State news in brief for Friday, Dec. 6.

Juneau clerks brought in to help with Skagway mail


JUNEAU — A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service says the agency has sent a couple clerks from Juneau to help ease staffing problems at the Skagway post office.

Ernie Swanson says there had been issues with two clerks at the Skagway office being absent or unavailable to work. He says he believes the staffing issues have been addressed with the decision to bring in the Juneau clerks.

Swanson could not say how long the Juneau clerks would be in Skagway, which also has an acting postmaster. He says there should be no service disruptions in Juneau as a result of the change.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Wednesday asked Skagway residents to report any service disruptions or other concerns with the Skagway office to a special email address.

Fight ends in man’s death

SOLDOTNA — Alaska State Troopers say a 27-year-old California man is dead after a fight at a home in Cooper Landing.

Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters identified the man found dead early Thursday as Genghis Muskox.

Peters says a man named Paul Vermillion called troopers in Soldotna to say there had been a fight at his home and a man was dead.

Troopers say the victim had a gunshot wound.

Vermillion was arrested for investigation of first-degree murder.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that state records place Muskox in Alaska starting in 2003, when he was issued a nonresident sport fishing license.

Peters said the medical examiner’s office was expected to complete an autopsy on Friday.

Anchorage rain closes district schools

ANCHORAGE — Anchorage commuters woke up to warm temperatures and slick roads Thursday.

The temperature just before 6:30 a.m. was 29 degrees and the National Weather Service website reported freezing rain with ice accumulation of less than .2 inches.

Anchorage schools closed because of road conditions.

The Anchorage School District announced ice on the roads made driving too hazardous for student transportation.

Superintendent Ed Graff says rain caused roads to progressively worsen and schools would close in the interest of safety.

Anchorage retail, restaurant job openings expected

ANCHORAGE — Two retail businesses with national followings are looking to hire a few hundred Alaskans.

Cabela’s, an outdoor recreation store, says it plans to “mass-hire” 250 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees before it opens a store next spring in south Anchorage.

Construction is also underway on a new restaurant, Texas Roadhouse, in the Tikahtnu Commons shopping center. Restaurant officials say they want to hire 150 full- and part-time employees for the February opening.

The Anchorage Daily News reports hiring could be a challenge. Federal labor statistics indicate 7,000 people are seeking work in the Anchorage area.

Anchorage Economic Development Corporation director Bill Popp calls it a labor “puddle” instead of a labor pool.

The Anchorage unemployment rate is 4.7 percent, significantly below the national average of 7 percent.

Trooper find stranded man, place him under arrest

FAIRBANKS — A Fairbanks area man stranded on a snowmobile trip was found in good condition but not in good standing with the law.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner ( reports Alaska State Troopers arrested 52-year-old Joseph Gauthier on charges of violating conditions of his release on a pending criminal case.

Troopers took a call at 12:35 a.m. Wednesday that Gauthier was stranded east of Fairbanks. He had called a friend to say he had run out of gas. The friend called troopers.

Searchers found Gauthier two hours later. An officer says Gauthier was cold, tired, in good health and “highly intoxicated.”

A breath alcohol test indicated a level above the legal limit for driving. Gauthier was charged with two counts of violating release conditions.

Gauthier remained jailed Thursday at Fairbanks Correctional Center.

4 men charged with 2 Anchorage robberies

ANCHORAGE — Four Anchorage men have been charged with committing two robberies within an hour.

The Anchorage Daily News ( reports 23-year-old Miracle Tulimasealii, 18-year-old Tusa Tanuvasa, 20-year-old Siaosi Sila and 22-year-old Lonnie Reed, Jr., were arrested.

Spokeswoman Jennifer Castro says three men armed with handguns and a shotgun entered the Hampton Inn on Credit Union Drive at about 1:15 a.m. Saturday and took money from a front counter attendant. A fourth man drove them off.

At 2:07, three armed men entered a Dimond Boulevard Chevron station and forced an employee to the ground. One man fired shotgun rounds at an automated teller machine, which didn’t open.

The men left with money and cigarettes.

Police investigating another incident arrested the men at 2:30 a.m. at an A Street motel.

Injured Mount St. Helens climber now in hospital

STEVENSON, Wash. — A woman who was injured in a fall on Mount St. Helens was airlifted by rescuers Thursday and taken to a Vancouver hospital.

The Skamania County sheriff’s office says 28-year-old Alana McCammon of Vancouver fell into a snow cave Wednesday night at about the 7,000-foot level of the volcano in southwest Washington. She was with 25-year-old Kyle Knight of Petersburg, Alaska.

The sheriff’s office received a call for help and rescuers reached her overnight. She was stabilized until she was airlifted off the mountain by a helicopter at daylight.

McCammon was taken by ambulance to PeaceHealth Medical Center in Vancouver. Spokeswoman Michelle Halfhill says she was admitted in satisfactory condition.


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