Alaska Digest

Posted: Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Juneau police catch suspected fuel thief

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JUNEAU - Police nabbed an alleged fuel thief Sunday evening and charged him with two misdemeanors.

Shortly after 6:20 p.m. police responded to a caller who suspected someone was stealing fuel from a Mendenhall Valley business in the 2200 block of Dunn Street.

Police said by the time they caught up with Joshua Larue, 32, he had managed to get 50 gallons.

Several crimes of heating fuel theft have been reported since the cold months began. Each loss was reported to equal hundreds of dollars.

Larue was arrested on charges of theft and criminal trespass and lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

State resolves tax dispute with BP

JUNEAU - BP PLC and the state have resolved a tax dispute that will result in a $379 million payment to the state.

Gov. Sarah Palin announced the settlement Monday.

The dispute stems from taxes assessed in 2000 and 2002, but state law precludes disclosing details of the dispute, the governor's office said.

Palin says the money will go to the state's Constitutional Budget Reserve. It's also the sum she proposed placing in the reserve during her budget rollout in early December.

In a statement, Palin says she appreciated, "BP's willingness to work with the state of Alaska and come to a fair resolution."

BP officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Collision kills driver on Wasilla road

WASILLA - A 59-year-old woman is dead after losing control of her car on an icy curve on Wasilla's Knik-Goose Bay Road.

Kathryn Gilgus died from injuries sustained when her Subaru station wagon hit oncoming traffic just before 1 p.m. Sunday.

Wasilla police say slick roads contributed to the crash.

The crash closed the road for several hours.

Cargo company opens Deadhorse office

FAIRBANKS - Northern Air Cargo says it is opening up an office in Deadhorse.

The company has been operating in the industrial outpost near Prudhoe Bay for years, but today will mark the first day it staffs a separate office for freight and mail services.

Company vice president Stephanie Holthaus says the office will lend a stronger customer service presence in the area.

Northern Air Cargo already runs offices in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Bethel.

Teen thrown from snowmobile, killed

ANCHORAGE - A 16-year-old Wasilla boy has died in a snowmobile accident on Turnagain Pass.

Alaska State Troopers say Tyler Beckham died at the scene Saturday after he hit a gully and was thrown off his machine, falling about 15 feet.

Troopers say Beckham was with friends, but they didn't see what happened.

Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters says Beckham's friends noticed he was missing and began to look for him. She says that when the friends found Beckham, he didn't have pulse.

Troopers believe the teen hit the gully, was tossed over the windshield of his snowmobile and then was struck by the machine.

Denali Borough eyes recycling options

FAIRBANKS - The Denali Borough Assembly is looking at recycling programs.

The borough plans to form a special five-member committee to research recycling options and solid-waste issues in the 1,900-resident community.

Denali Mayor Dave Talerico said notices seeking committee members will be posted.

Committee members will be appointed by the assembly.

Boutique opens for pampered pooches

ANCHORAGE - The boutique craze has arrived full-force in Anchorage - for humans and fuzzy ones alike.

Tucked in the shopping center at the corner of Tudor Road and the Old Seward Highway is Paw Prince, a luxury boutique that carries merchandise geared toward pets.

Rhinestone-encrusted collars, flannel pajamas and wool sweaters flank the walls. An entire section of the store is dedicated to scented candles, soaps and shampoos. Organic treats and super-premium pet foods are stacked neatly on shelves.

According to owner Melissa Robokoff, breed-specific merchandise is always a best-seller. Dachshunds, pugs, beagles and Yorkshire terriers appear on napkins, note cards and magnets.

"A lot of people like to pamper their pets," Robokoff said. "Their dog is like their kid. I can totally relate to that."

The idea for Paw Prince came about as Melissa and her husband, Mark Robokoff, traveled through the Lower 48.

"I was so envious of all the great pet products you could buy," she said.

Robokoff started out small, making homemade dog biscuits and selling them at craft fairs in Anchorage. She did well, selling enough biscuits to at least break even. Last summer she decided to purchase booth space at the Anchorage Downtown Market and Festival. It was there, she said, that business really took off.

Robokoff said she did so well in part because tourists were used to purchasing healthy, freshly baked pet treats, but locals flocked to her booth as well.

Judging by the success of her booth at the Downtown Market, it was clear that Anchorage was ready for a full-scale pet boutique. Dipping into their savings, the Robokoffs purchased the retail space that would become Paw Prince.

Robokoff said animal apparel is the No. 1 reason customers visit the store. Besides T-shirts that will fit dogs up to 200 pounds, Paw Prince sells fur stoles, sweaters, sleep wear and robes.

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