. He says if decisions are made that benefit one party at the expense of another, it compromises alignment.

The state's working with the North Slope's major players and TransCanada Corp. in pursuing the mega-project.

Comments similar to Butt's have been raised by others as an argument for keeping the oil tax cut lawmakers passed last year.

But Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski says the argument is being used as a threat so companies can keep the tax breaks.


UAF greenhouse to be dismantled
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The University of Alaska Fairbanks will have to find a home for more than 25,000 seedlings.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the university has to dismantle its 2,700-square-foot greenhouse to make way for a new power plant.

The $245 million power plant will also force the university to find a new place for a garden that provides free greens for both food services and student groups.

The greenhouse will be dismantled next month. Some of its pieces will be used in other buildings on campus or sold.

Now the search is on for a new space to grow the seedlings from February to May. The plants are used every spring to decorate campus.

Young holds cash edge in US House race
J
UNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Don Young holds a huge cash advantage over his rivals as he seeks a 22nd term in the House.

Young brought in about $130,000 between April and June, with about $100,000 in contributions and the rest in the form of things like rebates and dividends. He ended the quarter with nearly $590,000 available.

The only other Republican candidate to file a report with the Federal Election Commission, John R. Cox, reported no contributions though he reported more cash on hand than at the end of the prior quarter, $4,300.

The most prominent Democratic candidate, Forrest Dunbar, brought in $36,500, all in individual contributions. He had about $31,000 available but still owed $6,000 to the state Democratic party.

Frequent candidate Frank Vondersaar, a Democrat, reported $100 on hand.

Anchorage police launch bicycle safety campaign
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police have launched a bicycle safety campaign that involves treats from local businesses to reward children who wear their helmets while bicycling.

Police are partnering with the Alaska Injury Prevention Center and several local businesses for the APD Treat Beat.

In Anchorage, the law requires people 15 years of age and younger to wear helmets while bicycling in public places.

In the summer campaign, police officers will be on the lookout for young bicyclists who are caught wearing their helmets.

Youngsters with helmets could be presented with a "ticket" for such treats as ice cream cones or cookies.

Arbitrator sides with guard in Keyes' suicide case
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An arbitrator finds a corrections officer on duty the night Alaska serial killer Israel Keyes committed suicide should not have been fired by the state.

Loren Jacobsen was fired weeks after Keyes was found dead in his Anchorage cell in December 2012. Keyes had slit his wrist with a razor that another guard mistakenly gave him and also strangled himself with a makeshift noose.

The Anchorage Daily News reports from documents it obtained that Jacobsen was fired, even though he had turned over his duties to another officer and was on a sanctioned meal break when Keyes committed suicide. Jacobsen's union, the Alaska Correctional Officers Association, appealed.

An arbitrator said the firing wasn't justified. The union says the state made Jacobsen a scapegoat for its lax practices.

3 hikers get back to Anchorage before high tide
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Rescuers were called to get hikers trapped by the rising tide Monday night, but the three people were able to get back to Anchorage from Fire Island before high tide.

KTVA reports the three had to high-step through water above their knees Monday night to make it back to the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail in Anchorage before high tide came in.

The Anchorage Fire Department launched a boat to get the hikers before learning they were safely back on the Anchorage side.

Hazardous material containers cleaned up in Galena
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A state report on the response to the 2013 flooding in Galena says more than 5,000 containers of hazardous material scattered throughout the area during the disaster were collected.

The containers ranged from aerosol cans to 55-gallon drums, with the hazardous debris strewn within a 15-mile radius of the Yukon River village.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports heating oil from three homes spilled during the flood. But the state Department of Environmental Conservation, in its final report on the flooding, said those properties were cleaned up with no ongoing impacts.

An environmental program specialist with the agency estimated the cleanup cost at well over $1 million, costs that will be included as the state seeks reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Fair organizer asks vendors to skip new festival
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Organizers of the Tanana Valley Fair have asked their vendors not to do business with a new festival run by its former ride vendor.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports fair manager Joyce Whitehorn recently sent a message to vendors saying she had heard that Chugiak-based Golden Wheel amusements had asked vendors to ditch the fair.

The fair will overlap with the new Summer Spectacular carnival and music event for three days in early August.

Whitehorn says the fair will not penalize vendors who set up booths at both events, but those vendors will lose "grandfather" rights for future fairs.

Golden Wheel spokesman Chase Eckert disputes Whitehorn's statement that the company asked vendors to skip the fair.

He says Golden Wheel encourages vendors to participate in both events.

Kodiak borough may revisit fireworks law
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — There were fewer complaints after Fourth of July fireworks this year on Kodiak Island, but the ones that did come in may prompt changes in the borough's rules.

Kodiak Island Borough Manager Bud Cassidy says two people complained the borough's fireworks policy is failing. KMXT reports they asked officials to come up with another plan.

Cassidy said an investigation found area fire departments and Alaska State Troopers were extremely busy putting out fires caused by fireworks and addressing citizen concerns, including the litter from spent fireworks.

Assembly members say there's support to revisit the borough's fireworks ordinance before New Year's Eve.

One assembly member says fireworks should be kept out of residential areas. Bayside Fire Chief Bob Himes wants to take it further: an all-out ban.

Hackers gain brief access to Mat-Su website
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Online hackers succeeded in breaching the website for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough last week.

KTUU reports the hacker was able to get into the site Friday afternoon, and redirected users to an anti-Israel website.

Spokesman Stefan Hinman says staff members were able to disable the borough website within five minutes, and a fix was in place within another five minutes.

No sensitive information was ever at risk since the borough doesn't keep any information on line.

Borough staff members worked over the weekend to strengthen the site's security.

Forest Service announces return of salmon cam
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Federal officials say a salmon cam in Juneau is returning for a second year.

The U.S. Forest Service is streaming live from the bottom of Juneau's Stream Creek in the Tongass National Forest.

Officials say the cam operates around the clock. But they say there's insufficient light during some hours, so the best times for viewing are between 4:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. AKDT.

According to officials, viewers could see large salmon, as well as smaller Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout.

Officials say the cam located near the Mendenhall Glacier was viewed more than 28,000 times last year.

Dardenne, seafood board set cook-off for August
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The best seafood chef in the nation will be crowned Saturday, Aug. 2, in New Orleans when the 11th annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off is held.

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board on Monday announced the competition won last year by Mississippi chef David Crews. It will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

Participating chefs represent Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

Judges include Ben Pollinger, executive chef of Oceana in New York; Kris Moon, James Beard Foundation; Barbara Mathias, co-publisher and vice president of Food Arts magazine; Brian West, chef-instructor at CIA-San Antonio and Susie Selby from Selby Winery.

Begich reports his biggest fundraising haul
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich brought in just over $1.25 million during the last quarter, his biggest haul so far this cycle. But his campaign spent nearly $2 million toward his re-election bid.

As of June 30, the Alaska Democrat had about $2.2 million available.

Republicans see the Alaska race as key to their efforts to win back control of the Senate. The three most prominent Republican candidates are Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, Joe Miller and former state Natural Resources commissioner Dan Sullivan.

The reporting deadline is Tuesday.

Begich spokesman Max Croes says 5,000 individual Alaskans have contributed to Begich's campaign so far, more than in 2008. He said one of the big expenses has been TV and radio buys, but he says the campaign continues to be well positioned financially.

Children's book series available in Cup'ik on app
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — A new app features a translation of a New Zealand children's book series into the Cup'ik language.

KYUK reports the Cup'ik Milly-Molly storybook app was developed with a language innovation grant from the Association of Alaska School Boards.

The grant was awarded to the school district for Chevak, one of two Bering Sea villages where Cup'ik is still spoken.

The association's Robert Whicker and other AASB members traveled to Chevak to help with the recording of the series in Cup'ik, but decided they could save time and money by sending Cup'ik speakers to a New Zealand recording studio.

Three months after the recording was completed, the Cup'ik versions of the series are now available in the iTunes store.

Whicker says it's a way of helping to preserve Native languages.

Coast Guard rescue
The Coast Guard received phone call last night regarding two separate boats that had launched from Auke Bay and headed to Barlow Cove the night before.

On their return to Auke Bay, they encountered heavy fog and became disoriented. The first boat made it back to Auke Bay.

The Coast Guard launched a 2- 110 foot cutters to help look for the other boat. The mariner was located around 8:30 on Caughlin Island two miles south of Auke Bay in good spirits. He had become disoriented due to the dense fog.

Report from Coast Guard Sector Juneau's Vince Grochowski.

[Monday July 14th 2014  13TH  EDITION 6:17 P.M.]


Palin PAC donations don't include Alaska race
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Sarah Palin's political action committee gave $40,000 to congressional candidates during the last quarter but none from Alaska.

Palin, a former Alaska governor, has not weighed in on the Republican race for U.S. Senate in the state. In 2010, she backed tea party favorite Joe Miller in a race won with a write-in campaign by incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Palin's SarahPAC reported bringing in about $460,000 from April through June. She ended the period with about $970,000 on hand.

Contributions to candidates included $5,000 to Dave Brat, a donation given the day after he upset then-U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia.


Pro-Begich group raises $3.6M during 2nd quarter
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The super PAC Put Alaska First brought in $3.6 million during the last quarter and spent a huge chunk of it on ads against Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Dan Sullivan.

Put Alaska First, which is supporting Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, spent slightly more than it brought in from April to June, leaving it with about $5,100.

The haul was huge compared to the first quarter of 2014, when Put Alaska First brought in about $500,000. The group has typically ended its reporting periods with relatively little cash available.

It has been largely funded by the Senate Majority PAC, which is run by former aides to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. And it's consistently hit at Sullivan, one of the three most prominent GOP contenders heading into next month's primary.


Murkowski thanks Coast Guard and pushes more Arctic Investment
Senator Lisa Murkowski today hammered home the need for more Arctic investment as she thanked the United States Coast Guard and the crew of the cutter Healy for their rescue mission of a stranded mariner attempting to sail through the Arctic region, saying: “While I realize that an icebreaker is a high cost item, America needs to step up its investment in the Arctic as the waters there open up to possible travel, economic and military activity."
She said, “The Altan Girl and its captain were lucky that the Healy icebreaker was nearby conducting a research project and could cut through the ice to rescue him, as helicopters were not an option due to weather."

Crossings of the famed Northwest Passage connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic have become more prevalent in recent years. In 2012, a group of three sailors navigated one of the trickiest portions of the Northwest Passage from east to west, at the same time mariner David Scott Cowper was taking on a solo passage of the crossing. In 2013, French adventurer Charles Hedrich attempted a solo west-east crossing via rowboat, the same year that four Vancouver rowers failed in their own attempt to conquer the waterway.


Celebration incident witness search
The Juneau Police Department is seeking additional witnesses to several incidents at the Celebration Parade in June for the purpose of showing those witnesses a photo lineup to help police identify the suspect.

Multiple people have been interviewed during the month long investigation but many did not get a good look at the face of the suspect or became convinced that a Facebook picture that was being circulated was the suspect. Officers confirmed that the man in the Facebook picture was work at the time of the incident.

If you did see the man who kicked at traffic barricades on Main Street at the parking garage, was later at the Goldbelt Hotel and chanted a racial slur, and ultimately grabbed an American flag from the hands of a native man please call JPD. Some men pursued the suspect and took the flag back but JPD has not identified those men and would like to speak with them.

If you believe you saw the face of the suspect please contact Lt. Kris Sell at 586-0600.

New reindeer corral being built near St. Michael
NOME, Alaska (AP) — Volunteers are in the process of building a new corral for a reindeer herd on St. Michael Island.

KNOM reports the first fence posts went up Thursday at the new site, located about three miles southeast of the community of St. Michael.  The lease expired at the former site, owned by the Stebbins Native Corp., which is using that land for gravel excavation.

The herd is jointly owned by the Native Village of St. Michael, the Stebbins Community Association and the Katcheak family. One of the owners and the lifelong reindeer herder, Theodore Katcheak, said construction should take about two weeks. He says the herd does not make a profit, so they must rely on volunteers.

St. Michael is located about 120 miles southeast of Nome.

Fairbanks co-op gets national industry award
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A cooperative market in Fairbanks has received national recognition.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Co-Op Market Grocery and Deli was named the co-op startup of year in 2013.

General manager Mary Christensen accepted the award at the Consumer Cooperative Management Association conference in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Fairbanks location opened last year in the former Foodland building.

It's experienced steady growth since opening and exceeded sales projections. The store now has 2,680 members and sales year this are expected to reach nearly $3 million.

Capital City Fire Rescue responds to Mendenhall River, Horse Island
Captain Roy Johnson says Sunday morning they were called to help two people in the Mendenhall River around 10:00.

By the time the water team units arrived, both people had self-evacuated the river. One patient was transported to Bartlett Regional Hospital for further care.

On Sunday morning around 11:30, Capital City Fire Rescue responded with two personnel by helicopter to an emergency medical incident on Horse Island. The helicopter was grounded shortly after take off due to inclement weather. The patient was brought in by boat. Advanced life support was provided and the patient was transported to Bartlett Regional Hospital.

UPDATE: US Coast Guard cutter rescues trapped sailboat from Arctic sea ice, tows vessel to open water
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The U.S. Coast Guard has freed a Canadian sailboat that became trapped in Arctic ice off the north coast of Alaska.

KTUU-TV reports the 36-foot (11-meter) Altan Girl out of Vancouver was attempting to sail to eastern Canada through the Northwest Passage.

It became trapped in ice northeast of Barrow, the northernmost city in the United States.

The Coast Guard cutter Healy reached the sailboat, and with the Altan Girl in tow, on Saturday cut a 12-mile (19-kilometre) path through ice to open water.

The sailboat's owner says he intends to wait in Barrow for better weather and to restock supplies.

The Healy is on a National Science Foundation funded research mission in the Arctic. The Coast Guard says the cutter is continuing with its research.

Hooper Bay teen dies in apparent drowning
HOOPER BAY, Alaska (AP) — A Hooper Bay teenager has died in an apparent drowning.

Alaska State Troopers say 18-year-old Darin Long was found tangled Sunday in a partially deployed fishing net in a slough near the western Alaska village.

Troopers say Long had been subsistence fishing.

He was last seen by his family at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday and found after midnight.

He was pulled from the water and could not be resuscitated at the Hooper Bay clinic. He was pronounced dead at 3 a.m. Sunday.

Hooper Bay is a community of 1,134 about 500 miles west of Anchorage.

Oil spill response drill planned near Nome
NOME, Alaska (AP) — An oil spill response drill is set to take place at Port Clarence northwest of Nome Wednesday.

KNOM reports that spill response company Alaska Chadux is among those participating in the exercise near Teller and Brevig Mission. Chadux general manager Matt Melton says it's a new area for such a drill.

The goal is to deploy equipment from Nome to Teller on the 72-mile road connecting the two communities.

Melton says participants will put deflection boom on the Port Clarence side to simulate a fuel spill and try to keep the fuel out of Grantley Harbor.

Other participants are the Alaska Department of Conservation and Gay Sheffield, a marine biologist with the University of Alaska Fairbanks marine advisory program.

The exercise comes amid industrial projects proposed for the area.

Voter registration deadline
The State of Alaska, Division of Elections reminds us that the deadline to register or update your voter registration for the 2014 Primary election is July 20th.

Registration forms are available at any Division of Elections office, municipal offices, tribal offices, or online at www.elections.alaska.gov.

Information on prisoner deaths expensive to get
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A Department of Corrections official says a state agency is considering declassifying an unpublished regulation on investigating prisoner deaths.

Corrections deputy commissioner Sherrie Daigle told the Anchorage Daily News she only recently became aware of the regulation. But she said it could not be shared with the public now because the information could "threaten the safety and security of institutions." She did not say how.

The newspaper requested copies of the Department of Corrections' internal investigation documents related to inmate deaths from 2000 to 2012. The idea was to look at how the department evaluates its performance in cases of prisoners dying while in state custody.

The paper was told it would cost more than $4,000 and take more than 100 hours to locate and copy the files.

Bull gores Alaska rodeo promoter at his own event
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The co-founder of Rodeo Alaska is recovering after he was gored — but still managed to win a prize — at his own event.

The Anchorage Daily News reports 43-year-old Frank Koloski was competing in the "double mugging" event on Saturday.

In that contest, one cowboy on a horse ropes a steer while another on foot tries to wrestle the animal to the ground.

Koloski says the bull's horn punctured his stomach and went in 4 1/2 inches.

He says he tried to trot out of the arena afterward, but got lightheaded and fell. An ambulance took him to a hospital.

Koloski says he has been gored before, but never at his own rodeo.

He underwent surgery and is recovering.

He won the event, which gave him a $1,000 cash prize and a belt buckle.

Man charged with felony eluding on ATV
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A North Pole man was charged with felony eluding after a chase on an all-terrain vehicle outside the city.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 22-year-old Dylan Longoria was arrested early Sunday.

Alaska State Troopers say they took a call through their Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately program at about 3 a.m. reporting a yellow four-wheeler driving dangerously on roads between North Pole and Fairbanks.

Troopers say an officer tried to stop the driver but he led them on a chase until crashing.

Longoria was also charged with reckless driving, driving under the influence and refusing a DUI test.

He was released on bail Sunday.

UPDATE-Flood advisory cancelled
The National Weather Service has cancelled both of the flood advisories that were in effect until 5 am this morning for the Mendenhall Lake and and until 8 am for the Mendenhall River.

According to the National Weather Service, the water level on Mendenhall Lake peaked between midnight and 1 am this morning at 9.5 feet. Flood stage is 9.0 feet. A frontal boundary stalled over the region resulting in training rainfall
over the basin during Sunday. The water will then begin to subside during Monday as the rain dissipates.

Although both river and lake levels are high they are out of the "impact zone" and are receding.

No flooding has been reported under this new advisory.

New Flood Advisory
The National Weather Service has issued a flood advisory until 5 am akdt Monday morning for
the Mendenhall Lake...
a flood advisory until 8 am akdt Monday morning for the
Mendenhall River...

According to the National Weather Service, the water level on Mendenhall Lake peaked between midnight and 1 am this morning at 9.5 feet. Flood stage is 9.0 feet.

A frontal boundary stalled over the region resulting in training rainfall over the basin during Sunday. The water will then begin to subside during Monday as the rain dissipates.

* At a lake gage reading of 9.09 feet...water covers West Glacier
Spur Road between Skaters Cabin and West Glacier trailhead. Campsite
7 could be flooded along with water flowing over the road between
Campsites 8 and 9 in the Mendenhall campground.

No flooding has been reported under this new advisory.

Marketing Alaska
The state is formalizing the role of tourism businesses in marketing Alaska.

Governor Parnell last week signed a bill creating a Tourism Marketing Board within the Department of Commerce.
The board will have 21 members representing experts in the tourism industry, with 18 of the seats recommended by the Alaska Travel Industry Association. The other three seats are designated for members of the state House and Senate and Department of Commerce.

The new board does not change how tourism marketing funds are allocated, but allows the private sector to play a formal role in developing a marketing plan for the whole state.

[Sunday July 13th 2014  4th  EDITION 1:00 P.M.]

Glacial flood waters receding in Juneau
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Glacial flood waters are receding in Juneau after reach record levels at Mendenhall Lake and near-record levels along the Mendenhall River.

The subglacial lake was rising about three inches every hour since the water in Suicide Basin erupted Wednesday and began flowing under the Mendenhall Glacier and into Mendenhall Lake and Mendenhall River.

The National Weather Service says the lake rose as high as 11.81 feet Friday, breaking the record of 11.2 feet set in 1995. The Mendenhall River reached 13.52 feet at the Mendenhall Loop Bridge, just shy of the 13.8-foot mark also recorded on Sept. 11, 1995.

The river had dropped to 9.7 feet by 11 a.m. Saturday and the lake to 7.99 feet as of 2:15 p.m.

Rescue from sinking skiff in Ketchikan
Alaska State Troopers and United States Coast Guard responded to a reported skiff sinking in the Ketchikan channel near Pond Reef approximately 100 yards offshore Friday night.

Three wet individuals were found walking on the beach: 44 year old Andrew Shulll of Ketchikan, and his two minor children. Shull reported that he tossed a crab pot into the water and that the rope of the pot became tangled in the propeller. The weight shift on the vessel, while he attempted to cut the line, resulted in water overtaking the skiff.

The two minor children were wearing life jackets and all three swam to shore with no reported injuries. The vessel was partially submerged and recovery efforts will be made by Shull.

Coast Guard rescue sailboat trapped in Arctic ice
Coast Guard Cutter Healy crewmembers made contact with a mariner aboard his 36-foot sailboat trapped in Arctic ice approximately 40 miles northeast of Barrow, Alaska, Saturday.

Coast Guard 17th District watchstanders in Juneau were contacted by North Slope Borough Search and Rescue that a man, sailing his sailboat from Vancouver, Canada, to eastern Canada via the Northwest Passage, needed assistance after his vessel had become trapped in the ice.

(U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Cutter Healy)

Public forum on oil tax structure teleconferenced around the state Monday
Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage) will join speakers Lisa Weissler, Bill Corbus, and Jim Clark in a public discussion of oil taxation in advance of the statewide vote on Ballot Measure Number 1, a referendum on Senate Bill 21.

The forum, sponsored by "Juneau Votes", a non-partisan community project seeking to improve voter registration, information, and turnout, will be at Mendenhall Mall Monday from 5:00 – 7:00 PM, and via videoteleconference to all Juneau Public Libraries, Loussac Library in Anchorage, Kenai Community Library, and the Craig Public Library.

Proponents of Ballot Measure 1 will be:
? Lisa Weissler, a Juneau attorney specializing in oil, gas, and mining law
? Alaska Representative Les Gara

Opponents of SB 21 repeal are:
? Bill Corbus, former president, Alaska Electric Light & Power, and former Alaska Commissioner of Revenue
? Jim Clark, former Chief-of-Staff to Governor Frank Murkowski

The first hour of the forum will be presented in a structured format with questions prepared in advance and asked by a moderator. The second hour will consist of questions and answers, and is open to the public.

Interested persons may attend in person or watch and listen via the Library’s videoconferencing network.

Individuals at other sites throughout Alaska will receive live video and audio, and will be able to participate fully.


Officials assess damage from flooding in Juneau
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Officials are assessing the damage after water burst from a glacially dammed lake and caused flooding in Juneau.

The water crept up on homes and closed roads and hiking trails Friday. The water level at Mendenhall Lake reached 11.8 feet, breaking its old 1995 record of 11.18 feet, and the Mendenhall River saw near-record flows.

Laurie Sica (SEE'-kah), clerk for the city and borough of Juneau, said Saturday that the full extent of damage wasn't known, but at least one home suffered flood damage and at least a few others had water in their garages.

National Weather Service meteorologist Geri Swanson said power was restored Saturday to low-lying homes along View Drive and Mendenhall Lake campground.

State archives closing for 6 weeks
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Beginning Monday and lasting through Aug. 25, the Alaska State Archives Research Room will be closed and research services limited to an emergency-only basis.

That is to allow for staff to transfer and process 13,000 boxes from two other facilities to the new state library, archives and museum vault.

The state department of education, in a release, said that staff will fulfill emergency requests for student transcripts and address urgent reference questions on a case-by-case basis.

Deal reached over North Pole water contamination
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The state of Alaska is agreeing to share the preliminary costs to explore a water-system expansion in North Pole, where a refinery spill decades ago continues to contaminate groundwater.

The agreement covers the expense of developing the design, cost estimate and construction schedule for a water-main extension. It would serve 550 properties with water contaminated by sulfolane, an industrial chemical that was detected in groundwater in 2009.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that the agreement does not include a commitment to follow up with construction work, however.

The deal was announced Friday by the Attorney General Michael Geraghty's office. It requires the state, refinery owner Flint Hills Resources Alaska
and the refinery's former owner, Williams Alaska Petroleum, to equally share costs for the preliminary work.

Volunteers plan to move 60,000 books in Sitka
SITKA, Alaska (AP) — Volunteers in Sitka are getting ready for a big move.

The Daily Sitka Sentinel reports volunteers will begin moving 60,000 books and other items from Kettleson Library to make way for a major remodeling project at that city library.

The library will be closed, and volunteers will begin shuffling materials to a temporary home at the shuttered Stratton Library on the former Sheldon Jackson College campus.

Stratton has been closed since the college went out of business in 2007. It's been purchased by the state for an eventual conversion into an extension for the Sheldon Jackson Museum.

The library should reopen in the temporary space no later than Aug. 19.

Kodiak students learn all things Russian at camp
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — It will be a different type of experience for children attending camp in Kodiak this coming week.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports Kodiak students will learn Russian songs and dances at a cultural camp.

During the weeklong camp, students will experience traditional Russian food, clothing, music, folk tales and dances.

The camp is being sponsored by the Baranov Museum, the Kodiak Russian Balalaika players and the Kodiak Arts Council.

Baranov Museum Curator of Education Sarah Harrington says it will give the children background on the diversity that supports the Kodiak community.



[Saturday July 12th 2014 10th EDITION 7:56 P.M.]

UPDATE: Forest Service reopens Mendenhall campground
JUNEAU, AK, July 12, 2014 - Tongass National Forest officials continue to assess and reopen facilities and recreation areas affected by Friday’s glacier outburst flooding.

The following areas are now open to the public:
-The Mendenhall Campground will re-open at 5 p.m. today, July 12.
-Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center.
-Skaters Cabin road.
-Photo Point trail.
-Steep Creek trail.
-West Glacier trail.
-Glacier Spur Road.
-Trail of Time.
-East Glacier trail.
-Moraine Ecology trail.
-The lake is now open to all watercraft.

The only area that remains closed is Nugget Falls trail and it will be reopened as soon as the water recedes to about the 7.3-foot lake level and the Forest Service determines the area is safe for public use.

Coast Guard assists injured fisherman near Hinchinbrook Island, Alaska
KODIAK, Alaska — The Coast Guard responded to a fisherman who suffered an eye injury aboard the 29-foot motor vessel Lanikai approximately seven miles from Cape Hinchinbrook, Saturday.

A nearby Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, forward deployed in Cordova, rendezvoused with the vessel and lowered a rescue swimmer who stabilized the patient while the vessel returned to Cordova.

Sector Anchorage command center watchstanders received a notice via VHF that a crewmember had an eye injury and needed medical treatment. The watchstanders directed a Jayhawk crew training in the area to respond to the injured mariner.

“This case illustrates the training and professionalism of our Coast Guard members,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Lindsey Green, a watchstanders at Sector Anchorage command center. “Our crews are always ready to respond, even during training flights, to ensure safety of life at sea.”

Weather at the time of the incident was reported as 17 mph and 3-foot seas.

Coast Guard, local fire department assists injured mariner near Valdez, Alaska
KODIAK, Alaska — A Coast Guard Station Valdez 45-foot Response Boat – Medium crew with two members of the Valdez Fire Department assisted an injured 25-year-old man reportedly suffering from a head injury aboard a jet boat near Valdez, Saturday.

The Coast Guard crew transported the Valdez Fire Department emergency medical technicians to assess the injured man and transported him to awaiting emergency medical services in Valdez.

Sector Anchorage command center watchstanders received a notice from the crew of the jet boat who reported that a crewmember had suffered a head injury while the jet boat had another vessel in tow. The watchstanders then directed the launch of the RB-M to respond to the injured mariner.

“This case illustrates the great relationships we have with our local agencies,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Andrew Sheean, a watchstander at Sector Anchorage command center. “Without the assistance of the Valdez Fire Department, we would not have been able to assist the man as quickly as we did to get him to the medical care he needed.”

Weather at the time of the incident was reported as 17 mph winds and 1-foot seas.

Tongass National Forest officials are assessing damage; re-opening some areas
JUNEAU, AK, July 12, 2014 - Tongass National Forest officials are assessing damage to facilities and recreation areas today caused by Friday’s glacier outburst flooding. The following areas are now open to the public:
-Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center.
-Skaters Cabin road.
-Photo Point trail.
-Steep Creek trail.
-West Glacier trail.
-Glacier Spur Road. Parking is not allowed on the inbound lane of the spur road between the bus lot and end of road.
-Trail of Time.
-East Glacier trail.
-Moraine Ecology trail.
-The lake is now open to all watercraft.

Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sunday through Saturday.

The following areas remain closed as Forest Service personnel assess damage:

-Mendenhall Campground. Campground remains gated and electricity is turned off. A section of road in the campground was damaged.
-The fish cam and beaver cam at the Pavilion have been shut off until further notice.
-Nugget Falls trail will be reopened as water recedes to about the 7.3-foot lake level. The Forest Service will check for any damage to the tread at the end of the trail once water recedes to determine if it’s safe for public use.

Deal reached over North Pole water contamination
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The state of Alaska is agreeing to share the preliminary costs to explore a water-system expansion in North Pole, where a refinery spill decades ago continues to contaminate groundwater.

The agreement covers the expense of developing the design, cost estimate and construction schedule for a water-main extension. It would serve 550 properties with water contaminated by sulfolane, an industrial chemical that was detected in groundwater in 2009.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that the agreement does not include a commitment to follow up with construction work, however.

The deal was announced Friday by the Attorney General Michael Geraghty's office. It requires the state, refinery owner Flint Hills Resources Alaska and the refinery's former owner, Williams Alaska Petroleum, to equally share costs for the preliminary work.

EVAR Re-opening
The Juneau International Airport has announced that the Emergency Vehicle Access Road (EVAR), commonly referred to as the Airport Dike Trail, is reopened to vehicle and pedestrian traffic as of Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 4:00 p.m.

Flood warning cancelled: water level starts to drop on Mendenhall Lake
The National Weather Service has cancelled the flood warning, the water level on Juneau's Mendenhall Lake has begun to drop after setting a record.

Authorities have been monitoring the lake and Mendenhall River to see when they would crest following the release of water from a glacially dammed lake.

The old record of 11.18 feet on the lake, set in 1995, was broken by Friday afternoon. The lake reached a record level of 11.8 feet, then dropped slightly. The Weather Service says the river level has also dropped slightly.

Floodwaters crept up on homes and closed side roads and popular hiking trails on Friday. Officials tried to keep curious onlookers off a bridge overlooking the churning Mendenhall River.

Coast Guard, State Troopers respond to vessel taking on water near Dillingham
KODIAK, Alaska — The Coast Guard and Alaska State Troopers responded to four mariners in distress after their 32-foot fishing vessel Just In Time began taking on water near Dillingham, Friday.

Alaska State Troopers provided the crew of Just In Time a dewatering pump and a damage control kit to patch the hole, and stayed with the vessel to escort the mariners back to Dillingham.

Sector Anchorage watchstanders monitored a mayday call from the owner of Just In Time that his vessel was taking on water. The watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and two Alaska State Trooper patrol vessels responded to provide assistance.

“This case illustrates the indispensable partnership between the Coast Guard and our Alaskan state partners,” said Petty Officer 1st Class James Fangman, a watchstander at Coast Guard 17th District command center. “The quick response to our broadcast by the Alaska State Troopers ensured that the mariners in distress were able to safely get back underway and make it to port.”

Weather at the time of the incident was reported as 15 mph winds and 11-mile visibility.

Cabbie acquitted
An Anchorage jury acquitted a former cab driver accused of raping a passenger.

The jury on Friday found 46-year old Chidibiere "Norman" Nwokorie not guilty
on all four charges of sexual assault.

Nwokorie had given a free ride to a woman in August, 2011. He was accused of
taking her to the cab service yard in the ship creek area and sexually assaulting her.

Assistant District Attorney Jason Gist told the Anchorage Daily News
that jurors apparently could not shake their doubts about what really happened.

Because Nwokorie had been allowed to continue driving while released on bail,
the Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance allowing chauffer licenses to be suspended
if drivers use their vehicles in the commission of a crime.

NBC's 'Today" live broadcast draws 1,500 in Juneau
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Juneau residents came out in droves this week to see some live television.

About 1,500 residents were on hand Thursday as NBC's "Today" did a live segment from Mendenhall Glacier.

Since the segment was live for East Coast audiences, that meant the show started at 3 a.m. local time in Alaska's capital.

Officials say people started lining up at the visitor center pavilion about 1:30 a.m., and the parking lot opened 30 minutes later.

The travel tourism segment was hosted by the show's Natalie Morales who spent two days in Juneau kayaking on Mendenhall Lake, ice climbing and flying in a helicopter above the glacier.
 

[Friday July 11th 2014  20th  EDITION 7:18 P.M.]

Forest Service provides update on Mendenhall Lake, trails

JUNEAU, AK, July 11, 2014 - The Tongass National Forest has closed the following areas because of glacier outburst flooding. Flooding continues according to the National Weather Service, but the lake levels have been dropping since 4:30 p.m.

-Nugget Falls trail closed this morning, July 11.
-West Glacier trail closed this morning, July 11 (as part of the closure of Skater’s  Cabin road).
-Photo Point trail closed at 1:15 p.m. today, July 11 (lake level was 11.1 feet). 
-The main path of the Visitor Center will be closed at 7:30 p.m. July 11 coinciding with the Visitor Center closing.

-The fish cam and beaver cam at the Pavilion have also been shut off until further notice.

-Skaters Cabin road is closed until further notice.

-Glacier Spur Road remains open. Traffic is heavy tonight on the Glacier Spur Road and parking will be challenging as people view flooded areas. The bus lot will be available for bus and tour operator parking only (no private vehicles) until 7:30 p.m. It will be opened to private vehicles after 7:30 p.m. Parking is not allowed on the inbound lane of the spur road between the bus lot and end of road.
-Entire Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area closes at midnight (normal hours) and will open at 6 a.m. Saturday, July 12, (normal opening time).

The following areas remain open:
-Steep Creek trail.

-Trail of Time remains open as does East Glacier trail, and the Forest Service does not foresee closing these trails.
-Moraine Ecology trail is open but the public cannot launch watercraft from this area.
-The lake remains closed to all watercraft due to the unusual hazards associated with the flood.

Forest Service officials have not yet witnessed any unusual calving of the glacial terminus yet.

National Weather Service says record lake crest, water levels to subside
The Mendenhall Lake crested at 11.8 ft. and the Mendenhall River crested at about 13.5 ft. Friday afternoon.

The lake itself managed to go past the previous record height of 11.2 feet in 1995, but the Mendenhall River fell just shy of it's record level of 13.8 also in 1995.

Meteorologist Brian Bezenek, with the National Weather Service in Juneau, says it appears the water levels are going to subside overnight and into early tomorrow.

(Aerial photo of flooding Friday)


CBJ:  Mendenhall Flood Update

Reports from the National Weather Service indicate the Mendenhall River has crested and the flood has reached its peak and has begun to subside.

CBJ first responders are still working to ensure public safety.

As of 6:00 PM Friday, View Drive remains closed. The barricades along Riverside Drive from Rivercourt Drive to Killewich Avenue are being removed.

People should stay away from the banks of the Mendenhall River as the banks are unstable and could easily give way.

New water level set on Mendenhall Lake
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A record flood level has been set on Juneau's Mendenhall Lake.

National Weather Service meteorologist Nicole Ferrin says the lake reached 11.56 feet on Friday afternoon. The prior record was 11.18 feet, in 1995.

Authorities were monitoring the lake and Mendenhall River, to see when they would crest following the release of water from a glacially dammed lake. The glacial outburst is expected to be worse than one in 2011, which resulted in the closure of some spur roads and some water getting into garages.

Floodwaters crept up on homes and closed side roads and popular hiking trails Friday. Mendenhall River churned up whitewater, as authorities tried to keep curious onlookers off the bridge overlooking it.

(Photos taken Friday at 1PM near the high school: courtesy of Kelly Tkachenko)

CBJ Flood Update
CBJ staff continues to monitor flooding. The Mendenhall River is still rising and there is no sign of the flood subsiding at this time. CBJ has closed View Drive and all roads leading into Meander Way, from Rivercourt Drive to Killewich Avenue along Riverside Drive. This is a voluntary closure at this time. Non-essential persons should stay out of the area. The roads may become impassible due to flooding from high water on the Mendenhall Lake and River.

Power was shut off to View Drive and the Mendenhall Campground and may be shut off to isolated areas affected by flood water. The Airport Dike Trail and the Kaxdigoowu Heen dei Park Trail, aka “Brotherhood Bridge Trail” are closed, including the pedestrian bridge.

Do not walk or drive through flooded areas. People should stay away from the banks of the Mendenhall River as the banks are unstable and could easily give way. Do not stop or stand on bridges to take photographs. Local agencies are monitoring the situation and will continue to provide updates.

Persons living anywhere along the river corridor should think about personal plans for flooding and be prepared. Everyone in the community, regardless of location, is encouraged to have a personal “go bag” of emergency supplies.

Learn more about preparedness here.
View the National Weather Service hydrographs for Mendenhall Lake here.
View the National Weather Service Mendenhall River hydrograph here.

Power temporarily disconnected in some areas due to rising waters
With the flood warning for Juneau and rising water in Mendenhall Lake, AEL&P has temporarily disconnected electrical service to View Drive and the Mendenhall Lake Campground.

Debbie Driscoll, Spokesperson for AEL&P - Alaska Electric Light & Power, says they watching the water levels closely. "This is temporary until the water recedes a bit and it's a safety precaution." Driscoll says they are keeping their eyes on other areas that are likely to flood.  If the water gets dangerously close to homes or electrical equipment, power to those areas will be disconnected too.  She says they will keep customers updated on their website: www.aelp.com.

UPDATE: Mendenhall closures
CBJ is restricting access to all roads leading into Meander Way by placing barricades on all roads into the area. Due to high water levels on the Mendenhall River, the area has a high potential for flooding of the streets. Recognize that even if water does not crest the banks it is possible for streets to become flooded through the storm drain system.

This is a voluntary closure at this time.

People should not walk or drive through flooded areas.

The Kaxdigoowu Heen dei Park Trail, aka "Brotherhood Bridge Trail" is closed, including the pedestrian bridge.

People should stay away from the banks of the Mendenhall River as the banks are unstable and could easily give way.

Do not stop or stand on bridges to take photographs.


Local agencies are monitoring the situation and will continue to provide updates.

Persons living anywhere along the river corridor should think about personal plans for flooding and be prepared. Everyone in the community, regardless of location, is encouraged to have a personal "go bag" of emergency supplies. To learn more about preparedness, go to: http://ready.alaska.gov/

To view the National Weather Service hydrographs for Mendenhall Lake go to:
http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=pajk&gage=mnda2&prob_type=stage


For the National Weather Service Mendenhall River hydrograph go to:
http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=pajk&gage=mnba2&prob_type=stage

Closures, cautions with impending Mendenhall flooding
JUNEAU, AK, July 10, 2014 — In anticipation of a significant glacier outburst flood affecting Mendenhall Lake and Mendenhall River, the Tongass National Forest is preparing to close a number of recreation facilities adjacent to the lake and prohibiting the use of watercraft on the lake itself.

The National Weather Service has predicted that Mendenhall Lake will reach a record flood stage on Friday.

The Mendenhall Lake Campground is now closed to new visitors. On Friday, the West Glacier Road and all facilities reached from the road – including the Mendenhall Lake Campground, Skaters Cabin and West Glacier Trail – will be closed and evacuated to protect public safety.

On the lake’s east side, the Nugget Falls Trail will also be closed, and the Photo Point Trail will be monitored for potential closure. In addition, the use of any sort of watercraft on the lake will be prohibited due to the significant risk to boaters posed by strong currents and waves from calving ice. These closures will remain in effect until further notice.

Forest Service officials would like to stress the high risk to anyone who is on or near the glacier during the flood, due to the high likelihood of unpredictable effects. According to scientists at the University of Alaska Southeast, the flood may cause ice caves to collapse, create unexpected movements in the glacier, or result in rock and icefalls from the face of the glacier.

“This flood event is Mother Nature showing its strength and power, and I urge everyone to respect that power by observing from a safe distance,” said Ed Grossman, Juneau Ranger District recreation manager.

The National Weather Service water level gauge at Mendenhall Lake can be monitored on the web at

http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=pajk&gage=mnda2.

Flood waters rise following glacial outburst
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Floodwaters have begun creeping up on homes, closing side roads and popular hiking trails, following the release of water from a glacially dammed lake in Juneau.

The National Weather Service is forecasting record-high flood levels on Mendenhall Lake and Mendenhall River, of about 12 feet and 15 feet, respectively.

The Mendenhall River roared Friday morning, as some residents in the area watched water levels lap up into their yards. Residents along View Drive filled sandbags Thursday, some of which dotted yards Friday morning.

Given the forecast, meteorologist Robert Tschantz said residents along the entire stretch of the river should be vigilant.

Authorities had planned to evacuate the Mendenhall Lake campground Friday morning, but Ed Grossman, with the U.S. Forest Service, said campers were moved out Thursday night.

Special Airport Meeting Monday
The Airport Board will hold a special Airport Board meeting on Monday at 5:00 p.m. in the Alaska Room.

The topics for this meeting will be the Runway Rehabilitation Local Match and State and Federal Funding Request List for the City.

The agenda is available here.

Teenager pleads guilty to felony in fatal crash
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An 18-year-old Anchorage man involved in a fatal 2013 car crash has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Prosecutor Daniel Shorey says Murphy Madison Gross pleaded guilty Thursday to criminally negligent homicide and three counts of misdemeanor assault.

KTUU-TV reports Gross was originally charged with five felonies in the Feb. 6, 2013, crash in midtown Anchorage.

Investigators say Gross ran a red light at Northern Lights Boulevard and A Street and T-boned a Jeep Cherokee.

The crash killed 27-year-old Catherine Cope, a mother of two, and injured three others.

Cope had driven to pick up her husband from his job at Guido's pizza parlor. Ryan Cope got behind the wheel of their SUV and was giving a ride to two co-workers.

Gross is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 13.

Well-known humpback whale killed in boat collision
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A 48-foot female humpback whale that has been seen in the waters of southeast Alaska for nearly 40 years has been found dead.

Officials determined it had been killed in a collision with a boat, and federal law enforcement officers are investigating.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Friday said a necropsy has been performed on the whale known by several names, including Max and No. 539.

The lead veterinarian says the whale's left mandible, or jawbone, was fractured and the right mandible was "traumatically dislocated form the cranium."

Officials said it likely only had been dead a few days when it was found July 1.

Officials said the whale was first seen in 1975 in southeast Alaska. She had at least five calves, and they produced at least three more.

New Troopers Public Service Video targets aggressive driving
(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – Yesterday, as a part of our ongoing efforts to curb major injury and fatal collisions on Alaska’s roadways, the Department of Public Safety released a public service announcement in hopes of reducing dangerous driving such as speeding, passing in no passing zones and tailgating.

The PSA provides safety information to the motoring public. It will run on some television and radio stations and on GCI cable July 10th through 24th.


Unfortunately, Alaska has experienced 35 roadway fatalities since the beginning of 2014. DPS encourages all motorists to use extra care and practice safe driving behaviors at all times while traversing Alaska’s roads.

Another poor walrus harvest for St Lawrence Island
NOME, Alaska (AP) — The number of walrus harvested for subsistence is well below normal for the second straight year on St. Lawrence Island.

Jim MacKracken supervises the walrus program for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He says the harvest is about half of what the average take has been over the last decade.

While some hunters are still out, KNOM reports the majority of walrus pods are past the island.

MacKracken says the total take so far is about 345 animals. He says the reason for the poor harvest is the same as last year, based on what he's heard from hunters: weather, and ice conditions.

The state last year declared an economic disaster for the area because of the low harvest.


Juneau Police: car theft
Sometime between Sunday and Wednesday, a 1998 darkgreen Saturn 4-door sedan was stolen while parked in the 400 block of Harris Street.

Tips can be given anonymously online at www.juneaucrimeline.com.

3-day tax haul from Washington pot sales: $148,256
SEATTLE (AP) — Washington will haul in nearly $150,000 in excise taxes from the first three days of legal marijuana sales — and that doesn't include state and local sales taxes.

Randy Simmons, the Liquor Control Board's project manager for legal pot, says that's not bad, considering the market is in its infancy, with only a few stores open statewide.

The law voters passed in 2012 to legalize pot for adults specifies that excise taxes of 25 percent are imposed when producers sell their product to licensed retail stores, and another 25 percent is imposed when shops sell to consumers.

All excise taxes due from the first day of sales Tuesday totaled $61,604. The figure dipped to $30,924 on Wednesday, and rose to $55,728 on Thursday, for a total of $148,256.


California man catches 482-pound halibut in Alaska
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A California man hooked the catch of a lifetime while on vacation in Alaska.

The Orange County Register reports Friday that 76-year-old Jack McGuire of Santa Ana caught a 482-pound Pacific halibut.

McGuire struggled for 40 minutes before the giant fish was reeled in.

His catch outweighs the 459-pound Pacific halibut caught in Alaska in 1996 that is currently the world record, but it doesn't meet International Game Fish Association regulations.

The halibut was shot, then harpooned before it was brought aboard the boat, disqualifying the catch from being considered for a world record.

McGuire was on a weeklong fishing trip near Glacier Bay with his three children when he caught the 95-inch-long fish. He has been fishing since age 6.

Baby born by C-section from mother in coma
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A baby has been born to an Alaska woman in a coma and listed as clinically brain dead for most of the pregnancy.

KTVA reports that baby Faith was delivered by cesarean section Tuesday.

Her mother, Jessie Ayagalria of Bethel, suffered cardiac arrest in January. Doctors discovered she was 12 weeks pregnant.

She was transferred to an Anchorage hospital, where doctors said she had no brain wave activity. However, a neurologist said it was possible for her to carry the baby.

Ayagalria's mother, Shirley Jerry, says family members agreed to try, and had her daughter put on life support.

Jerry says it was amazing to hold her granddaughter, who was born at 35 weeks. But the birth comes with mixed emotions since Ayagalria has returned to hospice care.

Jerry will care for Faith.

Alaska Native land-claims leader dies
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Native leader Don Wright, who was a force behind the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, has died at age 84.

Doyon Ltd, the Fairbanks-based regional Native corporation, says in a release that Wright died Saturday, July 5.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner says Wright was president of the Alaska Federation of Natives in 1971 when then-President Richard Nixon signed into law the claims settlement.

The law compensated Alaska Natives for loss of lands historically used. It led to establishment of regional and village Native corporations with the right to select 44 million acres of land and appropriated $962.5 million to them.

Doyon, one of the regional Native corporations created under the law, says Wright was a champion for Alaska.

Wright's funeral will take place in Nenana July 26.

Sinkhole repair closes Fairbanks bridge
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks bridge over the Chena (CHEE NUH) River is closing Friday to allow workers to repair a nearby sinkhole.

Fairbanks Public Works Director Mike Schmetzer says the Wendell Avenue Bridge is closing.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the sinkhole is about 7 feet deep and the size of a volleyball near the surface.

The sinkhole is one of several that opened up recently after heavy rain.

One sinkhole on a resident's lawn was estimated to be 80 feet deep.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks has reported three sinkholes. An employee cutting grass with a riding mower on the east side of campus Thursday was stopped when ground opened beneath the mower's left wheel.

That sinkhole was about 10 feet deep.

Woman cited for photographing while driving
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A woman observed driving erratically between Palmer and Wasilla has been cited for taking pictures of herself while driving.

The Anchorage Daily News reports 59-year-old Susan Fellows was cited Tuesday afternoon.

Alaska State Troopers say they took a call from their "Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately Program" about a car weaving on the Palmer-Wasilla Highway.

An officer stopped Fellows near the Glenn Highway intersection.

Fellows was issued a misdemeanor citation for texting while driving.

State lawmakers banned texting while driving in 2012.

Ribbon seal shows up in Prince William Sound
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Prince William Sound hosted an unusual visitor this week.

APRN reports a federal wildlife technician on Wednesday photographed a ribbon seal on ice.

Marty Reedy was at the wheel of a boat taking part in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seabird and marine mammal survey.

He has also worked in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas and immediately recognized the animal that is found in those waters.

Seal expert Peter Boveng of the National Marine Mammal Lab in Seattle says ribbon seals spend winters in the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk (oh-KOOTSK').

He says roaming seals have been seen as far south as British Colombia and Washington.

CBJ makes board appointments, others still open
The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly, at a Special Assembly Meeting held Thursday, July 10, 2014, made the following appointments to the Airport, and Docks and Harbors Boards.

Airport Board: The Assembly reappointed incumbent Malcolm Menzies and appointed new member Dennis Harris to the Airport Board, each for three year terms beginning July 10, 2014 and expiring June 30, 2017.

Docks and Harbors Board: The Assembly reappointed incumbents E. Budd Simpson and John A. Bush along with new member David Summers to three year terms on the Docks and Harbors Board beginning July 10, 2014 and expiring June 30, 2017.

The Assembly would like to thank outgoing member Ron Swanson for his many years of service on the Airport Board and Docks and Harbors Board member Kevin Jardell for his service on that board.

The Assembly would also like to thank all those individuals who are willing to serve and have submitted applications for consideration. CBJ still has a number of vacant seats on a variety of boards and commissions and anyone interested in serving is encouraged to submit an application.

Additional information is available online at: http://www.juneau.org/clerk/boards/VACANCY_List.pdf

The Full Assembly sitting as the Human Resources Committee will be meeting on Thursday, July 17 to make appointments to the Eaglecrest Ski Area Board.

Dino footprints
Fossilized dinosaur footprints in Denali National Park suggest mixed-age herds roaming Alaska in the late Cretaceous period.

A study published in the journal "Geology" describes the tracks of Hadrosaurs found in the Cantwell Formation.

The duck-billed herbivores left footprints of different sizes, indicating four different age groups traveling together 70 million years ago.

Lead author Anthony Fiorillo tells the Anchorage Daily News that the tracks are a clue to the "social sophistication" of Hadrosaurs, with extended parental care.

The tracks, which have been studied for the past decade, are the largest collection of dinosaur footprints found so far north.

Acting Bethel police chief named to post
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — A Bethel police lieutenant has been named as the town's police chief.

KYUK says Andre Achee had been working as acting chief since spring.

Achee replaces former chief Larry Elarton, who resigned after serving at the top spot since 2008.

Achee has worked for the Bethel Police Department for more than 20 years. In that time, he served nine years as a lieutenant.

His new position is official Friday.

Meetings to give update on pipeline project
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Community meetings are planned for next week to provide an update on the proposed liquefied natural gas project.

Meetings are scheduled for Tuesday in Anchorage and Thursday in Fairbanks.

The parties involved in the project recently signed an agreement that moves the effort into a phase of preliminary engineering and design.

Kodiak has most expensive haircut in the US
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — If you've seen a lot of long-haired men on Alaska's Kodiak Island, this might be the reason.

A new study finds the City of Kodiak has the priciest men's haircut in the nation, on average at $26.67 a cut. The national average is $13.95 a cut.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports this is included in a state labor department report comparing cost of living data for more than 300 cities. Among those were Kodiak, Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau.

There's good news in the report if some Kodiak men are embarrassed by their long locks and want to hide in a dark place.

It says Kodiak has the most inexpensive movie ticket in Alaska, at $6 on average. That's well below the average ticket price of $10.68 in Anchorage.

Anchorage man dies in collision on Glenn Highway
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say a 67-year-old Anchorage man has died after his truck collided with a motor home on the eastern section of the Glenn Highway.

Troopers say Casar Justo Lao-Ing was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash Thursday at milepost 122 of the highway.

The occupants in the Winnebago are the driver, 69-year-old William Glen Briggs, and his wife, 68-year-old Linda Lou Briggs, both of Donna, Texas.

Troopers say the couple was flown by helicopter to Providence Alaska Medical Center. Troopers say William Briggs sustained serious injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening and that Linda Briggs received minor injuries.

Lao-Ing's body was taken to the state medical examiner's office.

Troopers say they are investigating the collision, which occurred when Lao-Ing's truck crossed the center line.

[Thursday July 10th 2014  12th  EDITION 6:35 P.M.]

Video debut: The Empty Chair
Greg Chaney’s documentary titled The Empty Chair kicks off a series of events planned for the Empty Chair Memorial Dedication this weekend. The first showing is at noon Friday at the 20th Century Theatre in downtown Juneau and again on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at the Nickelodeon Theatre.

The Empty Chair Memorial will be dedicated in Capital School Park Saturday at 2:00 p.m.  The Empty Chair Project is a memorial to the WWII Japanese-American internees of Juneau.

UPDATE:  Flood Warning, closings
Mendenhall Lake, campground, and trails are closing for public safety during this flood event.

In anticipation of a significant glacier outburst flood affecting Mendenhall Lake and Mendenhall River, the Tongass National Forest is preparing to close a number of recreation facilities adjacent to the lake and prohibiting the use of watercraft on the lake itself. The National Weather Service has predicted that Mendenhall Lake will reach a record flood stage on Friday.

The Mendenhall Lake Campground is now closed to new visitors. On Friday, the West Glacier Road and all facilities reached from the road – including the Mendenhall Lake Campground, Skaters Cabin and West Glacier Trail – will be closed and evacuated to protect public safety. On the lake’s east side, the Nugget Falls Trail will also be closed, and the Photo Point Trail will be monitored for potential closure. In addition, the use of any sort of watercraft on the lake will be prohibited due to the significant risk to boaters posed by strong currents and waves from calving ice. These closures will remain in effect until further notice.

Forest Service officials would like to stress the high risk to anyone who is on or near the glacier during the flood, due to the high likelihood of unpredictable effects. According to scientists at the University of Alaska Southeast, the flood may cause ice caves to collapse, create unexpected movements in the glacier, or result in rock and icefalls from the face of the glacier.

“This flood event is Mother Nature showing its strength and power, and I urge everyone to respect that power by observing from a safe distance,” said Ed Grossman, Juneau Ranger District recreation manager.

The National Weather Service water level gauge at Mendenhall Lake can be monitored on the web here.

(Photo courtesy of Laurie Craig, Lead Naturalist at Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center - Craig says it's an "image of the area on the right side of the glacier where we can see churning water that is discharging from the glacier. We suspect similar discharge is occurring in the other places that are hidden beneath the glacier.")

Ferry cancellation
The MV Chenega sailings to Whittier for Thursday and Friday have been canceled due to severe weather in Prince William Sound.

The vessel will still sail Cordova-Valdez, as scheduled. Travelers may view the most current schedule information online at ferry alaska dot com .

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.

Increased bear activity
Due to increased bear activity, The Alaska Department of Fish and Game would like to remind all residents to store garbage and other bear attractants in a garage, shed, or bear resistant enclosure until 4am on garbage day.

For more information about living and recreating in bear country, visit www.alaskabears.alaska.gov.

Flood Warning-Mendenhall Lake, River
With Suicide Basin starting to leak, the National Weather Service has issued a Flood Warning for the area around Mendenhall Lake and River until 10 P. M. Saturday night.

Water levels are expected to peak Friday night.

Mendenhall Glacier's "Suicide Basin" lake started to release at approximately 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 9th, causing water levels to rise in the Mendenhall Lake and River areas.

People should stay away from the banks of the Mendenhall River as the banks are unstable and could easily give way.

Do not stop or stand on bridges to take photographs.

Those residing near Mendenhall Lake and along the Mendenhall River should be prepared to experience high water levels and respond accordingly.

With National Weather Service Forecast Models exceeding 2011 flood levels, it is important that people be prepared for inundation in areas never previously recorded.

Recognize that even if water does not crest the banks it is possible for streets to become flooded through the storm drain system.

Local agencies are monitoring the situation and will be providing updates as available.

To view the National Weather Service hydrographs for Mendenhall Lake go to: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=pajk&gage=mnda2&prob_type=stage

For the National Weather Service Mendenhall River hydrograph go to: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=pajk&gage=mnba2&prob_type=stage

Glacial lake outburst prompts Juneau flood warning
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The National Weather Service is warning of fast-rising water levels on Mendenhall Lake and Mendenhall River that could leave some areas under several feet of water.

A flood warning has been issued through Saturday night due to the release of a glacially dammed lake. Water levels are expected to rise and fall quickly, assuming there is nothing like a sudden heavy rain.

Meteorologist Robert Tschantz says record levels are forecast for the lake and river.

Mendenhall Lake is forecast to reach 11.6 feet, almost 2 feet above moderate flood stage.

Mendenhall River is forecast to crest at 14.6 feet. Tschantz said View Drive, a small residential area, becomes impassable when the river hits 13 feet. He said at the level forecast, parts of area campgrounds could be several feet underwater.

Coast Guard medevacs 64-year-old woman from a ferry near Cordova, Alaska
KODIAK, Alaska — The Coast Guard medevaced an injured 64-year-old woman from Alaska Marine Highway System ferry Kennicott near Cordova Wednesday evening.

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, forward deployed in Cordova, safely hoisted the woman and transported her to awaiting medical personnel in Valdez.

The crew of the Kennicott requested help after the woman suffered a head injury.

Anchorage woman arrested on sex trafficking counts
Alaska State Troopers have arrested an Anchorage woman on charges she trafficked women for sex in Alaska's largest communities.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 39-year-old Amber L. Batts was arrested Wednesday on four counts of sex trafficking. She was being held on $15,000 bail. Online court records didn't list an attorney for her on Wednesday.

Troopers allege Batts supervised an online system that marketed women for sex acts in Anchorage, Fairbanks Juneau, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and the Kenai Peninsula.

Authorities say money was exchanged for sex acts, and they allege Batts got a cut of it. Troopers served two warrants Wednesday, one at Batts' home and the other at an apartment where sex acts are alleged to have taken place between the women and their customers.

Third sinkhole opens up on UAF campus in last week
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Another sinkhole has opened up in the ground below Fairbanks.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports several have been reported in the last week since heavy rains fell. One sinkhole on a resident's lawn was estimated to be 80 feet deep. It's been filled in with gravel.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks has reported at least three sinkholes, including the latest Thursday morning.

An employee was mowing the lawn on the east side of campus when the ground opened up under the mower's left wheel. There were no injuries, but the riding lawn mower the size of a golf cart was nearly swallowed by the 10-foot deep hole that's since been filled in.

Other sinkholes were near the West Ridge research building and another on the campus' east side.

Fairbanks man sentenced to 9 years in drug case
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A 37-year-old Fairbanks man has been sentenced to more than nine years in prison for possessing cocaine for distribution.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Benjamin Dewayne Smith was found with more than 13 ounces of cocaine in 2012.

He pleaded guilty to possession in April and was sentenced Wednesday to nine years and two months in prison.

Prosecutors say Smith had been convicted three previous times of drug felonies.

He's the former co-owner of Heavy Chevy Entertainment, also known as HCE.

Alaska lawmakers approve $500K furniture budget
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska state House-Senate committee has approved a $500,000 budget for new furniture at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office that is being remodeled.

The Anchorage Daily News reports the budget approved Monday by the Legislative Council is for new furnishings in public spaces, hearing rooms and staff offices at the downtown building.

Lawmakers will make do with old furniture from storage and state surplus when they move into the overhauled offices next year.

The council also decided to take the high bid to purchase and install visual and audio systems there. Winning the bid was Chariot Group Inc., which bid more than $343,000, compared to low bidder Pyramid Audio Video, at nearly $291,000.

Legislative Affairs Agency director Pam Varni says Chariot reached a higher score in a bid review.

State wants mediation over Xerox billing system
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state of Alaska wants to go to mediation over what it considers the failure by Xerox State Healthcare to address problems with Alaska's new Medicaid payment system.

Xerox is the system vendor.

At a legislative hearing in February, a company executive said progress was being made in areas like claims processing. The following month, health commissioner Bill Streur sent a letter to the company's president, demanding a corrective action plan. He said health care providers had sustained thousands of dollars of losses related to non-payment, rebilling and waiting "inordinate" amounts of time to authorize a service or verify the status of claims.

Xerox, in a statement, says it's working with the state to address its concerns and to achieve the mutual goal of providing a reliable system.

State faces fine over undeclared bullets, lighter
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The state faces a fine of at least $7,000 after a lawmaker attempted to ship bullets, a cigarette lighter and an aerosol can by air to Juneau.

Wasilla Rep. Wes Keller said he plans to reimburse the state for the penalty. He called it an embarrassing mistake.

The 2013 incident was made public at a Legislative Council meeting Wednesday.

The Anchorage Daily News reports the council adopted a new policy on shipping household goods from lawmakers' home districts to Juneau for session to meet a condition set by federal authorities to reduce the initial penalty.

If there is another violation, the Legislature could be assessed the maximum fine of $75,000 and have suspended a number issued by the Transportation Security Administration to vouch for a shipper's integrity.

Micheal W. Smith performed in Juneau Wednesday
Singer/Songwriter Michael W. Smith performed a benefit concert in Juneau Wednesday afternoon. The concert,benefiting Love INC, was held at Centennial Hall, where Smith was joined by a 250-member choir.

This was not Michael W. Smith's first time in Alaska. Smith said, "This my third cruise to Alaska. I'm a big outdoorsman. I just love the state. It's beautiful." He plans to perform at the Alaska State Fair this summer.

Michael W. Smith has won 3 Grammy Awards along with his 40 Dove Awards.

Live from Juneau, its TODAY!
The TODAY show broadcasted live segments from the Mendenhall Glacier Pavilion this morning. Hundreds of fans filled two parking lots and lined the road to the visitor's center before 3 AM. Nancy Woizeschke, (Wo zeski) President and CEO of the Juneau Convention and Visitor's Bureau gave us some insight into what it took to get the NBC morning show to Juneau.

The state of Alaska and their tourism partners have been working for at least 10 years to get someone the caliber of the TODAY Show to come to Juneau. "We have been working on it for at least three months, " said Woizeschke, (Wo zeski) . "They looped us in when it looked like it was something that was going to happen. We have been working with them on logistics. We actually had one of our staff come out at three in the morning to take pictures, so they could see the available light at that time. The Forest Service has been involved in getting the permits. It's been a big chunk of our life for the last couple of months. It's exciting to see it all come together and see all these people out here as excited as we are," Woizeschke concluded.

Even though months of work went into this project. It was not a "done deal" until the last week.

Natalie Morales hosted the Juneau segments for TODAY. The broadcast featured highlights of Morales’ previously filmed adventures at Mendenhall Glacier and at Pack Creek Brown Bear Viewing Area on Admiralty Island.

Help JPD solve the Crime of the Week
On July 8th at about 5:50 in the morning, an anonymous caller reported a vehicle had crashed into three electrical boxes and a mailbox stand in the 8800 block of Nancy Street.

The Juneau Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in locating the person responsible for the hit and run. The vehicle involved will likely be a passenger car and it will have noticeable front end damage as a light and trim were left at the scene.

The cost to repair the damage will be approximately $7300.

If you have a tip, you can call JPD at 586-0600 and remain anonymous.

You can also log on to juneau crimeline dot com.

You may be eligible for a reward.

Fairbanks to test clothing from fatal fire
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Clothing worn by a man who died in a fire at the Fairbanks downtown post office will be tested at a crime laboratory in Georgia.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Johnny Wallace was severely burned in the fire Jan. 1, 2013. He died four days later.

Fairbanks Mayor Eberhart says he found out in June that Wallace's clothing was not sent to the state crime lab.

The clothing had been doused with a chemical extinguisher and police said the state lab likely would reject testing because it would be a waste of time.

Eberhart after meetings with Wallis' family asked police to send the clothing to an independent lab.

He says the analysis may yield nothing but the city owes it to the family to get the clothing tested.

Woman dies in Seward Highway crash
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A woman has died of injuries suffered in a van crash Wednesday night on the Seward Highway.

KTUU-TV reports the crash was about a mile south of the turnoff to the Alyeska Highway in Girdwood.

Alaska State Troopers say the northbound van shortly after 8 p.m. crossed the southbound lane, hit a guardrail, overturned and landed in the middle of the highway.

The woman was ejected and the van landed on her. She was declared dead at the scene.

Notification of next of kin is pending and the woman's name has not been released.

A man in the van was taken to a hospital.

Several respond to disabled vessel
KODIAK, Alaska — The Coast Guard, Alaska State Troopers, local search and rescue and the crew of the tug Naniq responded to a disabled vessel near Kotzebue, Alaska, Wednesday.

The Naniq crew provided gas and a battery to the disabled vessel and escorted them back to Kotzebue.

Alaska State Troopers contacted Coast Guard 17th District command center watchstanders to request aerial assistance to help locate three women and a child aboard a disabled 24-foot aluminum Harbercraft. The mariners were traveling from Buckland to Kotzebue when the weather turned bad and they attempted to return to Buckland but had run out of gas.

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew launched and were conducting a search of the area when Alaska State Troopers reported the crew of the tug Naniq had located the missing boaters.

The Jayhawk helicopter crew rendezvoused with the crew of the tug and barge Naniq who reported the vessel had lost power and run out of gas.

The helicopter crew remained on scene while the Naniq crew assisted the disabled boaters.

“This case illustrates how invaluable good Samaritans and our local and state agencies are to the Coast Guard,” said Adam De Rocher, a watchstander at Coast Guard 17th District command center. “Without our partners we wouldn’t have been able to locate and provide assistance to the mariners in their time of need.”

Weather at the time of the incident was reported as 3- to 5-foot seas and 17 mph winds.

[Wednesday July 9th 2014  17TH  EDITION 6:05 P.M.]

New JDHS Assistant Principal is Kim McNamara
The Juneau School District welcomes Kimberley McNamara as Assistant Principal at Juneau-Douglas High School. McNamara was interviewed on July 2, by a panel representing the school’s certified staff and classified staff, district administration and the JDHS Site Council.

McNamara is currently Special Education Program Manager at the Department of Education and Early Development in Juneau, where she has been since 2011. She has a strong background in special education as a high school teacher of English, history and language arts in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. She also spent time as a teacher and youth counselor in a wilderness therapy environment.

McNamara says, "I am extremely excited to be joining the JDHS school community and look forward to getting to know the students, families, and staff. The applicant pool was strong and I am honored to be selected.” She is looking forward to the school year, “August is around the corner and I anticipate a successful year working with Principal Casperson and the rest of the staff at JDHS. I will work hard to serve our community in this new role."

JDHS Principal Paula Casperson shares the enthusiasm. She says, “JDHS is pleased to welcome Kim to our team. She is a high energy, solution-oriented person and is looking forward to helping JDHS continue on our positive trajectory. We are lucky to have her!”
McNamara has a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of Massachusetts Amherst, a Master of Education with a Special Education Endorsement from Keene State College in New Hampshire, and will receive her Graduate Certificate in Education Leadership from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Yukon Quest to spread out rest periods
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race is spreading out rest periods during the race, a move officials say will ensure better rested dog teams.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the biggest change is reducing the 36-hour layover in Dawson City to 24 hours.

Mushers will now have six-hour layovers in either Braeburn or Carmacks. That used to be a four-hour layover.

A six-hour stop is now required in Eagle, an increase of two hours. A new six-hour mandatory stop has been added on the Alaska side, in either Circle, Central or at Mile 101.

All mushers must take a mandatory eight-hour rest at the last checkpoint in Two Rivers.

The 1,000-mile race alternates starts yearly between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, Yukon. Next year's race starts Feb. 7 in Whitehorse.


Board member says no vote on Sullivan endorsement
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A board member for the Arctic Slope Regional Corp. is taking issue with the organization's endorsement of Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Dan Sullivan.

Eugene Brower said members were polled on whether they supported Sullivan but a formal board vote wasn't taken. He said he was upset by a press release implying the full board supported Sullivan. He said he supports Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.

The release issued last week said members of the board had taken the "unique step" of endorsing Sullivan, a former state attorney general and Natural Resources commissioner. The release quoted board chairman Crawford Patkotak and corporation president and CEO Rex Rock Sr.

Spokesman Ty Hardt said the support for Sullivan was overwhelming. He apologized for any confusion but said the corporation stands behind its original announcement.

2 injured in Anchorage shooting
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police say two people have been injured in a shooting in the city's Fairview neighborhood.

KTVA reports police were looking for a suspect following the shooting Wednesday afternoon near 12th Avenue and Hyder Street.

Police say two victims were hospitalized with what appears to be non-life-threatening injuries.

No other information was immediately available.


Colorado completes 1st legal pot market study
DENVER (AP) — Colorado is smoking pot by the ton, and visitors are, too. That's the conclusion from Colorado pot regulators who have issued what might be the world's first market study of legal recreational marijuana.

The study released late Wednesday afternoon concluded that total market demand for marijuana in Colorado is about 130 metric tons a year. That's about 121 metric tons for residents and almost 9 metric tons a year for visitors. These figures include medical and recreational marijuana.

The state concluded that visitors account for 44 percent of the marijuana recreational retail sales in the Denver area. In the mountains and other vacation spots, visitors to Colorado account for 90 percent of recreational dispensary traffic.

Colorado's Department of Revenue compiled the market study, the first since retail sales began in January. Sales in Washington state began Tuesday.


Atlanta firm hired to manage new Bethel pool, gym
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — The Bethel City Council has hired a Georgia firm to manage the city's new six-lane pool and exercise facility.

KYUK reports USA Pools of Atlanta has been awarded the contract to manage the pool, named Kuimarvik (KWEEM'-uh-vik).

Kuimarvik is Yup'ik Eskimo for "place to swim."

USA Pools actually finished second in the city's scoring process, but still got the contract worth about $1.2 million annually when the city couldn't get the top-scoring process to provide plans or verify its physical address.

USA Pools will send staff members to western Alaska this month to start hiring.

User fees are expected to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, and the city has $4 million from sales taxes set aside to fund operations.


Seattle hospital testing brain trauma drug
SEATTLE (AP) — Patients who arrive unconscious with a head injury at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle may be given a drug being tested to prevent bleeding in the brain, even though they are unable to give their consent.

The hospital's chief trauma doctor, Dr. Eileen Bulger, says the drug known as TXA is already approved to stop internal bleeding. She's leading the study to determine if giving the drug as early as possible helps with traumatic brain injury.

The hospital is currently doing community outreach. Enrollment in the study won't begin until it gets approval from a review panel at the University of Washington.

The Seattle Times reports that people can opt out by requesting a "NO-STUDY" bracelet (call 206-744-7724 or email pklotz@uw.edu).

The study at Harborview and nine other trauma centers will involve about 1,000 patients, and about 100 of those are at Harborview.


B
all fields closed for resurfacing
Savikko Park field resurfacing begins this week.

The expected completion date is August 21, 2014.

The ball fields will not be available for public use during the project.

Three men aboard vessel taking on water near Kodiak rescued
KODIAK, Alaska – The Coast Guard and the crew of the fishing vessel Katherine assisted three men aboard a vessel taking on water in Shelikof Strait near Kodiak Wednesday.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Roanoke Island will escort the 67-foot fishing vessel Jeanoah to the port of Kodiak.

The Jeanoah’s master reported the vessel had struck a rock and was taking on water approximately 40 miles west of Kodiak.

A Coast Guard rescue and assistance team from the Roanoke Island and a rescue swimmer delivered dewatering pumps and boarded the vessel to conduct temporary repairs while the crew of the Katherine towed the vessel into safer waters. The escort of the Jeanoah and its crew to Kodiak is expected to take 12-15 hours.

Murkowski: Open, Fair Amendment Process Essential in Considering Sportsmen’s Package
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Wednesday called on Senate Democratic leaders to allow for an open and fair amendment process that “We have to return to regular order. We have to have a fair and healthy debate on legislation, especially legislation that has not gone through the committee process,” Murkowski said. “A lot of hard work has gone into crafting this bipartisan package, but unfortunately that work is once again at risk of being cast aside because of political concerns.”

Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, made her comments this morning on the Senate floor. “Sportsmen’s issues have historically been very bipartisan and non-political,” Murkowski said. “But unless we agree to an open amendment process – where we take votes instead of hiding from them – we are unlikely to make any further progress.”

Murkowski assembled the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act (S. 2363), with Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. The legislation, which has 44 cosponsors, aims to protect access to public lands for sportsmen and women. A 2003 Department of the Interior report to Congress found that there were access issues on 35 million acres of public land.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., used a procedural tactic to bring the legislation up on the floor that bypassed the regular committee process. Murkowski said the maneuver left her Senate colleagues without the traditional opportunity to offer amendments in committee – making the floor amendment process that much more important.
“It’s important to remember that this package has not gone through the traditional path of a committee process. I feel very strongly that all of our colleagues should have an opportunity to provide their perspectives and their insights before we take a final vote on this bill,” Murkowski said.

There have so far been 46 amendments filed to the bill. Majority Leader Reid appears to believe that relevant amendments are too difficult for Democrats to vote on, Murkowski said. She urged him to reconsider that position, but Reid was so eager to take down the bill, he tried to “fill the tree” – blocking amendments – even before a vote on the motion to proceed. “I want to be clear this morning: the Republican conference is prepared to vote on all relevant amendments,” Murkowski said. “We should do our jobs as U.S. senators. We came here to represent our states and our country, but unfortunately, we are continually denied that ability here on the Senate floor.”

SCAM ALERT-JUNEAU
We have received reports of a telephone scam in Juneau today.

The callers are identifying themselves with A E L & P and asking businesses and households to meet them at Wal-Mart and/or Fred Meyer to pay their "past due" bills.

A E L & P wants to remind customers that is not how they do business.

You are encouraged to call Juneau Police if you receive such a call.

UPDATE-Pilot injured in Palmer plane crash
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 57-year-old pilot was flown to a Wasilla hospital following a crash Tuesday night near Palmer.

Alaska State Troopers say Russell Dunlap of Palmer was piloting an Aeronca C85 when he attempted a landing at Sky Ranch. Troopers say in a web posting the plane overshot the runway and came to rest in a wooded area off Sky Ranch Loop.

Dunlap was taken to Mat-Su Regional Hospital by a medical helicopter for treatment. Officials at the hospital didn't immediately respond to requests for a condition update Wednesday morning.

A passenger in the plane, 22-year-old Davis Dunlap of Palmer, was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

Contract delay halts island helicopter service
NOME, Alaska (AP) — A contract delay has halted transportation to and from Little Diomede Island, one of Alaska's most remote communities.

KNOM reports the weekly helicopter flights were suspended because a system of federal and state subsidies expired June 30 before the yearly contract was signed.

The service is contracted with Erickson Helicopters Inc. and subsidized annually at more than $337,000. Erickson pilot Mike Kutyba says passengers pay $400 for one-way flights to or from Nome and $200 for flights to or from the village of Wales.

The state portion of the funding is distributed by Kawerak Inc., a regional nonprofit corporation established by the Bering Straits Native Association.

Kawerak official Pearl Mikulski says she expects the contract to be settled soon.

Little Diomede is 2 1/2 miles from Big Diomede Island, Russia.

More flights arriving late; complaints are rising
WASHINGTON (AP) — More flights on U.S. airlines are running late or getting canceled, and complaints are rising.

The Transportation Department said Wednesday that 76.9 percent of flights arrived on time in May, down from 79.6 percent in April and 79.4 percent in May 2013.

Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines, which get good weather on many routes, rank best. Express Jet and Envoy, which fly smaller planes for big airlines, rank last.

The government says the largest airlines canceled 1.9 percent of their U.S. flights in May, nearly double the rate in April and last May.

Four domestic flights — all on United — and one international flight were stuck on the ground longer than federal rules allow. Fliers filed 1,010 complaints with the government against U.S. airlines, up from 720 a year earlier.

State proceeding with demolitions for bridge
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — In its first major step since taking over the Knik Arm bridge crossing project, the state transportation department has ordered the demolition of two homes' properties, over the objection of community leaders.

The state purchased the two homes along with a motel to make way for the proposed span. The department plans to start taking contract bids for demolition and removal.

Residents of Anchorage's Government Hill neighborhood oppose the demolition of the homes, but not the old motel, which the community council has deemed a potential nuisance.

Community Council President Stephanie Kesler says the homes should be used as rental properties until the project receives the federal funding it would need to go forward.

But transportation department spokeswoman Shannon McCarthy told the Anchorage Daily News that's not an option.

Juneau planners OK first Southeast peony farm
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A Juneau man has received city approval for the first peony farm in southeast Alaska.

The planning commission Tuesday approved a conditional use permit for Brad Fluetsch.

He intends to grow peonies on 24 acres he's purchased on North Douglas, bringing 15 to 20 new jobs to Juneau.

Peonies grow later in Alaska than anywhere else in the United States, providing the state an advantage in the Lower 48 wedding business for July. Lower 48 peonies bloom in early May.

Peony farms are flourishing across Alaska, and it's the fastest growing sector of Alaska agriculture.

Fluetsch says each bloom can sell for as much as $10, meaning one acre can produce about $200,000 in blossoms.

He anticipates the first crop in 2019.

US Senate debate on social issues planned
J
UNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A U.S. Senate debate focused on social issues is scheduled for next month between the major Republican candidates.

The Alaska Family Council says the Aug. 4 debate will be held at a church in Eagle River.

The major Republican candidates in the race are Joe Miller, former state Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell. The president of Alaska Family Action, in an email announcement Wednesday, said all three are expected to attend.

They are vying for the seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, who is seeking re-election.

Fairbanks homeowner fills 8-story sinkhole
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Geophysicists don't know what caused a sinkhole measuring about 80 feet deep to appear in a Fairbanks resident's yard last week.

And they might never know. Homeowner Al Schultz had safety concerns about the hole, which measure about 4 feet wide and up to eight stories deep so he had it filled Monday with five truckloads of gravel.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that happened before two university geophysicists arrived.

Matthew Sturm, with the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Geophysical Institute, did watch a shaky video of the hole produced by the newspaper. From that, Sturm says the hole didn't appear to be man-made, discounting a theory that it was an abandoned mining shaft.

Instead, he thinks it was a fissure created by ice which has melted away

CBJ meeting changes start time
The CBJ has re-scheduled the start time for the Human Resources Committee to interview applicants for the Docks and Harbors and Airport Boards on Thursday, July 10th.

The meeting start time has changed from 5:30 pm to 5:45 pm and will be held in City Hall Conference room #224.

Man pleads not guilty to arson, murder counts
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — An 18-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to arson and murder charges in connection with a fatal fire in Fairbanks.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Conar Lee Groppel entered his plea Tuesday in Fairbanks Superior Court.

He was indicted by a grand jury for intentionally starting a fire or explosion in late January at an apartment complex on Geraghty Street. The fire killed two people, 50-year-old Jane Connolly and 39-year-old Kristina Pence. It also displaced another 50 residents.

Groppel also was injured in the fire, and spent time at a Seattle burn hospital.

Judge Bethany Harbison determined he met the financial requirements for a court-appointed attorney. An attorney in court for another case helped him enter his not guilty plea.

Trial was scheduled for late September.

City of Kotzebue bar
State alcohol regulators have given Kotzebue permission to open a city-owned bar.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that the Alcoholic Beverage Control board
voted unanimously to approve Kotzebue's request at a meeting in Fairbanks Tuesday.

Kotzebue's 20-year ban on liquor sales ended three years ago when the city opened
a liquor store. Local voters also approved a plan for a city-owned restaurant that would
also serve alcohol.

The goal was to halt bootlegging and illegal liquor sales, as well as raise revenue
for the local government.

With the approval of the A-B-C board, the bar & grill is scheduled to open as early as November.

Push continues for convention of states
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A group pushing for a convention of the states to amend the U.S. Constitution hopes to have resolutions before at least 24 state legislatures next year.

Jordan Sillars is a spokesman for the Convention of the States Project. He says three states have passed resolutions calling for a constitutional convention: Alaska, Florida and Georgia.

They call for proposed constitutional amendments that would impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the government's power and jurisdiction and impose term limits.

Two-thirds of states, or 34, would have to pass such measures.

Supporters see it as a way to push back on a federal government they see as out of control. Critics have questioned the issues singled out for consideration and worry such a convention would devolve into chaos.

[Tuesday July 8th 2014  12th  EDITION 5:47 P.M.]

Vehicle takes out both electrical and mail boxes
Juneau Police say an unknown vehicle struck 3 electrical boxes on Nancy St. causing approximately $7000 in damage.

Also damaged early Tuesday morning just before 6:00, was a jointly owned mailbox stand and mailboxes, with damage estimated around $350.

Tips can be reported anonymously at www.juneaucrimeline.com.


Blue Lake Expansion Project's last public tour.
The public is invited to view the construction progress at the Blue Lake dam on a bus tour to both the dam site and new powerhouse.

The last public tour will be held Sunday July 13 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM, beginning and ending at the Centennial building, Sitka.

To sign up please go to www.bluelakeexpansion.com.

State announces new absentee voting sites
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The number of absentee voting locations is expected to more than double over 2012 for this year's elections.

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell's office says at least 123 new locations are being added. The deadline for new sites to be approved was the close of business Tuesday.

Treadwell, in a release, said the new locations, along with a new online system for returning ballots, should make ballots for this year's elections "the most widely available in state history."

The Division of Elections, which Treadwell oversees, worked with ANCSA Regional Association and the Alaska Federation of Natives in securing the new sites.

The division plans to post a list of the absentee locations on its website.

Troopers seek help in hit-and-run case
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers are seeking the public's help in a hit-and-run case in Kodiak last week.

Troopers say a driver struck 14-year-old girl on her bicycle on July 3 and left without
stopping or seeing if she needed help. The girl was treated at a Kodiak hospital.

KTUU reports that troopers are requesting help in identifying the driver and vehicle.

The vehicle involved was described as a maroon Ford pickup with an aluminum tool box in the bed. Troopers say the truck also had a "KVOK Crab Festival" sticker on the back.

State building gets $7.6M face lift in Nome
NOME, Alaska (AP) — A remodeling project for the state building in Nome should be completed in April 2015.

KNOM reports the building on Front Street has been gutted ahead of the remodel project.

Andy Mills with the state Department of Administration said it made more sense to fortify the existing building than completely rebuilding it.

While work continues on the $7.65 million remodeling project, offices for state agencies like Fish and Game, Law, Corrections and Health and Health and Social Services have been temporarily relocated.


Seattle prosecutor among those buying legal pot
SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes was among those buying marijuana on the first day it was legal in Washington state to purchase pot for recreational use.

Holmes was a main backer of the state's recreational marijuana law and said he wanted to be one of the first customers to demonstrate there are alternatives to the nation's failed drug war.

Dressed in a pinstripe suit, Holmes stood inside Seattle's first and, for now, only licensed pot shop, Cannabis City, south of downtown on Tuesday.

He spent $80 on 4 grams, including $20.57 in taxes.

Holmes noted it had been quite some time since he smoked pot.

WA pot sales, "war over"
(ABC NEWS) - People can now purchase pot without a doctor's note in the state of Washington. It was opening day for 24 stores around the state Tuesday.

James Lathrop, the owner of Cannabis City, got the crowd going and applauding, declaring an end to the war on marijuana. "I declare this war over! Yay!!!!"

One man spoke to a reporter outside Cannabis City in Seattle, "This is a wonderful day, it is a day that allows Washington State to sell recreational cannabis legally. And I'm just excited to be able to participate in the system."

The state says only 24 stores were ready to receive licenses in time for the opening day. Washington and Colorado are the only US states that have legalized recreational pot sales.


Independence Day Weekend Enforcement Round Up
The Alaska State Troopers, Alaska Wildlife Troopers and Bureau of Highway Patrol Traffic Teams kept busy this past holiday weekend watching the roads and meeting motorists statewide.

From Wednesday July 2 at 12:01 AM through Monday July 7 at 8:00 AM, troopers were conducting a focused enforcement effort aimed at getting motorists to follow the rules of the road and took the following actions on the roadways statewide:
? 23 misdemeanor DUI arrests, 1 felony DUI Arrests
? 28 drivers charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license
? 195 additional drivers contacted who were reported as REDDI reports and ultimately determined not to be DUI
? 24 damage only crashes 3 injury crashes and 1 fatal crash were investigated by troopers
? Of the 1524 citations issued, 847 were issued for speeding and 102 were issued for seatbelt or other occupant restraint violations

“For the Kenai Peninsula we had a huge increase of motorists on our roads driving to and from events and campgrounds,” said Alaska State Trooper Captain Andrew Greenstreet of E Detachment. “While we had a lot of contact with motorists, we are fortunate that there were no fatal traffic collisions on the Kenai Peninsula during the enforcement effort. Summer time, in general, draws big crowds down to the Peninsula as the camping and fishing are incredible. We really urge drivers to continue to be mindful of their safety and to be well rested and take breaks while they are driving to avoid any type of fatigue.”

Please remember that regardless of what your ultimate plans for any celebration, Troopers encourage you to always practice safe driving behaviors when getting behind the wheel or handlebars. The first step is by clicking your seat belt or wearing a helmet or life jacket when applicable. And as always, Troopers also encourage everyone to Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately by calling 9-1-1.

Funding for the focused highway enforcement was provided in part by grant sources distributed through the Alaska Highway Safety Office.

Coast Guard mulls closing Kodiak golf course
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — Losses over the last three years may lead the U.S. Coast Guard to close a golf course in Kodiak.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports the Coast Guard expects to make a final decision on the fate of the nine-hole Bear Valley Golf Course after this season.

The course opened in 1986 and is part of the guard's recreation program. It's supposed to be self-sustaining and have Coast Guard members and dependents as majority users.

But besides losing money since 2010, customer logs show that 60 percent of users aren't connected to the Coast Guard.

Officials with Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage this year closed Eagle Glen Golf Course because of losses of more than $2 million since 2009 and a 37 percent decrease in players since 2004.

Update: Alaska man gets 4 life terms in Coast Guard deaths
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 63-year-old Kodiak man has been sentenced to four consecutive life terms after being convicted in the shooting deaths of two co-workers at a Coast Guard communications station on Kodiak Island.

James Wells was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Anchorage.

Wells was found guilty in April by a federal jury in the 2012 deaths of Coast Guardsmen Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins and retired Chief Petty Officer Richard Belisle.

Wells spoke during his sentencing. He said a tragedy occurred, for which everyone has suffered. But he added: "I know I'm innocent of this crime."

Both widows of the victims also spoke, saying they hoped Wells "rots in hell."

Parnell won't study pot measure ahead of vote
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sean Parnell says he won't use state resources to study the implications of legalizing marijuana unless voters approve a pot initiative this fall.

Parnell says he would work to implement the initiative if it passes in November, but says he personally opposes the measure, which would legalize recreational use of marijuana by those 21 years of age or older.

He tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner it doesn't send the right message to kids.

Voters in Colorado and Washington approved similar measures in 2012.

Parnell says Alaska will have the benefit of learning from what happened there. But he says he won't ask state employees to prepare for possible legalization in the months leading to the vote. He says the Department of Law should focus on its existing workload.

Voluntary evacuation order in place for Butte
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A voluntary evacuation is in place for those living along a two-mile stretch of the Old Glenn Highway in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

KTVA reports the alert is for residents of Butte (BYOOT) who live from Mile 13-15.

Officials say high water on the Matanuska River could breach a dike. The Butte Fire Department went door-to-door Monday night informing residents of the voluntary evacuation.

A shelter has been established at the old Palmer Senior Center. The American Red Cross says it will remain open until the need passes.

Pets are allowed in the lower level of the building.

NTSB find mis-rigged control on plane that crashed
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Federal investigators have found that elevator cables on a plane that crashed in Anchorage last week, killing the pilot, weren't connected correctly.

A preliminary report on the crash says the 1947 Piper PA-12's elevator controls were reversed, meaning the plane would dive if ordered to pull up and vice versa. This finding matched witness accounts that said the plane made a steep climb before pivoting to a nose-down position before hitting the ground July 2.

KTUU reports the preliminary report of the National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the Merrill Field crash that killed 61-year-old Charles Hancock of Anchorage was released late Monday.

Huge halibut no record
A halibut caught in the upper panhandle may be the largest ever caught in the Pacific, but it doesn't count as a record due to a technicality.

The Alaska dispatch reports that the monster fish was hauled aboard a charter boat out of Gustavus last Thursday.
Seventy-seven year-old Jack McGuire of California got credit for landing the 482-pound fish. However, that doesn't bump the official world record for the Pacific, a 459-pound halibut caught in Dutch Harbor in 1996.

That's because it took a gunshot and a harpoon to bring the fish into the small charter boat -- but the International Game Fish Association, which maintains the record book, only allows nets or hooks.

Five-hundred pounders have also been caught in the Atlantic and in the Bering Sea by Longliners.

Commission to hear Mallott travel issue
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A draft advisory opinion says Democratic gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott (muh-LOT) cannot accept use of a volunteer's personal plane without paying a commercially reasonable rate.

Mallott's campaign asked the Alaska Public Offices Commission whether an individual who is a private pilot and owns a plane can volunteer his time and airplane to the campaign.

In a draft opinion, the commission's campaign disclosure coordinator says the pilot can volunteer all the time he wants. But he cannot exceed the $500 annual individual contribution limit, which includes the non-monetary value of air travel time.

The draft says regulations call for travel-related non-monetary contributions to be valued at a commercially reasonable rate.

The draft is subject to approval of the commission, which is scheduled to consider the matter next week.

Boat crew member dies after falling overboard
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say a 53-year-old man has died after falling overboard a commercial fishing vessel near King Cove.

Troopers were notified Sunday by the Coast Guard about the death of Rudy Paul Duskin Jr. of King Cove.

Troopers say Duskin was on the vessel with the skipper, 48-year-old Raymond Koso Jr., when a large swell struck the vessel as the anchor was being retrieved.

Duskin was thrown into the water. Troopers say Koso radioed a distress call as he tried to rescue Duskin, eventually reaching him.

Koso put on a survival suit, entered the water and pulled Duskin to shore, where he was joined by crew members of a responding vessel.

Resuscitation efforts failed. Duskin was pronounced dead.

The body was being sent to the state medical examiner's office.

Sentencing set for AK man in Coast Guard killings
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Sentencing is scheduled Tuesday for a 63-year-old man convicted of murder in the shooting deaths of two co-workers at a Coast Guard communications station on Alaska's Kodiak Island.

James Wells was convicted in April by a federal jury in the 2012 deaths of Coast Guardsmen Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins and retired Chief Petty Officer Richard Belisle (BEHL'-eye-ul).

Federal prosecutors are seeking consecutive life sentences for Wells, a civilian.

Prosecutors alleged Wells was unhappy that he was increasingly irrelevant on the job through the advancement of the victims.

Wells was found guilty of six felony charges: two counts each of first-degree murder, murder of a U.S. officer and use of a firearm in a violent crime.

Federal prosecutors said earlier they would not seek the death penalty against Wells.

[Monday July 7th 2014  14TH EDITION 5:05 P.M.]

WA pot sales, best in the world
(ABC NEWS) - Adults in Washington State will be able to buy pot for any old reason Tuesday, when it becomes only the second US state to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana.

24 retail licenses have been issued so far but there are more than 330 stores that could get licenses. Brian Smith with the Washington State Liquor Control Board isn't humble about the set-up.  "Nowhere in the world is there a comprehensive system of growing, processing and retailing marijuana as there is in Washington State."

UPDATE: Jogger says she was attacked by bear
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A jogger who came upon two bear cubs on a trail south of Anchorage says she was attacked by the mother bear.

Alaska State Troopers say 59-year-old Susanne Knudsen of Indian was taken to an Anchorage hospital for treatment of injuries that are not considered life threatening.

Knudsen told troopers she was jogging on a trail in Chugach State Park when two brown bear cubs came out of the brush in front of her. She said she was hit from behind by the sow.

She used her cell phone to call for help Monday morning.

Troopers said a group of all-terrain vehicle riders, in the parking lot when the trooper arrived, lent the responding trooper an ATV and the riders helped bring Knudsen down the trail.

Juneau Jumpers to compete in Hong Kong
5 members of The Juneau Jumpers will represent the USA at the world competitions in Hong Kong this month. Coach Karen Ross says the jumpers have been training almost daily to be in perfect condition for their routines.

They won the slot by competing in February in North Carolina and are part of the group of 45 - 55 jumpers from the United States. The Juneau Jumpers leave for Hong Kong on July 25th.

There were 6 Jumpers chosen but as Coach Ross explained, they're down to 5. Dunya Hermann needs surgery for her injured foot and will not be able to go. That leaves Kelley Olson, Mikayla May, Martina Worden, Tori Ross, and Connor Ulmer to compete.

Watch for opportunities around town to help support the Juneau Jumpers fundraising for their trip to compete in Hong Kong.

This picture was taken at the USA trials in Raleigh, NC in February.

L to R: Kelley Olson, Mikayla May, Dunya Hermann, Martina Worden, Tori Ross, Connor Ulmer.

Sacramento man sentenced to prison for Alaska drug conspiracy
United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced Monday, that John Joseph Brennan III, of Sacramento, California was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage for his role in a drug conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute oxycodone.

Brennan, 61, was sentenced to 68 months imprisonment and 3 years of supervised release for his role in the drug conspiracy involving the distribution of oxycodone in Fairbanks and Juneau between the dates of September 2008 to September 2010.

According to information presented to the court, the defendant was a member of a large scale drug conspiracy where oxycodone was delivered to Fairbanks and Juneau, supplied by the defendant and others who were located in Sacramento through commercial package delivery services and drug couriers flying on commercial flights. Members of the conspiracy laundered the drug proceeds using bank transactions and wire transfers.

Body found near Bethel identified
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Authorities have identified a body recently found near Bethel as Preston Rory Michaels.

KYUK reports Bethel police were notified of the identity by the state medical examiner's office.

The body was found late last month on a beach on an island near a fish camp across from the southwest Alaska town, which is located at the mouth of the Kuskokwim River.

Michaels had been missing since December. His disappearance spurred a search on the Kuskokwim River where he was living in a cabin.

A cause of death has not yet been determined.

According to authorities, there were no signs of foul play.

Russian arrested in hacking case filed in Seattle
SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Secret Service has arrested a Russian man who is accused of hacking store computers to steal thousands of credit card numbers.

The agency isn't say where the 30-year-old Moscow man, Roman Valerevich Seleznev, was arrested Saturday, but he was transported to Guam for an initial court appearance and detained for a July 22 hearing.

The U.S. attorney's office in Seattle says an indictment unsealed Monday charges him with bank fraud, obtaining information from a protected computer, possessing stolen credit cards and identity theft.

Investigators say he installed malicious software to steal credit numbers, using computer servers all over the world.

U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan in Seattle says the arrest shows cybercrooks can't hide behind distant keyboards.

Seleznev also is charged in a similar but separate indictment in Nevada.

Troopers respond to reported bear mauling
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers have responded to a reported bear mauling on a hiking trail south of Anchorage.

Few details were immediately available. Spokeswoman Megan Peters said by email that she was waiting to speak with the responding trooper.

Peters said troopers received a report of a mauling around 10:20 a.m. Monday. She said the incident occurred on Penguin Ridge Trail in the Bird Creek area, which is in Chugach State Park.

Knitted artwork decorating Sitka vandalized
SITKA, Alaska (AP) — Vandals have destroyed knitted decorations on Sitka public signposts that were put up by a local woman.

The Daily Sitka Sentinel says Fran Hartman discovered that at least six of the 16 signposts decorations she put up on Lincoln Street in recent weeks were in tatters.

The vandalism occurred overnight last Wednesday. Hartman made the discovery the following day.

Hartman says she spent hundreds of hours and her own money on her personal beautification project.

One of her creations was to add knitted eyeballs to fish-shaped bicycle racks.

Hartman had planned to add more of the knitted decorations, but said soon after the vandalism that she's now having second thoughts.

Early in Hartman's yarn-bombing project, someone stole a stop-sign wrapping that featured three crocheted skulls framed in red.

Police say man a suspect in parade incident
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Juneau police say a man arrested last week for threatening a woman is a suspect in a racial incident that occurred during the Alaska Native gathering known as Celebration.

Alexander Logan Libbrecht is being held on $25,000 bail on charges of fourth-degree assault. Police Lt. Kris Sell said Libbrecht yelled racist slurs and threatened a black woman.

Sell said the behavior is similar to that which marred a parade at last month's Celebration.

Court records did not list an attorney for Libbrecht.

Libbrecht also is wanted in Hawaii for threatening people and that the Secret Service asked Juneau police for help in contacting Libbrecht regarding threats he allegedly made against the president and an attorney in New Jersey.

Man found dead at bottom of cliff near Seward
SEWARD, Alaska (AP) — A 29-year-old man suspected of eluding Alaska State Troopers has been found dead at the bottom of a cliff near Seward.

Troopers say a trooper tried to conduct a traffic stop on a mini four-wheeler Saturday night, but the vehicle continued down the road.

Other troopers responded and the four-wheeler was found abandoned.

Troopers say that shortly before 11:30 p.m. Sunday, campers in the Stoney Creek RV park called Soldotna troopers to report that someone matching the description of the suspect was walking down a hill near the RV park.

Troopers and a police dog searched the area. Troopers say Patrick Wallace of Houston, Alaska, was found dead at the bottom of a 100-foot cliff.

An autopsy was planned by the state medical examiner.

Warming's impact on wolverines cast into doubt
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A top federal wildlife official says there's too much uncertainty about climate change to prove it threatens the snow-loving wolverine — overruling agency scientists who warned of impending habitat loss.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Noreen Walsh said there's no doubt that the wolverine's high-mountain habitat is getting warmer.

But she said any assumptions about how that will change snowfall patterns are based on "speculation."

Her comments were contained in a May 30 memo obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Chris Tollefson confirmed the memo was from Walsh.

Federal biologists last year proposed Endangered Species Act protections for an estimated 250-300 wolverines in the Lower 48 states. Larger populations persist in Alaska and Canada.

A final decision is due in early August.

Woman dies of injuries suffered in ATV crash
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A Wasilla woman has died of injuries suffered in a crash of an all-terrain vehicle.

KTUU-TV reports 23-year-old Shelby Caven was injured Friday on the Kenai Peninsula and died a day later at Providence Hospital in Anchorage.

Alaska State Troopers say they took a call on the crash at Whiskey Gulch beach at 6:21 p.m. Friday.

Witnesses say Caven was returning to the beach and tried to cross the mouth of Stariski Creek. The ATV struck the creek bottom and flipped forward.

Craven was able to stand but collapsed. A passenger also was injured.

Other ATV riders took Craven to the Sterling Highway and emergency responders rushed her to South Peninsula Hospital in Homer.

She was later flown to Providence and pronounced dead at 3:26 a.m. Saturday.

Boy pulled from creek waters dies of injuries
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 5-year-old boy pulled last week from Glacier Creek near Girdwood has died.

KTUU-TV reports the child died Sunday morning.

The boy disappeared Friday as his mother helped another child into a car seat.

The mother called emergency dispatchers and a search was launched by Girdwood emergency responders.

The boy was spotted from the air in the water on mudflats at the creek's runoff.

He was flown to Providence Hospital in critical condition.

Suicide Basin sensor replaced
The flood gauge at Suicide Basin malfunctioned either late Friday night or early Saturday morning causing a false alarm of a flood potential.

A helicopter was summoned and the sensor was replaced and re calibrated Saturday afternoon according to Pete Boyd of the National Weather Service.

The basin is still filling. When it gives way, the water is expected to release under the glacier into Mendenhall Lake and River.

Soboleff wins board seat
Although only one of the Sealaska 4 won a board seat in Seattle on June 28, Carlton Smith knew the odds were stacked against the slate he was on in the election for the Sealaska Board.

 Four seats were to be filled and going into the final round of balloting Saturday, June 28, Smith says he knew his slate could only elect one of the four: Ross Soboleff.

During the reorganization of the board that followed the annual meeting, Soboleff joined a coalition of directors that resulted in a new majority on the Sealaska Board. Joe Nelson of Yakutat was elected board chairman and Jackie Johnson Pata was elected vice chairman. “This is the beginning of a new Sealaska,” Smith says. “Now the challenge is to continue the process of renewing the board with directors like Ross who can add real-world business experience to the board’s perspective.”

Smith says that the campaign was a learning experience. “One of our goals was to improve communications with shareholders. For us candidates, this campaign was proof that shareholders want Sealaska to hear and understand their views.”

According to both Wanamaker and Smith, the group is looking forward to 2015. “With what we learned in this campaign,” Smith says, “we are confident we can elect at least two new Sealaska Board members next year. We are ready and committed to continue our campaign.”

The slate, known as the Sealaska4, included Smith, Soboleff, Karen Taug, and Margaret Nelson.

Woman charged in crash that caused outage
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A 46-year-old woman has been charged with driving under the influence in the weekend crash that knocked out power to downtown Fairbanks.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Tina L. Bolt is also charged with leaving the scene of an accident and driving with a revoked license.

Fairbanks police say Bolt on Saturday night tried driving a sport utility vehicle east on Second Avenue and hit multiple signs and parked cars, including one in which a man and woman were sitting.

Police say the man confronted Bolt and told her to stay but she fled.

Police say Bolt sideswiped another car, crashed through barricades in a construction area and smashed into a power pole.

The pole fell on the SUV and power was interrupted for about a half hour.


[Sunday
July 6th 2014  4th  EDITION 6:51 P.M.]

Public meeting on Admiralty National Monument
The Tongass National Forest invites you to attend public meetings and submit comments on managing outfitters and guides on the Admiralty National Monument, Hoonah, Juneau, and Sitka Ranger Districts.

The Sitka meeting is Tuesday, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Harrigan Centennial Hall Exhibits Room, at 330 Harbor Drive, Sitka. The Angoon meeting is Wednesday, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Angoon Community Association office at 315 Heendae Road, Angoon.

“The Shoreline II project area includes all areas used by non-motorized outfitter and guide activities that originate from the marine shoreline areas,” said Shoreline II Team Leader Jay Kinsman. “A decision on this project will set use levels and provide a framework for managing outfitters and guides on the four districts. At these meetings, you will be able to get information, ask questions, and provide written comments on the Shoreline II project.”

Herring return in significant numbers to Auke Bay
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Pacific herring are returning to Auke Bay to spawn in the most significant numbers seen in decades.

Whether the fishery is becoming healthier won't be seen until scientists see if the eggs are fertilized and if they survive.

Lynn Canal herring stocks have been depressed for decades. For the past seven years until recently, first Lynn Canal and then Southeast herring stocks were under consideration for listing as an endangered species, but neither population was deemed distinct enough for the listing.

The herring fishery closed in Lynn Canal and around Juneau in 1982.


Marine ecologist Michelle Ridgway says she has seen more female herring this summer, but is still looking for males. Other challenges for the fishery include water quality and temperature.

Vehicle hits pole, knocks power out in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Fairbanks police say a vehicle hit a utility pole Saturday night in downtown Fairbanks, knocking out power in the area.

The News-Miner reports the vehicle reportedly struck several other vehicles before crashing through barricades and running into the power pole.

Police say the vehicle's driver and passenger were transported to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital for medical care.


WA Pot Sales-Will Be In Stock
Washington State's about to become the second state after Colorado to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana. It happens Tuesday. The first retail licenses are being issued Monday morning - and dealers are getting ready to open for business.

ABC's Rich Petschke in Seattle reports: Tom Beckley owns Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham, Washington. He says he hopes to be at the top of the license issuance list. ""You get your license on Monday, well, you get your product in here, it has to sit for 24 hours. So if we get the license at 9 in the morning, we can open at 9 o'clock the next day or something, you know? But if it's in the afternoon, I guess we can be open for the late shift." Beckley says he already has deals signed with a marijuana distributor and confirms he will have pot in stock for the grand opening."

Man dragged by boat trailer
The Soldotna Public Safety Communication Center received a report of a serious injury accident at the Deep Creek boat launch in Ninilchik, Saturday morning just after 7 AM.

56 year old Kenneth Kataiva of Sterling was at the boat launch for his turn to launch and was removing the straps on his boat. A Ford van, towing a large charter boat behind him, pulled out around his vehicle and boat and struck him. Kataiva was dragged by the boat trailer a short distance and sustained a serious injury to his leg. He was flown to Anchorage by helicopter for treatment.

The van was driven by 30 year old Julian Hendricks of Ninilchik, who worked for a charter operation in Ninilchik. Hendricks reported the van lost its brakes as he was waiting in line so he was trying to avoid striking Kataiva's vehicle in front of him.
 

[Saturday July 5th 2014  9th  EDITION 7:14 P.M.]

Senator Begich makes visit to Juneau Radio Center
Alaska U S Senator Mark Begich stopped by Juneau Radio Center last week and talked about the pending new Trans Canada liquefied natural gas deal.

Sen. Begich began, "The governor announced last week that they have agreed to make an agreement to make some plans. It's frustrating! Here we are with an incredible resource of liquefied natural gas to ship to the Asian markets. Louisiana has cut a deal with South Korea; to ship liquefied natural gas from Louisiana to South Korea. They shipped to a partner that we should have shipped to . We ship to Japan.
But because we have been 'twiddling our thumbs '. The governor, the folks who have been working on this issue they have multiple plans; a bullet line, a big line, trucking. Pick something. Do something. "

"First priority, gas to Alaska, second, make sure we can export. We are losing our markets, because we have been 'dilly dallying' too long," he warned.

The Senator continued, "I hope this deal is real; I hope it produces. I don't see dirt turning, I don't see a pipeline being constructed, I don't hear steel orders being made. What I do hear is Louisiana shipping natural gas to South Korea. We are here, we have the product. They got the price we should have gotten. "

"I am hopeful. I am worried that our office that deals with the pipeline business is at risk, because the state has taken so long", Begich lamented.

Begich is certain of the President's backing on this project, "One thing is clear, we have the Obama Administration's agreement as soon as line is designed they have agreed to help us cut through the "red tape" The federal government is ready. They see this a national priority, but the state has to make a decision."

He concluded, "It's great to have plans; let's turn some dirt."

(Pictured:  Senator Mark Begich and News of the North News Director, Lynn Campbell at Juneau Radio Center)

Healy man gets jail time in mistaken identity case
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Healy man will serve one year in jail for beating another man with a baseball bat in an apparent case of mistaken identity.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Joshua R. Sanford must also pay his victim's medical bills.

The 28-year-old Sanford pleaded guilty to third-degree felony assault as part of a plea agreement. Sanford was arrested last October after the beating.

According to court documents, the victim had fallen asleep at a friend's house, waking up to the sound of a revving vehicle. He was hit on the head when he went outside.

A witness told authorities Sanford then apologized to the victim that he was not who he thought he was.

Attorneys on both sides said Sanford had legitimate motivation for attempting to beat his real target.

Rain, lack of sun a problem for Fairbanks growers
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Fairbanks area farmers say extensive rains and a lack of heat and sunshine have made for one of the worst growing seasons.

Farmers say record rainfalls over the past two weeks have saturated crops and stunted plant growth. More than 6 1/2 inches of rain has fallen in Fairbanks since June 18.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports farmers are also complaining of flooded fields that make it difficult to use machinery.

Warm-weather crops such as zucchini, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers and green beans have been especially affected.

On the upside, farmers said crops that like wet weather — such as bok choy, spinach, Swiss chard and lettuce — are thriving.

And things could soon turn around: the forecast for this weekend shows temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s.

Fairbanks authorities seek info on moose killing
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Authorities in Fairbanks are seeking information about a moose killing.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers say a moose was found shot and left to rot in the backyard of a North Pole resident.

The troopers say the moose was likely shot with a rifle in the vicinity of the Christine Drive, Repp Road and Brock Road area within the past couple days.

In Fairbanks, The Daily News-Miner reports the moose carcass was discovered on Thursday.

Boy, 5, critical after falling in water
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say a 5-year-old boy is in critical condition Saturday after he apparently slipped in the water near Girdwood and was carried downstream.

KTUU reports that the boy went missing Friday afternoon while he was playing near Glacier Creek where it crosses under Seward Highway. His mother told troopers she went to put another child in the car and turned to find the boy gone.

Emergency crews from several agencies searched for the boy and found him in the water on mudflats at the creek's runoff.

A portion of Seward Highway near Girdwood was shut down briefly Friday so the child could be airlifted out of the area.

Troopers say the boy was taken to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage with life threatening injuries.

Man stabs Anchorage police dog during chase
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage police dog is expected to survive after he was stabbed by a suspect during a chase early Saturday.

Police arrested 37-year-old Nole Hommerding, and booked him into jail on charges of harming a police dog, assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

The attack on the dog came after police responded to a fight between two men in the Mountain View neighborhood. Police say Hommerding had a machete. When officers ordered him to drop the machete, he ran.

The officer and the K9 dog named MP pursued him.

Police say the dog bit onto Hommerding to apprehend him, and that's when the man stabbed the animal. Officers subdued the suspect with a Taser.

One officer suffered minor injuries. The dog underwent surgery for three stab wounds.

Cost Guard responds to capsized vessel in Port Valdez, Alaska
VALDEZ, Alaska – The Coast Guard responded to a 45-foot fishing vessel capsized in Port Valdez, Friday.

At approximately 6:15 p.m. Friday, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage received a report that the seine fishing vessel Elohim capsized while transiting Port Valdez with four adults aboard. The fishing vessel Infinite Grace recovered all four crew members and delivered them to the Valdez Small Boat Harbor. No injuries were reported.

The Infinite Grace towed Elohim to the Mineral Creek mooring buoy in Port Valdez late Friday night to await salvage. No pollution related to the incident has been reported, however the Elohim’s owner deployed boom around the vessel as a precautionary measure. The vessel has a fuel capacity of approximately 900 gallons. It was reported the vessel had approximately 500 pounds of salmon on board.

As of Saturday morning, Elohim’s owner contracted Alaska Marine Response, LLC, out of Cordova to assist with salvage of the vessel. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Valdez is coordinating with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and other state and federal agencies to oversee salvage of the vessel and ensure the safety and protection of the marine environment.

Elohim is homeported in Homer, Alaska. The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.

UPDATE:Coast Guard: capsized vessel in Alaska, 4 rescued
VALDEZ, Alaska (AP) — The Coast Guard says a 45-foot fishing vessel capsized in Alaska's Port Valdez and all four crewmembers have been rescued with no injuries.

Authorities say the seine fishing vessel Elohim capsized Friday evening while transiting Port Valdez. The cause of the incident remains under investigation. Elohim is homeported in Homer, Alaska.

The Coast Guard says another fishing vessel, Infinite Grace, recovered the four crewmembers. Infinite Grace also towed the capsized vessel to the mooring buoy in Port Valdez. No pollution related to the incident has been reported.

The Coast Guard says the capsized Elohim had approximately 500 pounds of salmon on board.

Local, state and federal agencies are overseeing salvage of the vessel to ensure safety and protection of the marine environment.

Valdez is one of Alaska's most important ports.

Flooding threat tips to southeast Alaska
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Nervous Fairbanks residents watched the heaviest rain in more than 40 years send rivers rising, but new flood threats emerged in southeast Alaska.

The Skagway Police Department issued a moderate flood warning for the Taiya River, and says the river crested Saturday at 18 feet. The National Park Service closed Chilkoot Trail for 24 hours and area campgrounds were expected to be affected.

In Fairbanks, The Daily News-Miner reports Goldstream Creek flooded late Thursday night, rising from a trickle to six feet in 24 hours.

The 6.62 inches of rain that fell between June 18 and July 2 was the wettest 15-day period on record in Fairbanks, breaking the old record of 6.17 inches set in August 1967.