Alaska Digest

Posted: Thursday, May 03, 2007

Governor travels to Fairbanks, Barrow

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JUNEAU - Gov. Sarah Palin will hit the road for the rest of the week, traveling to Fairbanks today and Barrow on Friday.

In Fairbanks, she's expected to name a new University of Alaska Board of Regents' member to replace Jim Hayes, who resigned last week.

She'll also attend a reception and dinner for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will be speaking to the state bar association.

Palin plans to meet Friday with North Slope Borough Mayor Edward Itta and other community leaders ahead of a town hall meeting on the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act.

Attending taking part in the trip will be Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin.

Glacier center open for summer hours

JUNEAU - The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center will open for summer hours, 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. seven days a week, starting Sunday and running through September.

Admission is $3. Children 15 and under are free. Annual passes are $10, good for a year. One guest may accompany an annual pass-holder for free.

For more information, call the center at 789-0097.

Selawik remainsa dry village

ANCHORAGE - Selawik will remain a dry village.

Voters in the northwest village turned down a proposal Tuesday that would have changed local law to allow the possession of alcohol, said City Clerk Alice Mitchell.

The proposal would have allowed people with permits to have up to 10.5 liters of liquor, 24 liters of wine or 12 gallons of beer in one month.

The sale of alcohol would still have been prohibited.

Selawik is a village of 800 about 70 miles southeast of Kotzebue.

Selawik officials say Kotzebue is the only community in the Northwest Arctic region that allows alcohol.

Charges dismissed in floatplane fatality

ANCHORAGE - A judge has dismissed criminal charges against the pilot of a plane that crashed into an icy Alaska lake, leading to the drowning death of a South Africa teenager.

Superior Court Judge John Suddock said the state gave erroneous information and didn't adequately present its case to the grand jury, which indicted Anchorage pilot Kurt Stenehjem on manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges.

When the charges were filed last year, state and federal officials couldn't recall any previous criminal prosecution involving a fatal plane crash in a state heavily reliant on aviation. The case was scheduled to begin trial on May 14.

The state's case noted numerous safety breaches by Stenehjem, focusing on his overweight and improperly balanced floatplane as main factors in the July 2005 crash that led to the death of Mark Schroeder of Durban, South Africa.

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