Northwest Digest

Posted: Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Man sentenced to 20 years for murder

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ANCHORAGE - A man was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday for suffocating his fiancee with a pillow, then dumping her beaten body in a creek.

Brian Hurley, 43, had been charged with second-degree murder in the slaying of 28-year-old Isabell Matthews.

Matthews was found dead Dec. 10, 2005, near the mouth of a creek in Anchor Point, more than 200 miles from the couple's apartment in south Anchorage. Her body was wrapped in black plastic bags and tied to a sled.

Hurley was found wandering in a daze nearby wearing only one shoe.

He had a record of more than 15 years of abusing wives, girlfriends, children and animals. Previous wives, family members and roommates had sought restraining orders against Hurley, according to court records.

Hurley insisted the death was accidental.

Corps of Engineers reissues mine permit

ANCHORAGE - The Army Corps of Engineers has reinstated a permit that will allow construction of the Rock Creek Mine near Nome.

The permit was issued Aug. 21. The corps suspended the permit Dec. 6 in response to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by Trustees for Alaska and the Western Mining Action Project.

The plaintiffs took issue with plans that called for the use of toxic chemicals to extract gold. The plaintiffs claimed that the agency violated the National Environmental Policy Act by issuing a permit for the mine and mill project without preparing an environmental assessment to independently determine effects on human health and the environment.

They also claimed that the agency did not consult with local tribes to satisfy National Historic Preservation Act requirements.

Corps officials announced Tuesday that they had determined that Alaska Gold Co.'s permit was consistent with applicable laws and regulations.

The permit is expected to become effective March 13 when the final paperwork is signed by Col. Kevin J. Wilson, commander of the Alaska District.

"I'm confident that this decision is a positive reflection of our efforts to provide an equitable balance that is in the public's best interest," Wilson said.

The corps reached a "finding of no significant impact" in an environmental assessment.

Official kills moose wounded by arrow

KENAI - A wildlife official destroyed a moose which had been severely injured by an arrow. William McLeod, 57, of Kenai, turned himself in, saying the injury was an accident.

"When we found her we could tell right away she was hurting," said Larry Lewis of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The arrow was embedded deep in the stomach.

Lewis shot the suffering animal Feb. 14 after determining there was nothing he could do for it. A local charity was called to collect the meat. Authorities backtracked the blood trail.

"We were able to narrow it down to a few houses where we started talking to people," said Lt. Steve Bear of the Bureau of Wildlife Enforcement.

McLeod said he shot the moose in an attempt to dissuade the animal from threatening his pet dog, Bear said.

McLeod told Bear he had removed the tip of the arrow with the intent of scaring off the animal, not hurting it. Lewis confirmed there was no point on the arrow.

Troopers believe McLeod's story, since he turned himself in and seemed emotionally distraught, Bear said.

"We don't feel poaching was in any way McLeod's intent, but we can't forget about it either, so he will be charged with taking a cow moose out of season," Bear said.

Airport job fair to be held Saturday

ANCHORAGE - Over 400 jobs will be available at the 2007 Alaska Transportation Career and Airport Job Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport - North Terminal.

Companies participating in the Job Fair include Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, FedEx, TSA, FAA, Swissport, Budget Car Rental, Avis Car Rental and the Alaska Railroad. Most jobs require applicant to be at least 18 years old, but not all. Concessions at the Airport such as Starbuck's and Chili's require applicants to be at least 16 years old.

There are many summer jobs available, full-time, part-time and permanent. Parents are encouraged to send their high school seniors to this job fair or stop by themselves if their kids are in college. Parking is free. Call Linda Bustamante at (907) 266-2107 for details.

Airport in N. Dakota named for Eielson

MAYVILLE, N.D. - A new airport in North Dakota will be named for pioneer aviator Carl Ben Eielson.

Eielson made history in 1921 by providing the first air mail service in Alaska, flying between Fairbanks and McGrath in four hours. It's a distance that took dog sleds 20 days to cover.

The Carl Ben Eielson Regional Airport is expected to be completed by 2010. Eielson's birthplace in Hatton is about 10 miles from the airport.

Eielson also is known for flying the first airplane across the Arctic Ocean, along with Australian explorer Hubert Wilkins, in 1928. They later flew air explorations over the Antarctic Ocean.

Eielson and a co-pilot died in a 1929 crash in Siberia while attempting to rescue 15 passengers of the Nanuk, a cargo vessel trapped in ice.

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