Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, October 28, 2005

Three candidates named for extension agent job in Juneau

JUNEAU - Three candidates to be Juneau's next cooperative extension land resources agent will offer presentations in Juneau next week.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service has identified Keith T. Duren, Timothy K. Kock and David L. Lentz Jr. as possible successors to Jim Douglas, who retired from the post in June 2004. From 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, the three are scheduled to give 30-minute presentations, including time for questions from the public, about their approach to horticulture programming and 4-H youth development in the Juneau area.

Duren has worked for the Montana Cooperative Extension Service and has a master's degree in agricultural and extension education from Montana State University.

Kock has worked for the Arizona Cooperative Extension Service and has a master's degree in agricultural education from the University of Nebraska.

Lentz has worked for the Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service and is completing his master's degree in horticulture from Auburn University.

Douglas Ghost Walk set for Saturday

JUNEAU - The Douglas Ghost Walk, put on by seventh and eighth-graders in Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School's Spruce House for the third year in a row, is set for 1:30-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Mount Jumbo gymnasium.

Admission is free.

The event will include carnival games, a haunted house, coloring stations, glow-in-the-dark bowling and more. Last year, event organizers gave away approximately 340 bags of candy.

ORCA will hold a dance from 5-8 p.m. Saturday, immediately following the Ghost Walk. At 6:30 p.m., the Treadwell Ice Arena will hold its Halloween skate.

Wasilla man charged with two murders

WASILLA - A Wasilla man has been arrested on suspicion of two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his girlfriend and their 7-week-old son, police said.

Christopher Kevan, 24, was being held in the Tuesday deaths of 26-year-old Brandie Burns and infant Ashton Burns, Alaska State Troopers spokesman Greg Wilkinson said in a release.

He was hospitalized for self-inflicted injuries to his chest. Bail was set Wednesday at $300,000.

The double homicide took place Tuesday night at an apartment at 3801 Bogard Road in Wasilla. Investigators claim Kevan was drinking and got into an argument with Burns.

Kevan strangled Burns, strangled the baby and then unsuccessfully tried to cut his throat and then stab himself in the heart with a kitchen knife, Wilkinson said.

Kevan spent the night in the apartment with the victims and at first light left the home and attempted to drown himself in a nearby lake, Wilkinson said.

He then allegedly returned to the home and called his uncle, who called 911 and reported the murders.

CIRI plans to build lodge near Denali Park

ANCHORAGE - Cook Inlet Region Inc. plans to build a lodge south of the entrance to Denali National Park and Preserve.

The project is in the concept phase, said CIRI spokeswoman Allison Knox.

The state has granted the Anchorage-based regional Native corporation a commercial driveway easement to a 5-acre private parcel where it plans to build a hotel, said Khalil Wilson, natural resources specialist with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.

CIRI owns resorts and a casino in the Lower 48, as well as the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge and the Seward Windsong Lodge in Alaska. Its tourism division owns Kenai Fjords Tours and Prince William Sound Cruises & Tours, day-cruise operations.

Rapist cuts deal for lack of testimony

ANCHORAGE - A Palmer man charged with sexual assaults dating back to 1999 was allowed to plead no contest to a single charge of second-degree sexual assault.

Colby James Griffeth, 54, could be out of prison in just three years.

The prosecution says the arrangement was the best deal available given the difficulty in finding victims for trial.

Griffeth was arrested after a police detective used DNA evidence to link him to attacks in which a man offered rides to women walking home alone from downtown bars, according to an affidavit filed in court last year.

An indictment charged him with sexually assaulting three women, one in 1999 and two in 2003. Two women were raped more than once.

TCC cuts nearly two dozen health care jobs

FAIRBANKS - The Tanana Chiefs Conference has eliminated more than 20 health care positions in a cost-cutting move.

Cutting 22.75 full-time positions is projected to save $2.3 million for the traditional tribal consortium of the 42 villages of Interior Alaska.

Workers who lost their jobs were mostly front-line providers at Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center, said TCC President Harold "Buddy" Brown. Tuesday was the last day for laid-off workers but they will be paid through November.

"TCC is a large company, but is small in that many of us are related to one another," Brown said. "We're going to go through a grieving process."

Clients may have difficulty scheduling appointments in coming weeks, Brown said, but the layoffs should not affect them in the future.

The laid-off employees included a doctor, a dentist and registered nurses. Some positions were vacant and will not be filled.

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