Alaska Digest

Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2004

High court won't deal with state seal case

ANCHORAGE - The U.S. Supreme Court refused Tuesday to intervene in an Alaska court ruling against a man found guilty of a misdemeanor for using the state seal without permission.

The nation's highest court gave no reason for why it decided not to comment on the 7-year-old case.

The state Court of Appeals in January sided with a lower court when it ruled that Scott Robart was guilty of a misdemeanor for using the Alaska state seal on silver commemorative coins that were sold on QVC, the home shopping cable network, in 1997. A replica of the state seal was on one side and a design commemorating the Gold Rush centennial was on the other.

Robart had wanted the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the lower court decision. He did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday.

In 1996, Robart, the owner of Commemorative Designs, was invited by someone from the state Department of Commerce and Economic Development to submit one of his products to a national television show featuring Alaska items.

Missile defense test phase nears end

ANCHORAGE - The military plans to place a sixth ballistic missile interceptor inside a silo at Fort Greely by the end of the month, nearing the end of the initial test phase for a national defense system critics contend is still highly flawed.

To prepare for activation, the military is conducting exercises and tests at the Interior Alaska post, where five of the 55-foot-long rockets have been installed since July, as an essential component of the Bush administration's national security policy.

The first two interceptors destined for Vandenberg Air Force Base in California will go into existing silos in November, with two more scheduled there for next year and 10 more at Fort Greely.

"Like with anything new, we're going through this shakedown period to make sure everything is working properly," Rick Lehner, a spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency, said Tuesday. "Everything is so geographically spread out and there are so many communication nodes within the whole system."

Dry summer, low water hamper fuel delivery

FAIRBANKS - After one of the driest summers on record that left water levels at their lowest in memory, only three villages in southwestern Alaska out of more than 80 served by the Yukon Oil Co. could not get their fall topoffs.

Barge pilots have gotten the job done this fall, and they're not done yet. On Monday, the last barge of the season left New Stuyahok after delivering fuel to the Nushagak River village.

The barge from New Stuyahok hadn't made it back safely, yet, said Shaen Tarter, Yukon Fuel vice president.

"They're trying to get done today so they can get back to Dillingham before they get stuck. There is a chance they will get stuck."

This year's drought - it was the second driest summer recorded in Fairbanks in the last century - made things tricky even under the best of circumstances. McGrath, Shageluk and Holy Cross all missed their fall topoffs this year, by quite a bit.

Woman convicted in baby death ordered released

ANCHORAGE - A woman convicted earlier this month of manslaughter in the death of a baby was ordered released from jail.

Michele Dague's sentencing judge concluded that she already has served all the time he plans to give her. Dague's sentencing is set for Dec. 3.

Dague, a licensed day care provider, was originally convicted of second-degree murder in the death of Kyle Tellesworth, a 10-month-old child left in her care in 1997.

In 1998, she was sentenced to 20 years. Dague spent nearly six years in prison.

However, Dague's conviction was overturned on appeal and a second trial resulted in the manslaughter conviction.

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