Alaska Digest

Posted: Monday, December 10, 2007

Collision on icy road sends four to hospital

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JUNEAU - Two pickup trucks collided Sunday afternoon on an icy curve on Glacier Highway at mile 26, injuring four people who were transported via ambulance to Bartlett Regional Hospital.

At about 2:35 p.m. Sunday, a Juneau resident driving a Ford F-350 outbound on the highway rounded a curve and lost control on the icy road, turning broadside and striking a second vehicle, a Ford Ranger, driving in the opposite direction.

Capital City Fire and Rescue personnel responded with four ambulances. They used the "Jaws of Life" to extract a child passenger from one of the vehicles.

The driver and passenger of the Ranger and two passengers who had been riding in the F-350 were transported to the hospital, but the driver of that truck was not transported.

A citation had not been issued as of Sunday night, and none of the injuries appeared to be life threatening, police said.

The accident is under investigation by the Juneau Police Department.

Roads were icy Sunday as fog and drizzle dominated the weather. The new moisture topped about 4 inches of snow that fell Saturday. The National Weather Service predicted a slight chance of rain this morning, increasing later with snow above 1,000 feet and winds up to 25 mph.

University regents approve Yup'ik degree

FAIRBANKS - The University of Alaska Board of Regents has approved a new bachelor's degree in Yup'ik language and culture.

The four-year program approved Thursday will be offered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Kuskokwim Campus in Bethel.

UAF already offers a four-year degree in Yup'ik at the Fairbanks campus.

That program, however, is focused more on grammar, translation and literacy rather than the full cultural immersion program the new degree will offer.

The new program is expected to initially attract as many as 15 students.

Superintendent gets nearly 11 percent raise

ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage School Board has given the superintendent of the state's largest school district a raise.

The board on Friday approved a nearly 11 percent raise for Carol Comeau.

That will take her annual salary to $156,500, beginning Jan. 1.

In a prepared statement, the board said the district "has taken great strides forward in the past year under Carol Comeau's exceptional leadership."

Earlier this year, the district and teachers union settled on a new contact after prolonged negotiations.

The three-year contact with teachers goes through 2010. It gives teachers a 3 percent increase the first year, and 4 percent for the next two years. Health insurance contributions from the district also will increase each of those years.

No bids submitted for state dairy

ANCHORAGE - The state says no one submitted a bid for the Matanuska Maid Creamery and the Palmer Blow Mold Facility.

The deadline was early Friday afternoon.

The state Department of Agriculture says the next step will be to continue winding down Matanuska Maid, transition to private enterprise and address the disposal of equipment and inventory for Matanuska Maid.

Palin to announce budget proposal

ANCHORAGE - Today, Gov. Sarah Palin will release her proposed capital and operating budgets for next year.

She's planning a press conference in Anchorage. Members of her cabinet, including chief of staff Mike Tibbles, budget director Karen Rehfeld and Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, will attend.

Palin on Wednesday announced plans to put more than $7 billion into a savings plan over the next two years.

Palin said oil prices will not remain at record levels and planning ahead will help ensure tax stability.

Her savings plan calls for using an estimated $4.6 billion in an expected budget surplus and includes $2.6 billion to help fund future public education.

Army chief to visit Alaska on Wednesday

ANCHORAGE - Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey will visit with Alaska soldiers and military leaders.

Casey will visit Fort Wainwright and Fort Richardson on Wednesday.

At Fort Wainwright, officials say Casey will present a Distinguished Service Cross, an award second only to the Medal of Honor, to Sgt. Gregory Williams, who is assigned to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

Casey is the Army's top officer, serving as the senior military adviser to the Army secretary.

Assembly woman removed from post

KODIAK - A Kodiak Island Borough assemblywoman has been removed from her post.

The assembly took the action against Sue Jeffrey Thursday night. A Superior Court judge ruled last week that Jeffrey violated borough code by missing too many meetings in a six-month period.

Mel Stephens, a Kodiak attorney and former assemblyman, brought the attendance issue to light in September and later sued the borough to have Jeffrey removed.

Jeffrey says she has missed only five of 50 scheduled meetings since being elected more than two years ago. She plans to apply to be appointed to the office, an action Judge William Morse said would not be a violation of his order.

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