Kidnapping charge added in assault case
JUNEAU - Donald W. Seaman, charged with first-degree sexual assault in a brutal attack on a woman in a vacant house downtown, also has been charged with kidnapping.
On April 15, Seaman, 46, allegedly attacked a woman and restrained her "with the intent to inflict physical injury upon her or sexually assault" her, according to a new indictment filed in Juneau Superior Court last week. The new indictment came after testimony of the victim, 43, who had been in serious condition at Bartlett Regional Hospital since the attack and unable to testify or be interviewed in depth by police. The victim was discharged from the hospital last Thursday, said Bartlett regional affairs coordinator Marijo Toner.
Other charges against Seaman are first-degree sexual assault and two counts of first-degree burglary. He is being held at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.
City provides land for food bank
JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly on Monday authorized leasing a quarter-acre of property near Crazy Horse Drive to the Southeast Alaska Food Bank. The lease will allow the nonprofit organization to put a warehouse on site.
According to the food bank, Palmer resident Roy Geist has donated a 1,500-square-foot metal building for the warehouse. The 25-year lease agreement with the city would charge the food bank $1 a year. The food bank moved to Willie's Marine on Industrial Boulevard this spring.
Board member Rosalee Walker said the food bank has moved six times in the past 10 years and the organization is happy to have a permanent home. She said the new setup will be a bare-bones operation.
"It's marvelous," she said. "The logistical problems have been the biggest headache since we've had to move so many times. The public and businesses have really cooperated and kept us stocked with groceries."
The Assembly also approved a resolution supporting subport redevelopment downtown and a $200,000 down payment to purchase 35 acres of land and two easements at Lemon Creek. The purchase will provide access to a new gravel pit at a total cost of $450,000, according to the city.
The Assembly scheduled an ordinance tightening bear-related garbage restrictions for public hearing at its next regular meeting.
New ship uses pollution-limiting engines
JUNEAU - A new cruise ship equipped with environmentally sensitive technology made its first visit to Juneau today. Celebrity Cruises' Infinity has a pair of gas turbine engines and a single steam turbine instead of the traditional four or five diesel engines installed on most other cruise ships. According to Celebrity Cruises, the gas turbine engines reduce nitrous oxide emissions by 80 percent and sulfur oxide by up to 98 percent.
Waste heat from the turbine's exhaust produces electricity for heating water, lighting and air conditioning, according to the company.
The Infinity replaces the Galaxy in Alaska and will visit ports in Southeast and on the Seward Peninsula this summer. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's Radiance of the Seas has the same engines and is scheduled to arrive in Juneau at the end of the month.
Hangars, soil plan before commission
JUNEAU - The Juneau Planning Commission tonight will consider permits for a soil remediation facility on Anka Street and new hangars at the Juneau Airport.
The soil remediation facility received a conditional use permit in 1999 and United Soil Recycling is applying for a two-year permit. The facility accepts soils contaminated with petroleum products, according to the city Community Development Department.
The Planning Commission also will consider a permit allowing four new hangars at the airport to be attached to four existing hangars. The hangars will be used to store small airplanes and will have 9,600 square feet of space, according to the department.
An appeal of a decision allowing two single-family detached dwellings on one lot in Douglas also is on the commission's agenda. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Assembly chambers.
Game board makeup suit dismissed
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage Superior Court judge on Monday threw out a lawsuit claiming the makeup of the Alaska Board of Game is illegal.
Judge Peter Michalski dismissed the case after listening to oral arguments. He gave no explanation.
The lawsuit, filed by conservationists and the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, argued the board violates the state constitutional principle that wildlife resources belong to all Alaskans. The board, it noted, is made up entirely of hunters while three-quarters of Alaska's adults do not hold hunting licenses.
The suit asked the court to strip the board of its powers until new members representing nonhunters were appointed and confirmed.
Paul Joslin, director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, said his group will continue to work toward getting a better balance on the board but had not decided whether to appeal the decision. Jesse Vanderzanden, director of the Alaska Outdoor Council, which supported the state in the suit, called the ruling a victory for hunters.
Flight-stopping twins can go home
ANCHORAGE - A federal magistrate has approved arrangements for a pair of 22-year-old twins to return home to the custody of their parents in rural Buckley, Mich.
But both parents will have to come to Anchorage to make sure Cynthia and Crystal Mikula don't get rowdy on the plane ride home, U.S. Magistrate John Roberts ruled Monday. The women are accused of interfering with an air crew, a federal felony, on April 19.
It's not clear just how soon the twins might return to Michigan. The judge questioned whether the parents could afford to fly all four family members from Michigan to Alaska and back for court hearings.
Prosecutors have said the twins were drinking alcohol on a San Francisco-to-Shanghai flight before they started arguing with each other, then struck and spit on members of the crew as flight attendants tried to calm them. The pilot then turned back to Anchorage to deliver the pair into custody.