Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, November 07, 2003

Murkowski changes mind on appointment

ANCHORAGE - Former Ketchikan bar owner Jim Elkins is apparently out as a new state senator.

Gov. Frank Murkowski on Thursday night announced he would not move forward with nominating Elkins to replace Robin Taylor as senator for District A, the state's southernmost district.

Taylor, a Republican from Wrangell, stepped down Sept. 15 to take a position with the Murkowski administration. Taylor's job is special assistant to Alaska Department of Transportation Southeast region Director Gary Paxton.

Elkins is the former owner of a historic Ketchikan bar, the Fo'c's'le. He served six years on the Ketchikan borough assembly and was a former lobbyist for the borough.

Elkins could not be reached by telephone Thursday night.

Murkowski in a press release said that since he announced Elkins would replace Taylor in mid-October, he had heard concerns from a number of District A constituents, plus concerns from members of the Senate majority. He said he also had concerns of his own.

Murkowski said he had concluded that it would not be in the best interest of residents of District A or the state for Elkins' nomination to be forwarded to the Senate.

Murkowski will ask Republicans in the district for any additional names they would like to submit. If he receives no new names, he said, he will pick a nominee from the original list.

Elkins is one of four people whose names were forwarded to the governor by Senate District A Republicans.

The others were Rep. Peggy Wilson, R-Wrangell, and Rollo Pool and Bert Stedman of Sitka.

Public notice error nullifies some Game Board action on wolves

ANCHORAGE - The state Board of Game did not properly notify the public of its meetings in Anchorage this month, but the error will not hold up a program to kill some wolves near McGrath that will begin shortly after the snow flies.

The error does, however, mean that plans for a wolf control program west of Glennallen will be delayed - but only by a few weeks.

The McGrath plan for boosting the moose population already was on the books. But any new regulatory actions adopted by the board at the November meetings are not binding because of the error in notification, said Diana Cote, director of the department's board support section.

"We didn't mail it out to our complete mailing list - only about half," Cote said.

About 900 people were notified of the meetings and another 1,000 were not, she said.

"The inadvertent error in public notice is regrettable," Cote said. "We are taking immediate action to prevent the notification error from occurring in the future."

Cote said the department will issue notice of the 25 regulatory proposals considered by the board and take additional written testimony. The board will review all new testimony and reconsider the proposals during a teleconference meeting Dec. 15, Cote said.

UAS hosts ceremony for readiness center

JUNEAU - A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the site of the joint University of Alaska Southeast and Alaska Army National Guard Recreation and Readiness Center starting at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Attendees are asked to park at the Auke Lake campus and take a free shuttle to the site. The shuttles will start running at 1:30 p.m., UAS said.

Ex-cop indicted on murder charge

ANCHORAGE - A grand jury on Wednesday indicted Matthew Owens on a charge of first-degree murder in the killing of 19-year-old Sonya Ivanoff, who was shot in the back of the head.

Her body was found in a gravel pit on the outskirts of Nome on Aug. 13.

Owens was a Nome police officer at the time of Ivanoff's death. Owens, 28, has been in jail since he was arrested on the murder charge Oct. 25 at his residence in Nome.

The grand jury also indicted Owens with tampering with evidence and official misconduct.

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