- - Thursday, June 11, 2009

ALASKA

Ex-attorney general wins election

ANCHORAGE — A former Alaska attorney general who represented state workers in the Troopergate investigation has been elected mayor of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

Talis Colberg received 63 percent of the vote Tuesday, easily beating six other candidates in the community north of Anchorage.

As attorney general, Mr. Colberg filed a lawsuit on behalf of seven of the nine state workers who challenged legislative subpoenas in the Troopergate probe. That was the Alaska Legislature’s investigation into Gov. Sarah Palin’s firing of her public safety commissioner.

A judge rejected the lawsuit and the employees later testified.

The Legislature found the governor’s husband, Todd Palin, and nine state workers in contempt for ignoring subpoenas. Mr. Colberg resigned four days later.

LOUISIANA

New Orleans mayor out of quarantine

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin has been released from quarantine in China.

Nagin spokeswoman Ceeon Quiett said Wednesday the mayor was on a plane headed for Australia.

Mr. Nagin, his wife, and a bodyguard had been quarantined since Sunday after a passenger on their flight from New Jersey showed flulike symptoms.

Miss Quiett said Mr. Nagin was planning to make the second leg of an overseas trip with speeches in Australia.

Mr. Nagin said the three were leaving Shanghai in “the best of health and spirits.” He also thanked officials in Shanghai, the U.S. Embassy and others “for prioritizing the health and safety” of the three.

Miss Quiett said Mr. Nagin held two meetings in China on what was billed as an economic development trip before receiving the quarantine notice.

NEBRASKA

Doctor to offer third-term abortions

OMAHA — A Nebraska doctor said he’ll perform third-term abortions in Kansas after the slaying of abortion provider George Tiller, even though Dr. Tiller’s clinic is closed.

Dr. LeRoy Carhart declined to discuss details with the Associated Press on Wednesday, a day after Dr. Tiller’s family announced his Wichita clinic was shutting its doors.

Dr. Carhart isn’t saying whether his plans include opening a new facility or offering the abortions at an existing practice. He said such details are “something that doesn’t need to be talked about” until everything is in place.

Dr. Tiller’s clinic was one of the only facilities in the country that performed third-trimester abortions. Dr. Carhart performed late-term abortions there for 10 years.

Kansas state law allows abortions after the 21st week in certain cases.

NORTH CAROLINA

Three bodies found at Slim Jim plant

GARNER — Search crews have recovered three bodies from a Slim Jim snack factory a day after an explosion ripped through the plant.

Police said searchers will continue scouring the building wreckage Wednesday but that only three employees were reported missing after the blast.

Crews brought out two bodies in the afternoon after retrieving the remains of Barbara McLean Spears, 43, of Dunn, before dawn.

Garner Police Sgt. Chris Clayton named the two other victims as Rachel Mae Poston Pulley, 67, and Lewis Junior Watson, 33, both of Clayton.

Officials said at least 38 employees were injured, including four with critical burns, and three firefighters were treated for inhaling ammonia fumes.

TEXAS

Two killed in scaffold collapse

AUSTIN — Two workers fell to their deaths after scaffolding collapsed at a construction project in Austin, fire officials said.

Battalion Chief Harry Evans said another man was hospitalized but the extent of his injuries was not known.

The collapse happened Wednesday afternoon at a residential building near the University of Texas. Chief Evans said the cause was not known.

The two workers who died fell between 11 and 13 floors. The third worker fell onto a roof structure that was about seven floors below the scaffolding.

A fourth worker was injured but not taken to the hospital.

UTAH

Two dozen indicted in artifact theft

SALT LAKE CITY — Two dozen people have been indicted in a sweeping federal investigation into ancient artifacts stolen from public and Indian lands in the Southwest’s Four Corners area, federal authorities said.

The federal indictments unsealed Wednesday accuse the people of stealing, receiving or trying to sell artifacts including bowls, stone pipes, sandals, arrowheads, jars, hair ornaments, necklaces and other items.

Melodie Rydalch, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Utah, said the men and women were arrested Wednesday after an investigation that lasted more than two years.

The indictments say the crimes took place in 2007 and 2008. Dozens of items, many valued at more than $1,000, are listed in the court documents.

Charges include trafficking in stolen artifacts and theft of government or tribal property.

From wire dispatches and staff reports