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Southeast Alaska News
ANCHORAGE — The good news in a crime report just released by the FBI is that violent crime was down in the first half of 2013 for Anchorage. The bad news for Anchorage was that property crimes spiked during the same period of time.
The Anchorage Daily News said the report shows violent crimes in the categories of murder, robbery and aggravated assault declined by 1.4 percent during the first 6 months of 2013.
ANCHORAGE — A 17-year-old boy has died in a car crash in Anchorage that injured two other teens, one of them critically.
KTUU said the single-vehicle rollover occurred shortly before 3:30 a.m. Thursday at O’Malley Road and Commodore Drive in south Anchorage.
Police said the driver of the SUV lost control of the vehicle, which rolled and came to stop in the yard of a condominium complex.
The 17-year-old and an 18-year-old man were ejected from the SUV, and a 16-year-old girl was able to get out of the vehicle.
ANCHORAGE — A 58-year-old Palmer man is accused of making multiple obscene and harassing phone calls to 911.
Alaska State Troopers said Jordan Greer was arrested on a charge of harassment.
Troopers said they were notified Wednesday night that Greer had been making the calls.
It’s unclear if Greer has an attorney.
ANCHORAGE — North Slope Borough police said a man was been arrested following a home search that found drugs in Barrow.
KTUU-TV reported police served a search warrant at a home Tuesday and arrested 62-year-old Zoran Antoski.
Police said they found 3.8 ounces of cocaine, drug paraphernalia and more than $16,600 in cash at the home.
Police estimate the seized cocaine has a street value of $50,430.
Antoski was taken into custody for violating conditions of probation. Police said additional charges could be filed.
ANCHORAGE — A California man faces federal charges after Anchorage police arrested him trying to retrieve cocaine and heroin that had been shipped to a motel.
The Anchorage Daily News reported 27-year-old Markee Allen is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Anchorage on Friday on drug possession and distribution charges.
Police said employees at the downtown Motel 6 called, saying Allen had boxes delivered after he checked out Wednesday. Federal charging documents say Allen checked back into the motel and tried to retrieve the packages.
JUNEAU — Federal agencies are ready to work on an Alaska liquefied natural gas project but don’t want another false start, state lawmakers were told Wednesday.
In testimony submitted to the Senate Finance Committee, Larry Persily, the federal coordinator of Alaska gas pipeline projects, said agencies would like to know a project has a real shot at making it this time.
KENAI — Republican Congressman Don Young spoke to a full house at Wednesday’s Kenai and Soldotna joint chamber luncheon.
He addressed attendees about the lack of “positive action in Washington, D.C.,” which he said is the result of a the shift in power from the legislators to the president which occurred over the last seven presidencies, he said.
“Every president very frankly for the last seven presidents has tried to accumulate power within the executive branch and in doing so we’ve lost the legislative capability to direct this country,” Young said.
ConocoPhillips has submitted applications to regulatory agencies to expand the company’s West Sak viscous oil production in the Kuparuk River field, the company announced Tuesday. The project is the third in series of new North Slope developments the company has announced in the last year.
The “1H NEWS” (North East West Sak) project would involve a nine-acre extension to the existing Drill Site 1H to support new wells and associated facilities, and would result in additional production of approximately 9,000 barrels of oil per day at peak, according to the company press release.
Do adults need to get flu shots or other vaccinations? The staff at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center wanted to answer that question for the community. They held a discussion on “Immunizations Through the Years” on Tuesday evening at The Point Café, as part of the hospital’s monthly Seaside Chats.
And their answer? Yes. Adults do need vaccinations.
Public Health nurse Becca Wachter and PeaceHealth nurse Amanda Glanzer emphasized this to a crowd of 15 people.
They began with this staggering statistic: Adults are 100 times more likely to die of vaccine-preventable diseases than children.
Wachter and Glanzer said most people don’t see certain diseases, so the risk of that disease seems lower than the risk of the side effects from the vaccine. They call this “vaccine hesitancy.”
“I mean think about the last time you saw a polio case,” Glanzer said. “I can promise you it wasn’t in the past couple years, or the last several years. Smallpox has been eradicated because of vaccination so these are very exciting things.”
However, she continued, small outbreaks of these and other diseases, like measles, do happen.
And the huge number of tourists coming into Ketchikan each year puts people here at even more of a risk.
“We are a town that makes our money off of people coming from far away,” Wachter said. “So diseases like diphtheria, which is nearly gone from the US, that is not the case in different parts of the world. When you think about all the people coming in and out, especially in the summer, it’s amazing how small the global community has become.”
Glanzer and Wachter reviewed some of the leading vaccine-preventable disease that concern adults, such as shingles, pneumococcal, HPV, and influenza.
They also went over possible side effects from vaccines, which were minimal. Glanzer wanted to debunk one common misconception about side effects: a flu shot does not cause the flu.
The nurses offered flu, shingles, pneumococcal, and Tdap vaccines right then and there at The Point, but no one in the crowd took them up on the offer. A few said they rely on their doctors to let them know whether they need any vaccines.
Glanzer ended the talk with an anecdote about what one doctor she worked with in Atlanta would tell parents about vaccines.
“We used to have parents come in and say, “I’ve never gotten the flu, I don’t need the shot, I’m doing fine without it,”” Glanzer said. “And he turns around and he says, “Well have you ever been in a serious car accident?” And most parents go, “Well, no.” And he goes, “Well do you still wear your seat belt?” It’s the same thing, why not protect yourself if you have the option.”
The next Seaside Chat will be about sports injuries and will be held at 5:30 on March 18th at The Point Cafe.
Glenn Brown gives details on Ketchikan Little League and upcoming registration. LittleLeague
A bill that would remove a cumbersome requirement for nonprofit agencies to participate in the statewide Pick.Click.Give. program is making its way through the House. Proponents say the bill would allow smaller organizations to put their names on the list of groups Alaska residents can choose to support with part of their Permanent Fund Dividends.
The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly voted unanimously this week in favor of a resolution supporting House Bill 75, and the Ketchikan City Council will vote on it Thursday. The bill was proposed by Rep. Paul Seaton, and has several cosponsors, including Peggy Wilson, who represents Ketchikan.
Wilson says the cost of an annual audit was significantly more than some of those smaller nonprofit groups would ever receive through the program.
“And so they found that it wasn’t worth it. And some groups found that exclusion from the program, some of their supporters thought that they were no longer certified as nonprofits, which wasn’t true,” she said. “So this accomplishes two things: It keeps them in front of the public and they know what’s going on, and it also helps the smaller nonprofits do more in their local communities.”
Wilson added that as the state budget shrinks, nonprofit groups need all the help they can get, and this bill will provide another potential revenue stream for the smaller organizations.
The bill does not remove all financial accountability. All Pick.Click.Give donation recipients must be federally approved 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, meeting all federal requirements.
JUNEAU — The Interior Department’s rejection of a road through a national wildlife refuge that could aid patients in a small Alaska village is emblematic of a bigger problem between the state and federal government, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski told state lawmakers Wednesday.
In December, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell rejected a proposed land swap to build a gravel road through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, which shelters millions of migratory waterfowl.
Residents of King Cove want road access to an all-weather airport at Cold Bay for medical flights.
Lawmakers considered a bill Wednesday that would criminalize cyber bullying in situations where young victims are harmed.
Sen. Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage, is the sponsor of SB128, which would expand the state’s harassment clause to include electronic bullying of children.
“Bullying doesn’t just happen at schools — it happens everywhere,” Meyer told the Empire after the meeting.
He added that the motivation for introducing the legislation was a grim trend nationwide, which he hopes to curtail in Alaska.
Alaska senators listened to over an hour of public testimony Wednesday on a bill that enables the Alaska gas pipeline to move forward.
The vast majority of the testimony expressed admiration and appreciation for the people who have been working on Senate Bill 138.
“We are counting on you to pass enabling legislation this session so that the parties involved can move forward with the front-end engineering and design portion of the project,” said Krista Gonder, a board member of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance.
JUNEAU — State legislators are continuing their review of the state’s proposed deal with North Slope producers and TransCanada Corp. on a major natural gas project.
Legislation that would allow state participation in the project is before the House Resources and Senate Resources committees, which held several days of hearings last week.
The proposal is for the state to become a partner in the project in ways that reduce risks for the industry participants but also enhance the state’s share of future revenues.
FAIRBANKS — Maintenance for the coal-fired plant that heats and powers the University of Alaska Fairbanks will cost $35 million over five years. Chancellor Brian Rogers says a preferable solution would be starting over.
Rogers on Wednesday in Juneau pitched building a new coal-fired power plant for $195 million, claiming it’s the best long-term alternative. He called a new plant the “fiscally responsible thing to do now,” the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
“Rather than patch an old plant, we’d like to build the new plant,” he said.
ANCHORAGE — The Alaska Supreme Court on Wednesday handed Alaska municipalities a victory in a dispute over the value of the trans-Alaska pipeline, affirming that the structure for 2006 should have been valued at nearly $10 billion, not the $850 million claimed by pipeline owners.
The justices backed a Superior Court ruling that based the value of the pipeline on replacement costs, not fees paid to the owners for use of the pipeline.
ANCHORAGE — An item found in an oil worker’s carry-on luggage at Anchorage airport was an improvised explosive device and there was no malicious intent to use it, an agent for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said.
The unidentified worker told officials the homemade explosive is used for avalanche control, not necessarily on the North Slope, and he didn’t intend to bring it with him on the plane Sunday, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
JUNEAU — Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty said he will continue to defend the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, even as federal courts around the country strike down similar bans.
Geraghty said he will not make his decisions based on federal district court decisions that still must be reviewed by appellate courts and perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court, which he expects will ultimately weigh in.
Did you catch the show last night? In case you missed it, or couldn’t escape the city lights, here’s a glimpse of the Northern Lights captured by KCAW’s Rebecca LaGuire. Rumor has it that an equally, if not more, brilliant display will take place this evening. It’s worth trekking off the beaten path – more fodder for bragging to family and friends in the lower 48!