State Briefs

Posted: Friday, March 14, 2003

Puppy rescued, revived in Ketchikan

KETCHIKAN - A puppy plucked from the icy waters of Thomas Basin was brought back to life, thanks to the love of her owner and extraordinary measures taken in a hospital trauma room.

Gary Weston, 38, said he was taking his two dogs, Daphne and Socks, for a walk Tuesday along the boardwalk next to his home when some cats began chasing Daphne, a 4-month-old pug mixed-breed puppy.

As the puppy tried to get away, she shot over the edge of the boardwalk and into Thomas Basin.

Weston said he stripped off his jacket and climbed down the pilings near the dog. Weston's wife, Lorena, was inside their home when she heard Weston yelling.

Daphne's head was bobbing in the water and Weston managed to grab her but fell in himself. Weston then realized his leg was caught in the cross piling.

Lorena Weston called 911 and then began screaming and pounding on her neighbors' doors. Meanwhile, Gary Weston, clutching the puppy to his chest, was beginning to lose his ability to remain afloat as hypothermia set in.

Neighbors Lyle Jones and Gary Ward lowered an electrical cord for Weston to hold on to.

"He just said, 'I can't hang on, I can't hang on,' " Lorena Weston said. "I told him, 'You have to, damn it. You have to.' "

Police, fire and Coast Guard rescuers arrived within minutes. They found a skiff and paddled over to Weston, breaking ice as they went. After about 25 minutes, they reached Weston and Daphne and freed his ankle.

Weston was suffering from moderate hypothermia but OK, a paramedic said. The puppy was barely breathing.

Firefighters loaded Weston and Daphne into an ambulance and headed to Ketchikan General Hospital. Daphne stopped breathing.

Weston and paramedic Glen Hofmann traded off doing doggy CPR, blowing into Daphne's mouth and pressing on her chest.

Weston was admitted to the emergency room. Hofmann said he brought Daphne to a trauma room, where he, two nurses and Dr. Robert Crochelt worked to revive the dog.

"We pretty much decided she was dead, then I went ahead and put my finger down her throat one last time, when she pushed her tongue against my finger," Hofmann said.

Hofmann Crochelt incubated the puppy and attached an IV.

Daphne's temperature was dangerously low when she was placed under Weston's warming blanket, said Lorena Weston. "That's when they both started doing good," she said.

By Wednesday afternoon Daphne was sporting a hot-pink doggy sweater and darting around the Weston home.

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

JUNEAU - There will be two St. Patrick's Day celebrations this weekend, one for children at the Douglas Library on Saturday and one for families at the Silverbow on Sunday.

Margie Hamburger, Rhonda Gardinier, Carol Race and M.J. Grande will tell stories and Jeff Brown will make "green magic" at noon on Saturday at the Douglas Library. Green bread will be served and "green music" will be played, organizers said. For more information about that event, call Race at 586-0434.

The second celebration, which will include storytelling, Irish music, Irish stew and beer, will be held beginning at 6 p.m. on Sunday. There is a $5 cover charge. Stories begin at 7 p.m.

Storytellers include Pat McLear, Brett Dillingham and a special Canadian guest, Nicole Bauberger.

"I heard (Bauberger) in Whitehorse at the Yukon International Storytelling Festival, she was very entrancing," Dillingham said.

Dillingham will tell four stories, three traditional and one he wrote about the little people and the mythical Tlingit creature Kushtaka, he said.

Liz Saya and friends will play Celtic music, and Grace Elliot will emcee. The event is partly sponsored by the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council.

House panel cuts community schools

JUNEAU - A bill eliminating state funding for community schools programs passed its first legislative committee Thursday.

Supporters of community schools tried to convince the House Special Committee on Education that the $500,000 in state grants for the after-school and weekend programs is well spent.

But Committee Chairman Carl Gatto, a Palmer Republican, suggested that program supporters talk to their local school boards about replacing the state funds.

In Juneau, the academic and recreational program is run by the school district, the University of Alaska Southeast and the city Parks and Recreation Department. The state contributed about $16,300 to the program's $317,000 budget this fiscal year. In a recent year the program had a combined 60,000 hours of participation by thousands of youths and adults.

The possible state cut doesn't sound like much, Juneau School District Business Manager Gary Epperson said in an interview, but it will have an effect, especially because the school district and city face other proposed cuts in state funding.

"The program's going to suffer," he said. "There's nothing left in the magic hat to step up and say, 'Let's take it out of here.' "

The panel also approved a measure clarifying that school districts generally should not enroll 4-year-olds in kindergarten.

Eddie Jeans of the Department of Education said some districts enroll 4-year-olds and have them take two years of kindergarten. The extra year costs the state about $3.9 million a year.

Juneau requires kindergartners to be 5 by Aug. 15 of the year they enroll in kindergarten.

Under the measure, districts would be allowed to enroll exceptional 4-year-olds, but those children would be expected to progress to first grade at the end of one year.

The Education Committee voted 5-2 to send the community schools and kindergarten bills on to the Health Education and Social Services Committee.

Treadwell Arena skate times altered

JUNEAU - Because of an adult hockey tournament on the weekend, the times for open skates at Treadwell Arena have been changed.

The open skate Saturday will be 8-9:30 p.m. Sunday's open skates will be 2:15-3:45 p.m. and 5:15-6:15 p.m.

Game Board proposes land-and-shoot hunting of wolves

ANCHORAGE - The Board of Game has proposed land-and-shoot wolf hunting in the Nelchina Basin, northeast of Anchorage.

The board wants the commissioner of Fish and Game to allow members of the public to do so.

In a 1996 statewide ballot initiative, and in a 2000 ballot referendum, Alaska voters banned land-and-shoot hunting.

But Jeff Hughes, a regional Fish and Game Department supervisor, said the commissioner can issue permits for land-and-shoot wolf hunting if prey population objectives have not been met. The Nelchina area moose population remains depressed because of wolves and bears, he said.

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