Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, January 07, 2005

Florist chosen for Bush inauguration

ANCHORAGE - Anchorage florist Carol Trout will head to the nation's capital to put her special flair on decorations for the presidential inauguration this month.

Trout, owner of Uptown Blossoms, will travel to Washington, D.C., next Friday to be part of a volunteer army of floral professional who will presidential inauguration.

Ardith Beveridge, a regular guest on national home and garden television shows and volunteer at three inaugurations, met Trout when she came to Alaska to teach. After Trout confessed she'd love to help with an inauguration some day, Beveridge suggested that Trout be part of the inaugural floral crew.

Organizer Charles Kremp, a Philadelphia florist who has headed the Society of American Florists' inaugural committee since 1989, said he has not shortage of volunteers to pick from.

"It is our country's premiere celebration," he said. "They're working on the best party."

Trout and 200 or so colleagues will provide elegant floral swank for nine balls, three dinners and several receptions, said a Society of American Florists spokeswoman.

The inaugural budget is $35 million, said an event official.

Flu vaccine in state available to many

JUNEAU - State health officials announced Thursday that influenza vaccine remaining in the state may be used for any person 6 months of age or older who wishes to receive the vaccine.

"Since the national crisis with the influenza vaccine shortage began, our No. 1 goal in Alaska has been to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens have first access to the limited vaccine supply," said Richard Mandsager, director of the Health and Social Services Division of Public Health. "Because Alaska providers have successfully provided multiple opportunities for high-risk persons to receive the vaccine, we now recommend that remaining vaccine doses be used for anyone wishing to receive the immunization."

In early October the nation's anticipated 100 million doses of vaccine were cut in half when one of the two manufacturers was unable to distribute any vaccine. At that time the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that available vaccine be used only for persons at highest risk of complications from influenza. All states, including Alaska, followed these guidelines.

The vaccine takes about two weeks to become effective.

Boy buys treats for animals at shelter

KENAI - A 14-old boy contributed some Christmas gift money to the Kenai Peninsula animal shelters.

"I love animals, and it feels good to help them out," said Josh Stables.

Josh was visiting his father, Rich Stables, at the Kenai Peninsula Borough building in Soldotna where organizers of the Food for Pets drive had put several collection boxes.

The drive helps support the Kenai Animal Control Shelter, Alaska Extended Life Animal Sanctuary in Nikiski and the Soldotna Animal Shelter.

In the family's gift budget there was some leftover money for Josh. His parents planned to give him a gift certificate, but Josh told his folks he wanted to use the money to help shelter animals.

He bought dog bones, canned cat food and other treats.

"I told him what he did was a good thing. We appreciate that side of him, and it warms our heart to know that he has that in him," Rich Stables said.

Josh and his sister, Kara, share the responsibilities of caring for the family dog, four cats and their pet rat.

Josh also used to volunteer at the Kenai shelter until as he put it, "school got in the way."

Two challenge Wash. governor's election

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Two people have filed challenges to the governor's election with the state Supreme Court, firing the first shots in the anticipated legal battle over the amazingly close contest.

Both challenge the legitimacy of Gov.-elect Christine Gregoire, a Democrat who lost the first two counts but beat Republican Dino Rossi by 129 votes in a hand recount of 2.9 million ballots cast. Gregoire's inauguration is scheduled for Wednesday.

State GOP Chairman Chris Vance said he had nothing to do with the filings, and that party officials are still working on a possible court challenge of their own.

Daniel P. Stevens of Fall City sent the court a one-page notice saying he was contesting the election because the margin of victory is within the election's margin of error, "to the point that error must be assumed as a certainty."

Arthur Coday Jr. of Shoreline filed an 11-page brief arguing that the hand recount was fatally flawed for several reasons and asking the high court to inaugurate Rossi as governor.

Coday did not immediately return a call seeking comment on Thursday. Coday paid a $250 filing fee; the court has not yet received Stevens' filing fee so his notice hasn't officially been filed.

"This election is going to be contested - it's inevitably going to happen," Vance said. "The best thing for the state of Washington would be for Christine Gregoire to join with Dino Rossi, skip the long drawn-out court battle, and schedule a revote."

Earlier this week, Gregoire called the idea of a revote "absolutely ludicrous."

Court rules Samish should have treaty fishing rights

SEATTLE - A federal appeals court panel on Thursday helped clear the way for the Samish Indian Nation to acquire a share of the state salmon catch - 30 years after the tribe was excluded from a historic decision on treaty fishing rights.

In the 2-1 ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel found that the tribe was unfairly denied federal recognition at the time of U.S. District Judge George Boldt's 1974 ruling allocating tribal fishing rights. The lack of recognition helped preclude the San Juan Islands-area tribe from obtaining the fishing rights, the court found.

The Samish had been recognized by the federal government as a treaty tribe under the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott. Those rights evaporated in 1969 when the Samish, and several other tribes, were dropped from a list of tribes prepared by a Bureau of Indian Affairs clerk.

The Samish regained federal recognition in 1996 after an extensive court battle, but their treaty rights to fish were never restored. They sued in 2002 to regain their fishing rights, but U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein rejected their case, saying that the tribe could have obtained treaty rights by other means. She also said granting the rights so late in the game could require changing scores of orders and management plans, thereby affecting other treaty tribes, as well as federal and state governments.

Thursday's decision overturned Rothstein's ruling.

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