State Briefs

Posted: Sunday, December 29, 2002

Free minerals classes offered for youth

JUNEAU - The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is offering a free geology and minerals class in Douglas every other Tuesday starting Jan. 7 and running through mid-April.

The class, at the Juneau Mineral Information Center on Mayflower Island in Douglas, near Savikko Park, runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.

The class is for children age 9 to 11, but slightly younger or older siblings will be considered, the agency said.

Registration is limited to 10 students per class. Students will be registered on a first-come, first-served basis.

The class will focus on identifying minerals and learning their history and use, and includes a 30-minute video, "Out of the Rock." Each student will create a small collection of Alaska minerals and receive an Alaska minerals poster.

Seating in the classroom is limited, but parents are welcome. There are numerous displays and a library at the facility to help keep Mom and Dad busy, the agency said.

Call Jane Albrecht during business hours at (907) 364-1553 to make a reservation for one of these dates: Jan. 7, Jan. 21, Feb. 4, Feb. 18, March 4, March 18, April 1, or April 15.

All classes will be held and on time, regardless of attendance levels, the agency said.

One dead in Fairbanks fire

FAIRBANKS - A fire Friday morning killed a resident in a Fairbanks apartment building, Alaska State Troopers reported.

It wasn't clear if the victim was a man or a woman, according to troopers. The body was being sent to the state medical examiner to establish positive identification and a cause of death.

Emergency workers got a call at about 8 a.m. reporting the fire in an older 10-unit apartment building. Firefighters extinguished the fire in a first-floor unit, but they found a body in a bedroom, troopers said.

The state fire marshal and troopers are investigating.

Kenai Peninsula roads patched

KENAI - Emergency patches have been completed on Kenai Peninsula roads, bridges and culverts damaged by back-to-back floods this winter. State transportation officials are now looking ahead to more permanent repairs.

At many spots along the Sterling Highway, floods tore up pavement, undermined bridges, and overwhelmed culverts.

State Department of Transportation engineers are now identifying areas where emergency repairs won't be enough. They're reviewing flow capacities of bridges and culverts that didn't handle the flood waters.

"Much of the work we were going to do in the fall and winter, as far as immediate response, is done," said Dave Eberle, regional director of DOT's Central Region. "Now we are working with the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency on long-term fixes."

Man pleads innocent to sex with teens

KENAI - A 35-year-old Sterling man pleaded has pleaded innocent to eight counts of sexual abuse of a minor.

Michael W. Sproates entered his plea Thursday. He is charged with having sexual relations with three teen girls between Nov. 2 and Dec. 10, when he was arrested.

Sproates' trial has been set for the week of March 10. He was in custody Friday at Wildwood Pretrial Facility with bail set at $100,000 cash.

Suspects in murder attempt plead innocent

KENAI - Two men and a woman have pleaded innocent to felony charges including first-degree attempted murder.

The pleas were entered at a Thursday arraignment in Kenai for Mysti Roberts, 20, Jeremy A. Eaklor, 21, and Daryl L. Baker, 34.

The three are accused of trying to murder a 30-year-old Soldotna man Dec. 16. The victim wasn't identified.

Alaska State Troopers say they responded to an emergency call about 2 a.m. that day reporting a man had been shot. The caller reportedly identified two shooters and said the suspects were in a vehicle headed toward Soldotna.

Troopers and Central Emergency Services medics found the victim had suffered only superficial injuries to his side from shotgun pellets. He refused medical treatment.

Soldotna police quickly stopped a vehicle with four occupants, and Roberts, Eaklor and Baker were arrested. A 23-year-old woman was not arrested at that time.

The three were indicted on charges including attempted murder, vehicle theft, burglary, theft, and assault.

Roberts also was charged with drunken driving. Eaklor and Baker face weapons charges.

Trial was set for the week of March 3. All are being held at Wildwood Pretrial Facility.

Bail was set at $60,000 for Roberts and Eaklor. Bail for Baker was set at $75,000.

Earthquake strikes Aleutians

ANCHORAGE - A moderate earthquake struck the Aleutian Islands region early Saturday morning.

The 12:36 a.m. quake had a preliminary magnitude of 5.5, according to the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer.

The earthquake was located 75 miles south of Nikolski and was 25 miles deep. It was felt in Nikolski, but there were no reports of injury or damage.

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