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From Our Listeners
While job growth appears to have been slightly less than expected in March, the growth in February was revised upward. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is unchanged at 6.7 percent.
Wednesday's shooting rampage, which left three victims dead and another 16 wounded, ended when Spc. Ivan Lopez reportedly killed himself. The officer had drawn her weapon and engaged the gunman.
Although Latinos are 17 percent of the population, they represent almost a third of frequent moviegoers. People of color overall attend movies at rates higher than their percentage of the population.
Anja Niedringhaus died and Kathy Gannon was seriously injured when a man opened fire. They were in a car in eastern Afghanistan. The gunman is reported to have been a police officer.
It's been the home of the Cubs since 1916, and in all that time, the team has never won a World Series. So why do fans keep showing up? Locals say Wrigley's hallowed status isn't just about baseball.
Alaska’s archivists and historians are gaining ground in a fight to keep federal records in the state, but the Anchorage office of the National Archives and Records Administration is still set to close by the end of the year.
On Wednesday, Alaska State Library director Linda Thibodeau told the Alaska Historical Commission that negotiations are under way to keep roughly one quarter of the archive’s 12,000 boxes of records.
ANCHORAGE — Two Coast Guard employees killed while on the job were shot multiple times, a pathologist said during testimony Thursday in the trial of a man charged with murder for their deaths.
James Wells, 62, is accused of killing Petty Officer First Class James Hopkins and civilian Richard Belisle at the Kodiak Island Communication Station in 2012.
JUNEAU — Gov. Sean Parnell on Thursday said a House Finance Committee proposal to address the teachers’ retirement system is “immoral” and shifts the obligation to future generations.
Parnell said he wants the proposal removed from his education bill, calling them two very separate issues. The committee added the retirement piece to its rewrite of the bill, HB278. A proposed amendment to pull out that issue failed on a 5-5 committee vote Wednesday.
The bill is scheduled for a vote on the House floor Friday. If approved, it would then go to the Senate.
JUNEAU — The chair of the Legislative Council on Thursday withdrew from consideration the potential purchase of a legislative information office in downtown Anchorage.
Rep. Mike Hawker, the council’s chair, provided details on the proposal during a council meeting last month. It was seen as an alternative to a 10-year lease agreement for remodeled and expanded space, the cost of which critics have questioned.
The most powerful member of the state House of Representatives is working to quickly pass a bill that would allow non-Alaskans to serve on the board the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation.
Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, announced Thursday that he will be introducing the legislation today. The AGDC is a state corporation created last year to advance a major liquefied natural gas project.
ANCHORAGE — A Coast Guard investigation says equipment failure, improper placement of a crewman and a Bering Sea swell contributed to the crewman’s death on a rescue mission in southwest Alaska.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Travis Obendorf died Dec. 18 from injuries suffered five weeks earlier on the 418-foot Cutter Waesche (WAY’-shee).
The Waesche on Nov. 11 prepared to tow a disabled fishing boat to port and but first planned to ferry fishermen to the cutter using one of the cutter’s smaller boats.
ANCHORAGE — A Coast Guard report says poor risk assessment and management were factors that led to the grounding of a Shell oil drilling rig in the Gulf of Alaska in 2012.
The report released Thursday also says Alaska’s tax laws influenced the decision to tow the Kulluk to Seattle. Royal Dutch Shell PLC believed the drill vessel would have qualified as taxable property on Jan. 1, 2013, if it was still in Alaska waters.
The Kulluk broke away from its tow vessel in late December 2012 and ran aground four days later on Sitkalidak Island, near Kodiak.
JUNEAU — The Alaska Senate on Wednesday passed a bill making cyber bullying a misdemeanor offense.
Senate Bill 128, sponsored by Republican Senator Kevin Meyer of Anchorage, makes it illegal for those under the age of 18 to use electronic devises to bully others.
Meyer says his bill creates a punishment outside the school system for those involved.
It passed the Senate unanimously and goes to the House.
ANCHORAGE — A new manager has been appointed for Anchorage’s city utility company.
The Anchorage Daily News says James A. Trent begins his new post with Municipal Light and Power on Monday. He replaces former general manager Jim Posey, who retired in December.
Trent most recently worked as a consultant to a Colorado industrial automation company.
Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, who appointed Trent, says in a news release that Trent has 30 years of experience and power system planning, and in design and operations of utilities.
A controversial bill from last session that sought to streamline the land and water use permitting process to make mining easier is dead for the session.
Sen. Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, and chair of the Senate Resources committee, announced in a press release Thursday evening that she would be holding the bill in her committee indefinitely.
Watching a great gamer is like watching a tennis or baseball pro: "If they're really good then you can watch and learn," says Megu Kobayashi, who watches gamers on a site called Twitch.
A controversial permitting bill has been sentenced to die in committee.
Senate Resources Chair Cathy Giessel sent out a press release on Thursday evening announcing that the resources committee will not hold any more hearings on HB77.
Committee member Peter Micciche says that with the end of session looming, the bill was simply too complex and too polarizing to advance.
“Some people will be very happy. Some people won’t be as happy. But I think that everyone can agree that we can, in the future, do a better job working together on releasing things that people see as having an effect on their everyday lives, their rights as Alaskans, their right to be heard.”
The Parnell administration introduced HB77 last year. The bill was pitched as a way to make the permitting process more efficient, and it initially zipped through the Legislature. But fishing groups, tribal organizations, and environmental outfits came out strong against the bill, arguing that it gave too much power to the natural resources commissioner and limited the public’s role in permitting decisions.
After the bill failed to secure the necessary votes last year, the Department of Natural Resources held meetings with opposition groups and revised the bill in consultation with Micciche. While some of the more contentious provisions were altered, the rewrite still attracted a heated public response when it was unveiled last month.
Micciche believes some components of the new draft have merit and could have been enacted into law had they not been wrapped in such an expansive piece of legislation. He says those parts will likely need to be revisited in the future and parceled out into a series of less ambitious bills.
But this year, the Legislature is done with permitting policy.
“I don’t know go where bills go in the after life, but I do — I do — honestly wish House Bill 77 a very happy eternity as it rests in peace.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources wrote in an e-mail that the agency is a “disappointed in this outcome,” but understands the decision.
The spring dividend for most Sealaska shareholders will be $721, but some will receive less than a tenth of that amount.
The total distribution to the regional Native corporation’s 21,600 shareholders is $11.8 million. Payments will be mailed out April 8 and direct-deposited April 11.
Most stockholders own 100 shares. The amount of dividends differ due to status of the corporation’s Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian members.
Those enrolled in Sealaska plus an urban Native corporation, such as Sitka’s Shee Atiká, receive the full $721. So do at-large shareholders, who are only enrolled in Sealaska.
Those holding stock in a village corporation, such as Saxman’s Cape Fox, get $57.
The difference is a payout from a pool of regional Native corporations’ natural-resource earnings. Sealaska pays resource earnings directly to urban shareholders, as part of their dividends. But it pays the resource revenues to village corporations, which decide whether to pass them on to shareholders.
Descendents of original shareholders also get $57 per 100 shares. Elders in any category receive an extra $57. Those funds come from Sealaska’s permanent fund.
None of the money is coming from Sealaska’s business operations. CEO Chris McNeil says the corporation is in the second year of restructuring its operations. That includes last summer’s sale of its share of plastics factories in Alabama, Iowa and Guadalajara, Mexico.
More details on Sealaska’s business operations will be in its annual report, to be released in May.
The Alaska Marine Highway ferry Aurora is scheduled to take over LeConte sailings on Friday, April 4.
A generator on the LeConte failed on Wednesday, when the LeConte was on its way from Prince William Sound to Ketchikan for a mandated inspection.
Spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says the ship diverted to Juneau, where the inspection is being done.
Woodrow says the LeConte’s repair time is not yet known.
“They’re still working on assessing the situation. The LeConte will most likely be out for the weekend. But the Aurora will be capable of filling in for it until it is back online,” he says.
The Aurora and LeConte are nearly identical ships. Both carry about 300 passengers and 34 vehicles.
The Aurora missed sailings last month when part of its steering system broke down. The Juneau-based LeConte missed sailings in December due to problems with its bow-thruster, which is used for docking. It sails to Haines, Skagway, Tenakee Springs, Angoon, Hoonah and Gustavus.