Alaska Digest

Posted: Thursday, January 15, 2004

Staff and wire reports

Cocaine seized, man arrested

JUNEAU - Alaska State Troopers reported Wednesday that they arrested a 20-year-old man after seizing a pound of cocaine during a search of his home near North Douglas Highway.

Greg O. Brown was charged with one count of third-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance after his arrest Monday.

On Sunday, Petersburg police officers contacted a passenger aboard the state ferry Malaspina, seizing cocaine that officers determined to be destined for Juneau. Investigators delivered the drug to its intended recipient before serving the warrant.

In addition to other evidence, a .45-caliber gun was seized during the search, troopers reported.

The pound of cocaine could have been divided into more than 1,300 doses, according to the report.

In addition to troopers and the Petersburg police, the investigation and arrest involved Juneau police, the Alaska Bureau of Wildlife Enforcement and Southeast Alaska Cities Against Drugs.

Sitkans against roadless repeal

SITKA - About 100 demonstrators gathered outside the U.S. Forest Service District Office on Wednesday morning to protest the Bush administration's Dec. 23 decision to repeal the "roadless rule" on the Tongass National Forest.

Holding blank signs and wearing white mouth gags to signify that opposition to the roadless rule repeal continues to go unheard, the protesters stood in the rain from 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. as Forest Service employees arrived for work.

Protesters held up a 15-foot banner that said, "Tongass BUSH-Whacked: Will of the People Ignored," and sang "This Land is Your Land" and "We Shall Overcome."

Kenyon Fields, executive director of the Sitka Conservation Society, said the protest was not directed at the local Forest Service offices but at the Bush administration, which he said has "totally ignored the democratic process."

Fields said more than 2.5 million comments were submitted on the roadless rule and 98 percent supported keeping the rule intact. The Bush administration went ahead with repealing the Clinton-era rule.

Anchorage schools look at cuts

ANCHORAGE - The head of Anchorage schools is proposing drastic cuts to cope with a $26 million deficit in the $397 million school operating budget.

Anchorage School Superintendent Carol Comeau says 332 staff positions will have to be cut, funding for community schools eliminated, and class sizes in all grades increased.

The cuts would touch virtually every segment of public school education in Anchorage, from elementary and middle school reading programs to high school sports teams.

About half the 332 positions recommended for elimination are teaching positions.

The deficit is the largest Anchorage schools have faced since oil prices crashed in the mid-1980s.

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