Alaska Digest

Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Police arrest man in meth lab case

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JUNEAU - Police on Monday arrested a 27-year-old Juneau man who was recently indicted on charges accusing him of setting up a small laboratory to manufacture methamphetamine.

Toby Arnold Wark was taken into custody at about 4 p.m. by officers who served the arrest warrant in the 5500 block of Aisek Street in the Lemon Creek area. He was indicted June 2 on three felony counts of second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance, and one felony count of first-degree burglary for misuse of a hotel room. The indictment alleged that he used a room at the Frontier Suites Airport Hotel, where the lab was discovered Feb. 27.

The room where the lab had been set up was believed to have been unoccupied when the lab was discovered.

The next day, police announced that the suspect had fled the scene, and they were looking for a man who had previously driven a shuttle van for the hotel.

Police lodged Wark at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

Murkowski to extend gas pipeline review

JUNEAU - Gov. Frank Murkowski plans to extend by a month the public comment period for reviewing his proposed natural gas contract with Exxon Mobil Corp., BP PLC and ConocoPhillips.

Murkowski originally set the public review date to end on June 23, 45 days after the May 10 release of the contract proposal and Revenue Commissioner Bill Corbus' draft fiscal interest findings.

On Tuesday, a public notice briefly appeared on the state's Web site that said the period had been extended until July 23. The notice was later removed, but Murkowski spokesman John Manly said the extension was going forward and the notice would likely reappear on Wednesday.

"The governor wants to have more input from the people," Manly said.

The draft contract sets long-term tax and royalty terms for the oil and gas production for the three companies negotiating to build a gas pipeline from the North Slope to Alberta, Canada or Chicago.

The extended review period means Alaskans will have 75 days total to submit their comments on the governor's plan. There will also be another round of public meetings around the state in which the Murkowski administration will attempt to answer questions that have come up about the contract proposal, Manly said.

Lawmaker recovering from surgery

JUNEAU - Rep. Richard Foster, D-Nome, was expected to leave Providence Hospital in Anchorage Tuesday afternoon after undergoing surgery last week for an intestinal ailment, said his chief of staff, Larry Labolle.

The state lawmaker was suffering from diverticulitis, an inflammation of the area around the colon.

Foster was scheduled to receive a kidney transplant later this month for a separate illness, but that surgery had to be postponed until he heals.

Labolle said Foster is recovering well after last Thursday's operation that removed a portion of his colon. He is expected to travel to Juneau later this week to clean up his office and prepare for the next special session, which has not yet been scheduled.

Foster, an 18-year veteran of the state House, was absent during the last three days of the special session that ended June 8. Labolle said Foster suffered several attacks of peritonitis this spring before the diverticulitis was diagnosed.

Foster is also suffering from polycystic kidney disease, an inherited disease that is treated by dialysis and transplant.

Foster is running unchallenged for an 11th term in the state House. Labolle said Foster intends to continue with his campaign.

Medic known for taking on soldier's duties

FAIRBANKS - Army medic Jeremy Loveless was not supposed to be outside the protection of his Stryker vehicle while it patrolled a volatile city in Iraq, but volunteered anyway for the dangerous job as lookout, military officials said at his memorial service on Monday.

Loveless died on Memorial Day while watching for suspicious vehicles as U.S. soldiers cordoned off a search area in Mosul, Iraq.

Loveless was remembered at a service at Fort Wainwright as a medic who was willing to take on any task to protect fellow soldiers, including voluntarily manning the gunner position. Normally, medics ride in the belly of the Stryker, waiting for a call to treat injured soldiers or civilians.

"I should not have let him in the hatch; he was a medic," wrote a commander of Alpha Co., in a letter that was read at the service. "But he stood in the hatch ... because he demanded to."

Loveless, 25, from Estacada, Ore., enlisted in the Army in October 2004 and was assigned last summer to the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team from Fort Wainwright. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment's Medical Platoon.

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