Around the State

Posted: Friday, August 03, 2001

Recovery crew returns with bodies from Haines crash

JUNEAU -- An Army National Guard helicopter returned Thursday with the bodies of six people killed this week when their single-engine plane crashed while on a sightseeing tour of the Glacier Bay National Park.

Recovery efforts had been stalled Tuesday by weather and again Wednesday when the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter broke down while at the crash site.

The Cherokee Six plane, operated by LAB Flying Service, crashed on the Davidson Glacier Monday. The wreckage was located about 12 miles south of Haines.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. The NTSB is considering collecting the wreckage of the plane for further study, said Clint Johnson, NTSB investigator.

Pilot Chad Beers, 26, of Juneau; tour guide Marianne Cederberg, 55, of Toronto, and four German tourists were killed. The tourists were identified as Helmut Auer, of Baden-Wurtemberg; Martin Federhofer, of Hamburg; and Uwe Kahlbohm, 59, and his wife, Siegrid, 65, of Bremerhaven.

Former Fort Knox worker claims sex discrimination

FAIRBANKS -- A former employee of the Fort Knox gold mine has filed a lawsuit charging the mine's parent company with sex discrimination.

Renee Fox said she was fired and held to a different standard than male employees.

According to the lawsuit against Fairbanks Gold Mining, Fox was hired as a truck driver in December 1996 and promoted to shovel operator. She was fired in July 1999. According to the suit, she was told she had exceeded her quota of excused absences.

Fox contends she was over the limit because a March 1999 visit to the dentist was wrongfully designated an unexcused absence.

''It's my understanding that the men that are close to the limit are allowed to take vacation leave when they call in the morning,'' said her attorney, Robert Sparks.''

The suit also claims other examples of discrimination.

Fairbanks Gold Mining officials deny all the allegations of discrimination.

General manager Tom Irwin said Fox has filed state and federal complaints but neither found the company at fault.

Man injured trying to stop fleeing shoplifter

ANCHORAGE -- A man who tried to halt a shoplifter Wednesday afternoon was run down by the man's getaway vehicle.

Henry McStotts, 49, was shopping at an Office Depot when he noticed a man running out of the store with a computer printer, police said. McStotts joined store security in trying to grab the man, but the shoplifter jumped into the passenger side of a waiting Ford Explorer.

McStotts stood in front of the Explorer in an attempt to stop the vehicle, police said, but the Explorer ran into him. He was dragged about 175 feet in the store's parking lot.

Paramedics took McStotts to Providence Alaska Medical Center, where he was being treated for flesh wounds, bruises and scrapes. Karina Jennings, Providence spokeswoman, said McStotts was in fair condition Wednesday evening.

Police later stopped Charles Burt III, 26, whom they say drove the Explorer. Police spokesman Ron McGee said Burt has denied being at the Office Depot.

The shoplifter remained at large Wednesday evening.

Three survive Anchorage plane crash

ANCHORAGE -- For the second night in a row, people walked away from a small-plane crash in Anchorage.

A Piper 12 with three people on board crashed along a ridge about 7 p.m. Wednesday. Kelly Leseman of Anchorage and two unidentified juveniles were onboard and suffered minor injuries.

The military's Rescue Coordination Center picked up an emergency signal from the downed plane, said Staff Sgt. Jeff Wells, Alaska Air National Guard spokesman. A Civil Air Patrol aircraft on a training flight flew to the scene, Wells said, spotting three people walking away from the aircraft.

The Air National Guard diverted a Pavehawk helicopter on a training mission to the scene. Rescuers picked up the three survivors and took them to Providence Alaska Medical Center, Wells said. They were treated and released Wednesday night.

The crash site was described by the Federal Aviation Administration as approximately three miles south of Flattop Mountain.

Four people survived a wreck Tuesday near the Eagle River Nature Center.

Burgess nominated as U.S. attorney for Alaska

ANCHORAGE -- The acting U.S. attorney for Alaska, Tim Burgess, will be nominated for the permanent position by President George W. Bush, according to a press release issued by the White House.

Burgess has served as acting U.S. attorney since the March retirement of Bob Bundy.

Burgess joined the U.S. attorney's office 12 years ago and worked in most areas handled by the office, including foreign fishing violations, drug cases, and environmental pollution.

He received his undergraduate degree and a masters in business from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Burgess received his law degree from Northwestern University.

Inhalant abuse suspected in village death

ANCHORAGE -- A man was found dead outside his home in Quinhagak early Monday morning after it appears he was inhaling propane gas, Alaska State Troopers said.

Troopers received a call from tribal police in the village on the Kuskokwim Bay coast 425 miles southwest of Anchorage that Peter White, 24, was unconscious outside his family's home with a 100-pound bottle of propane next to him.

Village health aides had attempted to resuscitate White without success when troopers arrived. White was declared dead at the scene.

According to troopers, propane is a commonly abused inhalant, along with gasoline and other aerosols. Propane replaces oxygen in the lungs and causes suffocation at high doses. It also acts as a brain and nervous system depressant.

School board votes in favor of random drug testing

KETCHIKAN -- The Ketchikan School Board has voted in favor of random drug testing of student athletes.

The board voted 5-2 Wednesday in favor of random drug testing of middle and high school student athletes in the Ketchikan School District.

During the board's discussion of the issue, student board member Stacy Stone said the policy could help stop drug use among students.

''We need to take a stand and say it's not OK to do drugs,'' she said.

Board Member Richard Van Cleave voted against the policy because he said the money for drug testing could be better used teaching students not to use drugs.

''We're an educational body, not an enforcement agency,'' Van Cleave said. He was joined in his no vote by Board Member Anna Annicelli, who said the policy is too negative.

Board Member Susan Walsh said she hopes the administration will include a clause allowing students who voluntarily admit a drug problem to continue to participate in sports.

--The Associated Press

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