State Briefs

Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2003

Still no sign of missing Anchorage brothers

ANCHORAGE - A massive search of a South Anchorage neighborhood was expanded Wednesday but failed to turn up any sign of two young brothers missing for two days.

Malcolm Johnson, 8, and Isaiah Johnson, 5, were last seen between 6 and 7 p.m. Monday walking along the street near their home.

Police Chief Walt Monegan said authorities don't know whether the boys were abducted, are lost in the woods or are with someone they know.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is sending profiling experts to help. Special rescue dogs from Washington state may be sent up too.

Police teams and volunteers, as well as search dogs, have been checking homes, streets and woods near the boys' home. Searchers covered a wider area Wednesday and today.

Volunteers went house to house with 30 police officers, Detective Joe Hoffbeck said. Other teams were walking along Campbell Creek and continuing to scour the woods.

Brandi Johnson, a single mother, said she didn't know who might abduct her sons.

Police said their father, Malcolm Deloch, has been living in the Midwest and has had no recent contact.

Sen. Ted Stevens fights cuts to essential air service

FAIRBANKS - The Bush administration wants to cut the cost of subsidizing air service to small towns in Alaska and elsewhere by making the towns put up some of the money.

In Alaska, the administration wants most communities served by the "essential air service" program to put up 10 percent.

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens told a federal official at a hearing Tuesday that he would oppose the action.

Thirty-three Alaska communities and 92 towns elsewhere across the nation have air service subsidized under the program.

Stevens said most communities benefit from federal road and railroad money, but many Alaska communities are off the road network and don't see such money, he said.

The air service program helps even that inequity. Also, he said, some of the Alaska communities are surrounded by federal conservation lands over which no roads will ever be built.

"Why should those communities contribute at all?" Stevens asked Read Van de Water, assistant Transportation secretary for aviation and international affairs.

"We are asking for a 10 percent contribution from those communities, recognizing that there is no highway connection for most of them," Van de Water said.

Towns elsewhere in the country are asked to pay 25 percent, she said.

The program cost $113 million nationwide last year. The Bush administration's budget proposes to cut back the federal cost to $50 million.

Body found near Resurrection Trail identified

ANCHORAGE - The state medical examiner has identified the body of a man found by hunters on Sunday near the Resurrection Trail.

The body is that of James Jarret Miller, 39, of Anchorage, who was reported missing last September. Miller died from self-inflicted asphyxiation, Alaska State Troopers said Wednesday.

The hunters found the body in thick brush about a mile and a half from the trailhead.

Troopers and about 30 volunteers searched for Miller for two days in October, after his car was found in the parking lot at the U.S. Forest Service parking area for the Resurrection Trailhead out of Hope.

Officials suspected Miller was suicidal and friends continued looking for him along the trail after the official search was suspended Oct. 13.

Boy killed in vehicle collision with moose

ANCHORAGE - A boy died Wednesday from injuries sustained when the car his mother was driving struck a moose on the Glenn Highway north of Anchorage.

The accident occurred a little after 8:30 p.m. Tuesday as Susan Stone, 54, of Eagle River was driving the car in the middle lane of the highway and a moose walked across the road.

The moose went into the driver's compartment and almost totally took off the roof of the car. The car came to rest on the right shoulder of the Glenn Highway.

Susan Stone and her 13-year-old son, Teller Stone, were taken to Alaska Regional Hospital.

The boy was transferred to Providence Alaska Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead early Wednesday morning.

Stock designation may cost fishing area

KETCHIKAN - Catch numbers for sockeye salmon from Hugh Smith Lake near Ketchikan have fluctuated with fewer fish returning to spawn.

The decline has prompted the Alaska Board of Fisheries to designate the stock as a "management stock of concern."

As a result, the board has adopted a plan to address the situation with a combination of research and, if needed, restrictions on commercial net fisheries when sockeye returns are below target levels.

The decisions were made in February during the board's meeting in Ketchikan.

State fisheries officials say the fishing restrictions can be used this season, if necessary, but the hope is that enough sockeye will be returning to Hugh Smith Lake to allow regular fishing opportunities.

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