Alaska Digest

Posted: Thursday, April 15, 2004

Juneau teen arrested after alleged fight with golf club

JUNEAU - An 18-year-old Juneau man was lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center Tuesday night amid allegations that he struck another man in the head with a golf club.

Juneau police reported arresting Randal Benc on a felony charge of second-degree assault. The other combatant, who was identified only as a local 32-year-old man, was not charged.

Police received a report at 9:21 p.m. of two men fighting on 10th Street. The caller said one man fled the area after assaulting the other with a golf club. The assaulted man lay in the street.

Police reported contacting several people on 10th Street and two at the Harris Harbor dock. The interviews revealed the identity of the combatants, police said.

Benc was found on F Street and the other man was found at Harris Harbor.

Both men were treated for injuries at Bartlett Regional Hospital. Police ascertained Benc was hit in the head with the golf club by a companion of the man he was fighting with, in an effort to stop the fight.

Police reported that they recovered the golf club they believe was used in the altercation.

Last-minute tax-filers will have to go to Valley

JUNEAU - People who wait until dark tonight to mail in their taxes will have to go to the Mendenhall Valley branch of the U.S. Post Office to get an April 15 postmark.

Juneau Postmaster Kent Eriksen said the windows at the valley branch, 9491 Vintage Blvd., won't have anyone at the window beyond the regular 6 p.m. closing time, but people can be assured that mail dropped in the boxes that list midnight pickups will be postmarked with today's date.

That applies to the boxes inside and the boxes in the parking lot, he said.

People looking for today's postmark should look at the last pick-up times wherever they drop their mail, Eriksen said.

Even people who meter and date their own mail must get it in to the post office before the day's last pickup, he noted. Any metered mail in Friday's pickups will be postmarked in the office as Friday's, he said.

The downtown branch will close at its regular time, 5 p.m., Eriksen said.

"We'll have a lot of mail," he said, judging from previous tax deadlines. "Generally, there's quite a lot after 6 p.m."

He said postal workers actually will be collecting the mail throughout the night to keep up with it.

Republicans split on Ruedrich investigation

ANCHORAGE - Republicans are split over whether party Chairman Randy Ruedrich should keep his job.

Opponents of Randy Ruedrich are calling for his resignation over ethics charges, but others say they don't have enough information to comment.

The Alaska attorney general's office has made 25 allegations against Ruedrich. Most claim he did Republican Party of Alaska business on government time last year.

"He should resign," said Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Jim Whitaker. "In politics we have little to offer the public other than trust."

Man arrested in national forest timber theft case

KETCHIKAN - A Thorne Bay man has been arrested in the theft of red cedar logs from Prince of Wales Island, the U.S. Forest Service said.

Wade Tiffany, 32, faces two felony counts of theft of a commercial quantity of timber, killing a deer out of season and several Wilderness Act violations, the Forest Service said.

The red cedar logs were cut and prepared in a manner that made them readily marketable for export, the Forest Service said.

Forest Service law enforcement officers, with assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard, boarded the tugboat Puffin in Clarence Strait last Wednesday. The Coast Guard found minor discrepancies and Tiffany, the boat's sole occupant, said he planned to travel to Ketchikan.

"He didn't head to Ketchikan, so the Coast Guard stopped him again and boarded, and we arrested him," Tongass National Forest spokesman Dennis Neill told the Ketchikan Daily News.

Man charged with cashing unemployment checks

ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage man awaiting trial on assault, burglary and attempted rape charges is accused of illegally collecting unemployment checks while he was behind bars.

A complaint filed Monday in Anchorage Superior Court said Ricky Moss somehow managed to collect unemployment benefits from jail, a total of $5,984 between April and September.

The checks were directly deposited into his civilian bank account, the charges said.

Moss, who turns 44 today, was arrested April 6, 2003. He was charged with breaking into the home of a former Fred Meyer co-worker and beating her. According to jail records, he has been incarcerated since then awaiting trial, which had been set for this month.

Moss was collecting unemployment benefits at the time of his arrest, having filed effective Feb. 16, 2003, using the Department of Labor's telephone application and check-in system, the new complaint said.

The charges said Moss kept calling in as required to keep the $272 weekly checks coming, using an identification number to confirm his identity and declare himself available for work. The complaint does not explain how he managed to do that from a correctional facility where phone systems generally identify calls as coming from an inmate and require the recipient to speak or push a button to accept the call.

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