State and local briefly

Posted: Tuesday, May 02, 2000

Search suspended for missing teen

JUNEAU - The active search for the body of Travis Mason was called off this morning.

``I told Travis' father today, that as far as an act of continuing search, that has been suspended - although these things are never really over,'' said Sgt. Will Ellis, the head of the local Alaska State Troopers detachment.

``Fortunately, the scene of the accident is close to Auke Bay where Coast Guard vessels come and go on patrol. They will keep an eye out,'' Ellis said. ``But it will be a passive search rather than dedicated time.''

Mason, 16, fell off a personal watercraft when it capsized near Spuhn Island shortly before midnight April 21. An active search was carried on by many agencies as well as volunteers through April 29.

Boat boarded in weapons incident

JUNEAU - A Coast Guard law enforcement team drew weapons to board a suspicious fishing vessel in Chatham Strait last weekend.

The team from the cutter Anacapa boarded the 58-foot Sitka-based Kalliste after its master, Juan C. Schwantes, 45, of Sitka, told the two-man team they couldn't board his vessel with their weapons.

``Our crews carry weapons because they are the law on the high seas, for self defense and because they are law enforcement officers,'' said Coast Guard Lt. Randy Sundberg.

While conducting a routine patrol in Chatham Strait Saturday afternoon, the Anacapa crew spotted the Kalliste at anchor and decided to board the vessel to check it and its crew for compliance with federal laws. Two Anacapa officers attempted to board the Kalliste and were confronted by Schwantes and one of his crewmembers, armed with pistols.

The boarding crew returned to the Anacapa to double their number and then went back to the Kalliste. Meanwhile, two men left the Kalliste in a small skiff and went ashore.

The Coast Guard boarding team, now four, returned to the Kalliste, drew their weapons and ordered the fishermen to disarm themselves. Schwantes and his crewman placed their weapons on the deck. The crew said they were recreational fishing and were carrying weapons for a bear-hunting trip.

The team found no discrepancies aboard the vessel. The boarding concluded without incident.

Sailor rescued from disabled boat

JUNEAU - The U.S. Coast Guard retrieved a Cordova sailor from his disabled vessel Sunday night 50 miles southwest of Yakutat.

The crew of the cutter Anacapa retrieved George Shaver from the 28-foot sloop La Paloma in heavy seas and windy conditions.

At 11:15 p.m. Saturday, Shaver reported his vessel's propulsion had failed and the rig became fouled. He said his boat was drifting about 50 miles off Yakutat.

With weather conditions deteriorating to 40-knot winds and 12-foot seas early Sunday, the Anacapa steamed to the rescue at 22 knots. It took the crew of the Anacapa several attempts to get Shaver to abandon ship and board the cutter.

The Anacapa crew towed the La Paloma until its mast snapped at 9:35 p.m. The sloop began taking on water, and the towline was released. Shaver was examined and found to be suffering dehydration and exhaustion. He was brought safely to Juneau about 7 p.m. Monday by the Anacapa.

Inmate off suicide watch

JUNEAU - Convicted batterer and rapist Daniel Neal of Hoonah was taken off suicide watch at Lemon Creek Correctional Center on Monday morning.

He is now back in the general prison population, said Lemon Creek superintendent Dan Carothers.

``He's doing good,'' Carothers said this morning.

Neal, 48, was found guilty of three counts of assault and one count of sexual assault Friday in a Juneau court. He was convicted of a Nov. 21 attack. After hearing the verdict, Neal suffered an apparent seizure, was treated at Bartlett Regional Hospital and put on suicide watch when he returned to the state prison.

Noise study funds approved

JUNEAU - The city is going to study how much flightseeing aircraft noise there really is over various Juneau neighborhoods this summer. The Juneau Assembly approved a noise-study measure at its Monday night meeting that will cost $100,000.

The body also excised a part of the measure that would have conducted feasibility studies for alternative heliport sites.

Assembly member Jim Powell objected that the noise and heliport feasibility studies, as envisioned by the assembly's Planning and Policy Committee -- of which he is a member -- are actually two phases of one process. Powell said results of the noise study would lend themselves to the evaluation of heliport sites.

A request for proposal has been published that calls for both the noise study and the feasibility study. The funding for the project, however, is only for the noise study, City Manager Dave Palmer said.

The noise study will be paid for out of the city's general fund, according to the city manager's office. The work, however, is more appropriately funded by the cruise passenger fee, Palmer said. He recommended use of the general fund balance and reimbursement to the fund with passenger fee revenues in the future.

The noise study will establish baseline noise levels, measure flightseeing noise levels in the neighborhoods, project future noise levels in the absence of mitigating actions, and prepare a report explaining noise levels in terms of impacts on health and well-being.

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