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Alaska Gov.-elect Walker names 4 to positions

Nov 25, 2014 -- 7:00pm
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Alaska Gov.-elect Bill Walker on Tuesday announced four new staff members, including an attorney general. Walker said in a release that Craig Richards will serve as attorney general. Richards said he'll be reviewing the status of the National Guard investigation and the state's lawsuit that is trying to reinstate the ban on same-sex marriage. Walker also announced that he will retain Gary Folger as the public safety commissioner. He said a former University of Alaska-Fairbanks vice chancellor, Pat Pitney, will be his budget director. She replaces Karen Rehfeld, who retired last Friday after 35 years with the state. He also announced that Guy Bell will be retained as director of administrative services for the governor's office.

Judge issues injunction in EPA, Pebble Mine case

Nov 25, 2014 -- 2:00pm
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A federal judge has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to halt work on additional steps to protect Bristol Bay from damage from potential large-scale mining. Channel-2 News reports U.S. District Court Judge H. Russell Holland on Monday granted a preliminary injunction to Pebble Ltd. Partnership in its lawsuit against the EPA. The lawsuit contends EPA officials improperly invoked a process through which it could restrict development of the Pebble deposit before the project went through the permitting process. Pebble Chief Executive Officer Tom Collier in a statement called the ruling a procedural victory that does not resolve company claims that the EPA pursued a biased process. He says the EPA will be blocked from further steps while Judge Holland makes a final decision on the merits of the case.

Suspicious fire extinguished in Juneau landmark

Nov 25, 2014 -- 1:45pm
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Juneau police and fire officials are investigating five suspicious fires in the last month in the Merchant's Wharf building, the wooden structure on pilings that's home to restaurants and shops on the city waterfront. Fire marshal Daniel Jager tells the Juneau Empire the situation is serious. He says the building is old and a fire would be devastating and dangerous. The latest fire was Saturday night. Retail employees at about 6:37 p.m. found a fire in the women's bathroom trash can and extinguished it with water. Police Lt. David Campbell says a woman was recorded on a security camera entering and exiting the restroom near the time of the fire and officers are trying to identify her. Previous fires were also set in the women's bathroom.

Teacher abuse lawsuit heads for mediation

Nov 25, 2014 -- 1:30pm
- FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - The Fairbanks school district and the family of a student who says he was sexually assaulted by a high school tutor will attempt to settle claims through a mediator. The family sued last spring, claiming the district ignored warning signs of inappropriate behavior with students by Hutchison High School tutor and correspondence teacher Claude Fowlkes III. Fowlkes has been charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor. The family offered to settle for a payment of $1 million to the student and $200,000 to each of his parents. The district countered with an offer of $250,000 for the student and $10,000 to each parent. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the two sides will attempt to settle through mediation scheduled for Dec. 1 in Seattle.
 

No snow means no Alyeska skiing on Thanksgiving

Nov 25, 2014 -- 1:15pm
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Southcentral Alaska's balmy temperatures mean the state's busiest downhill ski area will not make its traditional Thanksgiving opening.
Channel-2 News reports a lack of snow will keep slopes at Alyeska Resort closed this week. Resort officials say temperatures have been so high, they can't even make snow. Mountain services manager Brian Burnett says snow makers usually crank up Nov. 1. He says the mountain needs temperatures in the mid-20s to start but it hasn't been cold enough. Burnett says that when temperatures drop, it will take crews a couple of days to get the mountain ready for skiing.
 

Parent objects to showing of drug documentary

Nov 24, 2014 -- 8:45am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A Juneau mother says her 12-year-old daughter came home from a school health class with a little too much insight into how to cook and smoke methamphetamine. The Juneau Empire reports Tauni Duncan objected after her daughter watched a documentary, the National Geographic Channel's "World's Most Dangerous Drug," as part of a drug awareness curriculum. The documentary contains scenes with a police officer demonstrating how the drug can be made with household supplies. He leaves out key ingredients. Duncan says the school at a minimum should have sent a letter informing parents that the documentary was going to be shown. Juneau School District chief of staff Kristin Bartlett says health teachers have shown the film for years and believe it's an effective way of communicating the dangers of drugs.
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