Posted: Friday, August 22, 2003

Douglas men indicted on meth charges

ANCHORAGE - Jeffrey Wilson, 42, and Richard Lewis, 41, both of Douglas, were indicted Wednesday on charges of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

The indictment alleges a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in the Juneau area dating back to March 2002.

The investigation culminated in the arrests of Wilson and Lewis on Aug. 17 at the Juneau airport. Approximately one pound of methamphetamine was seized from both Wilson and Lewis.

The case was investigated by the joint effort of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Anchorage and Fresno, Calif., offices, with the assistance of the Southeast Alaska Narcotics Team.

The defendants face maximum penalties of life in prison, a $4 million fine and five years of supervised release, as well as a mandatory maximum of 10 years in prison.

Yakutat man charged after killing brown bear

YAKUTAT - A Yakutat man faces a Sept. 10 court date in Juneau after an encounter with a brown bear.

John Barrette, 56, was justified in killing the bear, according to a report from the Alaska Bureau of Wildlife Enforcement. Officers believe Barrette acted in defense of life or property.

The citation, reported by Alaska State Troopers, alleges that Barrette failed to salvage the hide and skull of the bear. Trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said the law is on the books to prevent people from profiting from such kills by selling the animals' parts.

Neil Barten, area wildlife biologist for the state Department of Fish and Game, said there are circumstances where people are justified in killing bears.

State law allows people to kill game animals in defense of life or property, provided they did not provoke the animal to attack or act negligently by leaving human or pet food in a matter that attracts them.

The law also states that game animals taken in defense of life or property become property of the state. People who kill brown bears, black bears, wolves, wolverines and coyotes must salvage the hide and surrender them to the state.

Skulls also must be salvaged for brown bears, and all salvaged bear hides must include the claws.

Details of the Yakutat incident were unavailable from state troopers, wildlife officials or local police. Barrette could not be located for comment.

Gap remains between Natives, others on exams

ANCHORAGE - A gap remains between Native students and the rest of the Alaska school population when it comes to passing standard tests in math, reading and writing, according to results released by the state Department of Education.

Poor showing on tests by students with disabilities, limited English skills and from low-income families also contributed to why nearly 58 percent of Alaska schools failed to show "adequate yearly progress" under new federal education law.

The No Child Left Behind Act, signed in January 2002 by President George Bush, requires states to test students in math and language arts.

Alaska's version required that at least 64 percent of a school's students be proficient in reading and writing and 56 percent in math.

State Education Commissioner Roger Sampson announced Wednesday that 282 of Alaska's 488 schools did not make adequate yearly progress.

Sampson said Thursday that high-achieving individual Native students and some schools with large Native populations did well on the tests, which shows others should be able to. He said there's no one answer to raising Native student scores.

"We're going to be looking at individual schools," Sampson said. "I think that's the only way we're going to have success."

But Alaska Native students make more progress in school for the same reason white students do - when the curriculum is relevant and when students learn something that has meaning to them, he said.

Also, he said, some communities simply have higher expectations for their young people. Citing Valdez and Skagway, Sampson said children there are expected to attain high grades, work hard and, when they're older, hold down summer jobs.

Brothers indicted in weapons case

ANCHORAGE - A federal grand jury has indicted two brothers on charges of lying in order to buy handguns from an Anchorage firearms dealer, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Lema Almstead was charged with four felony firearms offenses. The charges stem from purchases and attempted purchases in July at Alaska Shooters Supply.

According to the indictment, Almstead lied on a form that asked whether he was a felon.

His brother, Akim Almstead, is charged with falsely stating that he was buying a handgun for himself when he was obtaining it for his brother.

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