Northwest Digest

Posted: Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Firefighters raise funds for muscular dystrophy

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JUNEAU - Members of Juneau's Capital City Fire and Rescue will join fire departments across the country for a "Fill-the-Boot" drive for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 2 and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sept. 3.

Capital City firefighters will ask passing motorists to drop cash into their fire boots for "Jerry's kids" near the cruise ships and in the Super Bear parking lot on Mall Road.

Funds raised by Capital City firefighters will help local families living with neuromuscular diseases; and support research, community outreach, clinics and the Muscular Dystrophy Association youth summer camp near Chugiak.

For more information, contact the MDA office at (907) 276-2131.

Four sentenced in conspiracy case

FAIRBANKS - Four people charged with conspiring to kill a police informant have been sentenced.

The four were accusing of plotting to lure and kill the informant, who had been working for the Alaska Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Enforcement.

Drawing the longest prison term was Chance Clagett, 20, who had pleaded no contest to first-degree attempted murder in a plea deal. He was sentenced to six years.

Linda Carlson, 56, Barry Carlson, 22, and Joshua Blue, 20, pleaded no contest to interfering with official proceedings. Both Carlsons received 21/2 years and Blue got 18 months.

Each defendant has already served nearly 19 months.

According to authorities, the four conspired to get the informant to Clagett's apartment, knock her unconscious and kill her somewhere else in early 2005.

The informant had made an undercover drug buy that led to charges against Linda Carlson and another man, according to Fairbanks police. Police said Clagett choked the informant and struck her on the head with a fire extinguisher at his apartment. She managed to escape and called 911, but had to undergo reconstructive surgery.

Woman enters plea in homicide case

ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage woman has pleaded no contest to criminally negligent homicide in the shooting death of her married boyfriend.

Aakatchaq Schaeffer, 31, originally was charged with second-degree murder in the 2004 death of 54-year-old James L. Lee, her former boss. She pleaded to the lesser charge Monday in a deal with prosecutors. Sentencing was set for Dec. 8.

Lee died after he was shot multiple times at Schaeffer's home. Some of the shots were in his back, according to authorities.

Assistant district attorney John Skidmore said the state agreed to the reduced charge because he feared a jury would not convict Schaeffer of manslaughter or second-degree murder. She was scheduled for trial next week.

Schaeffer, who has no previous criminal record, told police she wanted to end the relationship with Lee, but he wouldn't leave her alone. She obtained a restraining order on the evening of Jan. 30, 2004, hours before she shot him. Skidmore said Lee was intoxicated and carrying a gun when he arrived a little later.

Schaeffer let Lee in, then fired the gun she had been hiding under her sweater, court documents say.

Fairbanks asks for N. Slope protection

FAIRBANKS - The country's top land steward heard several dozen Fairbanks-area residents ask him to keep oil and gas development out of sensitive North Slope areas, including the Teshekpuk Lake region and the Arctic National Widlife Refuge.

Monday's meeting, one of 24 "listening sessions" being held across the country, was hosted by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, and representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Kempthorne said he would take the comments into account in developing federal management policies.

"You're helping me," he told the crowd of about 100 people at the Carlson Center.

More than three dozen people commented during the meeting on issues ranging from oil and gas development to federal funding for wildlife management.

Alaska Airlines may begin Hawaii service

SEATTLE - Alaska Airlines is taking steps that could pave the way for the airline to offer service to Hawaii and Central America.

The Seattle-based airline, a division of Alaska Air Group, recently completed a demonstration of a mock emergency water landing for the Federal Aviation Administration. The drill, held in a hangar at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, is a major step toward winning approval to fly over large bodies of water.

Alaska's current certification doesn't allow the airline to fly more than 50 miles from land.

An article on a company Web site said the approval will allow the airline to fly more direct routes to Cancun, and also gives the airline the option of expanding to serve new routes such as Hawaii and Central America.

The company told the News Tribune of Tacoma that it is keeping its options open for planning new routes.

"Hawaii is within the realm of possibilities, as are a number of others," spokeswoman Amanda Tobin Bielawski told The Associated Press.

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