Alaska Digest

Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Architect firmto hold open house

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JUNEAU - MRV Architects will host an open house tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. at its new offices at the Evergreen Building.

The firm has moved into its new location, which is at 1420 Glacier Avenue. The building was renovated to provide two professional office spaces on the first floor, with three new apartments on a second story. It formerly housed the clinic of Dr. Henry Akiyama.

The Evergreen Building is designed to meet high environmental standards and be a showcase for sustainable or "green" design, according to the firm.

The building is on track to be potentially the first private building in Alaska certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which rates buildings according to their environmental design benefits.

Ketchikan settles with construction company

KETCHIKAN - The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly has unanimously approved a multimillion dollar settlement with a construction company over a faulty job at the local middle school.

The settlement agreement with McGraw's Custom Construction is worth $3.1 million.

The borough had sued McGraw's for defective construction and mold remediation at Schoenbar Middle School.

Kevin Fryslie to head Anchorage FBI office

ANCHORAGE - The man who oversaw the FBI's investigation of the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case in Utah is the new special agent in charge of the Anchorage office.

Kevin Fryslie was named to his new post by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller.

He replaces Toni M. Fogle, who is retiring after 22 years with the FBI and will be accepting a position at Columbus State University in Georgia.

Fryslie joined the FBI in 1983.

He has overseen operations in several western states and briefly served as the FBI's on-scene commander in Afghanistan.

Most recently, Fryslie worked for the Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch at FBI headquarters.

Missing 14-year-old found dead in Bethel

ANCHORAGE - Alaska State Troopers are investigating the death of a 14-year-old Bethel boy whose body was found frozen and partially eaten by animals.

The boy had been missing since his family listed him as a runaway Nov. 9, troopers said.

The boy, identified as Randy Beaver, died of hypothermia, apparently after partying and drinking with friends who lost track of him, troopers said.

The remains were found Friday on Brown Slough, leaving investigators wondering if foul play was a factor in the death, said troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters.

"There were signs of predation to the body, and we couldn't determine if it was all animal or some other cause," Peters said. "We couldn't tell if a person inflicted wounds to the body before death."

Bethel police began a search for Beaver after the family reported him as a runaway, Peters said. There were rumors that he was around town, but police had nothing concrete until a report of a body in a park came in Thursday, according to Peters. An initial search of the area came up empty.

Wasilla man charged in infant's death

ANCHORAGE - A Wasilla man is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of his infant daughter.

Burton Naczi, 22, was arrested Monday, two days after the 6-month-old girl was taken to the emergency room of a local hospital by her 19-year-old mother, Alaska State Troopers said.

Medics determined the baby had sustained life-threatening injuries and she was taken to an Anchorage hospital, according to troopers.

The girl had been in Naczi's care when she was hurt, troopers said.

The names of the girl and her mother were not immediately released.

Anchorage man pleads guilty in drug slaying

ANCHORAGE - A man has pleaded guilty to murder and conspiracy charges stemming from the slaying of an Anchorage drug dealer.

Nopenone Dennis Shine, 44, faces 30 years in prison after Monday's plea deal in connection with the 2005 death of 35-year-old Tom Cody, a real-estate developer.

Thomas Ranes, Shine's alleged coconspirator, is scheduled for trial in April.

Shine also acknowledged conspiring to import marijuana from Canada worth about $1 million as part of a ring that smuggled as much as 900 pounds of the drug every six weeks, according to assistant U.S. attorney Frank Russo.

"They were essentially removing him from the leadership role and stealing $1 million," he said. "Ranes was essentially in charge of the organization once Cody was murdered."

Cody's body was recovered in July, more than two years after his disappearance. Police found the body about 300 yards from a burned-out Ford Explorer that Shine told prosecutors he drove to the area.

Cody had co-owned 29 acres in east Anchorage with business partner Joe Bryant. Just before Cody's death, the city had agreed to buy the land for $1.3 million.

Prosecutors say Cody and Bryant - who committed suicide in 2006 - started the drug business as early as 2000. They smuggled mostly marijuana, plus some ecstasy, across the Canadian border inside secret compartments in vehicles, eventually bringing in more than $10 million in profits.

Ranes initially played a small role in the ring, from welding storage compartments in flatbed trucks to being a driver. Prosecutors have said he took charge of the supply side of the business.

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