Northwest Digest

Posted: Tuesday, January 16, 2007

UAF mulls outside bookstore contract

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FAIRBANKS - The University of Alaska Fairbanks has taken steps to gauge interest from national booksellers to take over operations of its campus bookstore.

An outside company could take over management and operations and pay the university a portion of the profits, freeing the school from day-to-day operations and offering the strong buying power of a national chain, UAF officials said.

"The cost of doing books is going up and up and up and a major vendor has a major advantage over product and delivery services over a self-operating store," said Scot Ebanez, the university director of auxiliary and business services.

No timeline has been set and no decisions have been made. In July, the university sent out a request soliciting information from bookstore management companies.

Two companies, Barnes & Noble College Booksellers and Follett Higher Education Group, responded to the query, Ebanez said.

Utah raises money in hunt permit auctions

SALT LAKE CITY - Sometimes it take big bucks to land a buck.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources regularly sells hard-to-get hunting permits as a way to raise money to expand the population of wildlife.

Hunting tags from 11 states, Canada and Mexico and the Navajo Nation will be available this week at banquets tied to the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City.

David Meyer of Memphis, Tenn., spent $156,000 for a Utah tag that allowed him to kill just one mule deer in 2006.

"I bought that tag for the opportunities it gives myself and my family to fund conservation projects to benefit all mule deer in Utah," Meyer said.

"If that money wasn't slated for conservation, I'd go through the drawing process for a chance to take a trophy animal just like everybody else," he said.

The Utah wildlife agency is providing 359 permits, ranging from moose to bison to turkey, to hunting groups for auction this year.

Utah requires 30 percent of the winning bid be returned to the state. The hunting group that sells the permit can return another 60 percent to the agency or use the money for its own conservation efforts.

The state has raised more than $9.5 million in the past 10 years and expects to collect more than $2.5 million this year.

Fossil discovery reported one of first

GREAT FALLS, Mont. - Fossil hunters have uncovered a world-class dinosaur find in the badlands of western Garfield County.

Frozen in the sandstone are the death poses of two beasts, a meat-eater and a plant-eater, with their tails crossed like swords.

The pair's sudden, sandy burial, near the coast of Montana's prehistoric sea 75 million years ago, preserved them with remarkable detail, right down to tendons and teeth, the Great Falls Tribune reported in describing the find Sunday.

The discovery is believed to be one of only three worldwide capturing a meat-eater and plant-eater together, and the first in North America, the newspaper said.

At first blush, the evidence implicates the carnivore in its grave mate's death.

But Nate Murphy, paleontologist at the Dinosaur Field Station in Malta, who visited the quarry last summer, says the murder case against the meat-eater is weak.

Based on the placement of the skeletons, it's more likely that the two unfortunates were victims of a flood and their bodies washed up on the same sandbar, he said.

The vegetarian's attacker or attackers struck at some point before its carcass came to rest, Murphy said.

Specialists say more skiers use helmets

PORTLAND, Ore. - For decades, many skiers considered wearing helmets for safety "uncool." But more recently they seem to be warming to the idea.

Safety experts now estimate that an average of 40 percent of skiers and snowboaders use them.

The issue arose anew after Geoffry Bradeen, 45, of Portland died of a head injury Jan. 5 while skiing at Mount Hood Meadows. Investigators say he apparently was hit from behind by a snowboarder as he was getting up.

A helmet would likely have saved Bradeen, who died of a skull fracture, said Dr. Karen Gunson, Oregon's medical examiner.

But studies show such collisions are rare and account for only 6.4 percent of reported ski accidents, said Jasper Shealy, who has studied skiing and snowboarding injuries and fatalities for 35 years.

He said most skiing and snowboarding deaths are caused by hitting a tree or other fixed object at high speed, resulting in chest or torso injuries.

"Frankly, you're going to need more than a helmet to prevent that fatality," he said.

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