Alaska Digest

Staff and Wire reports

Posted: Thursday, June 02, 2005

Anti-violence training session set next week

JUNEAU - Juneau will host a training session next week for educators and others learning to prevent substance use and violence among youth.

The event, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School, is sponsored by the Juneau School District, the University of Washington and the Alaska Staff Development Network.

The general public can attend for $25, which covers three breakfasts and lunches. People who show up at the door won't be turned away, but sponsors prefer attendees to register ahead of time through the Web site

JDHS auto students win state contest

JUNEAU - Juneau-Douglas High School students Leif Olsen and Jason Lindley won the statewide Student Auto Skills competition late last month at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

They will compete in the national contest on June 24 in Washington, D.C. The state and national competitions are sponsored by Ford and AAA.

Olsen, 17, who is mostly home-schooled, and Lindley, 18, won a trophy at the state contest for having the highest combined score on a previously taken written test. They also won scholarship offers worth thousands of dollars for placing first in the hands-on competition.

Additionally, JDHS will receive a donation of a car or car parts from Ford, auto teacher Steve Squires said. The donation recognizes that the combined scores of the top six Juneau auto students on the written test were the highest of the competing Alaska schools.

N. Franklin lot closes to one-hour parking

JUNEAU - The North Franklin Street parking lot will close to hourly parking in June and provide parking for Seward Street businesses affected by street reconstruction, according to the Juneau Parks and Recreation Department.

The businesses were issued permits for the lot at Second and Franklin. The seven one-hour spaces will reopen to the public on July 1.

For more information, contact the department at 586-5226.

Trans-Alaska pipeline worth $3 billion

JUNEAU - It's pumping half the oil it did in its prime, and tariffs could drop sharply in the coming years, but the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System is still worth $3 billion, according to a state review board.

The five oil companies that own the 800-mile pipeline had appealed that assessment by the Alaska Department of Revenue, which this year changed the way it values the pipeline in figuring the property tax owed.

The owners say under the method used previously - basing the assessment on tariff income - the pipeline's value is actually $1.5 billion.

The local governments through whose land the pipeline runs also appealed the state's assessment, but took the opposite line: The state's price tag is as much as $11 billion short of the real value.

The Department of Revenue's number was upheld recently by the State Assessment Review Board, keeping the pipeline's value at about the same level as it has the past four years.

The reason for the dispute is taxes. Upholding the $3 billion assessment for 2005 means the pipeline owners will have to pay $60 million in property taxes to be split between the state, five municipalities and the North Slope Borough.

Suspects arrested in Houston homicide

ANCHORAGE - Two Anchorage residents suspected in the killing of a man near Houston were arrested Wednesday.

Mario Page, 20, and Kira Gray, 16, were arrested at a South Anchorage home by members of the U.S Marshals Alaska Fugitive Task Force, a multi-agency group.

Page and Gray are suspects in the kidnapping and killing of Terrel Houngues, 23.

A camper on May 8 spotted Houngues' body off a four-wheeler trail near Mile 56 Parks Highway near Houston.

Investigators believe Page and Gray took Houngues man to the site and shot him.

They were being sought on separate $250,000 arrest warrants.

Officers at about 9 a.m. Wednesday went to a home at 2430 Sentry Drive. After about 15 minutes, Page and Gray were taken into custody.

Troopers say officers were working on leads developed during the past few days that put Gray and Page at the home.

Consultant: Veneer plant will reopen

KETCHIKAN - A timber consultant who is working to reopen the veneer plant at Ward Cove said it should be up and running by September with two shifts of workers.

Ted Falconer of T.F. Inc. in Gig Harbor, Wash., said he hopes to have people on site by mid-June to restart the plant. The mill should be operating in September with two shifts of workers, he said.

Falconer said the estimate may be too conservative.

"We'll probably have a half-dozen people on site the second week of June, and then up to 10 or 11. By Sept. 15 we should be up to full strength of about 40 people," he said.

A plywood plant discussed earlier won't be part of the initial operation, he said.

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough purchased the veneer plant in summer 2002 after Gateway Forest Products failed. The Borough Assembly agreed in early January to lease the building and land to Falconer.

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