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Aug 15 2014
Sand Point Police Investigate Tustumena Drug Smuggling PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 15 August 2014

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Lauren Rosenthal/KUCB
    It’s not uncommon for the Tustumena ferry to get held up on its trips through the Aleutian Chain. Usually, it’s due to rough weather or mechanical issues.
    But this Sunday, the Tustumena spent some extra time in Sand Point so local police could investigate alleged drug smuggling.
    Officer Eric Tupper says he received a call from a ferry employee while the vessel was still on its way into port.
    ”Somebody on board was seen with what appeared to be a plastic bag with a white powder in it. They were requesting that I try to search the bags or locate the white powder because they were unable to do so.”
    This isn’t the first time that Sand Point police have heard about drugs allegedly coming into the community on the Tustumena. But those tips usually come after the fact.
    In this instance, Tupper says he was able to board the vessel as soon as it arrived in Sand Point.  He met up with two passengers who had been flagged as suspicious and searched by Tustumena staff – which is allowed, according to Alaska Marine Highway System policies.
    Tupper asked a third passenger to step off the ferry for questioning. That woman was carrying a mixed vial of pills in her luggage. With help from the local clinic, police determined that the prescriptions were valid.
    “So it ended up being [that] we didn’t find any drugs. But we take any clue about drugs very seriously because of the drug problem and we’re going to investigate it as seriously as we can, and take every step we can to make sure that drugs aren’t coming [in]. And I think that we did that successfully.”
    Tupper wouldn’t point to any specific cases, but he says police have been making progress on stopping illegal drug sales in Sand Point.

Aug 15 2014
Coast Guard Breaks Ground On New Housing PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 15 August 2014

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From left to right: Lars Wagner, the project manager for Perini Construction, Vice Admiral Charles Ray, the commander of Coast Guard Pacific, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, Captain Jeffrey Westling, the commander of Coast Guard Base Kodiak, participate in the groundbreaking for new housing on the Coast Guard base in Kodiak.  Brianna Gibbs/Photo


Brianna Gibbs/KMXT
           During a well-timed break in the rain yesterday, dozens of Coast Guardsmen, civilians, politicians and construction workers gathered at large grassy field on base. The area is the site of future  Coast Guard housing, and yesterday’s gathering was the groundbreaking for the 18-month project. The end result will be 20, three-bedroom houses in the form of 10 duplexes. KMXT’s Brianna Gibbs was at yesterday’s groundbreaking and filed this report.

Aug 14 2014
Haines Seeks Re-Election in Far-From-Crowded Race PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 14 August 2014

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    There will be at least one name on the ballot for Kodiak City Council during October’s election. Until today (Thursday), no one had declared their candidacy for either of the open seats on the city council.
    Councilman Terry Haines turned in his petition for re-election this morning, and it was certified by City Clerk Deb Marlar.
    Haines said he’s seen fellow councilman Randy Bishop collecting signatures on his petition to appear on the ballot, but as of noon, it had not been turned in or certified.
    The deadline to file for a city council seat – or any of the Kodiak Island Borough election races – is 4:30 Friday afternoon.

Aug 14 2014
The Alaska Fisheries Report PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 14 August 2014

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Coming up this week, a Kotzebue man is cited for wasting salmon while two Unalaska cannery workers are charged with air pollution. Canadians could use some positive fishery news, and is the newest nightspot in Alaska’s top fishing port destined to become “an old-man fisherman bar”? And that’s all for this week’s edition of the Alaska Fisheries Report. We couldn’t have done it without the help of KNOM Nome, KUCB’s Lauren Rosenthal and Annie Ropeik in Unalaska and KUAC’s Emily Schwing in Fairbanks.

Aug 14 2014
Ferry Officers Reject State's Offer PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 14 August 2014

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    The licensed captains and officers who operate Alaska Marine Highway System vessels have rejected a tentative contract agreement with the state.
    The International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots voted down the proposal by mail-in ballot. Union representative Ron Bressette says the votes were counted last week.
    “I’ve been a member of the Masters, Mates and Pilots since 1992, worked out on the ferries myself and up until now we’ve never rejected a tentative agreement. So this is a first for me.”
    Bressette declined to say whether the vote was close or if an overwhelming majority of members were opposed to the deal. MMP represents about 100 Alaska Marine Highway workers, including captains, chief, second and third mates and pilots.
    Union leaders had recommended approval of the deal, reached June 29, a day before the workers' old contract expired. Bressette says many members were frustrated that the agreement included no pay increase in the first year, a 1 percent raise in 2015 and a 2 percent increase in 2016. Second mates would also get a 3 percent raise in year two.
     “They feel that the wage increases that we negotiated were not adequate.”
    Bressette hopes to meet with state officials Friday to discuss what to do next. Options range from negotiating a new agreement to binding arbitration. He won’t rule out members going on strike.
     “We’re making the preliminary steps to be ready to go on strike, you know, start the planning process and that. That option is available to us.”
    Department of Administration Spokesman Andy Mills says the state’s negotiating team is looking forward to hearing union members’ concerns and figuring out the best way forward.
     “Obviously when both sides are having a negotiation at a table, I don’t think either side takes anything completely off the table. But I don’t actually think we’re that far apart. It’s about polling the members and finding out what are those differences.”
    The other two unions representing Alaska ferry workers also have tentative agreements with the state. The Inland Boatmen’s Union of the Pacific will tally its members’ votes on August 26. The Marine Engineers Beneficial Association has not yet mailed ballots to its members.

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