State Briefs

Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Troopers prevent suicide in Fairbanks

FAIRBANKS - Alaska State Troopers in Fairbanks forced open a residence's door and rescued a man who was trying to hang himself early this morning, troopers said.

Christine Forrest, 33, called troopers at 12:17 a.m. to report that her estranged husband, Kelly Forrest, 29, had called her from his house and said he was going to hang himself, troopers said.

Troopers Ronny Simmons and Larry Erickson arrived at the dark house at 12:38 a.m., heard noises that sounded like gagging, and forced open the locked door.

Forrest, who was hanging from a rope in the middle of the living room, was semiconscious, troopers said.

Erickson cut the rope, releasing Forrest, but found the knot around his neck was cinched tight and would not loosen. Forrest then went unconscious. Erickson cut the rope off Forrest's neck and with the help of Simmons laid Forrest flat on the floor, opening his airway and allowing him to start breathing and regain consciousness.

Forrest was transported to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, where he was admitted for treatment, troopers said. The hospital would not release information about his condition.

Eielson airmen detained in drug raid

FAIRBANKS - Nine airmen at Eielson Air Force Base have been detained on suspicion of using marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms, cocaine and steroids.

One of the airmen is suspected of distributing drugs to the others, base spokeswoman Maj. Valerie Trefts said. The names of the airmen were not released because they have not been charged.

The raid Sunday prompted the base commander to order a drug test for about 1,000 other airmen on Monday.

The airmen were members of the 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 354th Maintenance Squadrons. As soon as it was suspected the nine were using drugs, their work was closely monitored, Trefts said. She declined to say how long the investigation had been going on.

The most a service member could face if found guilty during a court-martial of marijuana use is a dishonorable discharge and confinement for two years, Trefts said.

For harder drug use, such as cocaine, the maximum penalty could be a dishonorable discharge and five years' jail time. Anyone found guilty during a court-martial of distribution of an illegal drug could face up to 15 years in military prison and a dishonorable discharge.

Commission denies permit for dog lot

JUNEAU - The Juneau Planning Commission on Tuesday unanimously denied a local sled-dog owner a conditional-use permit to house up to 60 dogs on his property.

Robert Kling, who runs a seasonal dog-sled tourist attraction on the Juneau Icefield, wanted to house his 26 dogs at an open-air kennel near the 24000 block of Glacier Highway and the Cinnamon Bear subdivision. He asked commissioners for a permit that allows up to 60 dogs in order to house visiting sled-dog teams.

According to a city staff report, Kling wanted to move the dogs from their kennel at the end of Industrial Boulevard to the Glacier Highway site so he could live on the property and better care for the dogs.

But Cinnamon Bear residents balked over the idea of 60 barking, baying dogs in their backyards. One resident said, "It's so quiet now you can hear ravens fly overhead, and that's the way we like it."

Residents also aired concerns over odors and waste.

Crewman dies, two injured south of Adak

KODIAK - One crewman died and two others were seriously injured on board a log carrier 180 miles south of Adak on Monday.

The captain of the 465-foot log carrier Borca, homeported in China, asked the Coast Guard for medical assistance. He said the ship encountered rough weather and three crewmen, working below decks, were banged around and suffered broken bones and possible head injuries.

The Coast Guard instructed the Borca's captain to head toward Adak.

Officials said a Coast Guard helicopter hoisted off the injured crew members near Adak. The helicopter landed in Adak and the men were flown by commercial medical aircraft to Anchorage.

Officials said the Coast Guard will not investigate the incident because it was on a foreign ship in international waters.

Flags lowered for Pignalberi

JUNEAU - Gov. Frank Murkowski ordered state flags flown at half-staff in memory of former state Rep. Marco Pignalberi, who died of a heart attack Tuesday in Haines.

Pignalberi had been serving as manager of the Haines Borough. He represented an Anchorage district in the state House in 1983 and 1984.

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