State Briefs

Posted: Friday, August 23, 2002

Committee to pay redistricting legal fees

ANCHORAGE - The state Legislature's Budget and Audit Committee has agreed to pay the remaining legal fees of a law firm that represented the Alaska Redistricting Board, which drafted the new legislative redistricting plan.

The state is expected to release $217,800 to the Anchorage law firm Volland & Taylor within a week. The money is among $2.8 million authorized in the 2002 state capital budget to pay attorneys involved in the case.

The committee decision ends a dispute between the Republican-led Legislature and the Redistricting Board over legal fees related to the new legislative districts.

Officials pull out of search for Angoon man

ANGOON - Officials have suspended the five-day search for an Angoon man who went missing from a camp of hunters near Salt Lake on Admiralty Island on Sunday.

Walter Jack Jr., 21, was reported missing after he went on a hike alone.

Alaska State Troopers suspended searching for Jack on Thursday evening and the U.S. Coast Guard stopped searching late Wednesday night.

Greg Wilkinson, trooper spokesman, said troopers followed up all leads but would resume searching if any new leads arise.

Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Russ Tippets said the agency's command center decided to suspend a search after considering several factors.

"We look at the weather and how long someone could survive outside," said Tippets. "We also look at the possible area a person could have covered by foot, and eventually you just have to end the search."

Officials previously said Jack may have been spotted Sunday by a Coast Guard helicopter pilot and a group of hikers. On Monday, Jack's house slippers, sweatshirt and swamped canoe were found near Hasselborg Lake.

The Angoon Search and Rescue team, coordinated by Jack's father, Walter Jack Sr., may continue a ground search, Wilkinson said, but that has not been confirmed. A spokeswoman for the Angoon search and rescue declined comment.

No one injured as youth ignites family garage

JUNEAU - A 17-year-old boy escaped a flaming garage in the Mendenhall Valley on Thursday after he accidentally dropped a match in a puddle of gasoline, igniting the blaze, police said today.

No one was injured, fire officials said today.

Capital City Fire and Rescue responded to the fire on Bresee Street around 9:15 p.m. to find the left side of an unattached garage burning with flames rolling from the front of the building, said fire Capt. Beth Weldon.

The house was evacuated and 29 volunteers largely put out the fire within minutes, Weldon said.

The fire caused $20,000 in damage to the garage, $3,000 damage to its contents, and $1,500 in heat damage to a vehicle outside, she said.

Weldon said she was told the garage contained a four-wheeler the boy was working on when the fire started.

Hobo Jim fan creates fund to replace stolen guitar

KENAI - A longtime Soldotna fan of Alaska musician Hobo Jim has established a fund to help replace a $6,000 guitar recently stolen from Alaska's official balladeer.

Dolli Koerber, a fan for 28 years, established the Hobo Jim Fund at the Wells Fargo Bank Kenai branch but said people can make donations through any Wells Fargo branch.

The guitar was stolen from Hobo Jim's van in Soldotna sometime between Aug. 13 and 14. It is described as a Martin D42 KOA, made of blond Hawaiian koa wood.

"It's my only guitar. It's my baby," said the musician, who is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who stole his guitar.

Nome students start school a week late

NOME - Nome Public Schools students will report to class a week later than planned.

Concerns about the air quality at the Nome-Beltz High School led school district and city officials to postpone the first day of classes to Sept. 3.

School had been expected to start Monday.

Superintendent Stan Lujan said a few of the air quality tests done following this summer's asbestos removal project at the school came back a bit higher than normal according to federal standards.

Compiled from staff and wire service reports.



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