Posted: Monday, August 25, 2003

Man, woman charged with forgery, theft

JUNEAU - A man and woman were lodged Saturday at Lemon Creek Correctional Center Saturday on charges of felony and theft after reportedly attempting to buy jewelry with stolen checks, police said.

Police received a call Saturday from a 46-year-old woman who said that someone was trying to buy jewelry from a department store with personal checks stolen from her vehicle.

An investigation revealed that Heather L. Yeisley, 28, and John S. Cooley, 31, had forged at least one check belonging to the woman. The pair had purchased at least $8,000 in jewelry and taken possession of at least one item. Police seized the piece of jewelry.

Yeisley was charged with three counts of second-degree forgery and one count of second-degree theft. Cooley was charged with one count of second-degree forgery and one count of second-degree theft.

All the charges are felonies. Investigation continues.

Energy department funds tundra study

ANCHORAGE - The U.S. Department of Energy is funding a study that could result in a longer Alaska oil exploration season.

The study will gauge the tundra's resistance to disturbance, said Bob Loeffler, director of the state Department of Natural Resources lands division. He said the exploration season is getting shorter each year.

The $270,000 study will test different types of tundra to see which ones freeze up first.

Loeffler said it could be possible to move lighter equipment over some tundra earlier.

But environmentalist Pam Miller, a consultant with Arctic Connections, said the study is the first step in relaxing standards for building the ice roads that the industry uses to move equipment during the season.

Results of the study are due out next year.

Coffee cart buyer faces bank theft charge

ANCHORAGE - A man used money he stole from a bank to buy a coffee cart for the atrium of the Anchorage Daily News, federal authorities said.

Benjaman C. Cottle was indicted this week on one charge of bank theft.

According to an FBI affidavit, Cottle was investigated in June for stealing about $50,000 from First National Bank Alaska while working as a custodian for Loomis Fargo, an armored-car company.

Money was missing from Loomis on two occasions, and FBI agents said Cottle was the only person with access to the money both times.

The FBI said Cottle used some of the money to buy the coffee cart in April.

U.S. marshals seized the business in June and have operated it ever since. U.S. Marshal Randy Johnson said marshals usually take over businesses before charges have been filed to prevent property from being sold.

Koyukuk coalition loses moose appeal

FAIRBANKS - Villages along the Koyukuk River have lost an appeal claiming that the state Board of Game allows too many permits for non-subsistence moose hunting in the area.

The Alaska Supreme Court released a decision Friday that upheld a lower judge's decision to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Koyukuk River Basin Moose Co-Management Team, which represents the subsistence interests of area villages.

The team sued the Board of Game, then-Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Frank Rue and the state of Alaska over a regulation enacted in 2000 that allowed as many as 400 people to receive draw permits to hunt moose in the Koyukuk river drainage area, a 4,971 square-mile zone in which aircraft use is prohibited as a measure to limit hunting by people who don't live in the area.

The coalition of villages asserted in the lawsuit that allowing as many as 400 draw permits was a violation of Alaska's subsistence statutes and the sustained yield requirements of the state constitution.

The Department of Fish and Game, which actually grants the permits, was expected to issue fewer than 400, the Board of Game argued.

Borough spending big to bring plumbing to villages

FAIRBANKS - The North Slope Borough is spending more than $300,000 per building to bring modern plumbing to the village of Kaktovik in northeast Alaska.

Lifelong Kaktovik resident Fenton Rexford said the change is welcome and overdue for the village of about 300 people inside the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Kaktovik is the last of seven villages to get water and sewer services in a borough that's flush with oil industry money but without a flush toilet in every home.

Installing the water and sewer systems at all seven villages will cost about $400 million by the time the Kaktovik work is finished, said Curt Thomas, North Slope program manager for the capital improvement project management department.

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