The public is invited to an Easter Sunday service at 10am at the Haines Christian Center. A...
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From Our Listeners
Southeast Alaska News
JUNEAU — The Alaska Legislature starts its first full week of work of the session Monday, with lawmakers set to dig into plans to advance a natural gas pipeline project and salary increases for top officials.
The fight over oil taxes also is expected to continue casting a shadow over discussion on issues such as state spending.
The scheduled 90-day session is set to end April 20, Easter Sunday. Senate President Charlie Huggins told reporters last week he’d like to be done before then — and Good Friday — if possible.
KETCHIKAN — Six students from Hydaburg traveled via Inter-Island Ferry Authority ferry to spend two days with Houghtaling Elementary School counselor Debbie Langford, and learn how to be peer mediators.
JUNEAU — Alaska’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.4 percent in December.
The state labor department says the seasonally adjusted rate is down from 6.6 percent in December 2012. The November 2013 rate was revised from 6.5 percent to 6.4 percent.
Alaska started 2013 with a 6.7 percent unemployment rate.
Nationally, unemployment stood at 6.7 percent last month.
FAIRBANKS — Anyone who doesn’t believe a normal person with no knowledge of trapping can open a body-gripping Conibear trap should talk to Sarah DeGennaro.
A wildlife technician at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks at the time, DeGennaro, who is also an artist, was asked to draw some illustrations to accompany a brochure the department was putting together for pet owners about how to release their pets from traps and snares.
HOMER — What would Brother Asaiah do?
That question is at the heart of a dilemma many small cities would love to face. Where’s the best place to put a donation of an $18,500 work of art by one of Homer’s finest sculptors?
The issue will be on the agenda of the Homer City Council on Monday night when the council considers a resolution to accept a sculpture of Brother Asaiah Bates to be done by Homer artist Leo Vait.
EAGLE RIVER — “Forward, march. Half-step, march. Platoon, halt.”
Chugiak High Cadet LieutenantKim Julian’s voice echoed through the crowd-packed gym at the 2014 Eagle River High School JROTC Drill Competition on Saturday, Jan. 18.
Thirteen immaculately dressed teams performed in seven rounds of competitions during the daylong event.
Julian, unit leader for the Chugiak’s Regulation Armed division, led her rifle-carrying team through sharply executed turns and marches.
The team moved as if one body, one mind.
KODIAK — Soon, Kodiak teachers will be able to roll into classrooms on two wheels.
The Kodiak Island Borough School District has purchased 12 telepresence robots to expand the district’s virtual learning program. Instead of being tied to a webcam attached to a computer, teachers can use the robots to move around a classroom and communicate through an attached iPad.
“What’s amazing is how fast people move past it being a robot,” schools superintendent Stewart McDonald said. “It’s not a robot, it’s you. You get to be in more than one place.”
JUNEAU — Staff members at Aquarian Charter School in Anchorage are ecstatic that their school was spotlighted by Gov. Sean Parnell in his recent State of the State address.
The old green building hidden behind a strip mall at the corner of Anchorage’s Minnesota and Benson boulevards is busting at the seams with 378 students and fifteen teachers. Aquarian offers a program for students reaching their academic ability with emphasis on the arts. There are 800 names of potential students on a waiting list this year who had hoped to get into its K-6 program.
Gov. Sean Parnell submitted an education bill on Friday that would increase per-pupil funding by $201 over the next three years.
It’s the first increase to the base student allocation in four years, but the state’s largest teachers union says the added funding won’t be enough.
According to the bill, per-pupil funding would increase $85 the first year and $58 in the second and third for a total of $5,881.
National Education Association-Alaska President Ron Fuhrer said that while the organization supports an increase in per-pupil spending, Parnell’s proposal falls short.
A non-partisan government transparency site has released its 2013 report cards on members of Congress, and it shows Alaska’s lawmakers have exceptional ratings in some interesting areas.
The site, GovTrack.us, uses information from federal government information websites, like THOMAS, to compile the yearly report card.
The grim economic forecast for the Juneau School District grew a touch lighter Friday when Gov. Sean Parnell introduced legislation that would send the beleaguered district about $400,000 in additional funding next year.
The bill, HB278 in the House and SB139 in the Senate, increases the state-funding per pupil by $85 next year and by $58 each of the following two years, which if passed by the Legislature would make it the first per-pupil funding increase in four years. The base student allocation currently is $5,680 per student.
ANCHORAGE — Residents living at an Anchorage motel face an uncertain future after the city seized the structure for the owner’s failure to pay property taxes.
The Anchorage Daily News reports the municipality is taking over the Big Timber Motel across from Merrill Field.
City officials inspected the structure this week and found infestations of bedbugs and shrews.
The building was in violation of safety codes because it lacked heat and hot water. Tenants were keeping warm with space heaters and kitchen ovens.
JUNEAU — Two senators plan to introduce legislation that would bar state officials and agencies from helping the National Security Agency secretly eavesdrop on Alaskans’ private communications without a warrant.
The bill, from Sens. Bill Wielechowski and John Coghill, would also apply to corporate contractors, according to a release.
The bill is expected to be introduced in the coming days.
Wielechowski, in the release, said widespread, indiscriminant information-gathering by government agencies violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
KETCHIKAN — The state ferry Matanuska is at Ketchikan Shipyard for engine repairs.
The Ketchikan Daily News reports the Matanuska is scheduled to return to service March 2. Besides engine work, minor refurbishments will also be completed.
The ferry’s spring route will be from Bellingham, Wash., to northern Lynn Canal and communities in between. It’s summer route will be from Prince Rupert, B.C., to Lynn Canal.
JUNEAU — Gov. Sean Parnell has introduced gas line legislation that would set a gross tax rate of 10.5 percent on gas.
The provision’s part of a larger bill meant to help advance a liquefied natural gas project.
The bill proposes moving from a net to gross tax.
Parnell, in his transmittal letter, said for gas produced after 2021, the tax levy would be 10.5 percent of annual gross value at the point of production. The bill also would allow certain leases to pay production taxes with gas.
JUNEAU — Mead Treadwell’s U.S. Senate campaign reported raising more than $228,000 during the last quarter.
Treadwell is among the candidates seeking the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mark Begich. Begich is seeking re-election.
Another Republican hopeful, Dan Sullivan, announced earlier this month that he had raised about $1.3 million between October and December but did not provide further details at that time.
The filing deadline with the Federal Election Commission is Jan. 31.
ANCHORAGE — Residents in the nation’s northernmost city are about ready for some sunglasses.
KTVA reports Barrow had its first sunrise this week in 68 days.
That happened Wednesday, when the sun came up at 1:28 p.m. and stayed out for 23 minutes. That was the first sunrise there since Nov. 18.
It’s all uphill from there. Barrow residents enjoyed 78 minutes of light on Thursday.
ANCHORAGE — Some 16,000 applicants had difficulty with the new electronic signature feature when filing their Permanent Fund Dividend application electronically.
The Anchorage Daily News reports there were no problems encountered filing the application itself and being issued a confirmation number. Some people’s computers froze.
When others exited the window, they didn’t continue to the “Pick. Click. Give.” Page to donate a portion of their return to one of about 500 nonprofits.
ANCHORAGE — Family and friends searching for a missing Anchorage man grew concerned when they saw a tweet from police that said a body was found in Spenard.
Their hunch was correct. Police found the body of 31-year-old Aylett Hanson in his black Mazda 5.
Hanson would have turned 32 on Sunday. His death left his family looking for answers, The Anchorage Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/1gdairm ).
Hanson’s cousin, Brittany Hales, told the paper he was a capable handyman who worked construction jobs in the summer and did odd jobs in the winter.
Wal-Mart will continue to stock and sell Alaska seafood under an agreement with the State of Alaska, Gov. Sean Parnell’s office announced Friday.
In 2011 Wal-Mart said it would only sell fish certified as sustainable by the London-based Marine Stewardship Council. Several of the major players in Alaska’s seafood industry dropped the certification program in January 2012, favoring instead the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Responsible Fishery Management certification because it was less pricey and more local.