Alaska Digest

Posted: Monday, April 02, 2007

Fort Yukon works to become utility

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FAIRBANKS - The city of Fort Yukon has been building a water and sewage treatment system for almost five years in a bid to become a municipal utility and has secured half of the estimated $24 million needed to complete the project.

The city still has another three years of work to go before the outhouses, honey buckets and septic tanks can largely be replaced with the new system, according to City Manager Mike Jackson.

"I think there's a huge need in the community for it," Jackson said.

The city currently treats and stores well water in a 110,000-gallon tank, although some houses receive piped water from the last municipal utility overhaul more than two decades ago. Throughout the year, the population of Fort Yukon fluctuates between 600 and 700 people.

The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium has been involved with helping the city fund and construct the system as part of a larger program to equip all villages with water and sewer facilities.

"It's kind of a preventative health thing for us," said Matt Dixon, director of central engineering services for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and one of the leads on the Fort Yukon project.

Dixon has been helping train local residents for construction and maintenance jobs on the project. He said the program has been able to create between three and 30 jobs in each village.

Three plead guilty to mortgage fraud

ANCHORAGE - Three Anchorage residents pleaded guilty in federal court to charges they were part of a mortgage fraud ring that deceived lenders.

Bekim Hasipi, Robin Dorman and Jan Marquiss pleaded guilty in federal court to one count each of wire fraud for making false statements in mortgage loan applications, U.S. Attorney Nelson P. Cohen said Friday.

They are part of a group of seven federal prosecutors have charged with deceiving mortgage lenders by overstating income and assets on loan applications.

The conspiracy started in 2002 and involved loan amounts ranging from $156,000 to $796,000, according to the government's charging documents.

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