Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, August 15, 2004

27-year-old charged in alleged knife fight

JUNEAU - A 27-year-old man arrested by police after a reported knife fight at a downtown bar had his bail set at $3,000 on Friday.

David Fuchs was charged with third-degree assault after the Thursday night altercation with a 26-year-old man, whom police did not identify.

During his initial appearance before District Judge Peter B. Froehlich, Fuchs asked why he was being charged with felony assault "when I was the one who got beat up."

Juneau District Attorney Patrick Gullufsen said that regardless of who got the worst of it, witnesses told police Fuchs pulled a knife without justification. Police reported that the altercation began after Fuchs displayed a pocket knife.

Police said officers responded to a reported fight at 11:40 p.m. Thursday. Froehlich in court identified the location as the Imperial Bar, which is on Front Street. Police found Fuchs with slight head injuries and the other man with cuts to his hand.

Fuchs was not asked to enter a plea at Friday's hearing, but he said the police version "is not what happened."

Police reported finding a knife in the area where the fight took place.

Capital City Fire & Rescue emergency crews took both men to Bartlett Regional Hospital for treatment. Police arrested Fuchs upon his release and lodged him at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

Tlingit-Haida housing receives $7.9 million

JUNEAU - The Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority has received $7.9 million to improve housing in Southeast, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said Thursday.

The money will go toward subsidizing Native student housing, maintaining existing stock, and planning new housing for Natives and non-Natives, housing authority business manager Ed Phillips said.

"The housing authority is trying to help the community, not just the Natives in the community," Phillips said. "We believe helping the whole community helps the Natives the most."

Tlingit-Haida receives the same amount of federal funding each year, Phillips said. The majority of it will go toward housing in Juneau, the largest Southeast community.

The funding comes under HUD's Indian Housing Block Grant Program.

The block grant was created in 1996, when Congress passed the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act. It lets tribes determine how funds should be used to address local needs.

Before that, Native housing authorities competed with other Native authorities for funding to be strictly used for Native projects, Phillips said.

Fourth meeting set in series on Native education

JUNEAU - The fourth in a series of meetings to discuss Native education issues in Juneau will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at ANB Hall.

The forum will focus on a proposal for a Native-oriented charter school and early college high school, in which students would graduate with some college credits.

The Sealaska Heritage Institute, Juneau ANB Camp 2, ANS Camp 2, ANS Camp 70, the Southeast Alaska Native Educators Association and the Tlingit & Haida Indians of the City & Borough of Juneau will host the meeting.

For more information, contact Ted Wright at or Andy Hope at 790-9860, or see

City to accept candidates for Assembly, School Board

JUNEAU - The city will accept filings from candidates for the Juneau Assembly and the Juneau School Board from 8 a.m. Monday, Aug. 16, through 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26, the city clerk's office said.

Interested persons may contact the city clerk for filing information or find it online at

The following seats are open: District 1 Assembly, District 2 Assembly, Areawide Assembly and two School Board seats.

All seats are three-year terms.

Ketchikan fisherman falls but lands halibut

ANCHORAGE - A Ketchikan fisherman and his dog fell overboard after landing a flopping 35-pound halibut but were pulled to safety without losing the fish.

Charles "Murphy" James, 68, was fishing for the first time Thursday since he suffered a massive heart attack four years ago. He was with his wife, Debra, and their pregnant Shih Tzu-Maltese dog, Pepper.

They started fishing in 84 feet of water, hooked a halibut and got it close to the boat. He reached for his .22-caliber rifle to kill it. The gun would not fire.

James turned to his gaff hook, an undersized tool only about a foot long, and got the fish in the boat.

The 35-pound halibut came to life. It flopped and the boat rocked. Murphy tried to bash it with the gaff and the boat tilted right. Water flowed over the edge and the boat filled halfway with water.

Debra spotted Pepper swimming - outside the boat.

"She had her lifejacket on," Debra said. "We didn't have our lifejackets on. We were sitting on them."

Debra threw herself to the left side of the boat to keep it from flipping. With the boat stabilized, she grabbed the 15-pound dog and the rifle. Her husband was clinging to the side. He tried to remove his boots, which were pulling him down. Finally, he told Debra she'd have to pull him on board.

She has a bad back, but she did it.

"Adrenaline makes you very strong," she said.

Murphy was in the water about 10 minutes. All he lost was his hearing aid, she said.

"We were OK, and the fish was still in the boat," Debra James said. "We managed to hold ourselves together. It must have been that Girl Scout training from the past."

The situation could have been far more dangerous. The temperature was about 75 degrees and the water "felt pretty good," she said.

The experience will not keep them from fishing again.

"Next time we're going to take a different skiff and wear the life jackets instead of sitting on them," Debra said.

They plan to have their revenge on the halibut.

"We're determined that we're able to eat every bit of him for causing us all that trouble," he said.

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