News in brief for Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013

Alaska borough gets money to improve internet access

The Yukon-Koyukuk Borough has been awarded $174,000 to improve broadband access from the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund.

“Broadband is essential in today’s society and is poised to deliver tremendous benefits to rural America, eliminating the need to travel long distances for educational opportunities, to access quality health care, and to tap global markets,” FCC acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said in a statement.

The award is expected to connect 316 homes and businesses in the borough. The FCC also awarded $31.6 million to improve broadband in the territory of Puerto Rico and $1 million to the county of Hawai’i.


Blast from the past

Public records from before statehood are becoming available online thanks to a partnership between the State of Alaska and a Mormon church non-profit.

FamilySearch, a genealogical organization in Utah affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, sent a husband-and-wife team to Juneau to scan archival documents that state employees have determined are non-confidential, which include birth, marriage applications and certificates, divorce, naturalization, probate and estate records.

Ruth and Dan Brinkerhoff have been working to organize and scan the documents since October. A statement from the Department of Education and Early Development says no state money was allocated to the project, which is expected to continue for four years.


Greens Creek earns safety award

The Greens Creek mine has received an award that recognizes “extraordinary efforts to apply technology to improve the safety and health of mine workers.”

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Mine Safety and Health Technology Innovations Award was given to the Juneau mine for implementing a collision avoidance system for its “surface mobile equipment.” The system uses GPS and radio technology to monitor vehicle speed and proximity to avoid accidents.


Tourists from down under love it up here

The Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development is looking for a marketer to promote Alaska tourism to New Zealanders and Australians.

A 2011 report from the state showed that visitors from Australia and New Zealand accounted for 27 percent of the international travelers that come to Alaska, not considering our Canadian neighbors.


Opportunity for public comment on bird harvest regs

Proposals for changes to migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations for the April to August 2015 season will be accepted through Dec. 15. Petitions for “included/excluded” community status will also be accepted during this time.

All proposals and petitions received to change 2015 harvest regulations will be reviewed and acted on by the Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management Council at its April 2014 meeting.

Find forms and instructions here:


Advisory board seat open

The Ketchikan State Parks Citizens Advisory Board is recruiting new members.

The board is responsible for advising the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation on matters affecting state parks in the Ketchikan area. Board members are expected to participate in monthly meetings from September until May and occasionally serve on board-appointed committees. Applications are accepted Nov. 20 through Jan. 1. Find the application at:


2 charged with burglary at Public Safety Department building

ANCHORAGE — A former Department of Public Safety employee will be arraigned next month on a felony burglary charge and misdemeanor counts of theft and criminal mischief.

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Alaska opens trade, pipeline office in Tokyo

JUNEAU — The state of Alaska has opened an office in Tokyo to help promote trade and advance a long hoped-for natural gas pipeline project.

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Man dies on snowmobile trip from Kotzebue to Fairbanks

ANCHORAGE — A man who tried to drive a snowmobile from Kotzebue to Fairbanks was found dead near Selawik Hot Springs.

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