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Petersen Trumps Trombley

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Wed, 2014-04-02 17:18

Anchorage voters kept four out of five city assembly incumbents in their seats on Tuesday. But two races ended unpredictably by the time the polls closed and most of the votes were tallied up.

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 In East Anchorage, challenger Pete Petersen upset incumbent Adam Trombley, taking nearly 42 percent of the vote. Trombley finished the night with 37 percent, while a third challenger for the District 5 seat, Mao Tosi, took 20 percent.

 Petersen was not shy about declaring victory Tuesday, as supporters rallied around him at election central. Petersen said he’d worked hard for votes.

 ”I’ve been out there talking to people since last October. You know, when you knock on people’s doors and take time to listen to them, they appreciate it, and they get a chance to know you, personally, as a person. It’s not just an add that they see on tv, or an add that they hear on the radio, or a piece of paper in the mail. They’ve actually met you , and I think that makes a big difference. “

If the Peterson-Trombley race is close, the District 6 race is a real squeaker. Three candidates are vying for that seat, to be vacated by a termed out Assemblyman. By Tuesday night’s count, Bill Evans had 41 percent of the vote, while Bruce Dougherty had just under 39 percent. The third candidate, Pete Nolan, has 19 percent of the vote.

Anchorage voters also passed eight out of nine ballot propositions. A five point five million dollar bond package aimed at library improvements and a ballpark relocation failed by a narrow margin.

City election officials say the six thousand outstanding absentee and early ballots should be tallied next week.   Questioned ballots, by city law, have to be counted the day after an election, and that process started on Wednesday.  Official election results will be certified on April 15.




Alaska Native Village CEOs Association Conference Addresses Land Contamination

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Wed, 2014-04-02 17:17

Under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, more than 200 village corporations were promised land in and around their communities. At a meeting of the Alaska Native Village CEOs Association in Anchorage this week, participants described the problems they’re encountering with the contaminated lands that were conveyed to them.

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Alaska News Nightly: April 2, 2014

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Wed, 2014-04-02 17:09

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn.

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Tribal Judge: Bill to Improve Village Public Safety Doesn’t Go Far Enough

Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DC

The U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee today looked at a raft of bills aimed at improving the safety of Native American communities, including Alaska Native villages. A bill that would strengthen Alaska tribal courts and tribal law enforcement drew no opposition at the hearing, but the bill is likely to become more controversial.

Most Citizen Measures Could Make November Ballot

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

Between a contested Senate primary and a mess of ballot questions, the August primary election is expected to be particularly lively. But a set of unusual circumstances and odd timing has the potential to push all but one of the citizen measures to the November general election, if the Legislature gavels out late.

Sitka Shops For Teachers At Seattle Fair

Ed Ronco, KPLU – Seattle

For school districts in rural Alaska, this is prime recruiting season. Next week, they’ll hold a job fair in downtown Anchorage, looking for teachers to fill hundreds of openings statewide. But they’re also looking outside the 49th state.

Helicopter Improves Access To Akutan Airport, For Now

Annie Ropeik, KUCB – Unalaska

For the past year and a half, people on Akutan have been taking a hovercraft to get to their airport on a different island. Now, the Aleutians East Borough has made the switch to a helicopter as their new airport taxi. The change has been a relief for residents.

Petersen Trumps Trombley

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Voters in Alaska’s largest city elected six municipal assembly seats Tuesday, but with thousands of absentee and early ballots still to be counted, the outcomes of some races may change.

Alaska Native Village CEOs Association Conference Addresses Land Contamination

Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

Under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, more than 200 village corporations were promised land in and around their communities. At a meeting of the Alaska Native Village CEOs Association in Anchorage this week, participants described the problems they’re encountering with the contaminated lands that were conveyed to them.

Early Unofficial Results Show Tight Races in Anchorage Municipal Election

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Wed, 2014-04-02 16:56


Election Central in the Denaina Center was quieter than most libraries Tuesday night, until about 10 :15 when suddenly a group appeared waving blue and white signs, chanting:

“East Side Pride, East Side Pride “.

 Pete Petersen and his supporters burst into the room, the first of the candidates to declare victory in the three way race for District 5′s seat I.  An elated Petersen said

” You know, I’ve been out there talking to people since last October. You know, when you knock on people’s doors and take time to listen to them, they appreciate it, and they get a chance to know you, personally, as a person. It’s not just an add that they see on tv, or an add that they hear on the radio, or a piece of paper in the mail. They’ve actually met you , and I think that makes a big difference. “

 Petersen led incumbent Adam Trombley with 3085 votes against Trombley’s 2749 votes in the upset. Third candidate Mao Tosi took 20 percent of the ballot.

In another hotly contested race, the district 6 seat K , a little over two hundred votes separate candidates Bill Evans and Bruce Dougherty.  Dougherty says the election marks his first try for public office

“Its been a wonderful experience, I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s a lot of hard work, but in the end, it’s a democratic process when candidates put themselves out to communicate with the voters. I think my message obviously resonated with a good chunk of the folks who are voting. And, so that’s comforting. And the three way race made the dynamic interesting. So in any event, it’s been a great experience and I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly. “

Third district 6 candidate Pete Nolan took 19 percent of the vote. The Dougherty – Evans race could be settled once absentee and questioned ballots are counted.

West Anchorage candidate Tim Steele garnered about double the votes as did challenger Phil Isley

” I did work hard. I campaigned last year, so it has been just a continuation. I just kept on campaigning. It’s a daunting process, to go out and face the voters and do the work that is necessary to do it. So my hat’s off to everybody that’s doing well. Petersen and Dougherty did well. “

 Incumbents Pat Flynn, Bill Starr, and Elvi Gray-Jackson kept their Assembly seats.

There were no surprises in the Anchorage School Board race. Pat Higgins handily defeated two challengers to receive close to 52 percent of the votes for a Seat C win.

Incumbent Kameron Perez-Verdia tromped challenger Don Smith for school board Seat D.   Perez - Verdia  thanked his team for their work:

 ”Well I think our campaign worked really hard. We have a lot of people supporting us and we spent a lot of effort getting out to the people and walking a lot of streets and calling a lot of people and trying to get the word out, So I think we have worked really hard as a campaign to make sure people to know who we are. But of course I also think that the comments of my opponent in the media have highlighted our race.”

 Perez -Verdia took 57 percent of the seat D vote.   

City voters gave the okay to eight of nine ballot propositions. Only Prop 3, for five point five million dollars in capital improvement bonds, went down in defeat by the times the polls closed.



NASA Suspends Some Ties With Russia Over Ukraine Crisis

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-02 16:46

The two sides will continue to work together, however, in the operation of the International Space Station.

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U.S. Troubled By Iran's Choice Of 1979 Hostage-Taker For U.N. Post

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-02 15:11

Iran wants Hamid Aboutalebi as its new United Nations ambassador. He was among a group of Muslim students who 35 years ago seized American diplomats in Tehran.

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Ukuleles Live!

Southeast Alaska News - Wed, 2014-04-02 14:51

Riddle: How many Ukuleleists can you fit into the KCAW Air Room?

Answer: At least 11!

We were lucky enough to have 11 members of “The Hundred” in today during Hometown Brew to help celebrate Raven Radio leading up to our One-Day Spring Drive this Friday, April 4th.

We’ve raised about $30,000 on our way to our goal of $85,000. If you enjoy the diverse music and talents that Raven Radio brings to our community, please consider making a donation online now! http://bit.ly/1qqajdV

Campaign Finance Ruling Winners: The Political Pros

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-02 14:36

In practical terms, the Supreme Court ruling could mean more money flowing to political operatives and party committees.

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Shooting At Fort Hood Leaves 4 Dead, 16 Injured

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-02 14:27

The suspected shooter at the Texas Army post is Ivan Lopez, a Pentagon official tells NPR. Authorities say he was being evaluated for PTSD and treated for depression.

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Bill provides for court-ordered FASD assessments

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Wed, 2014-04-02 14:20
Yukon MP Ryan Leef tabled a private member’s bill in the House of Commons this week which seeks to amend the Criminal Code to recognize the impacts of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Petersburg budget cutting effort falls short

Southeast Alaska News - Wed, 2014-04-02 14:17

Members of Petersburg’s borough assembly Tuesday tried to cut funding for community service grants and borough departments but did not have enough votes to approve those reductions. That was after local organizations that rely on borough grants made their case for continued support.

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Representatives from the school district, Petersburg mental health services, KFSK, the Clausen museum, and Mt View Manor food service turned out to answer questions about how grants and payments to the various organizations are used. That’s after borough assembly members last week questioned some of the payments and mentioned making reductions.

Overall, the items in the borough community services budget total nearly two million dollars, with $1.8 million of that going to the local school district.

School superintendent Rob Thomason urged the borough to maintain that contribution. He said the district anticipated a drop in state funding of 300,000 dollars or more and said they’ve been reducing its staff to make up for that funding loss. “In the 2014-15 school year there’ll be three fewer teachers in the district and one less classified or instructional assistant. Those teachers are an English teacher, an elementary teacher and a special education teacher plus the one classified person. These reductions are the result of one retirement, two resignations and one, our first in many many years, reduction in force, where we actually told someone I’m sorry we do not have a job for you.”

Thomason noted the district has been reducing staff in each of the last five years. Petersburg Mental Health Services director Susan Ohmer said the 85,000 dollars in borough grants to her organization have allowed mental health to employ another clinician. Ohmer said that local funding also helped mental health secure other state and federal grant money. “Without local funding it hamstrings us in so many different ways in terms of leveraging grants and being able to see the type of clients that we see and being able to provide the level of response that we provide for the police and the hospital and other agencies that ask us for help.” Ohmer said loss of the local grant money would mean her agency would have to refer clients elsewhere.

Other grantees also made their case for continued grant funding. A draft budget prepared by borough staff includes the same level of funding for community services as last year. That draft budget is balanced in the general fund and even anticipates setting aside 437-thousand dollars for future purchases or projects in the borough’s property development fund.

Assembly member John Havrilek wanted to cut borough spending. “The people in the community that are working at Hammers, TU, they’re not making anywhere near what the people in this room are making, nowhere near. That’s why I have a hard time supporting more funding or even the same funding when I know people are out there that are struggling to feed themselves and their kids. Much worse shape than most of us. Cant afford it. So we need to cut back,” Havrilek said.

Havrilek suggested an amendment to cut the borough budget across the board one percent, reduce the school appropriation by 200,000 dollars and eliminate the mental health grants.

Assembly member Jeigh Stanton Gregor noted his ownership of a private mental health counseling business. Others on the assembly were split on whether he stood to get more business by reducing a borough payment to the other mental health provider in town. Nancy Strand thought he did. “It looks to me like you could stand to gain monetarily which is the question behind recusing,” Strand said.

With Stanton Gregor sitting out the vote, the amendment failed 2-2 with Havrilek and Bob Lynn in favor and Strand and acting mayor Cindi Lagoudakis voting against it.

A motion to approve the draft budget as proposed by staff also failed with three “no” votes, Stanton Gregor, Lynn and Havrilek. Those three also voted for a two percent across the board reduction to the borough budget not including community payments. With Strand and Lagoudakis voting no, that proposal also fell short.

Yet another vote was on a one percent cut across the board. Since that included the mental health grants, Stanton Gregor sat out that vote, and it failed 3-1 with only Strand voting no.

With no proposals getting a four-vote majority, assembly member Bob Lynn made his case for cutting borough spending. “I hear out there almost everybody I talk to says we wanna tax this, we wanna tax that, we want more, we want more and we haven’t looked at cutting anything,” Lynn said. “I’ve got a concern with that, I’ve got a real concern. We know the national budget’s affected. We’ve heard everybody here saying their budgets are going down because the grants aren’t there and everything else. We’ve got some of the same problems. The other one is we have buildings around town that need help and some place along the line we’re gonna have to take care of ourselves I believe and we gotta start saving for it.”

However, Nancy Strand questioned the impact of across the board cuts. “We just spent several hours in meetings with or work sessions with our department heads and I of the impression they’ve cut pretty much as much as they can without really reducing services. So I wonder where these additional one percent or two percent cuts are gonna come from?”

School superintendent Thomason answered that question, noting the school district has already contracted with its staff for next year and any cuts would have to fall on five percent of the district’s budget. “The only place we can go to reduce the number you’re talking about, that magical five percent is sports, activities, music, art, professional development, vocational education, technology and teaching supplies. We cannot, by law, retract contracts. So if you’re gonna make this decision for the school district, be it one percent, be it two percent, be it 200-thousand dollars, there will be a significant community impact.”

Meanwhile, assembly member Havrilek still wanted to find ways to cut borough spending.
:33 “I know we went through these meetings and talked to people but I still think the bottom line is at this spending rate we’re being irresponsible. And unless we create our own reserves if we do have problems or emergencies we’re asking for a disaster. I don’t think its too late, I think we need to start planning now. But you know I don’t know what else to offer.”

Since none of the assembly’s amendments or motions passed, that leaves staff with its original draft budget. That will be up for a public hearing along with three votes, and more potential amendments, during assembly meetings in May and June.

Bear-human conflicts have global similarities

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Wed, 2014-04-02 14:17
From Japan to the Yukon and all the way to Ecuador, the conflicts between bears and people remain the same.

Council votes to ratify union deal

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Wed, 2014-04-02 14:15
City workers could be seeing wage increases every six months for the next four years after council endorsed moving forward with agreements with two of its unions covering about 200 employees at a special meeting Monday night.

ADFG announces king salmon sportfishing regs

Southeast Alaska News - Wed, 2014-04-02 14:08

Alaska Department of Fish and Game photo.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has announced this year’s sport fishing regulations for king salmon fishing in Southeast Alaska and Yakutat.

The regulations took effect Wednesday, and will remain through next year.

According to the department, the resident bag and possession limit is three king salmon at least 28 inches long.

The nonresident bag and possession limit for most of the year is one king salmon at least 28 inches long. During May and June, the possession and bag limit increases to two kings.

Additional information can be found online. A link is posted with this report on the KRBD website.

Traders Defend High-Speed Systems Against Charges Of Rigging

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-02 13:51

Author Michael Lewis says high-frequency traders have figured out a way to game the system. Some of those traders say that while there are "bad actors," high-speed trading plays a legitimate role.

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Stop, Thief! When Colleagues Steal From The Office Fridge

NPR News - Wed, 2014-04-02 13:50

Colleagues steal Greek yogurt and half-eaten oranges, and bosses help themselves to their employees' frozen dinner. Yes, fridge theft is apparently rampant in offices all over the world.

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Anti-chloramine petition turned in at City Hall

Southeast Alaska News - Wed, 2014-04-02 13:48

Ketchikan is seen from the water on a beautiful sunny day.

A petition to place the chloramine water treatment issue in front of city voters was turned in at Ketchikan City Hall Wednesday.

If all of the estimated 622 signatures belong to registered city voters, that’s well above the required 356 needed for the petition to pass the first hurdle.

City Clerk Katy Suiter says it will take at least a couple of days to verify the signatures. If there are enough valid signatures, the city attorney then will review it to make sure the proposed ballot initiative language passes legal muster.

If it survives both reviews, the city must put the initiative before voters within two months. The initiative would ask city voters to prohibit Ketchikan Public Utilities from using chloramine – a mixture of chlorine and ammonia – as part of its water treatment system.

The city has been moving toward a chloramine treatment system for about 10 years. A group called United Citizens for Better Water formed this winter to oppose the switch.

While the initiative process continues, the city is moving ahead with plans to start that new treatment next week. In a memo to the Ketchikan City Council, Water Division Manager John Kleinegger writes that the process will take about five days. It involves testing the equipment and flushing pipes as the new disinfection mixture is distributed throughout Ketchikan’s water system.

Kleinegger’s memo was part of the Ketchikan City Council meeting agenda, although there is no action item on the agenda related to chloramine.

During that meeting, the Council will consider an agreement with Akeela, Inc., to help relocate the Ketchikan Alcohol Rehabilitation House to property on Washington Street donated by PeaceHealth for that purpose.

PeaceHealth also would provide $100,000 to help with the move, according to the agreement. The city would provide $300,000. The estimated cost to renovate the donated building is $747,500.

The Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. Thursday in City Council chambers. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.

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Finland struggles to deal with diabetes explosion

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Wed, 2014-04-02 13:43
Finland struggles to deal with diabetes explosion Costs associated with diabetes care already equivalent to 1 percent of Finland's gross domestic product, and they are expected to rise.April 2, 2014

Feds: No Listing For Southeast Herring

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Wed, 2014-04-02 13:40

The southeast Alaska population of Pacific herring will not be listed as an endangered species.

Pacific Herring. (Alaska Department of Fish & Game photo)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday said such a listing is not warranted.

The Sierra Club in 2007 petitioned NOAA Fisheries to list Pacific herring in Lynn Canal under the Endangered Species Act. The federal agency a year later concluded it was not warranted because the Lynn Canal herring were not considered to be a distinct population or species.

However, the fisheries service said the herring were part of the larger Southeast Alaska Distinct Population Segment, and the agency began investigating whether that population deserved listing.

In Wednesday’s announcement, the agency said a listing isn’t warranted because the southeast Alaska herring population is experiencing positive trends in growth and productivity.

Yukon Brewing hangs on to win Senior Metro Cup

Alaska and Yukon Headlines - Wed, 2014-04-02 13:35
A furious comeback attempt by The Soccer Shoppe ended with a last-second shot clanging off the crossbar during the Senior Metro Soccer League’s championship final.