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Juneau Empire
PE benched with new requirements

Juneau high school students may soon receive a break on their physical education requirements. At a regular school board meeting Tuesday, the Program Evaluation Committee recommended substituting extra-curricular sports activities for traditional physical education courses for high school students.

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State raises ferry rates starting Jan. 1

The Alaska Marine Highway System will raise most fares by 4.5 percent starting May 1, the Alaska Department of Transportation announced Thursday afternoon.

Tickets booked after Jan. 1 for travel after May 1 will reflect the new rates. Tickets booked before the end of the year for travel after May 1 will be under the current, lower fares.

The announcement, originally scheduled for today, was advanced one day after the Juneau Empire requested information about the proposal.

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Juneau Road not priority for Senate majority

Despite strides forward in recent months, the Juneau Access Project has now met a roadblock that can’t be overcome easily. It didn’t make Gov. Bill Walker’s pared-down capital budget, and Senate President Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage, said the Senate majority doesn’t see the project as a funding priority in the upcoming legislative session.

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High school clubs carry on holiday service tradition

The Salvation Army in Juneau encountered a problem this holiday season — there were just as many families in need, but there was nobody to take on its Christmas meal box program.

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Southeast by the (updated) numbers

Armed with informative graphics and a handful of jokes, Rain Coast Data owner Meilani Schijvens updated Juneau Chamber of Commerce members on Southeast by the Numbers, an economic publication Schijvens produced for Southeast Conference.

Since originally presenting her research during the conference in September, Schijvens obtained updated figures for some industries which lead to new projections. Big changes included the Sealaska Lands Bill passing earlier this month, news of ferries being built in Ketchikan and Gov. Bill Walker’s plan to expand Medicaid.

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In an article called “Skagway man indicted for tampering with witness” published in the Empire on Tuesday, the Empire reported that electronic court records show that prosecutors also tried to indict Michael McLoone on multiple unlawful contact and violating conditions charges in addition to a felony tampering with a witness charge, but the grand jury did not issue a true bill for those counts.

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Photo: Moving day

Anthony Harding, left, and John Gregory move boxes of files into the finished second-floor offices of the Sealaska Heritage Institute in the new Walter Soboleff Center on Thursday. Work continues on the first floor but Institute employees will be working in their new offices by Jan. 1. The Grand Opening is scheduled for May 15.

Today in History for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

Today is Friday, Dec. 19, the 353rd day of 2014. There are 12 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 19, 1974, Nelson A. Rockefeller was sworn in as the 41st vice president of the United States in the U.S. Senate chamber by Chief Justice Warren Burger with President Gerald R. Ford looking on (in a first for the Senate, the proceeding was televised live).

On this date:

In 1777, Gen. George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to camp for the winter.

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Around town for Friday, Dec. 19

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

Organ concert, noon, State Office Building.

Senior ceramics, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Juneau Senior Center. Details: Diane, 463-6176.

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.

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Police & Fire for Friday, Dec. 19, 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.

Driving without a valid license

• At 1:18 p.m. Wednesday, Jerrid Sutton, 29, was arrested for driving without a valid license and violating his conditions of release in the 6000 block of Glacier Spur Road.

Drug activity

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Photo: Early morning glow

A pedistrian walks along Egan Drive as the sun rises to clearing skies on Wednesday. The National Weather Service calls for a mix of rain and snow Thursday and Thursday night with a high temperature of 36 degrees.

City slashes funding requests

Juneau’s state funding requests are being axed after the state of Alaska recently announced an unexpected $3.5 billion deficit due to plummeting oil prices.

The Assembly Finance Committee on Wednesday agreed to prioritize five requested items out of an original list of 29.

“The more you can whittle it down, the more credibility you will have in demonstrating your understanding of the situation,” City and Borough of Juneau lobbyist Kevin Jardell told Assembly members.

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Students learn about tribal traditions

Alaskan Native culture came to life for students and parents Wednesday at a cultural luncheon showcasing art and notebooks filled with research.

Fourth and fifth-graders at Mendenhall River Community School have spent the last three weeks creating native dolls and dioramas detailing specific native tribes in each Alaska region.

The research was conducted since Thanksgiving to supplement a reading, writing and research-based curriculum, but the intricate dolls were created at home, with a little help from parents.

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ConocoPhillips: Oil prices won't impact investments

Oil company ConocoPhillips recently announced a 2015 budget reduced by more than a $3 billion from this year’s, but the cutbacks won’t be coming from its Alaska projects.

The much leaner budget is due to globally dropping crude oil prices, the company announced last week, a trend that began over the summer and has continued to the chagrin of oil companies and the delight of car owners. Alaska North Slope crude is at its lowest price in more than five years, coming in at just $57.57 per barrel on Tuesday. Prices were nearly double that as recently as June.

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Photo: Native studies

Fourth-graders Cedar Johnson, left, and Taryn Wright look at dolls dressed in traditional Tlingit blankets Wednesday at Mendenhall River Community School. A cultural celebration luncheon was held between three fourth-grade classes that studied the Native people of Alaska.

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Anchorage Daily
School District proposes reinstating 86 classroom positions

There's going to be 57 fewer classroom teachers in the Anchorage School District if the school board moves forward with budget adjustments announced Friday by Superintendent Ed Graff.

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Kicking off Native Youth Olympics

2014 Native Youth Olympics gallery: Hunter Wilson, left, and Wyatt Knowles of Valdez play hackeysack outdoors while awaiting the Grand Entry of Teams at the 2014 Native Youth Olympics on…

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Spring cleanup is dirty work

Workers kick up a cloud of dust, illuminated by the setting sun, while cleaning a parking lot south of 15th Avenue. The weather is moving into a cloudier pattern, but…

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Conference committee set to resolve education bill versions

The Senate finally passed the education bill Monday afternoon, little changed from the version on its agenda since last week.

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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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