State briefs

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2001

Vehicle theft brings DWI charge

JUNEAU - A Juneau man didn't get very far after he allegedly stole a vehicle from outside an eatery in Auke Bay on Sunday.

Police arrested Elwood Thornton Baldwin, 39, for felony vehicle theft and drunken driving around 9:15 p.m. Sunday near Dredge Lake Road.

According to a press release from Sgt. Ben Coronell, police received a call from a man at an Auke Bay eatery who said his silver 2000 Subaru had been stolen from where it was parked by the building. The man had left the vehicle running for the 15 minutes he was in the restaurant, police said. By the time the man came out of the restaurant, the Subaru was gone.

A few minutes after police received the report, Coronell said, members from the Miller House Crisis Unit reported they had spotted the Subaru on Kanata Street and proceeded to follow it to the Dredge Lake Road area.

Police found Baldwin in the driver's seat and it appeared he had been drinking, Coronell said. He was arrested for drunken driving. Police said they later determined his blood-alcohol content was 0.154, almost twice the legal limit of 0.08.

Baldwin also was charged with vehicle theft and lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center. The Subaru was returned to its owner and sustained no visible damage.

Palmer trailer fire kills one

ANCHORAGE - An early morning fire in a trailer left one person dead Sunday in Palmer.

Several fire engines and tankers responded to the blaze shortly before 5 a.m. at the Fox Run Campground and RV Park. They found a body inside the trailer, said Tim DeSpain, spokesman for Alaska State Troopers. The victim's identity won't be officially released until the medical examiner completes an autopsy, DeSpain said.

Authorities do not suspect foul play at this point, DeSpain said.

Letha Butts, who owns the trailer park with her husband, Alan, said the woman who lived in the trailer sometimes left her cookstove on to heat the trailer.

The fire marshal is investigating the cause of the blaze, DeSpain said.

Massage therapist helps Ground Zero workers

FAIRBANKS - Massage therapist Dorothy Burton is bringing her healing hands to the workers at Ground Zero.

Burton will fly to New York City on Christmas Day as part of a newly formed Alaska team of licensed massage therapists who want to help those dealing with the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Burton, a 1999 graduate of the Massage School of Integrating Shiatsu in Fairbanks, learned of the opportunity in October from friend Tina Melin. Melin, a medical technologist, is organizing the Alaska emergency massage response team. Burton, an Athabascan originally from Kaltag, will be the only Alaska Native member of the group.

Some teams will be giving massages to the Staten Island workers who are sifting through the rubble removed from Ground Zero. The teams will be giving those workers chair massages at St. Paul's Episcopal Chapel, about two blocks from the trade center site.

Alaska flu cases rising

ANCHORAGE - Alaska health officials have reported a widespread outbreak of flu to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The state epidemiology office reported 578 cases of influenza type A and 14 cases that were either type B or of unknown origin. Most of the cases were from Southcentral Alaska, although 16 were from Southeast.

"The magnitude of this has been much greater for this time period than last year," said Don Ritter, manager for the State Virology Laboratory in Fairbanks.

The CDC asks states to report flu counts weekly, said Kim Mynes-Spink, nurse epidemiologist. Its report of widespread activity means Alaska has an outbreak of flu affecting areas that have more than 50 percent of the state's population. Anchorage and the Mat-Su valleys have reported 524, or almost 90 percent, of Alaska's flu cases. The first flu cases of the season came from the Fairbanks area, according to health officials.

Feds awards state $32 million

ANCHORAGE - The Department of Justice has awarded Alaska more than $32 million to fight crime.

The money is part of more than $5 billion awarded to states nationwide, as well as the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.

More than $23 million of the Alaska funds will go toward law enforcement. Nearly $7 million is slated for juvenile justice programs, $2 million for victims' programs, $340,000 for substance abuse programs and $300,000 for community-based programs.

The law enforcement money will be used to hire more police officers, purchase equipment and provide better training.

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