Alaska Digest

Posted: Monday, March 01, 2004

Village must prove heritage before hunt

ANCHORAGE - The Inupiat Eskimo village of Point Lay must prove its heritage as a subsistence whaling community before it can have a bowhead whale quota, the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission has decided.

It's not the Barrow-based organization that needs to be convinced but the highly politicized International Whaling Commission, Point Lay Mayor Julius Rexford told the Anchorage Daily News.

The will take at least a year and perhaps $50,000 to conduct, putting off the village's hope of landing a whale this spring, he said.

"It's all politics from here on in," Rexford said. "But we're not going to go away. The people of Point Lay are determined to reactivate our whaling culture."

The village is asking for an annual quota of one whale. The village has doubled in size during the past 10 years, to about 260 residents, and a new source of subsistence food is needed, Rexford said. Point Lay relies mainly on its harvest of 35 to 45 beluga whales a year, but that catch is not enough to feed the community, he said.

Suspect in police officer death charged

KENAI - The man accused of killing a Kenai Police officer Christmas Day has been indicted on a witness tampering charge.

David S. Forster was indicted by a Kenai grand jury on one count of first-degree tampering with a witness.

The indictment charges that sometime between Dec. 26 and Feb. 13, Forster attempted to induce a witness, identified as "C.H.," to testify falsely.

Forster has been held at Wildwood Pretrial Facility on $1 million bail since Dec. 26.

Race spectator crashes snowmobile into crowd

ANCHORAGE - A spectator commandeered a snowmobile in the middle of the Fur Rendezvous Sno-Cross races downtown and crashed it into the crowd, injuring two people. One was treated at a hospital.

The man tried to run away but was tackled by a race official on the snow-covered, hilly course. Police arrested him.

"We're trying to determine what to charge him with," said Anchorage police Sgt. Ken Spadafora.

Alcohol may have been involved, he said. The man's name was not available.

Man charged with burglary, assault, torturing dog

ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage man who may have been high on drugs broke into a home, assaulted a woman who lived there, then tortured and killed her dog after the woman escaped, police said.

Tommie Earl Smith, 19, of Anchorage was charged Saturday with cruelty to animals, burglary, assault and criminal mischief. He is jailed on $25,000 bail.

The woman called police, who surrounded her house. When Smith ultimately came out, he had covered himself in the dog's blood. Inside, police found a "bloodbath," said Sgt. Tony Henry.

"Every room had blood," Henry said. "This guy used three different knives and a barbecue fork. You could see where the dog had tried to run and escape, and you could see where finally the dog had lost enough blood."

Smith was apparently upset on Friday over a fight with his girlfriend and took a hefty dose of a drug similar to Coricidin, Henry said.

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