State Briefs

Staff and Wire reports

Posted: Sunday, July 20, 2003

Coast Guard pulls man from water

JUNEAU - The Coast Guard in Ketchikan lifted a severely hypothermic and unconscious man from the Tongass Narrows near town on Friday night.

His age, hometown and condition were not available Saturday.

The Ketchikan police notified the Coast Guard at 10 p.m. that a man was in the water. A Good Samaritan vessel had come across the man and tried to get him aboard, but the man reportedly had a knife and stabbed at the boat, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard arrived at the scene in a small boat about 10:20 p.m. and lifted the man, now unconscious, into it. He was taken to Ketchikan General Hospital.

June unemployment increases slightly

JUNEAU - The state's monthly unemployment rate for June showed a slight increase, according to a state report.

The rate for June was 7.4 percent compared to 7.1 percent in May, the Labor and Workforce Development Department said.

In Juneau, the June rate was 5.8 percent, compared to 5.2 percent in May and 5.4 percent in June of 2002. About 17,250 people were employed in Juneau last month.

Anchorage and Fairbanks also had higher unemployment rates last month.

The Denali Borough had the state's lowest unemployment rate at 4.2 percent. The highest rate was in the Wade Hampton Census Area in the western part of the state at 27.8 percent.

For the last two years Alaska's unemployment rate has increased slightly in June, according to the report.

The state added 10,700 seasonal jobs from May to June, more than half in leisure and hospitality and retail trade.

Anchorage man found dead at Kenai dock

KENAI - An Anchorage man was found dead near the Kenai city dock, police said.

Alvin Holliman, 62, apparently died of natural causes after being dropped off on the dock by fishing friends. Kenai police and paramedics found his body while responding to a report of a man down Wednesday afternoon.

Holliman died while on his way to get his fishing party's truck to pull the boat out of the water.

Time for annual count of Anchorage geese

ANCHORAGE - Anchorage biologists and volunteers have begun an annual count of homegrown Canada geese at lakes and ponds.

The count takes place during the July molting season, when the birds cannot fly because they're growing new wing feathers. Young birds will receive leg bands with a unique registration number. Adults already banded will be counted and looked over.

Biologist say goose numbers may have dropped to the lowest level in years.

By the mid-1990s, a goose boom was bringing an estimated 5,000 birds into town each summer, overwhelming city parks and endangering aircraft. The worst accident killed 24 people in September 1995, when an AWACS surveillance aircraft crashed on takeoff after flying through a flock at Elmendorf Air Force Base.

A program to reduce goose numbers to about 2,000 was launched with hazing and shooting geese near airfields, collecting eggs in the spring and transplanting goslings to Susitna Flats. By last summer, geese in Anchorage had plummeted to about 1,500 birds.

Fairbanks jury convicts driver of manslaughter

FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks jury deliberated less than two hours Thursday to convict an Allakaket man of manslaughter.

Frederick Ned Jr., 32, was charged in the death of a friend, Brett Stevens, 33, in a truck accident Aug. 28, 2002, at the Allakaket airport runway.

Ned wept as the verdict was read. He faces a minimum of seven years in prison.

Allakaket is about 190 air miles northwest of Fairbanks.

Ned was driving at a high rate of speed when he tried to launch his truck across a 10-foot drop-off at the end of the runway, prosecutors said.

The truck fell into a marshy area, hit the ground and flipped. Stevens was thrown from the truck and it landed on him. He was pinned beneath the truck and died shortly after.

Ned's blood alcohol content was measured five hours after the incident and found to be nearly three times the legal limit, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Pipeline plans shutdowns

ANCHORAGE - Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. has scheduled five short-term shutdowns of the pipeline over the next several weeks to upgrade safety valves.

Work on the remote gate valves along the 800 miles of the trans-Alaska pipeline will last four hours for each shutdown, pipeline officials said.

The valves are throughout the pipeline and are designed to close in an emergency, trapping and limiting the amount of oil that could spill if the pipeline ruptures.

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