Alaska Digest

Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Icy roads cause four more accidents

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JUNEAU - Icy roads fouled up commuters Monday morning, with police reporting four accidents and 11 vehicles sliding off roads.

With more snow on the way, police urged drivers to slow down and use caution.

No injuries were reported Monday morning. The worst damage occurred in three separate accidents between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m.

At 8:15 a.m., a 2006 Honda, driven by a 31-year-old woman, was struck by a 2001 Toyota RAV, driven by a 26-year-old woman, while they were inbound on Egan Drive. The Honda sustained $1,000 in damage, and the Toyota had $2,500 in damage.

At the same time, an accident in the outbound lanes caused $5,000 in damage, though there was no other information available about it. Fifteen minutes later, a 2000 Hyundai lost control on Mendenhall Loop Road and was hit by a flatbed truck.

Anchorage teen gets 99 years for murder

ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage teenager received a 99-year prison sentence Monday for killing his stepmother, raping her body and then stuffing it in a chest freezer.

Superior Court Judge John Suddock sentenced Colin Cotting to 91 years for murder and to a consecutive eight-year term for sexual assault in the 2004 death of Carol Cotting.

The 18-year-old will be eligible for discretionary parole in 33 years, said prosecutor Keri Brady.

Colin Cotting pleaded no contest in November to murder and sexual assault.

According to authorities, Cotting's father, Stephen Cotting, was on a business trip in October 2004 when his 16-year-old son went to the family's East Anchorage home, forced Carol Cotting upstairs and made her remove her pants.

The woman tried to run downstairs, but Colin Cotting caught her and struck her with a baseball bat, according to the prosecution.

He slit her wrists and throat, raped her body and stuffed it into a chest freezer before he took off with her car and drove around town with friends, according to prosecutors.

Group finds errors in dam-removal analysis

GRANTS PASS, Ore. - PacifiCorp told federal dam regulators Monday that it might actually save money by upgrading four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River to protect salmon, contrary to a widely circulated report that estimated it made economic sense to remove the dams.

In a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Portland-based utility said it had commissioned a review of a report done for the California Energy Commission by M. Cubed consultants of Davis, Calif., which had found PacifiCorp could save $101 million by removing the dams and buying replacement power.

Christensen Associates Energy Consulting, of Madison, Wis., found problems with the economic model used to make the initial estimate, as well the data fed into the model.

"The CEC report is clearly not an appropriate tool to help us and other interested stakeholders make any of these very difficult decisions," PacifiCorp energy President Bill Fehrman said in a statement.

PacifiCorp, which serves 1.6 million customers in six western states, is seeking a new license to operate the dams for up to 50 years.

Indian tribes, commercial fishermen and conservation groups have been trying to convince PacifiCorp to remove the dams to expand habitat and improve water quality for salmon struggling to survive in the Klamath River.

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