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Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, December 30, 2005

Fairbanks officials issue air advisory

FAIRBANKS - Poor air quality tied to an elevated level of particulate has led to an air quality health advisory in Fairbanks.

Borough officials Wednesday asked residents to voluntarily curb unnecessary driving and burning of wood.

Temperature inversions and lack of wind routinely trapping dirty air but the level of particles is not common, said Jim Conner, a Fairbanks North Star Borough air quality specialist.

"People can walk outside and see the poor air quality. We can smell it," Conner said.

He did not know what caused the high level of particulate but speculated that more people were burning wood because of high fuel oil prices.

Conner tests for particulate about once every hour. After the level remained up to 45 micrograms per cubic meter for 24 consecutive hours, officials issued the health advisory, Conner said.

The level is deemed unsafe by the Environmental Protection Agency for sensitive groups, including people with heart disease, respiratory problems, children and the elderly.

Troopers find $55,000 while arresting man

FAIRBANKS - A North Pole man suspected of driving under the influence of methamphetamine was carrying $55,000 in cash in his pickup truck, according to Alaska State Troopers.

The cash was seized and drug charges are pending against 43-year-old Andrew P. Newman, troopers said.

State or federal authorities will take action to keep the $55,000 if it is found to be connected to drug activity, said Capt. Ed Harrington, commander of the Alaska Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Enforcement.

A trooper stopped Newman for a traffic violation about 12:20 a.m. Wednesday near North Pole. Newman failed to signal for 100 feet before changing lanes, according to court documents.

The trooper smelled alcohol coming from the truck and conducted field sobriety tests on Newman, who failed, according to court records. During the arrest, the trooper tugged on a coat wedged between the driver's seat and door of the truck and a glass pipe and package containing 2.4 grams of methamphetamine fell to the ground, prosecutors said.

Newman asked the trooper if he could take a toiletry bag set on the dashboard of the pickup truck to jail, Harrington said. The trooper asked to look in the bag, received permission from Newman, and found the $55,000 inside, Harrington said.

Fugitive arrested at North Pole store

FAIRBANKS - A woman who failed to begin her sentence for crashing a front-end loader into the Fairbanks Correctional Center was arrested in a North Pole grocery store.

North Pole police received an anonymous tip and arrested Misty Hoffman, 29, Wednesday morning at the Safeway grocery store, said Sgt. Jon Miller.

Hoffman had been wanted since failing to turn herself in Nov. 4 to the Fairbanks Correctional Center.

Hoffman was due to begin serving a seven-year jail sentence for ramming the prison with the front-end loader in an attempt to break out her boyfriend.

Officers found Hoffman and a companion at the grocery store shortly after 8 a.m., police said.



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