Alaska Digest

Posted: Thursday, September 07, 2006

Man arrested in valley on sex assault warrant

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JUNEAU - A 23-year-old man was arrested on an Alaska State Troopers felony warrant charge of first- and second-degree sexual assault, after Juneau police found him hiding Wednesday morning in the crawl space of a Mendenhall Valley home.

George Benson IV was wanted on the sexual assault charges. Police received a tip he was inside a valley home, and surveillance confirmed the lead.

Police knocked on the door, then watched as Benson attempted to hide. He was discovered in the crawl space, and lodged at Lemon Creek Correctional Center on $10,000 bail.

Silverbow to show Katrina documentary

JUNEAU - The Back Room at the Silverbow Inn will screen Spike Lee's 2006 documentary, "When the Levees Broke," at 8 p.m. Friday.

Admission is free, and the film is open to the public.

Lee's four-part documentary explores the United States government's response to Hurricane Katrina. Parts 1 and 2 will play at the Silverbow.

Construction begins on Nome gold mine

NOME - Construction has begun at the first hard rock gold project to operate in the Seward Peninsula.

Alaska Gold Co., a subsidiary of Canadian firm NovaGold Resources, launched construction of a mill complex at Rock Creek seven miles north of Nome after state and federal permits were issued in August.

Plans call for the Rock Creek mine and mill to operate two open pit mines in two separate locations in the region. The goal is to process 7,000 tons of ore daily for the project's estimated life of four to five years. Alaska Gold estimates an annual output of 100,000 ounces.

Some Nome residents oppose the project, saying the proposed cyanide vat leach method to process gold would pose an environmental risk to streams and ground water. Mine supporters say the mine will create 135 new jobs and bring revenues to the coastal community.

Opponents in Nome last week filed appeals to permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.

"The public is tremendously concerned about the impacts of this mine since the public hearing in Nome," said Austin Ahmasuk, among 28 Nome residents who have requested an informal review of the waste management permit issued by the natural resources department. Ahmasuk also is contesting the agency's reclamation plan approval.

Iditarod musher tries hand at Ironman

ANCHORAGE - Iditarod musher DeeDee Jonrowe will have a new challenge, but it will come on warmer turf.

Jonrowe will compete next month in the Ironman World Championship triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, she announced Wednesday.

"I am participating in the Ironman as an athlete and Iditarod musher, but also as a breast cancer survivor," she said in a statement. "Competing in the Ironman provides me with a unique opportunity to raise cancer awareness and to show that those dealing with illness or major setbacks in life can overcome them to do things they did not think possible."

Jonrowe, 52, has advocated through volunteering and public appearances for breast cancer awareness and cancer patient care since her diagnosis in 2002.

She received a waiver to participate in the Oct. 21 race and will be one of the featured athletes on the national telecast, scheduled in December. A medical team from Anchorage will assist Jonrowe with pre- and post-race medical evaluations.

Jonrowe has competed in the Iditarod 24 times, recording 13 top 10 finishes in the world's longest sled dog race, which stretches 1,152 miles from Anchorage to Nome.

Federal Subsistence Board rejects Kenai Peninsula proposal

ANCHORAGE - The federal Subsistence Board has rejected a proposal to create a subsistence fishery on the Kenai Peninsula, denying residents of Ninilchik the opportunity to dipnet in the Kasilof River.

Mike Fleagle, a former chairman of the state Board of Game, cast the deciding vote in his first meeting.

The Ninilchik tribal government requested the temporary fishery in August. The tribal government asked that residents in the Sterling Highway community of 785 be allowed to catch fish in the Kasilof beginning in September.

The request drew opposition on the Kenai Peninsula, one of the state's most popular sport fishing sites and a busy commercial fishing area.

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