Northwest Digest

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2007

Armed man attempts to rob service station

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JUNEAU - An armed man walked into the Tesoro Service Station on 10th Street at 9:30 p.m. Friday and demanded money, according to the Juneau Police Department.

The man showed an employee a gun he had in the waist band of his pants and demanded money, police said. The man panicked and fled on foot when another Tesoro employee arrived to start work. The gun was not pointed at the employees, police said.

The suspect was described as a white male, 6 feet tall with short brown hair, wearing black pants, black hooded sweat shirt, black stocking hat and black sunglasses with gold and silver trim.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 586-0600 or the Crime Line at 586-4243.

Man charged with attempted murder

FAIRBANKS - A Tok man has been charged with attempted murder for allegedly beating and choking a teenager nearly to death.

A search warrant was issued for 25-year-old Rex Owen Defrance in connection to the attack last Friday, according to Alaska State Troopers.

The 19-year-old victim, also of Tok, was airlifted to the Alaska Native Medical Center for treatment for his injuries, a trooper report stated.

Defrance and four underage individuals were drinking when Defrance reportedly became angry and punched one of the youths in the face, according to documents filed in Fairbanks District Court.

The blow knocked the youth to the ground. While the youth was on the ground, Defrance jumped on him and began pummeling him in the face until the youth lost consciousness, the court documents said.

The others present repeatedly tried to pull Defrance off of the youth, but Defrance continued the assault, knocking out several of the youths teeth. At one point during the attack, Defrance used both hands to choke the youth, troopers said.

Witnesses told authorities that Defrance said he would throw the 19-year-old's body in the river so no one would find it.

Defrance has been charged with two counts of attempted murder in the first degree stemming from the assaults. He is also charged with several counts of giving alcohol to minors and reckless endangerment as well as driving under the influence of alcohol.

Canadians end large Arctic exercise

IQALUIT, Nunavut - Canadian soldiers, sailors and other forces wrapped up their largest-ever Arctic Circle exercise Friday, aimed at asserting sovereignty in the resource-rich area amid competing international claims.

Approximately 600 Canadian Forces personnel, along with members of the Canadian Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other groups, were involved in Operation Nanook, which took place around Baffin Island and the Hudson Strait.

Activities during the 10-day mission included a counter-drug operation on Resolution Island. The Coast Guard and Canadian Forces also simulated an environmental spill and cleanup effort near the Nunavut hamlet of Kimmirut.

The exercise, which Canada's defense department called "a sovereignty operation," took place as several countries race to secure subsurface rights to the Arctic seabed.

The controversy heated up earlier this month when Russia sent two small submarines to plant a tiny national flag under the North Pole. Danish scientists are currently on the Arctic ice pack seeking evidence to position their country in the race.

The United States and Norway also have claims in the vast region, where a U.S. study suggests as much as 25 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and gas could be hidden.

Idaho governororders evacuation

BOISE, Idaho - The governor on Sunday ordered the residents of about 100 homes in central Idaho to evacuate because of a fast-moving wildfire driven by high winds that grounded air tankers.

The order by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter came when the Castle Rock Fire, near Ketchum, spread over a ridge and reached a south-facing slope where fire officials expected it to advance rapidly, fire spokesman David Olson said.

"The fire is up above the ridge where the homes are," Olson said. "The desire is to give folks more time to move belongings."

He said residents of more than 200 other homes were also advised to evacuate, along with their livestock. No injuries were reported in the fire, which covered about 7,000 acres, or 11 square miles.

"I think people are generally worried in this area," Olson said. "They can see fire nearby. There's lots of smoke."

An evacuation center was set up in the town of Hailey, about 12 miles south of Ketchum.

All the homes ordered evacuated were about six to eight miles west of the resort area. Ketchum city officials called for volunteers to report to City Hall.

The blaze was within a mile and a half of homes ranging from summer cottages to multi-million-dollar houses.

No buildings had been lost from the fire, which was sparked Thursday by lightning.

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