Posted: Monday, April 02, 2001

Ketchikan jury: Cook guilty of murder

KETCHIKAN - A Ketchikan jury has convicted Matthew Cook Jr. of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Harold James Trout 15 months ago.

Trout, 50, died of a knife wound to the throat early Dec. 29, 1999, in his rented room.

Cook, who did not testify, is scheduled for sentencing July 6.

District Attorney Steve West said Cook and Trout were in a bar until 2 a.m. the morning of the murder. A bartender testified that Cook, 50, drank about nine beers and a shot of hard liquor before he left the bar.

According to West, Trout invited Cook to the home where he was renting a room. The homeowner testified that Cook later that morning walked into the bedroom, asked how to get out of the house, and said, "He cut me. He cut me badly." The homeowner found Trout dead in his bedroom.

Two reappointed to state fisheries board

JUNEAU - Gov. Tony Knowles reappointed John White of Bethel and Russell Nelson of Dillingham to three-year terms of the state Board of Fisheries.

White, a 28-year resident of Bethel, is a dentist and commercial salmon fisherman on the Kuskokwim River. He has served two previous terms.

Russell Nelson, a lifelong resident of Bristol Bay, works as land manager for Choggiung Ltd., the Dillingham Native village corporation. Nelson has 15 years' experience as a Bristol Bay salmon drift fisherman and has worked as an engineer aboard a Bering Sea factory trawler. He has served one term on the board.

The seven-member Board of Fisheries sets regulations for fisheries management.

Adventurers ditch Bering Strait trek

ANCHORAGE -Two British adventurers aiming to be the first to drive a motorized vehicle across the Bering Strait apparently have abandoned their mission after their customized snowmobile was damaged during testing last week.

Steve Brooks and Graham Stratford were driving the vehicle - designed to ride on snow, float on water and churn through ice - from the Seward Peninsula village of Wales to Nome on Thursday.

Dan Richard, who hosted them at his home in Wales, said the duo decided to scrap the expedition.

Researchers don't know why wolves died

ANCHORAGE - It's unlikely the three wolves that died at Denali National Park and Preserve after being darted by researchers last month were given too much tranquilizer, wildlife biologists say.

But they still don't know why the animals died.

"When you have three at one time, you can certainly see it as unusual," said Carter Niemeyer, a wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Idaho.

Biologists experienced at darting wolves say about 2 percent of all captured wolves die on average. The three wolves were among 10 darted in early March and fitted with radio collars as part of ongoing research.

The Park Service has appointed a panel to review the deaths.

Some critics, including the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, are saying the researchers should have taken more care.

"You're working with the world's most famous wolves," said Paul Joslin, who heads the alliance. "I think we've got some bad judgment going on here."

But Park Service officials note that of more than 300 wolf dartings in the park in the past 15 years, only five animals have died.

"That's an excellent record," Niemeyer said.

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