State Briefs

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2002

Tourism conference volunteers needed

JUNEAU - The Tlingit-Haida Central Council is looking for volunteers to act as committee chairpersons and to represent Alaska at a Native tourism conference to be held Sept. 28 to Oct. 1 at Centennial Hall.

The Central Council will co-host the conference with Wisconsin's Great Lakes Inter-tribal Council. A planning group has met several times in Juneau to coordinate volunteers. The next meeting will be held at noon Aug. 2 at the ANB Hall.

"We're busy trying to make it special for Alaska," said Central Council economic development technician Carrie Sykes. "We're going to have Alaska break-out sessions, and we'll have topics specific to our area. That's exciting; we're coordinating speakers for that."

In its fourth year, the conference provides tribes and Native corporations throughout the United States and Canada an opportunity to discuss the Native American tourism industry through networking, problem-solving and educational sessions.

The conference, previously held in New Mexico, Wisconsin and North Dakota, also brings together federal and state agencies, the private sector and a number of international tour operators.

For more information, call Myrna Brown at 463-7316.

Tourism association has new president

ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Travel Industry Association has a new president and chief operating officer.

Ron Peck was selected to replace Tina Lindgren, who announced her resignation in May.

The association markets Alaska to potential visitors around the world on behalf of the state.

Peck has worked for more than 25 years in the Alaska tourism industry.

He has been director of Alaska Airlines Vacations and later director of marketing for Alaska and Canada. He has been director of sales and marketing for Princess Tours and Princess Lodges and director of sales and marketing for Alyeska Resort in Girdwood.

Missing boy's body found on Kuskokwim

BETHEL - A decomposed body found on the bank of the Kuskokwim River has been identified as a missing 17-year-old Bethel boy.

Matthew David Nelson was reported missing after he ran away from the Bethel Group Home in May. The cause of death has not officially been established, although police speculate Nelson drowned.

Nelson, originally from Chevak, arrived in Bethel less than a year ago. He was the first student in the region to earn the new General Educational Development certificate at the Adult Basic Education Center this year.

Teachers remembered Nelson as a bright and motivated student and frequent volunteer at the center. They also remembered another side - a young man scarred by a troubled family life.

Nelson ran away from the group home May 15, shortly after a graduation ceremony at the center.

Nelson's body was found about four miles downriver from Bethel July 5 by a Bethel resident who was gathering driftwood.

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