Alaska Digest

staff and Wire reports

Posted: Tuesday, May 18, 2004

No sign of injuries in child's death

JUNEAU - Police are investigating Sunday's death of a 3-month-old boy near Douglas.

There were no visible signs of injury to the child, police reported. His name is not being released.

Police officers and Capital City Fire & Rescue personnel responded at about 9 a.m. Sunday to a Foster Avenue residence for a report of a baby who wasn't breathing. Life-saving measures were taken, but the boy was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency medical technicians, police said.

The child was set to the state medical examiner's office in Anchorage to determine the cause of his death.

Woman injured under van after trying to stop it

JUNEAU - A 23-year-old woman was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital Monday after she was pulled under a van she was trying to stop from going into a ditch at Berners Avenue.

Police did not determine the extent of the woman's injuries. They did not identify her. They cited her on charges of driving in violation of her license and carrying no proof of insurance.

Police responded to the accident scene with Capital City Fire & Rescue personnel at 12:58 p.m. and found the woman on the ground next to a 1991 Plymouth Voyager.

During the investigation, police concluded the woman attempted to jump out of the van when she discovered the brakes did not work. During the attempt, her foot went under the moving van and her body was pulled under.

The van came to rest in a ditch. After investigating the accident, police impounded the vehicle.

AKRR agrees to pollution cleanup plan

ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Railroad Corp. said it has reached an agreement with the federal government on assessing suspected pollution on 600 acres of railroad land.

The state-owned corporation will conduct the investigation at Ship Creek under the guidance of the Environmental Protection Agency, railroad president and CEO Pat Gamble said Sunday. Ship Creek where the railroad has its operations is just north of downtown Anchorage. It also is a popular spot with city anglers looking to catch salmon or trout.

The assessment phase of the plan is expected to take at least three years and will determine if a cleanup is necessary. The consent agreement reached with the EPA requires the corporation to assess land it operates on as well as hundreds of acres leased to more than 100 Ship Creek businesses.

Pipelines plug progress

ANCHORAGE - New sources of natural gas in Cook Inlet would require new pipelines, Marathon Oil officials said.

Southcentral Alaska's natural gas industry dates from the 1950s and 1960s when companies were exploring for oil.

Once you find new stores of gas, you need to be able to get it to market - but the pipeline part of the equation needs work, said John Barnes, Marathon Oil's Alaska business unit manager.

The tariff process for the company's new 30-mile Kenai Kachemak Pipeline is taking three years - about three times what it would take to get through the process in Lower 48 parts of the "gas patch," said Kent Hampton, Marathon's North America natural gas marketing manager.

When Marathon and partner Unocal built the Kenai Kachemak Pipeline, connecting the Marathon-operated Ninilchik field with the existing Cook Inlet natural gas pipeline system at Kenai, it was the first new pipeline built in the area in at least a decade, Barnes said. The $25 million, 30-mile line Kenai Kachemak Pipeline began moving gas in September.

"We're not yet done spending money on the regulatory side there," Barnes said. "It could be 20-25 percent of the pipeline cost ultimately associated with regulatory."

Usera resigns after oversight bill stalls

ANCHORAGE - Vince Usera, the state's senior securities examiner, has resigned after a bill designed to strengthen oversight of Alaska Native corporations died in the Legislature.

Usera said he stepped down partly out of frustration with the bitter opposition his efforts triggered from regional Native corporations.

He had worked for the Division of Banking, Securities and Corporations for six years after a decade as an assistant attorney general.

Usera tried to stiffen rules governing Native corporations and require more of the companies to file financial reports and election materials with his office.

The reforms are badly needed, Usera said, because Alaska's roughly 200 Native corporations are exempt from federal scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission and they fall under only very limited oversight by the state.

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