Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2007

Housing Authorityto offer heating help

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JUNEAU - The Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority recently announced they will administer the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program previously administered by Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. The program provides financial assistance to tribal members residing in 19 Southeast Alaska communities who need help meeting the costs of heating fuel for their homes.

In an effort to aide in a smooth transition, former council employee Sandra Cross has transferred over to the Housing Authority to continue administering the program.

Program applications will be available beginning Thursday. Eligibility for the benefit is based on gross income and household size.

Applications may be picked up in Juneau at the Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority office located at 5446 Jenkins Drive and at the council's office located at 320 W. Willoughby Ave. They may also be accessed online at In addition, applications are available at Tribal Social Service offices located in rural Southeast Alaska villages.

Woman bitten by bear near nature center

ANCHORAGE - A volunteer at the Eagle River Nature Center is recovering after being bitten by a brown bear sow.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials say Sarah Wallmer was bitten on the buttocks on the Crow Pass Trail, about a mile from the nature center.

The attack happened Thursday as Wallmer was traveling to Rapids camp yurt. She was running with her dog, about 10 minutes ahead of another volunteer.

Officials say she was making noise on the trail to announce her presence, but the blowing wind probably obscured her voice.

The bear charged her, and she dropped her dog's leash and turned her back to the sow. The bear bit her once.

The bear roared and left, presumably to chase the dog. The dog came back about 10 minutes later with the other volunteer on a four-wheeler.

She was treated at a clinic for four puncture wounds but a release from the state agency says she otherwise "appeared to be in good spirits."

Rangers and biologist say this was a chance encounter with the sow, who also had a cub with her, and no further action was necessary.

Two people suspectedof forging Alaska IDs

FAIRBANKS - A search is under way for two people suspected of forging Alaska drivers licenses, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Since last November, troopers and Fairbanks police have confiscated eight fake licenses. Police believe they were manufactured by Michael A. Bittorf, 21, of Delta Junction and Robin S. Zimmerman, 30, of Ester, according to a criminal complaint filed in court.

An investigation revealed evidence of a business making the forgeries, troopers said.

The licenses were mostly found in the Fairbanks area at establishments that sell alcohol.

The IDs are used by minors to purchase alcohol.

Man gets 60 months on old pot charges

ANCHORAGE - A Tennessee man will serve more than four years in federal prison for growing 100 marijuana plants - nine years ago.

U.S. District court Judge John W. Sedwick has sentenced 54-year-old Kenneth Gassman to 60 months on the charges stemming from 1998.

Gassman was originally charged then with conspiracy to grow marijuana and had pleaded guilty in 1999. But he failed to appear for sentencing.

His whereabouts were unknown until his arrest on June 28 near Nashville.

Gassman originally faced a sentence of about 30 months, but Sedwick imposed a longer term, taking into account his failure to appear for the original sentencing.

5.4 quake shakes area near King Cove

ANCHORAGE - A city official in King Cove reports no damage from a magnitude 5.4 earthquake.

Mayor Ernest Weiss said, "We felt it; it shook for quite a while, but there's no damage."

The U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center says the latest quake was recorded about just after 7 a.m. Friday. It was centered about 30 miles southeast of King Cove.

The community of about 800 residents is located on the Alaska Peninsula, about 625 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Man arrested in case of dismembered body

ANCHORAGE - Police say they've arrested a man they've been seeking on a murder charge in connection with a dismembered body found in his grandmother's freezer.

Police say 22-year-old Elmer Gregory Seetot was arrested by Anchorage police without incident.

Police Lieutenant Paul Honeman says a family member notified police he was there.

Seetot allegedly killed 38-year-old Terry Lee Jackson with a frying pan.

Jackson's frozen remains were found Saturday in a chest freezer belonging to Seetot's grandmother.

Jackson had been dismembered. He was identified through his fingerprints.

Court documents say the men had gotten into a fight while drinking last Friday night.

ACS to build undersea cable to Oregon

ANCHORAGE - Alaska Communications Systems Group has forged an agreement with Tyco Telecommunications to build an undersea cable stretching from Southcentral Alaska to the central Oregon coast, the company said Friday.

The cable link between Anchorage and Florence, Ore., will cost about $95 million, according to a press release.

It cited strong projected customer growth as one reason for the move.

It will be the first undersea cable owned by ACS that connects Alaska to the lower 48.

ACS spokeswoman Mary Gasperlin said the cable would offer customers "more choice" and allow the company to expand into the business of providing the latest technologies for broadband.

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