Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, March 14, 2004

Four injured in rollover

JUNEAU - Police said four occupants of an Acura that rolled over late Friday night or early Saturday morning on Glacier Highway were taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital.

The hospital did not release information about their condition.

Police said a 2004 Acura skidded on ice at about Mile 19 of Glacier Highway, went off the road and rolled over.

The driver was identified as a 16-year-old girl. She was cited for driving with a revoked license. The other occupants were identified as Rachel Cummins, 18; Anthony Dyer, 29; and a 17-year-old girl.

Police said the occupants suffered varying degrees of injury. The vehicle was totaled.

Police investigate possible sexual assault

JUNEAU - Police said Friday they are investigating a report that alleged a Juneau-Douglas High School student was sexually assaulted two weeks ago.

According to police Sgt. Troy Wilson, the department received a report from school officials March 3 indicating that a student may have been a victim of a sexual assault during the night of Feb. 28.

Wilson said police are interviewing students from Juneau and Sitka.

No charges have been filed, and the incident remains under investigation, Wilson said.

Woman charged in Angoon death seeks later trial

JUNEAU - An attorney appointed Wednesday to take over the defense of the woman charged with second-degree murder in Richard "Buddy" George's stabbing death last year in Angoon said he will ask for at least a few more months more to prepare.

Steven Wells, who works for the state Office of Public Advocacy in Palmer, said Friday he will appear by telephone Monday for his first hearing as Denni Starr's attorney.

Starr, 22, is scheduled to stand trial April 5 in Angoon. She is accused of stabbing George to death as he held one of their children in his arms at the home they shared on July 26.

In November, Darrel Gardner, an OPA attorney based in Anchorage, argued for the trial to be postponed from its scheduled Dec. 1, 2003, date. Gardner has since gone in to private practice.

In Wells' written request for the 9 a.m. Monday hearing before Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks, he indicated he did not have any police reports or any information necessary to prepare for trial.

"I'm going to need to continue the trial for a few months to be sufficiently prepared," he told the Empire on Friday.

UA, faculty union agree to contract

FAIRBANKS - The University of Alaska and the union representing most of its full-time faculty have agreed tentatively to a new contract.

The university said the agreement was reached late Thursday.

United Academics represents more than three-fourths of the university's full-time faculty.

Union President Michael Jennings said the new contract gives faculty gains in salaries and health insurance contributions.

"Now we must get these contracts funded so we can strengthen our focus on educating Alaskans ...," university President Mark Hamilton said.

The contract also must be ratified by union members and approved by the university Board of Regents.

Ranger says enforcement down on Kenai River

KENAI - Fully enforcing fishing, boating safety and other rules and regulations on the Kenai River is virtually impossible, according to an Alaska State Parks ranger.

State Park Ranger Bill Berkhahn told the Kenai-Soldotna Fish and Game Advisory Committee that because of cuts to the Department of Natural Resources, the number of enforcement officers on the river has dropped even as use of the state's most popular sport fishery has steadily increased.

"Our enforcement is down, but our use is up," Berkhahn said.

He told the advisory committee, which is responsible for recommending regulations that Berkhahn and other officers enforce, that the number of rangers on the river has dropped from six to three since 1984. Rangers now must choose which areas to watch.

"There is a large block of time out there when there is no enforcement," he said.

Another skull found in Gastineau Channel

JUNEAU - Recreational divers found the remains of a human skull in Gastineau Channel near Marine Park on Saturday afternoon, police said.

Police described the skull as highly decomposed. Divers also found a skull in that area on Jan. 31. Police are investigating both finds.

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