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Education funding a stickler

Apr 23, 2014 -- 11:30am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The Senate's chief negotiator on an education package said the two sides were making good progress on all points of difference except on additional funding. Sen. Kevin Meyer says he thinks the House and Senate can resolve virtually all their other issues. But funding - and particularly, whether money is inside or outside the per-student funding formula - remained a stickler. He says the Senate majority favors keeping any additional money outside the formula, which some lawmakers think is broken and in need of review. The Senate majority proposed $100 million in additional aid over three years, plus support for other programs and initiatives. The House proposed an increase of about $300 over three years in the formula and $30 million in one-time funds outside it.

House, Senate winnow down calendars

Apr 23, 2014 -- 11:15am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The House and Senate have winnowed down their calendars, awaiting resolution on the education bill and capital budget, the last major pieces in play in this extended session. The Senate had five House bills on its calendar Wednesday. It also noticed a proposed constitutional amendment to create a transportation infrastructure fund. That measure remained in the Senate Finance Committee. The House had a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at helping lower the cost of student loans. Also pending was a bill to finance the Knik Arm crossing project. If the House takes it up, it will have to decide whether to agree to the Senate approach. The House also had the capital budget calendared. But a vote on that is pending resolution on an education package.

Sign-Ups for Denali Road lottery to open May 1

Apr 23, 2014 -- 11:00am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Sign-ups for the annual Denali Road lottery are set to begin May 1. Officials with Denali National Park and Preserve say people can apply for the lottery until midnight May 31. People can no longer sign up for the lottery by regular mail. Entries can be made online or by phone. Winners of the four-day lottery will be announced in mid-June. Under the lottery, 400 vehicles will be allowed to travel the road with day-long permits each day from Sept. 12 to Sept. 15, weather permitting. Officials say the road will be open for the entire 92-mile length if weather permits.

Fishing company pleads guilty in Alaska case

Apr 23, 2014 -- 10:45am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A fishing corporation has been fined after pleading guilty to illegal fishing operations in Alaska state waters. Fishermen's Finest Inc. is based in Kirkland, Wash., and executives there did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. The Anchorage Daily News (http://is.gd/EO1b2I) says the company pleaded guilty in a Cordova court on Monday. As part of a plea agreement, the company will pay a $12,500 fine, of which $2,500 is suspended for a three-year probationary period. Also, the company will pay a forfeiture of more than $10,000 for the illegal catch. An investigation by Alaska State Wildlife Troopers found that the company violated state law by catching and retaining 11,000 pounds of Lingcod. Sgt. Brent Johnson says the case was spurred by confusion over state and federal regulations.

Someone steals Easter collection plate from church

Apr 23, 2014 -- 10:30am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Someone helped themselves to the collection plate at First United Methodist Church in downtown Anchorage. And they had to go through a safe to get to it. Channel-2 News reports the Rev. Ronald Myers arrived to work Monday morning and realized the safe had been broken into. Someone helped themselves to the large collection of cash donated by those attending Easter services the day before. Jennifer Miller, the church's administrative assistant, says about 200 people attended the holiday service, and is convinced one of them was there to scout the church for the later theft. The collection plate is usually split between paying the church's bills and giving to Anchorage charities. The church intends to now strengthen its security. Police are investigating the theft.

Rescue copter blows deflating raft ashore

Apr 23, 2014 -- 10:15am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The Air Force, Coast Guard and Alaska State Troopers have worked together to rescue a man who found himself on a deflating raft in Cook Inlet near Anchorage. The Coast Guard got a request for help Tuesday evening from troopers who reported the man was in trouble. That agency launched a helicopter crew from Kodiak. Then the Air Force advised that it had both a plane and a Black Hawk helicopter about five minutes away. Coast Guard Petty Officer Diana Honings says the Black Hawk crew used the helicopter's rotor wash to push the man's deflating raft to shore, where he was met by troopers. They flew him to a hospital for evaluation.
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