Northwest Digest

Posted: Monday, September 05, 2005

Heating subsidy may fall short of need

FAIRBANKS - Despite higher fuel oil prices, a federal program that subsidizes heating costs for low-income individuals may be in line to get the same amount of money as last year.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program delivered $11.9 million to the state of Alaska and Native tribal organizations to help with heating bills last winter.

Congress has not approved the Department of Health and Human Services' spending bill for the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. However, current versions of the legislation would deliver about the same amount of LIHEAP money to Alaska this winter as last, said Mary Riggen-Ver, heating assistance program coordinator for the Alaska Division of Public Assistance.

"We have had a lot of really apprehensive fuel vendors," Riggen-Ver said. "They're really concerned about the fuel prices and how people are going to afford them."

The state has sent out assistance applications for the coming winter to elderly and disabled people and to rural residents, Riggen-Ver said. Applications will go to urban areas next week.

Individuals with average monthly gross income of $1,494 or less are eligible. Each additional household member increases that threshold by $510. A family of five could receive assistance if the monthly household income is $3,534 or less.

Amphibious aircraft magazine published

KETCHIKAN - Former Ketchikan resident Derek Linder could have written a book about one of the loves of his life, the Grumman Goose, an airplane that could operate on water and land. Instead, he wanted to interact with his readers.

The former Ketchikan resident chose to create a magazine and has published his second issue of Grumman Amphibians: The Journal of Grumman Amphibian History.

"A magazine is more alive than a book is," he said. "You can get feedback from readers that can go into the next issue, and information can be updated much more easily."

Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. manufactured five amphibian models between 1933 and 1961 - the Duck, Goose, Widgeon, Mallard and Albatross.

From the mid-1940s until 1986, aviation companies in Ketchikan used Gooses, said Ketchikan aviation expert Don "Bucky" Dawson.

Linder has produced the two issues of the quarterly magazine from his home in Utah. He designs the layout on his computer and e-mails the magazine to a publisher.

Shotgun incident results in arrests

SEATTLE - Officers arrested a man and woman on Sunday following a standoff with the woman who police said fired a shotgun out an apartment window while the two were struggling over the gun.

The 33-year-old Seattle woman was arrested and taken to the King County Jail for investigation of assault. The man was also booked on the same charge, Seattle police spokesman Rich Pruitt said. Their identities were not released.

No one was injured.

The standoff began when neighbors in the city's Fremont area reported hearing a single gunshot around 6:30 a.m. Sunday. Responding officers found "that a suspect had shot one round from a shotgun out a window," Pruitt said.

Stories of sex and abuse shock Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane residents were already reeling from months of revelations about pedophile Catholic priests when a judge ruled last week that individual parishes, parochial schools and other church property can be sold to pay off victims and their lawyers.

This spring, the local newspaper reported that Mayor James E. West was a closeted homosexual, used the Internet to seek dates with young men and molested boys as a sheriff's deputy decades ago. West vehemently denies any wrongdoing.

Then it was revealed that officials at the Morning Star Boys Ranch, a revered local institution, may have tolerated physical and sexual assaults against troubled boys.

In nearby Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Joseph Edward Duncan III is accused of bludgeoning to death three members of a household as he kidnapped two small children for the purposes of sex. One of those children, 9-year-old Dylan Groene, was killed. His sister, 8-year-old Shasta Groene, was with Duncan when he was arrested in May.

Many residents worry about the effect on the region's children of seeing authority figures like West and Catholic priests tied to lurid stories, and repeated images of Duncan on television amid details kidnapped and slain children.

"Children are not equipped developmentally to handle this kind of information coming at them all the time," said Connie McCleary, director of the Spokane Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Center. "It's hard for everybody, even professionals."

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