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Southeast Alaska News
ANCHORAGE — Residents of an Eagle River neighborhood are protesting a new street name that has been proposed in an ongoing project by Anchorage officials to reduce duplicate addresses.
Bryan Emmons, who has lived on Davis Street since infancy, gathered more than 20 signatures of neighbors also opposed to renaming the street Grayling Court. The Anchorage Assembly was scheduled to consider the petition at its meeting Tuesday night.
The Ketchikan Police Department announced multiple drug-related arrests Tuesday, with four arrests the result of one investigation into a group of Oregon residents who were suspected of selling methamphetamine and heroin in Ketchikan.
According to police, a search warrant served Friday at a Madison Avenue residence belonging to Jonathon R. Hart and Desaray D. Ancheta, both 28 years old and both from Oregon, allegedly resulted in the seizure of about 20 grams of heroin, 40 grams of meth and a small amount of Oxycodone.
Also allegedly seized at the residence were items related to drug use distribution, along with more than $3,000 cash.
Hart was arrested and charged with second-, third- and fourth-degree controlled-substance misconduct. He also had extraditable felony warrants out of the State of Oregon and was charged as a fugitive from justice.
Ancheta was charged with two counts of fourth-degree controlled-substance misconduct.
A related search took place later on Friday at a downtown hotel room belonging to 30-year-old Jace T. Nosack of Washington. Police say they seized about 31 grams of heroin, seven grams of meth, and about $5,000 cash.
The investigation continued through Tuesday, when officers contacted Nosack in a West End hotel. He was arrested on outstanding warrants, and a search at the hotel room allegedly revealed about two grams of meth, digital scales, about $2,000 cash, and paraphernalia.
Nosack was charged with third- and fourth-degree controlled-substance misconduct and tampering with evidence.
According to police, the investigation also led to the arrest of 24-year-old Samantha R. Turley of Ketchikan, she was charged with third- and fourth-degree controlled-substance misconduct, tampering with evidence, hindering prosecution and resisting arrest.
In an unrelated drug case, Ketchikan Police Department officers on Saturday completed a heroin importation investigation, which resulted in the alleged seizure of about 8.5 grams of heroin.
Arrested in the case was 26-year-old Chayna F. Herby of Ketchikan. She was charged with second- and fifth-degree controlled-substance misconduct.
The debate over Senate Bill 21 continues throughout the state, with a citizen’s initiative coming up next year on the controversial measure that changes the state’s oil taxes. Those who support SB21 say it will encourage production; opponents say it gives away state income with no guarantee of a return.
The issue came to Ketchikan last weekend, when Southeast Alaska high school debate students argued both sides.
And they say kids don’t care about current events.
“Our state contains the largest oil field in North America, Prudhoe Bay, and as stated in our Alaska Constitution, we as citizens collectively own these natural resources and have the right to receive the maximum benefit, but as Senate Bill 21 comes into play, this key fundamental principle is abandoned.”
That’s Ketchikan’s Ella Sherrill, arguing – as you may have guessed – against Senate Bill 21. She and her partner, Cheyenne Mathews, made it to the final exhibition round, where they competed against Sitka debaters AnnMarie Pike and Celia Lubin.
“The Alaskan oil industry is an industry worth saving. It accounts for 50 percent of the jobs indirect or direct relation to the oil and gas industry, so it’s a very important industry: The economic backbone of our state.”
That’s Lubin, giving a pro argument. And here are Mathews and Pike, with a little more back and forth.
“My opponents have stated that … SB21 provides incentives for oil companies, but with the announcement of this bill, we have seen oil companies leaving,” Mathews said. “Specifically, Pioneer Natural Resources. It took them a $350 million loss to leave, so what does it say about this bill, if it can’t keep companies and it’s supposed to incentivize exploration, but they took this much of a risk and a loss to leave even after this bill was announced.”
“What I think this debate comes down to is whether we are far-sighted enough as a state as a government and as a people to act in our best long-term interest, instead of losing our nerve, and opting instead to keep production taxes high and to starve the oil industry out of Alaska,” said Pike. “No one benefits in that situation.”
Those four eloquent young women are just a few of the 44 Southeast high school students who gathered in Ketchikan to show what they’ve learned over the last few months about Alaska’s oil taxes.
Debate teams spend a lot of time researching an issue in preparation for a debate meet. And they can’t pick sides. They have to be ready to argue either way, because they don’t know ahead of time which side they’ll get.
Early on in the meet, Ketchikan’s Kiera O’Brien hid her nerves well for her debut debate:
“My name is Kiera O’Brien, and my partner, Sam Ortiz and I stand in firm negation of today’s resolve that the passage of SB21 will result in significant economic benefit for Alaska with the following points: First, SB21 will result in 10 billion in lost revenue over the next five years alone; second, there is no guarantee that the passage of SB 21 will result in increased exploration and development; and third, SB21 is in violation of the Alaska Constitution.”
O’Brien and Ortiz were debating Chaya Pike and Owen Fulton, two Sitka debaters. Here’s Fulton with their three main points in favor of SB21: “First, the current program punishes and discourages oil production; second, MAPA is and will incentivize production; and third, long-term benefits outweigh any immediate harms.”
If some of these arguments sound familiar, consider the sources. Debate teams do a lot of Internet research, but they also talked to Alaska lawmakers, who themselves have been publicly vocal on the issue. Here’s Kayhi debate coach Dan Ortiz: “We obviously went to Sen. (Bert) Stedman and Sen. (Bill) Wielechowski, because they opposed this bill, so they gave us the stronger con arguments; and the governor and his office, the budget office, gave us the stronger affirmative arguments, which was very helpful. It’s a good experience for the kids to actually realize that they’re talking to the governor’s office, that there’s people who deal with this stuff and it’s very real to them. And hopefully it’s become very real to these guys.”
Pike and Fulton had some legislative assistance, as well. Pike said that Sitka Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tompkins practically lived in their debate classroom as they prepared. While Kreiss-Tomkins strongly opposes SB21, Pike said he got the Sitka team in touch with a lobbyist from the other side to help with the pro arguments.
Pike clearly enjoys debate.
“It’s so much fun!” she said, laughing with joy. “I don’t really know what’s so exciting about it. It’s really fun to learn about new things and challenge our preconceptions, and then to get up and challenge other people who have the same preconceptions that we do, and have to kind of work through that.”
While O’Brien and Ortiz didn’t like the topic as much as previous ones, they said that SB21 definitely is more relevant to them. It did mean a lot of detailed research.
“There’s a lot of facts, figures, statistics, policies,” O’Brien said. “There’s a lot of stuff I didn’t know about it. But it’s definitely more… it’s closer to home than Iran and nuclear proliferation, for sure.”
When asked whether they developed an opinion on the topic, O’Brien said, “I can see both sides. That’s part of debate; you learn both sides, you get to see it both ways. It kind of makes it hard to have an opinion, either way.”
“They pick debate topics because they’re debatable,” Ortiz added. “Generally, I develop one by the end, but I try not to think about which side I’m on until the end.”
Chaya Pike and Owen Fulton, along with AnnMarie Pike and Celia Lubin, were the two top-scoring teams. They didn’t compete against each other in the final round because they are from the same school, which is why the third-place Ketchikan team ended up in what all the coaches agreed to call the final exhibition debate.
That final debate was judged, though, and the judges unanimously chose Ketchikan’s Ella Sherrill and Cheyenne Mathews as the winners.
Dec. 13-14 Debate, Drama and Forensics meet resultsDebate: 1) Fulton – Pike 2) Lubin – Pike 3) Mathews – Sherrill 4) Sweetman – Wick 5) Ramsey – Kistler 6) George – Cosgrove 7) Morse – Baciocco 8) Iputi – Putman 9) Acteson – Posey 10) Peterson – Salita 11) Joslyn – Wojcik 12) Prysunka – Florschutz 13) Barrett – Dossett 14) John – Deaton 15) Gil – Walden 16) Landis – Halvorsen 17) Tazeyeva – Zakiya 18) Shervey – Adamson 19) Antonio – Hilberry 20) Stumpf – Hootch 21) (Drop) Ortiz – O’Brien Readers Theater: 1) Juneau Douglas High School: Brita Fagerstron, Cheyenne Siverly, Roxie Hildebrand, Megan Wright. 2) Second: Thunder Mountain High School: Rebecca Hassler, Taylor Russell, India Busby, Liz Kell, Zeke Spencer. 3) Third: Thunder Mountain High School: Mikayla Stiner, Erin Hand, Jilian Lewis, Lacey Davis. 4) Fourth: Ketchikan High School: Claire Landis, Kinani Halvorsen. Solo acting: 1) Taylor Stumpf, Mount Edgecumbe 2) Owen Fulton, Sitka High School 3) Sabrina Michael, Mount Edgecumbe 4) Arianna Paul, Juneau-Douglas 5) Ruth Phillips, Mount Edgecumbe 6) Yael Paes, Haines High School 7) Aaryn Bartelds, Sitka High School 8) Matthew Woodland, Juneau-Douglas Duo Interpretation: 1) Chaya Pike and Alivia Richards, Sitka High School 2) Brita Fagerstrom and Megan Wright, Juneau-Douglas 3) Rebecca Hassler and Liz Kell, Thunder Mountain 4) Ahna Cushing and Celia Lubin, Sitka High School Dramatic Interpretation: 1) AnneMarie Pike, Sitka High School 2) Roxie Hildebrand, Juneau-Douglas 3) Kristine Banh, Sitka High School 4) Yael Paes, Haines High School 5) Zeke Spencer, Thunder Mountain 6) Jillian Lewis, Thunder Mountain 7) Eli White, Haines High School Extemporaneous speaking: 1) Owen Fulton, Sitka High School 2) Erin Hand, Thunder Mountain 3) AnneMarie Pike, Sitka High School 4) Chaya Pike, Sitka High School 5) Evan Wick, Ketchikan High School 6) Fisca Walden, Sitka High School 7) Austin Ramsey, Ketchikan High School Expository Speaking: 1) India Busby, Thunder Mountain 2) Kate Morse, Sitka High School 3) Anthony Joslyn, Ketchikan High School 4) Abbie Sweetman, Kayhi 5) Cheyenne Mathews, Kayhi 6) Salma Zakiya, Sitka 7) Ella Sherrill, Kayhi 8) Kinani Halvorsen, Kayhi 9) Michaela Wojcik, Kayhi Original Oratory: 1) Kate Morse, Sitka 2) Abbie Sweetman, Kayhi 3) Malachi Cole, Wrangell 4) Danika Weaver, Sitka 5) Fisca Walden, Sita Pantomime: 1) Itzel Nunez and Will Pate, Sitka 2) Becky Erickson and Matthew Woodland, Juneau-Douglas 3) Aaryn Bartelds and Shelby While, Sitka 4) Dylan Grimes, Neil Little and Zane Durr, Haines Duet Acting: 1) Michael Boose and Alivia Richards, Sitka 2) Aaryn Bartelds and Itzel Nunez, Sitka 3) Jack Petersen and Daliya Tazeveya, Sitka 4) Sabrina Michael and Midred Nanouk, Mount Edgecumbe Humorous Interpretation: 1) Alivia Richards, Sitka 2) Megan Wright, Juneau-Douglas 3) Brita Fagerstrom, Juneau-Douglas 4) Taylor Russell, Thunder Mountain 5) Dylan Grimes, Haines 6) Nika Thompson, Thunder Mountain
New airport parking rates of $1 per day on the Revilla-side lot passed the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly in a final vote Monday, and will go into effect at the start of the year.
Several people spoke during a public hearing on the matter, all in opposition to the resolution. Joe Menardi, who works at the airport for the federal Transportation Security Administration, didn’t oppose paying for parking. But he did ask that the borough give special consideration to those who park in that lot every day in order to go to work.
“Such consideration might include specified parking for frequent users to ensure they have a space available to them when they arrive at work; convenient monthly purchase options, to allow frequent users the opportunity to make one purchase per month instead of daily transactions; and the third one: volume discounts to provide a price break for large-quantity purchases,” he said.
The resolution approved on Monday does allow monthly pass purchases, but only for airport tenants. TSA is not a tenant, so would not be eligible for that option.
Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst and Airport Manager Mike Carney both stressed that the parking fees are an important step toward reducing the deficit at which the airport operates. It has gone down over the past few years, and now is at about $225,000. With the new fees, the borough estimates that the annual deficit will drop to about $165,000.
Several other airport employees asked for designated parking. They expressed concern that they would have to park far from the ferry terminal, and might miss the ferry, and be late for work.
Following public comment, Carney argued that if the borough saved premium parking spaces for airport employees, travelers would be the ones coming before the Assembly to complain.
“My main customer and my main objective is the traveling public,” he said. “That’s what the airport does. If it wasn’t for the traveling public, you wouldn’t have Alaska Airlines. You wouldn’t have TSA. That’s what it all boils down to.”
Carney noted that Juneau charges more for airport parking, doesn’t provide a discount for airport employees, and has designated employee parking, but in spots far from the main doors.
He said parking fees are a common method for airports to boost revenue.
“The average operating budget, what airports go by standard, is anywhere from 25 to 35 percent of their operating revenue off of parking,” Carney said. “We generate maybe .00025 percent of our operating revenue off of parking. It’s something that’s looked at as the low-hanging fruit.”
During Assembly consideration, Assembly Member Glen Thompson suggested changing the rate to $8 per day, but that motion died because nobody seconded it. He then suggested $3 per day, which was seconded by Agnes Moran.
The amendment failed one-to-six (1-6) with Moran casting the only yes vote. She explained that $3 per day would eliminate the operating deficit.
Thompson later said he only suggested the increased rate to see how dedicated the Assembly was to reducing the deficit.
“If you truly want to balance the budget, you need another $2 a day,” he said. “You don’t have that strength of conviction, which means you’re really not sure this is such a good idea at all. Until you’re sure of that, I think you should not raise the fees and the rates on the folks in the community and this should be postponed indefinitely.”
Another suggested amendment that would have offered a yearly airport parking pass at a reduced rate also failed. The main motion passed 5-2 with Thompson and Assembly Member Todd Phillips voting no.
A Washington State businessman says he has chosen Petersburg as the location for a new timber mill. John Glenn made that announcement during a brief presentation to the Borough Assembly Monday Night. Matt Lichtenstein reports:
For mobile-friendly, downloadable audio, click here
KGB Assembly member Jim Van Horn gives an update on the 12/16 meeting. The assembly voted in favor of $1 per day metered parking at the airport, and monthly and quarterly passes. Assembly121713
The Holiday Brass concert is this Friday(12-20-13). Roger Schmidt and Darrel Johnson discuss what goes into the production, and what people can expect.
Delta Airlines is resuming Seattle-Juneau flights with available bookings from May 30 to August 31, 2014. A Sitka woman was rescued on Harbor Mountain after a four-hour search through inclement weather and an encounter with a charging brown bear. China decided to ban selfish harvested from Northern California to Alaska, after claiming it found toxins in shipments of geoducks – industry representatives say Southeast geoduck clam divers have not been affected by China’s recent ban. Bad weather may have caused hundreds of gallons of gasoline to spill and disburse in Kake waters.
FAIRBANKS — A Cantwell woman who burned her snowmobile to survive nearly three nights in wilderness is sure she saw wolves circling her makeshift campsite.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports 57-year-old Vivian Mayo was severely hypothermic when she was found Tuesday by a search party that included her son Kevin.
JUNEAU — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich is labeling some of his colleagues as “short-sighted naysayers” for seeking suspension of new lease sales in the Arctic.
Five Democratic senators and Independent Bernard Sanders last week wrote to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, seeking a hold on new leases pending a “thorough re-evaluation” of the environmental and safety risks associated with Arctic drilling.
HOMER — The last time the Alaska Department of Natural Resources updated its Kachemak Bay State Park and Wilderness Park Management Plan, the parks had gone through some major impacts, including the March 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, and adding 50,000 acres to the parks in 1989 and buying back 23,000 acres of private lands in 1993 to prevent logging. Those events prompted a 1995 update of the management plan.
KODIAK — Readers were wowed as they walked through the doors of the new Kodiak Public Library on Monday night. Now, fiscal hawks have something to cheer, too.
According to project documents, the library project beat its $12.45 million budget by $506,000. While minor site issues and administrative expenses drove the cost of the project upward, the city budgeted $907,000 for contingencies.
Even after the extra expenses, a half-million dollars remains in the contingency account.
ANCHORAGE — There are herds of cattle on a pair of remote Alaska islands that have survived for decades despite any number of threats to their existence.
The animals have been abandoned. They’ve been forced to adapt to brutal winters. And they go for months at a time eating little more than the seaweed that washes ashore.
But today, the resilient cows face a threat from those who say the herds are destroying the environment and must be removed.
ANCHORAGE — The president of one of two tribal councils embroiled in a village power dispute has pleaded guilty to illegal alcohol importation, saying the three bottles he was trying to transport to his community were intended for his own use only.
PALMER — Whether it’s using a metal detector or going through nickels looking for rare coins, Douglas Cruthers spends his free time looking for lost treasures.
But the Palmer man recently had a find come to him, KTUU reported.
Cruthers went to the Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union in Palmer to pick up some nickels in search of a find. When he was leaving the credit union, he found a sealed envelope on the ground beside his pickup.
Assuming it was trash he picked it up and threw it inside his vehicle before taking off.
SITKA — Two longtime Sitka retailers are going out of business, citing fewer tourists and increased Internet sales.
Colliver Shoes and Bear Country Gifts, along with the furniture and housewares store Home Plus, are closing.
Mary Lou Colliver told the Daily Sitka Sentinel her business in the community of about 9,000 on Baranof Island couldn’t handle another year of decreased tourism and waning local sales.
Delta Air Lines is resuming its long-dormant Seattle-Juneau flights.
But they’ll only happen once a day — and only during the summer.
The airline’s website shows bookings are now available from May 29 to Aug. 31, 2014.
Southbound flights will leave Juneau at 6:30 a.m. and arrive in Seattle at 9:40 a.m. Northbound flights leave Seattle at 6:45 p.m. and arrive in Juneau at 8:10 p.m.
The Delta website quotes roundtrip prices at around $500. That’s about $70 less than Alaska Airlines charges for similar flights.
Delta officials could not be reached for immediate comment. But a corporate communications staffer said an announcement could be released soon.
In a prepared statement, Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said her company has made a decades-long commitment to the community.
She said technology tested in Juneau means it has often been, quote, “the only airline to access the state’s capital when no other commercial airline could.”
Delta and Alaska are mileage and flight-sharing partners, listing some of each other’s flights under their own brand.
But they’ve become increasingly competitive. Delta has been expanding flights to and from the Sea-Tac Airport, where Alaska is the largest tenant. Some of those flights directly compete with Alaska.
Atlanta-based Delta used to fly to the capital city. Juneau airport officials say that ended in 1996.
A Sitka woman is safe after being located by Sitka Mountain Rescue on Harbor Mountain last Friday evening (12-13-13). Rescuers found 21-year old Ashley Horner-Raffaele after a four-hour search through darkness, torrential rain, high winds, and an encounter with a charging brown bear.
Alaska State Troopers report that Horner-Raffaele was found 600 feet up Harbor Mountain, above Kramer Avenue, also known as the Benchlands road. She had lost her way on an afternoon hike.
Search and Rescue Captain Don Kluting says a friend of Horner-Raffaele called Sitka Mountain Rescue at 3:40pm after receiving a text that she was in trouble.
“We got out to the field and one of the first things we identified was the winds were blowing high enough that we had trees falling, it certainly added a dynamic and a twist we don’t often face,” says Kluting.
Other factors also made it an especially-difficult search.
Kluting says, “The thickness of the terrain and everything was just so difficult and the wind certainly complicated things. We weren’t able to get sound attraction. She wasn’t able to hear us at long distance. The wind was carrying her voice.”
Although Horner-Raffaele did not have a flashlight, or proper overnight gear, she was able to text her rescuers and let them know she could hear their voices. But after nearly two frustrating hours without finding her, Kluting says the situation became even more challenging.
“And then right on top of everything else, at 6:15 we had resources in the field and one of our teams ended up contacting a brown bear. We had a bear charge our team,” says Kluting.
Rescuers were on the Benchlands road when they encountered the bear. They stood their ground before the huffing bear, until another rescue vehicle was able to reach them and safely pick them up.
With help from an Air Station Sitka helicopter, searchers located Horner-Raffaelli shortly after 8 PM. Because of the difficult conditions, it took over two hours to carry her out on a litter. She was transported by an EMS crew to a hospital to be evaluated.
As for the bear, Kluting says immediately after the encounter, he contacted state biologist Phil Mooney to report the situation. Mooney suspected that the bear either had a food cache it was defending, or a den site.
Mooney searched the area Saturday and found tracks, but not the bear, den, or food supply.
Mooney says, “You know I don’t know if its unusual. If you go back through our records we’ve had bear out every month of the year. It varies. This is likely some adult that’s still looking for a good den site.”
Mooney advises Sitkans that bears remain active, and people should still be careful when hunting deer, or storing trash.
Sitka Search and Rescue captain Don Kluting is relieved that everyone is safe. ”When we look back on that mission there are just some interesting dynamics that we don’t normally have to contend with.”
Kluting says total of 24 rescuers, four dogs, and a Coast Guard helicopter were used during the search.
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Officials say an estimated 55-hundred gallons of unleaded gasoline spilled into the water Saturday in the small Southeast community of Kake.
Kake Tribal Fuel reported the spill around 11 o’clock Saturday morning. “Kake Tribal Fuel noticed on Saturday when they went to open up their facility that there was a strong smell of gasoline and it led them to discover there had been a ruptured fuel line underneath their floating dock,” said Sarah Moore, the state’s on-scene coordinator with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation in Juneau.
Moore said the initial amount reported spilled was 7,000 gallons, however, the corporation estimates its probably closer to 5,500 gallons. “Saturday morning when they first called it in they were saying there was a rainbow sheen of 100 yards and along the protected areas right around the fuel dock you could see free product,” Moore said.
The Coast Guard reported all vessels were removed from the harbor and police secured the area. Coast Guard petty officer Jeffry Crews said first responders in Kake initially put out containment booms around the spilled gas. “But unfortunately that’s not very safe to do with gasoline,” Crews said. “It’s a very volatile oil and very dangerous to try and contain. So the state and the US Coast Guard advised them to remove the boom and keep any vehicles or anything that could potentially ignite a spark away from the gasoline. And then we had them lay down fire suppressant fog with fire hoses on the big clumps of gasoline to try and break it up and keep the fumes down.”
Crews said it’s possible the flexible fuel line broke because of high wind and wave in the area but the cause of the leak is under investigation. He said the bad weather also disbursed the spilled fuel. “The tide and the wind and the currents all conspired to carry pretty much everything out to sea. So we didn’t have much to collect anyway. Because the weather conditions which were pretty bad on Saturday did a really good job of evaporating the product or taking it out to open water where it was gonna evaporate faster.”
The Coast Guard plans to respond to Kake to investigate.
A phone call to an official with Kake Tribal’s fuel operation was not returned. DEC is recommending that no one in Kake collect shellfish from the area immediately around the fuel dock.