Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2007

Man found dead on Teal Street

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JUNEAU - Juneau police have requested an autopsy on the body of a 44-year-old man found dead Friday morning on Teal Street.

It did not appear that foul play was involved, though an investigation continues, police said.

The man was identified as Richard Vantrump.

13th annual Toy Run to take place today

JUNEAU - The 13th annual Toy Run, co-sponsored by the Douglas Fire Department and The Southeast Alaska Panhandlers Motorcycle Club, will start at noon today in the parking lot of Marlintini's Lounge.

The event is now known as the "Bob Valliant Memorial Toy Run," in honor of the late Bartlett Regional Hospital chief executive officer. In recent years, bikers have collected enough toys and cash contributions that every child treated at Bartlett gets a toy. It means a lot to the parents when their kids are unexpectedly given a gift.

The biker parade will depart at 1 p.m. and ride through downtown, then over the Douglas Bridge, ending at the Douglas Fire Department, where there will be a community barbecue from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Admission is $10 or free to everyone who brings a new stuffed toy. Cash donations accepted.

Coast Guard suspends search for Juneau man

JUNEAU - The Coast Guard said it suspended a search for Al Kegler, 58, of Juneau, on Thursday after sea searches were unsuccessful.

A dive team from the Sitka Fire Department continued to search waters near Lincoln Island.

Kegler was reported missing Wednesday after two people with him saw him fall into the water after his 16-foot skiff overturned near Lincoln Island, the Coast Guard said. The islands of Lincoln, Ralston and Benjamin were searched by air and ground crews that included state troopers, SEADOGS, the Coast Guard and Sitka officials.

Viral illness hits infants in Northwest Alaska

ANCHORAGE - A viral outbreak sickened nine babies this month in Northwest Alaska villages, state health officials said.

Some of the infants got so sick they were sent to an Anchorage hospital for treatment. Some of the children have recovered and others are improving, according to Beth Funk, a medical epidemiologist with the state Public Health Division.

The infants are from several villages in the Kotzebue region. They became ill during the two weeks prior to Sept. 10, when two public health nurses flew to Kotzebue. At the time, the children were a week-and-a-half old and a little older at the time, Funk said.

Several of the infants "also had meningitis and inflammation around the heart and in the heart muscle, consistent with a viral infection," according to the division.

Funk said she was confident that the illness seen in the infants was the same enterovirus, although results of tests on specimens from the babies have not yet been returned to the state.

Anchorage man dies after Fla. plane crash

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - Federal investigators on Saturday were looking into a plane crash at the New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport that killed a 74-year-old Anchorage man.

Bruce Smith had just taken off in his single-engine plane on Friday when he radioed a control tower to say he was having problems.

Witnesses described the plane as "wobbling back and forth," said New Smyrna Beach Police Cmdr. Bill Drossman. Smith brought the plane down on its landing gear, witnesses said, but it bounced and crashed into some trees lining the runway.

Smith suffered head injuries and was taken to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, where he died. New Smyrna Beach Fire spokeswoman Lt. Cindy Richenberg said Smith never regained consciousness.

Car crashes on Egan Drive Saturday evening

A car crashed into an embankment on Egan Drive near Highland Drive on Saturday evening.

Juneau police did not respond to a call seeking information. No information was available about who was involved or whether there were injuries.

Footprints found in search for missing hiker

ANCHORAGE - Footprints found near a glacier have focused the search for a missing Wisconsin man in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

Park officials say footprints that could belong to Paul Schoch of Lake Nebagamon, Wis., were tracked over soft soil and sand southeast to where they disappeared along the top of a moraine of Russell Glacier.

Searchers continue to search the area on foot as well as in aircraft.

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