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Due to an internal promotion, Juneau Radio Center is looking to employ a Traffic Coordinator. No, we won’t have you out on Egan, waving the cars by … in broadcasting, ‘traffic’ refers to scheduling program material, specifically, the commercials. The person we’re looking for will enjoy working on a computer, possess a keen eye for detail and have the ability to prioritize the daily workload.

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[Wednesday, April 16, 2014 12TH  EDITION 9:10 P.  M.]

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 reductions

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 funding.

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 ongoing
What is considered the intentionally set fire early on the morning of Tuesday, April 8th at Chapel By the Lake remains under investigation.

Fire Marshal Dan Jager said on Action Line Wednesday morning that the case is the subject a joint investigation with the police department.

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 than intentionally.

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 notice.

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 borough.

Hart says the commission will now meet with staff to finalize the ordinance for public comment and action and then submitted to the Assembly.

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 communities.

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 Council.

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 community members.

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 the voting.

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 yesterday.

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 Vietnam War.
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 town hall
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 education.

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 negotiations
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 that bill.

The issues detailed in the non-binding letter were raised as Resources debated the bill but not considered ripe for inclusion as amendments.

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 interest.

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 29th.

Unless Governor Parnell vetoes the bill, Mallott says the state will inevitably end up in more costly litigation.

Refiner credit bill expanded to fertilizer plant
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 tightened.

House panel advances governor's pension plan
JUNEAU, 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.

Parnell 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 payments.

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 passes
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 relationships.

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 appointments
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 AGDC's board.

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 campuses
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 headline
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 off-color.

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 resource."

Death toll in Washington mudslide rises to 37
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 missing.

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.

Alaska 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 trial
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 2012.

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 case
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 trial
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 charges
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 local clinic.

Troopers say alcohol and poor weather are believed to have played a role in the accident.

Soldier, nephew of Oso slide victims, found dead
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 under investigation.
(The Olympian)

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 schedule
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 hall Wednesday.

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 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 U.S. territories.

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 UAF.

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 Jersey
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 summons.

Pot ballot backers pledge funds, with stipulation
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 Like Alcohol.

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.


' News of the North' content copyright of Alaska Broadcast Communications Inc. and Juneau Alaska Communications LLC. Any unauthorized use will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.