Alaska Briefs

Posted: Thursday, September 11, 2003

Three charged in Anchorage murder

ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage restaurant owner carrying about $3,000 worth of proceeds in her purse was fatally shot in the head and robbed late Monday night as she arrived at her East Anchorage home.

Chong C. Cho, 47, owner of Jewel Lake Mongolian BBQ, was found dead on the garage floor of her residence.

Samnann Thach, 20, John Matha, 21, and a 15-year-old boy have been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree robbery, Anchorage police said. The three were apprehended in the Turnagain area after an hours-long car and foot pursuit involving dozens of police officers, an Alaska State Trooper helicopter and K-9 dogs.

Police say they found a handgun, the money and some of Cho's belongings in the suspects' car.

The shooting occurred around 10:30 p.m. A neighbor of Cho, who gave her name only as Jodie, was on her porch smoking a cigarette about that time, she told the Anchorage Daily News.

Road improvement OK'd

JUNEAU - Establishment of a local improvement district to pay for road and other repairs at Salmon Creek Lane was approved this week. But plans for a similar district to pay for improvements to Tonsgard Street and Aisek Court were delayed.

Sitting in its role as Juneau's Board of Equalization, the Juneau Assembly OK'd the plan to assess about $640,000 in costs to owners of property on Salmon Creek Lane, near Bartlett Regional Hospital.

At its Monday meeting, the Assembly delayed action on a similar improvement district to assess about $231,000 in costs to owners of property along Tonsgard Street and Aisek Court in the Lemon Creek area. The delay came after two property owners objected to the assessments.

In other action, the Assembly approved spending $550,000 on repairs to downtown waterfront docks.

Juneau cancer patients can call, click for support

JUNEAU - Guests who spoke to the Southeast Alaska Cancer and Wellness Foundation board Wednesday night offered help for dealing with cancer.

People can contract the National Cancer Institute toll free at (800) 4-CANCER, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Alaska Time, or visit

Carrie Nass, Alaska and Washington partnership program coordinator for the institute's Cancer Information Service in Seattle, said cancer remains the second-leading cause of death in Alaska and is the leading cause of death among Native Alaskans.

Lauren Slovic, patient services manager for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Washington-Alaska Chapter in Seattle, noted the survival rate for the most common form of childhood leukemia is around 80 percent.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in Alaska, behind lung and colorectal cancer, she said. Nationally, it is the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer.

Slovic's organization can be reached at (888) 345-4572 or

The Southeast Alaska Cancer and Wellness Foundation can be reached at (907) 796-CARE, (886) 376-CARE or

BP agrees to pay Valdez tanker tax

VALDEZ - City officials have reached what they are calling a preliminary settlement with the state's largest shipper of Alaska crude oil over a personal property tax it has attempted to impose on oil tankers.

BP Pipelines (Alaska), Inc. has agreed to pay the city an average of about $2.5 million a year until 2012. At least two other shipping companies are continuing to fight the tax in court.

The settlement, reached on behalf of Alaska Tanker Co., followed four years of negotiations and was announced by city attorney Bill Walker during a special meeting of the Valdez City Council.

In November 1999, the city moved to impose a tax on all vessels 95 feet or longer. Military vessels, cruise liners and fishing vessels were exempt.

BP and Alaska Tanker Co. was among five transporters of Alaska crude who filed a lawsuit in 2000.

The actual payments to the city will vary over the coming years, ranging from a low of $800,000 in one year to a peak payment $3.1 million in 2007.

School boards say state should decide on waivers

ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage School Board has joined Fairbanks and the state school board association in saying the state - not local boards - should decide which students can get out of taking the High School Graduation Qualifying Exam.

Students graduating this school year and after must pass the exit exam to get a diploma. In Anchorage alone, hundreds are expected to fail one or more parts of the test in reading, writing and math.

The Alaska Board of Education has offered a regulation defining which students should be exempt from taking the exit exam. That could include high schoolers who enter the district late or suffer "rare and unusual circumstances," including an injury or death in the family.

The proposed regulation also says local school boards will grant or deny the waivers.

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