Northwest Digest

Posted: Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Woman accused in board group theft to plead not guilty

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JUNEAU - A woman charged with stealing $91,759 from the Association of Alaska School Boards will enter a plea of not guilty, her attorney said Tuesday.

Latonnie Barlow, a former accountant for the school board association in Juneau, was arrested Friday on a charge of first-degree theft. Police say the 52-year-old stole from the organization that hired her about 18 months ago to process its payroll.

Barlow's attorney, John Leque, declined to comment on the case beyond saying he will enter a not-guilty plea for her. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 7. Bond has been set at $20,000.

Barlow resigned from AASB on Jan. 12. About two weeks later, association staffers completed an internal audit and found abnormalities, according to court records.

Barlow is alleged to have deposited three checks totaling $91,759 into her personal bank account last year.

Barlow remained in Lemon Creek Correctional Center on Tuesday with bail set at $20,000.

Official mourning slated for legislator

JUNEAU - Gov. Sarah Palin ordered state flags to be flown at half-staff on Thursday in memory of former state Sen. Michael J. Colletta of Largo, Florida, who died last week. He was 82.

Colletta represented Anchorage in the Alaska state House from 1971 to 1972 and in the Alaska state Senate from 1975 through 1982.

In 1980, the Republican was one of several lawmakers who backed legislation that created the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.

"Our heartfelt condolences go out to Sen. Colletta's family and loved ones," Palin said in a prepared statement. "Mr. Colletta's contributions helped shape Alaska into the great state it is today."

Colletta owned a janitorial supply business in Anchorage. He retired to Florida in 1993. He is survived by his wife D'Artega Colletta and son Michael J. Colletta Jr.

SEARHC publicity earns top awards

SITKA - Three posters designed for the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Behavioral Health Department recently won top awards in an international awards contest, SEARHC announced Tuesday.

The designs won platinum awards in the Marketing Promotion/Campaign category in the 2006 MarCom Creative Awards contest.

The international competition is overseen by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. It attracts more than 5,000 entries a year from most of the top marketing and communication firms in the world.

Platinum is the top level of award in the contest.

The three Alaska winners featured the tagline "You can feel better. We're here to help." One poster has the headline "Feel the warmth of wellness" and a close-up photo of two people holding hands over a Tlingit blanket.

Another carries the headline "Laughter is good medicine" with a series of small photos of the eyes and mouths of people smiling and laughing. The last poster, titled "Healing takes time," features a close-up photo of a Tlingit carver working on a traditional canoe paddle.

Other Platinum winners in the category were projects promoting Toyota, Honda, the 2006 Special Olympics U.S. National Games, the U.S. Postal Service and IBM, among other organizations.

Services planned for soldier killed in Iraq

CASPER, Wyo. - Officials expected hundreds of mourners at Tuesday's funeral and graveside services for Spc. Jason Corbett, who was killed two weeks ago when his unit came under fire in Karmah, Iraq.

Gov. Dave Freudenthal and Maj. Gen. Ed Wright, Wyoming's adjutant general, were scheduled to attend the morning service at Casper's First Christian Church. Graveside services were planned for Highland Cemetery.

Corbett, formerly known as Jason Vantrease, was a 2001 graduate of Casper's Kelly Walsh High School and attended Casper College before joining the Army in 2004. He was based at Alaska's Fort Richardson.

He was shipped to Iraq in the fall, and on Jan. 15 suffered mortal injuries when his unit came under fire in Karmah.

In a statement released last week by the Wyoming National Guard, Corbett's mother, Megan Schafer, said Corbett was proud to serve his country, and did so with a smile on his face.

Stryker meeting draws complaints

WAIANAE, Hawaii - The Army's first attempt to hold a public meeting about the basing of a Stryker brigade in the islands suffered a setback Monday night when William Aila and other Hawaiian activists boycotted the gathering, saying the Army was stifling public discussion.

Other activists stayed, but spent much of the time complaining they weren't being allowed to express their views at the meeting held so the Army could prepare an environmental impact statement.

The gathering at Waianae District Park was the first of five scoping meetings scheduled for Hawaii on whether the Army should station a Stryker brigade here or in Alaska or the mainland.

Army officials set up placards explaining why they needed to create Stryker brigades, and outlining the difference between the vehicle-centered units and infantry-centered light brigade units.

Army officials refused to answer questions posed by residents in front of the others. Instead, the Army asked community members to submit their questions and concerns in writing, in declarations before one of several court reporters present, or in statements to a video camera.

Paul Thies, chief of environmental planning at the U.S. Army Environmental Command, said officials wanted to be able to give thoughtful, considered answers to the questions and that was why they did not want to provide answers at the meeting.

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