Alaska Digest

Posted: Thursday, November 22, 2007

More troops due home for holidays

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ANCHORAGE - More Alaska-based troops are heading home from Iraq - just in time for the holidays.

About 800 soldiers from the 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team are returning to Anchorage this week, arriving at Elmendorf Air Force Base. The soldiers represent a quarter of the brigade.

About 1,300 more soldiers - the remainder of the team - are expected to return by next month.

This week's return brings to 2,200 the number of 4th Brigade paratroopers who have come back to Fort Richardson this month after a 15-month deployment in Iraq.

Kenai bookkeeper sentenced to 10 years

KENAI - A 37-year-old Kenai bookkeeper who pleaded guilty to four felonies will spend five years in jail.

Sheryl Dilley was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years, with five years suspended.

Dilley was arrested by Kenai Police on March 26 after an investigation revealed she had stolen $154,206 from three Kenai firms for which she kept books: Salamatof Seafoods, M & P Trucking and BAS Leasing.

Kenai District Attorney June Stein said the actual amount when other victims are included is up to $260,000.

She was accused of forging more than 100 company checks between January 2002 and March 2007. The forgery counts were dropped in a plea deal.

Dilley pleaded guilty to first-degree theft, scheme to defraud, tampering with physical evidence and falsifying business records.

A restitution hearing was tentatively scheduled for Jan. 8.

Public can weigh in on budgetary process

ANCHORAGE - The state could have $1.6 billion dollars of excess revenue this year from oil taxes, and Gov. Sarah Palin wants Alaskans to say what should be done with it.

She's urged residents to participate in a Web survey, called "Voices Across Alaska: State Budget Priorities.

Palin says this is an opportunity for people to say how the state's projected surplus should be saved and invested.

She says oil prices will not remain at record levels forever and "planning ahead will help ensure that we really are kicking off a new era of tax stability."

Her office will use the surveys to complete the next year's budget plan, which will be released next month. Surveys will be accepted at or through Dec. 3.

Comments accepted on Denali project

ANCHORAGE - Public comments are being taken on a proposal to install a fiber-optic cable that would run through part of Denali National Park and Preserve.

The National Park Service is accepting comments until Dec. 14.

Anchorage telecom company GCI Inc. is proposing to install the cable on the Parks Highway right of way that runs for six miles through part of the park.

The cable would run between Wasilla and Fairbanks.

According to the park service, the cable would add capacity for phone, Internet, other data and video communications. It also would supply backup for another fiber-optic cable.

Officials say the park service is considering allowing the line without conducting an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.

Man accused of killing baby appears in court

ANCHORAGE - A 22-year-old Wasilla-area man has made his first court appearance to face charges in the death of his 6-month old daughter.

Burton Naczi, who made a brief appearance in a Palmer courtroom Tuesday, originally claimed that he had fallen down stairs with Kaydence Lewinski, then said he had shaken her and thrown her on a couch, authorities said.

The baby had extensive bruising over most of her body, including her face, according to charging documents. Surgery was performed to relieve pressure and swelling on her brain in an attempt to save her.

The baby died Sunday, a day after she was taken to Mat-Su Regional Hospital by her mother, 19-year-old Stephanie Lewinski.

Six minors charged in vandalism spree

FAIRBANKS - Six Fairbanks minors are charged in connection with acts of vandalism that caused more than $30,000 in damage over a two-month period.

The vandalism, which included graffiti, was concentrated mostly around businesses near College Road and the Johansen Expressway overpass.

At least eight businesses, a school and two other properties were hit, Fairbanks police said.

Police Chief Dan Hoffman said some of the graffiti was what is typically characterized as gang-related.

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