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AK Beat: Anchorage inmate sentenced for assaulting corrections officer

Alaska Dispatch

Inmate sentenced for officer assault: A 27-year-old Anchorage Correctional Complex inmate serving a 199-year sentence for a double homicide had an additional 19 years tacked on to his already titanic prison term for brutally assaulting a corrections officer. James Coven’s attack caused multiple fractures to the officer’s jaw, a fractured nose, multiple broken teeth and a concussion. The officer had denied Coven’s request to make a phone call and ordered him back to his cell, according to a press release from the state attorney general’s office. Instead of following the officer’s commands, Coven punched the officer in the head causing him to fall to the ground. Coven repeatedly kicked the officer until others came to his aid. Anchorage Superior Court Judge Sen Tan said the sentence was necessary to deter other prisoners from assaulting correctional officers, the press release says. Coven reportedly told Tan “he was already being punished for his assault on the officer because he was serving his sentence in segregation.”

Police seize cocaine at motel: Anchorage police on Tuesday picked off a package containing about a kilogram of cocaine and arrested two Anchorage residents they described as the intended recipients. Anchorage residents Emmanuel Ford, 23, and Leaha Hazza, 20, were arrested and charged with one count each of misconduct involving a controlled substance in the third and fourth degree. The duo were staying at a motel that police did not identify. Employees alerted police to what an APD press release described as a suspicious package.   Police say the street value of the seized drugs was up to $100,000.

East-side setnetters' emergency petition denied: The Alaska Board of Fisheries has denied an emergency petition to restructure commercial setnet fishing for salmon on east-side Cook Inlet beaches this summer. Setnetters there had appealed to the board, arguing that regulatory changes ordered after a contentious board meeting earlier this year would unfairly distribute harvests between fishermen near the Kasilof River and those near the Kenai River. The board discussed the issue for less than an hour before deciding there is no emergency. Board members agreed setnetters are likely to face a tough summer because of what is expected to be a weak return of late-run Kenai king salmon, but noted that everyone is likely to suffer. The meeting underlined the state's lack of tools for ensuring a commercial fishery for bountiful sockeye salmon runs in years of weak king returns. The setnet fishermen target those sockeyes but cannot avoid a significant king salmon bycatch. The bycatch has decimated the in-river sport fishery for kings vital to dozens of tourism businesses on the Kenai Peninsula, and it holds the power to threaten the run itself. Setnetters are this summer expected to begin experimenting with shallower nets to see if those will catch sockeye while allowing kings to swim beneath. The board was also petitioned to modify the regulation establishing the shallow-net fishery, but not a single board member wanted to revisit that issue. Two did agree to take up the request to reconsider whether new regulations will redistribute the catch among commercial fishermen, but at the end of a Tuesday teleconferenced meeting they joined in a unanimous vote that concluded there is no emergency.

Alaska taxes no longer nation’s lowest: With no income tax, and a rebate from petroleum taxes in the form of Alaska Permanent Fund Dividends, Alaska has for decades been ranked as the state with the lowest tax burden. But that changed in 2011, according to a report just out from the Tax Foundation. That year, Wyoming took the 50th slot, with a state and local tax burden of 6.9 percent (measured as a percentage of income). Alaska is only slightly higher, at 7.0 percent. The report for 2011 takes as a special focus the ways in which some states -- Alaska prominent among them -- “export” their tax burden, finding ways to raise revenue that doesn’t contribute to the tax burden its residents experience (often at the expense of non-residents). A Bloomberg Businessweek article on the report that picks up this particular angle is more blunt in its summary of the report, as its headline -- “How Alaska and Wyoming Make People From Elsewhere Pay Their Taxes” -- suggests.

Alaska’s preponderance of butchers: Alaska’s economy differs from those of the rest of the United States in some significant ways. So when Slate and Business Insider crunched the numbers to determine which job title was most over-represented in each state (compared with national averages), you might expect that job title in Alaska to reflect one of our signature industries. Perhaps our most unusually concentrated job is petroleum engineers (like Texas), or failing that, oil and gas drillers (like Oklahoma, Wyoming and North Dakota)? Maybe forestry technicians (Utah, Montana and Idaho) or at least loggers (Maine and Oregon)? How about miners (Kentucky and West Virginia)? Or sailors (Louisiana)? Even tour guides (Hawaii) might make sense. But no, the most disproportionately represented job in Alaska is… butchers? Yes, butchers -- an honor, if that’s the right word, that we share with Nebraska. The numbers come from recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, but there’s nothing in the piece -- or in the statistics -- that would help explain why butchers might be in such relatively high demand in the 49th state.