Northwest Digest

Posted: Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Federal monitors observe Kodiak election

KODIAK - Federal elections monitors were in Kodiak on Tuesday to observe balloting for mayor, borough assembly and city council members and to ensure access for voters. The elections monitors also oversaw the primary election here on Aug. 24.

The U.S. Department of Justice said monitors were sent to Kodiak to ensure compliance with federal civil rights laws.

The monitors visited Kodiak precincts on Tuesday, checking to make sure voting signs and brochures were printed in English and Tagalog, a language of the Philippines, and that interpreters were available to assist Tagalog-speaking voters who needed help.

Based on numbers from the U.S. Census, the federal government requires that translated materials be made available to speakers of Tagalog on Kodiak Island.

Borough Clerk Judy Neilson said she welcomed the observation.

Musher loses another dog while training

FAIRBANKS - Musher Jeff Holt had big plans for his 5-year-old lead dog "Goose."

He was hoping to have Goose help lead him to Nome in the 2005 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. But that dream came to an abrupt end Friday when a car collided with Holt's team during a training run.

Goose's jaw was shattered in the accident and he was euthanized Saturday.

It was the second time Holt has lost a sled dog during run-ins with motorized vehicles while on training runs near his home.

"He was my pet," said Holt, who was on a four-wheeler driving the 10-dog team with Goose in the lead when the collision occurred.

Chip, another leader, was killed during a training run Jan. 19, 2003, when an all-terrain vehicle drove into Holt's team and over the sled he was driving. Two other dogs were injured and the collision left Holt with a broken hand and damaged sled.

The motorists from both collisions drove off afterward without helping or leaving any personal information.

Starkweather defense questions if he acted alone

KENAI - A defense attorney in the trial of Justin Starkweather is questioning whether the 2002 attack on a Soldotna woman in her home was the result of one person acting alone.

Starkweather is charged with attempted murder in the attack on Mary Perna, that left the 46-year-old woman lying in a pool of blood with nearly every bone in her face broken on Feb. 2, 2002.

Perna's hip and jaw bones also were broken and gouges were taken out of her face. And she was sexually assaulted with a back scratcher, according to investigators.

The woman remained on life support for several weeks following the attack.

Starkweather, 23, has been incarcerated in Wildwood Pretrial Facility after being arrested on Feb. 13, 2002. His bail was set at $250,000 cash - an amount that Kenai Superior Court Judge Jonathan Link refused to reduce after determining that Starkweather was a flight risk and a danger to the community.

In addition to the attempted murder charge, Starkweather faces first-degree sexual assault, first-degree assault, first-degree burglary and fourth-degree theft.

Fuel spills on Red Dog Mine road near port

ANCHORAGE - More than 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel flowed out of a tank truck serving the Red Dog Mine in Northwest Alaska but no environmental damage has been reported.

The spill occurred Saturday after the driver forgot to disconnect a fill hose and drove away, ripping a 4-inch hole in the tank.

Almost half the fuel dumped onto the road but was contained and pumped into holding tanks before it reached the nearby tundra, according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation in Fairbanks.

Workers with the trucking company, NANA/Lynden Logistics, used portable tanks to catch the remaining 2,200 gallons as it poured from the truck.

The spill was the second by a fuel truck in less than two months on the Red Dog Mine road.

Woman dies after crashing four-wheeler

KODIAK - A 27-year-old Florida woman on active duty in the Coast Guard died of injuries from an all-terrain vehicle accident.

Abigail Craig of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was riding an ATV up and down gravel piles when the accident occurred around 3:45 p.m. Sunday, said Alaska State Troopers.

Investigators said Craig was jumping gravel piles. She was not wearing a helmet.

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