Alaska Digest

Posted: Wednesday, December 31, 2003

More police working New Year's Eve

JUNEAU - At least twice as many police officers as usual will work Juneau's streets tonight for New Year's Eve, Juneau Police Capt. Tom Porter said.

"There will be an emphasis on drunken driving and domestic violence," he said, explaining that conflict increases along with alcohol consumption. "Alcohol is so prevalent with the celebration."

Typically, there are four or five officers and a supervisor working overnight, he said. Tonight, there will be at least 10 on patrol and responding to calls.

Alaska State Troopers will have additional drunken-driving enforcement through Sunday in the Juneau area.

Also, Porter said firing guns to ring in the New Year is illegal. Juneau police have responded to reports of shots on past New Year's. Most turn out to be firecrackers.

"People don't think about what happens when the bullets come down."

Chair on Egan Drive leads to injuries

JUNEAU - A kitchen chair left Monday on inbound Egan Drive near Sunny Point led to an accident that hospitalized a 40-year-old Juneau woman.

Police said the accident occurred shortly after 6:38 p.m., when the chair was reported in the roadway by an off-duty city employee who pulled over and stopped on the side of Egan.

Before an officer arrived at the scene, a 2003 Pontiac swerved to miss the chair, spun out of control and struck the city vehicle and the guardrail, according to police

A female driver and two 14-year-old girls who were riding in the car were taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital with injuries, police reported. The woman was flown out of Juneau for further treatment. The two girls reportedly were released.

Pharmacy burglars steal prescription pain pills

JUNEAU - Police reported Tuesday they are investigating the theft of prescription pain relievers during a weekend burglary from a Mendenhall Valley pharmacy.

"A significant amount" of OxyContin, Tylox and generic drugs were stolen from Ron's Apothecary Shoppe, 9101 Mendenhall Mall Road, police said. Officers learned that one or more suspects entered the business through the ceiling, after starting from an adjacent business.

OxyContin is a time-released form of the generic pain-reliever oxycodone. It is dangerously addictive and available legally only by prescription. Tablets in 10-, 20- and 40-milligram strength were stolen. The strength is printed on one side of each white, pink and dark yellow tablet.

Tylox combines the over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen with oxycodone. Capsules with the numbers 54 and 392 were stolen. Generic oxycodone also was stolen from the pharmacy.

Juneau police encourage anyone with information to call the department.

Security raised along Dalton Highway

FAIRBANKS - The state has set up two checkpoints on the Dalton Highway in response to the nation's heightened security alert.

"Although we don't have any confirmed threats, we're being extremely cautious," said Tom Burgess, director of Alaska Division of Homeland Security. "Alaska's oil field system is the largest in the nation. It's very important to our economy and very important to Alaska's people."

The 24-hour checkpoints - located at Mile 41 and about 26 miles to the north - are staffed by the Alaska State Defense Force, considered the state's volunteer military force. An Alaska State Trooper also will travel up and down the highway, Burgess said.

Alaska burger monarch retires after 28 years

ANCHORAGE - The man who built a Burger King empire in Alaska is retiring.

An Anchorage investment group is taking over the 15 locations in Anchorage, Fairbanks, the Matanuska-Susitna area and on the Kenai Peninsula. The restaurants will briefly close to change hands, said retiring owner Larry Baker.

Baker started the fast-food chain in Anchorage 28 years ago.

He said he was spending too much time at the office and not enough with his family. The state's minimum wage raise of $1.50 an hour this year also was difficult to absorb, he said. At 61, he decided it was time to leave.

Rasmuson Foundation gives aid to legal services

JUNEAU - The Rasmuson Foundation has awarded $55,934 to Alaska Legal Services Corp. to upgrade its computers.

The private, nonprofit ALCS provides free legal assistance in civil cases to low-income Alaskans and has offices in Juneau, Ketchikan, Anchorage, Bethel, Dillingham, Fairbanks, Kotzebue and Nome.

"Declining operating revenues have made it difficult for ALSC to undertake technology upgrade projects," said its executive director, Andy Harrington, in a prepared statement.

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