Alaska News Nightly: May 9, 2012

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Airman Under Arrest In Connection With Clinton Reeves Disappearance

The Associated Press

Police say an Alaska-based airman is under arrest in connection with another airman’s disappearance.

Anchorage police say 24-year-old James Devinn Thomas was arrested by homicide detectives yesterday night at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

He is charged with six counts of evidence tampering and police say he is a “person of interest” in the disappearance of 22-year-old Clinton Reeves more than three weeks ago.

Thomas’ arrest came on the same day a man’s body was found in suburban Eagle River about 10 miles north of Eagle River.

Lt. Dave Parker says the body hasn’t been identified. He says Reeves is the only missing male that police know about.

Reeves, a soldier from Missouri, and based at JBER, was last heard from April 22.

Assembly Chairman Hall Fires Deputy Clerk Duke

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

Anchorage Assembly Chair Ernie Hall has fired Deputy Clerk Jacqueline Duke. The firing comes on the heels of Hall appointing an independent investigator to look into what went wrong during the messy Municipal Election. On advice from their attorney, no one on the Assembly is saying much about the decision to fire Duke.

Coast Guard Head Warns Of Major Need For New Ice Breaker

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

The head of the Coast Guard is warning members of Congress it is unprepared for a changing landscape and increased traffic in the Arctic off the coast of Alaska. A major need is a new ice-breaker, and there’s debate about where it will come from.

Debate Over Consultation With ANCSA Corporations Continues

Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

The debate over federal consultation with corporations created under the

Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and tribes continued today at a meeting of the Federal Subsistence Board. The Chairman said the policy on consultation with ANCSA corporations is based on an addition to a 2005 appropriations bill, so the board has to follow the law.

Militia Trial Continues For Third Day

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

Prosecutors in the third day of the Fairbanks Peacemaker’s militia trial spent the morning introducing evidence and interviewing an FBI agent about the items that were seized. Throughout the course of the morning, evidence revealed weapons and ammunition that was taken from a white utility trailer belonging to Barney Coleman. The trailer was taken from the Ice Park in Fairbanks to a garage at the airport for inspection by the FBI, ATF and Alaska State Troopers. Photographs projected on a screen showed a white plastic container with 17 grenade bodies and fuses laying inside. A red tote box contained gas masks, bandolier style belts with magazines of ammunition and pieces of body armor. There were full metal jacket rounds for 9 millimeter handguns, smokeless powder and 37 millimeter launchers with canisters containing pepper spray, or smoke irritants. A few of them were hornet’s nest rounds. A black .223 caliber rifle and 1,200 rounds ammunition were also shown.

During a break, a conflict arose from comments revealed by a juror from King Salmon that she knew the Rockwoods. Paul and Nadia Rockwood were arrested in 2010 based on allegations they had compiled a list of kill targets who they believed were enemies of Islam. Paul Rockwood is in prison and the juror said she had been a house sitter for the couple and had occasional contact with Paul Rockwood through email or letters. She was questioned by the prosecution and defense attorneys as to whether she could be fair to the FBI. She answered “Yes, I believe so.” Steven Skrocki asked Judge Bryan to strike her from the jury. Skrocki was a prosecutor in the Rockwood case and said Paul Rockwood had been charged with international terrorism and calls himself a martyr and a victim. Defense attorneys had no objections to her remaining on the jury and Judge Bryan denied Skrocki’s request, saying “I’m satisfied by her statements that she can be fair.”

In the afternoon, the prosecution brought militia documents and other evidence to the stand that was seized from Barney Coleman’s house.

EPA Prepares To Make Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment Public

Dave Bendinger, KDLG – Dillingham

The next chapter in the controversial Pebble mine debate is right around the corner as the EPA prepares to make public the draft version of its Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. KDLG’s Dave Bendinger looked at differing views on what effect this Assessment might have.

Airport Operators Meet For Flight Standard, Safety Updates

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

Alaska has close to 11,000 registered aircraft. That’s a lot of planes, and keeping the pilots and passengers safe is a big job. This week, airport operators throughout the state convened in Anchorage, for two days of updates on flight standards and air safety.

Anchorage Kids Use YouTube To Stand Up To Bullying

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

Kids at Wendler Middle School in Anchorage are saying, ‘no’ to bullying with YouTube videos. They created the videos through a program called, ‘Rachel’s Challenge.’ The anti-bullying program was developed in memory of a student killed in the Columbine Massacre.

Galena School District Takes Part In National Celebration Of Imagination

Jeremy Scott, KIYU – Galena

The Galena City School District took part in a national celebration of imagination last week, challenging students and parents alike to go without some modern conveniences for one week.