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New ferry starts next week
JUNEAU - The Inter-island Ferry Authority begins service in the southern Panhandle on Tuesday.
The Alaska Marine Highway System has started a transition in which it will quickly phase out sailings of the state ferry LeConte between Ketchikan and Hollis, making way for the IFA vessel Prince of Wales.
The LeConte's scheduled sailings at 11 p.m. Tuesday, from Ketchikan to Hollis, and at 2:45 a.m. Wednesday, from Hollis to Ketchikan, have been canceled. Travelers can contact IFA at (866) 308-4848.
The LeConte will maintain its published schedule during the rest of the day Wednesday.
The IFA, a public corporation formed by the municipalities of Craig, Klawock, Thorne Bay, Coffman Cove, Wrangell and Petersburg, will provide daily round-trip passenger and vehicle service between Hollis and Ketchikan. The Prince of Wales can carry 150 passengers and 30 vehicles at a speed of 15 knots.
Congress recently approved $10 million for a second IFA vessel, which would connect northern Prince of Wales Island with Wrangell and Petersburg. The state also has agreed to release $2.25 million in federal funds earlier designated for the project, according to the IFA. The second vessel will be called the Stikine.
Prosecutor wants trial in state
ANCHORAGE - A federal prosecutor says publicity surrounding damage to an Anchorage businessman's printing shop is not enough to warrant moving his bank fraud trial out of the state.
Assistant U.S. attorney Dan Cooper filed a motion Thursday opposing the federal defender's request to move the trial, arguing there is not enough publicity to prejudice the juror pool.
Nezar "Mike" Maad, former owner of Frontier Printing Services, was charged in December with two counts of falsifying loan applications, one count of wire fraud and two counts of making false statements to the government.
The alleged fraud was uncovered during an investigation into what was first thought to be a hate crime at Maad's print shop. The vandalism spree occurred after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In addition to damage done to equipment, the words "We hate Arabs" was written on a wall of the shop. Maad is Arab-American. Prosecutors now say Maad is suspected of causing the damage at the shop.
Cooper said that although a defendant is entitled to an impartial jury, he is not entitled to a jury "completely ignorant of the facts."
Suit filed in parade death of teen
FAIRBANKS - The mother of a North Pole teen crushed to death by a truck pulling a float in a parade last July has filed a negligence lawsuit.
David Truex, 15, had been walking beside the float handing out fliers during the Golden Days Parade on July 28. While the float was moving at about 2 mph, Truex tripped and fell under a tire as he tried to climb onto a step between the truck and the trailer.
Leanne Kozie, Truex's mother, is suing the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, truck driver John Sadler and Airport Equipment Rental, which owns the truck.
"Nobody is saying there was any maliciousness or ill well," said Bill Satterberg, Kozie's lawyer in the civil suit. "It was a terrible tragedy." But, Satterberg says appropriate precautions that could have prevented the tragedy were not taken.
The lawsuit seeks more than $100,000 for "emotional distress" Kozie suffered. Police determined Truex's death was accidental.