Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, February 16, 2007

State shops for broker to sell jet

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JUNEAU - The state is now looking for an aircraft broker to sell the corporate jet that was purchased under former Gov. Frank Murkowski.

Repeated attempts to sell the 1984 Westwind II on the Internet auction site, eBay, have all come up short.

The last try - the fourth so far - ended at just over $1.7 million. The state was hoping to reach at least a break-even price of $2.5 million.

The Alaska State Troopers' procurement office put out a request for bids from brokers on Tuesday.

Dan Spencer, director of administrative services for the Department of Public Safety, said the office will decide whether to go with a broker once they see how much it will cost the state. The bids are due Feb 20.

If the brokerage costs are too high, Spencer said they will try again on eBay.

"eBay is pretty cost effective and we've sold aircraft on there before. It's not like it will go away while we are looking at other options," Spencer said.

Murkowski pushed hard for the jet despite widespread condemnation of the purchase as extravagant. The jet is believed to have contributed to his trouncing in the November general election.

Gov. Sarah Palin put the jet up for sale when she took office in December.

Lawmakers in Hawaii recently scrapped a bill that would have set aside $1.9 million for purchase of a state jet after island residents mocked the idea.

Applications being taken for judicial seat

JUNEAU - The Judicial Council is accepting applications for a position as a superior court judge in the First Judicial District in Juneau. The vacancy was created by the retirement of Judge Larry R. Weeks.

The position is open to U.S. citizens who have been Alaska residents for the five years immediately preceding the appointment and have been actively practicing law for the same period. Prospects must be licensed to practice law in Alaska.

Application forms are available from the Alaska Judicial Council office, or online at the Council's Web site,

Completed applications must be turned in to the Judicial Council Office by 3 p.m. on March 19. For more information, call (907) 279-2526.

Mackey's lead firm at Quest's halfway point

FAIRBANKS - Top contenders in the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race said at the halfway point on Wednesday that current leader and reigning champ Lance Mackey will be hard to catch.

Mackey is so far ahead that only a wrong turn or some other disaster can keep him from winning his third straight Quest, said William Kleedehn, who was second on the leaderboard on Wednesday and several hours behind Mackey in the 1,000-mile race.

"It should be no problem for Lance. It's too much (of a deficit)," said Kleedehn. "Lance doesn't have to play any games anymore. He can rest even more than he needs to."

Kleedehn is among Mackey's biggest challengers, all of whom are facing major deficits. Mackey was the first musher to arrive at the halfway point of Dawson City, Yukon, late Tuesday night with a lively 12-dog team.

Teams are taking a mandatory 36-hour rest in Dawson City and Mackey will be allowed to leave after noon on Thursday.

Kleedehn trails Mackey by 4 hours and 22 minutes in the race from Whitehorse, Yukon, to Fairbanks.

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