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Report critical of Tongass timber transition

Nov 19, 2014 -- 11:15am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A research firm says the U.S. Forest Service has done little to transition the nation's largest national forest in southeast Alaska to young-growth timber harvests. Headwaters Economics also says the agency continues to invest disproportionately in a timber industry that it says provides relatively few jobs while neglecting "more economically important industries," like tourism and fishing. The firm says that despite the dwindling Southeast timber industry and a promise by the Forest Service to transition out of old-growth harvests, the agency has continued to generously fund its timber program in the Tongass National Forest. The Juneau Empire reports the agency planned to discuss its plans for the Tongass late Wednesday afternoon.

2 injured in Chiniak banya explosion

Nov 19, 2014 -- 11:00am
- KODIAK, Alaska (AP) - Two people in a rural Kodiak Island community were injured when they accidentally used fuel instead of water in a sauna-like building. The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports the man and woman were treated at a Kodiak hospital after the explosion Tuesday in Chiniak. The woman was to be flown outside Kodiak for further care. Alaska State Troopers say they were in a banya Tuesday when they accidentally used fuel oil instead of water. Troopers spokesman Eric Olsen said they are investigating, but don't believe it was anything other than an accident. Chiniak is located about 45 miles southeast of the city of Kodiak. 

Teen indicted in fatal Juneau car crash

Nov 19, 2014 -- 10:45am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A Juneau grand jury has indicted an 18-year-old driver involved in a fatal car crash. The Juneau Empire reports William M. Buchkoski was indicted on four felony counts in the March 26 death of a passenger in his sport utility vehicle, 18-year-old Jessica Louise Billy. Investigators say Buchkoski was driving on Yandukin Drive near Juneau International Airport and attempted a left turn onto Old Dairy Road but did not yield to a semi. The big truck T-boned the SUV. A second passenger, 20-year-old Shadd Rudick, was critically injured and remains at a rehabilitation center in Everett, Washington. The grand jury indicted Buchkoski on manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and two felony assault counts. He will be arraigned Dec. 17. Online court records did not indicate that he had an attorney.

Floating strip club flourishes in Kodiak

Nov 19, 2014 -- 10:30am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - After a bumpy start, a floating strip club is finding prosperity in the waters off Kodiak. Darren Byler, owner of Wild Alaskan, a crab boat converted to a strip club, tells KTVA-TV that business has been "wildly successful" in the commercial fishing port. Customers reach the club by water taxi. A few days after it opened, a complaint that the vessel was overloaded led to law enforcement agencies and the Coast Guard briefly closing the club. Byler says the charge was unfounded, undeserved and embarrassing. Kodiak's city manager Aimee Kniaziowski says Byler addressed public safety concerns. She says it pays city taxes but operates in state waters. The business charges $20 per hour as a charter fee and allows only 12 customers on board at a time.

State releases proposed air quality rules

Nov 19, 2014 -- 10:15am
- FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Proposed state regulations that could help clean up air in Fairbanks would limit what can be burned in wood stoves. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports proposed regulations released Monday would prohibit burning painted, stained or treated wood. They would also ban the burning of garbage, oily waste products and plastics. The standards would be tougher in winter for areas with chronic air pollution such as much of Fairbanks and North Pole. In October through March, people operating wood-fired heating devices in those areas could only burn dry wood, wood pellets and manufacture-approved biomass fuels or starter fuels. The Fairbanks area in winter is regularly out of compliance with federal air standards because of particulate emitted from wood burned by people trying use an alternative to expensive home heating oil.

AIDEA approves loan for Wasilla theme park

Nov 17, 2014 -- 11:45am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority will loan money to a company building a theme park in Wasilla. Channel-2 News reports the state agency is loaning $5.4 million to Oregon businessman John Schweiger for the 58,000 square-foot Valley Family Fun Center. It will be built next to Mat-Su Cinema. AIDEA external affairs officer Karsten Rodvik says construction is scheduled to begin next spring and finish before the end of the year. He says the theme park will feature go-karts, laser tag and a laser maze.
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