Alaska Digest

Posted: Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Weather to start warming up this week

JUNEAU - The temperature at the federal building peaked at 5 degrees Monday, but sustained winds of 20 to 25 miles per hour kept the wind chill in the 20-below-zero range, said Michael Mitchell, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.

"So far we've had no records broken," he said. "It's cold, but this is typically the coldest time of the year here."

The National Weather Service expected this morning to be even colder, with a low of 3-below at the federal building and 10-below in the Mendenhall Valley, Mitchell said. High winds were expected to remain a factor today as well.

The cold snap began on Saturday, when the high was about 25 degrees, Mitchell said. Sunday morning, the thermometer was at 10 degrees and fell from there.

A temperature of zero degrees and sustained winds of 30 mph can yield a wind chill of minus 26, Mitchell said.

Juneau's weather should begin the "long process" or warming up on Wednesday, Mitchell said. By Saturday, the high is expected to be around 29, with snow likely.

Pledge triples reward in stabbing case

JUNEAU - Crime Line is now offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible for attacking cab driver Eric Drake during a Jan. 7 armed robbery.

Police reported Monday that Crime Line received an anonymous pledge of $2,000. Crime Line already had been offering a $1,000 reward.

Callers to Crime Line are guaranteed anonymity. The nonprofit organization composed of a cross-section of the community has a system to distribute awards anonymously.

Juneau Taxi and Tours has offered a $500 reward since the day after the robbery.

Drake went through about eight hours of surgery after sustaining numerous knife wounds during the robbery. More than six hours of surgery involved injuries to his hands.

Juneau police reported Monday that the department continues to receive leads concerning the case, and the investigation is ongoing.

The man and woman sought in the attack were described as appearing to be Native Alaskan, in their late teens or early 20s.

The man was described as standing 5 feet, 8 inches or 5 feet, 9 inches tall, weighing about 160 pounds and wearing baggy blue jeans and a gray pullover sweatshirt. The woman was described as about 5 feet, 7 inches tall, weighing about 170 pounds and wearing blue jeans and a gray hooded sweatshirt.

Firefighters extinguish Monday blaze

JUNEAU - Capital City Fire & Rescue officials estimated that a Monday morning blaze on Skywood Lane in the Mendenhall Valley did about $8,000 in damage.

At 11:03 a.m., 20 firefighters responded to a report of a chimney stack fire. Flames were visible around the outside of the building when they arrived.

The investigation revealed that the fire started on the outside of the building. They ventilated the residence and investigated the extent of the damage.

House Republicans sanction Lynn for vote

JUNEAU - Anchorage Republican Rep. Bob Lynn was formally sanctioned by the GOP-controlled House on Monday for siding with Democrats trying to restore funding for the senior citizen Longevity Bonus program.

Democrats voted against the move during floor action on Monday, but 24 Republicans - including Lynn - supported the sanctions. Lynn, who remains a member of the two committees, said the matter should be closed.

Lynn was removed as chairman of the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs. In addition, he was removed as vice chair of the House Labor and Commerce Committee.

Rep. Nick Stepovich, a Fairbanks Republican, was named to head the military and veterans committee and Rep. Carl Gatto, a Palmer Republican, will be vice chair of labor.

State picks shorter route for road to reserve

ANCHORAGE - State planners have decided the best way to connect National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska oil and gas leases with the North Slope road system is to extend the Spine Road that runs through the Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk fields straight west across the Colville River.

The Spine Road starts at the Dalton Highway, the road that connects the North Slope to the state road system. From Deadhorse, the Spine Road - actually a series of roadway extensions built over the past 30 years of North Slope development - extends westward 57 miles, passing drilling pads and production facilities along the way.

The decision to extend it to NPR-A leases is a change from earlier plans to build a much longer, year-round gravel road from Pump Station No. 2 on the Dalton Highway south of North Slope operations at Deadhorse, then running west through the Foothills region before looping back north to the Colville River crossing and NPR-A.

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