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Juneau Empire
Senate opts for big education funding boost

The Alaska Senate Finance Committee is recommending an extra $300 million for education funding over the next three years — a significant boost over previous proposals.

The proposal still requires approval from the committee and the full Senate; the House will also have to agree with the changes. The one-time funding is in lieu of an increase to the Base Student Allocation.

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Photos: Egg hunt eggstravaganza

Children six years old and older sprint to find plastic eggs holding candy during a free egg hunt at Gruening Park on Thursday. The event, sponsored by SERRC's The Learning Connection program, offered games and prizes as well as Head Start and kindergarten registration.

Assembly member asks for hospital CEO salary justification

The Bartlett Regional Hospital board of directors should justify the salary it announced Tuesday for its new CEO, Assembly member Randy Wanamaker said at Wednesday’s City and Borough of Juneau Assembly finance committee meeting.

New Bartlett CEO Charles “Chuck” Bill will be paid $315,000 per year, plus a signing bonus of $31,500 and relocation compensation of $31,500. Former CEO Christine Harff was paid $260,000 annually and received a relocation package of $23,027, according to her employment contract.

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The littlest big band

It’s not every day that you get to hear 130 violinists younger than 9 play at the same time. Unless you’re Lorrie Heagy, that is.

Heagy is Glacier Valley Elementary School’s music teacher and the organizer of Juneau Alaska Music Matters, or JAMM, a group that provides free loaner violins for primary students kindergarten through third grade at Glacier Valley and kindergarten through second grade at two other elementary schools.

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Attendance light at Thursday superintendent search meeting

One parent and one substitute teacher attended Thursday night’s public forum on the superintendent search. The other person in the audience was school board member Phyllis Carlson.

Bill Newman and Steve Rasmussen of Ray and Associates, the firm hired by the school district to help find its next leader, came to town to meet with groups on traits they’re looking for in a new superintendent. At
Thursday’s meeting, Newman asked the two community members to give their superintendent wish lists.

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JPD searches for parolee on the lam

Police are asking the public to keep an eye out for a 26-year-old Juneau man wanted for violating parole on a drug-related conviction.

The Juneau Police Department is highlighting its search for Nicholas Alexander DeTemple after he fled from police earlier this month.

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Police & Fire for Friday, April 18, 2014

This report contains information provided to the Empire from law enforcement agencies. This report includes arrest and citation information, not conviction information. Anyone listed in this report is presumed innocent.

Fire and medical

• At 7:59 a.m. Wednesday, basic life support care was given to a man on Franklin Street, and he was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital.

• At 8:20 a.m. Wednesday, Capital City Fire and Rescue responded to an EMS call on Mendenhall Loop Road. A woman was assessed and refused transport.

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Around Town for Friday, April 18

Storytime, 11 a.m., Mendenhall Valley library. Details: 586-5267.

Organ concert, noon, State Office Building.

Adult Children of Alcoholic or Dysfunctional Families and Codependents Anonymous meeting, noon-1 p.m. every Friday, Northern Light United Church, 400 11th St. Details: 789-0965.

“Dopeless Hope-fiends” NA meeting, 5-6 p.m. Rainforest Activity Center, behind Bartlett Regional Hospital, 3240 Hospital Drive.

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Tourism expected to hold the line in 2014

It’s almost time for the rush of family and friends from the Lower 48, and Alaska’s tourism industry leaders are expecting a good, but not great, 2014 visitor season.

John Binkley, president of Cruise Lines International Association Alaska, formerly the Alaska Cruise Association, said he is expecting 972,000 cruise visitors to the state this year, a slight decrease from the 999,600 cruisers in 2013. About 95 percent of those passengers stopped in Juneau.

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After hung jury, Kowalski won't be retried for first-degree murder

After a partial verdict from a Juneau jury, Alaska prosecutors announced Thursday they will not pursue another trial against a man accused of murdering his mistress while on vacation in Yakutat 17 years ago.

A jury last week convicted Robert D. Kowalski of second-degree murder for fatally shooting Sandra M. Perry, a 39-year-old mother from Washington. They could not decide whether he shot her intentionally and deadlocked on the more serious first-degree murder charge, which prompted the judge to move for a mistrial on that count.

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Juneau man pleads guilty to rape

A 49-year-old Juneau man in court on Thursday admitted raping a woman in Marine Park last summer.

Gilbert Charles Willard pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault in Juneau Superior Court, a felony punishable by five to 15 years in prison. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Prosecutors say Willard raped the 28-year-old woman, who was passed out from alcohol and unaware that the assault was taking place. The case arose when a witness saw Willard “sexually grope” the woman in the park about 1:30 a.m. and reported it to police.

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19,000 Alaskans fall in health 'coverage gap' of Obamacare

About 19,000 Alaskans, or 4.4 percent of the state’s population, have fallen into a “coverage gap” since the Affordable Care Act was put in place for all U.S. residents, according to a report from local insurance broker Kelly Shattuck.

Shattuck gave an update on the ACA at Thursday’s Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Although there are tax credits and cost sharing scenarios available for many Americans who can’t afford mandatory health insurance, about 32,000 Alaskans don’t qualify for these breaks but still can’t pay for insurance, she said.

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Jordan Creek not so weak?


After 10 years of testing Jordan Creek, an important salmon and trout habitat in Juneau, the Juneau Watershed Partnership remains “cautiously optimistic” about the health of the stream, organization board member Amy Sumner said.

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Delta performs Juneau test runs

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s some competition!

Delta pilots performed test flights at the Juneau International Airport on Wednesday morning, preparing for the company’s summertime expansion to Juneau starting May 29. Delta will serve Juneau seasonally, flying in and out of the capital city until the end of August, company spokesman Anthony Black said.

Because Delta hasn’t flown in or out of Juneau in 19 years, airport deputy manager Marc Cheatham said, pilots needed to “make sure they get the lay of the land” before service starts again.

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Juneau Assembly will take second look at pool closure

The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly OK’d all but four of city manager Kim Kiefer’s recommended cuts, putting the remaining items on a “pending list” to be discussed further.

The closure of the Augustus Brown Swimming Pool, a reduction in grants and program funding, and cuts to the Juneau School District and Capital Transit were tabled until the assembly can get more information and discuss each item further.

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Anchorage Daily
Photos: Seahawks Super Bowl MVP visits College Gate school

Seattle Seahawk linebacker and Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith does warmup exercises with sixth-graders at College Gate Elementary School on Friday.

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Wayne and Wanda

Unlucky in love? Wayne and Wanda offer their advice in matters of the heart.

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US soldier buried with Germans at end of WWII may finally be coming home

Mistaken for a German soldier and buried with the enemy at the end of World War II, a U.S. soldier may finally be coming home thanks in large part to…

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Alaska National Guard members face accusations of sexual misconduct

A dozen members of the Alaska National Guard face charges of sexual misconduct in what members of the guard call a severe problem in the ranks.

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Conway Seavey nabs another Junior Iditarod crown

Following in his family's paw prints, Conway Seavey of Sterling claimed his second Junior Iditarod championship Sunday, outdueling Ben Harper for a two-minute victory in the 132-mile sled dog race.

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Reynolds repeats as Fur Rondy sled dog race victor

Accepting his trophy with his lead dog, Guts, Arleigh Reynolds told the crowd that this would be his last Rondy race.

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Blues Central owner looks back at shift in Anchorage nightlife

As he prepares for Blues Central's last jam session, this weekend, Frank Dahl reflects on a career in restaurants and bars across Alaska, and how the nightlife scene has changed…

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Health insurer that refused federal HIV/AIDS payments sued by advocates

An advocacy group has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to force insurance companies in Louisiana to take payments from a federal program that helps HIV and AIDS patients.

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Lawmaker warns of legalized marijuana's social costs

House majority members on Thursday were asked about the potential tax revenues for the state should voters approve an initiative this summer legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

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Feds: No more false starts on Alaska gas pipeline

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.

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Buccaneer seeks state rebates after Homer gas well comes up dry

Buccaneer Alaska LLC plans to plug and abandon a closely watched natural gas exploration well near Homer that came up dry despite a $9 million drilling program. Now Buccaneer wants…

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What Alaska's top state officials were paid in 2013

Top executives in state government made very good money in 2013, and University of Alaska officials were among those at the top of the list, according to a newly released…

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Market Fresh: Ninilchik smoked salmon takes top prizes in seafood contest

Tilgner's ruby red smoked sockeye, a new product from Ninilchik, took the grand prize, people's choice award and first place in the smoked seafood category at last week's Alaska Symphony…

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Minimum wage initiative makes August ballot

An initiative letting voters decide whether to raise the minimum wage in Alaska has met the minimum signatory requirements to be on the Aug. 19 ballot.

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Student debt may hurt housing recovery by hampering first-time buyers

The growing student loan burden carried by millions of Americans threatens to undermine the housing recovery's momentum by discouraging, or even blocking, a generation of potential buyers from purchasing their…

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Lawmaker challenges Parnell administration on commitment to renewable energy

In 2010, the state adopted an energy policy that, among other things, set a goal of having 50 percent Alaska's electric generation come from renewable and alternative energy sources by…

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Fire damages South Anchorage townhouses under construction

An eight-unit townhouse building on East 79th Avenue caught fire Monday night and burned for about an hour, damaging several units.

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Native Americans vow a last stand to block Keystone XL pipeline

Faith Spotted Eagle figures that building a crude oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast would bring little to Indian Country besides more crime and dirty water, but…

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37 teams vie for glory in 2,000-mile Iron Dog

With poor trail conditions ahead, 37 Iron Dog teams on Sunday will gather at Big Lake for the start of their 2,000-mile race across Alaska.

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Dyson, of Eagle River, says he'll retire from state Senate

Veteran Sen. Fred Dyson, R-Eagle River, says he plans to retire this year rather than run against Sen. Anna Fairclough in the Republican primary.

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