Local briefs

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2002

NOAA seaman dies in capsizing

JUNEAU - A Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew airlifted two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration nautical mappers to safety Tuesday afternoon and one other died after their 29-foot boat capsized in 5-to-8-foot seas in Resurrection Bay.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Kodiak attempted to recover the body of NOAA survey Seaman Eric Koss, 30, of Woodinville, Wash., but 8-foot seas battering the rocky shoreline prevented the Coast Guard rescue swimmer from reaching the aircraft.

A crew from the NOAA research vessel Rainier recovered Koss' body about 6:30 p.m. and transferred it to the Alaska State Troopers in Seward.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Cordova airlifted injured NOAA Ensign Jennifer Johnson, 23, and survey technician David Fischman, age unknown, both of Washington state. The rescuers took them to Seward for treatment at a medical center there.

The Coast Guard received a radio distress call from the captain of the Rainier about 12:55 p.m. following a skiff's grounding and eventual capsizing.

None of the three on the NOAA skiff was wearing a life vest, the Coast Guard said.

Johnson's injuries included a severe laceration and multiple minor cuts and bruises, while Fishman suffered minor bumps and scrapes. Medical officials in Seward treated Johnson and Fishman before releasing them late Tuesday afternoon.

A trooper official told Coast Guard search and rescue coordinators in Juneau that they will investigate the cause of the incident and Koss' death.

Police arrest teens in vandalism spree

JUNEAU - Three teen-agers were arrested this morning, accused of causing more than $2,000 in damage in a vandalism spree.

William Peters, 19, and two boys, both 16, whose names are not being released, were arrested around 4 a.m. today near Willoughby Avenue after allegedly smashing a police patrol car window, a van window and 39 mail boxes along Thane Road.

Police said they heard glass breaking outside the municipal building near Shattuck Way around 3:20 a.m. today.

Officers found that a patrol car had been vandalized and allegedly saw Peters fleeing from the area, police said today.

Peters and two other boys left the scene in a truck, which police stopped on Willoughby Avenue. Peters fled, but police chased him down and subdued him with pepper spray, police said.

Peters and the two boys were arrested and a baseball bat was found in the back of the truck.

Police said a call had come in earlier in the night from van occupants who said three men in a truck drove by them where they were parked on Thane near Sheep Creek Road. The caller said the men then smashed the van window with a baseball bat.

Police also later discovered that mail boxes along Thane had been smashed with a blunt object.

The total damage of the vandalism spree was estimated at $2,700.

All three boys were charged with two counts of second-degree criminal mischief, a felony.

The 16-year-old driver also was charged with failure to stop at the direction of a police officer, a felony, and minor driving after drinking and four counts of reckless endangerment, both misdemeanors.

The 16-year-old passenger also was charged with two counts of reckless endangerment and underage drinking, the latter an infraction.

The boys were lodged at Johnson Youth Center and Peters was lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

USFS hosts meetings on Couverden timber sale

JUNEAU - The U.S. Forest Service is hosting public meetings later this month about a proposed timber sale near Juneau.

The Couverden timber sale area is about 30 air miles west of Juneau on the south Chilkat Peninsula along Icy Strait. In an early version of the proposal, the Forest Service would allow harvest of 25 million board feet of timber on about 1,500 acres of land.

The project likely would build 5 miles of new road, 3 miles of temporary road and reconstruct 19 miles of existing road in the area, the agency said. The proposal doesn't include any road construction in the Chilkat-West Lynn Canal roadless area.

The project also would improve fish passage near existing roads, restoring blocked and failed culverts, the agency said.

The Couverden project is in the early stages of development and the agency is accepting scoping comments through Sept. 15. A final environmental impact statement should be finished in 2004.

Meetings on the project will be held Aug. 26 at the Juneau Ranger District Office, Aug. 27 at the Hoonah Ranger District Office, and Aug. 28 at the Gustavus Community Center. The meetings start at 7 p.m.

Fourth suspect arrested in school break-ins

JUNEAU - Another suspect was arrested in connection with two of the three burglaries at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School and police are still looking for more suspects, according to a police press release today.

A boy, 15, whose name is not being released, was charged with second-degree burglary, a felony, and third-degree criminal mischief and fourth-degree theft, both misdemeanors. Charges stem from an incident of July 24, during which the school was broken into and graffiti was spray-painted throughout the building.

The boy also was charged with second-degree burglary, second-degree criminal mischief and second-degree theft, all felonies, stemming from a burglary July 29 at the middle school, where four computers were destroyed and windows were broken.

The boy was lodged at the Johnson Youth Center and is expected to be arraigned today.

A third burglary at the middle school took place Aug. 11.

The latest arrest brings the total to four suspects police have in custody in connection with the burglaries. The arrests include Michael Johnson, 19, Lloyd George, 20, and a boy, 17, whose name is not being released.

All four boys may face further charges and police are still looking for other suspects, police said.

Industrial facility gets commission OK

JUNEAU - The Juneau Planning Commission on Tuesday approved a conditional use permit for a storage and staging site near Industrial Boulevard to Miller Construction.

The permit allows the company to store soil and equipment, crush asphalt, crush rocks, store asphalt, and screen and sort soil for the Mendenhall Boulevard reconstruction project.

The commission in June turned down such a use on Valley Boulevard, a residential area. Commissioner Marshal Kendziorek said the company worked with the city to find a new location.

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