Speeding in Egan Drive work zones
Juneau Police Department officers on Tuesday
conducted targeted speed enforcement on Egan Drive in the
construction work zones. Several motorists were cited for exceeding
the posted the speed limit. One motorist was cited for driving 83
miles per hour in the work zone.
JPD reminds motorists that even though the weather is getting nicer
the speed limits around town have remained the same.
In addition, the construction work zones on Egan Drive have been
designated as double fine areas.
CBJ Finance Committee talks budgets and expenditure
The Juneau Assembly Finance Committee heard budget presentations
from the Juneau Economic Development Council, Eaglecrest, and the
Juneau International Airport at Wednesday night's meeting.
CBJ Assembly Member Karen Crane said they also went through the list
of proposed expenditure reductions that were proposed by the city
manager. Most of those reductions were agreed upon by the assembly.
There were a few items put on the
pending list, including the Juneau School District because they
don't yet have the information from the legislature on their
The assembly asked the city manager
for additional information on Capital Transit. They also asked the
city manager to come back next week and give information on what it
would take to keep Augustus Brown Pool open and from where the money
would come to do that.
The Assembly Finance Committee meets again next Wednesday night.
Chapel By The Lake arson fire investigation
What is considered the intentionally set fire early on the morning
of Tuesday, April 8th at Chapel By the Lake remains under
Fire Marshal Dan Jager said on Action Line Wednesday morning that
the case is the subject a joint investigation with the police
He says they're still asking anyone with in information to step
forward and contact the fire department or police or log on to
Juneau Crime Line to report their tip which can be done anonymously.
Tipsters are also eligible for a reward.
Based on the interviews that were conducted and observations that
were reported at the fire and things like photographs, Jager says
there was no logical reason for the fire to occur where it did other
When asked if the fire is being investigated as a hate crime, Jager
said any type of a fire that occurs at a church across the country,
especially if it is intention is considered a hate crime by the
federal government's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
At this time, Jager says there's no evidence that the Chapel By The
Lake fire is a hate crime.
The fire about $3, 000 to $5,000 to the pulpit and sanctuary.
Delta practicing approaches to Juneau
Is it a bird? It's not Super Man, but it was a big plane spied
approaching Juneau's Airport Wednesday morning.
Airport Manager Patty deLaBruere confirms its a Delta Airlines 757
doing practice approaches in advance of its May 29th scheduled
flight service in to Juneau.
The seasonal service will include one flight a day that gets here in
the evening and leaves the next morning.
No reports of damage in Alaska quake
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An
earthquake with a magnitude of 5.1 was felt widely throughout Alaska
on Wednesday, but officials had no immediate reports of damage.
The Alaska Earthquake Information Center says in a release that the
quake happened just before 12:30 p.m. in the central region of
Alaska. It was centered about 55 miles southwest of Denali Park, the
little tourist town near the entrance to Denali National Park and
Preserve. The temblor was located at a depth of about 48 miles.
The quake was felt in Anchorage, throughout Southcentral Alaska and
farther north, in interior Alaska.
Answers to 6 key questions issues part of
wireless plan and ordinance work
The Planning Commission conducted a work session and special meeting
last night devoted to the wireless tower plan and ordinance.
During the work session, Community Development Director Hal Hart
says the panel was advised by the CBJ Department of Law that it
needs to provide the Assembly an ordinance that addresses six key
items including which kind of towers will only require a building
permit; under what circumstances would a tower require a conditional
use permit; how will towers be linked to set back policies and what
will the set backs be; how will the height question be addressed
generally; how will towers requiring a light or navigational light
be handled; and what approach will the commission take for providing
Public testimony was taken at the special meeting after the work
session. The commission heard from a representative of the A-T and T
and representatives of neighborhoods from around the city and
Hart says the commission will now meet with staff to finalize the
ordinance for public comment and action and then submitted to the
The plan and ordinance are scheduled to be in place by May 19th.
That's the end of the moratorium on the erection of new towers
imposed by the Assembly.
Superintendent salary figure set as
search begins for Gelbrich's replacement
As the search begins to replace Juneau School District
Superintendent Glen Gelbrich, the School Board has decided to bump
the annual salary to $162,000.
That was the recommendation of a board search committee to the full
body, according to Board President Sally Saddler
Saddler says the search committee compared salaries of
superintendents from around the state and some Pacific Northwest
She says they sought to strike a balance. They wanted to make it
wasn't so low that it would screen out good candidates or so high
that it would be something the district couldn't afford.
Saddler said on Action Line Tuesday that Gelbrich was hired at a
salary of $150,000.
He accepted a $5,000 raise at one point but declined a two percent
hike in subsequent years.
If he would have accepted the raises, Saddler says Gelbrich would be
making about $168,000.
Forums that seek public input into the search for a new
superintendent are on tap this week.
Two on Wednesday evening from 6:30 to 7:30 are scheduled in the
libraries of both high schools.
There's another scheduled for Thursday evening at the same time at
the D-Z Middle School Library.
Saddler says ideally they would like to have a new superintendent on
board by July 1. Gelbrich's resignation is effective June 30th.
JDHS Site Council looking for new members
The JDHS Site Council is looking for a diverse group of committed
parents and community members to fill 4 seats on the 2014-15 Site
The Site Council is an advisory group
made up of constituents from every part of the JD community --
students, teachers and staff, parents, community members -- and a
school board liaison and the principal. There are two 2-year terms
open for parent members and one 2-year and one 1-year term open for
Parent members must have a son or
daughter enrolled at JD in the 2014-15 school year. Community
members may or may not have a student enrolled at JD.
Interested people should submit a
brief letter of intent to the JDHS main office by 3:45 on Friday,
May 2. Details and a form are available at
Elections will be held at the monthly
May Site Council meeting, Monday, May 5, 5-7 pm in the JDHS library.
Nominees are invited to give a brief statement and participate in
Bill for veterans passes house unanimously
After a third reading and acceptance of an
amendment, Senate Bill 145, Governor Sean Parnell's bill in support
of Veterans, passed the House on a unanimous vote of 39 to 0
This bill ensures veterans who served in the 1991 Gulf War and
conflicts arising after September 11, 2001 can benefit from hiring
and housing preferences granted to veterans of earlier conflicts.
Specifically, the bill increases job opportunities for veterans by
extending a hiring preference to those who have served since the
SB 145 also implements the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax
(HEART) Act, which ensures military families receive full survivor
benefits for fallen soldiers.
The house of Representatives accepted
an amendment from House Democratic Leader Chris Tuck to help
Alaska’s military families save time, money, and aggravation upon
returning from a deployment. The amendment to SB 145 allows military
families with special needs children who qualify for Home and
Community Based Services under Medicaid to continue to receive those
services when they return from a deployment without having to go
through a lengthy re-application process.
The bill with the attached amendment
now goes to the Alaska state Senate for concurrence.
Gov handles range of questions in online
Gov. Sean Parnell says repealing the state's oil
tax structure would "kill" oil production.
During an online town hall Wednesday evening, he also said he
personally opposes the legalization of marijuana for recreational
use and will sign into law a bill further defining medically
necessary abortions as a way to be accountable with public funds.
Parnell also said he will support increased funding for public
Parnell took a wide range of questions, generally submitted by email
or social media, touching on topics like education, a proposed
Juneau access road and his favorite type of pizza. It's meat pizza,
by the way.
On the issue of the oil tax referendum, he said the tax cut passed
by lawmakers last year is working.
Lawmakers outline concerns for gas
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — House
Resources Committee members have signed onto a letter, outlining
issues they want Gov. Sean Parnell's administration to keep in mind
in negotiating gas project contracts.
This assumes passage of SB138, which would set state participation
in a liquefied natural gas project. House Finance is now considering
The issues detailed in the non-binding letter were raised as
Resources debated the bill but not considered ripe for inclusion as
The Resources members, among other things, expressed a desire to
ensure oil tax changes or terms are not negotiated or included in
project-enabling contracts. They also want to ensure the state can
bring in additional partners, if that's in the state's best
All but two committee members signed on; Reps. Dan Saddler and Mike
Hawker did not.
Mallott calls for Parnell to veto SB 49
Democratic Candidate for Governor Byron Mallott is calling on
Governor Parnell to veto the measure that further defines medically
necessary abortions for purposes of Medicaid funding.
Senate Bill 49 cleared the Legislature this week.
Mallott says the bill blatantly ignores Alaskan's constitutional
right to privacy. He says determining when an abortion is necessary
should be a matter between a woman and her doctor.
Enforcement of identical language in state regulations has already
been put on hold by a court. The case is going to trial on April
Unless Governor Parnell vetoes the bill, Mallott says the state will
inevitably end up in more costly litigation.
Refiner credit bill expanded to fertilizer
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A bill that would offer tax credits to help
in-state refiners has been expanded to include the now-shuttered
Agrium Inc. plant in Nikiski.
The House Rules Committee adopted an amendment extending tax credits
for infrastructure improvements to hydrocarbon processing
facilities. Tom Wright, an aide to House Speaker Mike Chenault, said
that would include the fertilizer plant, which he said is assessing
a $200-million renovation.
Agrium has said it's evaluating the possible restart of the plant,
depending on availability of reasonably priced gas.
Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash said he supported the
amendment in principle, saying it's important to grow gas-demand in
the Cook Inlet basin.
He said the department would take a closer look at language in the
amendment and bill at the suggestion that some wording could be
House panel advances governor's pension
Alaska (AP) — The House Finance Committee has advanced Gov. Sean
Parnell's plan for addressing the state's pension obligation.
It's not clear
whether that's the plan lawmakers ultimately decide to go with.
The Senate Finance Committee is also studying the issue.
proposed moving $3 billion from savings toward addressing the
public employees' and teachers' retirement system with about
$1.9 billion of that going toward the public employees system.
The plan calls for $500 million annual payments after that.
The state is
currently on a schedule that calls for escalating payments on
pace to exceed $1 billion. Parnell's plan would lower those
UPDATE: Air ambulance bill
now moves to Governor's desk
The State House approved Senate legislation Tuesday relating to air
ambulance service providers, including membership agreements and
regulation of air ambulance service providers.
SB 159 will allow the continuation of the Airlift Northwest
membership program that was in place for several years.
The State Division of Insurance found
the company no longer operated under a business model that met
exemptions provided under state law. Juneau Representative
Cathy Munoz said during her floor speech that the company is
currently organized as a non-profit medical provider under the
University of Washington.
The bill was approved on a unanimous 35 to 0 vote. It was also
approved unanimously by the Senate.
The Senate in turn approved House
changes to the bill. It now goes to the Governor.
Bill related to medical malpractice cases
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Legislature has passed a bill that
would make expressions of apology or compassion inadmissible as
evidence in medical malpractice cases.
HB250, from Rep. Kurt Olson, has been labeled the "I'm sorry" bill.
In his sponsor statement, Olson said the bill was intended to clear
up a "gray area" that exists between apologies and admissions of
negligence. He said a goal was to improve doctor-patient
HB250 passed the Senate unanimously Wednesday, after clearing the
House last week.
Sens. Donny Olson and Cathy Giessel declared conflicts but were
required to vote. Donny Olson is a doctor and Giessel a nurse.
Under the bill, if an expression of apology or sympathy were made
with an admission of liability or negligence, the admission of
liability or negligence could still be admissible.
Parnell signs bill on AGDC
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sean Parnell has
signed into law a bill allowing out-of-state residents to serve on
the board of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., or AGDC.
Parnell signed HB383 Wednesday, one day after the bill passed the
Legislature and one day before lawmakers were scheduled to consider
confirmation of appointments.
Passage of the bill makes clearer the way for Richard Rabinow, a
former pipeline company executive from Texas, to be confirmed to
Critics of the appointment said it conflicted with state law on
board appointments. Parnell defended it as falling within his
discretion under the constitution.
Supporters of the law that established AGDC said it was an oversight
to not make explicit their intent to allow out-of-state appointees
on the board. They said they want the best people serving.
Sponsor pulls bill allowing guns on UA
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The sponsor of a bill to allow people to carry
concealed handguns on university campuses has asked that it be
pulled this year.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports North Pole Republican Sen.
John Coghill asked the Senate Finance Committee to not take up the
Senate Bill 176 this year.
Coghill on Tuesday said the bill has practical and safety issues the
Legislature can't answer at this time.
The bill faced opposition from University of Alaska leaders. In
fact, during one hearing, University of Alaska President Pat Gamble
said the bill was simply unacceptable.
The university's current policy is to allow firearms on campus if
they are locked in vehicles or stored in designated gun lockers.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
Hughes apologizes for news release
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska House members apologize for a news
release on a breastfeeding initiative that had the words "smart and
sexy" in the headline.
HCR18 sponsor Rep. Shelley Hughes said she intended to draw
attention to the issue but not the kind it garnered.
She apologized Tuesday for the "poor choice of words" and said she
was sorry if she offended anyone.
She and House Speaker Mike Chenault took responsibility for the news
release, sent from the majority office Monday after legislative
passage of the resolution. It was intended to support and recognize
benefits of breastfeeding but wound up spawning jokes, some
Hughes, in the Monday release, said the Legislature is fond of
natural resource development and it's time to "endorse the
extraction of this God-given, abundant and renewable natural
Death toll in Washington mudslide rises to
EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — The death toll from the mudslide that hit the
Washington town of Oso has risen to 37.
The Snohomish County medical examiner's office said Tuesday it has
received one more victim. The person's name has not been released.
The sheriff's office says seven other people are still listed as
A search for bodies continues in the debris left when the March 22
landslide raced across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River and
buried dozens of homes in the riverfront community about 55 miles
northeast of Seattle.
Seaplanes announces expansion to Sitka.
Alaska Seaplanes will initiate twice-daily
scheduled IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) service between Kake and
Sitka, with fares starting at $149. Service between Juneau and Kake
will also be expanded, with a third mid-day roundtrip offering
increased flight options for Kake passengers.
The move intends to meet demand in Kake passenger traffic, which has
grown steadily over the last two years as a result of Alaska
Seaplanes’ migration to larger Piper Chieftain and Cessna Caravan
platforms for a majority of flights in and out of Kake.
Alaska Seaplanes is the only scheduled operator of IFR capable
commuter aircraft in the Juneau market.
The expanded flight schedules are set to begin on May 24th.
Suspect's interview played in Kodiak murder
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The man charged with
gunning down two co-workers at a Coast Guard communications station
in Kodiak told an FBI agent he couldn't explain why it took so long
to get home after discovering he had a soft tire on his pickup the
morning of the shooting.
FBI agent Kirk Overlander interviewed James Wells following the
murders of Richard Belisle (BEL'-eye-ul) and James Hopkins in April
In recordings played Wednesday, Wells said he left for work, stopped
to check the tire and drove home.
A security camera recorded Wells driving past the nearby Coast Guard
base and driving in the opposite direction 34 minutes later.
Asked to explain what took him so long to return home, Wells tells
the FBI agent he didn't have a reasonable explanation.
Family members testify in Kodiak homicide
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The sister and
brother-in-law of a Kodiak man charged with killing two Coast Guard
communication station co-workers say he became irate when the topic
of their deaths came up two months later.
Theresa and Donald Kiele (KEE'-lee) says James Wells became animated
and said the dead men were incompetent and not qualified to work in
the shop were antennas were built and repaired.
The Kieles testified Tuesday in the trial of Wells, who's charged
with two counts of murder in the deaths of Richard Belisle
(BEL'-eye-ul) and James Hopkins on April 12, 2012.
Prosecutors say they were shot shortly after beginning work.
Wells claims he was delayed by a flat tire. Prosecutors contend he
drove to the shop in his wife's sport utility vehicle, shot the men
and returned home.
Accident expert testifies in Kodiak murder
DAN JOLING, Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An expert in recreating traffic accident
scenarios says a compact sport utility vehicle could have been the
vehicle seen driving past a Kodiak Island Coast Guard communications
station where two men were murdered.
Prosecutors are attempting to connect a grainy security camera image
of a blue vehicle to James Wells, who is charged with killing two
co-workers on April 12, 2012.
Prosecutors say Wells drove his wife's blue Honda CRV to the shop
and shot Richard Belisle and James Hopkins.
Research engineer Angelo Toglia (TOH'-lee-ah) Jr. took measurements
to construct a three-dimensional model of the site and compared
models of vehicles that could have appeared in the video.
He says trucks and sedans could not have been the vehicle in the
recording but a Honda CRV could have been.
Former UAA professor arraigned on porn
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A former astronomy and
physics instructor at the University of Alaska Anchorage has pleaded
not guilty to 14 child pornography charges.
KTUU reports Curtis Osterhoudt was arraigned Wednesday shortly after
surrendering to authorities. Bail was set at $100,000.
Online court records didn't list an attorney for him.
The 37-year-old Osterhoudt was indicated by an Anchorage grand jury
on 10 counts of possession child porn and four counts of
distribution. Authorities say the counts cover alleged activities at
his home and UAA office.
UAA listed him as an assistant professor of physics and astronomy
from Aug. 12, 2012 until his resignation on Jan. 9, 2014.
If convicted, he faces a sentencing range on each count of 2-12
years, with a maximum sentence of 99 years.
Saint Marys man dead in ATV accident
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A Saint Marys man has died in a one-vehicle
crash involving an all-terrain vehicle.
Alaska State Troopers say in a web posting that 27-year-old Joe
Bryan Joe died at the scene of the accident, near the confluence of
the Andreafsky and Yukon rivers.
Troopers were notified of the death about 5 a.m. Tuesday.
Joe's next-of-kin have been notified, and the body will be sent to
Anchorage for an autopsy.
A passenger on the ATV received minor injuries, and was treated at a
Troopers say alcohol and poor weather are believed to have played a
role in the accident.
Soldier, nephew of Oso slide victims, found
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A soldier found dead in the woods near Olympia
was the nephew of two presumed victims of last month's devastating
landslide in Washington state.
Capt. Cynthia Holuta of the Army's 7th Infantry Division at Joint
Base Lewis-McChord says Spc. Christopher Dombroski had visited the
site of the landslide near Oso several times to assist with search
and recovery efforts. As reported earlier by KING-TV, he was the
nephew of Steve and Theresa Harris, who are listed among the missing
in the landslide.
The 20-year-old Dombroski was from Wasilla, Alaska. He had been
missing since Sunday night in the Capitol Forest near Olympia.
Thurston County search teams found his body Tuesday morning and said
he appeared to have suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Authorities said no foul play was suspected but the death remains
Man pleads guilty to harassing bear hunters
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — A Petersburg man who kept a hunter from
shooting a black bear has pleaded guilty to harassment.
Alaska State Troopers say 48-year-old Scott Newman changed his plea
last month to a case stemming from late last spring.
According to a summons issued in the case, Newman on May 25 was 30
miles south of Ketchikan at Smeaton Bay and scared off two hunters
about to kill a black bear.
Trooper say Newman told the hunters to leave and that he didn't want
them back in the area.
Newman was fined $500, ordered to pay restitution of $650 for the
cost of the hunt and placed on probation for one year.
Parnell release outlines campaign debate
Governor Parnell's reelection campaign has issued a release saying
Parnell has confirmed and committed to participate in eight debates.
None are scheduled in Juneau.
There are three prior to the Primary Election. They include two in
Anchorage on April 28 and 30 and in Fairbanks on August 12.
The debates prior to the General Election are August 28 in Kodiak;
October 1 in Ketchikan; October 8 in Soldotna; October 21 in
Fairbanks; and October 28 in Anchorage.
Parnell holding virtual town hall
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sean Parnell is hosting an online town
He is inviting people to send in questions on education and other
"key" issues facing the state via Facebook and Twitter or by email,
at AskAKGov@alaska.gov. Twitter users are asked to use #AskAKGov.
Spokeswoman Sharon Leighow says beginning at 6 p.m., there will be a
live stream from the governor's house as he takes questions.
While Parnell's office has held telephone town halls in the past,
Leighow said this will be the first virtual town hall.
It comes with the scheduled end of session looming on Sunday.
Walgreens plans 2 stores in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The nation's largest drug store plans to
open two locations in Fairbanks this year.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Walgreens is planning stores
on the Old Steese Highway and in West Fairbanks.
The Chicago-based retailer already operates seven Walgreens stores
in Anchorage, Eagle River and Wasilla. It has more than 8,700
locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and several
Couple donates $2.5M to UAF
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A late Fairbanks couple has provided for a
$2.5 million donation to the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the donation from Leonard and
Marjorie Wright is one of the largest individual donations ever to
The donation will support scholarships and provides as much as four
years assistance to students in any degree program who demonstrates
both merit and financial need.
Marjorie Wright earned her teaching degree from UAF in 1958, and
made the donation part of her will. She died last year.
Her husband, who died in 2007, had a construction business in
Fairbanks while she taught in North Pole.
The couple's nephew, Galen Dreis, says "giving back was part of who
they were as individuals."
German Shepherd called to jury duty in New
BRIDGETON, N.J. (AP) — At least one prospective juror in New Jersey
could take a bite out of crime.
Cumberland County has summoned IV Griner to jury duty. The only
problem is IV is a 5-year-old German Shepherd.
Her owner tells KYW-TV in Philadelphia he figured out the mistake as
soon as the summons arrived at his Bridgeton home.
The dog's owner is Barrett Griner IV. He uses the Roman numeral for
four in his name. He named his dog using the letters "I'' and "V."
The county's judiciary coordinator says the computer likely
misplaced the Roman numeral for Barrett's last name and mailed the
Pot ballot backers pledge funds, with
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The first volley in the
fight over the ballot measure to make recreational use in Alaska
legal has been served.
The group backing the measure is the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana
It said it will donate $9,000 to its opponents if they can prove pot
is more dangerous than alcohol.
The group claims some of the people against the measure benefit from
the sale of alcohol, and that's hypocrisy.
The opposition group "Big Marijuana, Big Mistake. Vote No On 2"
formed this week. One officer is Tim Woolston, a part-owner of an
Anchorage restaurant and the focus of the group's hypocrisy claim.
Woolston says they expect personal attacks, which he calls "just a
distraction from a serious issue."
Voters will decide the measure in the Aug. 19 primary ballot.