Alaska Digest

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2008

Goldbelt providing security at airport

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JUNEAU - A new company is providing security at the Juneau airport.

Airport Manager Dave Palmer said Goldbelt Security went to work this week.

The change was necessary when the former contractor could not honor its contract due to a lack of staffing.

Juneau police have filled in during the interim.

Palmer said there's little difference in the monetary amount of the contacts for the two firms, but added that employing police to perform those duties was much more expensive.

FAA clears pilot in Ketchikan crash

KETCHIKAN - A spokesman for SeaWind Aviation in Ketchikan said the pilot of a company floatplane that crashed in August with fatalities has been cleared of possible regulation violations.

SeaWind Aviation spokesman Jack Davies said Steve Kamm received a letter in November from the Federal Aviation Administration. A safety inspector says the FAA concluded its investigation and cleared Kamm.

The agency reviewed whether there were enough seats and seat belts for all passengers and if weather conditions were adequate for safe flight.

Five passengers died in the crash and another died of her injuries seven weeks later. Four others on board were injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board also is investigating the crash.

Judge: Alaska Grown is Alaska's own

JUNEAU - The bright blue, gold and green Alaska Grown logo is the property of the state of Alaska and not of the regional farm bureau that tried to claim it.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Jack Smith has determined that the Alaska Division of Agriculture and not the Matanuska Susitna Chapter Alaska Farm Bureau owns the licensing rights for the logo.

The bureau claimed it acquired the rights, using it on T-shirts and other apparel for 20 years.

Assistant Attorney General Steve Ross said it was important to protect an asset used by more than 340 groups statewide on Alaska produce and products.

Gravel's health puts campaign on pause

MANCHESTER, N.H. - Former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska had a tough primary day in New Hampshire, getting more help from doctors than voters.

He spent Tuesday morning undergoing tests at a hospital for what turned out to be a respiratory infection, and then spent the evening watching election returns that showed him barely visible.

"I'm trying to make a dent, trying to beat (Bill) Richardson and (Dennis) Kucinich," he said of two rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination. But with more than half the returns in, he was a distant sixth among active candidates, with a fraction of 1 percent, well behind the New Mexico governor and Ohio congressman.

Gravel, 77, who served two Senate terms and live in Arlington, Va., said he will take time off from campaigning at doctors' recommendations to get well.

"I need to get healthy," he said. "There's no sense running myself into the ground."

Gravel wants to empower voters through means including letting them initiate federal legislation.

APOC director Miles to retire next March

ANCHORAGE - The executive director of the Alaska Public Offices Commission is retiring.

Brooke Miles told the Alaska Public Radio Network that March 7 will be her final day on the job.

It will be up to the five-member commission to appoint her successor.

The state agency administers Alaska's disclosure statutes and publishes financial information regarding the activities of election campaigns, public officials, lobbyists and lobbyist employers.

APOC is investigating whether political candidates accepted polls illegally paid for by the now-defunct VECO Corp.

Convicted former executives testified in September that they provided about 100 of the illegal polls.

Miles has been with APOC for 25 years, the last seven as executive director.

Fishing boat captain honored for rescue

ANCHORAGE - The Coast Guard has presented its Meritorious Public Service Award to a fishing boat captain credited with rescuing three members of a disabled sailing vessel.

Marc Lashua received the award Tuesday in Seattle.

The Luck Dragon, with a crew of three onboard, became disabled Oct. 3, 65 nautical miles east of St. George Island, in the Bering Sea.

Lashua and his crew diverted 20 miles to aid the sailing vessel, which was adrift in 35-knot winds.

Lashua was able to rescue the three crew members, who were not injured. Lashua then traveled 30 hours to deliver the Luck Dragon crew to Dutch Harbor.

Ex-post office official charged with assault

ANCHORAGE - A former top official at the Kipnuk Post Office has been charged in federal court with assaulting two fellow employees.

Harvey Fox was arraigned Tuesday on a federal indictment charging him with assaulting and intimidating two postal employees.

The eight-count indictment named the 45-year-old Kipnuk man as the sole defendant.

Federal officials accuse Fox of assault and intimidation of the two employees between June 2005 and October 2007. Fox had worked at the post office since 2000, and for about two weeks, until Oct. 11, was the officer in charge.

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