Northwest Digest

Posted: Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Sitka couple survives sinking of fishing boat

JUNEAU - The Coast Guard flew a Sitka couple back home Sunday night after they escaped from their sinking fishing boat in Chatham Strait.

Bryan and Dana Howey were reported in good condition after the sinking, Petty Officer Thomas McKenzie reported Monday. He said the husband and wife were the only people on the 58-foot Susan Ann, which sent out a distress call at 9:02 p.m. He did not have ages for the Howeys, who could not be reached for comment Monday.

The Howeys reported the engine room was flooding. They were able to exit the boat safely into a skiff near Morris Reef, in the area where Chatham and Peril straits converge.

McKenzie said the Howeys were rescued by a search and rescue team from Angoon answering their call for help, along with a vessel from Chatham Cannery, but the seas were too choppy to return to Angoon. He said the Howeys were taken to a beach, on either Catherine Island or Baranof Island, where a Coast Guard helicopter picked them up and took them to Sitka.

A buoy was dropped to mark where the boat sank. An investigation by the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Office into the cause of the sinking is pending, McKenzie added.

He said about 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel was reported on board the sunken vessel.

Fishermen encouraged to apply for assistance

JUNEAU - Commercial salmon fishermen harmed by market competition from farmed fish can sign up for financial assistance from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program through Jan. 13.

All Alaska commercial salmon fishermen are encouraged to apply.

Last year, the program paid $3.6 million to Alaska fishermen, but this year the payout may increase significantly because the Alaska Farm Service Agency expects to receive 24,000 applications - six times more than last year.

"We want to make the TAA program more accessible to Alaska's commercial salmon fishermen, said Chad Padgett, state executive director of the Farm Service Agency, based in Palmer.

The Alaska Farm Service Agency will travel to Juneau on Nov. 1 as part of a statewide tour to encourage sign-ups.

For more information, call 866-872-3320 or visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/ak.

$1 million plus awarded in excessive force arrest

BETHEL - A Bethel jury awarded a man more than $1 million after finding that an Alaska State Trooper used excessive force during an arrest in Emmonak in 2002.

The civil jury awarded Kevin Patrick, 32, $1.08 million after hearing evidence during a five-day trial concerning his arrest by Trooper Eric Spitzer.

Spitzer arrested Patrick on Dec. 18, 2002, after authorities received a report that he was driving a snowmachine drunk from Alakanuk to Emmonak, was suicidal and had assaulted a local police officer, according to Patrick's attorney, David Henderson.

Henderson said even though Patrick was unarmed, Spitzer deployed his taser gun and used it seven times on Patrick while handcuffed. Spitzer has denied using the taser gun while Patrick was in handcuffs, and he said he only shot four times.

Henderson said two witnesses from Emmonak who watched the arrest testified that Patrick was handcuffed when Spitzer used his taser gun on him.

Spitzer is 6-feet, 4 inches tall, and weighs 230 pounds. Patrick is 5-feet, 4 inches tall, and weighs 140 pounds.



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