Hunters fined for moose and bear kills
ANCHORAGE - Two out-of-state hunters and an Eagle River man received heavy fines for offenses committed during a hunt in Western Alaska, including killing a black bear sow and her two cubs.
Matthew Miller of Silverton, Ore., received the largest fine - $17,200 for his part in the illegal hunt, Alaska State Troopers said Friday.
His hunting privileges in Alaska were revoked permanently for killing the mother bear. He also killed a moose that had antlers less than 50 inches wide and with less than four brow tines on either side.
Anthony Justice, 35, of Eagle River, was fined $5,900. And 42-year-old Gary Hower of Kenmore, Wash., was fined $2,500. Their hunting privileges were revoked for five years.
Troopers said the men shot a black bear and her two cubs, as well as a bull moose that was legal for an Alaskan to shoot but not an out-of-stater.
Another man, 69-year-old Jack Wagner of Eagle River, acted as the group's guide. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Aniak District Court on Jan. 21. Wagner allegedly told Justice that he should shoot any moose with horns because he had enough tags to cover it.
The moose antlers - 46 inches and with only three brow tines - were later shipped to Washington, where an Alaska State Trooper inspected them.
The violations occurred in a hunt last September in Western Alaska on the Innoko River.
Coast Guard announces cutter for Valdez
ANCHORAGE - The Coast Guard's presence in Alaska will increase this year with a new cutter to be based in Valdez.
The Coast Guard plans to send a cutter to Valdez by September to increase security at the port, according to Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thomas Collins.
U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican, announced Collins' decision. Stevens said he asked Collins late last year to look into increasing the Coast Guard's Alaska capabilities.
The Coast Guard will send a 110-foot Island-class cutter to the port.
Its primary mission will be search and rescue, fisheries enforcement, and homeland security.
The patrol boat has a speed of up to 30 knots and a five- to seven-day patrol endurance. It will carry a crew of about 17 guardsmen.
Foster parent charged with child porn
ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage man was charged with possession of child pornography Thursday after he was turned in by his foster child.
Randy Michael Chase, 37, was arrested at Ted Stevens International Airport late Thursday night.
Anchorage police said Chase is a foster parent with a private organization, Assets.
While Chase was away on business, his 17-year-old foster son discovered a tape containing what appeared to be sexual acts being committed against young children, police said.
The foster son called police and turned over the tape.
Chase has lived in Anchorage for nearly two years. Police are working with police in Arizona to attempt to identify the children in the tape.
Man injured at Chena Hot Springs
FAIRBANKS - A 40-year-old man injured his back while sledding down a hill behind Chena Hot Springs Resort on Thursday.
Steese Area Volunteer Fire Department Chief Nicholas Rich said the man had reached the end of the hill when he went airborne and landed on a rock. He declined to release the man's name, citing patient confidentiality.
The resort is about 60 miles east of Fairbanks.
Rescue officials determined the man's injury was serious enough to request a helicopter from Fort Wainwright's 68th Medical Co. Air Ambulance. The helicopter flew the man to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
Sen. Murkowski to chair water-power subcommittee
WASHINGTON - Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, has been selected to another leadership position in the Senate.
The new senator previously was named to chair a subcommittee of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. On Thursday, Murkowski was selected as chairman of the Water and Power Subcommittee. It is unusual for a freshman senator to be named to chair a subcommittee.
The Water and Power Subcommittee reviews all the electric power, hydroelectric and water proposals that will go before the full committee.
The subcommittee is important to Alaska because it reviews small-scale hydroelectric projects on federal lands as well as other water and power-related issues.
Alaskans honor Binkley at memorial service
FAIRBANKS - The mourners came to Capt. Jim Binkley's memorial service wearing bunny boots, parkas, Carhartts, moosehide, fur and good cloth overcoats.
They were a sampling of Alaskans from all walks of life.
"The captain touched so many of you in his own special way," said third son Johne Binkley to the crowd of about 600 gathered at Thursday's afternoon memorial service at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Charles Madison Binkley, known as Capt. Jim, died Jan. 3 in his home. He was 82. Alaska State Troopers say Binkley died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Johne Binkley said his father had been in terrible pain and poor health due to a degenerative nerve disease.
The elder Binkley's lasting legacy is the booming river attraction, The Riverboat Discovery, which he and his wife, Mary, started just over 52 years ago with the purchase of a 50-foot gas-powered boat. The pair built the business up until their four children were capable of managing the business, Johne Binkley said.
Now the river business, with its fleet of three white stern-wheelers, ferries tens of thousands of visitors every summer season and is considered a cornerstone of Alaska tourism. Capt. Jim's sons, Skip, Jim and Johne oversee operations, while daughter Marilee lives out of state.
The elder Binkley also was a legislator from 1961 to 1964 and was one of the organizers behind Alaskaland, now known as Pioneer Park.
Gov. Frank Murkowski ordered state flags to be flown at half staff until Jan. 14 in honor of Jim Binkley. Lt. Gov. Loren Leman attended the service as did other state and community leaders, including city Mayor Steve Thompson and Borough Mayor Rhonda Boyles.