{News Briefs}

Flags lowered for Anchorage police officer killed in the line of duty

Gov. Tony Knowles ordered state flags lowered to half-staff July 13 in memory of Anchorage Police Officer Justin T. Wollam. Wollam, 28, was killed in a head-on collision on the Glenn Highway July 10. Three teenagers in the car that collided with Wollam’s vehicle were also killed and a fourth was critically injured. Born and raised in Danbury, Texas, Wollam was described by friends and neighbors as friendly, outgoing and a role model. Wollam moved to Anchorage with his wife and four-year-old daughter in 1999. He secured a job as a patrol officer with the Anchorage Police Department and earned a reputation as professional and friendly, and as a "people’s policeman," who approached his work with energy and enthusiasm. A memorial service was held for Wollam July 13 at the Anchorage Baptist Temple.

 

Gov. Knowles appoints Ben Stevens to fill senate slot

Gov. Tony Knowles has appointed Ben Stevens to the Alaska State Senate. Ben Stevens, an Anchorage Republican will fill the Anchorage District F Senate seat left vacant by Drue Pearce, who accepted a job as Senior Alaska Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior. Stevens, son of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, earned his bachelor’s of science in economics from Arizona State University and has recently completed studies for a master’s of business administration from George Washington University. Stevens holds a United States Merchant Marine Masters License. Stevens and his wife Elizabeth have four children: Susan, 7; Ben Jr., 5; Augustus, 3; and Theodore, 1 month. Most recently, Stevens applied his management and organizational skills as the president and CEO of the 2001 Special Olympics World Winter Games held in Alaska this past winter. Knowles’ nomination of Stevens is subject to confirmation by the Senate.

 

Primary election bill becomes law without signature

While raising objections to the closed primary process adopted by the Legislature, Gov. Tony Knowles allowed House Bill 193, the primary election bill, to become law without his signature. The bill will bring certainty to the process by which Alaska conducts its primary elections and became necessary after the U.S. Supreme Court decision invalidated blanket primaries in states where political parties objected their use. Lieutenant Gov. Fran Ulmer appointed the task force to make a recommendation on how Alaska could maintain maximum voter flexibility consistent with the Supreme Court’s ruling. The task force bill would have provided undeclared and non-partisan voters with a blanket primary ballot that listed all the party’s candidates, if the party rules permitted. The final version of HB 193 does not permit that option and requires those undeclared and non-partisan voters to select a specific party’s primary ballot.

 

Student’s experience is much more than a summer job

Summer educational programs at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., are now in high gear with students, teachers and professors having converged on Marshall from around the nation. Luqman Abdur-Rahman, 19, a junior studying applied physics at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., is spending the summer working with NASA engineers on a project to fine-tune the design of a prosthetic device to help knee-injury patients and stroke victims improve mobility. Among potential beneficiaries are children with spina bifida, one of the most devastating of birth defects. The design of the brace, invented by Marshall engineers, makes for quicker, less painful physical rehabilitation by allowing movement of the knee. Previous knee brace designs locked the knee in a rigid, straight-leg position. The new "selectively lockable" feature relies heavily on advancements from rocket engine technology, one of Marshall’s key areas of expertise. With guidance from NASA mentors, Abdur-Rahman is using a state-of-the-art computer-aided design system to work on the knee brace project. His involvement is helping to keep this promising effort moving forward. For more information contact Jerry Berg at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center at (256) 544-6540 or e-mail at [email protected]

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UAA names James P. Chapman to provost position

University of Alaska Anchorage Chancellor E. Lee Gorsuch has named James P. Chapman, former Shawnee State University president, to the position of provost. Chapman assumes his new position at the university on Aug. 13. He served in progressively responsible administrative positions during 26 years with the University of Kentucky before taking over three years ago as president of Shawnee State, one of Ohio’s 13 public universities. Chapman received a doctorate in higher education, a Master of Arts in classical languages and literature and a master’s of science in education in college student personnel administration from Indiana University. His undergraduate work culminated in a bachelor’s degree in classical languages and literature at St. Meinrad College. As chief academic officer of the university, Chapman will report directly to Chancellor Gorsuch. Responsible for overall management and academic policy for UAA, Provost Chapman will serve on the Statewide Academic Council, advising UA President Mark Hamilton of academic policies and programs within the UA Statewide system.