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Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, October 16, 2005

Teens arrested in Floyd Dryden break-in

JUNEAU - Police have determined that a 16-year-old boy and two 15-year-old boys were responsible for a break-in at Floyd Dryden Middle School last weekend that resulted in about $10,000 damage.

Sgt. Troy Wilson, who heads investigations, reported Friday that felony charges of second-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree theft would be forwarded to juvenile authorities. The names of the suspects were not released, but Wilson said their parents had been notified.

Capt. Tom Porter said that in addition to vandalism to the school, a number of items were taken, including a DVD player, computer equipment, candy and an American flag.

The stolen computer equipment included a keyboard, memory expansion cards and a pocket computer, Porter said. Money also appeared to be taken from vending machines, along with food items and office supplies.

Police learned of the break-in at about 10:30 a.m. last Sunday. Officers found four windows broken out of several rooms on the sixth-grade wing of the building, and from inside the school, other classrooms and offices were found to have been vandalized.

Court upholds drunk boating conviction

JUNEAU - The Alaska Court of Appeals has upheld the Juneau conviction of a man convicted of drunken boating in a 2003 case.

Michael T. Whiting appealed his conviction of felony driving under the influence, arguing that he did not become intoxicated until he had turned off the engine of the skiff he was in along with his girlfriend and her 6-year-old son. Coast Guard officers approached the boat to see if the young boy was wearing a flotation device and then found Whiting to be under the influence, according to the ruling.

Whiting's attorney argued at trial that jurors should have been instructed to consider finding him guilty of attempted driving under the influence.

According to the appeals court ruling, Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks refused to include the instruction proposed by the defense.

The appeals court found that operating a watercraft includes being in control of it, even if its engine is not running.

The court also found that mere intent to drive the boat back to Juneau, as Whiting alleged, would not constitute "attempted" drunken driving.

State could take severance tax in gas

ANCHORAGE - The state would collect severance tax in the form of natural gas from North Slope gas production under a proposed contract with major oil companies, Gov. Frank Murkowski's chief of staff said.

The arrangement would increase the state's risk in the project because the state would be responsible for finding buyers for its gas. That usually falls to producers.

Also, the state would have to commit to capacity in the new pipeline, an estimated $20 billion asset that would be designed to a size to meet the needs of gas shippers.

Murkowski on Oct. 6 offered oil giants Conoco Phillips, Exxon Mobil and BP a contract for a gas pipeline to carry North Slope gas to the Lower 48.

The contract sets out tax and other terms such as possible state ownership of a share of the line, jobs for Alaskans and availability of gas for use within Alaska.



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