Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, November 02, 2007

State's DMV director fired over differences

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KENAI - The director of the state's Division of Motor Vehicles is being relieved of his duties by the commissioner of the Department of Administration.

"The gulf of management and communications styles between the commissioner and I appears to be too large to bridge. Thus, I was terminated," Duane Bannock told the Peninsula Clarion. "I didn't quit."

Kevin Brooks, deputy commissioner of the Department of Administration, said it wasn't any one thing that led to Bannock's dismissal.

"We generally don't comment on personnel matters," he said. "It was a difference of management philosophy. Duane did a lot of good things for the division."

Brooks declined to further details, but did say that the 14 directors of divisions within the Department of Administration serve at the discretion of Commissioner Annette Kreitzer. He also said directors are replaced from time to time for a variety of reasons.

Bannock said he has no specific plans after he leaves as division director Nov. 15.

"It has been the highlight of my professional career to be your DMV director," he said. "I mean that absolutely."

Bannock became division director on Feb. 11, 2003. He had been a Kenai city councilman for more than nine years when he took the state job.

One person killed in Nome house fire

NOME - Officials say one person is dead following a house fire in Nome.

Nome police say 44-year-old Jeffery Alan Martin of Anchorage died in the fire early Wednesday morning. Officers say Martin was in Nome working in a gold mine for Alaska Mechanical.

The state fire marshal's office is investigating the fire, but the cause is not thought to be suspicious.

Children say men robbed them of treats

TALKEETNA - Seven trick-or-treaters report they were robbed of their candy at gunpoint Halloween night.

Two men have been arrested on unrelated charges until state troopers sort out what happened.

Sgt. Craig Allen says the children, ages 10 and 11, told troopers that two people wearing ski masks jumped from a pickup.

Allen says one man held a gun as they demanded the youngsters' Halloween treats. One round was fired in the air, Allen says, probably to scare the children.

No one was harmed, but Allen says a $500 iPhone was taken along with the candy.

The pickup was later spotted at a bar, where two men were questioned and arrested on the unrelated charges.

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