Man found dead in van
JUNEAU - A 39-year-old man was found dead shortly after midnight today in a van parked on an old mine access road above Thane Road. A friend of the deceased reported the death to the police.
Police have identified the man, but won't release his name until next-of-kin are notified.
The man apparently was living in the van, which had been parked there for an unknown period of time, police Lt. Ron Forneris said. The man was a Juneau resident for several years, police said.
There were no signs of foul play, police said, but they have requested an autopsy from the state medical examiner in Anchorage. The body is now in a Juneau funeral home.
``For virtually any unattended death, we like to figure out what the cause of death was,'' Forneris said.
State Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Propst said he's still gathering information on the deceased, including his medical history. ``The more of this (information) we gather, the less inclined we are to do an autopsy,'' he said about this case.
Sewer bills to rise
JUNEAU - Monthly sewer service bills could be $2 higher as of July 1. The Juneau Assembly voiced support for the increase at a meeting Monday evening and will most likely pass the measure next week.
The current monthly rate of $32.50 per household per month has not increased since 1992. Money from the increase will be used to fund sewage system repairs and maintenance, said assembly member John MacKinnon.
``The money will stay in the department,'' he said.
The assembly plans to raise the rate to $34.50 per month this summer, with an increase to $35.50 per month on July 1, 2000. Commercial rates will also increase from $5 to $5.25 for each 1,000 gallons this year.
Moderate quake hits Juneau
JUNEAU - An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.2 shook parts of Southeast Alaska on Monday afternoon, but there were no reports of damage or injuries.
Guy Urban, a geophysicist at the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, said the quake was centered 85 miles southwest of Haines and 115 miles west of Juneau, at a depth of about 20 miles.
It struck at 1:41 p.m. and shook some buildings in Juneau.
Region's blood supply low
JUNEAU - Red Cross officials are asking for an increase in blood donations to fill regional banks.
The holiday season drew down blood supplies, according to the Southeast Alaska chapter of the Red Cross. Liver transplants, which use a lot of blood; an increase in trauma incidents, such as severe traffic accidents; and bad weather, which kept donors home, contributed to the problem.
To donate in Juneau, call 789-2808 to set up an appointment. Most blood donations are taken from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays and 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the Red Cross office in the Jordon Creek Center.
PFD judgment rules change
JUNEAU - Under a change in the law effective late last year, individuals or businesses that have won court judgments can claim up to 80 percent of a debtor's Permanent Fund dividend. Private claims used to be capped at 55 percent.
The law took effect Sept. 10, 1998, five days before the deadline to garnish 1998 dividends. Eighty percent of the 1998 dividend of $1,540.88 came to nearly $1,233.
Creditors in bankruptcies and government agencies still have priority for garnishing a dividend, and the government can take all of it.
Of the roughly 554,000 dividends issued in 1997, government agencies and other creditors requested claims against nearly 70,000 of them, according to state figures. Claims included payments for child support, college loans, court-ordered fines and restitution, and individual judgments.
About 43,000 claims were paid in 1997, totaling $31.6 million.
Claims for the 1999 dividends can be presented to the state Department of Revenue between April 1 and Sept. 15. Courthouses offer printed guides on the details of how to do it.
Most Alaskans received 1999 dividend application forms in the mail by this week.