Northwest Digest

Staff and Wire reports

Posted: Thursday, September 29, 2005

Juneau man charged with sexual abuse

JUNEAU - Bail for a 58-year-old Juneau man charged with first-degree sexual abuse of a minor was set at $25,000 Wednesday.

Arley Dominguez, who has a hearing disability, could not participate in an initial appearance on the felony charge Wednesday before District Magistrate John W. Sivertsen Jr. because no sign-language interpreter was available for the court to appoint. Sivertsen rescheduled the hearing for today.

Police arrested Dominguez Tuesday. Although prosecutors have filed only one charge at this point, Sgt. Troy Wilson reported police charged Dominguez with six counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, one count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of attempted sexual abuse of a minor. They lodged him at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

Assistant District Attorney Jack Schmidt said further charges could be pending. The current charge alleges sexual conduct with a girl, who is now grown.

In asking Sivertsen to set bail at $25,000, he said the investigation revealed alleged abuse of two girls while they were 5 to 17 years old. Incidents went from grooming to showering together to sexual activity, he said in court.

Wilson reported that the investigation began July 1. According to court records, the investigation began with an anonymous report to the Alaska Office of Children's Services, directing the investigation to the home, which led to the allegation of the now-grown woman being victimized.

State considers helping Galena

FAIRBANKS - The state will be getting back more than $200,000 of the money appropriated to save Eielson Air Force Base and is considering spending the money instead on Galena.

The Legislature in May appropriated $1 million to save Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks. Bob Shefchik, chief of staff for borough Mayor Jim Whitaker, said the Save Eielson Task Force only spent $798,000 in its successful attempt to keep Eielson off the Defense Department's list of military installations slated for closure or downsizing.

"We told the state we were done spending their money so they can spend it on Galena," Shefchik said.

Galena was a late addition to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission's list of military installations recommended for closure. The military estimates it spends millions of dollars a year to maintain a 7,500-foot runway and buildings in the community.

Leaders in the Yukon River community of 700, about 275 miles west of Fairbanks, have said an Air Force withdrawal will devastate their economy. The loss of military spending could mean the loss of as much as one-quarter of the town's jobs, according to city manager Marvin Yoder.

Becky Hultberg, spokeswoman for Gov. Frank Murkowski, said the state is considering how best to use the remaining money.

"We're looking into whether there's a need for additional planning money in Galena," she said.

Workers to enclose hospital before winter

SOLDOTNA - Contractors for the $49.9 million Central Peninsula General Hospital expansion project hope to have the outside shell of the new wing finished by the end of October.

"They're putting up the metal studs for the outside walls of the shell," said Dave Gilbreath, the hospital's chief executive officer.

Once it's complete, workers will be able to continue the project through the winter. The goal is to finish the 82,000-square-foot building before the end of next year.

The two-story building, which will include 50 single-patient rooms, is being built as the second phase of the construction project after site preparation.

In the third phase, portions of the existing hospital will be remodeled - moving the cafeteria from the basement to the ground floor, adding outpatient treatment rooms, moving administrative offices and the physical medicine facility back to the hospital campus from their temporary offsite quarters.

The oncology department already has moved to its new quarters at the west end of the wing where administration's offices once were.

Judge sets aside plan for increased logging

SEATTLE - A King County Superior Court judge has set aside the state Board of Natural Resources' new 10-year plan for increased logging in Western Washington state forests, saying the panel did not adequately consider the environmental impact.

The plan, approved in September 2004 by the panel that sets policy for the state Department of Natural Resources, called for harvests of 597 million board feet a year - an increase of about 30 percent - from the 1.4 million acres of state trust lands west of the Cascade Range.

Judge Sharon Armstrong e-mailed her ruling to the parties Tuesday, saying she had concluded that the final environmental impact statement was insufficient as to effects on the threatened northern spotted owl and salmon. She also said the impact statement also did not sufficiently explore the effects of less environmentally costly alternatives, and fell short in assessing cumulative effects of the new logging levels.

Armstrong asked the parties to submit proposed conclusions and orders. In the meantime, she suspended the 10-year plan and ordered DNR to return to the "pre-resolution status quo," a reference to a board resolution approving the logging increases.

1,200 evacuated after tanker spill

ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia - A tanker truck flipped on its side Wednesday, spilling fuel into the city's storm sewers and a nearby creek and prompting the temporary evacuation of at least 1,200 residents, city officials said.

A city spokesman said 5,800 gallons of the gasoline-diesel mix gushed from the truck, prompting an order to evacuate nearby homes and businesses.

"For the broad area, the primary concern is just general fumes," spokesman Jay Teichroeb said.

No injuries were reported.

About 400 homes were in the evacuation area and 7,800 houses saw their power shut off as a precaution.

Social services and the Salvation Army fed evacuees at a nearby church in this city about 40 miles southeast of Vancouver.

By Wednesday evening, some residents were being allowed to return home, said Detective David Marshall.

Environment officials were using booms and temporary dams in the local creek system to stop the fuel from getting to the Fraser River. An unspecified number of fish were killed by the spill, said Lance Sundquist of the British Columbia Environment Ministry.

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