Northwest Digest

Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Conflict began in Egan Drive traffic

JUNEAU - Police have determined that "challenging behavior" between people in two cars on Egan Drive preceded an incident Saturday night in Mendenhall Valley that sent one man to the hospital and then jail.

Gary Boster, 25, was treated at Bartlett Regional Hospital for a stab wound to his hand. He alledgedly punched the driver of another vehicle through an open window shortly after 11:30 p.m. near a Mendenhall Valley restaurant, police said.

Additional charges are pending, as the case remains under investigation, Police Sgt. Kevin Siska added.

Police lodged Boster at Lemon Creek Correctional Center on misdemeanor charges of assault and criminal mischief.

Police reported Boster was in a 1987 Ford Thunderbird with another man, 25, and a woman, 22. The other vehicle was a 1987 Ford Bronco driven by a man, 18, and also occupied by a man, 22, and a girl, 15.

With both cars parked in the Valley, Boster and the other man from his car allegedly broke one of the Bronco's windows. The Bronco then left the area.

Police stopped both vehicles near Mendenhall Loop Road and Atlin Drive. They arrested Boster, took the 15-year-old girl home to her parents and released the others.

Sitka 5-year-old killed by snow plow

SITKA - A 5-year-old boy was struck and killed by a snowplow while sledding in Sitka.

Sitka police said Judd Albee was pronounced dead about 3:25 p.m. Friday at a Sitka hospital.

Witnesses told police the boy was sliding down a hill when he hit a bump in a ditch and was thrown from the sledding tube he was riding. He then slid into the road and under a snow plow that was passing.

The truck was registered to the Baranof Island Housing Authority. The driver said he did not see the boy.

No citations were issued in the accident, police said.

Police: Legislature raid came after evidence turned up in drug probe

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Police raided the British Columbia legislature offices of two senior cabinet ministers after an organized-crime probe turned up information of potential wrongdoing, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Monday.

"Sometimes in the course of a complex and lengthy police investigation, other related and unrelated information surfaces suggesting possible criminal activity," RCMP Sgt. John Ward told a news conference. "This was the case with the RCMP and the Victoria police department investigation into organized crime."

Police raided the legislature offices of B.C. Finance Minister Gary Collins and Transportation Minister Judith Reid on Sunday.

Ward said the raid was based on information specifically related to an organized-crime drug case, as well as unrelated information discovered as a byproduct of the 20-month drug investigation that resulted in the arrests of nine people last week.

He stressed the search warrants executed at the legislature were aimed at two non-elected officials and did not involve any elected provincial politicians. No arrests have been made nor charges filed, he said.

"I want to make it clear it's not a political investigation," said Ward.

Collins, vacationing in Hawaii, said that was his understanding as well.

"This to my knowledge has nothing to do with anything that would relate to my role, and I think the RCMP has made that clear," he said.

Reid, vacationing in San Francisco, said she was surprised by the raid and that her office was cooperating with police.

Eyman wants to slash taxes by $550 million

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Tax rebel Tim Eyman's 2004 initiative will take another whack at Washington's property taxes, cutting local tax bills by an estimated $550 million a year if voters go along with him.

The initiative would mean an average annual savings of $255 for homeowners and commercial property owners. Local governments said the tax rollback would knock a huge hole in local budgets across the state.

An earlier Eyman-led tax revolt, Initiative 747 in 2001, severely restricted the growth of the property tax, but he told The Associated Press on Monday that his latest effort would go further, cutting some local property taxes by 25 percent.

The new proposal, aimed at the fall 2004 statewide ballot, would exempt voter-approved levies, such as special school levies, from the cuts.

Eyman estimates his plan would save taxpayers - and cost local governments - roughly $550 million a year. The average annual savings would be $255 on an average tax bill of $3,432, he said, citing Department of Revenue statistics.

"It ain't chump change," he said in an interview.

The average homeowner paid $2,001 in property taxes this year. The total take was $6.3 billion, up from $1 billion in 1980. The revenue agency said Eyman's initiative would trim the average homeowner's tax bill by $177 a year. When commercial property is added, the average savings is $255 per taxpayer.

Eyman and his political action committee, Voters Want More Choices, will have until July to collect about 250,000 voter signatures to earn a place on the November ballot.

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