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[Wednesday January 7th, 2014  16th  EDITION 2:33 P. M.]
 
Lawmakers wonder if AGDC dismissals will delay pipeline work
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Two Republican lawmakers are questioning whether the removal of three board members from an organization expected to play a key role in Alaska natural gas pipeline projects will delay the group's work.

Reps. Mike Chenault and Mike Hawker led legislative efforts to create the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. They said Wednesday that they were concerned that Gov. Bill Walker's shake-up of the board could delay the group's efforts.

Walker doesn't foresee that.

He told The Associated Press that he removed the three members because he wanted Alaskans on the board, and he wanted greater geographic representation.

Those dismissed were Richard Rabinow, Drue Pearce and Al Bolea.

Rabinow, a former pipeline company executive, is from Texas. Pearce is from Anchorage and Bolea, a former oil company executive, is from Big Lake.
 
Wanted Juneau man jumps from 2nd story window, chased and arrested
After jumping from a two-story building and being chased a short distance, a Juneau man has been arrested for two warrants. Juneau police say over a period of 7 days, they received multiple reports of Robert H. Meireis violating conditions of release stemming from a domestic violence crime.

A JPD information release says officers investigated and filed charges with the City Attorney’s office for Unlawful Contact 1st Degree, Domestic Violence Assault 4th Degree and Criminal Mischief.

An arrest warrant to Answer to the Charge of DV Assault, a warrant to Answer to the Charge of Violating Conditions of Release and a summons to Answer to Charge of Assault were issued Tuesday for Meireis. Officers found Meireis shortly thereafter at the Bergman Hotel.

Meireis talked to officers through the door of the hotel room for several minutes, but then took off on foot out a 2nd story window. After a short foot pursuit officers were able to detain and arrest Meireis on Fourth Street. He was transported to Lemon Creek Correctional Center.
 
Klawock City Council member facing felony drug charges
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — A Klawock (kla-WOCK') City Council member has been indicted on felony drug charges, including an allegation of methamphetamine possession.

The Ketchikan Daily News reports 35-year-old Sabrina Demmert was indicted Friday by a Craig grand jury.

There is no telephone listing for Demmert in Klawock, and she could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Online court records don't list a defense attorney on the case.

The charges are misconduct involving a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit misconduct involving a controlled substance. One of the three counts alleges that Demmert possessed methamphetamine last March.

Klawock city administrator Leslie Isaacs confirmed to the newspaper Tuesday that Demmert is a council member. But he declined to comment further until more information is available.

Isaacs didn't immediately return a call for comment Wednesday.
 
Nonpayment of electric bill cuts power to Fairbanks motel
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Twenty-six people living in a Fairbanks residential motel were forced to find new housing after the owner failed to pay a $4,000 electricity bill and a utility cut off power.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Golden Valley Electric Association cut off power Dec. 30 to the Tamarac Inn.

Building owner Rose Mary Johnson could not be reached for comment.

Louise Kester managed the motel and lived there. She says the boiler quit working when the power went off.

Kester alerted social service agencies to help residents find alternative housing.

Golden Valley spokeswoman Corrine Bradish says the building owner was aware of the bill.

She says the utility usually cuts power after 56 days of non-payment and the motel was given 10 extra days.
 
Gardner will call it a win if education not cut this session
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The minority leader of the Alaska Senate says she'll call it a win if education is not cut during the upcoming legislative session.

Democratic Sen. Berta Gardner of Anchorage said there is no way lawmakers will be able to cut the state's budget to offset the multibillion-dollar budget deficits projected for this year and next. She said in the current climate, there will not be funding increases.

Education became a sticking point during the last session, with lawmakers going into overtime to craft a compromise for additional funding and changes within the public education system. Some Democrats criticized the measure as a flop.

Gardner is set to lead a five-member minority.

Other caucus priorities include supporting Gov. Bill Walker's push for expanded Medicaid coverage.
 
3 organizations burglarized in Bethel
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Bethel police are investigating the weekend break-ins of three organizations.

KYUK reports a Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. worker discovered a burglary at an apartment complex that serves as the organization's professional housing facility.

YKHC spokeswoman Donna Bach says unauthorized people were staying inside, and a coin-operated laundry machine was tampered with. Police say a missing change machine was found hours later near a crowbar.

Police also received a report about another break-in at Grant Aviation Saturday after a worker noticed vending machines and cash machines were tampered with.

Another break-in was discovered Sunday at the main office of the Association of Village Council Presidents.

AVCP president Myron Naneng says a safe was forced open but nothing seems to be missing.

Police have not ruled out a connection between the break-ins.
 
Anchorage school stadium plan gets go-ahead
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A plan for a stadium at an Anchorage high school has gotten the go-ahead from the local Planning and Zoning Commission.

The commission's vote Monday was by a 7-to-1 margin for the plan affecting South Anchorage High School. The plan includes a series of conditions and restrictions that aim to placate neighborhood fears about crowds, noise and lights.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports conditions include limiting the use of stadium lights, requiring games to wrap up by 10 p.m. and coating bleachers with sound-dampening material.

This was the second attempt by the Anchorage School District to win approval for a stadium at the school.

The vote Monday gives the school district the ability to move forward with construction.

Funding for construction, however, still falls short by $500,000.
 
Anchorage hospital proposes additional ER locations
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Regional Hospital is seeking to build stand-alone emergency rooms, one in south Anchorage and the other in Eagle River.

KTUU reports the Anchorage hospital submitted a Certificate of Need to the state in December. The process is required before building a medical facility.

Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage submitted its own Certificate of Need last fall. It seeks construction of 14 additional emergency rooms on its campus — including 10 for pediatric emergencies.

Alaska Regional Hospital CEO Julie Taylor says a decision from the state health commissioner on which proposal would fit Anchorage best is expected by this spring.
 
Juneau loses well loved character of a volunteer, Peggy Garrison
Former Juneau City Clerk and avid volunteer for the Golden North Salmon Derby, Peggy Garrison, died Sunday at the Juneau Pioneer Home.
Peggy's niece, Jackie Jennings, former Juneau police officer, says, "She would love to tell a very naughty, Irish joke that was a little colorful, to say the least.  That spoke volumes about her character.  She could entertain clergy and they were willing to pay attention to a naughty joke."
Margaret Mary "Peggie" Whyte Garrison is survived by her husband Richard E. "Dick" Garrison, who the only person to fish every one of the Golden North Salmon Derbies.
A memorial service for viewing and prayers will be held at the Cathedral of the Nativity on 5th St. Friday evening at 6:00. On Saturday from from 10:00 - 11:00, a Funeral Mass will be held at the church. At 11:30, a reception will be held for friends and family at the Coho Restaurant in the Goldbelt Hotel.
 
2014 SEABIA award recipients
The following Southeast Alaska Building Industry Association members were recognized at the Association’s Holiday Party.

Associates of the Year Award: The Counterfitters and Tyler Rental; Big Builders of the Year to Bicknell, Inc., Coogan Construction, and Lowpete Construction;

Builder of the Year to Victor Banaszak, VRB Construction; Volunteer of the Year to Russ McDougal, Mac’s Design & Construction; and Lifetime Achievement Award to Steve Burnett, Burnett Construction.

These members have received this special recognition for their contribution and support to the housing and building industry here in Juneau. SEABIA thanks all of its members, as well as the community, for their support and contributions this past year and the year ahead of us.
Laura Baker, Executive Officer with the non profit trade association, tells News of the North, "Coming up March 13 - 15, we will have our 2015 Home and Outdoor Living Expo."
For more information contact: seabia@gci.net
 
Over half a foot of snow falls on Juneau overnight
Break out the snow boots, Juneau International Airport measures around 7 inches of snow falling overnight.

Aaron Jacobs, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, says some areas in the Valley report 8 inches of snow. He says snowfall will diminish through noon when the winter storm warning will expire. "There's a drying trend coming in for later tonight and into Thursday. Windy conditions will develop later in the week."

Juneau schools are open today. School buses are operating on snow routes. Families should be prepared for delays in areas of the district with the heaviest snow fall. Buses may be running late as drivers use caution on the roads.

A listing of school bus snow routes can be found on the district website, www.juneauschools.org. Bus routes are under the Parents section of the website.

Also, 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.
 
Weather disrupts sailings of ferry Aurora
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Rough seas in recent days have disrupted some ferry sailings for Juneau, Haines and Skagway.

Strong winds, freezing spray and heavy seas sent the Aurora back to the Auke Bay ferry terminal Tuesday morning. CoastAlaska reports the ferry was also kept in port on Sunday due to the weather.

Alaska Marine Highway System spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says gale-force winds and low temperatures caused saltwater spray to freeze on the ship's lifesaving equipment. That meant that if there was an emergency, the crew would not have been able to deploy the lifeboats, he said.

The ferry sailed Monday because it was bound for Gustavus, a route that Woodrow said had calmer weather.
 
2 bills address discrimination based on sexual orientation
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Two Alaska state representatives plan to reintroduce separate bills that would make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

KTOO reports former Juneau Rep. Beth Kerttula, a Democrat, introduced the same bill in 2011 and 2013. Rep. Cathy Munoz, a Juneau Republican, was a co-sponsor in 2013.

Munoz is hopeful the bill will carry more weight with her Republican majority colleagues this time.

Rep. Andy Josephson, an Anchorage Democrat, says in a release he also will sponsor legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

Josephson is also sponsoring an amendment to the state constitution to legalize gay marriage in Alaska. A federal court in October struck down Alaska's former constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, but an appeal is pending.
 
Walker removes 3 members from gas line corporation board
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Bill Walker has removed three members from the board of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., including a former president of ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. whose appointment created controversy during the last legislative session.

Walker's office, in a release late Tuesday night, announced the removal of Richard Rabinow, Drue Pearce and Al Bolea.

Legislators last year approved a measure, in response to Rabinow's appointment by then-Gov. Sean Parnell, expressly allowing out-of-state residents to serve on the board of the gas line organization. Rabinow is from Texas.

Walker's office also said the governor has instructed the state labor and commerce commissioners, who sit on the board, to not sign confidentiality agreements.

Walker said he cannot allow Cabinet members to sign agreements meant to keep information from the public.
 
Walker meets with Jewell, discusses King Cove road
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Bill Walker plans to visit King Cove.

Residents of that community and others have been pushing the Interior Department to allow for construction of a road through a wildlife refuge in order to reach an all-weather airport at Cold Bay that could improve access to emergency flights.

A lawsuit over the department's rejection of a road is pending.

Walker spokeswoman Grace Jang says Walker supports the road and wants to see the situation first-hand. No date for the trip has been finalized.

Walker met with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. He said in a statement that he stressed to Jewell his desire to seek a resolution on the issue.

Walker's office said the governor also met with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
 
Wasilla man fined for illegal dumping in state refuge
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 20-year-old Wasilla man has been fined for dumping roofing material and other trash in a state game refuge.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says Ian Beall pleaded guilty Dec. 22 to illegal dumping in Goose Bay State Game Refuge southwest of Wasilla.

Beall was also ordered to complete 20 hours of community service by picking up trash in the Goose Bay and Palmer Hay Flats state game refuges.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers investigated Beale in early November.

The department says the refuge's road entrance for decades was the site of illegal dumping, vandalism and vehicle-burning.

The department has spent more than $100,000 on improvements and trash removal with help from the Alaska National Guard and volunteers.

More than 100 tons of trash have been removed since 2010.

 

[Tuesday January 6th, 2014  16th  EDITION 5:25 P. M.]

McGrath man charged with using machete in assault at party
MCGRATH, Alaska (AP) — A McGrath man suspected of hitting another man with a machete has been charged with felony assault.

Alaska State Troopers say 29-year-old John Lindeman Jr. was arrested for an incident that occurred early New Year's Day.

A village public safety officer took a report that a man from Anchorage attended a party at Lindeman's home and was assaulted.

An Alaska Wildlife State Trooper determined Lindeman hosted a bonfire and outdoor drinking party and that the Anchorage man was struck on the forearm and hand at about 4 a.m.

The injured man was treated and released at the McGrath Clinic.

Lindeman was jailed in Bethel.

McGrath is a community of 320 about 221 miles northwest of Anchorage.

Correction: Alaska Traffic Fatalities story
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — In a story Jan. 2 about Alaska traffic fatalities, The Associated Press reported erroneously the number of Alaska fatal traffic crashes in 2014. There were 65 fatal crashes last year and 70 people died.

A corrected version of the story is below:

The state Highway Safety Office says traffic crashes climbed in 2014.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 65 fatal traffic crashes occurred, more than the previous six years and the most since 75 fatal crashes in 2007.

The 65 fatal crashes in 2014 killed 70 people.

Highway Safety Office research analyst Miles Brookes says it's too early to say precisely how many fatal wrecks involved drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Brookes says so far about 38 percent had been confirmed to have involved drivers with blood-alcohol levels over the legal limit.

Senate majority looks to hire ex-military affairs official
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A military affairs official, who resigned as part of a leadership change following problems within the Alaska National Guard, has been asked to work with the Alaska Senate majority press office.

Senate President Kevin Meyer told members he decided to hire McHugh Pierre on a four-month contract, beginning Jan. 15.

Majority press secretary Carolyn Kuckertz says the press shop is down one person, and hiring Pierre was seen as a way to fill that void.

Pierre said he has tentatively agreed to the job but not yet signed a contract.

Pierre was a deputy commissioner with the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. In September, following the adjutant general's ouster, then-Gov. Sean Parnell asked Pierre to resign.

Pierre said he did nothing wrong and accepted that Parnell wanted new leadership.

Sullivan sworn in as new US senator for Alaska
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Dan Sullivan has been sworn in as Alaska's new U.S. senator.

Sullivan is a Republican and a former state attorney general and Natural Resources commissioner. He defeated incumbent Democrat Mark Begich last November.

Sullivan's swearing-in — along with those of other senators elected to serve in the new Congress — was broadcast on C-SPAN2 on Tuesday. Tuesday marked the start of the new congressional session.

The oath was administered by Vice President Joe Biden.

Alaska's senior senator is Republican Lisa Murkowski. Republican U.S. Rep. Don Young is Alaska's sole representative in the House.

Site south of Denali being looked at for possible dam
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A site south of Denali National Park and Preserve is being considered for a possible dam.

The Native Village of Cantwell filed preliminary paperwork with federal regulators in November to explore a dam along Carlo Creek, about 13 miles south of the park entrance.

Gordon Carlson, a Cantwell village official, said the community is looking for an alternative energy project to generate revenue by providing electricity to the Golden Valley Electric Association grid.

But he stressed the proposal is very preliminary. He said it's not clear yet if it's even plausible.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the proposed 10-foot-high dam would power a 1.6-megawatt turbine. Associated infrastructure would include a road, powerhouse and transmission line.

Alaska businesses begin pot sales before legal date
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska law enforcement representatives say an entrepreneur is breaking the law by openly selling marijuana ahead of the official legalization date approved by voters in November.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports the website of Discreet Deliveries offers to drop off up to an ounce of marijuana to customers in Anchorage and the Matanuska Valley.

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is overseeing implementation of the voter initiative. Director Cynthia Franklin says the owner of Discreet Deliveries could be prosecuted.

That's also the opinion of Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew.

Discreet Deliveries owner Rocky Burns says if he was worried, he wouldn't have started sales. He says he wants Alaskans pot companies to establish a customer base before outsiders move in.

Recreational marijuana will be legal Feb. 24.

Aleut Corp. subsidiary settles Adak spill case for $700,000
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A subsidiary of Aleut Corp. will pay a $500,000 civil fine and another $200,000 for compliance measures for violating its oil discharge and prevention plan five years ago.

The Alaska Department of Law announced the settlement Tuesday with Aleut Enterprise LLC.

Aleut Enterprise manages fueling facilities in Adak and Cold Bay and manages the port of Adak, according to its website.

State prosecutors say the company on Jan. 11, 2010, released about 1,126 barrels of fuel, or 35,469 gallons, into state waters.

The fuel was being transferred from a tanker at the loading dock and overfilled a tank.

The fuel entered Helmet Creek, which flows into Sweeper Cove, a small boat harbor in the port of Adak.

The company's operations manager pleaded guilty to two criminal counts.

Alaska evergreen to be next US Capitol Christmas tree
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An evergreen tree from Alaska will serve as the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree next year.

The U.S. Forest Service says schoolchildren around Alaska will make thousands of ornaments for the 60 t0- 85-foot tree, and for smaller trees in Washington, D.C., government offices.

Alaska Dispatch News reports the tree will come from the Chugach National Forest. It's the first time a tree from Alaska will be the Capitol Christmas tree.

The tradition of placing a Christmas tree on the west lawn of the Capitol began in 1964.

A different national Forest has been selected each year since 1970 to provide a tree.

The Chippewa National Forest in Minnesota provided the 2014 tree, which made appearances all over that state and the Midwest before arriving at its destination.

Proposed Ketchikan sludge fee hike fails
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly has rejected a proposal to raise sludge fees for homeowners with septic systems.

But the issue will be revisited later this month.

KRBD reports that the proposal failed by a 3-2 vote Monday night, when only five of seven assembly members were present.

The item is set to be back to the assembly on Jan. 19.

Public meeting on Juneau’s tax exemptions
The City and Borough of Juneau’s Assembly Tax Exemption Review Committee (TERC) is holding a public meeting on proposed changes to business related and senior citizen sales and property tax exemptions on Thursday evening at 5:30pm in Assembly Chambers in City Hall.

The TERC has held 11 meetings to discuss options for potential changes to various sales and property tax exemptions. The objective of this meeting is to announce the committee’s final recommendations and solicit input from businesses and the public on the following specific exemptions:

1. Increasing the amount of the sales tax CAP exemption on the sale of a single item or service from $7,500 to $14,000.

2. Changes to senior citizen sales tax exemption: Remove senior sales tax exemption eligibility for non-Juneau residents. Implement an “income (needs) based” eligibility program, setting the household income level at 250% of poverty. For seniors with household income above the 250% of poverty level, narrow the tax exemption to 3 essential items (food, electricity & heating fuel.)

Board of Game public meetings to be held this week in Juneau
The Alaska Board of Game will be considering 40 proposals regarding hunting and trapping regulations for the Southeast region. Meetings will be January 9 - 13 at the Westmark Baranof Hotel at 127 North Franklin Street. Prior to this Southeast region meeting, the board will hold a one-day work session on January 8th at the same location for the purpose of hearing various reports and to address board business. Meetings begin at 8:30 a. m., and are open to the public. A live audio stream of the audio for both meetings is intended to be available on the Board of Game website at www.boardofgame.adfg.alaska.gov.

Proposals scheduled for the Southeast region meeting have been submitted by the Department of Fish and Game, local fish and game advisory committees, and the general public seeking adjustments to hunting and trapping regulations in the Southeast region (Game Management Units [GMU] 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.) Issues to be addressed by the board include: hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits, methods and means, and restricted areas.

The agenda for the Southeast Region meeting begins with several oral reports provided by the Department of Fish and Game, followed by oral testimony. Public testimony will be taken during the Southeast Region meeting only. Anyone wishing to testify before the board must sign up at the meeting location before Saturday, January 10, at 10:30 am. Public testimony will continue until everyone who has signed up has been given the opportunity to be heard. Deliberations on the proposals will begin following public testimony and continue through the remainder of the meeting.

Meeting materials including the agenda, roadmap, and public comments can be found on the Board of Game meeting information website at: www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=gameboard.meetinginfo. Documents submitted to the board during the meeting are intended to be posted online throughout both meetings. During the meeting, written public comments limited to ten single sided pages, from any one individual or group, may be submitted by hand delivery at any time if 20 copies are provided. Individuals who cannot attend the meeting may submit comments via fax to (907) 465-6094.

Learn more about the Board of Game Process: ADF&G Boards Support Section will host an evening training session on how to be effective at board meetings. The training session is open to the public and advisory committee members. It will be held at the Westmark Baranof in the main meeting area, starting at 6:30 pm on Friday, January 9. For more information, contact Boards Support Section at 465-4110.


Parts of Denali Park open to snowmobiles
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A section of Denali National Park and Preserve is now open to snowmobiles.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the area south of the Alaska Range crest was opened Friday for snowmobile use.

Because of inadequate snow cover, areas north of the crest are closed.

Also closed are lands within the former Mount McKinley National Park.

National Park Service officials say riding conditions are "potentially dangerous" because of high avalanche hazards and thin ice and open water on rivers.

Sullivan to be sworn in as new senator
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Dan Sullivan is set to be sworn in as Alaska's junior senator.

The Republican, a former state attorney general and Natural Resources commissioner, defeated incumbent Democrat Mark Begich last November.

Sullivan is scheduled to be sworn in Tuesday, as the new Congress convenes.

Alaska's senior senator is Lisa Murkowski.

Ceremony to welcome home 160 Alaska soldiers
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (AP) — About 160 soldiers will be officially welcomed home to Alaska Tuesday from Afghanistan.

U.S. Army Alaska says in a release that two units will be feted in an 11 a.m. ceremony at the base.

The solders are from the 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and the 23rd Sapper Co.

They officially returned last month, but Tuesday's ceremony will allow family, friends and Anchorage community members to take part in the welcome.

The Army says the ceremony will end with commanders "uncasing" the unit's colors, signifying their return from deployment.

Escape suspect still wearing handcuffs arrested in village
ANVIK, Alaska (AP) — A 27-year-old man from the southwest Alaska village of Anvik escaped custody after an arrest Jan. 1 but was arrested two days later.

The handcuffs on one wrist may have given him away.

Alaska State Troopers say an Anvik village public safety officer took a complaint on New Year's Day that the man was driving a snowmobile while intoxicated.

After field sobriety tests, the officer arrested the man on suspicion of DUI and driving with a revoked license.

Troopers say the man was placed in a holding facility but escaped and fled by snowmobile 23 miles to the village of Grayling.

Troopers obtained a warrant for the man's arrest, and on Saturday night, found him hiding in a Grayling home with the handcuffs still attached.

He was jailed in Bethel.

Young to miss 1st day of new Congress following family death
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Rep. Don Young will miss Tuesday's vote for House speaker due to a death in his family.

Young spokesman Matt Shuckerow said Young's brother, 84-year-old Russell Young of Meridian, California, has died, and the congressman will spend time with family ahead of a memorial service in the Sacramento area.

Shuckerow said Don Young, who is 81, will be sworn in upon his return.

Young has served in Congress since 1973. He was re-elected in November.

Shuckerow said by email that Young doesn't believe Rep. John Boehner's position as speaker is in any jeopardy. Shuckerow said that of the announced candidates for the job, Young believes Boehner is the most appropriate choice to unite House Republicans.

Young said the new Congress needs to begin governing and set aside bickering.

[Monday January 5th, 2014  16th  EDITION 6:02 P. M.]

Special investigator planned to look into Guard allegations
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Attorney General Craig Richards is in the process of hiring a special investigator to look into the handling of sexual assault complaints within the Alaska National Guard.

Grace Jang, a spokeswoman for Gov. Bill Walker, said Richards is vetting five candidates who have strong criminal investigation backgrounds and are in good standing with the Alaska Bar. She did not have a set timeline for the hiring but expected it to be soon.

She said the person selected will be more of a fact-finder and recommend whether a special prosecutor is needed.

Jang said the special investigator will be charged with looking into allegations of sexual abuse, harassment and cover-up, as well as whether the response of law enforcement was appropriate and procedures were followed.

Walker wants commissioner input on possible budget cuts
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has asked his commissioners to look for places to cut agency operating costs.

In a recent letter, Walker called for state agencies to plan for and implement operating cost reductions for the rest of this fiscal year. He said the state would begin looking longer-term at the proper level of government services in the context of existing programs, needs of Alaskans and financial sustainability.

He also asked commissioners to evaluate operating budget cuts of 5 percent and 8 percent from the placeholder budget for next year proposed by his predecessor. In line with that, Walker asked them to assess such things as fee structures and opportunities to privatize service delivery.

Walker requested a list of capital project funding that could be redirected toward other needs.

Walker traveling to Washington for Sullivan swearing-in
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Bill Walker is traveling to Washington, D.C., for the swearing in Tuesday of Alaska's new U.S. senator, Dan Sullivan.

Sullivan, a Republican, defeated incumbent Democrat Mark Begich in November.

Walker spokeswoman Grace Jang says Walker also plans to meet with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and is trying to set up meetings with others before returning to Alaska late Wednesday.

She says the Jewell meeting will mainly be introductory, a chance for the two to meet after previously speaking over the phone.

Jang said one issue that could come up is a road through a wildlife refuge from King Cove to Cold Bay. She said Walker supports efforts, backed by the prior state administration, to allow for a road. Jewell rejected a road.

A lawsuit over the denial is pending.

Ferry project bid opening delayed to allow time for talks
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The bid opening for a ferry terminal replacement project in British Columbia has again been pushed back to allow more time for a possible resolution over the use of U.S. steel in the project.

The state of Alaska last week pushed the bid opening from Jan. 6 to Jan. 21. A spokeswoman for Gov. Bill Walker says the delay speaks to a willingness on both sides to come to mutually agreeable terms.

The Prince Rupert terminal is on Canadian soil leased by the state as part of the Alaska's ferry system.

Canadian officials have balked at a Federal Highway Administration requirement that U.S. steel be used in projects it funds. Much of the funding for the replacement project is set to come from the federal agency, with the state contributing.

UAS welcomes students after winter break
The University of Alaska Southeast campus re-opens today after winter break.

Tuition and Fees for the Spring Semester are due Tuesday.

It's housing move-in day for new and returning students on Wednesday.

New and transfer student orientation is Friday.  In a release the University of Alaska Southeast says the institution strongly believes that the orientation process assists all new students in their transition to UAS and increases their chances for academic success.

Next Monday, January 12, is the first day of spring instruction. UAS says, "Register for classes NOW if you haven’t already done so."

Find more information at http://www.uas.alaska.edu/.

Number of ships transiting Arctic waters falls in 2014
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An increase in shipping that some predict for Arctic waters did not show up in 2014.

Alaska Public Radio Network reports 31 ships sailed the Northern Sea Route between Europe and Asia and 22 used part of the route.

That was down from 70 vessels using the route in 2013.

Malte Humpert of the Arctic Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank, says 2014 shows that Arctic shipping may be further off than thought.

He says a higher volume of sea ice may also have been a factor.

Joël Plouffe, managing editor of the journal Arctic Yearbook, says the opening of the Arctic has been oversold as a major and immediate boom but remains a region where access is limited and development is expensive.

Sitka hospital CEO says he was assaulted
SITKA, Alaska (AP) — The CEO of Sitka's community hospital says he missed a meeting last week because he was assaulted.

Jeff Comer said he could no longer stay in Sitka and planned to leave over the weekend.

Comer was scheduled to appear at a meeting Friday but instead sent the hospital board president to read a statement from him. He said he was willing to help the city and hospital as needed, from Arizona.

KCAW reports Sitka police chief Sheldon Schmitt confirmed that Comer called dispatch Friday afternoon to report an assault on a hiking trail after he was recognized as being the hospital CEO.

The Sitka Sentinel reports Comer had notified the city administrator days earlier of plans to step down as CEO from the hospital, which is having financial troubles.

Park Service releases names of Denali crash victims
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The National Park Service has released the names of two men who died last month in a two-vehicle collision at Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve.

Park Service officials say the men who died in the Dec. 22 crash are 28-year-old Patrick Defoe of Wasilla and 51-year-old Antril Sanguinetti of Anchorage. The crash occurred on the Parks Highway about 1.5 miles south of the park entrance.

Officials say the family of Defoe spoke with the news media before the state medical examiner officially confirmed his identity.

The Park Service is working on the crash investigation with the state medical examiner and Alaska State Troopers.

Kalakala to be scrapped; end of iconic Puget Sound ferry
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The historic ferry Kalakala (kuh-LAHK'-uh-luh) has reached its final destination.

The News Tribune reports the owner plans to have the rusting hulk scrapped later this month in Tacoma.

The 276-foot ferry went into service in 1935 and carried cars across Puget Sound until 1967. In the days before the Space Needle, the silver art deco style vessel was the post card symbol of Seattle.

Then, it was towed to Alaska and used as a fish processor.

It was towed back to Seattle in 1998, but plans by several owners to restore it never came up with enough money.

The Kalakala ended up on property owned by Karl Anderson. He has spent about a half million on it and says it will cost another half-million to prepare it for demolition.

New Anchorage downtown lounge under liquor license scrutiny
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage Assembly is scrutinizing a pending liquor license transfer for a new downtown business, following shootings, fights and even an unsanctioned street dance party in other downtown areas.

The LED Lounge, which hasn't officially opened for business, is housed in the building of the former Platinum Jaxx, a nightclub that had a reputation as a bad neighborhood operator.

KSKA reports a group of business and property owners believe the new business would bring the same problems to the neighborhood.

An assembly committee recently heard more information about the proposed transfer. Members noted a civil court case that concluded the applicant let his workers compensation insurance lapse in the past.

Lounge owner and operator Robert Alexander says his business record is not spotless, but he deserves a chance.

16 year old Sitka girl rescued after falling down embankment
A 16 year old Sitka girl that fell down a snow embankment was unable to get back on a trail while hiking with her brother on Verstovia Mountain Sunday afternoon.

Alaska State Troopers say Sitka Mountain Rescue organized several teams to respond, located and rescued Ali Venneberg. She did not sustain any significant injuries in her fall and declined treatment by EMS.

Anchorage homicides in 2014 among fewest in 2 decades
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The number of homicides in Anchorage in 2014 was among the lowest in two decades.

Alaska Dispatch News reports homicide detectives investigated the deaths of 14 people last year.

One of those deaths is not being counted as a homicide that has been confirmed.

Two of the cases remain unsolved, with no arrests made or suspects named.

There were two victims in one of the 2014 cases.

Police say the year's total is the second lowest number of homicides for the city in 24 years.

The city has averaged more than 20 homicides annually since 1991.

Fairbanks City Council to vote on union contract
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks City Council is scheduled to vote on a proposed one-year labor agreement between the city and AFL-CIO Joint Crafts Council.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the contract up for a vote at Monday's council meeting proposes a 2.5 percent package increases.

The total cost of the increase would be more than $116,500. It is part of a three-year contract that included provisions to relaunch negotiations for the second and third years, with negotiations for the third year set to begin later this year

The union represents about 50 city employees.

Brent Sass, musher injured in Yukon Quest, wins Gin Gin 200
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Brent Sass, the Eureka musher who was injured in last year's Yukon Quest, has won the Gin Gin 200 Sled Dog Race.

Alaska Dispatch News reports the 35-year-old musher won the race Sunday. The Gin Gin is the first distance race of the season in Alaska.

In second was Matt Hall of Eagle, followed by Paul Gebhardt of Kasilof.

In last year's Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, Sass was running neck and neck with Allen Moore near the end of the race when Sass nodded off and fell off his sled, striking his head on ice.

Sass, who was briefly separated from his team, eventually scratched and Moore won.

The Gin Gin 200 trail ran from Meiers Lake to Alpine Creek Lodge near the Denali Highway, and back.

Juneau Economic Development Plan to be discussed at COW meeting
The sole agenda on this evening's Committee of the Whole Meeting is the Juneau Economic Development Plan.

City Manager Kim Kiefer says, "The assembly received the final draft in late December." She added that contractors will be discussing the plan with the assembly so they can bring it back and have it finalized at a future assembly meeting. Tonight's meeting will have no public comment, but the public is wecome to attend this overview and discussion.

See a two page summary and the full plan at http://www.juneaueconomicplan.org.

UPDATE:  Teenage boy stabbed on Tongass Boulevard after party
A 17 year old boy is expected to recover after being stabbed.  Juneau Police say the report came in from Bartlett Regional Hospital early Sunday morning.  The teenager has two stab wounds,  one to his lower side and one to his back. One of those stabbings caused his lung to collapse. 

According to a JPD information release, their investigation shows that the victim and another teenage male were walking on Tongass Boulevard after leaving a nearby house party. The two young males were approached by two older males who asked them for marijuana. The two younger men said they did not have any and a verbal altercation started. The verbal altercation escalated to a physical altercation. All four males then began running away from the scene. The friend of the victim noticed the victim was having trouble running. The friend then saw large amounts of blood on the victim’s clothing and they located the stab wounds. The boys returned to the house party where another person agreed to drive the victim to the emergency room.

A 26-year-old Juneau man has been arrested in connection with the stabbing.  Joshua Paul Feak is charged with assault.

 

[Sunday January 4th, 2014  8th  EDITION 4:50 P. M.]

White Mountain Man charged in girlfriend's death
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 31-year-old White Mountain man is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the New Year's day death of his girlfriend at their home.

KTUU reports Gilbert Olanna Jr. also was charged Saturday with tampering with evidence and assault in connection with the death of 40-year-old Esther Lincoln.

Authorities say Olanna spent much of the early hours of New Year's day out drinking before returning home, where he argued with Lincoln.

According to charging documents, Olanna "held Lincoln around the neck for several minutes until she went limp." Olanna also said he also hit the woman in the face, cleaned up and put clothes on Lincoln before calling a health aide from a neighbor's house.

Online court records on the case don't list an attorney for Olanna.

State closes DEC office in Bethel
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — The state has closed the Bethel office of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, citing budgetary issues and restructuring.

KYUK reports the DEC's spill and response office in Bethel closed Dec. 31, just after the retirement of Bob Carlson, the sole DEC employee in Bethel.

The DEC's environmental program manager Steve Russell in Anchorage says financial considerations played a role in the decision not to relocate someone to Bethel. He says Carlson's departure sped the process.

Russell says spill prevention and response will now be handled out of Anchorage, and the agency can get someone to Bethel quickly.

Carlson says the Bethel office closure will result in a lower level of service for people in the region.

Man attempting to fight with taxi driver tased
A man trying to fight with
with a taxi driver was tased early Saturday downtown. 

Juneau Police say a caller altered them to the altercation on Front Street Saturday around 1:00 in the morning.  Officers then contacted 28 year old Jackson Lee Benedict Buchanan as he was then trying to fight another man who intervened when that man saw the taxi driver get hit.

Buchanan initially complied with diretions from officers while a taser was pointed at him. Once handcuffed, Buchanan began spitting at officers and assaulted one of the arresting officers who was trying to put him into a patrol car. The taser was then deployed. Buchanan continued to thrash and fight and damaged a patrol vehicle. Buchanan’s continuing violent efforts and emotional state while restrained caused officers to be concerned about Buchanan’s medical safety. Officers called Capital City Fire and Rescue and Buchanan was restrained on a gurney and transported by ambulance to Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Buchanan was later lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center and charged with five misdemeanors: assault, assault on a police officer, criminal mischief, harassment, and disorderly conduct.

UPDATE: Power outage in Douglas and on Thane restored
According to AEL&P's facebook page, crews were dispatched to the Douglas area around 9:00 Sunday morning for reports of a power outage.  Shortly after 9:00 AM, AEL&P reported that they attempted to close back in the line but it tripped open again, which meant there was still an object in the line or a damaged section. Crews were patrolling the line to find the issue as quickly as possible. AEL&P said, "We know it's cold. Getting your power back on is our top priority." At 9:50 AM, AEL&P said, "We have restored power to Douglas."

A second outage affecting parts of Thane Road was also reported. AEL&P had to remove a tree from the line on Thane Road. Power was restored in that area at 10:13. AEL&P says customers could experience brief interruptions still while repairs are fully completed.

Navy considers more sonobuoys off Pacific Coast
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. Navy could significantly increase the number of sonobuoys it plans to deploy off the Pacific Coast.

The floating, acoustic surveillance devices are used in anti-submarine warfare. The Oregonian reports that in a modified environmental assessment for Northwest training and testing, the Navy increased the number of planned sonobuoys from 20 to 720.

They would be in areas at least 12 miles offshore from Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Northern California.

The Navy acknowledges that deploying more of them is likely to harm endangered leatherneck turtles. It's accepting public comments until Feb. 2.

In addition to more buoys, the document also details additional "maritime security operations" that weren't reviewed in the earlier environmental assessment, possibly including escorts for submarines, search-and-seizure exercises, and anti-piracy missions.

Pic of Palin's son standing on dog draws reaction
A photo of Sarah Palin's young son standing on a dog to reach the kitchen sink is drawing sharp reaction both in support and in protest.

The image of Trig, presumably preparing to wash dishes, and the reclining and seemingly relaxed black Lab-type animal is posted on the former Alaska governor's Facebook page.

The online response to the New Year's Day post was fast. There were nearly 70,000 responses liking the photo along with a variety of comment.

Some blamed Palin, her politics, or called it animal mistreatment. Others offered her support and said the dog would have moved if it had been hurt.

The Oregonian reports that the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals chided the former governor Saturday.

Palin responded: "Dear PETA, Chill. At least Trig didn't eat the dog."

Aurora sailings for Sunday cancelled
Due to high winds, heavy seas and freezing spray in Lynn Canal, MV Aurora sailings for Sunday, Jan. 4 are cancelled. 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.

 

[Saturday January 3rd, 2014  4th  EDITION 7:00 P. M.]

Alaska communities reach record-high temperatures
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Seven Alaska communities have recorded their hottest annual average temperatures ever in 2014.

The relatively warm weather is sending dogsled teams traveling hundreds of miles to find reliable snow for training. It's also interrupting rural travel along rivers that would normally be safely frozen.

The National Weather Service Alaska says the warm weather has blanketed most of western and southwestern Alaska and stretched to nearly every corner of the state.

Climate scientist Rick Thoman says places in Alaska have hit climate records that were held for 70 years or more.

But KTUU reports not everyone misses the cold. Cynthia Erickson of Tanana says the children love it, and they're outside having bonfires all the time.

Sitka hospital discussing possible CEO resignation
SITKA, Alaska (AP) — The Sitka Community Hospital Board is holding a special meeting to make a decision about the proposed resignation of its CEO.

The board will meet at the hospital Monday at noon.

CEO Jeff Comer took over as CEO of the Sitka hospital in October. But KCAW reports the organization was in worse financial jeopardy than he realized.

In December Comer asked the Sitka Assembly for a $1.5 million line of credit saying the hospital had run out of cash. The Assembly approved $1 million and the hospital's chief financial officer resigned that same month.

Delays collecting payments and funds owed to Medicare have contributed to the problem.

Comer previously ran nearly thirty hospitals and emergency rooms in Arizona.

The public is welcome to attend the Monday meeting.

"Eyeball" man sentenced for shooting officer
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man nicknamed "Eyeball" because of a tattoo that darkened the white part of his right eye pleaded guilty to shooting an Anchorage police officer.

Jason Barnum was sentenced to 22 years in prison Friday in Anchorage Superior Court.

Alaska Dispatch News reports the 39-year-old pleaded guilty to attempted murder, a consolidated first-degree burglary charge and third-degree weapons misconduct.

The shooting happened when police were investigating home burglaries and car thefts. Officers were inspecting at a hotel in 2012 when Barnum opened fire from a bathroom. Two officers shot back, striking Barnum in the arm, and one officer was injured.

Barnum was charged with 33 criminal counts. He later admitted to the committing thefts and burglaries to feed a heroin addiction.

At his sentencing Barnum apologized for hurting people.

Walker has first inaugural ball Saturday in Valdez
VALDEZ, Alaska (AP) — The first of eight inaugural balls for Alaska Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott will be held Saturday evening in Valdez.

The Valdez Star reports the $50 tickets were sold out before the ball was announced, leaving some upset residents in the town where Walker got his political start as mayor in 1979.

So Walker will hold a free meet-and-greet event from 1-3 p.m. Saturday at Gilson Middle School.

Mallott's travel schedule won't allow him to attend the afternoon session, but he will in Valdez for the ball.

Other inaugural balls will be Jan. 10 in Juneau, Jan. 17 in Nome, Jan. 24 in Fairbanks, Jan. 31 in Anchorage, Feb. 6 in Wasilla, March 7 in Ketchikan, and one in Kenai, to be scheduled later.

[Friday January 2nd, 2014  12TH  EDITION 10:45 P. M.]

City's first 2015 baby bounces into Juneau on the second day of the year
It's a boy! The first baby born in 2015 at Bartlett Regional Hospital was at 12:07 Friday January 2nd.

Elliot Michael Fanning measured 21" long and weighed 8lbs, 12oz. The proud parents are Luke and Christine Fanning. Elliot's big bother is Logan and his big sister is Adele.

When asked about the health of mother and new son, Luke told News of the North, "She's doing great. Everybody's healthy. I was really proud of her."

 

Luke Fanning, Logan Fanning (brother), Christine Fanning, Adele Fanning (sister), Baby Fanning

UPDATE: Crime of the Week, a hit and run at the bank
Juneau Police say the woman in their Crime of the Week photo has contacted them and taken responsibility. JPD also acknowledges an exchange of information between the two drivers involved in the incident and does not anticipate any charges.

Juneau Police on Friday released the picture of a woman accused of a hit and run in the Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union parking lot.

The Juneau Police Department said they wanted to contact the woman who is believed to have backed a red Toyota Tacoma pickup into a Mazda Protégé on December 9.

Lt. Kris Sell tells us, "The damage to the Mazda was not extensive and it is possible the woman driving the pickup was not aware she had damaged a vehicle. Security footage does show the incident. The picture being released is of the driver when she was inside the bank."

Anyone with information is encouraged to log on to http://juneaucrimeline.com and report any tips. You may also call JPD at 586-0600. You may be eligible for a reward.

Juneau Douglas City Museum First Friday exhibit features 12 guest community curators
The Juneau-Douglas City Museum along with the Friends of the Museum invite you to celebrate the community-curated exhibit Ordinary Things / Extraordinary Tales opening on First Friday, January 2nd, 2015, from 4:30 to 7:30 pm.

In an essay titled “Looking at Artifacts, Thinking About History”, authors Steven Lubar and Kathleen Kendrick state, “Curators make it their mission to discover and tell these stories, to put objects back into history.” They suggest that there are five ways to think about artifacts which, as it turns out, perfectly capture the points of view of the twelve guest curators who were invited to select an object from the Museum’s collection, looking through the lens of their professional life and to write a personalized label in response to their selection.

“Artifacts tell their own stories” as Ferry Captain Wayne Carnes illustrates in the label that accompanies his selection of a marine compass. “Artifacts connect people” is clearly on display via the Jensen-Peterson families’ table and chairs selected by CBJ Accounts Payable Supervisor Sherry Patterson. Dr. Emily Kane’s poetic musing about an empty tin of boric acid demonstrates that “artifacts mean many things” while Physical Therapist Patrick Ripp’s word portrait of the hands that made the spruce root basket he selected shows how “artifacts capture moments”. Finally, Nurse Keith Goering’s selection of a head used in the study of the pseudoscience of phrenology and Miner Jerry Harmon’s powder punch both show that “artifacts reflect changes” while at the same time reflect how things can also remain the same through time.

The curators mentioned above are joined by Chemist Michelle Bonnet Hale, Mechanic Larry Blatnick, Editor Genevieve Gagne-Hawes, Massage Therapist Melchi Nelson, Geological Engineer Mike Blackwell and Writer/Teacher Jim Hale in the creation of Ordinary Things / Extraordinary Tales, which is on display at the City Museum from January 2nd through Saturday, February 28th.

For more information regarding this event, exhibition opportunities or other upcoming programs, please visit: www.juneau.org/museum or call 586-3572. The Juneau-Douglas City Museum’s Fall/Winter Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. Admission is free during the month of January in memory of Harold O. Fossum.

Kitchen Chair, selected by Sherry Patterson, JDCM 92.09.004


Phrenology Head, selected by Keith Goering, JDCM 88.37.001 A-B

 

Condensation Chamber, selected by Michelle Bonnet Hale, JDCM 2007.22.004 A-B



Fairbanks man sentenced for firing gun from pickup
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks man who fired a gun from a pickup window has been fined and sentenced to community service.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Craig Logan Lant was fined $300 and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service.

A driver in the Goldstream Valley west of Fairbanks called Alaska State Troopers in August to report the shot fired from the truck.

He said Lant had fired across a road into trees.

A Fairbanks grand jury indicted Lant on a felony count of weapons misconduct.

In an agreement last month with prosecutors, Lant pleaded guilty to misdemeanor weapons misconduct.

Colorado pot symposium draws Alaska officials
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Law enforcement officers and other public officials from Alaska will be traveling to Colorado for a symposium on governing and marijuana.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports at least a dozen public officials will attend the three-day conference that starts Jan. 14 in Lone Tree, a suburb of Denver.

Alaska voters in November approved legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

Fairbanks Police Department Deputy Chief Brad Johnson says he wants to learn as much as he can from the Colorado experience with legalized pot.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough planning director plans to join Johnson at the symposium.

Gov. Bill Walker's spokeswoman Grace Jang says representatives from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, the Department of Revenue, the Attorney General's office and the municipality of Anchorage also will attend.

Traffic deaths jump to highest level since 2007
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The state Highway Safety Office says traffic fatalities climbed in 2014.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 65 people died in wrecks last year, more than the previous six years and the most since 75 people died in 2007.

Counting pedestrians and cyclists, 70 people died.

Highway Safety Office research analyst Miles Brookes says it's too early to say precisely how many fatal wrecks involved drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Brookes says so far about 38 percent had been confirmed to have involved drivers with blood-alcohol levels over the legal limit.

Legislature debuts redesigned website
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Legislature's website,
http://akleg.gov, has a new look.

The Peninsula Clarion reports the updated site debuted Dec. 26. It's been designed to be more user-friendly, and includes a new version of the BASIS tool, which allows people to track a bill throughout the legislative process.

The new website also includes a "Live Now" tab so people can watch committee hearings online from the website. Previously, people had to go to a different website for live TV.

The legislative website will be friendlier for smartphone and tablet users as it automatically resizes to the user's screen.

The debut comes just ahead of the 2015 legislative session, which starts Jan. 20.

3 men see snout, free moose buried in avalanche
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A moose buried by an avalanche on an Alaska mountain had its luck changed by three men passing on snowmobiles.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports that the three Matanuska-Susitna Borough residents spotted the animal's snout sticking out of the snow and used shovels to free the moose.

Marty Mobley, Rob Uphus and Avery Vunichich were on at outing Sunday at Hatcher Pass about 55 miles northeast of Anchorage when they passed a small hillside that had both ski and moose tracks.

When they returned an hour later, an avalanche had covered the tracks.

Mobley says he saw something move in the debris and it turned out to be a snout, not a skier.

After 10 minutes of digging, the moose stood up, towered over its rescuers and ran off.

Only one arrested for drinking and driving New Year's Eve
Juneau Police report only one driving while intoxicated charge being issued on New Year's Eve.

A JPD bulletin says a 17 year old male was arrested for DWI after he backed into a parked vehicle in Sealaska Plaza.

His passengers, 18 year old Zane Henricksen, 19 year old Demetrius Campos, 18 year old Toriana Fogg, and 18 year old Andrea Gordon were all cited and released for Minor Consuming Alcohol.

Inmate assaulted by five at LCCC, sent to Anchorage for care
Alaska State Troopers say an inmate at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center was transported to Anchorage for medical treatment after he was assaulted by five inmates.

Troopers were notified of the assault at the medium-security facility shortly before 5 Wednesday morning. Troopers say the inmate who was assaulted sustained an eye injury. The assault is being investigated.

Kodiak bears mostly laying low despite warm winter
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — Despite Kodiak's warm winter, most bears around the road system have been keeping to themselves — with one notable exception.

Fish and Game Department regional supervisor Larry Van Daele says one bear has been making regular appearances around trash day in the Selief and Larch areas.

Van Daele says the bear seems to come out on Tuesdays, which is garbage day. The bear hits the roll carts and trash bins and then goes away for a while.

KMXT reports the bear has not exhibited aggressive behavior toward people.

Van Daele says the bear is a consistent nuisance, however, and the police department is keeping a close eye on it.

[Thursday January 1st, 2014  5th  EDITION 4:36 P. M.]

Judge blocks termination of Alaska National Guard officer
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A state judge has temporarily blocked the termination of one of three Alaska National Guard officers fired in October by then-Gov. Sean Parnell.

Brig. Gen. Catherine Jorgensen sued this week to keep her job.

Alaska Dispatch News reports that Anchorage Superior Court Judge Andrew Guidi agreed Wednesday to issue a temporary order barring the state from carrying out the dismissal.

Jorgensen alleges Parnell fired her without cause in a "political Hail Mary" to save himself.

Parnell ran an unsuccessful bid for re-election after the release of a scathing report into allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct within the guard. Critics said Parnell didn't act quickly enough in addressing problems within the guard.

Guidi says his order will remain in place until a broader hearing, possibly in mid-January.

State submits air-quality regulations to EPA
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Alaska environmental regulators have submitted the state's plan for addressing the chronic pollution in the area during winters.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the state Department of Environmental Conservation adopted new regulations Wednesday that tackle air-quality measures.

The state had a year-end deadline set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Regulations combine existing rules, research and scientific modeling in Alaska's State Implementation Plan.

The EPA requires such documents for states to prove they're serious about cleaning up areas falling short of the federal Clean Air Act.

Collecting public input, the state has encountered pushback from anti-regulation critics, as well as those who did not think regulations were going far enough.

Alice Edwards with the DEC says the new rules are simplified, but more stringent.

Public comment period begins for Kodiak composting proposal
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — A public comment period has begun for a proposal by the city of Kodiak to turn sewer sludge into compost.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports the city's permit application has been submitted to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, which is proposing to issue the permit.

The public may comment to the DEC's solid waste program by 5 p.m. Jan. 20.

The location for the permit is borough property that would be transferred to the city if the permit is issued.

The city has a contract with Quayana Development Corp., which is doing a smaller-scale compost program at the landfill.

Application period for Alaska dividend begins
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — With the new year, eligible Alaskans can begin signing up for the 2015 Permanent Fund Dividend.

The application period begins on New Year's Day and continues through March 31.

People can sign up online or pick up forms at designated distribution centers.

Eligible Alaska residents received checks of nearly $1,900 in October when the 2014 dividend was distributed. The money comes from investment profits from the state's oil wealth savings account.

To qualify for a dividend, new residents must live in Alaska for a full calendar year.

The fund was established in 1976 after North Slope oil was discovered. The state began distributing dividend checks in 1982.

Alaska has no income tax. Residents, however, must pay federal taxes on the payout.

North Dakota, Alaska locked in rivalry for oil, population
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Forget South Dakota. North Dakota's most similar sister state these days is some 2,000 miles away.

Alaska and North Dakota once had little more in common than wintry weather and elbow room. But the two states have been in a rivalry over population numbers and crude oil output for the past several years.

North Dakota is bettering Alaska on crude production and the number of residents now.

Recent Census Bureau data show North Dakota recaptured the 47th most populous state from Alaska, which had held the ranking for the past decade.

North Dakota has a record of more than 739,000 residents, roughly 3,000 more than Alaska.

North Dakota passed Alaska in 2012 to become the second-leading oil-producing state in the U.S., behind Texas.
 

[Wednesday December 31st, 2014  11th  EDITION 3:52 P. M.]

Walker says no delay in marijuana regulations
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker says he's confident the rule-making process for commercial marijuana sales can proceed on time.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the announcement comes two weeks after Walker said he was considering a 90-day delay in implementing a regulatory system for legal marijuana sales.

Walker says in a statement issued Tuesday that officials assured him the timelines can be met as outlined in the ballot initiative passed by voters in November.

Ballot Measure 2 decriminalizes the possession, use and non-sale transfer of up to an ounce of marijuana when the new law takes effect Feb. 24.

The initiative also set in motion the legalization and permitting of marijuana sales. That is the process Walker discussed delaying earlier in December at a Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Suspect plans guilty plea in Homer harassment case
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The attorney for a Homer man suspected of harassing an intoxicated, unconscious teenager at a 2012 party says his client will plead guilty to felony evidence tampering and hindering prosecution charges.

Defense attorney Phillip Weidner says 22-year-old Anthony Resetarits also will plead guilty to misdemeanor harassment and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

A Kenai grand jury indicted Resetarits and his brother in September 2013 on felony charges of sexual assault.

A judge in August dismissed the charges, citing problems with information presented to the grand jury.

New charges filed Tuesday say Anthony Resetarits deleted photos of the incident and encouraged others to do so.

Weidner says Resetarits did not sexually assault the teen but acknowledges responsibility for his inappropriate conduct, which was a product of his own intoxication.

Fairbanks man convicted of impersonating officer
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fort Wainwright man suspected of pretending to be an Alaska State Trooper has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor impersonation of a public servant.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 19-year-old Jake Taylor Crain reached a plea agreement with prosecutors on the charge and was sentenced to 14 days in jail, which he had already served while awaiting the outcome of the case.

Crain in November was arrested by Alaska State Troopers, who took complaints that Crain had used police-style lights to pull drivers over on the Richardson Highway.

Prosecutors presented a case of felony impersonation to a Fairbanks grand jury, but jurors declined to indict Crain.

Crain as part of the plea agreement forfeited his lights. He also was issued a $300 speeding ticket.

Search continues for missing couple
Searchers have found more leads as they look for a couple who disappeared on the Kuskokwim River.

Bethel Search & Rescue discovered some eyeglasses, flashlights, and other items that may belong to George Evan and Sally Stone. The couple was reported missing on an ATV trip from Bethel to Akiak, December 11th. The ATV driver, Ralph Demantle, was found dead about 10 miles from Bethel.

Sonar equipment is allowing searchers to scan the riverbed under the ice.

Gas prices continue to slide
Gasoline prices in Anchorage have dropped below 3 dollars, on average.

Triple-A puts the average price at $2.96 per gallon for regular, about 40 cents less than a month ago.

Alaska and Hawaii are the only states with average gas prices above 3 dollars.

Triple-A shows Missouri has the cheapest gas, averaging a dollar-92 per gallon.

Freedom Caucus in Alaska Legislature
A subset of the Republican-led majority is forming what they call a "Freedom Caucus."

Chaired by Eagle River representative Lora Reinbold, the group currently has three other members: Representatives Wes Keller of Wasilla, Shelley Hughes of Palmer, and newly-elected Cathy Tilton, whose district spans from Chugiak to Wasilla.

Reinbold tells the Alaska Dispatch that the caucus meets for an hour each week, with the goal of "defending freedom" -- specifically on ways to cut the budget.

Reinbold says other house members have been invited to join.

NANA names new chief financial officer
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — NANA Regional Corp. has named a new chief financial officer.

Officials with the regional Alaska Native corporation say Jens Beck's appointment will be effective Sunday.

Officials say Beck also will be the CFO for NANA Development Corp., NANA's wholly-owned subsidiary.

Beck has also served as CFO and senior vice president at Arctic Slope regional Corp. Energy Services.

Kotzebue-based NANA has more than 13,000 Inupiat Eskimo shareholders.

NANA covers a 38,000-square-mile region in northwest Alaska.

Incoming GF&P head cleared in ethics complaint
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The incoming secretary of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks was cleared of ethics allegations in Alaska, though critics say it was due to a technicality.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard last week announced that South Dakota native Kelly Hepler will replace Jeff Vonk, who is retiring in January after serving as Game and Fish secretary since 2007.

Hepler works with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The Argus Leader reports that he was among several public officials in that state accused in August of not reporting gifts from a lobbying organization. The Alaska Public Offices Commission determined last month that Hepler did nothing wrong.

A spokesman for Daugaard says Hepler was up front about the matter when approached about the South Dakota job.

Christmas tree recycling begins Friday, Jan. 2
Free Christmas tree recycling brought to you by CBJ & Capitol Landfill is available January 2-31, 2015. Drop off location is at Capitol Landfill by the metal recycling station. Please have the trees clean; no lights, tinsel or flock. Last year trees had a lot of contamination, so help us keep this program operating cost effectively by keeping the tree clean..

For more information you can logon to Juneau.org /Public works/ waste management/recycling. Or you can call Solid Waste Coordinator Jim Penor at 780-6009.

CHARR gets you home free and safe this New Year's Eve at participating businesses
Juneau Lynn Cannel CHARR is giving you a safe ride home again this New Year's Eve. Leeann Thomas, Proprietor of the Triangle Club, tells News of the North, "This is our 10th year and we have fifteen participating businesses. You can find posters around town. When you're done having fun on New Year's Eve, you have the server call you a free cab."

They have 25 cabs and a new vehicle to use this year, the van that will loop around downtown and Douglas. If you don't live in those areas you can get a free cab at participating establishments.

Baby orca born to endangered whale population
SEATTLE (AP) — The Center for Whale Research says a baby orca has been born to the endangered population of killer whales that frequent Puget Sound.

Research center scientist Ken Balcomb says he and another scientist spotted the new baby Tuesday in J pod. That's one of three families of whales that spend time in the inland waters of Washington state and Canada.

He says the mother whale is J-16, a 43-year-old female that has had three surviving calves and two non-surviving calves.

The new baby is estimated to be a day or two old and appeared healthy.

The baby orca was seen swimming with its mother and 8-year-old sister off the Canadian Gulf Islands of British Columbia.

The news is being celebrated after the death of a 19-year-old pregnant orca earlier this month.

The birth brings the Puget Sound orca population to 78.

[Tuesday December 30th, 2014  10TH  EDITION 9:20 P. M.]

Alaska State Troopers say Wisconsin man missing since August
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers are seeking the public's help in a search for a 72-year-old Wisconsin man who disappeared in August.

Troopers say Roger Yaeger of Eagle River, Wisconsin, traveled to Alaska over the summer to view wildlife. Family members last heard from Yaeger Aug. 8 when he visited a relative in Wasilla.

Troopers traced Yaeger's subsequent travel to Fairbanks, where he turned in his rental car a day or two after his Wasilla visit.

Troopers were contacted a few weeks ago by relatives who said Yaeger didn't return emails for an extended period of time. According to troopers, Yaeger had told relatives he was going to travel around Alaska and would update them around Christmas.

Troopers say there is no record of Yaeger flying in Alaska or leaving the state.

Northrim Bank employees raise nearly $10,000 for Southeast Alaska's United Way
The 2014 Workplace Campaign at Northrim Bank to benefit Southeast Alaska's United Way is being reported as a huge success and raised more money than any previous year at Northrim Bank. Employees pledged contributions of $5,145.52. The company match was $2,575.76. Special events money for Southeast was $1,800 for a grand total of $9,521.28 raised by Northrim employees in the Southeast branches. Employees raised 9% more in 2014 than they did in 2013.

United Way of Southeast Alaska CEO Wayne Stevens tells News of the North that Northrim employees held fundraisers and made workplace pledges in Sitka, Ketchikan, and Juneau, where Northrim has branches, and were very successful in their efforts, raising almost $10,000. Stevens said some employees made home-made dishes or knitted scarves to sell at their fundraisers.

Stevens added, "We appreciate the gracious employees that participate.I encourage other employers to think about participating. Workplace Campaign pledge is a great way to introduce employees to the art and act of philanthropy."

In accepting the check on behalf of United Way of Southeast Alaska, Campaign Co-Chair Rustan Burton noted that 1 in 3 people in Southeast Alaska would be impacted by a United Way partner agency at some point their lives. Statistically speaking, this means virtually every family living here will be touched in some way, shape or form by United Way of Southeast Alaska.


Air emergency canceled
Due to the increasing air movement in the Mendenhall Valley, the City and Borough of Juneau has canceled its Air Emergency.  Woodstove and fireplace burning can resume.

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

Lost hunter rescued in Minto Flats Game Refuge
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Responders say Alaska Air National Guard members rescued a hunter who became lost in the Minto Flats Game Refuge.

Alaska National Guard officials say the man was rescued uninjured on Monday. His name was not disclosed.

The man was hunting with others over the weekend when his snowmobile developed problems. Officials say the man stayed behind to work on the machine and told the group he would catch up later, but he never showed up.

The group contacted Alaska State Troopers, who launched the helicopter search until nightfall. They contacted the Rescue Coordination Center, which has night vision equipment.

Responders found the man near a campfire. His snowmobile had broken down again.

Officials say the hunter was flown to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, where he was released to troopers.

Alaska prepares to offer grizzly license plates
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Alaska is bringing back the bear to license plates.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Alaskans next spring will be able to choose license plates of blue and gold that reflect state flag colors or a new version of plates last offered in 1976 that feature a grizzly bear.

Outgoing state Rep. Peggy Wilson sponsored a measure last session to bring back the grizzly plates. House Bill 293 passed unanimously in the final days of the 2014 session.

The old grizzly plates had red lettering, beige mountains and a brown bear on its hind legs on a white background.

The new plates feature a darker bear on a fading blue background with a silhouette of the Alaska Range.

Alaska fish and game boards to vet applicants
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Officials involved in Gov. Bill Walker's transition efforts say few people may have applied to become Alaska's next Fishing and Game commissioner because the acting commissioner is among the four applicants.

Ted Spraker, chair of the state Board of Game, says he would think twice about putting his name in if the competition included someone already selected by the governor. Sam Cotten was named interim commissioner on the same day Walker took the oath of office.

By law, the governor must appoint a commissioner from a list of qualified people nominated by the boards of fisheries and game, meeting in joint session. The governor retains the right to request additional nominations.

Alaska Dispatch News says the boards are planning a joint meeting in January to vet the four applicants.

2015 Inaugural Ball Update:
Inaugural Ball Co-Chairs reflect on purpose of events and plans for contributions
The nonprofit Alaska Inaugural Committee has announced that seven communities have taken the initiative to plan and host inaugural balls for newly elected Governor Bill Walker and Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott. Inaugural balls are longstanding traditions and are typically held in several locations around the state. Eight inaugural balls were held for Governor Parnell, six for Governor Palin.

The Walker Mallott inaugural balls and related expenses are funded through ticket sales and fundraising. No state funds are used for these celebrations. Sponsorships and donations are accepted by the Committee to help cover the costs involved. In most communities, the ticket price is considerably less than the actual cost per individual as a result of private donations that subsidize the expenses. As in the past, the Committee looks forward to donating excess funds to charitable organizations.

Committee co-chairs, Lindsay Hobson and Mandy Mallott, have identified the following dates and locations for the upcoming balls:

Jan. 3 - Valdez
Jan. 10 - Juneau
Jan. 17 - Nome
Jan. 24 - Fairbanks
Feb. 6 - Wasilla
Mar. 7 - Ketchikan
Date to be determined - Kenai

Up to date information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alaska-Inaugural-Ball-2015/1572412382990413

and www.akinauguralball.com

Lance Mackey enters 2015 Yukon Quest field
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — One of the biggest names in long-distance dog mushing has signed up for the Yukon Quest, the 1,000-mile race between Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and Fairbanks.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports four-time champion Lance Mackey entered the race Monday.

He's replacing Jimmy Lebling, who had planned to run his first race with a team from Mackey's Comeback Kennels.

Mackey says changes among his kennel staff led him to decide to enter the race. The Fairbanks musher says the Quest is in his backyard and it's hard not to want to be a part of that.

Mackey will race against three other former champions, including Allen Moore, who has back-to-back titles the last two years.

Former champions Hugh Neff and Jeff King are also part of the 28-team field.

BLM seeks applicants for White Mountains artist
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Candidates are being sought for a federal Bureau of Land Management artist-in-residence program to take place this winter at the White Mountains National Recreation Area.

BLM officials say the weeklong program is open to artists in nearly any media, including photography, painting, writing, music and printmaking.

The artist would be expected to donate use of a piece of artwork inspired by their time at the area north of Fairbanks. The artwork would be used to help promote public lands.

Officials say the agency provides transportation between Fairbanks and a rustic cabin in the area.

The recreation area includes a dozen recreation cabins and more than 240 miles of winter trails that are maintained.

The deadline to apply is Feb. 6.

Air Emergency issued by CBJ
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.

[Monday December 29th, 2014  11TH  EDITION 4:56 P. M.]

Woman dies in Koyuk residential fire
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say an 82-year-old woman has died in a house fire in the western Alaska village of Koyuk.

Troopers were notified Sunday afternoon that Ethel Adams was found dead in her home after the fire was put out by firefighters.

Troopers say 42-year-old Dale Adams escaped the fire. He was flown to Anchorage to be treated at a hospital for injuries.

A young boy escaped without injury.

Troopers say the cause of the fire will be investigated.

The state medical examiner's office will conduct an autopsy.

Koyuk is 90 miles northeast of Nome.

Lower 48 colder than Alaska
For the first time ever, Anchorage, Alaska will not have a single day in a calendar year dip below zero-degrees, according to ABC News.

Rick Thoman of the National Weather Service says due to a shift in winds, it's not uncommon for temperatures to drop in parts of the U-S: "When Alaska is warm, it's often the case that somewhere in the lower 48 is unusually cold." Frost warnings are in effect in Southern California. The last time the official temperature dropped below zero degrees in Anchorage was December 26, 2013.

Militia head seeks delay in federal appeal
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Convicted militia leader Schaeffer Cox is seeking a second delay in his appeal for a conviction of conspiring to murder public officials, soliciting others to commit murder and weapons charges.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September granted an attorney for Cox a 90-day extension to file opening briefs.

Appeal attorney Myra Sun has requested another 30 days to prepare, citing the volume of case material. Sun says the record in the case includes more than 500 pages and hundreds of exhibits.

Prosecutors are not opposing the delay.

US rig count plummets 35 to 1,840
HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. plunged by 35 last week to 1,840.

The Houston firm said Monday in its weekly report that 1,499 rigs were exploring for oil and 340 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago 1,757 rigs were active.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Oklahoma gained four rigs, Ohio rose by two and Louisiana and Colorado were up one each.

California dropped by 17, Texas lost 16 and North Dakota and West Virginia were down three apiece. Alaska, Kansas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wyoming each fell by one.

Arkansas and Utah were unchanged.

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

Colorado company backs out of Tulsequah agreement
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The company trying to reopen the Tulsequah Chief Mine has lost a financial backer.

Colorado-based Royal Gold provided Chieftain Metals Corp. with a $10 million advance in December 2011 but has backed out of the agreement.

Chieftain announced Dec. 23 that the company will use part of an $18.5 million bridge loan to repay Royal Gold.

The $10 million advance from Royal Gold was contingent on results of a feasibility update. Chieftain filed its 2014 feasibility study Dec. 1.

The agreement had called for Royal Gold to invest an additional $45 million for construction.

No reason was provided in a company announcement for the termination of the agreement.

Alaska Regional Development Organization Recognition
The Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development (DCCED) is pleased to announce that the Yukon-Kuskokwim Economic Development Council (YKEDC) has fulfilled the requirements to be designated Alaska’s newest Alaska Regional Development Organization (ARDOR).

YKEDC is the state’s eleventh ARDOR and is supported by the Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP), which provides social and cultural services to 56 communities in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Region. “The ARDOR designation is especially helpful for this region of Alaska,” said AVCP president Myron Naneng Sr. “YKEDC will connect economic development and support services to this region and will be of great assistance in growing our community’s economic base.”

The ARDOR program is in its 27th year, and continues to promote the development and implementation of regional development strategies by local organizations intimately familiar with the communities they serve. The State of Alaska provides ARDORs with baseline funding support which is leveraged against additional private and public funding sources. The ARDOR partnerships are concrete examples of local communities leveraging state funds to create and drive economic development.

UAF, Purdue students win engineering challenge
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Two University of Alaska Fairbanks students and one from Purdue University have won an engineering competition that sought ideas for extracting heavy oil from Alaska's North Slope.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Max Martell and Stephen Nemethy III of UAF and Sally Ann Keyes of Purdue will split a $2,000 prize offered by the UAF eLearning and Distance Education program.

Heavy oil has the consistency of peanut butter. It's abundant on the North Slope but challenging for producers to remove.

Heavy oil is commonly extracted by using heat, which creates problems in areas laden with permafrost.

Martell, Nemethy and Keyes proposed using sub-freezing fluid, such as liquid carbon dioxide, to keep nearby areas frozen.

The contest drew more than 75 submissions from 14 universities.

Woman killed in Anchorage pedestrian crash
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police say a woman pedestrian died when she was struck by a vehicle on a rural city street.

KTUU-TV reports the woman was struck on O'Malley Road near its upper end in the city's Hillside area.

Police spokeswoman Anita Shell says the woman was in her 50s.

The accident occurred just after 5:30 p.m. Sunday near O'Malley Road's intersection with Main Tree Drive.

The name of the woman has not been released.

Police closed O'Malley Road afterward the accident and reopened it at 10:30 p.m.

JPD responds to two-car crash near airport
Around 2:30 Sunday afternoon, Juneau Police Department dispatch received a report of a motor vehicle crash with injuries near 2200 Trout Street on Glacier Highway. Personnel from the Juneau Police Department and Capital City Fire/Rescue responded to the scene.

The investigation revealed a 2004 Dodge pick-up operated by a 35 year old female Juneau resident was turning left off Trout Street from a stop sign onto Glacier Highway towards Egan Drive. A 2007 Subaru Forester operated by a 40 year old female Juneau resident was on Glacier Highway after turning off Egan Drive with the right of way. The Dodge truck entered the road way and was struck by the Subaru.

Two adult female passengers were transported to Bartlett Regional Hospital for apparent non-life threatening injuries.

The driver of the Dodge pick-up, Christina Wheaton, was cited for failure to yield when turning left and failure to carry proof of insurance.

Both vehicles sustained disabling damage in excess of $5,000.

Glacier Highway near Trout Street heading towards the airport was re-routed onto Old Dairy Road for about 35 minutes during the course of the investigation.

Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in this case.

Kenai drop-off kennels to be closed
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — The Kenai Animal Shelter is closing its drop-off kennels used by the public after hours.

The Peninsula Clarion says the outdoor kennels will no longer be available as of Wednesday.

The kennels have been available for more than 10 years and allowed people to drop off cats and dogs when the shelter was closed.

Officials say the kennels are being removed because people provided insufficient information about the animals and because weather conditions could be dangerous for the animals.

According to the city of Kenai, the drop-off kennels were used to take in 326 animals in 2013.

Animal control officer Stacie Mallette says the kennels were originally intended as a last resort, but they have become an easy way for people to get rid of pets.

Oil-drilling camp on North Slope hit by fire; no one hurt
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — KTUU-TV reports that an overnight fire broke out at the campsite of an Italian oil company's drilling project in the North Slope, but no one was injured.

Eni Petroleum spokesman Grande Whitney says everyone involved was safe after the fire at the company's Nikaitchuq Operations Camp north of the Kuparuk River unit operated by ConocoPhillips.

Whitney says the fire took place about midnight.

Petroleum News reported in August that Eni has been shifting the Nikaitchuq site since 2007 from conventional onshore drilling to lateral drilling targeting offshore oil deposits, reaching 25,000 barrels per day of production in June.

Whitney says everyone displaced by the fire was housed at a nearby camp. Eni Petroleum expects drilling work to continue without interruption.

[Sunday December 28th, 2014  7th  EDITION 3:30 P. M.]

Coast Guard rescues couple near Sitka when skiff runs aground
The Coast Guard rescued a man and woman after their 17-foot skiff ran aground near Sitka Saturday.

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jawhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka transferred both people to emergency medical personnel in Sitka.

Coast Guard command center personnel at Sector Juneau received a 911 call relayed by the Sitka Fire Department concerning the skiff and its occupants after it grounded near Kanga Bay 10 miles south of Sitka Saturday night. It was reported that both passengers were ejected from the skiff when it struck the shore and the male passenger had suffered injuries to his head and face. The skiff then drifted away from the couple before they could secure it.

The Sitka Fire Department launched a boat to respond and Sector Juneau watchstanders requested a helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka. The helicopter crew arrived to the scene and hoisted both passengers, and the Sitka Mountain Rescue vessel crew located the skiff.

“Our hoist capable helicopters are an ideal resource to respond to emergency medical situations in Southeast Alaska,” said Lt. Jason Condon, Jayhawk pilot, Air Station Sitka. “This case was a good demonstration of the collective effort between the Coast Guard and Sitka Fire and Rescue to effectively combine our skills and assets in order to render assistance to these mariners.”

The weather on scene consisted of 11-mph winds and clear skies at 29 degrees.



A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew hoists a couple after their 17-foot skiff grounded near Sitka, Alaska, Dec. 27, 2014. The passengers were taken to emergency medical personnel in Sitka. U.S. Coast Guard video provided by Air Station Sitka.

Few apply for Fish and Game commissioner
KENAI, Alaska (AP) — A meeting to review Alaska Fish and Game commissioner candidates has been canceled after only four people applied for the position.

The Peninsula Clarion says those who applied are acting Commissioner Sam Cotten, United Cook Inlet Drift Association director Roland Maw and two people from outside the state, Zachary Hill and Greg Woods.

The application deadline was Dec. 22.

By law, the governor must appoint a commissioner from a list of qualified people nominated by the boards of fisheries and game, meeting in joint session. The governor retains the right to request additional nominations.

The two boards are planning to hold a joint meeting to develop a list of qualified people for the commissioner's position.

Search and rescue finds overdue Sitka boater, man says he wasn't yet due back
Alaska State Troopers received a report of an overdue boater in the area of Vitskari Island Friday night.

Leroy Hughes, age 52 of Sitka, had left in his fishing vessel on Tuesday and was thought to be scheduled to return on Christmas Day.

The Coast Guard conducted an aerial search and they located Hughes' vessel unoccupied and moored in the area adjacent to Goddard Hot Springs, approximately 15 miles south of Sitka.

Two members from Sitka Mountain Rescue and a Sitka Police Officer boated to Goddard Springs and located Hughes. Hughes stated that it was a miscommunication with family on when he was to return to Sitka.

Sitka Assembly extends loan to a hospital by $1 million
SITKA, Alaska (AP) — The Sitka Assembly has approved a request to extend a line of credit for Sitka Community Hospital by $1 million.

The Daily Sitka Sentinel says the hospital is out of cash and needs the money to make payroll, cover health insurance for employees through January and pay for other expenses.

The Assembly voted Tuesday to extend the line of credit from its current level of $500,000.

Hospital CEO Jeff Comer says he did not know the full extent of financial problems when he was hired in September. He says the credit-line extension will give him "breathing room" to start working on solutions and pay bills.

Problems cited for the hospital's money woes include delays in collecting accounts and funds owed to Medicare following a credentialing problem.

Walker orders new spending on megaprojects halted
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has halted new spending on six high-profile projects, pending further review.

Walker issued an order Friday and cited the state's $3.5 billion budget deficit that's increase as oil prices have dropped.

Alaska Dispatch News reports the projects include a small diameter gas pipeline from the North Slope.

The other projects are the Kodiak rocket launch complex, the Knik Arm bridge, the Susitna-Watana hydroelectric dam, Juneau access road and the Ambler road.

Walker's budget director Pat Pitney says Alaska's "fiscal situation demands a critical look."

According to Walker's order, the hold on spending is pending further review.

Pitney says the administration intends to decide on project priorities near the start of Alaska's legislative session Jan. 20, and no later than a Feb. 18 legal budgeting deadline.

Rape conviction tossed over bad jury instructions
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man convicted of rape will have a new trial after his conviction was thrown out of court due to bad jury instructions.

Fifty-year-old Wilburn Dean Jackson was convicted of first-degree sexual assault and fourth-degree physical assault for a 2009 incident in Sitka.

But KTUU reports the Court of Appeals ruled that he will face a new trial. That's because the Superior Court didn't properly instruct the jury about the need for unanimity.

The jury had unanimously agreed the incident qualified as rape. But the appellate court says they weren't properly instructed on how to arrive at that conclusion.

At Jackson's trial, the defense and prosecution didn't object to the process, and the court didn't catch the error.

Jackson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Alaska court rules bison can roam freely on Kodiak
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The buffalo can roam freely again on Kodiak Island.

The state Board of Game had previously decided that free-ranging bison were considered "feral" when the animals strayed from state or federal lands. Then in 2007 the board authorized a hunt of escaped bison on Kodiak.

But a rancher sued to stop the hunt. He originally lost, but Alaska Dispatch News reports the Supreme Court overturned a lower-court ruling against him Friday.

The court says the board was wrong when it deemed the bison feral. They say the lower court hadn't properly considered that it was clear the bison belonged to ranchers.

The rancher, Charles Dorman, died five months ago at age 78. His attorney Tom Meacham says the outcome is bittersweet because Dorman isn't around to savor the victory.

[Saturday December 27th, 2014  4th  EDITION 9:06 P. M.]

Icy roads led to single vehicle rollover on Egan this morning
There was a one vehicle, rollover accident near the Hospital intersection on Egan Drive Saturday morning. The female driver hit a patch of ice then hit a light pole, slid off the road and rolled down an embankment. The driver was taken to Bartlett Hospital as a precaution.

JPD Sargeant David Wrightson says the driver was driving too fast for conditions. He urges all drivers to slow down because of the scattered areas of "black ice" that remain on area roads.

Man found dead in downtown Juneau
At approximately 3:00 AM Saturday morning, Juneau Police contacted a man sitting in an alcove on Front Street. Officers determined the man was not breathing and began CPR. Capital City Fire and Rescue paramedics arrived, and the man was later determined to be deceased. The man was identified as 45 year-old Stanwood Anthony Whitely.

Next of kin have been notified, and the body will be flown to Anchorage for an autopsy.

The death appears to be the result of natural causes, and alcohol appears to be a factor.

Alaska child struck by all-terrain vehicle dies
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 6-year-old boy who had been struck by an all-terrain vehicle died on Christmas Eve.

Alaska State Troopers say the boy from the Southwest Alaska village of Akiachak (AK'-ee-ah-chak) had been lying on a trail in the dark when he was struck.

Alaska Dispatch News reports the boy was identified as Zaret Wassilie.

Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen says other children were playing in the trail. She says Wassile was wearing dark clothing in an area with no lights. She says the driver didn't see him until the last minute, and didn't have time to avoid hitting him.

The driver was uninjured. No foul play is suspected, and alcohol was not a factor.

The village is 18 miles northeast of Bethel and has about 675 residents.

[Friday December 26th, 2014  9th  EDITION 3:57 P. M.]

JPD Crime of the Week:  Grinch steals disabled man's Christmas gift
The Juneau Police Department is looking for a Grinch who stole Christmas, or at least stole Christmas gifts. A disabled man who lives on a fixed income had saved up to buy his wife a pendant and matching earrings for Christmas this year. The evening of Christmas Eve he went to Fred Meyer and purchased the items. After the man paid for the jewelry he was struggling with some mobility issues and either dropped the bag containing the jewelry or looked away from the cart at the wrong time. Someone then took the bag containing the jewelry, worth $700.

With the help of the receipt and Fred Meyer staff, a picture of a similar pendant was located. The earrings match the pendant with a small diamond above oval cut Tanzanite.

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.

Crime Line is a non-profit organization composed of a cross-section of the community and is designed to aid police agencies in their investigations. Tipsters are guaranteed anonymity and given a number when claiming a reward of up to $1,000.00. If you have information on this or any other crime, log on to www.juneaucrimeline.com

Police say fatal shooting started with argument
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Fairbanks police say a fatal shooting started over a woman's attempt to kick her younger cousin out of her apartment.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 25-year-old Emmalee Clark was arraigned Thursday on a charge of first-degree murder in the shooting death of 33-year-old Jeanelle Clark.

Emmalee Clark's bail was set at $500,000.

Fairbanks police detective Chris Nolan in a criminal complaint says Jeanelle Clark asked her cousin to leave and a fight broke out.

He says Emmalee Clark one point pinned her cousin to the floor but let her up.

Nolan says Emmalee Clark told investigators Jeanelle Clark tried to kick her and ordered her out, so she went to her suitcase, removed a .44-caliber handgun and shot the older woman in the face.

Warrant issued in death of Anchorage infant
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage Superior Court judge has issued a $50,000 manslaughter arrest warrant for a man suspected of involvement in the death of his 2-month-old daughter.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports 29-year-old Aaron Vanormer is being sought.

Anchorage police detective Deven Cunningham says in a criminal complaint that Vanormer used Spice, or synthetic marijuana, causing him to hallucinate and intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause the infant's death.

Police say Vanormer's wife was in jail for parole violations in June and Vanormer was responsible for the baby's care.

The baby's grandfather on June 24 checked on Vanormer at the Spenard Motel and found the baby motionless in the bathroom tub.


Police interviewed and released Vanormer in June.

Douglas Island hunters discover giant spruce burl
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Two hunters on Douglas Island made a bulging discovering on a Sitka spruce tree last week — a burl estimated at 7.5 feet high.

Burls are growths caused when a tree is stressed or injured.

U.S. Forest Service research forest pathologist Paul Hennon says he's never seen a bigger burl but the cause is unknown.

He says something triggers tree hormones to cause rapid cell division and uncontrollable growth not unlike cancer.

He says some sort of an irritant probably starts burl growth in spruce rather than a biological agent.

Burls are common in birch and redwood trees and prized by woodworkers for bowls or table tops, if they're big enough.

Legislative Leaders Request Immediate Action on Spending
ANCHORAGE-Due to the urgency to reduce state spending in light of falling oil prices, Senate and House Joint Leadership delivered a letter to Governor Bill Walker (I-Alaska) this week, requesting immediate budget implementations, including travel reductions and a freeze on hiring new state employees. The letter also requests that amendments for the FY 2016 operating budget be delivered as close to the start of session as possible, rather than waiting until the statutory deadline of February 18.

The letter was signed by incoming Senate President Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage), Speaker of the House Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski), as well the incoming Senate Finance Co-Chairs Senators Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River/East Anchorage) and Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks) and House Finance Co-Chairs Representatives Steve Thompson (R-Fairbanks) and Mark Neuman (R-Big Lake).

"For the past two years, we have been focused on stabilizing and then reducing the budget," said Senator Meyer. "With the recent drop in oil prices and the fact that 90 percent of the state's discretionary budget is funded by oil production, the need to cut spending has become even more urgent. That's why we are requesting immediate action from Governor Walker on certain issues and asking for him to expedite his submission of the budgets to the Legislature."

The letter suggested the following actions:

Implement immediate hiring freeze including all department vacancies

Limit agency travel to essential administrative duties or emergency response

Request departments produce FY 2015 accounting report for first six months of the fiscal year to see which agencies are working within the budget structure, which agencies are in danger of exceeding budget and thus requiring a supplemental budget, and which agencies have far greater resources available to them than necessary to carry out agency mission

Identify targeted reductions in discretionary agency operations, while preserving funding for essential services and all ongoing gas line and other statewide projects critical to education, energy security, infrastructure and the public safety of Alaskans

Review capital appropriations authorized more than five fiscal years ago and make recommendations to re-appropriate funds for projects that have been delayed, are not moving forward, or that should not move forward in this fiscal environment because of the phased nature or cost of the project.

The letter continued:

"Further, we understand you have suspended work on the statutorily required ten-year fiscal plans, which
demonstrate how you intend to balance budgets for each of the next ten years. Given the current fiscal
situation, we respectfully request that these fiscal plans are completed by the beginning of the legislative
session to be used in the fiscal policy and budget discussions during the upcoming legislative session."

"We appreciate that he's still settling in, assembling his cabinet and learning the scope of his office," said Speaker Chenault. "At the same time, under today's fiscal situation, we intend to hit the ground running once the gavel falls in Juneau. We only have 90 days to enact a budget; our Finance Committee Co-Chairs want departments before their subcommittees as soon as possible, ready to begin the discussions and negotiations needed to bring down operating costs."

No endangered listing for prized pinto abalone
SEATTLE (AP) — The National Marine Fisheries Service has decided not to list a prized 6-inch Pacific marine snail as endangered or threatened.

The federal agency said this week that its review found the pinto abalone is not currently in danger of extinction and does not warrant federal protection under the Endangered Species Act at this time.

The snail, valued for its delicate flavor and mother-of-pearl shell, were once abundant from Alaska to Baja California.

Two conservation groups petitioned the agency last year to conduct a status review for pinto abalone. The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Biological Diversity said they need protection because their populations have plummeted due to historical overfishing, poaching, climate change and other factors.

The agency said the shellfish will remain on the agency's "species of concern" list.

2 injured when SUV strikes disabled pickup
ANCHOR POINT, Alaska (AP) — An Anchor Point driver and a passenger were seriously injured Thursday in a Sterling Highway crash.

Alaska State Troopers say a truck driven by 29-year-old Mathany Christine Satterwhite broke down and was parked near Mile 145.5.

Anchor Point resident Nathan Sargeant came to Satterwhite's aid and pulled his van in front of the pickup to jump-start it.

Just before 6 p.m., a sport utility vehicle driven by 29-year-old Larry Pyatt of Anchor Point approached from the north.

Troopers say his SUV slid and struck the pickup.

The truck hit Satterwhite, who was trying to connect jumper cables. She was thrown into the ditch and she suffered serious injuries.

Her passenger, whose name and age was not listed, was pinned between the truck and van. Troopers say her injuries are life-threatening.

Longtime Barrow judge prepares to step down
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A judge who has served in America's northernmost community for more than three decades is retiring.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports the last day on the job for Barrow Superior Court Judge Michael Jeffery will be Dec. 28.

Jeffery will be 70, the mandatory retirement age for judges.

Jeffery in 1977 began working in Barrow as a legal services attorney. He was appointed Barrow's first Superior Court judge in 1982. Barrow previously was served by a Fairbanks judge.

Jeffery is known for expanding awareness of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. He encouraged a change to state law that lets judges lower sentences for people with FAS or related disorders.

Angela Greene, supervising public defender for Nome and Kotzebue, was appointed to replace Jeffery. She will be sworn in Dec. 30.

Small fire but the stove is toast
Capital City Fire Rescue put out a small Christmas evening fire inside a stove in a home on Meadow Lane, Thursday night around 9:00.

Captain Roy Johnston says the oven was removed and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Prosecutors say home invaders were seeking drugs
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police say the men charged with a home invasion Monday night in Eagle River were seeking drugs and cash.

KTUU-TV reports one of the three suspects told the others that a resident of the home had heroin and cash on hand that they could steal.

Thirty-five-year-old Ryan Duane Calhoun-Moudy, 34-year-old Matthew Fox and 28-year-old Brion Ingram were arraigned Wednesday on charges of felony assault, robbery, weapons misconduct and theft.

Police say Ingram and Calhoun-Moudy knocked on the door and forced their way into the home as Fox, a half-brother of the resident, waited outside in a car.

A man inside the home was hit in the head and shot in the leg. His wife heard the shot and hid with her 3-month-old baby and another child.

[Thursday December 25th, Christmas Day,  2014  5th  EDITION 7:22 P. M.]

UAF appeals postseason bans for 2 women's sports
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The University of Alaska Fairbanks is appealing NCAA postseason bans for its women's basketball and women's swimming teams.

The two sports were among the teams that received a postseason ban as part of penalties for NCAA infractions. Infractions covered nine of UAF's 10 sports teams.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Thursday Athletic Director Gary Gray said the appeal for women's basketball and swimming was filed about three weeks ago, making them eligible for postseason play.

Gray says university officials saw the NCAA's postseason bans as excessive.

The university says the infractions were a result of university errors and not anything athletes did.

The sanctions cover such things as the university not identifying students who hadn't earned the required number of credits or switched majors without filing the proper paperwork.

Police: Fairbanks woman shot, killed cousin
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Fairbanks police say a woman shot and killed her cousin on Christmas Eve.

KTUU-TV reports Emmalee Clark is charged with first-degree murder after allegedly telling a police dispatcher that she had just killed her cousin, Jeanelle Clark.

Investigators believe the shooting happened early Wednesday at a building in south Fairbanks. Police say they took the call at about 1 p.m.

Twenty-five-year-old Emmalee Clark couldn't be reached for comment Thursday at Fairbanks Correctional Facility. It's not clear if she has an attorney. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Thieves target Anchorage nonprofit's donated goods
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage nonprofit that helps people with disabilities has been contending with thefts and vandalism during the Christmas season.

The ARC of Anchorage says donation bins have been raided and delivery truck fuel tanks have been trained.

It's been happening at least twice a week, most recently on Christmas Eve.

KTVA-TV reports the thefts and damage have run into the thousands of dollars.

Operations Manager Ian Casey says Anchorage police are investigating.

Casey says the thieves are taking donated clothes and other household items away from people who have developmental disabilities.

Tools stolen from Ketchikan business
Ketchikan AST received a report of a theft from a business near the 1500 block of the North Tongass Highway sometime between December 20-21. The business owner reported 2 Stihl brand chainsaws and a Milwaukee brand cordless drill were stolen from the business warehouse.

Total value of the stolen items is estimated at $1200. Investigation will continue, anyone with information is asked to call AST at 225-5118. Your call may remain anonymous.


Expected snow turns to mostly rain
Mother Nature tried to deliver a blanket of snow for Christmas morning, but she couldn't keep the temperature low enough for it to last. The flurries fell Christmas Eve afternoon, creating a light dusting in some areas of Juneau, as the National Weather Service predicted up to two inches of the fluffy stuff. Forecasts say there could be some snow today, but it's expected to turn to rain by afternoon. More snow mixed with rain could come Friday. At least we can look forward to a dry, sunny Saturday with a high just above freezing.

Troopers Midway Through Holiday Anti-DUI Patrol Effort
(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – The Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers have been decking the highways with lights and sirens (falalalala la la la la) over the past two weeks. The high visibility enforcement effort, which started Dec. 10 and lasts until Jan. 4, 2015, is to ensure the safety of Alaskans while they participate in holiday celebrations.

For the first half of this effort (Dec. 10 to Dec. 23), troopers have:
- Arrested 37 drivers for driving under the influence with two of them being felony offenses.
- Charged 42 drivers with driving with a suspended or revoked license.
- Received 248 REDDI reports with 26 drivers contacted that were ultimately determined not to be DUI.
- Investigated 83 damage only crashes, 14 injury crashes and no fatal collisions.
- Of the 874 citations issued by Troopers, 346 were for speeding and 37 were for seatbelt or other occupant restraint violations.

The Department of Public Safety realizes that alcohol is a part of many festivities this time of year. If you plan on partaking, don’t be a red-nosed driver. Please have a plan in place to not drive impaired. The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is done annually around the holidays to encourage the motoring public to keep safety in mind and to keep this time of year from turning tragic. The focused enforcement by troopers over the holiday is intended to prevent major injury and fatality crashes through enhanced enforcement. While the troopers are out to curb DUIs, they will also be on the lookout for additional driver behaviors that often contribute to fatal crashes, such as speeding and driving too fast for conditions.

Please do your part in keeping our roadways safe by not driving impaired. Additionally, don’t hesitate to make a REDDI report by calling 911! (Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately).

Funding for the High Visibility Enforcement Campaign is funded by grants distributed by the Alaska Highway Safety Office.

Kuskokwim River trails marked from Bethel to villages
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Bethel Search and Rescue says Kuskokwim River trails from Bethel to some villages are marked with stakes and reflective tape where the ice is thick enough to support vehicles.

KYUK reports that responders emphasize that holiday travelers should stay on the marked trails because there is still open water in some places, as well as areas that froze over just recently.

Trails are marked downriver from Bethel to Napaskiak (nuh-PAHS'-key-ack), Oscarville and Napakiak (nuh-PAH'-key-ack).

Trails also are marked upriver from Bethel to Akiak (ACK'-ee-ack) and Kwethluk (KWEETH'-luk).

Saturday funeral for former Washington lawmaker
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The funeral for a former Washington state lawmaker who was fatally shot in Alaska earlier this month will be held Saturday in Tacoma.

The News Tribune reports the funeral for Brian Sullivan will be held at 11 a.m. at Bellarmine Preparatory School.

Sullivan served two terms in the Washington Legislature and was working as an assistant district attorney in Barrow, Alaska, at the time of his death.

He was shot and killed Dec. 8 in Barrow.

A man accused of shooting Sullivan in a jealous rage over a woman has been indicted on murder charges by a grand jury. Forty-seven-year-old Ronald Fischer was charged last week with first- and second-degree murder.

Woman dies in shooting in Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Fairbanks police are investigating the shooting death of a woman at a residence Wednesday afternoon.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner says no one was immediately arrested after the shooting in a building in south Fairbanks.

Fairbanks city spokeswoman Amber Courtney says the gunshot was not self-inflicted.

She says police have been trying to determine whether the shooting was accidental or intentional.

The woman's name was not immediately released.
 

[Wednesday December 24th,  2014  11th  EDITION 5:47 P. M.]

Mother Nature to bring blanket of snow for Christmas in Juneau
Flurries began falling Christmas Eve afternoon and the National Weather Service says it's the precursor to the front coming in across Southeast Alaska.

Meteorologist Brian Bezenek expects it to start snowing more after midnight. "There should be white on the ground all around town tomorrow when everyone gets up in the morning. We're expecting one, maybe two inches if we're lucky."

Troopers say body of avalanche victim recovered
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say an avalanche survivor and another man have recovered the body of a Delta Junction man killed in the same avalanche.

Troopers say they were notified Tuesday over that the course of two days, 63-year-old Michael Hopper of Fairbanks and another man, Daniel Perpich, had hiked in and recovered the remains of 35-year-old Erik Peterson.

Peterson was killed Dec. 6 after he was caught in the avalanche while skiing in the eastern Alaska Range with Hopper.

The avalanche carried Hopper 150 feet down the slope, encasing all but his face and right arm in snow. Peterson landed 10 feet up the slope.

Hopper dug himself out after two hours. Troopers say Hopper dug into the snow where Peterson's glove was and found his friend dead.

The state medical examiner's office will perform an autopsy.

Soldier charged in Fairbanks weekend robberies
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fort Wainwright soldier suspected of holding up several people at gunpoint has been charged with robbery and misdemeanor theft.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 23-year-old Keith Downing was arrested Sunday and police are seeking other suspects.

Police Sunday morning received several reports of pedestrians robbed at gunpoint, including two at 1:17 a.m. outside a strip club.

The men told police that three suspects pulled up in a car and two got out with guns, a shotgun and a handgun.

The witnesses told investigators the armed men stole their belongings and drove off in a gray Volkswagen Jetta.

Downing was charged in the holdup outside the strip club and an earlier robbery.

Downing remained jailed Wednesday. Online court records did not indicate he was represented by an attorney.

Grand jury indicts woman on false tax claim counts
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska federal grand jury has indicted a 58-year-old woman on charges of falsifying tax returns for residents of American Samoa, claiming refunds for work done in the territory.

Federal prosecutors say Pepe Anetipa was indicted on 28 counts of false claims for refunds totaling $202,000.

Anetipa moved from American Samoa to Anchorage in 2011 and began a tax service company in 2012.

Citizens of American Samoa can be issued Social Security numbers but are not required to file tax returns if all their income was from employers in American Samoa.

Prosecutors say Anetipa altered documents to indicate clients earned income in the United States instead of the territory and claimed refunds were owed.

Messages left with Anetipa's attorney, assistant public defender Jamie McGrady, were not immediately returned Wednesday.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station at the Marine Parking Garage
Beginning Friday, December 26th, the electric vehicle charging station at the Marine Parking Garage will be active and available for use. The charging station is located on level one between spaces 24 and 25. The station will be active between the hours of 8:00am and 10:00pm. All drivers parking in spaces 24 and 25 will need to pay the hourly parking fee of 75? an hour, but there will be no additional fees for the use of the charging station. Parking in spaces 24 and 25 is not limited to electric vehicles.

Hourly parking spaces in the Marine Parking Garage will also be extended; currently, hourly parking is only available in spaces 5 through 20. Beginning December 26th hourly parking will be available in spaces 5 through 25.

For additional information, please contact Parks and Recreation at 586-5226 Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm.

Audit finds room for improvement in Corrections Department
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A yearlong audit of the Alaska Department of Corrections has identified systemic problems, including an inadequate system for reviewing inmate deaths and factors that could affect the quality of health of those incarcerated.

The results of the $320,000 review comes at the end of a year the agency came under scrutiny over the way it handled a series of inmate deaths.

Alaska Dispatch News says Corrections is the first selected under a 2013 state law mandating a performance and budgetary audit of state departments at least once every decade.

The Legislative and Budget Audit Committee extended the scope of the audit and paid an additional $23,000 for a deep look at the quality of inmate health care.

The report says Corrections is "moderately effective" in primary functions of confining inmates.

Bulldozer breaks through thin ice on Nenana River
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Thin ice has claimed another vehicle trying to cross a river in interior Alaska.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports a bulldozer trying to cross the Nenana River at the city of Nenana plunged through ice.

The engine and the top of the heavy machine's fuel tank remained above the water Sunday.

The bulldozer was crossing at a location that's traditionally used as an ice bridge.

Tom DeRuyter of the state Department of Environmental Conservation says the bulldozer owner has reported no fuel entering the river.

Two vehicles last week broke through thin ice on the Chena River in Fairbanks.

3 men charged in Eagle River home invasion
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police have arrested three men suspected of an Eagle River home invasion.

KTUU-TV reports three adults and two children were in the home at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday when armed men broke in.

A resident was hit in the head and shot in the leg.

Police say 35-year-old Ryan Duane Calhoun-Moudy was arrested 15 minutes later when officers with a police dog tracked him down.

Officers later in the morning located a suspected get-away vehicle.

Police say 34-year-old Matthew Fox and 28-year-old Brion Ingram emerged from an apartment, entered the compact sport utility vehicle and tried to drive away.

Police spokeswoman Anita Shell says officers blocked the SUV and it rammed four police cars before the men surrendered.

They are charged with felony assault, robbery, theft and weapons misconduct.

Theater in Anchorage to show "The Interview"
An independent movie theater in Anchorage plans to show a film that was pulled from wide release due to violent threats.

The Bear Tooth in Spenard said Tuesday it would show "The Interview," a comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader, starting Friday, January 2nd. Last week, Sony Pictures canceled the scheduled Christmas day release after receiving threats against theaters that showed the movie.

This week, the company decided to give the movie a limited release, and several independent theaters around the country have scheduled showings.

The Bear Tooth doesn't usually have first-run movies from major studios.

Alaska's population rank gives way to North Dakota
Alaska's climb up the state population ladder has been knocked down a rung thanks to North Dakota's oil boom.

The Alaska Dispatch reports that North Dakota has bumped Alaska back to the 48th most populous state -- with only Vermont and Wyoming having fewer people.

North Dakota claimed 47th place by adding 16-thousand new residents this year, while Alaska was one of six states to shrink, with a net population loss of 527. That leaves Alaska with an estimated population of 736,732 compared to North Dakota's 739,482.

Alaska had surpassed North Dakota in the 2010 census by about 40 thousand people, but since then North Dakota has grown by about 70,000.

Fatal Vehicle Accident on George Parks Highway in Denali National Park and Preserve
DENALI PARK, Alaska: Denali National Park and Preserve rangers responded yesterday to a head-on vehicle accident involving two vehicles and resulting in the deaths of both drivers. There were no passengers in either vehicle.
Park rangers arrived on the scene, near milepost 236 on the George Parks Highway, and found both vehicles engulfed in flames.

The accident involved a pick-up truck traveling south and a sport utility vehicle heading north on the two-lane highway.
The National Park Service (NPS) received a 911 call reporting the accident at 10:08 a.m., park rangers and an Alaska state trooper arrived on the scene at approximately 10:22 a.m.

The highway was closed for most of the day, a state Department of Transportation vehicle piloted motorist through the accident site periodically, and the highway reopened just before 10:30 p.m.

Because the crash occurred within park boundaries and on federal land, the NPS is leading the investigation with assistance from the Alaska State Troopers investigative unit which is based in Fairbanks.

The cause of the accident is unknown at this time.

The identity of neither victim will be released until the state medical examiner can make a positive identification.

[Tuesday December 23rd,  2014  10th  EDITION 5:15 P. M.]

SEARHC Outpatient Clinic Holiday Schedule
SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) outpatient clinics will be closed on Christmas Day, Thursday, December 25th, and New Year’s Day, Thursday, January 1, so SEARHC employees can spend time with their families during the holidays.

The SEARHC Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau will close at 3:00 pm on Christmas Eve, December 24th, and at 5:00 pm on New Year’s Eve, December 31st. The Outpatient Clinic at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka will remain open during regular business hours on those days.

As always, SEARHC will have staff working during the holidays to take care of any inpatients staying at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka, and there will be 24-hour emergency room staff available at the hospital during the holidays.

AEL&P warns of scam
AEL&P is warning it's customers that they are receiving from their commercial business clients reports of attempted scamming.  AEL&P's Debbie Driscoll says no residential clients have reported scammers calling yet. 

A caller will pose as being from AEL&P and say that a check for an account payment was sent but was not signed.  Driscoll reminds customers to not give out account or personal information and call AEL&P about any suspicious calls pertaining to the company at 780-2222.

Police investigate Eagle River home invasion
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police say they are questioning a suspect in a home invasion early Tuesday morning in Eagle River.

Police say two intruders just before 3:30 a.m. entered a home on Caribou Street, where three adults and two children were sleeping. The intruders demanded money.

Police say one a man inside was hit in the head with an object and shot in the leg. He was taken to a hospital.

The intruders fled after the robbery.

Police using a dog tracked one suspect and found him after about 15 minutes.

Police say a second suspect may have fled in a 2007 silver Ford Escape with Alaska license plate FTX326.

Police are asking for a call if the compact sport utility vehicle is spotted.

The home intrusion was first reported by KTUU-television.

Walker signs LNG agreement with Japanese energy company
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has signed an agreement with a Japanese energy company formally declaring a commitment to form a partnership in developing Alaska's liquefied natural gas market.

Walker called the memorandum of understanding signed with Resources Energy Inc. Tuesday an important first step for the state's energy future. Under the previous administration, the state and Japanese agencies agreed to keep the lines of communication open over a proposed mega-LNG project.

Resources Energy CEO Shun Shimizu says the company will first focus on a smaller scale LNG project in Cook Inlet and later would like to work on the larger North Slope gas development.

Officials say Japanese prefectures have been considering LNG to replace nuclear energy following the massive 2011 earthquake that shut down the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Senator Murkowski Wishes Alaska Happy Holidays
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today shared her thoughts on the holiday season with Alaskans.

“Ho ho ho, and Happy Holidays, Alaska! “We’ve got a lot of snow-starved Alaskans had to wait a little bit longer this year, but our state has finally turned into the winter wonderland we’ve come to enjoy during the holidays. I may be a little biased, but I think it’s the perfect setting to celebrate this special time of year with friends and family.

“I’d encourage you all to take a moment – between the parties, shopping, and hustle and bustle – to focus on the spirit of the season: generosity and joy, both of which we have in abundance here in Alaska. Allow your inner child to surface in smiles or song or pure simple enjoyment – whether out and about with your kids, or with friends and loved ones. Focus on all the blessings we enjoy.

“As you focus on what you have, remember also those who are in need. This is the season to pitch in and lend a hand to those who perhaps have less. It can be a simple gesture or a large donation - we all can help, even in the smallest of ways.

“The men and women who protect our nation 24 hours a day should be in our thoughts during the holidays, as they should be at all times of the year. To those who serve and to their families: we thank you for your service and all that you do for a grateful nation.

“From my family to each and every one of you: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and let’s all have a great New Year! Take care.”

Avista Announces Donations Totaling $100,000 in Juneau, Alaska
SPOKANE, Wash. – Avista Corp. today announced that it is making donations totaling $100,000 to benefit six organizations in the City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska. These gifts come as the company celebrates its merger with Alaska Electric Light & Power Company (AEL&P), which was finalized on July 1, 2014.

The organizations to receive donations are the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, Juneau Salvation Army, The Glory Hole Shelter, United Way of Southeast Alaska, the University of Alaska Southeast and Bartlett Regional Hospital Foundation.

“We are very pleased that AEL&P has joined Avista. We look forward to a long and productive working relationship with the company and the residents, businesses and organizations of Juneau,” said Dennis Vermillion, senior vice president, Avista Corp. and chairman of the board for AEL&P. “Avista has a legacy of community support that dates back to the founding of our company in 1889. We invest substantially in our communities because we care about those who live in the places we all call home. It’s simply the right thing for us to do.

“Avista and AEL&P hold similar values embedded in a culture of trust, innovation and collaboration,” Vermillion continued. “We believe that being active partners with those who serve the community strengthens the area’s social, cultural and economic vitality and enhances the quality of lives of the people served by our company.”

Avista Corp. 2014 Juneau Donations:
Organization Donation
Juneau Arts & Humanities Council     $ 4,000
Juneau Salvation Army                   $10,000
The Glory Hole Shelter                   $12,000   
United Way of Southeast Alaska      $12,000
Bartlett Regional Hospital Foundation $12,000
University of Alaska Southeast         $50,000

Fairbanks borough mayor to form marijuana working group
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A panel will be created in the Fairbanks North Star Borough to guide development of rules governing commercial marijuana enterprises.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that borough Mayor Luke Hopkins is hoping to get regulations developed as early as February. The group is expected to begin meeting in early January.

The effort follows the passage in November of Ballot Measure 2, which allows the possession, use and non-sale transfer of marijuana in Alaska, beginning Feb. 24.

Marijuana sales aren't likely to begin until at least May 2016. The measure gives the state many months to develop and implement its own regulations.

Communities can opt out of allowing sales, but such bans likely would be politically unpopular, with the measure approved by a wide margin of voters.

Minimum wage measure could boost bus driver pay
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A decision by voters to increase Alaska's minimum wage could bring a bump in the minimum that must be paid to the state's school bus drivers.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports a state law passed in 1989 requires school bus drivers to be paid at least twice the minimum wage.

The law does not force employers to increase driver pay mid-way through a contract but could kick in with new contracts.

The state's minimum wage since 2009 has been $7.75 per hour. That means school bus drivers for five years have had hourly wages of at least $15.50.

Ballot Measure 3, approved in November, will increase the minimum wage by $1 per hour on Feb. 24 and by another dollar to $9.75 per hour on Jan. 1, 2016.

Anchorage negotiates for police shooting range
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Municipal officials in Anchorage have begun talks to acquire land for a new police training facility.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports the city will negotiate with Eklutna Corp. for 34 acres of land that could be used for a planned South Central Law Enforcement Tactical Range.

The land is next to the Birchwood Shooting Range. The facility is estimated to cost $13 million.

A funding request to the Alaska Legislature describes it as a dedicated outdoor shooting facility with four tactical shooting ranges.

A small-arms shooting range would mimic a city environment where officers could practice tactics such as forced entry.

Eklutna Corp. had proposed a long-term lease for its land. Municipality spokesman Bryce Hyslip says buying the property would save the city a significant amount of money.

New species of bat identified at UAF
Researchers at the U-A-F Museum of the North have discovered a species of bat that no one had realized was native to Alaska.

Specimens of Yuma bat were found in the museum's collection, but only recently identified by a careful analysis.
The Alaska Dispatch reports that a dozen specimens collected in the lower panhandle in the 1990s had been misidentified as the most common bat species in Alaska, the little brown bat.

The Yuma bat also ranges in British Columbia, but its discovery in Alaska adds to the six other bat species known to live in the state.

The study was published in a special issue of Northwestern Naturalist.

Legislature looking at office allowances
The Legislature is reconsidering how to account for office allowances.

The proposed change would reclassify funds used for postage, stationery, and other office expenses as income. That way, rather than itemizing each expense, lawmakers would have more flexibility in how the money is spent -- though it would be subject to income tax.

The idea surfaced two years ago, before the change was put on hold. Now, Kodiak senator Gary Stevens, as co-chair of the council that manages administrative affairs, sent a survey to members about how to proceed.

House majority leaders replied Monday that they prefer the current system, because it requires members to be more transparent about their use of state funds.

The office allowances are 16-thousand dollars for house members and 20-thousand for senators. The amounts would be reduced if income taxes are withheld.

[Monday December 22nd,  2014  6th  EDITION 4:35 P. M.]

At least 2 dead in crash in Alaska's Denali National Park
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — At least two people have died in a two-vehicle collision at Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve.

Park spokeswoman Kathleen Kelly says the Monday morning crash occurred on the Parks Highway about 1.5 miles south of the park entrance. One of the vehicles was fully engulfed in flames and the front of the other vehicle, a pickup truck, burned.

Those killed were the two drivers, and Kelly said the bodies will be sent to the state medical examiner's office for autopsies.

It's unknown if any others were involved in the crash. There are no known witnesses to the accident, which Kelly said occurred on clear road conditions.

Because the crash occurred within park boundaries, the National Park Service is leading the investigation rather than state troopers, who are assisting.

Woman arrested for smuggling oxycodone from Seattle to Ketchikan
The Alaska Bureau of Investigation's Southeast Alaska Cities Against Drugs task force and K-9 Lutri arrested 32 year old Terra Adams of Hydaburg on Sunday night
for her role in the smuggling of 367 Oxycodone 30 milligram tablets from Seattle to Ketchikan. 

Charges include Conspiracy to Commit Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree and Attempted Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree.  The street value of each tablet in the Ketchikan and Prince of Wales Island area is $100 per tablet making the total estimated street value to be $36,700.

Sitka hospital to request loan from city
SITKA, Alaska (AP) — Sitka Community Hospital administrators are planning to go before the city Assembly on Tuesday to formally request $1.5 million from the city in a 9-month line of credit to address a cash flow emergency.

Hospital CEO Jeff Comer tells the Daily Sitka Sentinel that the hospital has "zero days' cash on hand." Comer says the hospital is going to the Assembly because it is getting into a crisis mode.

City administrator Mark Gorman says the city's financial help will not be an outright grant to the hospital.

The loss in operations was $2.2 million between July 2013 and November 2014.

Comer says the hospital's financial situation is not affecting the quality of patient care.

He says the city assistance will help the hospital through the next nine months.

Fire, looters add up to bad day for Fairbanks store
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) A fire and would-be looters added up to a bad day for a Fairbanks outdoors retailer.

Fairbanks police say a fire broke out early Sunday morning inside The Prospector store, forcing a temporary closure.

Fire officials speculate a boiler malfunction caused the fire. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported smoke from the fire initiated the sprinkler system, which doused the fire.

Then, as employees were cleaning up the mess, KTUU reports three looters tried to sneak in a back door, which had been propped open.

KTUU says police were nearby investigating another complaint and saw a commotion in the parking lot as employees tried to detain the suspects.

Police say the three attempted to flee, but were caught by police and arrested.

JPD Holiday caution: drinking and driving
The Juneau Police Department asks all Juneau residents to be especially careful while driving during the winter holidays. We recognize that celebrating with family and friends may include drinking alcoholic beverages.

It is important for party goers to be safe and not put others at risk when traveling to and from social gatherings. As a host you can help by coordinating safe rides home for guests.

If you are driving over the holidays, don’t drink. Having alcohol in your system can create a noticeable impairment. Be focused on your driving, avoid distractions such as cell phones, always wear your seatbelt and ensure your passengers are buckled up as well.

Please be careful and help us make this a safe and happy holiday season for our community.

3 suspects arrested in theft of metal at hatchery
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say thieves stealing metal from the Eklutna Salmon Hatchery caused an estimated $30,000 damage to the facility.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports three men have been arrested in the case and six other suspects have been identified.

Troopers say the damage may have occurred over weeks.

The intruders cut through walls to reach copper wire in locked portions of the building.

Steel and aluminum also were taken.

The hatchery is operated by a nonprofit group, the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association. The hatchery opened in 1982 and operated regularly until 1998.

It's now a backup facility for the Trail Lakes Hatchery in Kenai and is used in summer by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to rear 400,000 king salmon released in the Eklutna Tailrace.

Pedestrian dies in Anchorage weekend crash
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police have released the name of a 32-year-old man killed by a car while walking on a downtown street.

Police say Christopher Thompson died on west 12th Avenue when he was struck by a car driven by a man delivering newspapers.

Police took a call on the accident just before 2:30 a.m. Saturday from a resident.

Police say Thompson became trapped under a sedan driven by Rommel Ramos, who remained at the scene.

Anchorage Fire Department responders were able to remove Thompson from under the car but he was declared dead.

Police say the case remains under investigation.

[Sunday December 21st,  2014  4th EDITION 4:17 P. M.]

Canadian mine near Alaska border wins approval
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Canadian government is allowing a proposed open-pit mine near the southeast Alaska border to advance.

Canada's Ministry of the Environment on Friday found the Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects when mitigation measures are taken into account.

The project, known as the KSM, is in northwest British Columbia. It is northeast of Ketchikan and east of Wrangell.

Brent Murphy of mine owner Seabridge Gold says the project has won approval of the provincial and federal governments and can move ahead with permitting.

CoastAlaska reports investors are being sought to develop the proposed $5.3-billion mine.

The KSM deposit is upstream of two rivers that enter the ocean within about 50 miles of Ketchikan.

Mine opponents fear the project will pollute rivers and harm salmon.

2 vehicles sink on ice stretch used as a shortcut
At least two vehicles recently sank into the Chena River on a section long used as an ice-covered shortcut between Airport Way and Chena Small Tracts Road.

Bob Weaver, the owner of Ron's Towing, said a rented SUV driven by an out-of-state motorist sank Dec. 15 after making a left turn onto the river from Pike's Waterfront Lodge. No one was hurt.

The tow company was being followed by a camera crew, but Weaver told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner the incident was not staged.

Alaska State Troopers helped rescue the driver of another vehicle on Tuesday. Sgt. Brian Wassmann said two troopers found a 20-year-old woman standing on the roof of the vehicle helped her to shore. A dog trapped in the vehicle died.

Man shot in downtown Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage police say a man was shot outside a downtown bar early Sunday morning.

Police spokeswoman Anita Shell said the man suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot to the torso. He was taken to a local hospital.

Shell told KTUU the incident occurred around closing time.

Police said there were several people in the area at the time of the shooting, but they said early Sunday afternoon that they did not have a suspect or motive in the case.

UPDATE: Holiday Cup scores from Saturday
Over 400 athletes are expected to compete in the 22nd edition of the Holiday Cup which began Saturday and runs until the 31st at Dimond Park Field House.

Marty McKeown with ReMax of Juneau, second-year sponsor of the free event, brought us some scores from Saturday:

Elementary School Division:
Snowflake United vs. Jolly St. Kicks 3 -3
Reigning Snowballs vs. Real Frosty 6 - 0

Highschool Division:
Squad vs. Falconers 5-4
Wrecking Ball vs. BK Crew 3-0

College Division:
Chipmunks vs. Roaring Chestnuts 6-4

Classic Division:
Santa Slayers vs. Ringadingding 2-2
Nutcrackers vs. Spicy Nutmegs 3-2

Masters Division:
Big Wergers vs. Wolfpack 5-3
Mistle Toes vs. Galaxy 6-2
Silent Knights vs. Dugs Dump 5-3

For more information you can logon to holidaycup.org

Walker names Drygas as labor commissioner
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Bill Walker is continuing to fill out his Cabinet, naming Heidi Drygas to be state labor commissioner.

Drygas previously served as general counsel for the Alaska District Council of Laborers. Walker said Drygas has extensive experience in labor relations and will be an asset to his administration.

Drygas replaces Dianne Blumer. Her appointment is subject to legislative approval.

Walker also announced that Larry Hartig would remain as commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Walker cited Hartig's commitment to public service and knowledge of environmental and natural resource issues. Hartig has held the position since 2007.

Walker named Darwin Peterson as his legislative director. Peterson most recently served as chief of staff to Republican Sen. Bert Stedman of Sitka.

Walker made the announcements by news release on Friday.

New director plans Alaska's Medicaid expansion
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's new Medicaid expansion project director plans to extend health care coverage to some of Alaska's lowest-income residents.

Alaska Dispatch News reports Chris Ashenbrenner was appointed by Gov. Bill Walker when he created the new position.

The planned expansion will extend Medicaid coverage to all Alaskans who earn up to 138 percent of the poverty level. That amounts to about $20,120 per year.

Before that can happen in Alaksa, Ashenbrenner will have to work through a series of hurdles. The state's Medicaid eligibility and payment systems have been plagued with defects.

Medicaid expansion was one of the key points during Walker's campaign against former Gov. Sean Parnell.

The state health department's commissioner Valerie Davidson says they needed someone with a track record of taking on heavy projects.