AlaskaDigest

Posted: Friday, September 05, 2003

Juneau man pleads not guilty to sexual assault

JUNEAU - A Juneau man has entered a not-guilty plea to a charge alleging he forced sexual relations on a woman who had been staying in his residence.

George Shean, 53, was indicted by a grand jury last week on one count of first-degree sexual assault. He appeared before Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks for his arraignment Wednesday.

Police arrested Shean on a warrant Aug. 22. He is accused of sexually assaulting a woman on July 31. The alleged victim had told police that she was in her bedroom packing to leave when Shean demanded sex from her. When she refused, he grabbed her forearms, swung her on the bed and forced sexual relations on her while she screamed for him to stop, she said.

Shean continued to be held Thursday in the Lemon Creek Correctional Center in lieu of $50,000 bail. Weeks scheduled his jury trial for Nov. 24.

Dems refile initiative to sidestep rejection

JUNEAU - Democrat lawmakers backing a pair of initiatives to lower campaign contribution limits and change the way U.S. Senate vacancies are filled refiled their petitions on Thursday.

The group made changes to their original proposals after the state's attorney general found technical problems with each initiative, said Rep. Eric Croft, an Anchorage Democrat.

The other sponsors include Reps. Harry Crawford, an Anchorage Democrat, and David Guttenberg, a Fairbanks Democrat.

The campaign finance initiative also incorporates limits on so-called "soft money" donations to parties that were upheld in August by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Lt. Gov. Loren Leman must certify the petitions before the sponsors can begin gathering signatures to get the measures on the 2004 general election ballot. The group has until Jan. 12, when the Legislature returns, to gather more than 23,000 signatures.

Ketchikan's annexation push angers some

KETCHIKAN - The Ketchikan Gateway Borough's push to annex thousands of acres of Southeast Alaska land has riled residents of two targeted communities.

The Borough Assembly voted this week to start the process of annexing 3,681 square miles of surrounding land, including Hyder and Meyers Chuck.

The move would more than double the borough's size from 1,751 square miles to 5,432. Assembly member Dick Coose said the expansion could bring in an additional $500,000 to $1 million in federal forest receipts.

But Hyder Community Association Administrator Paul Larkin said residents there fear they will pay taxes but won't get any real services from the borough.

Hyder is a community of about 90 people located just two miles from Stewart, British Columbia, and about 75 air miles from Ketchikan.

"I don't see them coming over here and maintaining roads," Larkin said. "I don't see them providing sewer systems."

Hyder resident Gary Benedict compared the proposal to the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

"We know what Kuwait felt," Benedict said. "Leave us alone. We have no oil."

Sitka to let Greenpeace ship dock

SITKA - The Greenpeace ship Esperanza will be granted dock space when it arrives in Sitka on Saturday. City Administrator Hugh Bevan said the ship will be treated like any other transient vessel.

The ship has had trouble finding a place to dock in other Southeast communities it has visited as part of an Inside Passage tour to highlight concerns about large-scale logging in the Tongass National Forest.

Greenpeace was denied moorage in Ketchikan by borough officials and in Juneau by Goldbelt Inc., a Native corporation that owns dock space in the harbor.

Sitka Deputy Harbor Master Louis McCall said the city has space for the 283-foot Greenpeace vessel at the 350-foot port facility dock on Sitka Channel near Old Thomsen Harbor.

McCall said the Harbor Department has heard from a few Sitka residents asking that the city deny moorage to the environmental group. "Some people have called, but we told them there's nothing we could do," McCall said. "(The dock is) a public facility."



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