Personal-use king crab season to end soon
JUNEAU - The state Department of Fish and Game said it will close the personal-use blue and red king crab fishery in the Juneau area at 11:59 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30.
Surveys of fishermen by phone and at the dock indicate the summer harvest guideline of 5,600 crabs will be met by that time, the agency said.
The agency reminds fishermen to return summer king crab permits by Oct. 15 even if they harvested no crab. Fishermen who don't return the permits won't be eligible for future personal-use king crab permits, the agency said.
The winter personal-use season in the Juneau area is set to begin Oct. 1. In mid-September permits will be available online at www.admin.adfg.state.ak.us/license and at the Fish and Game office in Douglas.
For more information, call the agency at 465-4250.
DEC completes testing of Sitka clams and mussels
ANCHORAGE - The state Department of Environmental Conservation has completed its testing of clams and mussels collected from Starrigavan Bay in Sitka.
Only two of eight samples, one of littleneck clams and one of butter clams, both collected near the Sitka Trap Club, had levels that slightly exceeded recommended levels for pregnant women and children aged 2 to 5.
DEC also tested clams from the Old Sitka Historical Site and did not find elevated levels of leads in those samples.
The study was conducted as a follow-up to a state Department of Transportation report that revealed potentially high levels of lead in clams from the area.
Golder Associates, which oversaw the collection and testing of clams for DOT, had sample results of 27.2 parts per million of lead. The U.S. Food and Drug Association's level for pregnant women is 1.7 ppm. For children 2 to 5 years old it is 0.8 ppm.
Chickaloon woman convicted of counterfeiting
ANCHORAGE - A federal jury has convicted a Chickaloon woman of making and transferring counterfeit money so that it would be used as genuine money.
Anice Williams was part of a six-member counterfeiting team that made and passed approximately $7,350 in $100 bills, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Previously convicted in the scheme were Arthur Williams, Sr., also of Chickaloon; Arthur Williams, Jr. and Natalie Williams, who were visiting from Texas, and James and Vicki Shanigan of Wasilla.
Prosecutors alleged that the Williams made the phony $100 bills and the Shanigans helped pass the money to merchants.
Anice Williams will be sentenced Oct. 25. She faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
North Pole man charged with pointing gun at girl
FAIRBANKS - A North Pole man has been indicted on charges he pointed a gun at a 12-year-old girl because he thought she and a group of friends had poached a moose.
David L. Stewart, 33, was indicted on one count of third-degree assault, a felony, for the Aug. 5 incident.
The girl was helping a group of friends dress a moose they had killed under a program allowing children to hunt, when Stewart pointed the gun at her, according to a criminal complaint.
When Alaska State Troopers arrived, Stewart asked why the hunters weren't arrested for poaching. He then replied "no comment" when troopers asked him if he pointed a gun at the girl, the complaint said.
The moose was killed off a road near Stewart's house. The girl and her friends were legally participating in a first-year hunting program for youths.
GTL workers settle dispute
KENAI - Thirteen people who were laid off while building the BP Gas-to-Liquid plant in Nikiski will receive $233,000 in back wages.
The agreement with Austin Maintenance and Construction Inc. is part of a settlement finalized last week with the National Labor Relations Board. The workers had complained they were laid off because they tried to unionize workers on the project.
Austin was contracted to build the GTL facility, which was completed this year.
The consolidated unfair labor practices complaint charged that Austin managers and supervisors tore up union fliers, drove by the union hall to check up on employees, made rules against wearing union stickers, and threatened job and wage security if workers voted to unionize.
As part of the settlement, Austin did not admit to any unfair labor practices. It did agree to pay the terminated workers for time lost and to send a letter detailing the results of the hearing to the 230 people who worked on the project.
Child-protection report deadlines clash
ANCHORAGE - Conflicting deadlines could hamper the efforts of a new commission examining the state's child protection system, officials said.
A key part of the Commission on Child Protection's work - a major federal audit - is not complete, and the panel is supposed to wrap up its work by Oct. 1.
Gov. Tony Knowles created the 16-member group to recommend to the incoming Legislature and administration improvements in the state's system for children whose parents hurt them or fail to care for them.
He set a tight deadline for the panel's report so its work can be used during the transition from his administration. He also wants child protection to become a campaign issue in races for the Legislature and governor, according to a press release.
The federal audit probably won't be sent to Alaska until after Labor Day, state officials said. Under federal rules, states get two weeks to review audits for technical mistakes before they become public.
The commission tentatively set a date of Sept. 13 to discuss the audit and the state's plans to address problems identified in it.
After a series of child abuse cases, including one in which a toddler died and another in which a 6-year-old was raped, Knowles made revamping Alaska's system of protecting children a top priority.
Laws were toughened, the Division of Family and Youth Services was beefed up with dozens of new caseworkers, and more than 1,400 children in state custody have gotten permanent homes, the commission was told. But the state's rate of child abuse remains among the nation's highest.
The audit is through the Children's Bureau under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.