State Briefs

Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2003

Threat investigated at Labor Department

JUNEAU - The Department of Labor locked its doors midmorning today after a caller made in an alleged death threat was against an employee, according to Juneau police.

All entrances at the Department of Labor building, at 1111 West 8th St. near the Douglas Bridge, were still locked at 11:15 a.m. to anyone attempting to enter the building.

Police later arrested a man and chared him with maikng the alleged threat.

Juneau Police Sgt. Kevin Siska would not release much information about the incident but said an officer was called to the scene to investigate an alleged threat.

More U.S. flags stolen

JUNEAU - More American flags have been stolen from the Mendenhall Valley area, police said today.

At least three more flags were reported stolen Wednesday from the residential area just north of Stephen Richards Memorial Drive, police said, bringing the total to about a dozen thefts since Saturday night.

The latest flags filched included a 10-foot flag stolen from a pole in front of a business on Trout Street and flags taken from residences on Wolfram Way and Gee Street.

Over the weekend flags were reported stolen from Thunder, Hummingbird and Park Place streets.

Police were unavailable for further comment on the pending investigation this morning.

Airport reviews taxi shelter, parking fees

JUNEAU - The Juneau Airport Board on Wednesday agreed to add a taxi shelter outside the terminal and increase long-term parking rates.

The airport is researching funding sources for the new taxi shelter, which would cost about $8,000, according to airport business manager Patty deLaBruere. The shelter would keep travelers out of the rain while they waited for a cab and could be installed in the next few months, she said.

The board also agreed to increase parking fees in the long-term lot from $7 to $9 a day and from $42 to $63 a week. The increase would take effect March 1 and cover expected shortfalls in the fiscal year 2004 budget, deLaBruere said. The increase is based on rates in other Alaska airports and would bring in another $60,000 in revenue.

The board also approved increasing the monthly parking fee in the rental car "ready" lot from $30 to $50 a space. The increase would boost revenues by $30,480, but is subject to additional review before it takes effect, she said.

Alaska Air CEO to retire in May

SEATTLE - John Kelly, chairman and chief executive of Alaska Air Group, will retire May 20 from the Seattle-based parent company of Alaska Airlines and its sister carrier, Horizon Air.

William Ayer, president of Alaska Airlines, will take over Kelly's duties as chairman and chief executive of Alaska Air Group, the company said Wednesday.

Kelly, 58, joined Alaska Airlines in 1976 as an assistant vice president of sales. He worked in several other executive positions before being named the parent company's chairman and chief executive in February 1995.

"Under John's guidance, direction and commitment, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air have become recognized as technological leaders and innovators within the airline industry," said Bruce Kennedy, chairman emeritus and Alaska Air Group board member.

Ayer, 48, will immediately assume two other roles Kelly fills - president of Alaska Air Group and chairman of Alaska Airlines, the company said.

Alaska Air shares fell 30 cents to close at $18.46 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

House OKs bill on victims' rights

JUNEAU - A bill making clear that a state victims' rights advocate can get involved in municipal cases passed the state House on Wednesday.

House Bill 68 stems from the state Office of Victims' Rights investigation into the slow response by Anchorage emergency workers to the August shootings of Glenn and Patti Godfrey. That investigation prompted questions about whether the state office had jurisdiction in the city case.

Rep. Ralph Samuels, an Anchorage Republican, introduced the bill to make clear the office can investigate such cases. He said Anchorage Mayor George Wuerch requested the legislation.

The bill passed the House 38-0 and now goes to the Senate.

Lawmakers look at shorter sessions

JUNEAU - Lawmakers are looking at a proposal to shorten legislative sessions from 120 to 90 days.

Sen. Gretchen Guess, an Anchorage Democrat, said she is sponsoring the proposed constitutional amendment because she believes legislators could get their work done more quickly if they had tighter deadlines.

The change would save about $900,000 a year, Guess told the Senate State Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

Sen. Fred Dyson, an Eagle River Republican, said he wants more information on how the switch to a shorter session has worked in other states and what experts on government think of the idea.

He questioned whether the change would shift the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches. The committee is scheduled to take the measure up again in two weeks.

Three plead guilty in gun theft case

ANCHORAGE - Two Anchorage men have pleaded guilty to stealing guns from a Fred Meyer store last month and using the guns in a home-invasion robbery. A third man, who prosecutors say drove the getaway car, also pleaded guilty.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Kristopher Panichello-Schell, 19, Clifford Leonard, 22, and Dale Dodson, 19, entered guilty pleas Tuesday in federal court in Anchorage. They face a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of probation.

Prosecutors said Panichello-Schell and Leonard smashed the glass firearms display case at a Fred Meyer store in South Anchorage Jan. 21, stole three semi-automatic pistols and ran from the store. Dodson drove the get-away car.

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