Friday, February 3, 2012 6TH EDITION 9:25 A. M.]
UPDATE: High wind warning issued for Juneau
There's a high wind warning in effect for Juneau until Noon:
Southeast winds 25 to 40 miles per hour with gusts to 70 late morning and early afternoon are forecast.
Winds will decrease to 20 miles per hour with gusts to 45 in the afternoon.
The warning went into effect at 6 a.m., but high gusts were recorded before then.
The Federal Building had gusts to 60miles per hour.
Gusts to 70 have been reported at Eaglecrest.
Listeners in the Mendenhall Valley e-mailed the studios this morning to report a tree from the neighbor's yard blew on to their house.
Galen and Donna Goutermont report the tree was along the entire length of their house after a wind gust blew it off the roof. They planned to check out the damage after sunrise and start cutting up firewood.
January comes in as 8th snowiest in Juneau, 5th snowiest winter so far
January in Juneau was the eighth snowiest on record.
That's according to Meteorologist Geri Swanson in the Juneau Forecast Office of the National Weather Service.
She says the total was 49.4 inches which was 21.7 inches above normal. The monthly record is 75 inches set in 2009.
This winter is the fifth snowiest so far in Juneau with 112.1 inches through Thursday. The record is the 197.8 in the winter of 2006 and 2007.
Precipitation in January amounted to 6.43 inches, a little more than an inch above normal.
The median temperature was 26.9 degrees which was 1.4 degrees below normal.
The high was 42 degrees on the 8th. The low was 2 above on the 17th
Two daily records were established.
There was a snowfall record of 6.3 inches on the 29th.
The 1.8 inches of rain on the 8th set a record for that date.
Thane Road reopened after avalanche
Thane Road was reopened Thursday afternoon after an avalanche closed it on Wednesday night.
Greg Patz, the Maintenance Superintendent for the Southeast Region of state DOT confirmed that facts for us, saying the road was reopened as of 3:00 p.m.
He said they can pretty much confirm that the avalanche at the road was about 250 yards in width and at the highest point probably about 16-20 feet.
When asked if they felt the mountain was stable now that cleanup was complete, Patz said after avalanche control work and getting a look at the top of the mountain when the clouds lifted, he feels that it's pretty stable right now.
He said of course that can change pretty quickly with additional snow, rain and wind but after the shooting it's about as stable as you can expect it to get.
Patz did offer words of caution. He said they encourage people to drive safely and not to stop inside of the avalanche zone.
Public urged to stay off area trails due to avalanche danger
Avalanche danger on Juneau area trails is described as extremely high in a joint release issued by the City and Borough of Juneau and Forest Service.
The agencies say avalanches are very likely to occur on trails in the downtown and Douglas areas including Perseverance, Mt. Juneau, Mt. Roberts, Dan Moller and Dupont.
The release urges the public to avoid all avalanche terrain for at least 48 hours.
Seward, Sterling highways reopen
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — State transportation officials have reopened the Seward and Sterling highways.
The two highways south of Anchorage were closed early Thursday at their intersection after an avalanche fell at Mile 36 on the Seward Highway.
The snow has been removed from the highway, and roads were reopened at 3 p.m.
Fairbanks had 5th coldest January known for city
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Weather forecasters say this January was the fifth-coldest January in Fairbanks on record.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner says the average temperature for the month at Fairbanks International Airport was almost 27 degrees below zero.
The National Weather Service says that's two-tenths of a degree colder than January 1969, the sixth coldest Januarys for Fairbanks.
The coldest January in Fairbanks occurred in 1906, with an average temperature of minus 36.4 degrees.
Other Januarys in Fairbanks colder than last month were in 1966, 1934 and 1971.
No daily temperature records were broken in Fairbanks last month. The average temperature, however, was 19 degrees below normal for the month.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
Officials update ferry's trip to Yakutat
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska transportation officials dealing with poor weather in the Gulf of Alaska have updated the state ferry Kennicott's scheduled trip to Yakutat.
Officials said late Thursday afternoon that the Kennicott planned to leave Valdez on Thursday night en route to Cordova, followed by Whittier and then Yakutat.
They said the Kennicott was expected to arrive in Yakutat shortly after noon on Saturday.
Missing Bethel cabbie found dead in vehicle
BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say a missing Bethel cabbie has been found dead in her vehicle in suspicious circumstances at a village about 15 miles from her southwest Alaska home town.
Troopers said late Thursday that 54-year-old Young Suk Chong was last seen about 3 a.m. Tuesday. She was found dead Wednesday morning near the dump in Napakiak. She drove for Taxi Cab Co.
Her body was being sent to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy. A troopers dispatch says criminal conduct is suspected. The cab was brought back to Bethel.
Radio KYUK in Bethel reported that volunteers searched for Chong in blizzard conditions and wind chill down to 65 below zero.
Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters says the Alaska Bureau of Investigation has sent a detective to Bethel. Bethel police referred questions to Peters, who declined further comment.
Snowmachiner found dead near Toksook Bay
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say they have found the body of a snowmachiner reported overdue in western Alaska.
Troopers say in a release that the body of 20-year-old Jed Alexie was located about six miles east of Toksook Bay. Troopers say it appears he died of exposure, but the body is being sent to Anchorage for an autopsy.
They say alcohol appears to be a factor in the death.
Alexie and 21-year-old Merlin Felix set out on snowmachines from Nunapitchuk Tuesday afternoon to Toksook Bay.
Felix arrived early Wednesday morning alone. Search efforts for Alexie were hampered by blizzard conditions, which lifted late Thursday morning.
Toksook Bay is located on Nelson Island, about 125 miles west of Bethel, or about 515 miles west of Anchorage.
Barista missing from coffee stand (shocking story - security cameras show the man who took her was armed)
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An 18-year-old woman who worked as a barista at a coffee stand in Anchorage is missing.
The Anchorage Daily News says Samantha Koenig apparently locked up Common Grounds Espresso in mid-town Anchorage at about 8 p.m. Wednesday at the end of her shift, but has not been heard from since. Koenig's father reported her missing at about 1 p.m. Thursday.
Court records shows that Koenig filed for a protective order against a man in November, but the order was not issued when she failed to show up in court.
(Anchorage Daily News)
Divided committee moves Alaska school choice bill
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An expansion of school choice programs available to Alaskans is one step closer to becoming a reality, but a 4-3 vote by the House Education Committee this week and concerns raised by legislators suggest the road ahead for the bill could be rough.
GOP Rep. Wes Keller of Wasilla envisions in HB145 a program that would give state funded "scholarships" for students to attend private or religious schools. In testimony before the committee, Keller said the approach would bring several benefits, including giving parents a greater ability to send their kids to private school if they opt for that over public school.
He said another plus is that increased competition would force schools to enact positive changes or lose out on students and funding.
Critics tell a different story.
Both Democrats on the committee, Reps. Sharon Cissna and Scott Kawasaki, voted in opposition. So did Republican Paul Seaton, who raised constitutional concerns. The state constitution prohibits use of public money for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution.
Committee introduces pension bill
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Another bill aimed at addressing Alaska's pension problem has been introduced, this time by the Senate Finance Committee.
SB187 would establish a special fund for an equity infusion. The balance would be used by the Alaska Retirement Management Board in calculating its assets, meaning it would count toward reducing unfunded liabilities, which currently stand at $11 billion.
The bill doesn't include a dollar amount but committee aide Tim Grussendorf says $2 billion is an option.
The Legislative Finance director recently testified Alaska could save nearly $5 billion through 2025 with an upfront, $2 billion contribution to the public employees' retirement system, rather than continuing to make increasing direct payments.
Grussendorf says the state could recover the money once the system recovers.
The governor has expressed resistance to the infusion option.
Fairbanks schools looking at loss of nearly 100 positions (ouch)
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Fairbanks School District is coping with a budget shortfall that will mean fewer teachers and bigger class sizes.
The Daily News-Miner reports methods for coping with $12 million in cuts were revealed yesterday at a Citizens Budget Review Committee meeting.
Officials say 95 positions will have to be eliminated, including 50 teachers.
House passes Thomas' military transition bill unanimously
The Alaska House passed a bill Wednesday that aims to help military personnel leaving the service transition into civilian life more easily by allowing them to apply military training and certification toward professional licensing.
Representative Bill Thomas of Haines, who authored the bill, explained that the goal is to try and help separating service members make that transition from the military a little quicker.
According to Thomas, Alaska sees about 1,200 military soldiers retiring or being discharged and staying in the state each year. He said we need to welcome them here and help them with the transition as they get out.
Thomas said many veterans have already received quality training through the military, using the example of mechanics who have the ability to perform many required duties, but have to go through the process of getting certified at the local level within the state.
He gave another example of a Navy plumber with 20 years of experience. According to Thomas, there's no reason for them to come back and start all over again. Under HB 282, they would use their current certification, if it's approved by the licensing board, to go forward and authorize them to be licensed.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration where Senator Bill Wielechowski has its companion, SB 150.
Rural educators out of step with state regulators
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Educators from a western Alaska school district described to the House Education Committee Wednesday morning a relationship with state regulators they say is plagued by a lack of dialogue and inconsistent priorities.
The committee is considering HB256, which would remove the state's ability to intervene in struggling districts when it's perceived as being punitive.
Howard Diamond, superintendent of Yupiit School Districts, told the committee that state efforts have faltered because collaboration with rural districts when enacting improvements is lacking. He also said "one size fits all" approaches often fail in bush Alaska.
Rep. Peggy Wilson said varying ideals of the state's four governors in the past decade and five education commissioners since 2005 have complicated state efforts to help struggling districts.
Testimony will continue Friday.
Federal subsistence board goes to review process
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — The state's federal subsistence board has discarded seven years of work to determine which rural federal lands in Alaska are eligible for subsistence hunting.
Working off data from the 2000 census, the board in 2007 made such designations. But the Kodiak Daily Mirror reports the board in January instead decided to hold a public review of how areas are designated rural or non-rural.
The review process is anticipated to take five years.
Instead of using data from the 2000 census, the board will continue to use data from the 1990 census throughout the review process.
Residents living in rural areas are only eligible for subsistence hunting rights on federal land. Those areas are to be redesignated after every census.
(Kodiak Daily Mirror)
Northern Waters recommendations released
The Alaska Northern Waters Task Force unveiled its recommendations Thursday.
Priority recommendations include providing Alaskans with opportunities to be involved in Arctic policy, creating an Alaskan Arctic Commission which will enable Alaska to be better prepared and to develop a state strategy for the Arctic, and to urge the United States Senate to ratify the Union Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Conference.
The task force was chaired by Kotzebue Representative Reggie Joule.
The Coast Guard served as the federal liaison to the task force.
Man dies days after being struck by van
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers say a 43-year-old man struck by a van while walking on the Seward Highway in late January has died.
The Anchorage Daily News reports Patrick Davids died late Wednesday.
Troopers say the he was parked along Mile 102 of the Seward Highway on Jan. 22 when he apparently walked into traffic, was struck by a van and dragged more than the length of a football field.
However, court document say a no bail arrest warrant was issued for the Anchorage financial adviser two days earlier on charges of first and second-degree sexual abuse of children.
Troopers did not fault the van driver in the accident.
(Anchorage Daily News)
Boyfriend nearly loses his ear
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks area woman was arrested after being charged with nearly biting her boyfriend's ear off.
Alaska State Troopers say 25-year-old Elizabeth Matson is charged with second-degree felony assault and is being held on $15,000 bail.
According to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner), Troopers were called to a home at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday when a man called to report a fight between a man and a woman.
When troopers arrived, they found Matson's boyfriend sitting in a folding chair in the kitchen wearing only a pair of shorts. His arms and legs were covered with blood and blood was streaming from his head, troopers said.
Troopers say his ear was nearly severed from his head and he had a fresh bite mark on his upper arm.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
Portrait of "Uncle Ted" to be unveiled at Alaska State Museum Friday
Juneau Representative Cathy Munoz, who had a hand in the portrait's creation, told us how the process got started, saying about 10 months ago a constituent of hers, John Manly, contacted her and said they needed to get something in the capitol to recognize Senator Stevens.
So, she says they put their heads together and thought that an oil painting would be the most appropriate and probably the best way to recognize him. Munoz says they then began talking with the Rules Chairman about space in the capitol and also spoke with the Legislative Council, which governs the legislature during the interim and got the support of chairman Linda Menard for the project.
According to Munoz, next they began working with the family in selecting an artist and an image that they wanted conveyed in the portrait. She says they have now received the portrait, which is beautiful and they are really looking forward to the unveiling.
Dean Larson, the son of the late Representative Ron Larson of Palmer and a former intern in Stevens' office was chosen as the artist.
Senator Stevens' wife, Catherine Stevens, will speak at the event along with Governor Sean Parnell, Senate President Gary Stevens, House Speaker Mike Chenault and several others.
The unveiling is scheduled from 5-6:00 p.m. Friday at the Alaska State Museum.
Construction spending expected to increase in Alaska in 2012
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Officials anticipate an increase in construction spending this year in Alaska.
A forecast from the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage says construction spending should be $7.7 billion in Alaska this year, up 3.3 percent from 2011.
The report also says there should be increased private spending in the utility, mining, health and oil and gas sectors.
Man accused of shooting dogs
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Two Rivers man is facing a weapons charge after allegedly shooting two of his dogs.
Alaska State Troopers say 48-year-old Harry Douglas was charged with misconduct involving weapons for possessing a firearm while intoxicated.
According to troopers, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner says the man was intoxicated when he decided he no longer needed two of his dogs. He then allegedly walked from his home off Chena Hot Springs Road to a neighbor's home and borrowed a pistol and then returned home and shot the dogs.
Douglas then reportedly called his wife and told her what he had done. Charging documents say the wife called 911.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
Red Bull bandit focus of Crime Line (hee hee, used his "wings" to escape?)
A theft from a grocery store is the focus of the most recent Juneau Crime Line.
On December 30, 2011 at about 5:47 p.m., Juneau Police officers responded to A & P Market on Willoughby Ave for a reported theft.
A store employee reported a man took a case of Red Bull energy drink, put it over his shoulder and walked out of the store without paying for it.
The employee chased the subject to the area of Whittier St. but was unable to stop him.
The suspect is described as a white male, about 6’2”-6’3”, 180 pounds, 18-21 years of age, short black hair with a black hoody.
Any one with information is encouraged to go on-line and report their tip.
2 top level appointments announced by SEARHC
The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium announces two appointments.
One is Barbara Seals as the chief financial officer.
She has been serving as interim CFO since last month and previously served as vice president of finance and administration from 2002 to 2006.
Matthew Ione was promoted to be the chief administrative officer for SEARHC.
He has been serving as Human Resources Director since 2010.
Juneau's rabbi among graduates of initial nonprofit management program
Juneau's rabbi was among the graduates from the first class of the Rabbinic Management Institutes' Certificate Program in Nonprofit Management at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.
Rabbi Dov Gartenberg was one of 14 graduates of the year long program.
It is described as an unprecedented program geared towards providing rabbis with business skills and management training necessary to run their synagogue more efficiently in the 21st Century.
Sheldon Jackson archives given to state (OMG - the volume of these records are HUGE!!)
SITKA, Alaska (AP) — The archives of a now-closed college have been turned over to the state of Alaska.
The trustees of Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka entered into the agreement earlier this week.
The Daily Sitka Sentinel reports the school's archives will go to the state Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums. These include student records going back to 1917, plaques and even a desk once used by the Rev. Sheldon Jackson.
Trustees would like the items to stay in Sitka, and say by presenting them to the state was the best possible outcome.
The college closed amid financial difficulties in 2007.
(Daily Sitka Sentinel)
Crimson Bears continue road trip
The Juneau Douglas Crimson Bears Men's Basketball team continues their string of road games up north this evening.
They dropped a contest to Wasilla Thursday night 64 to 44.
The Bears do battle with the Warriors again tonight.
Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. tonight from Wasilla High School and you can listen to that game live on 800 KINY.
The Crimson Bears continue their road play on Saturday night before returning to the Capital City.
Juneau Douglas has a date with the Palmer Moose. Saturday's match up will be the 4th game in as many nights for the Juneau Douglas boys as they will attempt to wrap up their long road trip with a victory.
Tip off between the Crimson Bears and the Moose is set for 6:00 p.m. and you can also catch a live broadcast of that game on 800 KINY.
The Lady Crimson Bears defeated Colony 60 to 54 during the Lady Lynx Prep Shootout at Dimond High in Anchorage Thursday.
Juneau plays host Dimond tonight.
Iditarod trail altered
Teams in this year's Iditarod may skip one of the most notorious stretches of trail: the Happy River Steps, a series of downhill switchbacks that tend to bust up mushers, dogs, and sleds.
Iditarod teams usually encounter the steps, between Finger Lake and Rainy Pass, on the second day of the race.
Iditarod officials say they're shifting that section of the trail to a nearby mining road that was bulldozed last year along the Skwentna River.
Race veteran Dee Dee Jonrowe tells the Anchorage Daily News the dangerous part of the trail needed fixing. But others, like last year's second-place finisher Ramey Smyth, say it could make the race too easy.
The Iditarod begins with a ceremonial start in Anchorage March 3rd.
Whale movie shot in Alaska opens nationally including Juneau
A movie shot in Alaska based on actual events, about 3 whales, opens Friday.
Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski play an ex-couple who, along with others, try to save the gray whales are trapped in ice in the Arctic Ocean near Barrow.
Ted Danson also stars as an oil-drilling businessman.
In Juneau, the movie will be shown at Glacier Cinema in the Valley at 7 and 9:20 Friday evening.
Ice Classic tickets go on sale (woot, woot - another sign that spring is on the way!!)
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Tickets for the annual Nenana Ice Classic are on sale.
The guessing game is going into its 96th year with the ice on the Tanana River the thinnest it's been in years. But, what that means for breakup is anyone's guess.
The object of the game is to guess the exact day and time the Tanana River ice will go out in Nenana.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner says last year, 22 different ticket holders shared a record $338,062 jackpot when the ice went out on May 4 at 4:24 p.m. AST.
Each winning ticket was worth $15,366.45 before taxes.
Tickets for this year's Ice Classic went on sale Wednesday and are available at almost 200 different locations across the state.
(Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
|© 2002-2008. Blurty Journal. All rights reserved.|