Northwest Digest

Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2007

Anchorage scofflaws face seizure of cars

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ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage Assembly has approved an ordinance allowing seizure of vehicles of people who owe the city at least $1,000 in unpaid traffic tickets, but enforcement will depend on the Legislature.

The new rules depend on the passage of a bill that gives cities authority to impound and seize people's vehicles over unpaid tickets. Rep. Berta Gardner, D-Anchorage, proposed the bill, which awaits a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.

She said the Fairbanks mayor's office has shown interest in scofflaw laws too.

"It isn't something that's just for Anchorage," she said.

More than 1,000 drivers owe the Anchorage municipality city at least $1,000 in unpaid traffic tickets.

Outgoing South Anchorage Assemblywoman Janice Shamberg and downtown Assemblyman Allan Tesche proposed the change. People who collect dozens of tickets and do not pay are too dangerous to stay on the road, they said.

"This is to pull those people out of their automobiles ... and say, 'OK, walk,"' Shamberg said. "'Ride a bike, take a bus, but don't go out and hurt anybody else."'

More than 23,700 people owe the city $7.6 million in unpaid tickets as of early this year.

Teen charged as adult sentenced to prison

FAIRBANKS - A teenager charged as an adult for an attempted sexual assault he committed when he was 16 has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Andrew Lecheminant, now 18, pleaded no contest Tuesday to one count of attempted sexual abuse of a minor. Prosecutors dropped five charges of sexual abuse of a minor in exchange for Lecheminant's plea.

Prosecutors said Lecheminant was accused of assaulting a 6-year-old girl.

Prosecutor Jenel Domke sought a five-year term plus a suspended sentence of five more years, meaning Lecheminant would face additional prison time if he got into trouble while on probation.

Superior Court Judge Niesje Steinkruger, however, ordered only the five years prison time, noting Lecheminant's supportive parents and his willingness to undergo treatment.

Racehorse Ketchikan won't run in derby

KETCHIKAN - The city's namesake thoroughbred will not be entered in the Kentucky Derby because of a bruised bone, his trainer said Tuesday.

But the injury is not serious enough to keep the 3-year-old Ketchikan from racing again, said trainer Al Stall Jr.

"We're lucky there's no fracture; there's no surgery necessary; it's just a deep bruise," Stall told the Ketchikan Daily News. "The prognosis is excellent that he'll come back and get racing in the fall."

Ketchikan had been scheduled to run this weekend in the Arkansas Derby, a major prep race for the Kentucky Derby. It would have been Ketchikan's fifth race.

He'd won two of his first four races, and placed second with an impressive run in the Louisiana Derby on March 10.

His owner, California billionaire B. Wayne Hughes, named the horse after one of his favorite places to fish.

Grizzly Bear attacks man near Idaho home

TETONIA, Idaho - An eastern Idaho man was mauled by a grizzly bear just outside his rural home, suffering deep bite and claw wounds across his back, investigators said.

Authorities did not immediately release the name of the 33-year-old victim of the Tuesday night bear attack, saying he requested anonymity. They said he was in stable condition and good spirits in an Idaho Falls hospital.

"He just stepped outside of his house to look for his dog ... then the bear knocked him down," said Idaho Fish and Game Regional Supervisor Steve Schmidt, who visited the man Wednesday.

"The bear caused significant injuries to his head, back, shoulder and buttocks. In other words, the bear was biting him all over his backside," Schmidt said.

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