Alaska Digest

Posted: Monday, May 23, 2005

Searchers look for girl who fell from ice

ANCHORAGE - Searchers were looking Sunday for a 6-year-old Diomede girl who fell into the water at the edge of the village.

The girl, whose name was not released, was playing on ice with other children when she fell off shortly before 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Alaska State Troopers said. Part of the ice was deteriorating and a strong current flowed through, troopers said.

Troopers and Nome search and rescue volunteers helped look for the girl and villagers drilled holes in the ice. Some clothing was found.

Searchers had found no sign of the girl as of late Sunday afternoon, villagers said.

Diomede is located on the western coast of Little Diomede Island about 135 miles northwest of Nome.

Fort Wainwright yard sales draw bargain hunters

FAIRBANKS - Bargain hunters flocked to Fort Wainwright this weekend for a giant basewide yard sale.

Among the wares to be found Saturday were furniture, tools, toys, lava lamps and a wedding dress.

At neighborhoods throughout the post, it was hard to tell who was happier, the shoppers or the sellers.

By lunchtime, Lt. Col. Cameron Carlson and his wife, Debbie, had sold a bike, drill press, band saw, trailer and Jeep engine, as well as a range of household items and furniture.

Three friends who teamed up to make the most of the sale giggled and joked as they carried off a wooden hutch desk from the Carlsons' sale collection.

With maps provided at the entrance gate, the trio started their bargain hunting together at 7:45 a.m., keeping in touch via cell phones as they searched out the best buys in different housing neighborhoods.

"They used me for my van," Sarah Tomarchio joked as the three emptied the van of a dining room table and a couple of chairs purchased earlier to make room for the hutch.

Alison Labrador spent $35 for the hutch and $50 for the table and four chairs. Tomarchio was happy with her buy of three dressers for $35 and Paula Minnich was looking forward to trying out her newly acquired $30 saw.

Woman dies in Salcha fire

ANCHORAGE - A Salcha woman died Sunday when a fire swept through her trailer home, Alaska State Troopers said.

Tina Stomp, 45, was unable to escape from the burning trailer and her remains were found after the fire was extinguished, troopers said.

Troopers and fire crews were called to the scene near mile 332 of the Richardson Highway and found the structure in flames.

Kristoffer Stomp, 27, told authorities he woke up to the sound of his mother screaming at about 8:30 a.m. and discovered the fire quickly spreading near a wood-burning stove.

Kristoffer Stomp jumped out a window, according to troopers. Another man, 55-year-old Maurice Mills of Salcha, also escaped through a window.

University president chosen to articulate Eielson cause

FAIRBANKS - University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton has been chosen as the local voice to champion the cause of Eielson Air Force Base.

Hamilton will make the state's case next month before an independent commission in charge of reviewing the Department of Defense's list of recommended reductions and realignments.

Hamilton will share the spotlight with Sen. Ted Stevens, who plans to make a special trip to Fairbanks on June 15 to testify before the commission.

The Base Realignment and Closure Commission Chairman Anthony Principi and two other commissioners are expected to attend the June 15 meeting. Congress appointed the commission to review Pentagon recommendations.

BRAC representatives will visit a total of 16 cities. In addition, an analyst will visit each city ahead of the commission to gather information. A date for that visit has not been scheduled.

In addition to Hamilton and Stevens, Gov. Frank Murkowski and his daughter, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, are expected to attend.

Hamilton was chosen at a meeting called Friday by Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Jim Whitaker. Also Friday, the borough hired The Lundquist Group to lobby on behalf of the Fairbanks area.

Dozens turn out for refuge cleanup day

KENAI - Each spring, a winter's worth of litter is unveiled along roadways crossing the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, but this year refuge manager Robin West decided to hold a cleanup day.

Dozens of people responded to the call to help pick up bag loads of trash Friday.

Refuge workers got the day off from their normal duties to grab some garbage bags and search for discarded beer cans and coffee cups. Volunteers also pitched in, bringing the total of garbage collectors to about 75.

John Morton, a biologist at the 1.9 million-acre refuge, said the idea was to show how strongly refuge employees feel about keeping the area clean and natural.

"We thought we'd put our money where our mouth is," said Morton, who scoured a stretch of the Sterling Highway with federal colleagues Toby Burke and Bill Larned.

Much of the trash collected Friday was litter, although Burke said he also found a fair share of "car parts that fell off after striking moose."

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