Alaska Digest

Staff and Wire reports

Posted: Thursday, May 26, 2005

Terrorism charge recommended for girl

JUNEAU - Police have recommended that a terrorism charge be pursued against a 16-year-old girl accused of writing threatening messages in a Juneau-Douglas High School restroom.

Capt. Tom Porter said the department has forwarded charges of second-degree terroristic threatening and fifth-degree criminal mischief for the girl to the Johnson Youth Center and Juneau District Attorney.

The girl, whom police and school officials did not identify, was lodged at the Johnson Youth Center May 6 with charges pending in the vandalism incident at the high school, according to police. Officers reported that on May 4 they were led to a third-floor girls' restroom where written messages referred to enemies and bringing a gun to school.

The threats were not carried out.

Under Alaska law, second-degree terroristic threatening can carry a sentence of up to five years in jail. The misdemeanor charge, which reflects the school's monetary loss from the vandalism, could carry a sentence of up to 90 days in jail.

City shuts down open burn in Valley

JUNEAU - An open burn in the Mendenhall Valley that drew complaints from the community has been doused by order of the city's fire marshal.

The fire, on Grant Street, parallel to Mendenhall Loop Road near Glacier Spur Road, was sending up a white plume of smoke all day Tuesday and into the night. A contractor working in the area had a permit for the controlled burn.

Juneau Fire Marshal Richard Etheridge said he had received questions about the large open burn and agreed with the contractor Tuesday to let the existing blaze burn itself out. The contractor continued to burn through the night, he added.

Etheridge said he revoked the contractor's burn permit. He said all options for further legal action against the contractor are being pursued.

Guardsmen build Metlakatla road

BISMARCK, N.D. - Some North Dakota National Guard soldiers are slated to travel to Southeast Alaska to help build a $34 million road for the Tsimshian Indian community of Metlakatla.

About 320 soldiers from the Fargo-based 142nd Engineer Combat Battalion will work this summer on the 14-mile road on Annette Island, about 15 miles south of Ketchikan. They will work with military unit personnel from units from Hawaii, Wisconsin, Washington, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, Indiana, South Carolina and Japan.

The 142 Engineer Battalion has about 630 members who served in Iraq from January 2003 until last March. Air Force Maj. Richard Sater said the military has completed 12 miles of the road over the past eight years. He said the road should be finished in about two years.

The project is called "Task Force Alaska Road," Sater said. When completed the road will connect the town of Metlakatla with a boat dock that will run high-speed ferries to Ketchikan.

Sater said the road is being built under a program known as Innovative Readiness Training, which provides road-building skills critical to the military.

Some 9,700 military personnel have worked on the road since 1998, Sater said.

The Annette Island town run by the Metlakatla Indian Community is the only reservation in Alaska, with its own courts and power to manage fish and game use.

North Pole refinery expansion on hold

FAIRBANKS - Plans by Flint Hills Resources LP to expand its North Pole refinery to make low-sulfur diesel and gasoline have been put on hold.

The project would have allowed the state's largest refinery to produce fuel that meets Environmental Protection Agency national requirements that come into effect in 2006-07.

Flint Hills spokesman Jeff Cook said the company is looking at all options to provide cleaner-burning fuels.

"We will have a clean fuels project," he said. "We're not ready to announce our specific project."

Project estimates for expansion had doubled, bringing the price tag to more than $200 million, Cook said. Part of the increase comes from the higher cost steel.

Flint Hills acquired the refinery in 2004. It has a daily processing capacity of about 220,000 barrels of crude. The refinery processes North Slope crude oil and supplies gasoline, naphtha, jet fuel, heating oil, diesel and asphalt to local and international markets, according to the Flint Hills Web site.

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