Posted: Monday, July 19, 2004

Knowles accused of running negative ad

WASHINGTON - Former governor Tony Knowles is accused of sponsoring a negative television ad in his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat held by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Murkowski's campaign is upset that the 30-second spot says the incumbent "sided with drug companies to keep prices high" by voting "against letting seniors order safe, low-cost drugs from Canada."

Knowles aide Matt McKenna said the new ad, which shows footage of Murkowski and characterizes her voting record on prescription drugs, is not negative. "It's comparative," he said.

The ad plays and replays a three-second clip of Murkowski at a public speaking engagement, catching her with a look of distress or sadness. "Lisa Murkowski: Putting special interests first," the voice-over says.

The spot ends with footage of Knowles, including one shot of him grinning.

Elliott Bundy, a spokesman for Murkowski, said the ad is not just comparative, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

"Any advertisement that blatantly misrepresents a senator's position and voting record and accuses that they are somehow serving special interests is certainly negative," Bundy said.

He responded to the ad by issuing a press release saying "Tony attacks Senator Lisa Murkowski" for siding with President Bush and the majority of Congress on Medicare reform, and for wanting to ensure that drugs brought into this country are safe.

Ex-coach sentenced in child porn case

ANCHORAGE - A former Boys and Girls Club soccer coach has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to 18 charges relating to child pornography.

Andrew Thomas Weed of Anchorage was accused of being the group manager for three of four Internet pornography sites and of uploading child pornography to all four sites to be shared with group members.

At Weed's sentencing hearing Friday, he was asked by U.S. District Judge James Singleton for his side of the story.

"Basically it was the Internet, sir. I got caught up in there. I was trading pictures and whatnot," Weed replied.

Weed, 35, who also used the name Drew T. Ellisson, pleaded guilty to two charges of advertising pornography, 13 charges of transportation of child pornography and three charges of possession of child pornography.

Prosecutors promised not to charge him with additional counts in exchange for the pleas, according to the plea agreement.

Weed served as a volunteer soccer coach for 8- and 9-year-old girls in summer 2002.

Old Minto site to be returned to villagers

FAIRBANKS - All that's left of Old Minto is an ancient graveyard and a few cabins, some falling down. A broken, crooked boardwalk snakes through a bountiful raspberry patch.

But it holds memories of carefree days spent on the banks of the Tanana River, of parents and grandparents, of home.

On Tuesday the village of Minto is scheduled to get its 31 acres back when Gov. Frank Murkowski signs a bill in the village where the community relocated in 1969.

"It's very important especially for the people," said Minto Chief Andy Jimmie. "We're getting the land back."

Decades ago during breakup, the Tanana River would flood the community though it sat high on the cut bank about 40 miles west of Fairbanks. Athabascans had lived there for more than 60 years, some only seasonally. By the 1950s, people stayed year around, making it a permanent home.

Flooding from the Tanana River was a constant spring crisis. In the late 1960s after long consideration, the Minto leaders voted to relocate.

A search party found a suitable location 23 miles away on a bluff overlooking the lakes of the Minto Flats and accessible to the Elliott Highway. Some people didn't want to move, Jimmie said.

"We never abandoned it," Jimmie said. "We moved because of the flooding.

Four die in plane crash near Willow

ANCHORAGE - Four people died when their small plane crashed north of Willow, officials said.

The dead were identified as Curtiss Blake, 64, of Anchorage, his wife Sigrid Blake, 58, their daughter, Christina Blake, 28, of Girdwood, and her boyfriend, Robert Toney, 36, who piloted the Cessna 170 that crashed near Mile 84 of the Parks Highway Friday night.

The single-engine plane left Anchorage's Merrill Field sometime Friday, officials said.

The Blakes' other daughter, Jennie Blake, said her parents and sister flew to Talkeetna to check out the galleries and sightsee. It was a trip the family made frequently.

Officials say corporation controls Chitina access

FAIRBANKS - The state has no plans to challenge a blockade set up by the Chitina Native Corp. to prevent dip-netters from reaching a stretch of the Copper River to catch salmon.

Officials said a Department of Transportation survey done two years ago shows the corporation has a stake in land between the state right of way and O'Brien Creek, a popular take-off point for dip-netters in the Chitina area.

"We've re-evaluated the survey and determined Chitina owns the land there," said Wyn Menefee with the Division of Mining, Land and Water.

Even though charters are still operating at O'Brien Creek and the road is not blocked, the number of dip-netters has dropped off significantly as a result of the access controversy, according to Mark Hem of Hem's Charters, which ferries dip-netters to fishing holes from O'Brien Creek.

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