Posted: Tuesday, August 07, 2001

Valley temporarily loses water pressure

JUNEAU - A contractor doing road work on Glacier Highway near Professional Plaza cut through a water main about 11 a.m. today, causing water pressure to drop in parts of the Mendenhall Valley.

Water Utilities Superintendent Dean Nordenson said some customers near the break lost their water pressure entirely, and others in the valley saw pressure fall off.

The break was isolated by noon, however, and Nordenson said the pressure should start to come up for most valley residents after that. Meanwhile, at mid-day it wasn't clear how long it would take to fix the main and restore water pressure to areas near the break.

"We're hoping to get it fixed within the next two to three hours," depending on the kind of damage, Nordenson said at 12:15 p.m.

The water main carries water from downtown sources to the valley, where it fills reservoirs. Those reservoirs started to drain after the main was broken.

Woman attacked in Denali National Park

DENALI NATIONAL PARK - A man attacked a woman during an attempted robbery inside Denali National Park, Alaska State Troopers said.

The 32-year-old woman, who was not identified, told authorities someone struck her from behind and knocked her to the ground Monday near the park post office. She said the man demanded money and began kicking her in the ribs. When she tried to stand up, the man struck her in the face and knocked her unconscious.

The woman was treated at the McKinley Chalet Hotel clinic.

Denali park rangers are investigating. Nothing was stolen during the attack.

Change of venue sought for murder trial

ANCHORAGE - The attorney for a man charged with murdering a Coast Guard officer on St. Paul Island asked Monday that his client be tried in St. Paul instead of Anchorage.

The request for a change of venue was made at the arraignment of Carl W. Merculief Jr., 25, a former St. Paul resident who had been living in Anchorage.

Defense attorney Mike Dieni pleaded innocent for Merculief on eight felony charges, including first-degree murder in the shooting death of Chief Warrant Officer Timothy Harris on July 24.

Merculief also is charged with misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree assault and violating a protective order.

According to the criminal complaint, Merculief was angry because he thought Harris was having an affair with his estranged wife.

At Monday's hearing, Superior Court Judge Elaine Andrews did not rule on the change of venue request.

Undercount could cost Alaska $100 million

ANCHORAGE - Alaska could lose more than $100 million over a 10-year period because of an undercount on the latest U.S. Census, according to the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The undercount in Alaska translates to $6,306 for each person not counted, the firm said.

"The undercount will cost Alaska millions of dollars in funds that are earmarked for programs that largely serve the state's most disadvantaged," said Gilbert F. Casellas, co-chairperson of the U.S. Census Monitoring Board.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers examined eight programs most affected by the census, including Medicaid, social services block grants, and foster care.

The firm said 31 states and the District of Columbia are slated to lose over $4 billion over the next 10 years. It found California would be the most adversely affected state, losing $1.5 billion. Texas was second at $1 billion.

Approximately $185 billion in federal funds are allocated by Congress each year based on each state's population as determined by the census, which is conducted every 10 years. .

Toddler dies in shotgun accident

BETHEL A 3-year-old Kipnuk girl died Monday in an accidental shooting, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Kayla Carl of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta village was shot in the head in her home about 2 p.m., troopers said.

A 14-year-old boy was holding the .410-gauge shotgun when it went off, troopers said. They didn't know if there was a family relationship between the two children.

Kipnuk, about a hundred miles southwest of Bethel, has a population of fewer than 300 people.

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