Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, March 04, 2007

Palin's husband takes leave from BP job

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ANCHORAGE - Todd Palin, husband of Gov. Sarah Palin, has taken a leave of absence from his job as a North Slope oil worker for energy giant BP.

Palin said he is taking time off because the family's new schedule makes it impossible for him to work regular shifts.

Palin, of Wasilla, will leave his job as an hourly wage production operator at a Prudhoe Bay gathering center and instead work part-time for his union, the United Steelworkers Local 4959, according to officials with the union and BP. The agreement between the British oil giant and the union allows Palin to come back to his job within a year and keep his seniority.

Palin said he could go back to work in a matter of months, after life in the governor's mansion settles down.

Palin said his annual wages came to something in the neighborhood of $100,000. Sarah Palin makes $125,000 a year as Alaska's governor.

Ethicist Michael Josephson of Los Angeles, who led a seminar on ethics for Alaska legislators this year, said Palin's move is a prudent, but likely unnecessary, ethical choice given BP's upcoming negotiations with the state for a possible gas pipeline.

Alaska man killed in snowmachine crash

FAIRBANKS - A Delta Junction man died in a snowmobile accident along the Alaska Highway, Alaska State Troopers said.

Zachary S. Resnick, 24, was killed Wednesday when the snowmobile struck a culvert, throwing him, said trooper Nasruk Nay. he landed on some jagged rocks.

"Indications are that he died instantly," Nay said. "It wasn't a soft landing like landing on the snow."

Resnick was last seen at about 10 p.m. Sunday leaving a bar; he found was the next morning by someone on their way to work, Nay said.

Standard toxicology tests will be conducted on Resnick, Nay said. Beer was found in a backpack worn by the man.

Resnick was not wearing a helmet, Nay said.

NTSB: Pilot error to blame for crash

ANCHORAGE - The pilot of a plane that crashed in Ketchikan last year was flying too low and didn't follow instrument landing procedures, according to a federal report.

The National Transportation Safety Board this week released its probable cause determination for the Jan. 25, 2006, crash that killed pilot Stephen Freeman, 32, of San Diego. Five other people on the ground had minor injuries, the report said.

The Czech-built military jet was part of a fleet of a dozen L-39 Albatros military jets acquired in 2005 by Anchorage air charter company Security Aviation Inc. There was a dispute over some of the jets, and four were being repossessed by the seller, Air USA Inc. of Quincy, Ill. Security Aviation has sued Air USA and some former Security employees over the matter.

The report said Freeman ejected from the two-seater jet. A seat-stabilizing parachute deployed, but the pilot's parachute did not. He was still in his ejection seat when it struck trees.

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