Around the state

Posted: Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Bank cuts Permanent Fund CDs

ANCHORAGE -- The portion of Permanent Fund money invested in Alaska certificates of deposit shrunk about 80 percent after a major bank decided not to renew the CDs.

The fund's Alaska CD portfolio totaled $29.5 million on Monday, compared to $149.2 million earlier this month. That's about as low a level as anyone can remember, said Jim Kelly, spokesman for the state's oil wealth savings account.

By policy, the Permanent Fund allocates no more than $300 million to Alaska CDs, one of the few direct investments the $24 billion fund makes in Alaska. The vast majority of Permanent Fund money is invested on Wall Street, in major bond markets and in Lower 48 real estate.

Wells Fargo Bank Alaska decided not to renew maturing one- or three-year CDs with the Permanent Fund because the bank is "restructuring the process," said spokeswoman Elaine Junge.

Through the fund's CD program, banks can get big deposits from the Permanent Fund and pay it back later with interest. Some banks rely on the program to enhance their funds available for construction or other loans.

Kelly said the fund requires participating institutions to pay the current U.S. Treasury rate plus a small premium. At the beginning of this week that would equate to 2.62 percent on a one-year CD, Kelly said. Wells Fargo was able to find even cheaper money elsewhere, he said.

Troopers investigate jail death

ANCHORAGE -- An inmate punched at a Palmer state jail Saturday died about seven hours later but preliminary autopsy reports do not indicate the altercation was the cause of death.

John France, 47, Palmer, stopped breathing and died at 12:10 a.m. Sunday at the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility. France was in custody after being arrested Friday on a charge of drunken driving.

France's body was sent to the state medical examiner's office and an autopsy Monday indicated he died of natural causes.

However, a subsequent Department of Corrections investigation revealed that France had been hit in the face and knocked to the floor by another inmate Saturday afternoon.

Officials said France did not lose consciousness and appeared uninjured. He did not seek medical attention and did not report the incident to corrections officers.

The medical examiner has reopened the case.

Man stabs bulldog in dog attack

ANCHORAGE -- Anchorage Animal Control is investigating an incident involving a man who repeatedly stabbed an American bulldog to stop it from attacking his dog.

Patrick Gauthier said he used his pocketknife on the animal to protect Noah, his Newfoundland. He wants the bulldog's owner to pay for Noah's vet bills.

A witness said Gauthier was at mailboxes with Noah when the bulldog, Dice, approached and bit into the Newfoundland's ear. Gauthier stabbed Dice 11 or 12 times before it let go.

Gauthier said he stabbed the bulldog only as a last resort, after warning a relative of the bulldog's owner that he was going to use his knife. Both dogs were treated at an emergency veterinary clinic. Both must be quarantined for 10 days as a precaution against rabies.

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