Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, July 25, 2004

Judge resolves golf club assault

JUNEAU - A teenager accused of assaulting a man with a golf club downtown was sentenced Thursday to time served in jail.

Randal J. Benc, 18, of Sitka was indicted in April on felony charges of second- and third-degree assault and a misdemeanor charge of driving while his license was revoked. His trial was scheduled for next week.

Thursday, he agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor fourth-degree assault, reduced from the more serious assault charge. Prosecutors also dismissed the third-degree assault charge and the driving misdemeanor.

Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks imposed 30 days in jail with 25 days suspended. He noted that the unsuspended five days already had been served.

He also placed Benc on probation for one year and ordered no contact with the man he assaulted.

According to police reports, witnesses reported Benc had assaulted a 32-year-old man with the club. The two allegedly were involved in a verbal exchange on the night of April 13 in a parking lot near Willoughby Avenue. After the older man walked down the street, Benc followed in a vehicle and was accused of attempting to run him over.

Benc allegedly got out of the car with the golf club and struck the man. During the ensuing confrontation, the man's girlfriend reportedly picked up the club and struck Benc.

Thunder, lightning, heavy rain rattle Juneau

JUNEAU - Several rounds of thunderstorms and heavy rain rolled across the Juneau area on Saturday.

Jim Truitt, a senior forecaster at the National Weather Service's Juneau Forecast Office, said instability in the atmosphere combined with the lifting action of an upper-level trough to generate the thunder, lightning and downpours.

A state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities rain gauge at Cohen Drive - near Tee Harbor - recorded a particularly intense downpour Saturday morning, Truitt reported.

The gauge recorded 2.05 inches of rain between 9:32 and 11:02 a.m., with 1.01 inches falling in just 30 minutes - from 10:02 to 10:32 a.m.

During a mid-afternoon storm, flashes of lightning and sharp cracks of thunder were seen and heard in downtown Juneau. Runoff washed down streets, and muddy, cascading water replaced the usually tame, white waterfalls on Mount Juneau. A parking lot between the Goldbelt Hotel and Napa Auto Parts was flooded, and at 3:30 p.m. pumps were being employed to drain the water.

Truitt said Saturday's heavy rain was not expected to cause flooding of streams or rivers.

Internet safety meeting scheduled

JUNEAU - State Sen. Kim Elton and i-SAFE America, a nonprofit, government-funded, Internet safety foundation, will hold a public meeting in Juneau about children's safe use of the Internet.

The meeting is scheduled for 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Room 206 of the Henderson Building at the University of Alaska Southeast.

The meeting also will identify individuals to join a Community Action Team that will organize ongoing activities in Alaska about Internet safety.

In the United States, 48 million children ages 5-17 regularly use the Internet, the group said.

Recent studies show that one in four children has been exposed to Internet pornography involuntarily, one in five children under 17 has been propositioned for sex online, and one in 33 of them has received an aggressive solicitation to meet their "cyber friend" in person, the group said.

For more information see

Atlantic salmon caught near Ketchikan

JUNEAU - On July 20, an adult Atlantic salmon was turned into the state Department of Fish and Game field office at Ketchikan. The fish, weighing 8.3 pounds and in good condition, was caught in a commercial gillnet fishery near Thorne Bay, the agency said.

Atlantic salmon are not native to the Pacific Ocean. They are raised in areas along the West Coast outside of Alaska.

Fish and Game said their presence in Alaska waters is "biologically undesirable."

It is unclear whether the fish is one of 2,587 Atlantic salmon that escaped from a farm in British Columbia between July 5-10 while being transferred into an uninspected net with holes in it.

"Regardless of the origin of this fish, it is important to understand the potential danger that Atlantic salmon present to Alaska's wild salmon stocks," said Bob Piorkowski, coordinator of Fish and Game's Invasive Species Program.

Since 1994, 577 Atlantic salmon have been found in Alaska's waters, including freshwater systems such as the Copper and Situk rivers, the agency said.

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