State Briefs

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Man charged with shooting fellow passenger

ANCHORAGE - A 21-year-old man riding in a car was charged with first-degree assault Tuesday after apparently shooting another passenger in the head.

Solomon Garcia was taken to Cook Inlet Pre-Trial Facility and held on $50,000 bail. Anchorage police said Cameron Dorsey, 19, was clinging to life after he was shot in the back of the head.

Garcia told police he and Dorsey were passengers in a car driving at about 3 a.m. Garcia said he was playing with a .38-caliber revolver in the back seat and the gun accidentally fired.

The driver transported Dorsey to the Alaska Native Medical Center. Police said that if Dorsey dies, the charge against Garcia would change to manslaughter.

State, Red Dog mine owner reach settlement on violations

ANCHORAGE - Teck Cominco Alaska has agreed to pay up to $827,000 to settle government claims that the company violated its air emissions permit at the Red Dog Mine.

Teck Cominco will pay the state $300,000 in cash. Another $278,900 will be spent on three projects to improve the mine's environmental performance and better protect public health and the environment. The remaining portion of the settlement, $248,100, will be suspended if Teck Cominco meets terms of the settlement.

"Alaska's permitting system places a large responsibility upon the company to self-monitor and report problems and to immediately take corrective action," said Michele Brown, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. "When the Red Dog Mine operators fail to do so, they also fail to meet the community's and our expectations for operating in full compliance."

The agreement stems from a joint inspection by the DEC and the federal Environmental Protection Agency in fall 2000 that found 18 potential violations of Teck Cominco's air permit at the mine 90 miles north of Kotzebue. The violations included operating and failing to properly report equipment that exceeded emission limits, including heaters, diesel generators and crushers, and failure to conduct monitoring.

As part of the agreement, Teck Cominco will donate $230,000 to the NANA Regional Subsistence Advisory Committee to help assess subsistence needs in the area and the potential impact of the mine.

Anchorage exceeds federal carbon monoxide standards

ANCHORAGE - City officials are urging motorists to use block heaters to cut down on air pollution during the extreme cold, after the city exceeded federal carbon monoxide standards.

The violation Sunday was the first for the city in nearly three years.

Air quality at one location reached an average of 9.8 parts per million of carbon monoxide, 0.8 parts per million above the federal limit. The city risks losing federal funds if the violation occurs again this year.

Steve Morris, the supervisor of the city's environmental air quality program, said most of the pollution comes from car exhaust but the extreme cold and lack of wind make it worse. The cold weather increases vehicle emissions and traps pollution close to the ground, Morris said.

City officials are asking motorists to plug in their cars for two to three hours before they drive, which can reduce emissions by 70 percent.

Anchorage man gets 75 years in prison for murder

ANCHORAGE - Samuel Jay Camanga, charged with the 1999 murder of Morgan "Wolfie" Gorsche, was sentenced Tuesday to 75 years in prison.

Camanga, 22, pleaded no contest to first-degree murder in return for the sentence, which leaves him eligible for parole in 25 years. Three others, including a juvenile, were charged in connection with the execution-style killing of 17-year-old Gorsche on Sept. 1, 1999, off Eklutna Lake Road.

Police said one or more of the conspirators thought the victim had molested a 4-year-old. "It was hearsay twice removed," said Prosecutor Jay Fayette.

Noatak man charged in ax attack

KOTZEBUE - A man from the Northwest Alaska village of Noatak has been charged with attempted murder.

Robert Penn, 44, was arrested Friday on a charge of first-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault, Alaska State Troopers said today.

Troopers say Penn attacked Paul Wesley, 43, with an ax. Wesley suffered injuries to his head and face from the attack.

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