Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, March 21, 2004

Miller steps down from Administration

JUNEAU - Mike Miller has resigned as commissioner for the state Department of Administration, the governor's office said Friday.

Appointed by Gov. Frank Murkowski in February 2003, Miller said only "the time has come for me to move on to new areas of my life." His resignation is effective April 1.

Miller, a Republican from North Pole, served 18 years in the Legislature in both the House and Senate. He was Senate president from 1997-1998.

Unemployment remains steady

JUNEAU - Alaska's jobless rate remained steady at 8.9 percent in February as winter jobs remained hard to come by, the state Labor Department said Friday.

Juneau's jobless rate was 7.3 percent, down from 7.5 percent in January. Just over 15,200 people were employed in Juneau in February, according to the state. That's out of a labor force of 16,405.

Regional unemployment remained fairly steady for the month except in Western Alaska where the Bering Sea ground fishery picked up, the department said.

About 1,228 more Alaskans were working in February despite the typically high jobless rate during winter months.

The state's seasonally adjusted rate fell less than a percentage point to 7.4 percent while the comparable national rate remained steady at 5.6 percent.

Yakutat had the highest unemployment rate at 24.4 percent in February, up three percentage points from the previous month.

The Aleutians East Borough had the lowest jobless rate at 4 percent, down from 5.6 percent in January.

Fraud suspect pleads innocent

FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks woman accused of using numerous aliases to defraud employers and businesses has pleaded innocent to new federal charges.

Becky Nadine Hunter, 46, is accused of creating false documents to avoid foreclosure on her house and posing as a bone marrow donor to qualify for free travel.

Hunter remains at the Fairbanks Correctional Center awaiting her April 12 trial.

Charges already pending include providing false names and information to get jobs at the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Tanana Chiefs Conference, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and the U.S. Department of Labor. Last month, Hunter pleaded innocent to those charges.

Under a new indictment, Hunter is accused of creating false documents to avoid foreclosure on her house, to obtain jobs with the engineering company AMEC and the Army Corps of Engineers and to take sick leave. She is also accused of posing as a bone marrow donor and an Alaska Airlines employee to obtain free travel.

Hunter, who claims to have bipolar disorder, faces 24 charges altogether. She was arraigned on the new charges Friday.

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