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  Wednesday, July 25, 2007 9TH EDITION

Identifies of people killed in Ketchikan  plane crash released
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The Coast Guard says an overdue sightseeing plane with a pilot and four cruise ship passengers on board crashed into mountainous terrain yesterday (Tuesday). 

There were no survivors.

Alaska State Troopers released their identities this morning.

The pilot was 56-year-old Joseph Campbell of Ketchikan. He was flying the plane with cruise passengers William Eddy and Jeanne Eddy, both 59 years old and from Jacksonville, Florida, and 60-year-old Paul McManus and 56-year-old Marianne McManus of Leicester (Like-es-ter) Massachusetts. 

The wreckage of the single-engine floatplane was spotted by aerial searchers in the area where an aircraft distress signal had been picked up.

Coast Guard Lieutenant junior grade George Adams says Coast Guard helicopter crews at the site were told by searchers at the scene that all aboard the de Havilland Beaver died.

   

(Photos courtesy of Alaska State Troopers)

The floatplane left Ketchikan shortly before 1-30 p-m for a tour over Misty Fiords National Monument.

The plane was operated by Ketchikan-based Taquan Air.

Company spokesman Len Laurance says the plane was reported missing after a dispatcher tried to contact the plane for 20 minutes without success.

He says the downed plane was located on land near the south arm of Rudyerd Bay about 35 miles northeast of Ketchikan.

The passengers on board were traveling on the Sun Princess, a 856-foot ship with Princess Cruises that was on the second day of a seven-day roundtrip cruise from Seattle. The vessel left Ketchikan two hours after its scheduled departure.

Landing craft's explosives moved to Kensington Mine
The  explosives that fell off the landing craft Pegasus near Sunshine Cove Tuesday morning were  moved today. (Wednesday)

The two container vans with 47,000 pounds of explosives were initially pulled to shore after the vessel sank in that area 35 miles north of Juneau. 

The landing craft's owner, Gumption Leasing, posted a guard overnight. The company contracted a barge to take the explosives to the Kensington Mine today.

Coast Guard officials say the focus now is on preventing the release of the 1,200 gallons of diesel fuel still on board the vessel.

Trucano Construction has been contracted to recover the container vans and salvage the landing craft. 

         

         

(Photos courtesy of Kyle Ziemer)

The "Pegasus" is sitting in about 50 feet of water with the bow sticking out of the water.

In the meantime, the Captain of the Port has issued a "no entry safety zone" around the scene.

The cause of the sinking is under investigation by the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard says the load aboard the landing craft may have shifted causing the vessel to sink.

Two people on board the landing craft were not injured. 

Alaska soldier among 4 killed in Afghanistan
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The Department of Defense today (Wednesday) says an Alaska soldier and three others died of wounds they sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle in Afghanistan.

The department said Private First Class Jessy S- Rogers died Monday in Afghanistan's Sarobi District. The 20-year-old Rogers was from Copper Center, Alaska.

The military says they were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy.
---
Also killed were:
- Sgt. Travon T. Johnson, 29, of Palmdale, Calif.;
- Pfc. Adam J. Davis, 19, of Twin Falls, Idaho;
- and 1st Sgt. Michael S. Curry Jr., 37, of Dania Beach, Fla.

Alaska congressman faces federal scrutiny
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A watchdog group today (Wednesday) called for a Senate ethics investigation into a land deal made by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski.

This comes on the same day a federal law enforcement official confirmed that U.S. Representative Don Young was under criminal investigation.

A Murkowski spokesman says she is reviewing the complaint and will address the issue tomorrow (Thursday) in a news conference.

Last fall, Murkowski purchased prime land along the banks of the Kenai River and paid slightly more than 179-thousand dollars.

That's well below the market value say some area real estate brokers prompting the National League and Policy Center to file a complaint today.
---
Meanwhile, Young becomes the second member of Alaska's three-member congressional delegation to face federal scrutiny. He joins Senator Ted Stevens, who has acknowledged he has been told to preserve records of a house remodeling project involving VECO, the Anchorage-based oil field service company.

A federal law enforcement source said Young was under scrutiny and that part of the inquiry involves his campaign finance practices, which would be investigated in Washington.

The investigation was first reported late last night by the Wall Street Journal on its Web site.

Young's spokeswoman Meredith Kenny says his office will not discuss the investigation.

Stevens did not immediately respond to an interview request with the A-P today.  

Proposal under discussion to pay for downtown building sprinkler systems
There's a new proposal for installing sprinkler systems in buildings in the historic downtown area.

Fire Chief Eric Mohrman says the proposal looks at using the fire service area funding to offset the cost of the sprinkler systems estimated at $3.8 million dollars for 60 to 65 buildings.

Taxpayers are currently paying 0 point 22 mills for fire service in the CBJ fire service protection area.

The proposal calls for increasing the mill rate to cover the cost.

The chief says the cost for a property owner with a $300,000 home would be $138 a year over the proposed ten year life of the levy.

The plan is based on a program implemented by Skagway.

In that city, $100,000 was set aside each year for ten years.

The city would then match the expense on a sliding scale that was 90 percent the first year, but then deceased by 10 percent each year after that.

Chief views it as a matter of paying now or paying later through higher insurance rates.

Another part of the plan amends current code on new construction and requires buildings of a certain size and height to have sprinkler systems installed.

The proposal is being submitted to the Assembly Public Works and Facilities and Finance Committees.

Chief Mohrman says the Skinner Building fire in August of 2004, the Holy Trinity Fire in March of last year; and the apartment building fire on Gastineau this April have helped spur the effort.

Feds give Alaska more than $14 million for homeland security
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The federal government has given Alaska more than 14 million dollars for homeland security efforts.

State officials made the announcement today (Wednesday).

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security gave seven million dollars to Alaska. This includes money for Alaska's State Homeland Security Program, the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program, the Citizen Corps Program and the Metropolitan Medical Response System.

This is one million dollars less than what the state received last year from the federal program.

But the state also has received a one-time seven million dollar grant from the U-S Commerce Department to improve communications for first responders.

Fuel removed from Nordic Viking
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is reporting that all fuel has been removed from a vessel that grounded this weekend in Prince William Sound.

The Nordic Viking ran aground in Port Gravina and spilled 35-hundred gallons of diesel fuel into the pink salmon fishery.

The vessel has also been refloated and is at anchor about a quarter mile away from the grounding site.

The Coast Guard is still investigating the cause of the crash.

Officials yesterday (Tuesday) reported that the skipper of the boat initially refused to take a drug and alcohol test, but agreed to do so several hours later.

Officials say they haven't received reports of injured or dead wildlife in connection with the spill.

They say the pink salmon fishery in the area could be reopened as early as next week.

Palin in Kuwait visiting Alaska troops
Governor Palin started a two day trip to Kuwait  yesterday (Tuesday) to visit Alaska Army National Guard  troops serving there.

She left Andrews Air Force Base Monday morning on the Department of Defense sponsored mission

She briefed Alaskan reporters via a teleconference late this morning Alaska time  on her trip so far.

The Governor visited camps today and is traveling by Blackhawk helicopter.  She said they'll travel further north today (Wednesday), but couldn't say if she would travel into Iraq.  Palin said the military asked her not to disclose her travel plans.  

The approximately 600 members of the 3rd Battalion, 297th Infantry of the Alaska Army National Guard were sent to Kuwait last October.

The unit has soldiers based at three camps where they are providing a quick reaction force and other security measures. Those stationed at one of the camps also make missions into Iraq.

One highlight of her day was a "town hall meeting" with Alaska troops which included many political questions, she said.

Palin said they included questions about the gas line and the jobs it will create; the nation's continued reliance on foreign oil; and the ability of the nation to support injured troops when they come home.

Even as public support for the war is eroding, Palin said during a teleconference today she would not make this trip a political issue.

Palin says quote -- ``I'm not here to judge the idea of withdrawing, or the timeline for withdrawal. I'm not even here to judge the surge. I'm here to find out what Alaskans need.''

Given what she's seen there, Palin was asked if she would support any of her children joining the service and going to the war.

Palin mentioned her 18 year old son in her response and said she would be willing to support any decision he made to join up.

The Alaskans being visited by the Governor were sent to Kuwait following training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi a year ago this month.

The troops are scheduled to return home in October.

The soldiers are from 81 Alaska communities, including Juneau.

The governor will visit a military hospital in Germany after leaving Kuwait and before heading back to Alaska. 

Army releases identity of paratrooper killed in Iraq
FORT RICHARDSON, Alaska (AP) - Army officials say a 21-year-old Fort Richardson paratrooper from California has died in Iraq.

The Army says Sergeant Shawn G- Adams of Dixon, California, died Sunday when a roadside bomb detonated near his vehicle near Owaset.

Adams was an infantryman who joined the Army in August 2004 and was assigned to Fort Richardson in April 2005.

Two other paratroopers were injured in the incident, one seriously. They were taken to a military hospital in Iraq.

Adams was assigned to Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.

Both injured paratroopers are assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.

------------

A memorial service for two Fort Richardson paratroopers who died last month in Iraq will be held Thursday at the Anchorage area base.

The service is for Specialist Adam Herold of Nebraska and Sergeant Trista Moretti of New Jersey.

Lake Dorothy support facility and dock extension okayed at Auke Bay
The Planning Commission last night, (Tuesday) approved a conditional use permit for a construction support facility for the Lake Dorothy hydroelectric project.  

It will be located at the old Thane Mill site about four miles out Thane Road on the water side.

The facility will consist of a heliport, temporary storage of construction supplies and materials; and a bunk house for up to ten workers.

The heliport is scheduled to be mostly a daylight operation.

Alaska Electric, Light and Power hopes to bring the project on line in late 2009.

Phase one of the project is estimated to cost $54 Million.

Lake Dorothy is located 17 miles southeast of Juneau.

The commission also approved a conditional use permit for a 250 foot addition to the existing dock at Statter Harbor.

Also included in the permit is construction of a 4,800 square foot upland staging area.

Bayhouse Properties owns uplands and tidelands adjacent to the lease area and is planning to use the dock to service the tour industry in Auke Bay.
-----

As part of the lease, Bayhouse Properties will pay for the replacement of the old gangway and landing float into Statter Harbor with a new ADA-compliant gangway and landing float.

Bayhouse will use the gangway and landing float to gain access to a new 400-foot long commercial float.

The company's float will be 400 feet long and it's primary propose is to service passenger for hire vessels and the first 60 feet of their dock will be available for people selling fish retail.

Anchorage considers tax overhaul
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Anchorage is considering a tax overhaul to give property owners a break.

Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich and Assembly Chairman Dan Coffey announced the plan yesterday.

The plan would cut local property taxes by one-third. The money would be made up with new taxes on businesses.

Officials are considering what is called a gross-receipts tax on businesses.

Other cities and states have already turned to a gross-receipts tax, which is based on how much money a business takes in.

A task force has been appointed to look into the idea.
(Anchorage Daily News)

Jury selection continues for murder trial
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Jury selection continues today in Superior Court in Anchorage in the murder trial of Michael Lawson -- charged with killing Bethany Corriera in 2003.

The 21-year-old woman was killed in Anchorage shortly after moving from Talkeetna.

Her disappearance galvanized the community, which launched a highly-publicized search for her. Corriera's body later was found buried in a gravel pit near Talkeetna. Police say Michael Lawson's brother, who later committed suicide, led authorities to the site.

Nearly 100 potential jurors gathered yesterday in Superior Court.

Judge John Suddock and attorneys for both sides weeded through the large jury pool trying to find jurors who had not heard a lot about the highly-publicized killing and could be impartial.

However, many of the potential jurors said they have vivid memories of the case.
The trial is expected to start Monday after 12 jurors are selected.
(Anchorage Daily News)

Missing man found working on his boat
A man reported missing for the last three weeks has been found alive and well.

Alaska State Troopers located 44 year-old Randal Queen working on his boat at Aurora Harbor.

Trooper Sergeant Robert Cox says, apparently, Queen has been working on his boat trying to get it running.

Sergeant Cox says Queen told them he was not aware that people were looking for him.

The Texas resident has been living in Gustavus for about a month.

He was in Juneau on July 3rd, which is the last time anyone had heard anything from him.

Sergeant Cox says Queen is going to call his family and his friends in Gustavus to let them know he's okay.

Cox says Troopers received tips from people who heard radio reports of the search for Queen and that's how they found him.

Dimond-West Junior Baseball State Champions
Dimond-West is the Alaska Junior Baseball State Champions following tournament play today (Wednesday) at the Alaska Junior Baseball Tournament District Two at Sitka.

Dimond-West swept 2 games from Juneau and will represent Alaska at the Regional Tournament in Beaverton, Oregon beginning on July 31st.

Dimond-West defeated Juneau 2 to nothing in the Wednesday game to gain the State title.

Alaska's Major League Major League Baseball Tournament in Petersburg begins Friday, July 27th.

Alaska's Junior Softball State Tournament hosted by District One begins Thursday, July 26th.

Knik meets Juneau -Gastineau Channel.

Juneau West nails down Majors Tournament crown, state next
Juneau West maintained its perfect record Tuesday when it won the Alaska District 2 title at the Majors Baseball Tournament in Petersburg.

It was Juneau West 7 and Ketchikan 1.

The team of 11 and 12 year olds will now wait in Petersburg to play Dimond West for the state tournament.

The best two out of three tournament gets underway Friday.

-------

Juneau's team at the Junior Baseball State Tournament in Sitka was defeated Tuesday by Dimond West 12 to 3. The teams play again today and then Thursday if necessary.

The winner will travel to Beaverton, Oregon, for the Regional tournament beginning July 31st.

-----
Ketchikan's Senior Baseball team took two in a row from Kodiak to claim the State Title on Tuesday.

The Ketchikan Seniors ran past Kodiak 16 to 1 on Tuesday. That followed their Monday 11 to 0 blanking of the Kodiak team.

Ketchikan, representing Alaska, now travels to the Regional Tournament hosted in Salem, Oregon beginning July 30th.
-----
Alaska Junior Softball State Tournament hosted by District #1 begins Thursday in Anchorage. Juneau's Junior softball team from Gastineau Channel Little League takes on the Knik Little League team. 

Urata talks about swimming with national team in Hawaii
Juneau's Koko Urata is back from Hawaii where she competed with the Junior National Synchronized Swimming Team in the U. S. Open which ended last week.

She says their biggest competition in figures was China and Canada. The U. S. placed third. Urata, who placed 12th in individual competition, was the top American.

The team trained at the Olympic facility in Colorado Springs before heading to the U. S. Open in Hawaii.

The 17 year old was one of ten members of the team between the ages of 14 and 18.

The team trained at the Olympic facility in Colorado Springs before heading to the U. S. Open in Hawaii.

Urata hopes to make the Olympic team in the future.

The team for 2008 has already been picked so Urata will shoot for the 2012 Olympics.

So for now, she'll take a couple of weeks off before she starts swimming with the Juneau Douglas High School swim team gain.

The 17 year old was one of ten members of the team between the ages of 14 and 18.

Urata said it was privilege to represent Alaska. She said a lot of people asked about it.

Seven foot long jumbo squid invade California waters
MONTEREY, Calif. (AP) - A new study finds that the jumbo squid that can grow up to seven feet long and weigh more than 110 pounds is invading central California waters and preying on local fish populations.

The aggressive predator is also known as the Humboldt squid.

It can change its eating habits to consume the food supply favored by tuna and sharks, which are its closest competitors.

The jumbo squid used to be found only in the Pacific Ocean's warmest stretches near the equator. But in the last 16 years, it has expanded its territory throughout California waters, and squid have even been found in the icy waters off Alaska.

                         (Copyright 2007 Alaska Juneau Communications - KINY Radio)