State Briefs

Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Construction worker in critical condition

JUNEAU - An employee of Trucano Construction was in critical condition Tuesday afternoon at the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after being injured in a fall.

Darrell Larson, 41, a longtime Juneau resident, was transported to Seattle from Bartlett Regional Hospital on Monday afternoon.

Larson fell while working on the site of a future gift shop on South Franklin Street, between Baranof Jewelers Alaska and Princess World Jewelers, said Alan Gould, a vice president of Trucano Construction. Gould was uncertain of the nature of Larson's injuries.

Representatives from Bartlett and Harborview were unable to specify the nature of Larson's injuries. Larson left Juneau at about 1 p.m. Monday, said Marijo Toner, spokeswoman for Bartlett.

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development's Division of Occupational Safety and Health is investigating the incident, said the division's acting chief, John Stallone.

Assembly increases parking fines

JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly passed an ordinance Monday night that raised most traffic violation fines by $5 to $50. Assembly members justified the increases, saying that fines had not been adjusted since 1971. The larger increases were targeted at more serious moving violations.

The penalty for a parking ticket increased from $20 to $25. The basic speeding ticket increased from $30 to $55. The ticket for running a red light will now cost $55, instead of $30. Jaywalking tickets are now $35 instead of $20.

Other fines increased more significantly. Fines for driving through a crosswalk while pedestrians are attempting to cross jumped from $50 to $100. The penalty for passing a school bus while when the bus lights are flashing was the largest increase, growing from $50 to $200.

Officials estimated the proposed increase in fines would result in a revenue increase of about $40,600.

Two assistant principals appointed

JUNEAU - Juneau schools Superintendent Peggy Cowan announced Monday the appointments of two assistant principals.

Matt LeGassick has been named assistant principal at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School. He replaces Barb Mecum, who was appointed interim principal for next school year at Dzantik'i Heeni while the district searches for a permanent principal. Former Principal Les Morse took a job with the state Department of Education.

LeGassick has taught at Dzantik'i Heeni since 1996, except for a stint from 2000 to 2002 teaching English at the Nishi-Okoppe Elementary School in Japan. He holds a bachelor's degree in geography from the University of California Los Angeles, and a master's degree in teaching from the University of Alaska Southeast.

Cowan also named Linda Thibodeau as one of three assistant principals at Juneau-Douglas High School. She replaces Laury Scandling, who will return to the classroom as a teacher after two years as an assistant principal.

Thibodeau has worked for the school district from 1972 to 1982 and from 1990 to the present. She has been the JDHS librarian since 1996. She holds a bachelor's degree in speech pathology from the University of Oregon, a master's degree in special education/speech pathology/audiology from the University of Oregon, and a master's degree in library science from the University of Arizona.

Attorney says man who stabbed wife 24 times wasn't trying to kill her

ANCHORAGE - An attorney for a man accused of stabbing his wife 24 times said Monday during opening statements in a murder trial that his client did not intend to kill her.

Despite the multiple stab wounds, Isaiah Wallner intended only to hurt Brenda Wallner, attorney Craig Howard told jurors.

The issue is first-degree murder vs. second-degree murder and a difference in the likely prison sentence. First-degree sentences tend to be from 65 to 99 years. Second-degree is more likely to earn a defendant 30 to 60 years.

Prosecutor Sharon Illsley told jurors Isaiah Wallner was responsible for 43 wounds: the 24 stab wounds plus 19 defensive cuts.

Brenda Wallner, with a knife handle protruding from her chest, escaped her apartment between 6 and 7 a.m. May 22, 2002, and collapsed near the first-floor balcony of neighbor Patricia Barazi.

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