Feds to buy more pink salmon
JUNEAU - The federal government is spending $2 million more on Alaska salmon for food assistance programs, according to Gov. Tony Knowles.
The new purchase by the Department of Agriculture was announced Thursday.
The department bought $16 million worth of canned pink salmon last fall as strong fish returns boosted processors' inventories.
The latest purchase involves spending about $1 million for roughly 50,000 cases of canned salmon, bringing the total bought by USDA over the last year to about 600,000 cases.
In addition, the department is planning to buy about 700,000 pounds of breaded salmon patties in pouches.
Over the last half dozen years, the government has spent about $71 million on Alaska canned salmon for food programs. The fish is distributed through various assistance programs, such as food banks and charitable institutions.
Senate passes state ferry crime bill
JUNEAU - The state Senate passed a bill Friday to close a loophole that prevented prosecution of a rape that occurred on a state ferry.
The measure, which passed unanimously, amends state law to allow the prosecution of those committing an offense on a state ferry even if the vessel is outside state waters when the crime occurred.
The bill was drafted in response to a case last year in which a young woman was raped while the ferry Matanuska was in Canadian waters traveling from Seattle to Ketchikan.
When the ship docked in Ketchikan, the district attorney got an indictment against the assailant, but the indictment was dismissed by the Superior Court because the state didn't have jurisdiction.
Rep. Kevin Meyer, an Anchorage Republican, sponsored the bill, which passed unanimously in the House in March.
O'Connell resigns as union manager
JUNEAU - Chuck O'Connell, business manager for Local 52 of the Alaska State Employee Association/AFSCME, has resigned effective last Friday, the union announced.
Kathy Dietrich, the local's Fairbanks business agent, was named interim business manager.
ASEA is AFSCME Local 52 and is the collective bargaining unit for about 7,700 members of what's called the general government unit of state workers. It includes clerks, biologists and some administrators. About 2,000 members live in Juneau.
Man accused of sex abuse with 14-year-old
FAIRBANKS - A 24-year-old Fairbanks man has been charged with sexual abuse of a minor after a 14-year-old girl in Anderson got pregnant, Alaska State Troopers reported.
Justin Gednalske faces one count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor based on allegations that he repeatedly had sex with the girl over an eight-month period, starting when she was 13.
The criminal complaint says the girl is pregnant and Gednalske has admitted being the father of her child. A court summons has been sought for Gednalske.
Teens accused of beating man in Sutton
ANCHORAGE - Four juveniles have been arrested in connection with a Christmas Eve assault of a 36-year-old man in Sutton, Alaska State Troopers said.
Brian Blubaugh bought alcohol for several local teens Dec. 24 and held a party in an abandoned trailer that's known as the "Crack Shack," troopers said. Blubaugh reported he was beaten up and tortured by four juveniles.
Earlier this week, troopers and Wasilla police arrested three boys - two 16-year-olds and a 17-year-old - on second-degree assault charges. They are being held at Mat-Su Youth Facility in Palmer. A 17-year-old girl was issued a summons to appear in court to face a second-degree assault charge.
German airline flies to Fairbanks
FAIRBANKS - With help from 16 Fairbanks backers, Condor German Airlines, a Germany-based vacation airline, will return for the second straight year starting May 23.
Condor will carry passengers from Frankfurt via Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and then return nonstop to Frankfurt once a week until Sept. 26.
The 16 backers put up $100,000 to guarantee 50 seats on the return flight.
"It's good for Fairbanks," said Dave Carlstrom, marketing director for Fairbanks International Airport and the Fairbanks Economic Development Corp.
Last year the German airline flew a passenger jetliner into Fairbanks in May for the first time. The flight was backed by Bernie Karl, co-owner of Chena Hot Springs Resort.
The biggest contributor this year is the Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau, which put in $14,000. Hotels, tour groups and jet fuel companies paid at least $1,000.
The backers do not earn money on the guarantee but will receive extensive advertising in Germany. The money is needed to help Condor offset the risk of venturing into a new market, Carlstrom said.
Police: Man tries to run down woman
ANCHORAGE - A 21-year-old man was arrested Friday for allegedly assaulting a woman after they had sex in his vehicle in an Anchorage parking lot, police said.
Emmanuel Jackson was arrested on charges of assault and eluding police, according to police.
The victim told police that she and Jackson had consensual sex for money in the parking lot of West High School early Friday morning. Afterward, the man tried to rob the woman at gunpoint, but she jumped out of the vehicle and ran away as the man tried to run her down in his car, police said.
Bars object to military club hours
FAIRBANKS - A bar on Fort Wainwright Army Post that is open on a limited basis to civilians is drawing objections from Fairbanks bar owners because it's allowed to operate for longer hours.
In January, Fort Wainwright reopened Arctic Oasis, which had been closed since 2000. The club's hours are midnight to 5 a.m. Fairbanks North Star Borough law closes other local bars at 3:30 a.m. on weekends.