State Briefs

Posted: Monday, October 20, 2003

Two men found dead in Fairbanks home

FAIRBANKS - Two men were discovered killed in a Willow Street home Saturday evening.

Fairbanks police officers Sunday afternoon had not released names or how the men died on the community's north side.

However, Rick Taylor, who lives nearby, told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that his uncle, Ron Long, was one of the victims. The other was Long's friend, Mark Chambers, Taylor said.

Family members said the men had been shot to death and they supplied police with the name of a suspect.

Taylor said Chambers' truck was parked in the driveway.

Police cordoned off the crime scene as family members and friends gathered behind barriers.

Police Sgt. Eric Jewkes said the circumstances surrounding the deaths and details of the deaths would not be released until an initial investigation was completed.

DEC seeks owner of dumped fuel tank

ANCHORAGE - State officials want help finding whoever illegally dumped a large fuel tank near Potter Marsh in late May.

The mostly empty tank rolled down an embankment from the Old Seward Highway into alders and cottonwoods at the back end of the marsh, said Leslie Pearson, a manager for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

Some of the 483 gallons of bunker oil that remained in the tank spilled but none reached the marsh and damage was slight, Pearson said. The state, however, got stuck with a $5,300 cleanup bill.

"We don't have a solid case," Pearson said. "If someone (was) driving around with a tank like this on a trailer, we're hoping somebody noticed it."

State narrows highway plan alternatives

KENAI - The state has narrowed down to four its alternatives for improving highway flow on the Sterling Highway at Cooper Landing.

Miriam Tanaka of the state Department of Transportation said the state has picked three alternatives plus a fourth "no build" alternative for Miles 45-60. Tanaka spoke last week to a meeting of the Kenai River Special Management Advisory Board.

Earlier this year, planners had considered as many as 10 new routes to improve traffic flow between Anchorage and Soldotna through the Kenai River valley.

The current route runs along the banks of the Kenai River and serves as Cooper Landing's main street.

Suspected microburst flattens trees near Ruby

FAIRBANKS - About a month and a half ago in the Yukon River village of Ruby, word began circulating about a swath of trees the size of a football field, some with trunks as big as 55-gallon barrels, that had mysteriously snapped off on an island nine miles upstream.

The 150 or so residents in the remote village 200 miles west of Fairbanks immediately began speculating what caused it.

Mike Spindler, refuge manager for the Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge in the neighboring village of Galena, said when he heard the location and description of the area, he knew it was a microburst.

Microbursts are rare weather phenomena that produce tornado-force winds in an isolated area during a thunderstorm by creating a rapid, downward burst of air that spreads out and picks up even more speed when it hits the ground, according to meteorologist Tim Shy at the National Weather Service in Fairbanks.

As it spreads, the wind speed increases to 100 mph or more.

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