State Briefs

Posted: Sunday, January 05, 2003

Inaugural celebrations planned

JUNEAU - The Juneau inaugural celebration for Gov. Frank Murkowski will be held on Saturday, Jan. 25.

Activities include an indoor parade for families at the Nugget Mall beginning at 1:30 p.m. Punch, coffee and cookies will be served.

The inaugural balls will be held at Centennial Hall, the Goldbelt Hotel and Merchant's Wharf beginning at 8:30 p.m.

Reserved tickets are no longer available, but open-seating tickets may be purchased at both Hearthside Books locations for $35.

For more information contact the Juneau Chamber of Commerce at 586-1790.

Sex offender faces charges for playing Santa

KETCHIKAN - A 62-year-old Ketchikan man faces possible revocation of his probation for playing Santa Claus. Roger L. Bailey was convicted in 1995 of felony sexual abuse of a minor, and his probation limits his contact with children.

According to an affidavit filed in court by the Ketchikan adult probation office, Bailey had children on his lap during a Dec. 22 Christmas party at the Saxman Salvation Army Church.

Witnesses told Alaska State Troopers that Bailey had dressed as Santa Claus earlier as well, entered residences and held children on his lap as he passed out candy canes.

Bailey did not tell parents or Salvation Army officials that he was a convicted sex offender who was not allowed to be around children, according to the affidavit.

As part of his probation, Bailey was ordered to have no contact with children younger than 16 without approved adult supervision until his probationary period ends in May 2004.

Norquest interested in Ketchikan plant

KETCHIKAN - Norquest Seafoods is interested in purchasing a fish-processing operation in Ketchikan now owned by Wards Cove Packing Co., which announced recently it was shutting down all nine of its salmon processing plants in Alaska.

Seattle-based Norquest, already owner of Ketchikan's Silver Lining Seafoods, plans to discuss purchasing the E.C. Phillips plant, which shut down Dec. 12.

City Mayor Bob Weinstein said Thursday he had talked with Terry Gardiner, president of Norquest, and that Gardiner confirmed his company's interest in E.C. Phillips.

Both E.C. Phillips and the north-end Wards Cove cannery are owned by Wards Cove, which was founded in Ketchikan in 1928.

If the purchase is completed, Norquest intends to run both Silver Lining and E.C. Phillips, the mayor said Gardiner told him.

Tacoma man charged with trying to kill second person

FAIRBANKS - A Washington state man - already charged with murdering Teacka Bacote, a Fairbanks woman, and setting fire to her apartment to cover up the crime - has been charged with trying to kill a second person the same day, according to court documents.

Jason Wallace, 22, of Tacoma, Wash., was charged Thursday with attempted murder and first-degree assault in the Dec. 27 stabbing of Corey Spears. The indictment was made public Friday.

Wallace is being held on $2 million bail in the case, which has also been linked to the Dec. 24 killings of two men - one of them the boyfriend of the slain Fairbanks woman - in northern California.

Wallace was arrested on a third-degree assault charge in the attack on Spears after troopers interviewed Spears at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

Further investigation revealed the assault was more serious, trooper Sgt. Scott Grasle said.

"We believe there was an intent to kill," he said.

After his arrest, Wallace was charged with murder and arson in Bacote's death. Her body was found Dec. 27 in the burned apartment she had shared with Spears just outside Fairbanks.

Wallace is scheduled for arraignment Monday on the attempted-murder and assault charges in Fairbanks Superior Court.

Authorities have linked Bacote's murder to the Christmas Eve killings of two men - her boyfriend, Hakeem Bryant, 25, of Fairbanks and Christopher Martin, 27, of Olympia, Wash. - in northern California.

The bodies of the two men were found a half-mile apart on Interstate 5 near the town of Castella. No charges have been filed in their deaths.

On Monday, William Z. Holmes of Fairbanks was charged with arson in Washington state for burning a car believed to have been used in the northern California killings. Holmes is being held in Lewis County on $1 million bail.

Martin's girlfriend has told police the men were carrying about $70,000 and were planning a drug transaction, according to documents filed in Holmes' arson case.

Banks warned to watch out for phony state checks

ANCHORAGE - Alaska's commissioner of revenue is warning banks to question any large state checks made out to individuals.

The warning comes after Anchorage banks reported cashing carefully crafted phony checks of more than $46,000 in late December, the state Department of Revenue said Friday.

"We're advising banks and other businesses to ask for photo identification and to question large checks made out to individuals," said Revenue Commissioner Bill Corbus.

Fourteen checks, all dated Dec. 24, were accepted in Anchorage between Dec. 27 and Dec. 30.

Larry Persily, deputy commissioner of revenue, said it was the second time in six months that counterfeit state checks have turned up in Anchorage.

In July, more than $26,000 in fake state checks were passed off as the real thing. Most of the checks were passed at check-cashing businesses, Persily said.

Persily said the latest fakes probably were made by someone who has a computer, a laser printer and a copy of a real state check.

All of the December checks were written on the state's general fund account and the Anchorage Trial Courts trust account that, among other things, is used to return bail money. "These are not payroll checks," Persily said. "These are the kind of checks the state would use to pay its bills."

All of the fake checks were made out to individuals, Persily said. One was for $3,881.38; the 13 others were each for $3,261.26.

"We would like to reward this person's entrepreneurial spirit with a jail sentence," he said.



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