State Briefs

Posted: Friday, May 24, 2002

Falling tree kills Dall Island logger

ANCHORAGE - A 21-year-old logger died Thursday when a tree fell on him on Dall Island, southwest of Hydaburg on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska State Troopers said.

The logger was identified as Robert Tolson of Hydaburg.

Troopers in Ketchikan were notified of the mishap at 12:40 p.m., trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said. CPR was performed on Tolson at the scene and discontinued at 1:15 p.m.

Troopers said no foul play is suspected.

Anchorage prosecutor to head new crime victims rights office

JUNEAU - The Legislature has appointed Anchorage prosecutor Stephen Branchflower to become Alaska's first crime victims advocate.

Branchflower has served as a state prosecutor for 28 years and will head the recently created Office of Crime Victims Rights.

Branchflower was confirmed unanimously to the appointment in a joint meeting of the Alaska House and Senate. He will assume his new duties July 8.

The Office of the Crime Victims Advocate was established by the Legislature last year and will be based in Anchorage.

Branchflower will be responsible for advocating in court on behalf of victims of felony offenses, or class A misdemeanors involving domestic violence or assault.

Fires burn near Kalskag, McGrath, Fairbanks

ANCHORAGE - Southcentral fire officials warned Anchorage-area campers Thursday to avoid starting a major wildfire over the Memorial Day weekend. Clouds and lower temperatures this week will not have diminished high fire danger, they cautioned.

Officials said this year's extreme fire danger came early. The danger comes from a combination of dry, windy weather and dry ground cover.

Firefighters were working to contain two major wildfires and numerous smaller fires burning around the state Thursday.

One fire came within 10 miles of McGrath, though it did not immediately threaten the community by late afternoon Thursday. Air traffic into McGrath was restricted Thursday afternoon because of heavy smoke from the fire. The blaze grew from 745 acres in the morning to an estimated 5,000 acres by afternoon.

Twenty firefighters were battling a fire near Kalskag, estimated at nearly 3,400 acres Thursday afternoon.

Near Fairbanks, people living in cabins near the end of Chena Hot Springs Road were evacuated when a small fire blew up to more than 250 acres Thursday night.

Woman says two men raped her in Anchorage

ANCHORAGE - A woman was raped early Thursday after accepting a ride from two young men, Anchorage police said.

The woman told police she was walking downtown at about 2:40 a.m. when the two men offered to give her a ride. The woman said the men were driving a gray pickup - possibly a Chevrolet - and promised to take her to a liquor store.

Police said the men instead drove the woman to a vacant lot and raped her.

The woman described the men as white. One appeared to be about 17 years old and the other about 20. The woman told police the men had a Rottweiler in the back of the truck.

No arrests have been made.

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