Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, February 23, 2007

Thane Road closed for avalanche control

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JUNEAU - Thane Road will be closed to through traffic between 10 a.m. and noon today while authorities conduct avalanche control shoots.

Weather permitting, the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Southeast Region will fire shots across Gastineau Channel from the Treadwell Mine area on Douglas Island to the west slope of Mount Roberts.

Alaskan soldier killed by bomb in Iraq

FORT DRUM, N.Y. - Three 10th Mountain Division soldiers killed in Iraq when their vehicle was struck Monday by a bomb were identified Thursday by the Pentagon.

Killed were Sgt. Shawn Dunkin, Pfc. Matthew Bowe and Pfc. Adare Cleveland. All three were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment.

Two other soldiers were injured in the attack.

Cleveland, 19, of Anchorage, Alaska, was a cavalry scout. He joined the Army in July 2005 and completed basic and advanced individual training at Fort Knox.

He is survived by his mother and his father.

Third dog dies in Yukon Quest race

FAIRBANKS - The death Thursday of a 6-year-old dog was the third of this year's Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

The dog named Hope, from Kelly Griffin's team, died early Thursday morning after Griffin left the Chena Hot Springs checkpoint, 99 miles from the Fairbanks finish line.

"Apparently, 21/2 hours out of Chena Hot Springs, one of Kelly's dogs dropped and by the time she got up there, it had expired," race marshal Mike McCowan said Thursday.

Griffin put the dog in her sled bag and notified officials upon reaching Pleasant Valley Store, at Mile 23 of Chena Hot Springs Road, in Two Rivers, McCowan said. The dog was pronounced dead in Two Rivers. A necropsy was conducted, but results were not immediately available.

Mushers Yuka Honda and Brent Sass also had dogs die during this Quest. The most recent deaths before this year were in 2002.

Lance Mackey won the race Tuesday, his third consecutive victory.

New indictment holds Hayes liable for more

FAIRBANKS - Federal prosecutors want former Fairbanks Mayor Jim Hayes and his wife to return federal grant money the government says they stole, according to a new indictment filed in federal court.

The new indictment, filed Tuesday in federal court, attempts to hold the couple liable for $825,000. Prosecutors are looking for the allegedly stolen money or items bought with it.

A grand jury last month indicted the Hayeses on fraud and money laundering charges related to alleged misuse of $450,000 from a series of federal grants. The federal government said the Hayeses spent the money on themselves and on a church where Hayes is pastor.

The latest indictment factors in money the Hayeses allegedly diverted from LOVE Social Services Center, the nonprofit where Chris Hayes is executive director.

Anchorage attorney John Murtagh, who has agreed to represent Jim Hayes in court, said the fresh indictment will require the couple to enter new pleas in court Friday. Murtagh expects both will again submit "not guilty" pleas.

The couple had appeared in federal district court in Fairbanks Feb. 9 without attorneys and were assigned a public defender.

Hayes has refused Gov. Sarah Palin's request that he resign from his position as a university regent in light of the indictment.

Tennessee tourism ad uses Alaska photo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - One of the advertisements in a national campaign by state tourism officials to attract mountain bikers to Tennessee shows a photograph taken in Alaska.

The photo in the ad was first featured in National Geographic magazine article in 1997 for a story about a seven-week bicycle trek across the Alaska Range, The Tennessean reported Wednesday.

"You don't just visit Tennessee. You experience it. Engage it. Challenge it. And, at any point on our more than 1,800 miles of bike trails, love it," says the half-page ad appearing this month in Outside magazine and other publications.

The photographer who took the picture, Bill Hatcher, said Tennessee bikers would be less likely to run into the some of the obstacles he encountered on the Alaska trip, such as grizzly bears and glaciated mountain passes.

The photo was spotted in Outside by Tim Woody, an avid cyclist of Anchorage, who said he used the original shot as the screensaver on his computer for a time. He reported its recent use by Tennessee on his blog.

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