Alaska Digest

Posted: Thursday, December 04, 2003

Stepovich to replace Whitaker in state House

JUNEAU - Fairbanks resident Nick Stepovich was appointed by Gov. Frank Murkowski on Wednesday to replace Rep. Jim Whitaker in the state House of Representatives.

Whitaker, a Republican, left the seat representing House District 10 in October after being elected Fairbanks North Star Borough mayor.

Whitaker has served in the House since 1988 and currently serves on the powerful House Finance Committee and as co-chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Stepovich, 45, is the son of former territorial Gov. Mike Stepovich.

He owns and operates the Soapy Smith's Pioneer Restaurant in Fairbanks and recently served as District 10 chairman for the Republican Party.

Whitaker's unfinished term expires next year.

Man ordered to serve 2 years for sex charges

JUNEAU - A man was ordered Tuesday to serve two years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted sexual abuse of a minor and indecent exposure.

Jeffrey Furber, 35, also will have to maintain registration as a sex offender for 15 years after he completes his sentence.

Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks sentenced Furber to five years in prison with 3 1/2 years suspended on the attempted sexual abuse charge, and one year with six months suspended on the indecent exposure charge. He ordered the terms to be served separately.

He also placed Furber on probation for 10 years. As one condition of his probation, he will be forbidden from having any knowing in-person contact with any person younger than 16, other than his own child, unless he has written permission from his probation officer or is in the immediate presence of another adult who knows the circumstances of his crime.

A grand jury originally charged Furber in August with one count of attempted second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, one count of soliciting second-degree sexual abuse from a minor and one count of first-degree indecent exposure, allegedly committed on or between Feb. 1 and May 1.

Man charged with assaulting police

JUNEAU - A downtown altercation that sent a police officer to the Bartlett Regional Hospital emergency room Tuesday night also sent a man to the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

Erik T. Nelson, 27, faces two counts of assault of a police officer and single counts of assault, criminal trespass and resisting arrest. Police listed all charges as misdemeanors.

Officers reported that they received a call at 10:50 p.m. Tuesday about a man fighting with security staff at a downtown bar. The employee, who called reportedly, said he was struck in the face by a man they were attempting to remove from the establishment.

Police located the suspect downtown. The man reportedly fought with officers attempting to arrest him. Police reported that two officers sustained minor injuries.

Two men sent to prison for car thefts

JUNEAU - Two men who pleaded guilty to summer vehicle thefts were sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison.

Juneau police arrested Stephen M. Cox, 21, on June 29, alleging he took a 2002 Toyota Corolla that was left running in front of a Gastineau Avenue residence at 3:15 a.m. Officers arrested Joshua R. Welty on Aug. 26, after he left a stolen Ford Bronco and fled into Mendenhall Valley woods in an attempt to avoid them.

Both men pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drunken driving and first-degree vehicle theft.

For the drunken driving charges, Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks sentenced Cox to 90 days in jail with 87 days suspended, effectively adding three days to the two-year felony sentence.

Weeks sentenced Welty to 180 days with 150 days suspended for the drunken driving charge, effectively adding 30 days to the two-year felony sentence.

November in Alaska was warm and wet

JUNEAU - All regions of Alaska except the Southeast and Cook Inlet were above normal for the mean monthly temperature this November, according to the Alaska Climate Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Temperatures ranged from 3 degrees to almost 7 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, mostly during the first 10 days of the month. But the Southeast and Cook Inlet regions averaged below normal temperatures for November.

Precipitation was mostly well above normal across the state with departures in excess of twice the norm, with the exception of Southeast, which received a near-normal total for the month.

Juneau reported an average temperature of 30.5 degrees, which was 2.8 degrees below normal for November. On Nov. 12, the high for the month of 46 degrees occurred, and on Nov. 20 the low of 10 degrees was reported.

In Juneau, total water-equivalent precipitation was 6.07 inches in November, 12 percent above normal. Total snowfall for the month was 24.6 inches, with 8 inches of snow on the ground at month's end.

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