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[Wednesday December 10th,  2014  12th  EDITION 9:00 P. M.]

State faces larger deficit amid lower oil prices
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state of Alaska is facing a $3.5 billion budget deficit this year, $2.1 billion more than when lawmakers left Juneau in April, amid slumping oil prices.

The price of oil, forecast at $105 a barrel in the spring revenue forecast, is now expected to average about $76 a barrel for the rest of the fiscal year, ending June 30.

The price is forecast to dip to $66 a barrel during fiscal year 2016, before rebounding.

The fall revenue forecast expects unrestricted general fund revenue of $2.6 billion this year, down from $5.4 billion in 2014.

Deputy Revenue Commissioner Jerry Burnett said that, combined with about $200 million in oil and gas credits, accounts for the budget deficit.

The forecast expects increases in oil production starting in 2016 and 2017.

Hash oil explosion, fire, damage North Pole rental home
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — An explosion and fire Monday that shifted a North Pole house wall off its foundation occurred as residents extracted hash oil from marijuana.

North Pole Fire Department Chief Buddy Lane tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that the two people inside acknowledged what they'd been doing when firefighters showed up.

Firefighters were able to limit the fire to the kitchen. Damage was estimated at $40,000.

The home's renter and a visitor told responders they had extracted hash oil in the bathroom and had moved to the kitchen to boil it down when the explosion occurred.

The extraction of hash oil, sought for its increased potency, typically involves passing liquid butane through a tube filled with marijuana.

Lane says the process likely left pockets of butane in the air that exploded.

Former police officer indicted on identity theft counts
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks grand jury has indicted a former North Pole police officer on identity theft charges.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 33-year-old Ryan D. Webb is charged with four felonies, including two counts of criminal impersonation and one each of theft and fraudulent use of an access device.

Prosecutors say Webb used another man's personal information to obtain a credit card.

Webb joined the North Pole Police Department in February 2009.

He was fired in February 2011. Police would not release the reason for the termination, citing confidentiality requirements.

Officer Chad Rathbun says the identity theft case occurred in January 2013, nearly two years after Webb left the department.

Police say the victim of the identity theft was Webb's former roommate.

Trial set for man charged in deaths of troopers
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Trial has been set for a Tanana man accused of killing two Alaska State Troopers last spring.

Nathanial Kangas has been charged in the deaths of Fairbanks-based Sgt. Scott Johnson and Trooper Gabe Rich last May in Tanana. A judge on Tuesday set trial in the case for April.

Superior Court Judge Paul Lyle also suggested a simulcast of the trial that could be shown in a Fairbanks courtroom.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that troopers who served with the slain officers have been a regular courtroom presence during hearings.

But one of the defense attorneys has raised concerns that their presence could intimidate a jury.

SKorea to take over search after fishing disaster
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — South Korean officials are expected to take over on-scene control of search efforts following the deadly sinking of a fishing vessel in the western Bering Sea last month.

The U.S. Coast Guard has been overseeing the effort. Rear Adm. Dan Abel said with the scheduled arrival of the South Korean vessel Sambong this weekend, the Coast Guard plans to take on a role of search and rescue planning.

Seven people survived the sinking of the Oryong 501, which occurred in Russian waters. Abel said the remains of 27 people have been recovered. Another 26 remain unaccounted for, he said.

The commander of the Coast Guard in Alaska said two South Korean aircraft have been based out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage as part of the response.

BBB's 12 Schemes of Christmas
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and potentially the most profitable for scammers. Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington has put together a list of 12 common Christmas schemes to help consumers stay safe this holiday season.

12. Holiday surveys: In an effort to take advantage of cash-strapped holiday shoppers, scammers pose as popular retailers, e-mailing fake surveys to consumers and promising a credit to their accounts. Links to the “surveys” are often malicious.

11. Suspicious Santa sites: Steer away from “Santa” websites that request unnecessary personal information. Be especially wary of sites that fail to disclose contact details and privacy policies.

10. Puppy scams: Be careful about buying pets online. Consumers may be unwittingly buying from a puppy mill where dogs have health problems, or they may send money to a scammer and get nothing in return.

9. Fake charities: The holidays create a great opportunity for scammers to solicit donations to fill their own pockets. Beware of solicitations from charities that cannot deliver on their promises or pretend to be representing victims that do not really exist. Review charities first at give.org.

8. Pickpockets: Crowded malls and the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season make it easy for thieves to grab purses and wallets.

7. Fake coupons: Be cautious when downloading coupons. Make sure you are on a trustworthy website. Be suspicious of coupon sites that ask for personal information.

6. Stranded “grandkids”: The classic grandparent scam is still ongoing. Consumers should be suspicious of phone calls from a “family member” claiming to need help and asking for money to be wired overseas.

5. Malware e-cards: Links or attachments in e-cards could contain malware. Consumers should make sure their spam filters are set and up-to-date.

4. Counterfeit gifts: Be suspicious of sites that offer the “must have” toys, gadgets or luxury goods at prices that are too good to be true. These deceptive deals, pop-up ads and social media posts often take consumers’ money but leave them empty handed.

3. Stolen gift cards: Buy gift cards only from reputable dealers, not online or from individuals. It is easy for scammers to sell a card and pull out the funds before consumers can even give it as a gift.

2. Travel scams: Watch out for unexpected hotel and flight “confirmation” or “cancellation” notices, which trick consumers into clicking unsafe links to stop unreal reservations.

1. Deceiving deliveries: Do not accept notices about delivery delays or confirmations on unordered packages. Scammers often pose as well-known retailers or shipping companies to gain false credibility and access to consumers’ computers.
 

Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington is one of 112 in North America and the largest BBB by geographical service area. BBB is a neutral not-for-profit public reporting agency committed to trust in the marketplace. For more information on ethical business standards and BBB Accreditation, or to access free BBB Business Reviews, Charity Reviews, scam alerts or find local event information visit bbb.org.

Alaska Airlines 2nd, Delta 4th for on-time rankings
The federal government is out with a new ranking of the airlines that arrive on time most often.

Alex Stone, ABC News says, "If you were on Hawaiian Airlines in October, the Department of Transportation says you had the best chance of arriving on time. Hawaiian, Alaska, and Air Tran Airways - which is now owned by Southwest - take the top three spots. Followed by Delta, JetBlue, and Virgin America. The worst for on time arrivals? Envoy - which until recently was called American Eagle. Only 66 percent of its flights arrived on time in October."

Juneau coaches attend media training seminar
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Juneau School District has spent $11,000 to teach its coaches how to work professionally with the media.

Coaches and staff were instructed during a two-day seminar on ways to use effective language in handling tough questions and ending uncomfortable interviews.

They also were instructed on proper usage of social media and were encouraged to teach students how to properly use social media. Another topic discussed was whether coaches should "friend" students on their personal accounts.

The training sessions held in early December by Anchorage-based Gonzalez Marketing weren't a result of a specific incident.

The training came after several high-profile incidents, including allegations of hazing of athletes by upperclassmen and an assistant football coach who was accused of punching a player during an out-of-state camp.

Police: Felon killed prosecutor in jealous rage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Police in the country's northernmost community say a convicted felon shot and killed a state assistant prosecutor in a jealous rage over a woman.

Murder charges were filed Wednesday in Barrow against 47-year-old Ronald Fischer in the death of 48-year-old assistant district attorney Brian Sullivan.

North Slope Borough police say Sullivan was killed Monday night in the Barrow home of a woman who had a past relationship with Fischer.

Investigators say Sullivan was unarmed and seated on a couch when he was struck twice with blasts from a 20-gauge shotgun fired by Fischer.

They say security video from a nearby store shows Fischer entering the home.

Online court records did not list a lawyer for Fischer. Attorney Robert Campbell represented him this year in a felony case, but says he won't be handling Fischer's murder charge.

Sullivan was an Army veteran and former Washington state House representative.

FAA issues commercial drone permits to 4 companies
WASHINGTON (AP) — The government says it is granting four companies permission to use drones for aerial surveillance, construction site monitoring and oil rig flare stack inspections, bringing the total number of companies granted permits for commercial operations to 13.

The drones weigh less than 55 pounds and the firms have said they will they will keep the unmanned aircraft within line of sight of the operator.

Previously the only permits the Federal Aviation Administrational had issued were to two oil companies in Alaska and five aerial photography companies associated with television and film production.

The FAA said it has received 167 requests for exemptions from commercial entities.

The agency is under pressure from Congress to speed access to the U.S. skies for companies that want to operate drones.

Libertarian APOC seats
Governor Bill Walker's independent campaign is giving a boost to the Alaska Libertarian Party.

Libertarians get to name two members to the Alaska Public Offices Commission. The Alaska Dispatch reports that the five APOC Commissioners have four seats reserved for the top two parties in the gubernatorial election. Alaska Democrats didn't run a candidate, backing the "Unity Ticket" of Walker and Byron Mallott. That means the distant third-place finish by the Libertarian candidate lets the party split four APOC seats with the Republican party.

The Governor will choose from a list of four Libertarian nominees when the term of a Democrat on the Commission expires in March. Another seat opens up in 2017.

Alaska Democratic Party spokesman Zack Fields tells the Alaska Dispatch that supporting Walker for Governor was more important than winning APOC seats.

Alaska heroin and TV
Two people were arrested in Nome and charged with distributing heroin.

Alaska State Troopers say 22-year old Kevin Beamish and 22-year old Yvonne Adkison were taken into custody last Thursday as part of a year-long investigation. Troopers say a search of a home turned up 10 grams of suspected heroin,
as well as scales, packaging material, and over 1-thousand dollars cash.

The Alaska Dispatch reports that Adkison had been featured in the Discovery Channel T-V series "Bering Sea Gold" as a dive tender on her family's gold dredge.

Meanwhile, British T-V viewers are getting a different view of Alaska.

The B-B-C show "Extreme School" featured Anchorage's Holy Rosary Academy. The episode that aired November 24th showed two British students, considered underachievers, immersed in the school's traditional Catholic curriculum.
Camera crews filmed the episode at the school for one week last December.

On U-S T-V dials, the Sportsman Channel is promoting its Alaska material. In addition to airing a full season this week of its "Project Alaska" series, Sportsman Channel announced a second season of "Amazing America with Sarah Palin,"
with the former Governor going to Texas to hunt feral hogs.

We're #26 !!!
According to the special 25th Edition of America’s Health Rankings, Alaska ranks 26th this year when compared with other states. The 2014 report illustrates Alaska has its share of strengths and challenges.

Among the state's strengths are
· Low levels of air pollution: Alaska ranks 1st in the country, with 4.9 micrograms of fine particles per cubic meter.
· Low prevalence of low birthweight: Alaska ranks 1st in the U.S. with 5.7 percent of live births considered underweight.
· Low infant mortality rate: Alaska ranks 2nd in the country, with 4.5 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Alaska’s Challenges
· High incidence of infectious disease: Alaska ranks 46th for its combined score of Chlamydia, Pertussis, and Salmonella
· Low immunization coverage among teens: Alaska ranks 48th in the U.S., with only 52.2 percent of teens receiving immunizations.
· Low immunization coverage among children: Alaska ranks 46th in the U.S., with only 63.9 percent of children receiving immunizations.

The data in the report come from well-recognized outside sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Medical Association, FBI, Dartmouth Atlas Project, U.S. Department of Education and Census Bureau.

Group plans 41-unit senior complex in Juneau
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — New affordable housing units will be built in Juneau for low-income seniors.

The Alaska Housing Finance Corp. has awarded $9 million in financing for a 41-unit complex.

It will be built by the Juneau nonprofit St. Vincent de Paul and partner agency GMD Development of Seattle. The complex will include studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments with retail space for St. Vincent de Paul's thrift store on the ground floor.

It will sit on 1.3 acres of land located near Juneau International Airport. Officials hope to break ground late next summer.

The charity organization also wants to renovate its two other Juneau properties along with another one in Haines.

Judge asks if settlement possible in voting case
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A federal judge has asked the state and the Alaska Native plaintiffs who sued over the translation of voting materials to see if they can reach a settlement.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason in September ordered the state to take additional steps to provide voting materials to Alaska Native voters with limited English ahead of the November elections.

Last week, she said had begun reviewing the state's compliance report and asked that the plaintiffs and the state discuss whether a full or partial settlement of the case was possible.

Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, who took office Dec. 1, said he hadn't looked at the case in detail. But he said his desire would be to settle the case in a way that meets the needs of the Alaska voter.

[Tuesday December 9th,  2014  12th  EDITION 9:24 P. M.]

New governor means high expectations for attendance at Holiday Open House
With a new governor, expectations were high Tuesday afternoon at the 2014 Governor's Holiday Open House.

KINY Radio asked Lisa Boman, Executive Residence Manager, about how many people usually attend,  "Typically 3000 to 3500 ... This year with the new governor, I'm anticipating just over 4000." 

Boman said they began work on the event in September, two months before the election that found Bill Walker the winner in Alaska's race for governor.  The group of around 100 volunteers lined up entertainment with the schools in early fall, so that the music teachers and students would have plenty of time to practice Christmas carols. 

As for the final tally on treats, Boman said they ordered 25,500 cookies plus 220 pounds of fudge and candy. This was the first year they offered a gluten-free cookie.

(Picture courtesy of KINY's Kendall Weaver - Pictured L to R:  Mrs. Toni Mallot, Lt. Gov Byron Mallot, Governor Bill Walker, First Lady Donna Walker}

Walker hopes to have appointments in place in weeks
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Bill Walker hopes to have all his appointments in place in the next several weeks.

Walker took office Dec. 1, and so far has named a handful of permanent department heads, including Gary Folger, a Public Safety commissioner under former Gov. Sean Parnell kept on by Walker.

Walker was asked Tuesday whether he planned to keep Mike Hanley in place as Education commissioner and Larry Hartig as head of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Both also served under Parnell.

Walker said he wouldn't read too much into Hanley and Hartig remaining in place but said he would consider retaining both.

If Hanley is not asked to stay, the board of education would get involved. By law, the board would pick a new commissioner, subject to approval by the governor.

Board of Fisheries increases Chitina dipnetter bag limit
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Bag limits will increase next year for dipnetters seeking salmon in the Copper River at Chitina (CHIT'-nah).

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Alaska Board of Fisheries over the weekend in Cordova voted to increase the take to 25 salmon for permit holders plus 10 more salmon for each person in their household.

Chitina Dipnetters Association President Chuck Derrick says it's the first bag limit increase in memory.

The 2014 bag limit was 15 salmon for a household of one and 30 salmon for a household of two or more.

The change will allow more fish to be caught by permit holders with large families.

Derrick says the association advocated for the change with large families in mind.

Suspect arrested in Alaska prosecutor death
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A former Washington state representative working as an assistant district attorney in Alaska was killed Monday night in a shooting.

KTUU-TV reports 48-year-old Brian Sullivan died Monday night in a shooting at a home in Barrow, the northernmost community in the United States.

North Slope Borough officials say a man was taken into custody. The suspect's name was not immediately released.

Interim North Slope Borough Police Department Chief Darryl Holman requested that Alaska State Troopers assist in the investigation and Fairbanks troopers were preparing to fly to Barrow.

Sullivan on his website described himself as a military veteran who served as an Army judge advocate general.

Sullivan served in the Washington state House from January 1997 to January 2001.

Tribes could issue protective orders against non-Natives
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Senate has passed legislation that would allow Alaska tribes to issue and enforce protective orders against non-Natives.

Sen. Mark Begich's office said the provision passed as a pared-down version of a safe families' bill, through a legislative maneuver known as unanimous consent.

There was no floor vote, but Democrats and Republicans agreed to let it pass.

The provision would repeal what has been referred to as the Alaska exemption to the Violence Against Women Act.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the measure would be taken up by the House before the holiday recess.

A spokesman for Rep. Don Young said the House also has the ability to move fast and that the hope was to get the bill passed.

Sale pending for Kodiak seafood processing plant
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — A fish processing plant in Kodiak is changing owners.

KMTX-radio reports Trident Seafoods will buy the Western Alaska Fisheries processing plant from Westward Seafood, which is owned by Maruha-Nichiro.

Trident in an announcement Monday says it has signed a letter of intent to purchase the plant. A purchase price was not announced.

Trident expects to complete the deal by Dec. 31.

The processing plant handles pollock, cod, salmon and other species. The location about a half mile from Trident's Kodiak plant.

Western Alaska Fisheries merged with Westward Seafoods in 2001. It processes 45 million pounds of seafood per year. Westward's main plant in Dutch Harbor handles 245 million pounds per year.

Dog in Juneau electrocuted on city sidewalk
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A dog has died after stepping on a charged junction box on a Juneau city sidewalk.

The city and borough's engineering director, Rorie Watt, said the junction box is city property. Watt said the matter is being investigating.

He said all of Juneau's street lighting wires are located underground in conduits, protected by junction boxes on the sidewalk with metal lids over them.

A Juneau Police spokesman said a woman was walking her dog around midnight Saturday when the dog stepped on a metal lid and was electrocuted. The woman, whose name was not released, wasn't injured.

City and borough risk manager Jennifer Mannix said she called the dog's owner to apologize.

Mannix said she had never heard of something like this happening in Juneau before.

Canyon river runner fined in trash, firewood case
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A Grand Canyon river runner from Alaska has been fined $1,500 and ordered to pay roughly $1,000 of court costs for dumping trash into the Colorado River and for illegally collecting driftwood for campfires.

A federal magistrate in Flagstaff on Dec. 1 sentenced 75-year-old Nels Nichols Niemi (KNEE'-me) of Haines on two misdemeanor convictions stemming from an Oct. 29 trial.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says evidence showed that Niemi was a trip leader for a group that dumped trash and garbage into the river daily during a 12-day trip and that he also collected driftwood to make fires each night.

U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo said the prosecution and sentence should remind Colorado River users that rules and regulations protecting the Grand Canyon National Park will be vigorously enforced.

Avalanche survivor says mountain gave warning sign
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A man who survived an avalanche in mountains south of Delta Junction says he and his partner heard warning signs of snow pack instability but concluded they could continue skiing safely.

Mike Hopper tells the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner he may have been too confident on a route he had taken many times before.

The 63-year-old Hopper was buried for more than two hours Saturday, but dug himself out.

The avalanche killed 35-year-old Erik Peterson, a former coach at West and Dimond high schools in Anchorage who had recently moved back to Delta Junction.

Hopper says they heard the "whomp" of snow settling as they crossed a gently sloping valley but concluded that snow higher up would be more stable.

The avalanche hit in steeper terrain.

Man dies of gunshot wound at Mat-Su hospital
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man who showed up last week at a Palmer hospital with a gunshot wound has died.

KTUU-TV reports 24-year-old Forrest Bieber of Anchorage was one of two men who on Dec. 1 drove to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center to seek treatment for gunshot wounds. The second man was treated and released.

Alaska State Troopers took calls of two home invasions that day but spokeswoman Beth Ipsen says investigators don't have concrete information to link the cases.

In the first, a woman living in a home outside Wasilla said two men broke into her home and beat her.

In the second, a resident living near Wasilla said he exchanged gunfire with two men who invaded his home.

The resident was treated for a gunshot wound at Mat-Su Regional.

Volunteers bring Santa to remote Alaska village
SHISHMAREF, Alaska (AP) — Volunteers in the Operation Santa Program and the Alaska National Guard brought Christmas to the remote Inupiat Eskimo community of Shishmaref, on Alaska's western coast, over the weekend.

Children received toys, coats, school supplies and the rare treats of apples and oranges along with ice cream.

Why ice cream in a town 25 miles south of the Arctic Circle? Shishmaref senior Cheyenne Nayokpuk says the answer is simple: "'Cause everybody loves ice cream."

It's the 58th year for the program to bring a little holiday cheer to remote Alaska villages, where poverty is widespread and these may be the only toys children will receive.

Different villages are chosen each year to spread the wealth. Operation Santa last made a visit seven years ago to Shishmaref, which is located about 600 miles northwest of Anchorage.

Fee changes proposed for Mendenhall Glacier area
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service is considering raising the fee to enter the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center in Juneau.

The agency also is considering expanding the fee area beyond the visitor center to areas popular with tourists, such as the Steep Creek and Photo Point trails and restroom facilities.

It cites as reasons declining budgets and an effort to improve the visitor experience. Visitation has more than doubled since 1999, when the agency began collecting fees.

The proposal would raise the daily fee to enter the center from $3 to $5 for those 16 and older. Season passes would go from $10 to $15.

The agency, in a release, said it planned to continue not charging fees in the winter.

If approved, the fee increase would begin in May 2016.

Deadline approaches to have insurance by first of year
Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace continues through February 15, but if you want to ensure that your coverage starts January 1, you have to sign up before December 15th.

There are many ways to enroll. You can go online to www.healthcare.gov or call the 24/7 help line at 1-800-318-2596. In Juneau there are two locations for face-to-face help. Call or visit the Front Street Community Health Center (586-5324) or Planned Parenthood (321-8003).

If you sign up before December 15th your health coverage will start January 1st. If you are a single adult that makes less than $14,580 or a couple that makes below $19,660 you are encouraged to apply through the Health Insurance Marketplace. If the Medicaid is expanded, your name will already be in the system and it may be quicker to get health coverage in the future.

It is important to be aware that individuals that did not have health insurance in place during the 2014 calendar year will be required to pay a tax penalty on their 2014 tax filings. That penalty may be as low as $95 per adult, and half that for each child, or 1% of your income, whichever is higher. Alaskans who do not have health insurance in 2015 will face higher penalties when filing their taxes in 2016.

Andrea Thomas, Outreach & Enrollment Manager for SEARHC, says, “Group enrollments are a great way to get your questions answered as you work your way through the www.healthcare.gov website.”

University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) and SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) are partnering to provide presentations and group enrollments in Sitka for the Health Insurance Marketplace during open enrollment. The next presentation will be on Thursday, December 11th from noon-1:00pm at UAS in room 106. It will include information about the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace and explain eligibility, how to qualify for lower cost health coverage, and how to enroll.

On Saturday, December 13th, a group enrollment event will take place at UAS in the Student Success Center and is for those that are comfortable on computers. Trained staff will assist with creating accounts, adding required information, understanding eligibility for financial assistance, and explaining insurance options and enrollment. Those that prefer individual assistance can call SEARHC, a Certified Application Counselor agency, at 966-8883 or 966-8662 to set up an appointment. This is a free service for everyone.

Anyone attending the group enrollment events must bring the following information: email address, household income information, dates of birth and Social Security numbers for all family members needing insurance, and immigration documents if applicable. Those currently enrolled in a Marketplace insurance plan may attend the group enrollment to update their income information and choose a new plan for a January 1st start, as long as they have their Marketplace login information.

[Monday December 8th,  2014  10th  EDITION 4:15 P. M.]

Man threatens to rob downtown bank, but only after someone else arrives
The Juneau Police Department received a report from Wells Fargo downtown Monday afternoon around 1:15 referencing a bank robbery threat.

The male subject, 56 year old Juneau resident John Knudson, refused to leave the premises when asked by bank management. Knudson was not reported to be confrontational and no weapons could be seen on or about him. A bank employee reported that Knudson indicated he was waiting for someone to arrive before he robbed the bank.

Two JPD officers responded within one minute of the call being dispatched and detained Knudson in the back of a marked patrol vehicle. The preliminary investigation resulted in John Knudson being arrested for criminal trespass. He was lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center and held on $500 cash bail.

Sitka man finds Christmas trees but can't find way out of the forest
Alaska State Trooper responded to a report of an overdue hiker near Sitka Sunday afternoon around 4:30. 31 year old Geoffrey Diehl was harvesting Christmas trees with family and a friend when he became separated from the party.

Sitka Mountain Rescue, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, the United States Forestry Service, and search dogs participated in multiple searches. Aerial searches were conducted by the United States Coast Guard. Just after 10:00 PM, Diehl was found on the Indian River Trail, cold and wet, but able to walk. Diehl had become disoriented in the woods and was unable to find his way to the trailhead.

Ex-firefighter, wife enter pleas in theft case
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — A former Central Emergency Services firefighter and his wife have pleaded guilty to theft charges for taking money from two charitable organizations that provide firefighting training money.

The Peninsula Clarion reports Jack Anderson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft and Angela Anderson pleaded guilty to felony theft in connection with the disappearance of more than $8,200 from the charities.

As part of a plea arrangement, they will pay restitution, perform 80 hours of community service and serve probation.

CES provides emergency services in the central Kenai Peninsula.

At their plea hearing, two current CES employees testified that the Andersons drained the accounts of local chapters of the national Fraternal Order of Leatherhead Society, which provides firefighter training opportunities, and Explorer Post No. 999, which provides fire service scholarships for teens.

Arctic drill ship company admitting to 8 felonies
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A company that operated a drill ship off Alaska's Arctic coast has agreed to plead guilty to environmental and maritime crimes as part of a deal with prosecutors.

The agreement call for Noble Drilling U.S. LLC to plead guilty to eight felony counts and pay an $8.2 million fine, plus $4 million in community service payments.

The agreement and charges were made public Monday. The agreement still must be approved by a judge.

Noble operated the drill ship Noble Discoverer and the drill unit Kulluk in support of efforts by Royal Dutch Shell PLC to drill offshore.

According to the agreement, Noble Drilling's violations included keeping false records about its handling of oil on the vessels, and did notifying the Coast Guard of hazardous conditions aboard the Noble Discoverer.

Ahtna announces 2014 shareholder dividend
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The board of directors of Ahtna, Inc. has declared a shareholder dividend of just more than $1 million.

The Glennallen-based Alaska Native regional corporation announced the dividend Saturday.

It works out to be just over $4.42 per share, or $442.86 for shareholders who hold 100 shares.

The dividend is the second-highest per share in the last decade.

The corporation also announced a total elder dividend of $63,600.

Ahtna, Inc. is one of 13 Alaska Native Regional Corporations formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971.

The company has more than 1,800 shareholders.

The company says both dividends are expected to be distributed Friday by direct deposit or by Dec. 15 by mailed check.

Fleener named Walker adviser on Arctic issues
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Craig Fleener, the one-time running mate of Gov. Bill Walker, has been named a special assistant to Walker, advising him on Arctic issues.

Fleener ran for lieutenant governor alongside Walker as part of an independent ticket but stepped aside to make way for Democrat Byron Mallott after the August primary.

Fleener, a former deputy commissioner of Fish and Game, is a former chairman of Gwich'in Council International, a permanent participant in the Arctic Council, according to a biography provided by the governor's office.

Fleener told KTUU that Alaska is the reason the U.S. is an Arctic nation. He says he wants to make sure the interests of Alaska and Alaskans are at the fore of decision-making.

He said his immediate goals include helping the state adapt to climate change.

Judge clarifies order in Pebble Mine case
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A federal judge says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must stop all work related to a process that could result in development of the Pebble Mine being restricted or prohibited.

Last month, U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland restrained EPA from taking further steps toward a decision until he ruled on the merits of a lawsuit brought by the group behind the mine.

EPA officials sought clarification.

Attorneys for the agency said barring EPA from activities such as communicating with outside parties would "create substantial harms" for EPA. They said it would disrupt review of public comments and create confusion about whether EPA can respond to public questions or communicate internally about the matter.

Holland last week clarified that EPA cannot engage in any activities related to the process.

Woman injured as she tries to assist at crash
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A woman who stopped to assist another driver after a crash on an Anchorage highway was struck and injured.

Anchorage police spokeswoman Dani Myren says there were multiple accidents Sunday as light rain fell.

KTUU-TV reports the Good Samaritan stopped Sunday morning to assist at a non-injury crash on Minnesota Drive near the Raspberry Road exit.

A semi tractor-trailer approaching a corner fish-tailed and struck the woman's vehicle as she was getting out and the woman was injured. She was taken to a hospital.

The accidents closed southbound lanes of Minnesota Drive for almost two hours. Northbound lanes were closed briefly to remove the semi.

Ceremony planned for start of ferry construction
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — The company building two new Alaska ferries will conduct a ceremonial laying of the keels next weekend.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports Vigor Alaska has scheduled the event for Saturday afternoon at the Ketchikan Shipyard.

Vigor Alaska in September received a four-year, $101.5 million contract for two 280-foot Alaska Marine Highway ferries. Each will seat up to 300 passengers and carry up to 53 standard-size vehicles.

Shipyard spokesman Doug Ward says additional workers are being hired. He says ship repair has a work load that peaks in winter but that ship building provides stability.

He says ship-building could put the business "in a good place" for trying to secure future state and commercial contracts.

Not so fast on Medicaid expansion
Before the Walker administration pursues an expansion of Medicaid eligibility, some problems with the system must be addressed.

The Alaska Dispatch reports that Health Commissioner Valerie Davidson considers the flaws to be more "dire" than she thought before she took office last week. The state's Medicaid system has backlogs with new applicants and with
payments to health providers. The state has filed a claim for more than 46-million dollars with Xerox, the payment system contractor, and may bring a lawsuit.

Davidson said Friday that the backlogs must be fixed before more Alaskans are added to the rolls. Governor Walker said last week he would expand Medicaid eligibility to a higher income bracket. The Legislature would have to accept federal funds to pay for it.

Bethel Search and Rescue monitors river ice
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Bethel Search and Rescue members are urging people to be cautious about traveling on the frozen Kuskokwim River.

KYUK says there have been growing concerns about increased traffic on the river following colder temperatures recently.

Members of Bethel Search and Rescue surveyed the thickness of the ice, which measured between eight and 12 inches from Bethel to Kwethluk (KWEETH'-luk).

Members are recommending that nothing heavier than a snowmobile or four-wheeler be used in the area.

They also say people should deviate from the main trail because conditions elsewhere are unknown. People also are advised to avoid the Gweek River and Straight Slough, because those areas recently had open water.

Troopers investigate death of Alakanuk teen
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers are investigating the death of an 18-year-old man found unresponsive in a shipping container in the western Alaska village of Alakanuk (ah-LUCK'-uh-nuck).

Troopers say Theodore Hanson's body is being sent to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Troopers say Hanson was found Friday night in the container, which held at least 30 propane bottles, with several plugs removed for use.

CPR was conducted at the village clinic, but Hanson could not be revived.

Troopers were notified that night, but were unable to go to the village immediately because of heavy snowfall and poor visibility. Troopers arrived Saturday.

Juneau Chamber of Commerce Awards, Citizen of the Year and Life-time Achievement
Two people were recognized for their contributions at the annual Juneau Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner Saturday night.

Local Juneau business man Ron Flint presented the Life-time Achievement Award to Laraine Derr, who has served in numerous volunteer positions in Juneau and was named Citizen of the Year in 1996. Flint called her a "human dynamo and super volunteer." Derr has designed and sewn hundreds of costumes for the Juneau High School musicals and is actively involved in community support and fundraising for the Southeast Alaska Food Bank and University of Alaska. She is also Chair of Finance and Vice-Chair of the Alaska Mental Health Authority.  Derr says in her thank you, "You can do anything with family, friends, and faith."

Past Chamber president, Tim McLeod, presented the Citizen of the Year award to Wayne Jensen of Jensen Yorba Lott - Architects, "On a volunteer basis he works to make Juneau a better capital, and professionally as an architect, he works to make the capitol better structurally." Jensen has served on several boards and commissions related to the design industry in Alaska. Jensen is also an active Rotarian and Chairman of the Alaska Committee. In his thanks, Jensen said about coming to Juneau in 1973, "We embraced all the things this community had to offer, the beauty, the opportunities. I value being a part of this community and I intend to do that for a long time."

[Sunday December 7th,  2014  6th  EDITION 2:45 P. M.]

Regents to mull University of Alaska tobacco ban
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The University of Alaska Board of Regents will consider implementing a tobacco ban on all campuses.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the issue is scheduled for a vote Thursday at the regents' meeting at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

The proposal would halt the use of tobacco almost everywhere on UA properties. Forms of tobacco under the ban would include cigarettes, chewing tobacco and electronic cigarettes.

The proposal is the result of a September request to UA President Pat Gamble by regents, who wanted a draft of a tobacco-free policy they could consider.

Under the proposed ban, tobacco use would be banned in all forms in most areas, including building interiors and campus trail systems.

Tobacco use would be allowed in private vehicles not parked in a UA garage.

Troopers says skier dead in Alaska avalanche
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say a man died after being caught in an avalanche while skiing.

Troopers say the victim of the avalanche reported Saturday evening is tentatively identified as 35-year-old Eric Peterson of Delta Junction.

Troopers say 63-year-old Michael Hopper was skiing with Peterson when they were caught in the avalanche near milepost 205 of the Richardson Highway.

Hopper told authorities it took him 2- to- 3 hours to dig himself out and once he was free, he found Peterson's glove. He then dug into the snow and found Peterson dead.

According to troopers, Hopper flagged down a passing motorist on the highway and contacted troopers.

Troopers were among responders to the scene, where conditions are unstable with heavy snow.

Conditions will be evaluated before a body recovery is attempted.

Wasilla man dies after road grader collision
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say a 42-year-old Wasilla man died after he struck a road grader with his truck.

Kristopher Mielke was pronounced dead at the scene of the Wasilla collision.

Troopers say Mielke had been heading east Friday on Pittman Road when his truck veered onto an oncoming lane and hit the road grader, which was driven by 64-year-old William Olszewski of Wasilla.

Troopers say Mielke was not wearing his seatbelt.

Olszewski reportedly was wearing his seatbelt and was not injured.

Bethel man sentenced in killing of sister's dog
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — A 29-year-old Bethel man has been sentenced to six months in jail after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty in connection with the death of his sister's dog.

KYUK reports James Whitman was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to the animal cruelty charge. In exchange, the court dropped additional charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

According to police reports, Whitman killed the dog with a flashlight in September.

The dog, named Irvina, had belonged to Whitman's sister, Sarah Whitman.

Sarah Whitman contacted Bethel Friends of Canines for help with emergency care before the dog eventually died.

Joan Dewey with the animal rescue group says she's disappointed James Whitman was not charged with felony animal cruelty.

Fairweather sailings canceled
Due to severe weather in Prince William Sound, FVF Fairweather sailings for Sunday, Dec. 7 are canceled.

AMHS staff is contacting affected passengers. For schedule information, please visit FerryAlaska.com or contact your local terminal by dialing 1-907-465-3941 or toll-free at 1-800-642-0066.

Sitka Police solve rash of burglaries and make big meth bust
Sitka Police have nabbed a man suspected in a recent rash of home break-in thefts.
27 year old Kelly Crowder Jr was arrested on Nov. 26th on suspicion of possessing stolen property after trying to sell jewelry to a neighbor, who alerted the police. A search of Crowder’s residence discovered items believed to be taken from some of the burglarized homes and those items were later identified by the home owners. Crowder was also found to be in possession of what was believed to be methamphetamines. He was charged with two felonies and was being held on a $5000 bond. Friday, the Sitka Grand Jury indicted Crowder on two felony counts; one count of larceny and one count misconduct involving a controlled substance. Crowder will be transferred to Lemon Creek Correctional Facility until his trial date.

Sitka Police also made a big meth bust Friday morning and arrested 36 year old Pierre Pagtakhan on felony drug charges. He was taken into custody without incident at the 1200 block of Edgecumbe Drive. SPD seized approximately $50,000 worth of Crystal Methamphetamine, with probable cause to believe it was connected Pagtakhan. Officers also obtained search warrants for several residences believed to be related to the investigation and have completed them. The investigation is on-going and Sitka Police say additional information will be released when available and legal to do so.

Air emergency cancellation
Due to the increasing air movement in the Mendenhall Valley, the City and Borough of Juneau has canceled its Air Emergency effective immediately.

The City would like to thank those residents affected by the Air Emergency for their cooperation.

Alaska same-sex couple reports vandalism to home
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A same-sex couple in Anchorage says their home was targeted with acts of vandalism including a soup-like substance on their mailbox and obscene signs left on their car.

KTVA Alaska reported Saturday that Adam Jacobson noticed the vandalism after arriving home early Saturday morning.

Jacobson says the signs on the car's window had anti-gay slurs and drawings. He also found half-empty pickle jars strewn about and egg shells on the front porch.

Jacobson and his husband have been married about a year and a half and have lived in their current house for about four years.

He says he suspects the people who did it may have observed him and his husband.

The Anchorage Police Department has confirmed that a police report related to the incident was filed Saturday.

[Saturday December 6th,  2014  4th  EDITION 4:49 P. M.]

Radio personality arrested for child pornography
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A radio personality in Anchorage was arrested on child pornography charges after social networking website Instagram turned him in.

KTUU reports the radio host known as Jimmy O'Brien was arrested Thursday. His real name is James LaPlante.

The case began when Instagram realized a customer in Anchorage had uploaded 13 images depicting child sexual exploitation.

Instagram contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which told the Anchorage Police Department.

The charging documents say police determined that the images were uploaded from LaPlante's home address.

The state says Google found that LePlante shared illegal images online from a computer owner by his employer.

LaPlante faces three counts of distribution of child pornography and a count each of possession of child pornography and online enticement of a minor.

Fire destroys lone store in Arctic Alaska village
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A fire has destroyed the only store in the Arctic village of Kivalina (kiv uh lee' nuh).

Alaska Dispatch News reports firefighters were dispatched early Friday.

Alaska State Troopers say the building is a total loss. It was the only source of essentials from food to furniture for the community of about 400 people.

Some residents sell small items from their homes, but the store was the only supplier of diapers, formula and milk.

The store's owner says it was insured. He says replacing the building could cost $1 million to $2 million.

The community plans to open a temporary store for the winter, and will rebuild the store when the sea is ice-free and materials can be barged in.

Charter flights are delivering baby formula and diapers.

Federal appeals court gets new chief judge
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — One of the nation's largest federal appeals courts has a new chief judge.

Sidney Thomas took over as chief judge of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this month from Judge Alex Kozinski. The appeals court's judges convened in a special session Friday for a ceremony to mark the change in court leadership.

The most senior active judge under the age of 65 is eligible to serve as chief judge for a term of up to seven years. Kozinski's seven-year term ended in December. The 61-year-old Thomas, of Billings, Montana, will take over various administrative duties as chief judge.

The Ninth Circuit hears cases from Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, the U.S. Territory of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

USPS begins Sunday package delivery
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — If you're looking for a package, you might want to open your door when someone knocks Sunday.

Dawn Peppinger, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service in Alaska, says in an email to The Associated Press that they will begin limited parcel delivery on Sunday in 11 Alaska communities.

She says deliveries will continue on Sundays until Christmas in Anchorage, Eagle River, Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau, Kenai, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Palmer, Soldotna and Wasilla.

[Friday December 5th,  2014  13th  EDITION 3:17 P. M.]

Free parking for Gallery Walk
In celebration of the holiday season, CBJ is creating a parking holiday. Beginning at 3:00PM, free parking will be in effect for the December 5th Gallery Walk.

Free on-street parking will not be limited to two hours, and free parking will be offered at the Shopper’s Lot (in front of the Downtown Transportation Center), the North Franklin Lot, the Downtown Transportation Center, the Marine Parking Garage and the Marine Park Plaza.

Also in honor of Gallery Walk, Front Street from Franklin to Seward Street will be closed to automobile traffic and will be a pedestrian only zone from 3:00PM until approximately 9:00PM.

Walker's ex-running mate named to Arctic post
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has appointed his former running mate as a special assistant on Arctic policy.

Walker's spokeswoman, Grace Jang, tells the Alaska Dispatch News that Craig Fleener brings experience and knowledge to the post.

Former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell was the Arctic expert in the last administration. Treadwell says Fleener will be a great spokesman for Alaska.

Fleener, an Athabascan, is from Fort Yukon, and has been active with the Arctic Council on behalf of Gwich'in Natives.

Fleener voluntarily stepped aside as the lieutenant governor candidate so Walker could form a new ticket with Democrat Byron Mallott, who gave up his gubernatorial run to be Walker's new running mate.

Air Emergency issued
Due to the temperature inversion which continues to exist in the Mendenhall Valley, theCity and Borough of Juneau has issued an Air Emergency effective immediately.

The area covered by this Emergency extends from the Airport north to the Mendenhall Glacier, west to Montana Creek, south along the east shore of Auke Lake and includes the east half of the Mendenhall Peninsula.

The Air Emergency means that all woodstove and fireplace burning is prohibited except for pellet stoves.

For an update on the status of this Air Emergency, please call 586-5333.

Walker to submit placeholder budget
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Bill Walker said Friday he will submit a placeholder budget prepared by his predecessor to satisfy statutory requirements.

State law requires the budget be submitted by Dec. 15. However, Walker only took office on Monday.

Former Gov. Sean Parnell had given Walker his working budget, and Walker says he'll submit the $5.3 billion operating budget portion of that as a starting point. He plans to file an amended budget by the next deadline of Feb. 18.

The Parnell budget also includes a $219 million capital budget, but this will be changed in the days ahead.

Walker's budget director, Pat Pitney, says there will be fewer capital projects in the document they submit on Dec. 15.

Alaska school removes elementary readers
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Four readers have been removed from the Juneau Public Schools elementary language curriculum because of complaints of how the books portray the historical experiences of Alaska Natives and American Indians.

Superintendent Mark Miller decided to remove the books after Alaska Native critics complained they trivialized sensitive topics like the loss of indigenous culture when children were sent to border schools and forced to speak only English.

A few copies of the books will be kept at the office, and students with parental permission may check them out. However, each will be accompanied by an assessment from the district that it's not accurate.

Miller says the books will be replaced with local, place-based and culturally relevant texts that are being developed with Juneau-area Alaska Native organizations.

US rig count up 3 to 1,920
HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by three this week to 1,920.

The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report 1,575 rigs were exploring for oil and 344 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,775 active rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Kansas gained five rigs, Louisiana increased by four, Alaska and Arkansas each gained two and California, New Mexico and Ohio each gained one.

Texas lost five rigs, Oklahoma lost three, Colorado lost two and Pennsylvania and Wyoming each lost one.

North Dakota, Utah and West Virginia were unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.

Juneau Police Department's Crime of the Week
On November 26th, a 54 year-old Juneau man reported that sometime between the end of October and November 24th, someone took $5300 worth of jewelry from his home in the 9000 block of Ninnis Drive. It is likely the home was accidentally left unlocked and the suspect gained entry.

The missing jewelry includes a black pearl ring, a 24 inch rope necklace, a 6 diamond wedding band along with two plain wedding bands. Also missing is a graduation ring from Troy High School.

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.

Village post office intermittently closed
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A village on a remote Alaska island in the Bering Sea has been without a regular mail delivery service since the community's only postal worker quit last month because of pregnancy.

Residents of the Yup'ik Eskimo community of Savoonga (suh-VOON'-guh) say the U.S. Postal Service has brought in intermittent help to fill in when it can. But the lack of regular service has slowed the delivery of checks to residents and cash to the village store, the closest thing to a bank in the community of about 700.

Savoonga Mayor Myron Kingeekuk (kin--GEE'-kukh) says his daughter, Natasha, was 7 months pregnant when she resigned in mid-November because she couldn't lift heavy boxes.

Postal Service spokeswoman Dawn Peppinger in the Alaska district says efforts are underway to fill the vacancy.

Bethel shelter opens for homeless
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — A shelter has opened in southwest Alaska despite initial concerns a lack of volunteers would cause a delay.

KYUK reports the Bethel Winter House opened this week, offering meals and housing to the homeless inside Covenant Church.

The shelter first opened in 2012 as a means to combat deaths by exposure. Before this week's opening, people said they had been sleeping in sheds, abandoned buildings or people's porches.

More than 40 volunteers have been trained so far this year, and a coordinator has been hired. Long-term goals include applying for grants and finding space to hold food freezers.

The Bethel Winter House will be at the Covenant Church until the end of January. Then it will move for the last two months of winter to the Catholic church.

UAF student found dead in parking lot
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — University of Alaska Fairbanks officials say a student has died, apparently in an accidental shooting.

KUAC reports the body of the 48-year-old male student was found in a campus parking lot Thursday.

UAF spokeswoman Marmian Grimes says the body was found outside a vehicle in the parking lot. Police responded and declared the man dead.

Grimes says the death appears to be from an accidentally self-inflicted gunshot wound. No other details were provided as the investigation continues.

The student's name and hometown also are not being released until relatives are notified.

The university has made counselors available.

Eaglecrest Opening Day Saturday, Dec. 6
Juneau, AK, Dec. 4, 14 – Eaglecrest will open for the season on Saturday, December 6! The Porcupine Chair will operate from 9am to 3pm. A small terrain park feature will be set up as well. The Hooter, Ptarmigan, & Black Bear Chairs will not be operating.

“The snow making system at Eaglecrest has allowed us to open Porcupine Chair even though Mother Nature hasn’t sent much snow our way” says Eaglecrest General Manager, Matt Lillard. “The upper mountain needs a lot more snow before we can safely open it.”

Lift tickets for adults, seniors, and teens will be $15; youth and children tickets will be $10. Eaglecrest also plans to open the Rental Shop during operating hours, as well as the Eaglecrest Grill and Mountain Lift Coffee with select menu items.

The Snow Bus will not be in operation for Opening Weekend.

The Snowsports School will hold beginning ski and snowboard lessons. Advanced reservations for limited openings can be made by calling 907-790-2000, ext. 211.

As the snow continues to fall, the Eaglecrest Mountain Operations team will be working hard to open the rest of the mountain, including Nordic Trails.

“When snow conditions are ready, we will be too,” says Lillard. “Keep doing your snow dances! We are excited to welcome skiers and riders back to another excellent winter season at Eaglecrest.”

Coast Guard assists disabled grounded vessel in Prince William Sound
JUNEAU, Alaska — Crews from the Coast Guard Cutter Mustang and a Station Valdez 45-foot Response Boat-Medium assisted the crew of a fishing vessel that ran aground Thursday morning on the south side of Evans Island in Prince William Sound.

The Mustang and RB-M crews towed the fishing vessel Eleon safely to port in Chenega Bay.
Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watchstanders received an initial broken radio report from the Eleon’s crew reporting that they were experiencing a steering casualty, but weren't able to get the vessel’s coordinates. The watchstanders immediately directed the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and the crew of the Mustang to search for the distressed fishing vessel.

Upon locating the Eleon, the helicopter crew verified their safety and returned to Kodiak. The Mustang crew arrived on scene later in the morning and towed the Eleon a safe distance from shore.

In the afternoon the RB-M crew arrived on scene to tow the Eleon back into port.

“The rescue of the disabled fishing vessel can be directly attributed to the teamwork of our responding assets,” said Steve Garcia, a search and rescue controller at the Sector Anchorage command center. “The crews of our cutters and stations train together often to complete complex tasks in the harsh Alaska environment, with coordination and information coming from our sector command centers.”

No pollution was reported by the responding Coast Guard assets. Weather on scene was reported as 30 mph winds and 2-foot seas.

[Thursday December 4th,  2014  13th  EDITION 5:11 P. M.]

Constance Baltuck’s New Work at the City Museum
December’s Gallery Walk at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum heralds the opening of Constance Baltuck’s exhibit of large-scale, acrylic paintings entitled Breakthrough. There will be a public reception on Friday, December 5th, from 4:30 to 7:00 pm and the work will be on display through Saturday, December 27th.

The paintings in Breakthrough are the result of a year Constance has spent thinking and working LARGE, thanks to the support of the Rasmuson Foundation who granted her an Individual Artist Award in 2013. These 3x6 to 4x12 foot paintings continue to express Constance’s passion for color and fascination with the landscape and flora of Southeast Alaska but are three times as big as any painting she has made before. She says that as she worked she thought about how being involved with nature, through art making and intense observation, leads to an appreciation and a desire for conservation. Constance states that "hopefully this leads to thoughtful, respectful and mindful attitudes towards life on planet Earth. Maybe drawing plants can save the world!"

In conjunction with this exhibit, Constance is hosting a Coffee & Collections program on Saturday, December 13th from 10:30 to 12 noon and has assembled a panel of people including artist and naturalist Kathy Hocker and a representative from Voice in the Wilderness, a US Forest Service program that invites artists to experience and be inspired by Alaska's wilderness areas. They will be conversing with each other and with the audience about the relationship between art and nature and why making that connection is important to us all.

Then, on Sunday, December 14, from 3 to 5 pm, Constance will teach a class at the Museum called “How to Draw Plants”. Adults and children aged 10 and older are invited to register and can do so by visiting the Museum or the Museum’s website. Materials are included in the cost of the class, which is limited to 15 students.

For information regarding these events, to register for the drawing class, or to learn about other upcoming programs, please visit: www.juneau.org/museum or call 586-3572. The Juneau-Douglas City Museum is located at 4th & Main Streets. Winter hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. Admission is free during the month of December thanks to the generosity of Michelle and Robert Storer.


Forest Sparkles by Constance Baltuck, 30”x 40”, acrylic on gesso board



Light in Motion by Constance Baltuck, 30”x 40”, acrylic on gesso board

Richards to review gay marriage case, guard issues
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's new attorney general says he will view litigation over same-sex marriage in the state strictly along constitutional lines.

Craig Richards also says he will review issues related to the Alaska National Guard, including ensuring that proper prosecutions were brought for wrongful behavior and the release of public records by former Gov. Sean Parnell's administration was done diligently.

Richards is the former law partner of Gov. Bill Walker, who defeated Parnell and took office Monday. Walker announced Richards as his pick for attorney general last week.

Richards says that as a "law nerd," there could not be a more fun job. He said it's a great opportunity.

The appointment must be approved by lawmakers.

Richards' legal experience includes areas of oil and gas and taxation.

Alaska Communications selling wireless assets
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage-based Alaska Communications plans to sell its remaining wireless assets in the state to GCI to help pay down debt and focus on its growing broadband business.

Alaska Communications said the sale is for $300 million. It plans to use the net proceeds, which it estimates at about $250 million after costs associated with the deal, toward paying down its current debt of about $415 million.

Anand Vadapalli is president and CEO of Alaska Communications. He said the sale will strengthen his company's position and allow it to focus on broadband and information technology services.

He said the company will need consent from lenders, which it expects, and GCI will have to get financing for the purchase.

People testify air quality proposal falls short
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Few people testified this week at hearings in Fairbanks on planned air pollution regulations, but most of those who did say the proposed rules don't go far enough.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 11 people testified Wednesday at the hearings involving the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

The agency is developing state regulations to deal with air quality, primarily from wood burning, in parts of the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

People testifying said the regulations fall short, particularly when it comes to outdoor hydronic heaters, also known as outdoor wood boilers or furnaces. The heaters have been criticized as a local air pollution source.

Cindy Heil with the DEC says the agency is striving to listen to community input before adopting the regulations, which would go into effect next winter.

Fairbanks borough opens 4 icehouses
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — In another sure sign of winter in Fairbanks, the borough has opened up its four public-use ice fishing huts on Chena Lake.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the Fairbanks North Star Borough operates the four icehouses on the lake.

They can be rented for $25 a day, and include a wood stove and firewood.

The borough will even drill a hole so you can drop a fishing line into the lake.

And that might be worth it. The National Weather Service says the ice was 17 inches thick Monday.

Lawmakers prepare to take up pot issues
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska lawmakers are preparing to take up issues related to the legalization of marijuana during the upcoming legislative session.

A new law legalizing and regulating recreational use of pot takes effect early next year.

A legislative report, requested by Sen. Lesil McGuire, includes an estimate that the state will net up to $3 million from marijuana commercialization in the first year. By 2020, as regulation costs go down and the marijuana industry matures, sales of the drug are expected to bring in over $20 million in annual tax revenue.

The initiative allows lawmakers to create a marijuana control board. Otherwise, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board could end up responsible for marijuana.

McGuire told APRN she plans to file a bill that would allow the substances to be managed separately.

Former Huslia postal worker to change plea
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A woman accused of stealing nearly $50,000 from the post office in Huslia has entered a plea agreement.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports Jenna Marie Lestenkof is set to change her plea in the misappropriation of postal funds case Dec. 18. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess has agreed for the government to pay for travel expenses so the former postal worker can travel to Anchorage for the hearing.

The plea agreement says Lestenkof stole $46,489 in cash, checks and money orders from the post office in the village of about 300 people located approximately 300 miles west of Fairbanks.

She has agreed to pay restitution, and the plea agreement doesn't call for a prison sentence.

Troopers say Buckland man threatened school
BUCKLAND, Alaska (AP) — A 34-year-old Buckland man faces a terroristic threatening charge after troopers allege he threatened to shoot children at the local school.

Alaska State Troopers claim Fred Armstrong called the school in Buckland Wednesday, claiming he was frustrated because his 4-year-old daughter was being bullied at school. Troopers allege in the post that he said he was ready to come to the school with a gun and shoot the kids who were bullying his daughter.

School officials called troopers and immediately put the school into lockdown.

Troopers say in an online post Armstrong awaits arraignment at the Kotzebue jail. Online court records early Thursday didn't indicate charges had been filed against Armstrong.

Buckland is an Inupiat Eskimo village of nearly 500 people, located 425 miles northwest of Anchorage.

Orion launch a no-go
NASA had a little trouble starting the test launch of its new Orion spacecraft this morning, but when the flight is over, it'll be splashing down near Anchorage. Near U-S-S Anchorage, that is.

The Navy ship that was commissioned with a ceremony in its namesake city last year is assigned to retrieve the capsule from the ocean about 600 miles southwest of San Diego.

However, the countdown was halted this morning when a boat strayed into the danger zone downrange from the launch pad, and then wind gusts and a balky fuel valve kept the rocket grounded during the two-hour launch window.

The test flight carries no crew for the first trip into orbit for NASA's next-generation spacecraft. The four-and-a-half hour flight will take Orion into the Van Allen Radiation Belt, far higher than any crew-designed spacecraft has flown since the Apollo 17 moon landing over 40 years ago.

State ferry design issues
The latest design for a new state ferry has not satisfied critics worried that the vessel will be too large.

A modified design puts the new ferry at 330-feet -- 5 feet longer than the previous design.

Department of Transportation spokesman Jeremy Woodrow tells the Alaska Dispatch the stern was lengthened to accommodate a loading elevator for larger vehicles.

However, Kodiak Harbormaster Lon White says the proposed design is too big and will crowd out other vessels at the dock.

The vessel is intended to replace the ferry Tustumena for the Homer, Kodiak, and Aleutian Islands route. The ship has to be big enough to handle ocean crossings but still fit in the docks at small villages along the route.

Public comment on the new design is open until January 9th.

Governor Bill Walker, Lt. Governor Byron Mallott invite Alaskans to Holiday Open House
 
Governor Bill Walker and Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott are pleased to invite the community of Juneau to the Governor’s annual Holiday Open House on Tues., Dec. 9 from 3-6 p.m. at 716 Calhoun Ave. in Juneau.

“Donna and I look forward to celebrating the holiday season with our new Juneau neighbors,” Gov. Walker said. “This is a very special time for our family and we are blessed to take part in this wonderful tradition.”

The Governor’s House was built in 1912. The first open house was held by Territorial Governor Walter Eli Clark and his family on New Year’s Day 1913. The traditional event has been held every year, with the exception of two years during World War II. The Walkers are the 13th family to live in the Governor’s House since statehood.

More than 20,000 cookies are being prepared for the event, and more than 100 pounds of fudge and chocolate candies will be served. Members of Governor Walker’s cabinet will serve hot apple cider and holiday treats to guests waiting in line outside the residence.

People with special accessibility needs are invited to contact Lisa Boman, at (907) 465-3500, to arrange entry from 2:30-3 p.m.

Councilwoman charged with disorderly conduct
SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — A Seattle city councilwoman and three other people arrested during a protest outside Alaska Airlines headquarters have been charged with disorderly conduct.

The Seattle Times reports that SeaTac, Washington, City Attorney Mary Mirante Bartolo said Wednesday that Kshama Sawant and the others are expected to be arraigned in a couple of weeks. Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor.

The four were arrested Nov. 19 during a demonstration that called for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport workers to be paid at least $15 an hour.

Residents of SeaTac, the city that surrounds the airport, have approved a $15 minimum wage. Separately, the Port of Seattle, which operates the airport, has said it has the authority to increase the minimum wage for some airport workers. The issues of the Port's wage authority and whether the SeaTac minimum wage should apply to the airport are playing out in court.

In a statement, Sawant asked, "Why do workers face charges when they peacefully campaign for their rights, while corporate criminals go free?"

Kids set to count wild birds at Alaska Zoo event
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Like most days, children will be at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage looking for wild animals.

But on Sunday they will be strictly looking up.

The citizen scientists will help count birds at the zoo as part of the fifth Christmas Bird Count for Kids.

Overall, the Audubon Society's annual Christmas Bird Count will celebrate its 115th edition this year.

While that event is an all-day affair, the count conducted by children will be shorter. They will learn how to identify common birds and compile data. Then they will head outside to look for wild birds before returning to tally their lists over hot chocolate.

The zoo says last year, the children spotted 10 species of wild birds, including three species of woodpeckers, two species of chickadees and Red-Breasted Nuthatch.

Tribal college in Barrow awarded $145K grant
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Department of Agriculture officials say Illisagvik (ILL'-uh-sahv-ick) College in Barrow has been awarded a $145,000 grant.

Officials say the$145,302 USDA Rural Development grant will be used at the tribal college for campus infrastructure upgrades.

The planned expenditures include upgrades to campus vehicles and furniture, such as classroom chairs, cafeteria tables and furnishings in dormitories.

Gov to release Parnell budget without endorsements
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Bill Walker plans to release the budget of his predecessor without endorsements to satisfy a Dec. 15 deadline for proposing a budget.

That's according to his spokeswoman, Grace Jang.

Jang says she expects the release within the week.

Walker took office Monday, two weeks before a budget plan is required. His predecessor, Sean Parnell, prepared a budget prior to leaving.

Jang says the administration plans to propose a revised budget at a later time.

[Wednesday December 3rd,  2014  12th  EDITION 5:51 P. M.]

Gallery Walk downtown this First Friday
The Downtown Business Association will be sponsoring a Gallery Walk in downtown Juneau tomorrow, December's first Friday.

Nancy DeCherney, Executive Director at Juneau Arts & Humanities Council and Wednesday's guest on Capital Chat with host Sharon Gaiptman, said, "Gallery Walk is an opportunity for you to explore downtown, visit with friends, enjoy refreshments, see new artwork, do some Christmas or holiday shopping and just generally have a pleasant time."

Galleries all over town open new exhibits each First Friday of the month with receptions from around 4:30 in the afternoon until around 7:00 PM.

Find more information at www.JAHC.org.

Defense bill includes land transfer provisions
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A proposal that would finalize land claims for an Alaska Native regional corporation in southeast Alaska has been added to a federal defense authorization bill.

A spokesman for Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the package should come up for a vote before Congress breaks for Christmas.

It includes provisions that would provide Sealaska Corp., with over 70,000 acres owed to Southeast tribes under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

According to a Murkowski release, Sealaska is owed 85,000 acres in the Tongass National Forest, but as part of a compromise will accept less in exchange for acreage for logging, development and historic sites.

The measure also puts 150,000 acres of old-growth timber in new conservation areas.

A Sealaska official says the corporation is hopeful that the long-awaited measure will soon pass.

Questions on how to count governors in Alaska
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — This week, Bill Walker became the 13th governor of Alaska. Or the 11th. It depends on how you count.

But it turns out, the state of Alaska doesn't appear to have an official way of counting governors and their terms. The state historian, a number of researchers and others were unaware of one.

Two men since statehood in 1959, Bill Egan and Wally Hickel, served non-consecutive terms. Three — Egan, Jay Hammond and Tony Knowles — served back-to-back terms.

If Alaska counted governors like the U.S. counts presidents, Walker would be the 13th governor.

But in the Hall of Governors in Alaska's Capitol, 14 portraits hang, three for Egan.

Egan's son thinks governors should be counted by terms but says in the end what matters is that person was governor.

Alaska Air Guard members deploy to Africa mission
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (AP) — About 50 Alaska Air National Guard members have been deployed to the Horn of Africa.

The airmen are members of the Guard's 211th Rescue Squadron, 176th Operations Support Squadron, 176th Maintenance Group and 176th Medical Group.

Guard officials say in a release that part of the mission is to support partner nation operations in East Africa in the fight against extremist organizations.

Kalei Rupp, a spokeswoman with the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, says the Guard members are set to return in early April.

Another group of Guard members are set to deploy to the Horn of Africa in early 2015.

Parnell gas line member takes energy committee job
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A member of former Gov. Sean Parnell's gas line team has taken a job working with U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Murkowski says Mike Pawlowski will join the Senate energy committee's Republican staff, focusing on energy and natural resources issues important to Alaska and the West.

Pawlowski most recently served as a deputy state Revenue commissioner and was a public face of Parnell administration efforts to set state participation in a liquefied natural gas project. Parnell left office Monday, after losing re-election.

Murkowski spokesman Robert Dillon said Murkowski was looking for smart people to join the staff as she prepares to take over as chair of the committee. He called Pawlowski one of the smartest people around.

Murkowski also announced that Colin Hayes will serve as the committee's deputy staff director.

Men detain theft suspect with bed frame, plow
FAIRBANK, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks man and his father and used a metal bed frame and a snow plow to detain a suspected truck thief.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the truck owner was working at his father's shop Monday when he heard his pickup being driven off. He gave chase and jumped into the truck bed.

The man told police he banged on the rear window, and when the suspect wouldn't stop, used a metal bed frame to break it and strike the driver.

Meanwhile, the truck owner's father had pulled up in a plow truck.

When the suspect attempted to flee, the father bumped him with the plow, knocking him down. The father and son restrained the suspect until police arrived.

The 49-year-old suspect has been charged with felony theft.

UA president seeks input for chancellor search
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — University of Alaska President Pat Gamble says he would prefer the next chancellor for the University of Alaska Southeast to be hired internally, but will look beyond the system if that's what colleagues call for.

Longtime UAS chancellor John Pugh has announced he is retiring at the end of the school year.

UAS Provost Rick Caulfield is on Gamble's short list as a possible successor to Pugh. Caulfield has been the chief academic officer for the Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan campuses since 2010.

Gamble is in Juneau this week in part to meet with UAS faculty and staff about the search for a new chancellor.

Gamble says he is "really wide open" about what UAS employees think are good attributes for the next chancellor.

USS Anchorage to retrieve Orion capsule at sea
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — When NASA's new state-of-the-art space capsule lands in the Pacific Ocean after orbiting the earth, a Navy ship named for the Alaska's largest city will retrieve it.

The Navy says in a release the USS Anchorage departed San Diego Monday. The launch for Orion's unmanned orbital test flight is planned Thursday.

This inaugural Orion will carry no crew during the 4 1/2-hour test flight and be confined to Earth orbit. But it will aim for a high point of 3,600 miles on the second loop of the planet, setting the spacecraft up for a 20,000-mph, 4,000-degree re-entry. Splashdown will occur in the Pacific, 600 miles southwest of San Diego.

The Navy says the USS Anchorage will use its amphibious capabilities to conduct the at-sea recovery of the Orion space capsule.

Administration reviewing royalty relief proposal
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Bill Walker's administration is reviewing a proposal to offer temporary royalty relief to a company that supporters say could cost the state more than $40 million but bring in over $1 billion over the life of the planned project.

A legislative hearing was held Tuesday on the recommended finding of Gov. Sean Parnell's Natural Resources commissioner, Joe Balash. Parnell left office Monday.

If Caelus Energy Alaska is successful, oil is expected to flow from the tough-to-develop Nuna project for 30 years.

But Democratic Rep. Les Gara, said as it is, the state will receive little to no production-tax value from the field under the tax overhaul passed in 2013.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports the public comment period on the proposal is set to close Dec. 12.

4 hurt in home invasions, shootings near Wasilla
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers are trying to sort out home invasions and shootings Monday outside Wasilla that left three men with serious gunshot wounds and a woman injured.

KTUU-TV reports officers at 4:10 p.m. were called to a home where a woman reported two men walked in through an unlocked door, beat her and fled.

Hours later, troopers responded to an apartment where a man suffered gunshot wounds. He said two men entered, threatened the occupants and started an exchange of gunfire.

He was taken to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center.

Two men at about 7 p.m. showed up at the same hospital with gunshot wounds and were admitted in critical condition.

Officers were not able to immediately interview them and could not confirm links between the incidents.

Noted Alaska kayaker drowned near Granite Falls
EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — A kayaker who drowned near Granite Falls, Washington, was well-known in Alaska as a whitewater paddler.

The Snohomish County medical examiner's office says 27-year-old Xavier A. Engle drowned accidentally Sunday in the South Fork Stillaguamish River. The sheriff's office says two friends pulled him out of the water but he could not be revived.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports Engle graduated from West High School in Anchorage and Dartmouth College. He was living in Seattle while enrolled in program at the University of Washington that trains physicians for the Northwest.

Engle spent summers as a raft guide in Alaska and appeared in the 2010 film, "New Horizon: An All-Alaskan Whitewater Film." For a time he was a sponsored athlete for Fluid Kayaks.

School district settles sexual assault lawsuit
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District has agreed to pay $920,000 to the family of a student who said he was sexually assaulted by a high school tutor.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the settlement was reached after a nine-hour mediation session Monday in Seattle between attorneys for the school district and the family.

Borough insurance will cover $670,000 of the cost and the school district will pay $250,000.

The family sued last spring, claiming the district ignored warning signs of inappropriate behavior with students by Hutchison High School tutor and correspondence teacher Claude Fowlkes III.

Fowlkes has been charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor and is awaiting trial.

Walker appointments and "holdovers"
After the push to name new Cabinet Commissioners before Monday's swearing-in ceremony, Governor Walker is keeping some officials from the previous administration, for the time being.

The only holdover formally named to a role in the new cabinet is Public Safety Commissioner Gary Folger. Others are continuing as acting commissioners in the Departments of Education, Transportation, Environmental Conservation,
and Military & Veterans Affairs.

Deputy Commissioners have also stepped up as acting heads of the Departments of Administration, Commerce, Corrections, and Labor.

The long-term status of the acting commissioners is unclear.
Anti-corruption measure cleared for signatures
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Supporters of a proposed ballot initiative aimed at public corruption have been given the OK to begin gathering signatures.

The measure would make it a felony for public officials to legislate competitive advantages for or direct appropriations to themselves, business associates, family members, employers both past, present or sought-after campaign contributors.

Contributors would include donors to third-party groups backing the election of those officials.

Those benefiting from violations they induced would also face a felony.

Before leaving office, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell certified the initiative application, giving supporters a year to gather over 28,000 signatures. Their goal is to get it on the 2016 ballot.

A primary sponsor of the measure, Ray Metcalfe, says members of government should make decisions based on merit, not on who contributes to their campaigns.

Alaska Air Guard members deploy to Africa mission
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (AP) — About 50 Alaska Air National Guard members have been deployed to the Horn of Africa.

The soldiers are members of the Guard's 212th Rescue Squadron, 176th Operations Support Squadron, 176th Maintenance Group and 176th Medical Group.

Guard officials say in a release that part of the mission is to support partner nation operations in East Africa in the fight against extremist organizations.

Kalei Rupp, a spokeswoman with the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, says the Guard members are set to return in early April.

Another group of Guard members are set to deploy to the Horn of Africa in early 2015.

[Tuesday December 2nd,  2014  14th  EDITION 5:03 P. M.]

Suicide prevention training workshop
According to the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics, Alaska has the highest rate of suicide per capita in the country. Alaska had 1,369 suicides between 2000 and 2009. That is an average of about 2.6 suicides in Alaska every week, or more than 10 a month.

You can have the knowledge to possibly prevent a suicide and save a life one day by attending a special two hour suicide prevention training workshop sponsored by Juneau’s three Rotary Clubs, the Juneau Suicide Prevention Coalition, and the State of Alaska.

Charity McKinnon, Valley Rotary Club President, tells News of the North that, "Just like CPR for heart emergencies, this is a two hour investment to save a life and we're inviting the public to come and join us."

The workshop is Thursday December 4th, from 5:30 to 7:30 P.M. at the Juneau Douglas High School Library.

Agency proposes critical habitat for ringed seals
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A federal agency has proposed about 350,000 square miles of ocean off Alaska's north and west coasts as critical habitat for the seal that's the main prey of polar bears.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Tuesday that it's proposing much of the Bering, Chukchi (chuk-CHEE') and Beaufort seas within U.S. jurisdiction as critical habitat for ringed seals.

The seals were declared threatened in December 2012 because of the loss of sea ice from climate warming. Ringed seals use sea ice for breeding and molting.

A critical-habitat designation means federal agencies that authorize activities there must consult with NOAA Fisheries to determine the effects on seals.

The agency will take public comment on the proposed critical-habitat designation for 90 days.

Alaska's impacts from mining in BC
VICTORIA - Proposed mines in British Columbia's north and their potential impacts on Alaska's salmon and tourism industries are raising fears among environmental and aboriginal groups in the state.

The issue is high on the agenda today, as Alaskan tribal leaders and salmon-protection advocates meet at a Bureau of Indian Affairs conference in Anchorage.

A coalition of state aboriginal and environmental groups say rapid, industrial mine developments in B.C. threaten the headwaters of some of southeast Alaska's prime salmon rivers, including the Taku, Stikine and Unuk rivers, which flow through Canada's most-western province.

Conference delegates are poised to call on the U.S. federal government to activate the International Joint Commission and hold boundary dispute hearings over the issue.

Spokesman Guy Archibald says Alaskans have concerns about what they consider loose mining regulations in B.C., especially since last summer's tailings pond breach at the Mount Polley mine near Williams Lake, in the province's central Interior.

B.C.'s Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett travelled to Alaska last month, spoke to an annual miners' convention and met with state officials and fishing organizations.

(The Canadian Press)

Lower gas prices not always good
Drivers love the falling gas prices but it's not so great for everybody says ABC's Alex Stone.

"Drivers love the falling gas prices. They have been lower for weeks now, but it's not so great for everybody. In big oil and gas states like Texas, Alaska, and Colorado, lower prices are not always a good thing.

Stan Dempsey is with the Colorado Petroleum Association, 'Generally the industry is cutting back its capital expenditures because of its lower oil price.' He says if prices dip to 50-dollars a barrel layoffs could be coming. 'Less revenue for oil companies also means lower tax revenues to local governments.'

The next few months are crucial for oil providers and environmentalists worry the lower prices could be bad for the air we breath, because many of us drive more when prices are down. Drivers still say they like what they're feeling in their pocketbooks."

UPDATE: Board revokes liquor license of boat strip club
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has revoked the liquor license of a strip club operating on a boat outside the city of Kodiak.

Kodiak resident Darren Byler says he plans to appeal the unanimous decision Monday regarding his 120-foot floating business, Wild Alaskan.

Alaska Dispatch News reports the issue considered was the "common carrier" license, which allows the sale of alcohol on vehicles involved in transporting passengers or freight.

ABC board director Cynthia Franklin says Kodiak bar owners alleged an unfair advantage for the business. Franklin asked the board to consider a situation where a boat is put in one place instead of moving around.

Byler says he was planning to conduct sightseeing tours in the spring. He says anchoring the boat does not eliminate its vessel status.

Air emergency cancelled
Due to the increasing air movement in the Mendenhall Valley, the City and Borough of Juneau has canceled its Air Emergency effective immediately.

The City would like to thank those residents affected by the Air Emergency for their cooperation.

More cash for Iditarod winner this year
The top five finishers in the world's most famous sled dog race will be taking home a little bit more cold cash.

Officials with Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race have announced a $50,000 bump in the overall purse next year, with the winner getting the bulk of it.

The 2015 winner will receive $70,000, the largest payout ever in the roughly thousand-mile race. It starts March 7 and ends about nine days later in Nome.

The highest payout had been $69,000 for the winner until the race lost about $1 million in sponsorships five years ago. The last winner got $50,400.

Officials also announced a 20-mile stretch of the trail has been improved between Rohn and Farewell, the site of many accidents last year during a low-snow season.

Concerns raised about marijuana law
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Native municipal leaders are worried that a state law legalizing recreational use of marijuana could lead to more substance abuse and make it difficult for employers to keep drug-free workplaces.

They discussed their concerns during a recent meeting sponsored by the Alaska Municipal League.

Matt Singer is an Anchorage attorney who has researched the law. He said it won't change drug-free workplace policies but says employers will have to make it clear to workers that the law doesn't exempt them from those policies.

The law is set to take effect early next year, though there is a nine-month window after the effective date for rules implementing the law to be written.

KUAC reports Singer expects litigation and disputes arising from the law, which he calls a major change.

Capital Transit is implementing Winter Route Changes until midnight tonight
Service will be discontinued on St. Ann’s Avenue, Cordova Street, Davis Avenue, Lemon Creek Road, and Franklin and Fourth Streets Downtown:

No service on Cordova Street. Please wait for the bus at the Breeze Inn stop.
No service to St Ann’s. Please wait for the bus at the Douglas Post Office stop.
No service on Franklin or 4th street. Please wait for the bus at the Main Street stop.
No service on Davis Avenue and Lemon Creek Road. Please wait for the bus at Glacier Highway.

Unless otherwise notified, Capital Transit will return to normal service tomorrow. For more information call Capital Transit at 789-6901.

Anchorage doctor enters guilty plea in fraud case
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage doctor has pleaded guilty to defrauding the government of Medicaid money.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports Dr. Shubhranjan Ghosh (sub-BRAHN'-jahn GOHSH) on Monday entered guilty pleas to two state felony counts — medical assistance fraud and evidence tampering.

Prosecutors as part of a plea agreement dropped 23 other charges including falsifying records and misuse of prescription drugs.

Ghosh was head of Ghosh Psychiatric Services in South Anchorage and primarily treated children with mental health issues.

Andrew Peterson, head of the Office of Special Prosecution's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, said in April that the fraud totaled more than $1 million.

The state stipulated in the plea deal that Ghosh should serve a minimum of a year and up to three and a half years in prison.

Political pamphlet ads
Political attack ads would no longer be allowed in the official election pamphlet, under a bill proposed in the Alaska Legislature. Usually, the pamphlet is free of campaign ads, though it does allow political parties to pay for up to two pages to advertise their positions.

The Alaska Republican Party tried something new this year, using one of its pages to attack the record of Senator Mark Begich.

Downtown Anchorage Representative Les Gara says that precedent could lead to others placing negative ads in what's intended as an informational pamphlet. Gara is proposing to remove the statute that gives parties two pages in the pamphlet. He says he wants to build bipartisan support before pre-filing the bill.

Crab boat "strip" club loses liquor license
A boat operating as a strip club offshore from Kodiak has lost its liquor license. The state's Alcoholic Beverage Control board voted unanimously Monday to revoke the license of the Wild Alaskan.

The former crab boat had obtained the license originally for dinner cruises, but instead it is anchored just outside city limits. The A-B-C Board determined that makes it not a transport but a stationary bar, and there are no licenses available
for more bars in Kodiak.

The vessel's owner, Darren Byler, begged board members to spare his liquor license. He argued that anchoring the vessel doesn't mean it's not a passenger transport.

Coast Guard helps search for South Korean vessel
The U-S Coast Guard is joining the search for dozens of crewmen from a South Korean vessel that sank on the Russian side of the Bering Sea.

The fishing vessel 501-Oryong sank Sunday about 15 miles from the maritime boundary with the U-S. Eight crewmen were recovered from a lifeboat, but one later died; 52 others are missing.

The Coast Guard in Kodiak sent an H-C-130 to help search from the air.

Denali mountaineering concession contracts planned
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — National Park Service officials say the agency plans to award as many as six mountaineering guide service concession contracts for Denali National Park and Preserve.

Officials say the contracts will be effective Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2015.

The prospectus on the contracts is available online to interested parties.

The deadline to apply is Jan. 16, 2015.

Eaglecrest Hilary Lindh Scholarship Competition
The Scholarship Competition is hosted by the Eaglecrest Board of Directors, which will award four 2014/2015 Eaglecrest Season Passes. Two passes will be awarded to each division; kindergarten through fifth-grade, and sixth through twelfth-grade.

Scholarship winners will be chosen based on scholastic achievement, competitive spirit, and financial need. “We are looking for students whose competitive spirit reflects Hilary Lindh’s commitment to ski racing,” says Julie Jackson, Community Outreach Supervisor at Eaglecrest Ski Area. All applicants who turn in completed application packets and meet all judging criteria will receive an Eaglecrest lift ticket and equipment rental. The application deadline is noon on December 4.

Applications are available online at www.skijuneau.com
and at any Juneau Public Schools. These should be submitted to Eaglecrest via fax, e-mail, or mail. Alternatively, applications may be submitted in person at the Eaglecrest Ticket Window or any Juneau Public School by noon, Thursday, Dec. 4. The 2014 recipients will be announced via SkiJuneau.com on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014.

The Hilary Lindh Scholarship was established in 1992 in recognition of Lindh’s Silver Medal in the 1992 Winter Olympics. She started skiing at Eaglecrest and began dedicating years of hard work to downhill ski racing. Lindh competed on the World Cup circuit for twelve years, competing in three Olympics. In 1997 she won the World Cup Downhill Championship. Lindh was inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in April 2006 and the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame in February 2009.

For more information on the Hilary Lindh Scholarship Competition visit www.skijuneau.com

Located on Douglas Island just 12 miles from downtown, Eaglecrest is Juneau’s community owned ski area offering 4 chairlifts, and over 640 acres of skiable terrain. The area includes a professionally staffed Snow Sports School, a full-service Rental and Repair Shop, the Eaglecrest Grill, and groomed Nordic Trails.

State board of education to meet
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's board of education is scheduled to meet this week in Anchorage.

Agenda items include the consideration of regulations to go out for public comment regarding the Alaska Performance Scholarship and the state assessment system.

The board also is set to consider adopting regulations related to charter schools, correspondence programs and restraint and seclusion of students.

The meeting is scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

[Monday December 1st,  2014  7TH  EDITION 4:07 P. M.]

Juneau man with knife injury dead 
The Juneau Police Department received a 911 call that a man had been injured with a knife in an apartment located in the 1800 block of Northwood Drive on Saturday morning around 5:30.

Police arrived at the apartment within three minutes of the call. Capital City Fire Rescue paramedics arrived and transported the victim of the knife wound to the Bartlett Regional Hospital. The victim was later pronounced dead at BRH.

The victim was identified as 50 year old Juneau resident Christopher K. Kenney. Next of kin has been notified. Kenney’s body was flown to Anchorage for an autopsy. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in this case.

The case is actively being investigated by JPD detectives and the circumstances surrounding Kenny’s death are under investigation.

Air emergency issued
Due to the temperature inversion which continues to exist in the Mendenhall Valley, the City and Borough of Juneau has issued an Air Emergency effective immediately.

The area covered by this Emergency extends from the Airport north to the Mendenhall Glacier, west to Montana Creek, south along the east shore of Auke Lake and includes the east half of the Mendenhall Peninsula.

The Air Emergency means that all woodstove and fireplace burning is prohibited except for pellet stoves.

For an update on the status of this Air Emergency, please call 586-5333.

Burst pipe displaces Glory Hole patrons
Patrons of the Glory Hole were displaced Sunday night after what was first thought to be a fire turned out to be a frozen pipe that burst.

Capital City Fire Rescue was called out Sunday night just before midnight. Captain John Krebsbach said, "Residents reported that water was flowing from the sprinkler system.  CCFR personnel entered the building to investigate and determined that the cause of the water was not the sprinkler system, but a broken water pipe above the 3rd floor.  The pipe caused significant water flow and damage throughout the entire structure.  The water and electricity were shut off and the building was evacuated."

Red Cross and emergency services were working on locating shelter for the residents.

Entrepreneurs prepare for marijuana trade
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Attorneys and entrepreneurs are lining up for what they hope will be a business boom stemming from Alaskans voting to legalize recreational marijuana.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports three trade shows connected to pot are scheduled this spring in Anchorage and cannabis associations are forming.

Dozens of marijuana-related business names are being registered with state business regulators.

The law approved by voters will take effect Feb. 24. Adults no longer will be arrested under state law for possessing up to an ounce outside their homes, though possession remains a federal offense.

Rules for selling pot will take longer.

Kenai Peninsula schools see drop in discipline
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is reporting a drop in campus disciplinary actions.

The Peninsula Clarion reports a decrease the number of student offenses needing disciplinary action by administrators or law enforcement officers.

The decline is noted in the district's quarterly discipline report for the 2015 school year.

Only one incident of a student under the influence of alcohol and one of possession on campus were reported in the first quarter. Also down were reported incidents of drug possession and fighting.

Interim Superintendent Sean Dusek says disruptive behavior was on, or above, pace with previous school years.

According to the report, profanity, use of knives and inappropriate computer use were on pace with last year's reports.

Bill Walker sworn in as Alaska's new governor
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — In his first speech after taking office, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker said his administration would begin work immediately to expand Medicaid in the state.

Walker took the oath of office Monday in Juneau. He was sworn in by Alaska Supreme Court Justice Daniel Winfree, who joked at the end: "You may now kiss the bride."

And Walker did, leaning over to kiss first lady Donna Walker.

The swearing in ceremony for Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott was held at Centennial Hall in Juneau. Among those on stage was former Gov. Sean Parnell, who lost to Walker in last month's election.

In a speech, Walker said his administration would reverse course on Parnell's decision not to expand Medicaid.

Walker also warned of lean times ahead with oil prices low, at about $70 a barrel.

Text of Walker's inaugural address
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The text, as prepared, of Alaska Gov. Bill Walker's inaugural address:

Thank you, Byron. I am so honored to be on this momentous journey with you. We met as competitors and now we're a team.

I thank Governor Sean Parnell and Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell for their service, and for making sure we have a smooth transition between administrations. I thank Craig Fleener and Hollis French for their selfless sacrifices in making this historic unification possible.

And I thank all of you for joining us today. What an honor it was just now to walk through Centennial Hall and pass by the "Egan," ''Hickel" and "Hammond" rooms to enter the grand ballroom for this moment. I am before you today, standing on the shoulders of giants.

My parents, Ed and Frances Walker, and my sister, Kath are no longer with us, but I would be so proud to have them by my side today as they are a significant part of the very fabric of who I am. My sister, Sue, is unable to travel but is watching and I am so grateful to have my brother, Bob, with me today.

My family's story is Alaska's story.

My father fought in World War II in the Aleutians as one of 65 of Castner's Cutthroats in the Alaskan Scouts. My mother came to Alaska to work on the building of the ALCAN Highway. They met on a train near Mt. McKinley when an avalanche stopped it from going farther. They soon married and in 1951, I was born in Fairbanks-before statehood.

For much of my childhood in Delta Junction, my family was poorer than poor. Our roof leaked, and there were times we had no electricity or running water. Some of my earliest memories are of the wind blowing snow into my face as I collected firewood to heat our home. I also remember when I was 5 years old walking through a herd of bison to return from the outhouse to our home in the middle of a subzero night.

I remember my parents' efforts and advocacy for statehood. Indelibly etched in my memory is the very day the eight stars on the Alaska flag became the 49th star on the United States flag. The headlines proclaimed, "We're In!" All over Alaska, we felt the tremendous accomplishment of working together towards a common goal - and succeeding.

Soon after statehood we moved to Valdez, where my dad started his own construction business with his crew of two-my brother, Bob, and myself. I was 10 years old. We left for work each morning at 5:30 before school, because my father believed you need to labor for a few hours in order to appreciate your breakfast.

A few short years later, on a spring day in 1964, the ground trembled, opened up and nearly swallowed our town. It did swallow all of our new building materials sitting on the dock and most of our other possessions. Valdez lost 34 people in the 1964 Earthquake; mostly children. Among them, my friends. I was 12 years old.

Rather than declaring bankruptcy, our family of six took every odd job we could. We scrubbed toilets, mopped floors and I bid on and won the janitorial contract at the post office. I worked that job until a federal inspector came to town and declared that a 12-year-old was too young to have a federal contract. And that became my first run-in with the federal government!

My family struggled to rebuild what it had lost, but times were tough. Then came the oil pipeline. In 1971, I went to work unloading pipe off ships from Japan. When I got my first paycheck, I was stunned. I had never seen so much money.

Working as a laborer, teamster and journeyman carpenter on the construction of the Trans-Alaska pipeline put me through college. It also led me to Donna, my brilliant, hardworking, wonderful wife; the smartest person I know. Were it not for her, I would not be standing here before you today.

Our greatest accomplishment is the family we have raised together. We are so proud of our four children-Lindsay, Tessa, Adam and Jordan, our sons-in-law Greg and Dennis, our daughter-in-law, Sabrina. We adore our grandchildren, Mera and Porter and cannot wait to meet our two grandsons due early next year.

Donna and I do have a wonderful family. I often think of Alaskans as one big family, too.

We pull together in tough times, just as we did when one of the largest earthquakes in the world tore our lives apart. We came together to rebuild our state and make it stronger. Then, we built the oil pipeline. Just as it forever changed my life, the pipeline broke new ground for the state of Alaska.

Today, oil is hovering around $70 a barrel. We're heading into some lean times. There is no reason we cannot turn that around. We live in one of the most resource-rich states in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. However, the key to every growing economy is low-cost energy. Alaska is rich in resources. We don't have a resource problem. We have a distribution problem. I am steadfastly committed to delivering natural gas to Alaskans and to the lucrative global markets.

And, for far too long, too many Alaskans have gone without health care. When one person is sick and doesn't get medical attention, the entire family suffers. I told you that expanding Medicaid would be one of the first things I do in office and we will immediately set the wheels in motion to do just that. Up to 40,000 of our friends, family members, neighbors and coworkers have gone too long without preventive care. We must fix that.

My administration will work to restore some of the faith and trust that has been lost. I vow to you that you will have an open and transparent government. Our transition team got us off to a solid start recently when more than 250 people from all over the state crossed party lines and brought the diversity of voices, experiences and backgrounds to sit together to address some of our most challenging and divisive issues. Open dialogue and inclusive problem-solving strategies will be a hallmark of my administration.

I also promised you that I would assemble a leadership team comprised of some of the state's best and brightest. Already, many accomplished, top-of-their-field standouts have answered "yes" to the call of duty to serve Alaska at this critical juncture. Many are leaving high-paying jobs and solid career paths to serve the state and the people they love. I thank them for their sacrifices and for taking the field with me to help secure a promising future for all Alaskans - one of prosperity and generational security.

I have ridden the highs and lows of our state's history. I know the peaks and the valleys we've found ourselves in as a state. And I know first-hand that every valley we've faced has required a steep uphill climb. But we always find our way back to the peak. And we will do so again!

I know that hard work is not a partisan effort, but an Alaskan value. There is no natural disaster, man-made catastrophe or fiscal crisis that can withstand the force of the mighty Alaskan spirit. Like a family, we are diverse, we are passionate-especially when we disagree, but we are all united by a common thread. We are rising as one. We are on that steep climb to our next peak. It is with great honor that I lead you all on that journey.

Many of you know that Governor Wally Hickel was a mentor of mine. As we face the challenges of the next four years, I am reminded of his words:

"And let us be sure that those who come after us will say of us that we did everything that could be done. We finished the race. We kept Alaska strong. We kept the faith and put Alaska First."

Thank you, Alaska. I am honored to serve as your governor. My service to you will be fully dedicated, honest and hardworking. You are why I am here. You come first. I will never forget that. God bless you and God bless Alaska.

Source: Governor's office.

Experts revise extinction theory as mastodon bones older than thought@
VANCOUVER - Scientists who re-examined the fossils of mastodons that once roamed what is now the Yukon and Alaska have revised their likely cause of death, concluding global cooling probably wiped out the ancient cousin of the elephant.

Earlier estimates dated the mastodon bones at about 14,000 years old, but Grant Zazula, a paleontologist in the Yukon Paleontology Program, says the fossils are now believed to be about 75,000 years old.

Instead of dying off at the end of the ice age, as first believed, Zazula says it's more likely the mastodons migrated to the area during a warming trend and then died when they couldn't survive the cold.

He says the earlier theorized extinction date — at the end of the ice age — was suspect for experts because mastodons were adapted to warmer conditions.

Zazula says the discovery is another piece of the puzzle in the disappearance of the massive creatures, and raises more questions about the extinctions of other animals presumed to have died off at the end of the ice age.

He is the lead author of a mastodon study published this week in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Man dies in 4-wheeler crash on Kuskokwim
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Bethel police are investigating the death of a Kwethluk man in an all-terrain vehicle crash on the Kuskokwim River.

Police on Wednesday took a call from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. saying 20-year-old Kenneth Nicori had died at the corporation's emergency room. An autopsy was ordered.

Police Chief Andree Achee tells KYUK-radio the circumstances were suspicious.

Achee says Nicori was transported in the back of a pickup and no information was given to emergency room responders.

Alaska State Troopers on Thursday flew to the accident scene on the river near the entrance to Church Slough.

Achee says there appeared to be a crash with two people on one four-wheeler.

Police say the second person suffered a head injury. The person was tracked down and flown to Anchorage for treatment.

Troopers investigate shooting, suspicious fire
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers are investigating a possible weapons misconduct case and a suspicious fire in Ester, the Parks Highway community just south of Fairbanks.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports an Ester resident Saturday night reported a neighbor had fired a round into the resident's home.

Troopers responded with their Northern Special Emergency Reaction Team, which includes a tactical response vehicle.

Troopers searched a cabin where they thought the neighbor might be hiding but found nothing.

At about 5:30 a.m. Sunday, troopers took a report that the cabin they had searched was on fire. The Ester Volunteer Fire Department put out the fire but the cabin was destroyed.

The cause is under investigation and is considered suspicious. No one was inside.

Napaskiak woman arraigned on murder charge
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 20-year-old southwest Alaska woman was arraigned Sunday in Bethel on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of her uncle.

Kayla Jacob of Napaskiak (nuh-PAS'-kee-ak) is charged in the death of 28-year-old Mathew Beaver in the village 7 miles southeast of Bethel.

KTUU-TV reports Jacob and Beaver were guests Friday night in the home of a relative. Several adults and a child were present.

The death was reported to a village public safety officer. Troopers reached the village Saturday morning.

Trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen says investigators have not confirmed a cause of death and an autopsy was planned.

Online court records show Jacob is represented by the Public Defender Agency, which does not routinely comment on open cases.

Fugitive found hiding in towed pickup truck
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A Kodiak woman wanted on a felony drugs warrant was arrested after she was found hiding in a stolen pickup being towed near Wasilla.

Alaska State Troopers say Lynda Kopy was taken into custody on the warrant and additionally charged with evidence tampering and providing false information.

KTUU-TV reports troopers stopped the pickup Thursday night, arrested two men inside and released a third person.

As the truck was being towed, troopers received information that a fourth person was inside and hiding under clothes.

The tow truck driver was instructed to deliver the truck to the Wasilla Police Department, and as it pulled in, a woman burst out. Troopers say the woman gave a fake name but was identified as Kopy.

She remained jailed Monday at Mat-Su Pretrial Facility.

Record snow fall Sunday
We got a lot of snow on Sunday.

Tim Steffen with the National Weather Service fills us in.

"We set 3 snowfall records around the area yesterday. The airport record was 6.3 inches in 1946; we recieved 8.5 inches yesterday.
This was the first significant snowfall for the year; a little later than usual.

There is more snow on the way. We have another low pressure system moving toward the area tonight. That's going to bring another 3-6 inches to the Juneau area. We have a Winter Weather Advisory starting at midnight tonight through noon on Tuesday.

We are expecting warmer temperatures in the area by the afternoon that will turn the snow to rain.

The remainder of the week looks like it will be on the warmer side above freezing and any precipitation should be rain."

Coast Guard assists 6 stranded hunters near Barlow Cove, Alaska
KODIAK, Alaska — The Coast Guard assisted six stranded hunters near Piling Point and Barlow Cove on Admiralty Island after their vessel drifted away, Sunday evening.

A Coast Guard Station Juneau 45-foot Response Boat – Medium crew located the hunters and their vessel, and escorted them to North Douglas boat ramp.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau watchstanders received a call from one of the hunters stating that their 24-foot aluminum hull vessel had drifted away. The watchstanders launched the RB-M crew to the scene where four of the hunters were located in Barlow Cove. The crew located the hunting party’s vessel while transiting to Piling Point to retrieve the remaining two hunters. All of the hunters were then transferred to their vessel and escorted to North Douglas boat ramp.

“The hunters were well prepared to stay overnight and had all the necessary equipment for the location and cold temperatures,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Benjamin McCarty, watchstander, Sector Juneau. “However, we’re glad we were able to quickly locate their vessel and get them back on their way.”

Weather on scene was reported as cloudy, a temperature of 24 degrees and light winds.