Alaska Digest

Posted: Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Merrill Sanford named deputy mayor

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JUNEAU - Assembly member Merrill Sanford has been selected to succeed Randy Wanamaker as Juneau's deputy mayor.

Juneau Assembly members unanimously agreed on Sanford during their annual 2007 goal-setting session Saturday. The deputy mayor serves one year and is the next in line to succeed the mayor in an emergency or fill in during a scheduled absence. The deputy mayor also helps the mayor host agencies or groups visiting the community.

Assembly member Wanamaker said the role of deputy mayor has traditionally gone to the senior member of the Assembly, although that's not written into the city charter.

Sanford was elected to the District 1 seat in 2002. His term expires in October 2008.

Assembly members' committee assignments have been delayed until after the Nov. 7 election, pending results of Wanamaker's bid for the House District 3 seat against Andrea Doll. If he wins, the Assembly will need to appoint a replacement.

Bomb threat forces Nome airport closure

NOME - A bomb threat prompted officials to close the Nome airport Monday.

Airport officials received an e-mail saying that someone had placed a bomb in the airport, Alaska State Troopers spokes-man Greg Wilkinson said.

"A general threat was made against the airport," said FBI Special Agent Eric Gonzalez.

He said FBI agents were working with the Transportation Security Administration, airport police and the Department of Homeland Security.

The airport was closed at 11 a.m., and flights were diverted elsewhere, he said.

A cursory search of the airport did not turn up a bomb, Wilkinson said. Military-trained bomb sniffing dogs were being flown from Anchorage, 560 miles southeast of Nome. They were expected to arrive late Monday.

Alaska Airlines, which provides the only passenger jet service at the airport, canceled Nome stops on its two scheduled flights Monday, spokeswoman Amanda Tobin Bielawski said. One flies from Kotzebue to Nome to Anchorage, and the other flies the reverse route.

The airline was still waiting to see if its third scheduled flight would be able to stop in Nome on Monday evening. Once flights are allowed to resume, the airline was considering adding another flight to shuttle passengers, she said.

Two men found dead in same neighborhood

ANCHORAGE - Two men were killed a couple of hundred feet apart, with one shot and the other struck by a truck. Police were investigating whether the deaths are connected.

One of the men was found shot in an alley in the Russian Jack neighborhood on the east side of the city. The other man was hit on a nearby street.

Anchorage Police Department spokesman Paul Honeman said it was unclear Sunday night if the deaths were related.

At about 5:15 p.m., just after sunset, calls of a shooting flooded 911. Almost immediately after the shooting reports, emergency operators started getting calls that a pickup had hit someone in the same area.

Witnesses told police a truck had hit the second man as he ran across one of the city's main streets. Police identified him as Sidney Adkins, 32.

The driver of the Ford, Reuben Nicholson, said he was just heading north on Bragaw when someone ran out in front of him. Police talked to him and let him go.

Officials said Adkins may have been running away from the shooting, hopped a fence and either fell or ran into an oncoming car.

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