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Pay raise issue gets attention in budget hearing

Mar 03, 2015 -- 11:45am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Proposed cuts equal to employee raises in the departments of administration and education weren't included in a draft operating budget before the House Finance Committee. Rep. Lynn Gattis proposed such cuts in those departments' budgets during the subcommittee process. She questioned raises in a time of cuts. But as the committee heard subcommittee reports Monday, the Wasilla Republican said the issue needs to be addressed statewide, rather than in individual departments, and is better evaluated through legislation or standing committees. House Finance co-chair Steve Thompson said there are legal problems with freezing one department's salaries and not another's. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that Alaska State Employees Association Executive Director Jim Duncan said the contractual raises have been honored for two years and should be honored this coming year.

Ketchikan assembly approves creation of advisory pot panel

Mar 03, 2015 -- 11:30am
- KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) - The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly has approved creation of a local marijuana advisory committee to deal impacts from the recent legalization of marijuana in the state. Ketchikan radio station KRBD reports the original proposal for the local panel called for eight members. The final vote on the issue that narrowly passed Monday settled on seven committee members to avoid tie votes. Borough Mayor David Landis broke a tied assembly vote to pass the seven-member committee proposal. Landis will appoint members to the panel, choosing representatives from the Borough Assembly, the Ketchikan School Board and the communities of Ketchikan and Saxman after first collecting nominations.

Caribou antlers abundant in Alaska sale of animal parts

Mar 03, 2015 -- 11:15am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - An abundance of caribou antlers highlighted this year's Alaska Hide and Horn Auction, the state sale of seized pelts and antlers.  KSKA-radio in Anchorage reports 3,000 pounds of caribou antlers were among items auctioned Sunday during Anchorage Fur Rendezvous festivities. Most were from one criminal case. Alaska State Troopers in 2011 seized 2,000 pounds of antlers being shipped from Selawik. It's illegal to buy or sell raw antlers not naturally shed in the Northwest Arctic Borough. Lots of 10 antlers were sold for as much as $750. The state also sold about 50 bear hides, along with parts from beaver, wolves, Dall sheep and musk ox.

Fisherman found dead aboard Kodiak boat

Mar 03, 2015 -- 11:00am
- KODIAK, Alaska (AP) - Alaska State Troopers say they have found nothing suspicious in the circumstances surrounding a fishing vessel crew member who was found dead in his bunk. Troopers were notified late Saturday morning that 29-year-old Sean O'Callahan of Florida was found dead on board the vessel Alaskan Dream. Kodiak radio station KMXT reports the vessel was headed to fishing grounds close to the south end of Kodiak Island, but the crew turned around to meet troopers back in Kodiak. The crew turned over O'Callahan's body, which was sent to Anchorage for an autopsy. Troopers say nothing suspicious was detected during their investigation.

Report shows heroin use up among Alaskans

Mar 03, 2015 -- 10:45am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A report recently released by the state says heroin use has increased among Alaskans. Channel-2 News says the 2014 report was released by the state Bureau of Investigation's statewide drug enforcement unit. Commander Jeff Laughlin with the unit says the trend is expected to continue. Laughlin says he believes it could become an epidemic. Nome Mayor Denise Michels says heroin and methamphetamine use are a major concern for neighboring communities that don't have state law enforcement agencies based there.

House passes bill to honor firefighters

Mar 03, 2015 -- 10:30am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - House lawmakers want a day to honor firefighters. The Alaska House has passed a bill introduced by Anchorage Reps. Bob Lynn and Matt Claman that would designate Oct. 9 as Alaska Firefighters' Day. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. In a press release, Lynn said firefighters do so much and not enough is done to honor them. October is fire prevention month, and Oct. 9 is the start of national fire prevention week.
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