State briefs

Posted: Sunday, August 04, 2002

Denali Park seeks seed collectors

ANCHORAGE - Denali National Park and Preserve officials are recruiting volunteers to collect seeds of wild plants that can be used to revegetate disturbed areas.

Seeds are to be collected Aug. 20-23. Volunteers are allowed to camp free at the park.

Wendy Mahovlic, revegetation specialist at the park, said seeds of native wildflowers and grasses are collected each August.

Volunteers will harvest Eskimo potato, milk vetch, grass and lupine seeds.

The collected seeds are planted in early September, just before the first snowfall. In spring, melting snow moistens the seeds so they germinate in time for optimum growth, she said.

To maintain genetic integrity of plants that grow in the park, seeds are replanted only within a 20-mile radius of the plant's origin, she said.

Mahovlic can be contacted via e-mail at or by calling (907)683-6246.

Candidate uninjured in plane crash

ANCHORAGE - A Fairbanks man running for state Senate and his passenger escaped injury Thursday after their small plane crashed near Beaver Creek 45 miles east of Fairbanks.

Ralph Seekins, 57, was at the controls of the plane. He is running for state Senate District D against state Rep. John Davies, D-Fairbanks. Seekins' passenger was Larry Gregersen, whose age and hometown were not available.

Alaska State Troopers said the plane apparently crashed on landing near Seekins' cabin in the Beaver Creek area.

The plane came to rest in trees and water with the tail submerged and was substantially damaged.

Since the tail was submerged, the plane's emergency locator transmitter could not be deactivated and will remain active until the tail of the plane can be removed from the water, troopers said.

Troopers said Seekins signaled a second plane that transported him and Gregersen to Fairbanks.

Man arrested in niece's death

ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police arrested a man on murder charges Friday in the death of his 15-year-old niece, whose body was found in a back bedroom of her grandparents' home.

Marshall Ahvakana II, 25, was arrested on charges of first- and second-degree murder, first-degree sexual assault and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, police said.

Ahvakana is accused of killing his niece, Nancy Brower.

Police said they were called to a mobile home in East Anchorage Thursday morning by the girl's grandparents.

The grandparents, whose names were not released, told police they left the home sometime last weekend to play bingo while Brower and Ahvakana, their son, remained at the home. When the couple returned, only Ahvakana was there.

Over the next few days, the couple noticed an increasingly foul odor but thought it was a sewage problem. They discovered Brower's body underneath a blanket Thursday.

Following his arrest, Ahvakana was being held on $500,000 cash-only bail.

Teen charged in sexual assault

ANCHORAGE - A Selawik boy was charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl.

Alaska State Troopers said the boy, 14, was arrested on charges of sexual assault and sexual abuse of a minor.

The boy's name was not released.

The boy was transported to Kotzebue on Thursday.

Selawik is 70 miles southeast of Kotzebue and 670 miles northwest of Anchorage.

AIDEA head takes new job

ANCHORAGE - The executive director of the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority is stepping down at the end of the month to work for a Native regional corporation.

Bob Poe, 48, will take a job with ASCG Inc., an Anchorage-based architectural and engineering firm owned by Arctic Slope Regional Corp.

Poe's departure comes after two years heading AIDEA, a state development and lending agency, and a companion agency, the Alaska Energy Authority.

AIDEA, established in 1967, is a big player in the state's economy, helping to develop major projects like the Red Dog zinc mine near Kotzebue, docks for coastal towns and many commercial buildings in Anchorage. Poe led integration of AIDEA and the energy authority, sold a string of hydroelectric dams to the communities they serve, resurrected the Alaska Seafood International plant by recruiting a New York investor and worked with the Denali Commission to enhance rural energy.

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