Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2001

Glacier center to close for two weeks

JUNEAU - The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center will close today through March 28 because of a staffing shortage.

The visitor center will reopen March 19 for its regularly scheduled winter hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Fireside programs will continue as scheduled on Friday and March 23. Kids Day programs resume May 19. For details call Ron Marvin at 586-8800.

Burgess to serve as interim U.S. attorney

ANCHORAGE - Tim Burgess, longtime assistant U.S. attorney and a specialist in environmental and white-collar crime prosecutions, was named Wednesday as interim U.S. attorney for Alaska.

Burgess, 44, will be sworn in Friday and serve until President Bush names someone to the job permanently. He succeeds Bob Bundy, who has resigned effective Friday after holding the post for seven years.

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft signed off on the appointment Wednesday afternoon in Washington, D.C., Bundy said.

Burgess came to the U.S. attorney's office 12 years ago from private practice. He has worked in most areas handled by the office, including foreign fishing violations and forfeitures, environmental pollution and drug cases.

His recent prosecutions include conviction of the Holland America Line for dumping thousands of gallons of oily bilge water in Southeast Alaska waters. The company pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $2 million in fines and restitution.

Soldier sentenced for shooting

FORT RICHARDSON - A Fort Richardson soldier pleaded guilty to aggravated assault this week in the shooting of a 21-year-old man last October. The plea was entered in a general court martial at the fort Monday.

Pvt. Ronnie L. Gaines, 22, was sentenced to 10 years in confinement and a dishonorable discharge for assault and a weapons violation. Under terms of the plea agreement, his prison time is limited to eight years. Gaines was transported to Fort Lewis, Wash., to serve his sentence, according to Army spokesman Chuck Canterbury.

Gaines shot Jonathan Walker, 21, several times with a .22 caliber pistol near Cheney Lake in Anchorage early on the morning of Oct. 22 after an argument. Walker, who was injured critically, has recovered and testified in the case, Canterbury said.

Gaines was originally charged with attempted murder and other crimes.

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