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Man sentenced in cousin's death
FAIRBANKS -- A Fort Yukon man has been sentenced to 21 years in prison for his cousin's shooting death last year.
William Carroll, 36, was convicted in June of shooting at a group of snowmachiners as they sped away from his home, killing Warren Ward, 22, and injuring a woman.
Carroll, who was sentenced Monday, had faced a number of charges, including first-degree murder and three counts of first-degree attempted murder, in the wake of the Dec. 16, 2000, shooting.
Ward was on the back of a snowmachine heading away from Carroll's home when Carroll fired four rifle shots. One of them struck Ward in the back, passed through him and entered Crystal Fields, who was sitting in front of him on the machine. Fields spent several days in Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
In June, Carroll pleaded no contest to one count of second-degree murder and a count of first-degree assault. The plea was part of an agreement that his sentence could not exceed 35 years.
Prosecutor Jeff O'Bryant said Carroll and others had spent the night drinking elsewhere in Fort Yukon. The party fizzled when the group reached Carroll's home. So the group set off in search of another party, according to O'Bryant, who said Carroll fired at least one shot in anger that the guests were leaving, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
Defender Paul Canarsky contended Carroll fired into the air three times as a means of celebration and then slipped, causing the rifle to go off a fourth time and killing Ward.
Scientists track seal migration
ANCHORAGE -- Scientists working from Little Diomede Island in the Bering Strait have used satellites to track a ringed seal during its spring migration, logging a trip of more than 400 miles with dives as deep as 150 feet.
It's the first time anyone has tracked a ringed seal in open sea ice, which is where the animals live, scientists said.
The seal was captured by local residents of Little Diomede Island, and scientists glued the tracking device to its fur. The tracking lasted about seven weeks, with the animal probably losing it when it molted, biologists said.
The new information provides a key link in the lives of the ringed seals, whose population is estimated at between 2 million and 7 million animals around the northern polar region. The Alaska population of ringed seals is estimated at 1 million to 1.5 million.
It's important to learn about migration patterns for these species so scientists have baseline information to evaluate changes in behavior over the years, particularly if global warming alters the northern environment, said Bob Small, marine mammals coordinator for the state Department of Fish and Game.
Railroad repairs fuel tank cars
ANCHORAGE -- Nearly three-quarters of the railroad fuel tank cars in Alaska were overhauled during the summer to reduce the risk of derailments and spills, Alaska Railroad officials said.
Alaska Railroad Corp. officials say the overhaul work on wheel and suspension systems will greatly reduce the risk of derailment because the fuel tank cars will ride more smoothly along the rail line.
GATX spent more than $825,000 on the repair work on its entire fleet of 275 tank cars. The Chicago-based company leases fuel cars to Williams Alaska Petroleum Inc., GATX said.
Williams Alaska leases another 134 fuel tank cars owned by ITLX, according to Jeff Cook, vice president of external affairs for Williams. Those cars were not scheduled for maintenance this summer, he said.
Fuel shipped from the Williams' North Pole refinery to Anchorage averages about 100 rail cars a day, mostly jet fuel to be used at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, according to Cook.
GATX workers replaced wheels, axles and "trucks," the assemblies that hold the wheels.
Part of the work consisted of fitting wedges which act as shock absorbers into the trucks. The wedges provide a dampening effect over bumps and keep the wheels from bouncing off the track and derailing a train, Alaska Railroad officials said.
Truck spills fuel near Kenai River
COOPER LANDING -- A double tanker truck carrying thousands of gallons of fuel overturned Monday on the Sterling Highway, causing a spill into a pond near the Kenai River.
The accident occurred near Gwin's Lodge at 1:06 p.m. in Cooper Landing on the Kenai Peninsula. The area is considered to be one of Alaska's premier fishing spots for salmon.
The driver of the Fisher's Fuel Inc. truck sustained minor injuries but refused medical treatment, according to the Alaska State Troopers.
The truck was hauling about 1,800 gallons of diesel and 7,000 gallons of gas when it overturned. The cause of the accident was not immediately known.
The truck was equipped with three compartments but the third compartment was empty. The accident damaged the tanks that were carrying fuel, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
About 3 gallons of fuel a minute leaked into a small pond at the side of the highway at first.
Absorbent booms were placed around the pond to contain the spill, and along the river bank as a precaution. The pond is about 15 yards wide and 18 yards long, and about 3- to 4-feet deep.
Troopers reported seeing a light sheen on the Kenai River, but several hours after the spill DEC officials did not see a sheen. The river is connected to the pond by a culvert, which has been plugged, said John Brown, environmental specialist with DEC.
The truck has been pumped of its load, and responders are removing the fuel from the pond today, Brown said this morning. He wasn't sure how much fuel had spilled.
Man dies in fall at hotel
ANCHORAGE -- A Big Lake man died after falling off a railing at the Westin Alyeska Prince Hotel in Girdwood, Alaska State Troopers said.
Jeffrey Adrian, 34, died Sunday while on a weekend getaway at the posh hotel with his wife and three other couples.
Troopers said Adrian came out of a bar on the hotel's third floor about 1:45 a.m. and hopped up onto the railing that overlooks the first-floor lobby. Troopers said Adrian lost his balance and landed in the lobby.
He suffered massive head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by Girdwood paramedics.