Northwest Digest

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2005

City, state offices closed for Alaska Day

JUNEAU - City and state offices will be closed today to mark Alaska Day, the state holiday commemorating the 1867 transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States.

Both the Alaska State Museum and Juneau-Douglas City Museum will be closed, along with the state library. The downtown and Douglas branches of the Juneau Public Library will be closed, but the Mendenhall Valley branch will be open for regular hours.

Federal offices, which observed the Columbus Day holiday on Oct. 10, will not observe the state holiday. The post office will remain open and there will be regular mail service.

Man gets jail time for July 4 incident

JUNEAU - A 28-year-old Juneau man who was shot with a stun gun by police during a July 4 confrontation was sentenced to serve nine months in jail.

Mark Alan Davies agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge of driving under the influence and a fourth-degree misdemeanor assault charge, reduced from the original felony charged against him. Juneau Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins also permanently revoked his driver's license and fined him $10,000.

Prosecutors dismissed other charges against Davies. They originally charged him with felony third-degree assault and failing to stop at the direction of an officer, and two misdemeanors - reckless driving and reckless endangerment - after an incident involving a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle on a Mendenhall Valley trail.

Police reported that shortly after 9:30 p.m. on July 4, an officer saw Davies and an unidentified man on Threadneedle Street, headed in the direction of Glacier Spur Road. Davies allegedly failed to stop at the officer's direction, turned right onto Garnet Street and headed to a trailhead, where he continued toward the glacier.

Police said the four-wheeler almost struck the officer on the trail, and the officer drew his sidearm but didn't fire. Seeing the vehicle headed toward him again, the officer drew and fired a stun gun. Davies left the scene, police reported, and was later arrested at a valley home.

Collins suspended nine months from a 12-month sentence for drunken driving and 18 months from a 24-month sentence for assault. She recommended the other nine months be served in a halfway house.

Transit workers join B.C. teachers strike

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Transit workers joined protests in support of 38,000 illegally striking public school teachers in British Columbia on Monday, bringing transportation services in at least two Vancouver Island cities to a halt.

Pickets appeared before dawn at bus yards in Greater Victoria and Nanaimo, preventing drivers from reporting to work.

The teachers are demanding a 15 percent wage increase, smaller class sizes and better classroom supplies and working conditions. British Columbia teachers earn an average starting salary of about $36,000 a year.

The teachers walked off the job Oct. 7 in defiance of a court order. British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Brenda Brown found the teachers in contempt of court and froze the union's assets so it could not pay teachers $42 a day in strike pay.

Public education is deemed an essential service under British Columbia law, and teachers are not allowed to strike.

USFS chief: Focus needed on land issues

BILLINGS, Mont. - The chief of the U.S. Forest Service said he worries "lesser issues," such as logging and road-building on public lands, are drawing too much attention and too many agency resources away from more serious threats to America's forests and grasslands.

"I think we need to change the national dialogue to focus on the things that really count the most," Dale Bosworth said in written remarks he was scheduled to deliver Monday night at a scientific conference at Yellowstone National Park.

He said he sees the four greatest threats as fire, loss of open spaces, invasive weeds and unmanaged recreation.

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