State Briefs

Posted: Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Yakutat man fined, jailed for making false distress call

ANCHORAGE - A Yakutat man was sentenced Tuesday to five months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $40,000 for making a false distress call to the Coast Guard.

Arnold Williams, 39, called the Coast Guard in Juneau on July 24, 2001, to report that a boat was sinking with three people southwest of Yakutat. The transmission continued for about four hours, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Anchorage.

A Coast Guard helicopter from Sitka began searching for the boat, but no one was found. The helicopter crew pinpointed the position of the radio call and determined that it came from Yakutat.

Yakutat residents provided the Village Public Safety Office with information about the location and source of the call after recognizing Williams' voice over the radio.

Williams was indicted on one count of making a false distress call. He pleaded guilty on April 3.

Autographed cyclists' flag to be displayed in Valley

JUNEAU - The U.S. Postal Service and the Juneau Free Wheelers Cycle Club will hold a special flag-raising ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Mendenhall Valley post office.

A flag sporting the Postal Service Pro Cycling Team's jersey and autographs, including that of Lance Armstrong, will be raised at about 2 p.m. after a group of cyclists brings the flag from the post office at the Federal Building downtown.

The autographed flag will be displayed inside the Valley post office beginning later on Saturday, and a nonautographed flag will fly during the Tour de France bike race, which starts Saturday and typically lasts several weeks.

When the Tour ends, a drawing will be held for the autographed flag. Entry blanks are available at all Juneau post offices.

Lord-Jenkins named to head Ombudsman's office

ANCHORAGE - Linda Lord-Jenkins of Eagle River has been named to head the state Office of the Ombudsman. The office investigates citizen complaints against state agencies.

Lord-Jenkins has been an investigator for the ombudsman's office for 13 years. She succeeds acting Ombudsman Maria Moya, who held the job since Stuart Hall resigned in 1997. Lord-Jenkins was appointed to a five-year term.

Flags lowered today to honor drunken-driving victims

JUNEAU - Gov. Tony Knowles ordered state flags lowered to half-staff today in memory of victims of drunk drivers.

July 3 is Drunk Driving Victims Remembrance Day in Alaska.

Knowles was expected to sign a bill today in Anchorage that will increase the alcohol beverage tax and establish a fund for the treatment of alcohol and other drug abuse. The tax translates into a per-drink total of 10 cents, raising beer by 6.7 cents, wine by 6.5 and hard liquor by 5.6. It is expected to raise about $20 million a year.

Coast Guard monitoring grounded Yukon barge

KODIAK - Coast Guard officials are monitoring a barge that ran aground on the Yukon River near Emmonak.

The barge, owned by Crowley Marine Services, has been aground on a mud flat on the south entrance of the Yukon River since June 28.

The barge is carrying 111,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline, 122,000 gallons of jet fuel and 100 propane tanks.

There was no damage to the barge's holding tanks.

The barge and a tug were en route to Emmonak when the grounding happened. The barge is about 200 yards from the center of the channel and is not a hazard to navigation.

Compiled from staff and wire service reports.

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