Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Special session date finalized

JUNEAU - A special legislative session on cruise ship pollution will begin at 10 a.m. June 7 at the Capitol, under an amended proclamation by Gov. Tony Knowles.

Knowles made the change Monday to accommodate Anchorage Republican Sen. John Cowdery, who has been excused from Senate business through June 6.

Knowles originally called for a special session May 21. But Cowdery's wife tentatively is scheduled for heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., on May 23, according to Senate President Rick Halford, a Chugiak Republican. Cowdery had blocked cruise ship legislation in the Senate Transportation Committee during the regular session.

Halford didn't repeat his harsh criticism of Knowles from last week, when he said the governor's original date was "inhumane."

He pledged to work for passage of the bill and said he expects a vote on the Senate floor. The House already has passed the bill 35-3.

The cruise ship industry has said it supports the legislation but opposes a passenger head tax, which Halford favors.

Air Force band plays free shows

JUNEAU - Top Cover, an eight-piece band from Anchorage, will play a free concert 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at JuneauDouglas High School.

"We're one of the performing groups with the Air Force Band of the Pacific," said Tech Sgt. Tim Brye, the band's audio engineer.

The concert is part of a spring tour of Southeast Alaska that includes Juneau and Petersburg. In addition to the evening concert, the group will also perform several times in schools.

"We play high-energy music that hopefully the kids can appreciate," Brye said. "Anything from the Backstreet Boys, '80s glam rock, disco, old hard-core rock 'n' roll tunes to a lot of the current things in country and top 40. And even jazz."

He said the evening concert will be more of a mix of styles and will include more old-time rock 'n' roll, a little more country music, a Motown medley and a medley of songs by the band Journey.

Brye said the Air Force Band of the Pacific is a 31-piece group that plays official functions of every style for the military and serves as musical ambassadors for the Air Force. Musicians in the group also perform in smaller subsets of the big band, The Greatlanders Show Band, Top Cover, and a brass quintet called the Alaska Brass. All are based in Anchorage at Elmendorf Air Force Base.

Olympic torch deadline today

JUNEAU - Today is the final day to nominate Alaskans to carry the Olympic Flame on its way to Salt Lake City, where the XIX Olympiad will begin next February. The Olympic torch will travel through 46 states, stopping in Juneau on Jan. 24.

Torchbearers for the Juneau leg of the relay will be chosen from nominees throughout the state. Each will carry the flame two-tenths of a mile.

Mailed nominations must be postmarked no later than today. Applications are at the city manager's office, libraries and the University of Alaska Southeast student activity center. Applications are also available online at and can be sent over the Internet by the end of today.

Victim in paintball attack files lawsuit

ANCHORAGE - One of the Alaska Natives targeted in a January paintball attack is suing the three men accused of doing the shooting.

The victim, Leonty Fratis, filed the civil suit against Charles Wiseman, now 20, and two unnamed juveniles, as well as Wiseman's parents, Charles W. and Janette Wiseman, KTUU-TV in Anchorage reported. The parents were sued because their car, paintball gun and video camera allegedly were used in the attacks on several Natives, the station reported.

According to police, the younger Wiseman and the other two teens shot Fratis with paint balls as he walked on streets of Anchorage. It was one of a string of such attacks targeting Alaska Natives. The shootings were captured on home video and the tape eventually was obtained by police.

Wiseman faces seven counts of misdemeanor assault in connection with Jan. 14 paintball shootings. The two 17-year-olds accused of participating with him face proceedings in juvenile court and their names will not be made public unless they're waived to adult status.

Head of Alaska Air National Guard retires

JUNEAU - Brig. Gen. George Cannelos, 54, commander of the Alaska Air National Guard, announced his retirement Monday after 32 years of service.

Cannelos was commissioned into the Navy in 1969. He flew more than 70 combat missions over Vietnam and earned the Navy Commendation Medal for completing reconnaissance missions in the face of intense enemy anti-aircraft and missile attacks.

He joined the Alaska Air Guard in 1978 and spent 18 years as a traditional guardsman before going to work full time for the Guard in 1996.

Oil spotted on Cook Inlet near Nikiski

NIKISKI - Concentrations of thick, heavy oil have been sighted floating in Cook Inlet near Nikiski, and authorities are cleaning up the oil and trying to determine its source, according to the Coast Guard and state officials.

Several pipelines run under the inlet in the vicinity of the oil sightings, first reported by Cross Timbers Operating Co. Friday evening. Cook Inlet Spill Prevention and Response Inc. was hired to work on cleaning up the oil, and recovered 30 to 40 gallons on Friday, the Coast Guard said.

The initial spill amounted to 120 to 200 gallons, with an additional 42 gallons spotted Monday. Investigators contacted the operators of oil platforms in the area, but none reported losing any oil.

Samples of the oil are being sent to Anchorage for analysis.

Cleanup crews reported the oil didn't appear to have reached the shore, and there were no sea mammals or birds in the vicinity.

Computer sends wrong test scores

ANCHORAGE - A computer error caused the Anchorage School District to send out wrong scores for thousands of students who took standardized tests in February.

Parents have just received their children's California Achievement Test scores in the mail, but scores for 7,500 fourth- and seventh-graders are wrong. The composites, or averages for reading, math and language arts combined, were right, said assessment director Ray Fenton. But a programming error caused district computers to print only one digit on scores for individual subjects.

That means if a student scored at the 75th percentile in reading, the report indicated a score at the 7th or 5th percentile. In some cases, no score printed for individual subjects, Fenton said. All student reports probably contained the mistakes, he said.

The CAT tests compare individual students with a national group for which the 50th percentile is average. A score at the 5th percentile would be near the bottom of the scale.The district will reprint the reports and mail them this week, Fenton said. The mistake cost the district about $3,500.

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