Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, May 04, 2007

Chilkat River Walk set for Saturday

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HAINES - Participants in the 22.4-mile Chilkat River Walk from Klukwan to Haines will meet at 8 a.m. on Saturday at the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Klukwan Health Center for breakfast snacks of fruit and yogurt before hitting the road by 9 a.m.

A picnic dinner will follow the walk at 5 p.m. at the Alaska Native Sisterhood/Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Haines. The picnic is free to those who registered for the walk by April 30. Donations of $10 are requested to help support breast cancer research.

The Chilkat River Walk is designed to promote awareness about breast cancer and breast health and to honor those who have had the disease. The walk is open to all.

Vans will follow the course to get people back to their cars.

Man gets 20 years for meth, firearms charges

FAIRBANKS - A 42-year-old Fairbanks man will serve 20 years in prison after being convicted on methamphetamine and firearms charges.

Robert Barondeau Sanderson was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court for possession of meth with intent to distribute, distribution of the drug and being a felon in possession of firearms. Sanderson's conviction followed a four-day jury trial.

Law enforcement officials say they found more than a pound of meth and numerous firearms in Sanderson's home when they served a search warrant on Aug. 15.

Sanderson is not allowed to own firearms following an earlier felony conviction, also related to meth, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Palin has 3 candidates to replace ousted judge

KENAI - Three names have been forwarded to Gov. Sarah Palin to replace a judge ousted by voters last November.

Former Kenai District Court David Landry was rejected by voters after being accused of courtroom misconduct.

Seven candidates for the open judgeship were evaluated by the Alaska Bar Association, which issued its report to the Alaska Judicial Council. The council met at the Kenai Courthouse Saturday to conduct a public hearing on the candidates and interview them.

Chosen as the three finalists were Kenai public defender Joe Montague; Anchorage Assistant District Attorney Sharon Illsley, and Patrick Hammers, a committing magistrate in Fairbanks.

Palin will have 45 days to choose the new Kenai judge.

The judicial council is also in the process of reviewing 14 candidates for the Kenai Superior Court judge position, which will open when Judge Harold Brown retires in June.

Alumnus donates $2.6 million to UA

FAIRBANKS - A former alumnus has donated $2.6 million to the University of Alaska.

Ronald Cosgrave's donation is the largest gift ever given to the university by a living alumnus.

Cosgrave, the former chief executive officer of Alaska Airlines, gave the money without restrictions and is to be used at the discretion of the university president.

"The university has had a profound effect on my life and helped me to achieve the success that I've enjoyed," the 75-year-old Cosgrave said in a statement. "It's an honor and a pleasure for me to give back to the university, which has given me so much."

Cosgrave served as Alaska Airlines' chief executive officer from 1972-1979, and is currently the company's chairman emeritus.

Juneau lawmakers take aim at doll

ANCHORAGE - Lawmakers in Juneau are taking aim at a doll based on a character from the newest Quentin Tarantino movie "Grindhouse."

Rep. Anna Fairclough, R-Eagle River, is leading a charge to get retailers across the state to boycott the doll based on the Rapist No. 1 character from the movie. Lawmakers also are pushing for a resolution denouncing the doll. Fairclough said the doll desensitizes the public to rape.

"We're not seeking to ban the doll because everyone has a right to express themselves," Fairclough said. "But a doll like this shows a lack of respect for victims of sexual assault."

Alaska has the highest per capita occurrence of sexual assault in the nation.

Fairclough is the former head of a rape-crisis center and advocacy group in Anchorage.

The doll is being sold as part of a series of action figures from the new film "Grindhouse," in which Tarantino plays the character Rapist No. 1. The movie also features a female character, who uses an M-16 gun as a prosthetic leg.

The dolls are available on the various Web sites for about $15. It is unclear if any Alaska retailers are carrying the doll.

Jury acquits driver of manslaughter

FAIRBANKS - A jury acquitted a woman of manslaughter but deadlocked on a lesser charge in the death of a young man from North Pole killed when he ran a stop sign.

Faith Derendoff, 31, was convicted Wednesday of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The jury, however, could not decide on criminally negligent homicide, a charge the woman faced for her part in the traffic accident that killed Andrew Coker, 18, of North Pole.

Superior Court Judge Robert Downes declared a mistrial on the criminally negligent homicide charge, leaving the matter to the district attorney, who must decide whether to continue pursuing a criminal case against Derendoff.

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