Staff and Wire reports

Posted: Friday, February 18, 2005

Flags lowered for Upicksoun

JUNEAU -Gov. Frank Murkowski ordered state flags to be flown at half-staff beginning Thursday for Joseph Upicksoun, chairman of the Arctic Slope Native Association.

Upicksoun, 73, died Monday at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. He was one of the founding members of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, served as president and chairman from 1973 to 1977 and served for 17 years on the board.

He was also an outspoken leader of the ASNA during debate in the 1960s over the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. He co-signed a letter to President Nixon asking for a veto of the 1971 law on behalf of the Inupiat Eskimos of the Arctic Slope.

Flags will remain at half-staff until Feb. 21.

Opera to GO! presents Mozart poetry slam

JUNEAU -Opera to GO! will present the first-ever Mozart Poetry Slam at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Friendly Planet, 200 Seward Street.

The evening will include eight full Mozart arias, sung by the cast of Opera to GO!'s upcoming presentation of "Mozart Reimagined," and eight Mozart-related poems, read by University of Alaska Southeast students and faculty, community members, Joyce Parry Moore and visiting German guest artist Michael Kerstan.

Doug Smith will accompany the singers on the Friendly Planet piano.

Admission is $10 for general admission, $7 for students.

"The idea is to juxtapose the creative and the interprestive, which is in a way, at the heart of our show that's coming up," Parry Moore said.

"Mozart Reimagined" opens on Friday, March 4, at McPhetres Hall, with a preview on Thursday, March 3.

"Mozart was having the same kind of problems with money and love that we have today, and he died when he was 35," Parry Moore said. "This project really encourages young adults to come and think about their own creative experiences."

14-year-old stabbed on school bus

ANCHORAGE - A 13-year-old boy was taken into custody after an altercation broke out on a school bus and the boy allegedly stabbed another boy with a pocket knife, Anchorage police said.

The boy could face charges of felony assault in the attack on the other boy, who is one year older, Anchorage police said.

The 13-year-old was in custody at the McLaughlin Youth Center.

The victim was taken to a local hospital with superficial wounds to his head, neck and shoulder inflicted with the 3-inch knife.

The two boys were on their way home from Romig Middle School just after 3 p.m. Wednesday when the fight broke out, police said. The bus, operated by First Student Inc., was more than halfway through its route, and about a half-dozen children were still aboard when the boys began calling each other names.

Neither boy has a history of problems in school, Superintendent Carol Comeau said.

Woman credits smoke detector

FAIRBANKS - Ruby Graham's smoke detector near her kitchen kept going off when she cooked, so she took out the battery for good one day.

Then, during a free fire safety inspection by the Ester Volunteer Fire Department last fall, the 67-year-old woman had a new smoke detector installed farther from the kitchen.

On Tuesday, the new smoke detector saved Graham's life, she said.

A fire started under the floor of Graham's bathroom, which is across the hall from the bedroom where she slept.

"I'm quite positive I wouldn't have been able to get out if not alerted by that smoke detector," Graham said. "The fire went too fast."

At about 4 a.m., Graham heard the detector's beeping. She could see the smoke. Still wearing her nightgown, she grabbed her purse, coat, shoes, dog and harp and ran out the front door.

Nine plead guilty in drug trafficking case

ANCHORAGE - Nine people pleaded guilty to various charges connected with a drug trafficking ring that brought large amounts of cocaine to Alaska from other parts of the United States, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The nine were arrested last May following the seizure of 10 kilograms of cocaine, over 300 grams of crack cocaine and $283,880 in cash.

Detrich Covington, 24, Darrell Moss, 24, and Ashley Matthews, 22, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage. Four other defendants - Ameen Abdul-Jillil, 24, Ray McCall, 36, Darrel Davis, 40, and Leslie Collins, 45, - pleaded guilty to drug trafficking conspiracy and money laundering.

Mathews, Chynna Jones, 24, and Chaniqua Kitt, 24, also pleaded guilty to money laundering.

All the defendants except Kitt live in Anchorage. Kitt is from Phoenix, Arizona.

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