Federal rights commission meets in Alaska
ANCHORAGE - The U.S. Civil Rights Commission began meeting today to hear testimony about the racial climate in Alaska, including the paintball attacks earlier this year on Natives in Anchorage.
During the two-day hearing, 12 Alaskans on a state advisory committee and three members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hear testimony from invited panelists. The public also will be allowed to testify during open sessions toward the end of each day.
The group plans to hold more hearings in Alaska, but hasn't scheduled them. Within a year, the committee will submit a report to the commission for distribution to state politicians and the U.S. Congress.
Gov. Tony Knowles' Tolerance Commission is expected to file its own report this fall after holding hearings on racism around the state.
Toddler dies in apartment fire
FAIRBANKS A 4-year-old girl died in a fire she started with a cigarette lighter, said Fairbanks fire officials.
Alia Pewamo's body was found Wednesday by a Fairbanks firefighter in the upstairs bedroom closet of an apartment where she lived with her family. Her 8-month-old brother, Tegan, and her teen-age aunt, who was baby-sitting, were downstairs when the fire broke out and escaped without injuries.
Officials said the baby sitter discovered the fire and ran upstairs, but was forced back by smoke and heat. She ran back downstairs, grabbed the infant and ran to a neighbor's apartment.
Paramedics worked to save the child while they rushed her to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead from smoke inhalation.
Two injuries reported in plane crashes
ANCHORAGE Two people were injured in one of four planes that crashed Tuesday after takeoff from locations around Alaska.
The planes carried a total of 11 people, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
Nikiski pilot Parvin Hallmark, 63, and passenger David Goode, 54, also from Nikiski, were injured when their Cessna 175 stalled and crashed on takeoff from a small strip near Soldotna, state troopers said. Both men were taken to Central Peninsula General Hospital and treated for minor injuries.
In Gulkana, a Piper Super Cub crashed with two aboard. A Cessna 185 crashed with three aboard after taking off from Hinchinbrook Island in Prince William Sound. And a DeHaviland Beaver floatplane crashed with six aboard after takeoff from Sixmile Lake near Nondalton.
Fairbanks man sentenced for car shootings
FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks man was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years in prison on attempted murder and assault charges.
Leonard "Danny" Roach pleaded no contest in March to six criminal counts, including first-degree attempted murder and third-degree assault, with the agreement that he would be sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in prison.
Roach was accused of firing shots at two vehicles chosen at random, leading police on a high-speed chase and trying to run down a state trooper.