Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, October 12, 2007

Speech canceled after assassination attempt

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JUNEAU - A speech at the University of Alaska Southeast has been canceled because of an assassination attempt in Iraq.

UAS officials learned that there was an attempt on Judge Zuhair al-Maliki's life as he was preparing to leave Iraq for a tour of the United States. The judge and his family were not harmed.

The judge said that as soon as he is able he will reschedule his visit. He was to speak today.

Judge Zuhair, the legal adviser of Finance and Rule of Law issues, is considered a cornerstone of the post-Saddam Iraqi legal system.

Weyhrauch seeks to modify conditions

JUNEAU - Former State Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch, R-Juneau, is asking for his pretrial release conditions to be modified.

Weyhrauch was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice in May on bribery, extortion and other charges stemming from his service as a legislator, which ended earlier this year when he did not seek re-election.

No date has yet been set for his trial, which is on hold while a higher court decides which charges can be brought against him.

One of Weyhrauch's attorneys, Ray Brown of Anchorage, asked a federal judge to remove a weekly reporting requirement and allow Weyhrauch to travel anywhere in the country without prior permission. He has been required to not leave the state without the court's permission.

Federal prosecutors reached by phone said they did not object to the changes, Brown told the court.

Brown was unavailable for comment and did not say why in court filings Weyhrauch wanted the conditions removed.

Weyhrauch is an attorney with a law practice in Juneau, and he has extensive community ties.

No date has been set for the motions to be decided.

New superintendent for Fairbanks parks

FAIRBANKS - Greg Dudgeon is the new superintendent for Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve.

National Park Service Alaska Regional Director Marcia Blaszak says Dudgeon will his new post in Fairbanks in December.

Dudgeon says, "To have a role in the stewardship of these incomparable national parks is exciting and humbling."

Dudgeon has almost two decades service with the National Park Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Most recently, he's been superintendent of Sitka National Historical Park since 2003.

Athabascan traditional chief Salmon dies at 95

FAIRBANKS - The first traditional chief for the Athabascan people of the Interior died Thursday at his home in Chalkyitsik. The Rev. David Salmon was 95.

"He was sitting in his favorite chair when he passed," Salmon's granddaughter, Patricia Salmon, told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner for a story posted on its Web site.

He died with family and friends, including Second Traditional Chief Don Honea Sr. of Ruby, around him, she said.

Salmon was diagnosed with cancer earlier this week and transported home Wednesday.

Family members said he was in good spirits and happy to be back in Chalkyitsik, about 45 miles northeast of Fort Yukon.

Salmon, an ordained Episcopal minister, has been the Interior's first traditional chief since 2003. The position is an honorary, non-political office and is held in high esteem.

The Gwich'in elder was well-known for his work ethic and traditional toolmaking skills, and he was renown for his ministering and counsel, the News-Miner reported.

Salmon's died 10 days before the opening of the 2007 Alaska Federation of Natives Convention, where he was scheduled to address delegates.

Fort Richardson soldier dies in accident in Iraq

HARTFORD, Conn. - An Army sergeant who grew up in Killingworth died in Iraq when he was accidentally pinned between two vehicles this week, his family said Thursday.

Jason Lantieri, 25, joined the Army two years ago and was due home in December for a break, said his mother, Kathleen Miller of Clinton. She said a military official came to her home Wednesday morning to tell her that her son died Tuesday in an accident.

"We don't have all the details," Miller said in a phone interview. "Our family is devastated. He was a pretty special person, full of fun, full of life. He went into the service looking for an adventure."

He was assigned to the 725th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Lantieri was supposed to come home over the summer, but his unit's deployment was extended, Miller said.

Lantieri graduated from Haddam-Killingworth High School in 2000 and earned a business degree from Western New England College in Springfield, Mass. He was serving with the Army's 25th Infantry Division in Baghdad, state officials said.

Miller said her son's body will be returned to the United States in five to seven days. She said the family tentatively plans a memorial service at Haddam-Killingworth High School.

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