State Briefs

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Ketchikan troopers find meth lab

KETCHIKAN - Alaska State Troopers responding to a burglary complaint Monday said they discovered a methamphetamine manufacturing lab at a Ketchikan home.

Sgt. Lonny Piscoya said troopers had received a complaint of property missing from the house and were interviewing the residents when they noticed a strong chemical smell.

Troopers later found a portable meth lab inside the home, he said.

No charges have been filed and the case remains under investigation.

Piscoya said troopers found empty packages of Sudafed, a cold remedy, plus coffee filters, muriatic acid, and lithium batteries at the house, all commonly used to manufacture methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant also known as speed. Labs that produce it are dangerous because of the volatility of the ingredients.

Tennessee man offered Ketchikan borough manager job

KETCHIKAN - The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly voted Monday to hire a Jackson, Tenn., man as borough manager.

Assembly members met in executive session to discuss James Patrick's qualifications, but then voted 5-2 to offer the job to Roy Eckert, a municipal management consultant for the University of Tennessee.

Eckert has worked as a consultant or city administrator in Tennessee, Alabama and Missouri since 1979.

The Assembly previously had offered the job to Patrick of Lebanon, Ohio, pending successful completion of background checks.

Assembly members learned in mid-July that an Ohio grand jury last year indicted Patrick on four felony charges, which were later dropped, in connection with early retirement buyouts taken in late 1999 by two former employees. Patrick was the city manager of Lebanon at the time of the buyouts and the indictments.

Patrick told the borough's three-man hiring committee about the indictments before his interview but the information was not relayed to the full Assembly. When Patrick learned of Assembly member concerns, he declined the job.

Umphenour appointed to seafood marketing board

JUNEAU - Virgil Umphenour has been appointed to the board of directors for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Gov. Tony Knowles announced on Tuesday. Umphenour's term will end July 2005.

Umphenour owns the Interior Alaska Fish Processors, a Fairbanks smokery, and has fished commercially for 11 seasons, the governor's office said.

He will serve on the 25-member board in the seat designated for a fisherman from the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region. That seat has been vacant since 1999.

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute promotes state-harvested seafood abroad, and its board of directors represents harvesters and large and small processors.

Body of fisherman recovered

ANCHORAGE - The body of a Dillingham man missing since July 17 has been recovered.

Searchers found the body of Ralph Peter Sorenson, 40, Monday on a beach near Pilot Point, where Sorenson was last seen on his fishing boat, the Sherona S.

Alaska State Troopers two weeks ago received a call from the Pilot Point village public safety officer, who said the Sherona S was spotted near the community turning in circles with no one at the helm.

Fishermen boarded the boat and found one person on board, a 30-year-old woman identified as Sorenson's girlfriend. She was passed out.

Troopers speculated at the time that Sorenson may have been intoxicated and that he could have fallen overboard while attempting to set a fishing net.

Sorenson's body will be flown to Anchorage for an autopsy.

Musher disqualified in 1997 enters Yukon Quest

WHITEHORSE, Yukon Territory - A musher disqualified from the 1997 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race has entered for the second time.

Nicolas Vanier of Villemurlin, France, has entered the 2003 Quest, to be run in February from Whitehorse to Fairbanks.

Vanier signed up as a rookie despite running the 1997 race. That year, Vanier was disqualified for demanding and receiving outside help during the race when he requested water for his dogs in North Pole.

He was disqualified after the race, which ended in Fairbanks, when officials learned of his request for water.

The number of entries for the race next year is now at 19, with six mushers from the Yukon.

Body found in Cook Inlet identified as missing man

ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police say a body found in Cook Inlet near the Port of Anchorage has been identified as a man who has been missing since May.

The state medical examiner identified the body as that of Christopher Galuska, 29.

Galuska was last seen walking into the inlet near the Ship Creek Small Boat Harbor on May 29.

The Anchorage Fire Department used a rescue boat to search for Galuska for two days without success.

The body was found July 12 by a dredging crew.

Teen-ager held in assault of child

WASILLA - A 13-year-old boy has been arrested by Wasilla police and charged with sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl.

Police received a report Friday that the girl had been assaulted, said investigator Ruthan Josten. Police interviewed the girl and then arrested the boy.

The girl did not require hospitalization.

Police said it will be up to the district attorney's office to decide whether the boy will be charged as an adult.

Compiled from wire service reports.

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