State and local briefly

Posted: Wednesday, May 10, 2000

Plane crash-lands near child-care center

ANCHORAGE -- A small plane making an emergency landing Tuesday crashed through a fence on a residential street before stopping in the yard of a child-care center.

Bruce D. Webb, a student pilot, and John Linn, a flight instructor, were headed to Merrill Field municipal airport when they heard a thunk and the engine lost power.

While trying to land the Beechcraft Sierra, they clipped an electrical wire and the right wing hit the wood fence, spinning the plane around and through the fence, and into the front yard of the Ivory Tower Daycare. Seven children were inside napping. Webb and Linn weren't hurt.

Owner Elizabeth Watkins said when she heard the crash she opened her door to take a look. ``I was kind of nervous. I said `Oh my Lord, there's a plane in the yard,''' she said.

Clint Johnson with the National Transportation Safety Board said Webb and Linn did a good job in a bad situation. ``This could have been a lot worse, no doubt. In a highly populated area like this, I think they did a real good job,'' he said.

Murder trial moved to July

JUNEAU -- The murder trial of Ronald Smith and Ray Soto, set to start this week, has been re-scheduled to July.

Kenneth Thomas died and Alfred Torres was beaten during a January robbery in which the robbers wore ski masks and were armed with a baseball bat and a shotgun.

Smith, 34, and Soto, 20, are charged with second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and first-degree assault for their alleged role in the attack. They were arraigned Feb. 4.

Thomas was beaten unconscious in the early morning robbery. He died later at Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. Torres is Thomas' brother. Thomas went to Torres' aid when the latter was being beaten, and was then attacked himself, police said.

Assistant District Attorney Sue McLean said this is the first case in which the prosecution is using a new system of DNA testing. Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks required McLean to file a description of the DNA system. Michael O'Brien, defense attorney for Soto, said he might file a motion to suppress this evidence.

Retired Alaska Episcopal bishop dies

ANCHORAGE -- The Rt. Rev. George C. Harris, the retired fifth Episcopal bishop of Alaska, died at his Aberdeen, S.D., home on Sunday. Harris was 74.

From 1981 to 1991, the bishop and his family resided in Fairbanks and he traveled the state, frequently visiting Juneau.

Harris was born on Dec. 19, 1925, in Brooklyn, N.Y. He received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Rutgers University. During World War II, he served overseas in New Guinea and the Philippines.

Harris' ministry took him to the Philippines from 1956 to 1969. He led churches and church programs in Pennsylvania and South Dakota before moving to Alaska in 1981.

A memorial Eucharist for Harris will be held at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Fairbanks at 7 tonight. The funeral is to be held Thursday in Aberdeen.

Fire destroys sawmill on Kenai Peninsula

KENAI - A fire burned one of the Kenai Peninsula's largest sawmills to the ground, causing well over $1 million in damage, authorities say.

No one was injured in Tuesday's blaze, which was confined to the Alaska Spruce Products sawmill at Mile 147.5 of the Sterling Highway between Ninilchik and Anchor Point.

Workers discovered flames around 11 a.m. ``About 20 minutes later, all there was here was ashes,'' said Sid Bardwell, the sawmill's operations manager.

Firefighters had to launch a massive counterattack to keep the fire from spreading into a nearby forest, which was tinder dry.

Bardwell said he wasn't sure what would happen next at the sawmill, built in 1998. About three dozen people worked at the site.

Trending this week:


© 2018. All Rights Reserved.  | Contact Us