Alaska Digest

Staff and Wire reports

Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Murkowski to seek new Cape Fox solution

KETCHIKAN - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski will keep seeking a solution to the land problems faced by a village Native corporation based near Ketchikan but a solution likely will not involve property in Berners Bay near Juneau.

Cape Fox Corp., based in Saxman, was prevented in 1971 from selecting Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act land within six miles of Ketchikan.

"We really want to do be able to do something to bring some equity to the Cape Fox shareholders," Murkowski told the Ketchikan Daily News.

Legislation introduced by Murkowski last year would have allowed Cape Fox to exchange 160 acres of mountainous land for 99 acres adjacent to its Revillagigedo Island holdings near Ketchikan.

It also would have allowed Cape Fox and Sealaska Corp., the Southeast Native regional corporation, to obtain Tongass National Forest land in Berners Bay near Juneau for land elsewhere in Southeast.

The land at Berners Bay, about 45 miles northwest of Juneau, was next to the proposed Kensington gold mine.

The proposal was strongly opposed by environmentalists and Juneau residents.

Senate Democrats walked out of a hearing in September on the bill. The legislation died a month later.

Spuhn Island plans get final approval

JUNEAU - Plans for a 156-acre development on Spuhn Island passed the Juneau Planning Commission Tuesday without opposition, but with some "reluctant support."

Commissioner Marshal Ken-dziorek questioned whether the project near the end of Fritz Cove Road would be "in harmony" with the area. But he added that it was too late to vote against it based on that concern.

Last week the city announced the Assembly had rejected the Smugglers' Cove Neighborhood Association appeal of the commission's July 9, 2004, approval of the preliminary plans.

Developer Karla Allwine said she was very pleased with the outcome. "We plan to take immediate action."

Plans call for 38 lots and three interior parcels on the island. Allwine said the price for lots will begin at $158,000. Marketing hasn't begun, she said, but she gets inquiries every time the project gets media coverage.

Developers endorse Glacier Hwy. signal

JUNEAU - One city planning commissioner said Tuesday that he found it refreshing to see the developer for a proposed industrial park at the longtime home of Juneau Ready Mix talking about financially supporting a Glacier Highway traffic signal.

Dan Bruce said that's the sort of thing that often comes as a condition that generates complaints from developers.

Without opposition Tuesday, the commission approved preliminary plans for the industrial subdivision in the Lemon Creek area. The Lacano Investments plans call for about 25 acres to be developed into 14 industrial lots. Two weeks ago the commision postponed action because of concerns about traffic and left turns onto the highway.

Tuesday's vote included a new condition. Before the final plans can be approved, developers will be required to enter into an agreement with the Department of Transportation guaranteeing installation of a traffic light.

Daniel Collison, who chairs the Lemon Creek Neighborhood Association, told Commissioners Tuesday that his group is opposed to left turns from the property onto Glacier Highway, which would take traffic through the more residential area of Lemon Creek.

Sea otter may be infected with parasite

SEWARD - A sea otter found in Seward may be the first in Alaska with a parasite that has harmed the animals in California.

The sea otter was found with antibodies to toxoplasma, a protozoan parasite, said Carrie Goertz, a veterinary rehabilitation manager at the Alaska SeaLife Center.

"We hope it is a localized case, but the fact that toxoplasmosis has appeared here in Alaska is just one more hit for Alaska's otters," she said.

The parasite is widespread among sea otters in California. It is a microscopic protozoan that causes symptoms of meningitis or encephalitis in sea otters and other animals.

The Seward sea otter may have eaten clams contaminated with parasite eggs. The likely host is cats. Goertz said cat feces entering the water could transmit toxoplasmosis.

The adult male sea otter was spotted on shore Jan. 29 near a popular skateboard park.

Soldotna man to sell salmon sausage, dogs

KENAI - A Soldotna man wants to take a bite out of the sausage industry with a breakfast sausage made of wild Alaska salmon.

Fred West, president of Sea Products, aims to appeal to consumers' health interest with a salmon sausage patty designed to taste like a pork sausage patty.

His pinker and leaner breakfast sausage will be hitting breakfast plates across the country in the next 45 days.

West also plans to sell salmon hot dogs by summer, and is hoping a big-league ballpark will carry them.

"I can just picture somebody ordering a pitcher of beer and some Wild Dogs," he said.



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