State Briefs

Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2001

Crashed helicopter found

ANCHORAGE - Era Aviation has located the wreckage of a helicopter that crashed into Cook Inlet on Oct. 18. Two people are still missing in that crash, while two survived and one body, that of the pilot, was recovered shortly after the crash.

The Era helicopter, a Bell 206 LongRanger, was found late Friday afternoon in Cook Inlet. Salvage crews planned to recover it Saturday.

The wreckage was located using a hydrophone that detected the pinging from the emergency radio beacon of the submerged helicopter. Divers went into the water and found the helicopter but could not see if any bodies were in it.

Searchers are hoping to recover the bodies of Federal Aviation Administration employees Joyce Tucker of Anchorage and Ronald Frizzell of Wasilla, the two missing passengers. The survivors are two other FAA employees, Steven Durand and William Dick, both of Anchorage. The body of pilot Bob Larson was recovered Oct. 19.

Congress puts off Native hearing

ANCHORAGE - The U.S. crisis has stalled an effort by the Alaska Federation of Natives to take its subsistence fight to Congress.

A congressional hearing on subsistence scheduled for Nov. 1 has been scratched and will be rescheduled, AFN President Julie Kitka said. The office of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, which planned to hold the hearing, is still closed because of anthrax testing.

The committee had agreed to hold a hearing on possible new protections for rural or Native subsistence users under federal law.

NANA Corp. head to retire

ANCHORAGE - Charlie Alasuk Curtis, the president of NANA Regional Corp., has announced that he is retiring at the end of the year.

Curtis, 51, cited unspecified health reasons as part of his decision to step down Dec. 28.

Curtis, an Inupiat Eskimo and Vietnam veteran, agreed to serve a decade when he was hired as president of the Kotzebue-based Native corporation in 1992.

Under his leadership, NANA profits increased fivefold, the corporation said. Revenue blossomed from $38 million in 1992 to $176 million last year.

Court upholds mayoral veto

ANCHORAGE - Anchorage's mayor has the ability to cut local school funding through his line-item veto power, the state Supreme Court said Friday.

The ruling upholds $4.3 million in cuts to Anchorage School District budgets by former Mayor Rick Mystrom. It also clarifies powers in about 19 home rule cities and boroughs.

Juneau is a home rule municipality, but its charter does not give the mayor veto power. Anchorage voters gave their mayor line-item veto power in 1990.

The state Supreme Court ruled 3-1 that the line-item veto granted to Anchorage's mayor includes the ability to reduce the school district budget. Chief Justice Dana Fabe did not participate in the case.

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