Alaska Digest

Posted: Monday, January 15, 2007

Young fishermen's summit scheduled

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JUNEAU - The Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program is hosting a two-day symposium to help young commercial fishermen.

The "Alaska Young Fishermen's Summit" is scheduled Jan. 25-26 at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage.

Designed for fishermen under 40 or those in the business for less than five years, the meeting aims to build leadership by addressing three main topics: business management, the fisheries management process, and understanding Alaskan seafood's role in the world marketplace - including the importance of producing a quality product.

Each topic will be addressed by panels of industry leaders and established fishermen.

For more information, contact Sunny Rice, Alaska Seagrant Marine Advisory Program, at (907) 772-3381 or sunny.rice@uaf.edu, or visit the Marine Advisory Program Web site at www.marineadvisory.org/ayfs.

Missile defense radar on its way to Kodiak

KODIAK - The sea-based radar considered a key to the nation's missile defense shield has left Hawaii for it home port of Adak, Alaska, at the end of the Aleutian Chain.

The sea-based X-band radar, or SBX, is part of the Missile Defense Agency's $43 billion program and is used to track missile launches. It looks like a giant golf ball sitting atop a 27-story, partially submersible oil rig.

The radar has been in Hawaii for repairs. It has never been to its home port.

The radar was on course to Adak more than 10 months ago but turned back to Hawaii after experiencing ballast problems.

It is intended to detect the launch of missiles from hostile nations, such as North Korea, and to guide U.S. missiles to intercept them.

The system can pinpoint a ping pong ball 3,000 miles away with its powerful, high-frequency radar, making detailed, long-range imagery possible at the North American Aerospace Defense Command on Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Public comments on Kenai River rules

KENAI - More than 500 public comments have been submitted on proposed changes to regulations governing outboard motors on the Kenai River and most oppose changes.

One proposed regulation change would raise boat outboard limits to 50 horsepower. The other would ban the dirtiest class of motors in the Kenai River Special Management Area.

The latter, the proposal to ban two-stroke motors that are not direct fuel injected, received more support. Forty-four percent of the comments supported the proposal to ban conventional two-stroke motors after January 2008.

Similarly, 40 percent supported the proposal to change horsepower limits from 35 to 50.

People supporting the change in horsepower limits said it would help reduce erosion from boat wakes by enabling boats to plane over water instead of plowing through it.

Comments supporting a ban on conventional two-stroke motors, which release about 10 times as many hydrocarbons as do four-stroke motors, said the change would reduce elevated hydrocarbon levels in the Kenai River.

Kalskag mourns death of two women

ANCHORAGE - A truck crash that killed two young Kalskag women has hit the small southwest Alaska community hard.

Tiffany Samuelson, 18, and Veronica Turner, 19, were killed late Thursday night.

They were part of a group of five young people driving around and drinking whiskey when their extended-bed truck slid out of control and slammed into a tree, said Alaska state trooper Teague Widmier of Bethel.

Stanley Michaelson, 20, suffered a broken leg and Charissa Evan, 17, suffered internal injuries in the crash. Both were taken to the Bethel hospital, then flown to a hospital in Anchorage, Widmier said.

Driver Kenneth Morgan Jr., 20, scratched his eye in the accident.

Several bottles of whiskey were found in the vehicle, Widmier said. Morgan admitted drinking alcohol before the crash, Widmier said.

Kalskag's school made plans to fly in grief counselors to work with students "to lessen the pain," said principal William Gilliland. Local youth know each other well, he said.

"It's hit us very hard," he said. "These were great kids."

Lower Kalskag, population 252, is on the north bank of the Kuskokwim River, 2 miles down river from Upper Kalskag, population 276.

Kodiak man pleads no contest in assault

KODIAK - A man who drove into an 8-year-old boy last October has pleaded no contest to three misdemeanor charges.

Larry Goss, 39, was sentenced to nine months in jail and 10 years on probation. In return, prosecutors agreed to drop two felony assault charges.

The sentencing closes a chapter on a case that resulted in an injured boy and a question of who was behind the wheel of the pickup truck that struck him on Rezanof Drive West in front of the Best Western Kodiak Inn.

At the accident scene Oct. 21 accident, Goss told police he was a passenger.

Goss' longtime partner, Cindy Rossiter, claimed to be the driver and was arrested. The couple's stories matched at the time, according to police affidavits.

Within a week, Goss was attempting to turn himself in and Kodiak police began seeking witnesses who may have seen the accident.

Kodiak District Attorney Michael Gray praised police investigators for investigating a case that lacked witnesses and in which they were told lies.

"With the misidentification and the lack of witnesses, and the sort of lying that was going on from the start, this was difficult case," Gray said.

The boy suffered severe head trauma and was flown to an Anchorage hospital. He was able, however, to return to school within two weeks.

As part of his sentence, Goss is to pay $2,500 in restitution.

Felony assault charges against Rossiter were eventually dropped. She is released to a third-party custodian and faces drug possession charges filed before the accident.



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