Alaska Digest

Staff and Wire reports

Posted: Friday, January 21, 2005

DOT fires Howitzer to create avalanches

JUNEAU - The Alaska Department of Transportation brought out the big gun Thursday, shooting about 20 rounds of ammunition at Mount Roberts from Douglas Island to intentionally create avalanches.

The 105-mm Howitzer cannon shots fired between 10:15 and 11 a.m. Thursday created an Snowslide Creek avalanche that came to rest above Thane Road, said Greg Patz, DOT's chief of maintenance and operation for Southeast Alaska.

He said a cloud of snow dust left a couple inches on Thane Road and drifted down to Gastineau Channel.

"When avalanche danger is high and it would endanger the road, that is when we decide to shoot," he said.

Woman says she saw victim enter police car

NOME - A Nome woman testified Thursday she saw Sonya Ivanoff step into a police car early on Aug. 11, 2003.

Ivanoff's body was found two days later and former Nome Police officer Matthew Owens is on trial for first-degree murder and tampering with evidence.

Prosecutors contend Florence Habros was one of the last people to see Ivanoff alive. They say the police car she got into was driven by Owens, 29.

Habros testified she was outside, in front of the home of her sister and mother, early on Aug. 11, 2003.

Habros said she saw Ivanoff walking west on the sidewalk when a Nome Police car appeared at a nearby intersection.

As Ivanoff continued walking, the vehicle reappeared at the intersection one street over and the passenger-side window rolled down.

Ivanoff spoke with the driver, whom Habros could not see, Habros said. She then got into the front passenger seat and the police car continued through the intersection, she said.

Farmer cited after shooting moose

ANCHORAGE - A Fairbanks farmer who shot a moose in self-defense was cited for negligently feeding the animal by not keeping it away from the hay in his open-sided shed.

Noel Napolilli, 59, was issued a $110 citation by an Alaska State Trooper on Wednesday under the same law that prohibits leaving out bird feeders or garbage that attracts bears.

Napolilli has two horses on his 40-acre farm about 10 miles north of Fairbanks. The hay was in a pole barn with a roof but no walls.

"They concluded I was baiting the moose," Napolilli said. "I've been storing hay in that barn for 35 years."

Lt. Gary Folger of the Alaska Bureau of Wildlife Enforcement said such a citation is not unprecedented. Two were issued last year.

"The bottom line is hay is not good for moose," Folger said.

Fish board considers salmon proposals

ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Board of Fisheries is hearing from dipnetters this week who want more access to Kenai River salmon.

At the same time, the board is hearing from commercial fishermen who favor relaxing the rules in their favor.

Mark Oslund told the board, which is meeting in Anchorage, that he and his wife typically land a dozen sockeyes, enough to fill the freezer and get the couple through a fishless winter.

But he said his dipnetting luck changes dramatically when commercial fishermen are working Cook Inlet waters a few miles away from the mouth of the river. He said the commercial fishing nets stop the flow of salmon into the river.



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