{News Briefs}

OPPORTUNITY

Volunteers needed for MDA summer camp

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is accepting applications from people willing to volunteer to serve as counselors at the MDA summer camp to be held Aug. 4-10 at Birchwood Camp in Chugiak, Alaska. Counselors serve as companions to campers with neuromuscular diseases that range in age from 6-21 years of age. Counselors assist campers with activities of daily living such as feeding, bathing, dressing and help them enjoy activities such as arts and crafts, swimming, canoeing and horseback riding. Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age and able to lift a child. MDA is a voluntary health agency dedicated to finding treatment and cures for neuromuscular diseases that affect more than a million Americans.

For more information or to volunteer call the local MDA office in Anchorage, Alaska at 907-276-2131 or the national headquarters at 800-572-1717. Information about MDA research advances, programs and other services is available at http://www.mdausa.org

Snowmobile trails grant applications available

Applications are now available through Alaska State Parks for the 2001 Snowmobile Trails Grants Program. Grants are available for trail acquisition, development and maintenance and safety and education projects. Applications must be completed and postmarked by midnight June 30. Grant winners will be announced in Sept.

To obtain copies of the application please contact the Department of Natural Resources Public Information Center at 907-269-8400 located 550 W. 7th Ave. Suite 1260 or from Jim Renkert with Alaska State Parks at phone: 907-269-8699, fax: 907-269-8907 and email: [email protected] . Applications are also available online at http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/grants.

LEGISLATURE

Senate calls for juveniles who commit "hate crimes" to be tried as adults

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The Alaska Senate passed legislation that would require juveniles 16 or older that are accused of a violent hate crime to be tried as an adult. Senate Bill 169 changes the current law that automatically waives juveniles to adult court for a violent felony against a person because of their race, sex, color, creed, physical or mental disability, ancestry or national origin. The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 14 to 6 and is now under consideration by the House.

House bill hopes to prevent bootlegging

The Senate passed House Bill 132 to address the problem of bootlegging by lowering the amount of alcohol a person may possess before law enforcement authorities may presume it is for illegal resale. The bill also authorizes the state Alcohol Beverage Control Board to submit fingerprints of prospective liquor licensees to the FBI to run through its national criminal history record system. HB 132 waits approval by Gov. Tony Knowles.

Legislature passes bill to expand DNA registry

Law enforcement officers will have a better chance of finding violent criminals through DNA registries under legislation passed by the Alaska House. Senate Bill 99 requires the state's convicted offender DNA registry to include samples from those convicted of burglary. DNA samples are currently taken only from individuals convicted of a violent felony offense. Law enforcement officers use the registry to match offenders with DNA evidence from violent crime scenes. Twenty-five states and the federal government have expanded their registry to include burglary. Since many burglars go on to commit violent offenses, studies have shown that expanding the DNA registry would significantly increase the state's chances of catching violent criminals.

UNIVERSITY

Capital budget passes providing funds for the university

A primary focus of the fiscal year 2002 capital budget was $65 million in new University of Alaska funding. $30 million will be used for an Arctic region supercomputer, $8 million for a museum at the Fairbanks campus, $2.5 million for new classrooms at the Juneau campus and $3.5 million for deferred maintenance and telecommunications statewide. The capital budget will also address other needs across the state including highways, roads, airports, and utilities.

Regents' agenda to highlight new academic programs and property issues in Fairbanks

More than a dozen baccalaureate, associate and certificate academic programs targeting critical state need will be up for approval when the University of Alaska Board of Regents meets in Fairbanks on June 7-8. The full board will convene to hear University President Mark Hamilton report and to hear public testimony. Regents will also consider an administration recommendation that the university apply to acquire the Old Fairbanks Courthouse. Several property matters are scheduled on the agenda, such as the parking structure properties that have been declared surplus by the State of Alaska for use by the Tanana Valley Campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

60,000 students are predicted to lose financial aid due to drug convictions

According to new Department of Education data, the number of students at risk of losing financial aid in the 2001-2002 year due to past misdemeanor or felony drug convictions is predicted to range in the tens of thousands. The strict enforcement of the 1998 Health Education Authority drug provision has yielded 34, 379 applications out of the 4,796,228 that indicate yes on question 35, ?Have you ever been convicted of possessing or selling illegal drugs??