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Judge tosses Alaska's lawsuit over refuge closures

Jul 30, 2014 -- 10:00am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed the state's lawsuit over the closure of national wildlife refuges during the partial federal government shutdown last year. U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason called case moot. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restricted access to refuges nationwide during the 16-day shutdown last October. The state sued as Congress was poised to pass legislation to end the shutdown. The lawsuit was later amended to add the Alaska Professional Hunters Association as plaintiffs. The lawsuit claimed the closure violated provisions of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and asked Gleason to block future closures that don't comply with the law. Gleason said the feds' response to a future shutdown may be different. A Department of Law spokeswoman said the state was evaluating a possible appeal.

Fairbanks priest in alcohol treatment after arrest

Jul 30, 2014 -- 9:45am
- FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - A Fairbanks priest is in an alcohol treatment program following his arrest earlier this year on a charge of driving under the influence. The Rev. Sean Patrick Thomson pleaded guilty last month to reckless driving as part of a plea agreement. Court records show the former University of Alaska priest was sentenced to 10 days in jail, but he will receive credit for that time by undergoing alcohol abuse treatment. He also received two years' probation. Thomson's attorney, Zane Wilson, called it a "fair resolution." Ronnie Rosenberg, director of human resources for the Fairbanks diocese, said Thomson's duties, when he returns, will depend in part on the recommendations of his treatment program. She told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1oLujYo ) Thomson will not return to the university.
 

Gold miners outraged at critical Nome letter

Jul 30, 2014 -- 9:30am
- NOME, Alaska (AP) - Nome gold miners are angry about a city letter citing the "negative social impacts" of their industry. KNOM reports miners stormed the Nome City Council meeting Monday night to express their outrage about the July 15 letter to the state Department of Natural Resources from city manager Josie Bahnke. In the letter, Bahnke wrote to DNR Commissioner Joe Balash that there has been some economic benefit from offshore mining, but those benefits are outweighed by negative social impacts. The letter refers to a 2011 lease sale that opened up the offshore dredging boom that brought millions in revenues for the state, but left Nome without money to accommodate increased activity. Kenny Hughes with the Alaska Mining Association says miners feel like city officials are "throwing rocks at us."
 

Plea deal reached in Ketchikan standoff

Jul 30, 2014 -- 9:15am
- KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) - A 30-year-old Ketchikan man has pleaded guilty in a case alleging he threatened to shoot anyone who walked past his home. Mathew Martinez pleaded guilty Tuesday to assault and weapons charges in connection with the June 10 incident. Martinez originally was charged with felony assault, terrorist threatening, weapons misconduct and violating conditions of his release. KRBD says the charges had stemmed from the incident in June, when Martinez called 911 and allegedly made his shooting threats. A stretch of Schoenbar Road's was closed before Martinez surrendered. No one was injured.
 

Youth-only fishing day set for Homer

Jul 30, 2014 -- 9:00am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A youth-only fishing day is scheduled to take place Saturday at the Homer Spit. Officials with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game say the sport fishing area for youngsters will be held in a section of the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. The rest of the lagoon will be open to people of all ages. The youth-only area is open to people 15 years old or younger between 12:01 a.m. Saturday to 11:59 p.m. Saturday. Fish and Game staff will be on hand between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to help youngsters gear up and fish for silver salmon. Officials say fishing rods will be available for children to check out.

UA offers in-state tuition if you have family ties

Jul 30, 2014 -- 8:45am
- FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - The University of Alaska will cut tuition rates by more than $13,000 a year to students who have family ties to Alaska and want to study here. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the two-year pilot program will give in-state tuition rates to students with parents or grandparents in Alaska, no matter where the student lives. The "Come Home to Alaska" program starts this fall, and is intended to counter a demographic dip in Alaska high school graduates, which translates to enrollment declines at UA campuses. For instance, there were about 10,200 students at Alaska Fairbanks last fall, the lowest enrollment in five years. In-state tuition for students carrying a 30-credit academic year costs about $5,200 a year. Non-resident tuition for the same academic load is about $18,400 a year.
 
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