FYI News briefs & announcements – July 4

Welch one of four fugitives found in Seldovia
• Over the years, the small tranquil community mistakenly thought of as a good place to hide
The man arrested in the quiet tourist village of Seldovia on a federal warrant June 26 had escaped the law for 31 years after being convicted of robbery and fraud in Wyoming in 1981.
Joseph Welch, 58, was working on a road building crew on the Mine Loop Road in Seldovia when it came to Police Chief Shad Haller’s attention that he was wanted by the Wyoming Department of Corrections. A photo identifying Welch was sent to Haller by authorities alerted to his whereabouts.
Haller located him at the Tide Pool Cafe where he was eating dinner, and waited for the other patrons to leave before making his move.
“It was a safety issue. I waited until he was finished eating, and most of the people were cleared out,” Haller said Monday.
Then he met Welch at the cash register and told him he would be placed under arrest.
That night, Welch was lodged in the Seldovia Jail cell and was flown to Homer the next morning where he was given over to Judicial Services with the Alaska State Troopers. He was charged as a fugitive from justice, after walking away from a treatment facility in 1981 while incarcerated on felony robbery and fraud convictions.
This wasn’t the first time fugitives from justice have been caught in Seldovia. Haller hadn’t been on the job as police chief for more than three weeks when he caught the first one. Police Chief Andy Anderson, now retired, had served the community for more than 30 years, and found three fugitives on separate occasions. “One was wanted for murder and the other two were escapees,” Anderson recalled. He has said that the small community on 17 miles of Homer across Kachemak Bay isn’t a good place to hide. “People might think that, but Seldovia is no place to hide.”
It is normally a quiet town on Herring Bay, enjoying a history dating back as a Russian settlement and a village for Alaska Native Alutiiqs and Athabascans.
Welch had lived in Wasilla and even his wife, when alerted of his arrest, had not heard before of his Wyoming conviction, according to news accounts.

School sports physicals offered
Physical exams will be offered to high school students at the Sports Physical Clinic on July 21 from 8 a.m-1 p.m. at the Homer Medical Center. No appointments are offered, however students are asked to stagger arrival according to the following schedule: Last names beginning with A-E arrive at 8 a.m.; last names beginning in F-J should arrive at 9 a.m.; last names beginning in K-O should arrive at 10 a.m.; last names beginning in P-T should arrive at 11 a.m. and last names beginning in U-Z should arrive at 12 p.m. 
A physical screening is required by the Alaska School Activities Association for high school students participating in sports and activities. Health care providers in the community volunteer their time to provide the exams, which also acts as a fundraiser for the booster club. 
Senator asks for tsunami debris relief  
Sen. Lisa Murkowski is advising President Barack Obama to act immediately to prevent additional damage to Alaska’s shores from approaching debris resulting from the devastating March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. 
In a letter to the White House, the senator recommended taking preemptory actions by instructing several federal agencies to work together and halt any unnecessary harmful impacts, writing:
“I have already seen the impacts of this debris in Alaska while touring coastal areas and can confirm that more action is needed.  It is essential that your Administration establish a plan on how the United States will prepare for and recover from this debris as it reaches our waters and shores.”
Several agencies have expertise regarding debris removal, including the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, State and others.  Murkowski urged him to have these agencies work together to limit the damage from tsunami debris through an interagency task force.
 Halibut’s migrating eye captured in fossil
A fossil of a 50 million-year-old flatfish found in Italy shows an evolutionary intermediate stage between symmetrical-eyed fish and today’s asymmetrical-eyed halibut and other flatfish species. Scientists writing for the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology say the fossil shows one eye beginning to move toward the top of the head.
The study provides the first detailed description of a primitive flatfish, revealing that the migrated eye had not yet crossed to the opposite side of the skull in early members of this group. Heteronectes, with its flattened form, shows the perfect intermediate stage between most fish with eyes on each side of the head and specialized flatfishes where both eyes are on the same side.

New reality show
Boxing promoter Jim Patton and casting director Brendon Blincoe of Los Angeles, California announced the launch of a new reality T.V. show, “Thursday Night at the Fights.”
“After more than two decades of successful bouts and championships in the Last Frontier, the draw and popularity of Alaskan boxing will finally reach the homes of Americans throughout the nation,” said Patton.
The promoters of the new show are seeking boxers for “grudge matches” who will battle out their differences in the ring rather than on the street. The advertising message states: “Do you have a dispute with a co-worker, friend, family member, boss, roommate or jealous ex? Then we want to hear your story.”
Interested fighters must be 18 or older and available to be filmed in Anchorage between July 23 and 28.
“We’re looking for fighters of all skill levels, from the first-time fighter to the seasoned veterans,” said Patton. “If an Alaskan wants to take the challenge, have the chance to win $400 and possibly be seen on a reality show, it’s worth contacting us and discussing options.”
Interested fighters can contact Scott Goldstein at 818 980-2732 Ext. 301or email to

Energy grants announced by USDA
USDA Rural Development grants were announced to go to Kenai Peninsula businesses from a $250,000 allocation to the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Small Business Development Center. The money is to support small business, job creation opportunities, and training workers in Native Alaskan communities.
A total of $128,000 goes to the following businesses to support the installation of wind, solar, or energy efficient improvements:   Soldotna Investors, Ridgeway Preschool, Four D Professional Buildings/Daniel Mortenson, VBS Heating Products, Homer Theatre, The Lodge at Black Rapids and Homestead Enterprises, Inc.

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Posted by on Jul 4th, 2012 and filed under Announcements. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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