State and local briefly

Posted: Thursday, March 02, 2000

Douglas fire traced to wiring

JUNEAU - A fire Feb. 14 in a Douglas duplex has been determined to be of electrical origin.

Police officer Mike Tagaban has been investigating the fire, which began early in the morning near a microwave oven in a kitchen on the duplex's upper floor on Fifth Street.

``I did a real thorough investigation and both the private investigator for the insurance company and I determined that it was the result of a wiring failure in the kitchen,'' Tagaban said Wednesday,

Duplex owner Richard Lee purchased the building in 1999 and was not sure of its age.

``First we removed personal contents,'' he said. ``We have now gone in and are ripping out all the charred remains so we can get things cleaned. We are going to rewire the whole place and completely gut the upstairs where the fire was.''

Lee said the assessed value of the structure was about $220,000. He was still discussing with his insurance company the estimate of damage as a result of the fire.

Toxic paint ban measure moving

JUNEAU - A bill that would remove an exemption that allows big ships to use a particularly toxic type of bottom paint in Alaska waters moved out of the Senate Resources Committee on Wednesday.

The next legislative stop for Senate Bill 266 is the Senate floor.

Sen. Loren Leman, an Anchorage Republican sponsoring the measure, said the exemption would be removed in 2001. The exemption allows large ships such as cruise ships to ply Alaska waters with a bottom paint containing a tin-based toxin on their hulls.

The paint, which includes Tributylin as an ingredient, is designed to kill barnacles and other organisms, by sluffing off into the water.

A ban being considered by an international regulatory body could go into effect as early as 2003, though no final decision has been made.

Though ships wouldn't be required to be stripped of paint already coating their hulls, no new applications of the paint would be permitted for Alaska-bound ships after 2001. The paint lasts about five years, Leman said.

``Basically you've got a year to use it, then it's over,'' said Leman.

He said he's been in contact with industries who'd be affected by the measure, including cruise ship companies. Though the bill would remove some of the present ban's exemptions, aluminum-hulled vessels could still be coated with the paint.

Second quake in week shakes Cordova

PALMER - An earthquake in the Gulf of Alaska 20 miles south of Cordova was felt in the coastal town Wednesday afternoon, according to Guy Urban of the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center. The quake at 2:05 p.m. had a magnitude of 5.3, Urban said.

Cordova residents felt the tremor, but there were no reports of injuries or damage.

A similar earthquake shook the town just four days earlier. That quake also was centered 20 miles south of town, and it also had a magnitude of 5.3.

Child molester sentenced to eight years

FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks man has been sent to prison for more than eight years for molesting an 8-year-old girl.

Michael Carpentino, 20, was convicted of four counts of sexual abuse of a minor in November. He was acquitted on three other counts. The incidents occurred between June and December 1998.

Prosecutors say the child's family has moved out of the Interior because of Carpentino's actions.

Fairbanks Superior Court Judge Ralph Beistline also sentenced Carpentino to more than four years of suspended prison time.

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