State Briefs

Posted: Thursday, May 01, 2003

Dog collector gets help with his 400 pooches

FAIRBANKS - Richard Hall's dog yard became more manageable this week after about 100 volunteers set up an assembly line to spay, neuter, euthanize or adopt out many of the nearly 400 dogs he kept.

The volunteers spayed or neutered 70 to 100 dogs a day at a makeshift clinic in the Goldstream Valley. Hall has roughly 200 dogs left. He's still mourning the dogs that were put down or released for adoption. Volunteers are caring for the dozens of dogs as they wait for permanent homes.

The endeavor to help Hall downsize and get his dogs physically fit - some suffered from malnutrition, dehydration and other ailments - came after Hall told local veterinarians he was worried about his ability to maintain all his dogs. Animal control officials say there were regular complaints against Hall, but each time he responded.

"Mr. Hall was basically trying to do things to the best of his abilities. He had no malicious intent," said Tim Biggane, who oversees animal control for the Fairbanks North Star Borough. "He's guilty of having a caring heart."

Murkowski makes fish board appointments

JUNEAU - The governor on Wednesday reappointed Board of Fisheries Chairman Ed Dersham for three years and filled another vacancy on the seven-member board.

Dersham has been board chairman since 2001. His new term will end June 30, 2006.

Gov. Frank Murkowski also appointed Dr. Fred Bouse, a Fairbanks dentist. Bouse worked with the Copper River Management Work Group for a number of years, and authored many management proposals provided to the Board of Fisheries.

Murkowski said Bouse's appointment will provide a regional balance to the board, as he is the only member from the Interior.

Dersham was first appointed to the board by former Gov. Tony Knowles in March 1997 and reappointed in March 2000. He owns a fishing lodge at Anchor Point and is a licensed charter boat captain. Dersham also serves as chairman of the Joint Protocol Committee for the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council.

New state parks director named

ANCHORAGE - Former U.S. Forest Service official Gary Morrison, 56, has been appointed director of the state Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. He had served as the head of the Tongass National Forest Chatham area for a decade until 1998. He was appointed to the state position by Commissioner of Natural Resources Tom Irwin.

In his new role, Morrison will oversee the division's field operations, history and archaeology, design and construction, administration and grants, interpretation and education, marine safety and trails. He will earn $78,828 annually, the division said.

Contract awarded for Southeast intertie

KETCHIKAN - A contract for about $14 million has been awarded by the city to Columbia Helicopters, despite a late, unsolicited bid from another company for about $2.3 million less.

The work will involve clearing and logging to make room for construction of the Swan Lake/Lake Tyee Intertie, as well as geotechnical work.

Columbia was the sole original bidder for the project, and its bid was significantly higher than the city's estimate.

The council voted April 4 to reject the bid and give city employees authority to negotiate a better deal with Columbia or another company.

The Ketchikan City Council was told April 17 that the city estimate was based partly on incorrect information, and should have been higher.

But the council also heard that after Columbia's bid had been opened and made public, the city received a joint proposal from Graham Group U.S. and Constructionaire Corp. for about $2.3 million less than Columbia's bid.

City employees recommended the council delay action on the contract while they reviewed the late bid. But citing fair play and adherence to procedure, the council unanimously awarded the bid to Columbia.

Student dies of injuries from Sitka bicycle crash

SITKA - A 15-year-old student at Mt. Edgecumbe High School died last weekend from injuries suffered a week earlier when he tried to ride his bicycle down a flight of metal stairs at the school, officials said.

Mt. Edgecumbe Principal Hal Spackman would not confirm the identity or the home village of the boy, or the nature of his injuries. Mt. Edgecumbe is a state-run boarding school in Sitka that draws students from around the state.

Spackman said the accident, which occurred April 20, was being investigated by the high school and Sitka police. The boy was not wearing a helmet, according to police.

Athabascan leader dies in Fairbanks

FAIRBANKS - Ralph Perdue, an Athabascan leader and former president of the Tanana Chiefs Conference, has died at age 73.

The Fairbanks Native Association chief died Tuesday at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital about 12 hours after being taken off life support, said his daughter Karen Perdue Bettisworth. He had been battling cancer complicated by pneumonia.

Perdue initiated and was one of the founders of the Fairbanks Native Association in the early 1960s. The association is a nonprofit social services organization.

He was elected president of the Tanana Chiefs Conference and served six years. He also served on Gov. Walter Hickel's Federal and State Land Use Commission, the Fairbanks North Star Assembly and the Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board.

He was a jewelry maker and goldsmith trained at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., and opened a jewelry store in downtown Fairbanks. His wife Dorothy now operates Perdue's Jewelry.

Jury finds for state in Big Lake fire case

PALMER - Jurors in the Big Lake fire trial decided Wednesday state firefighters were not negligent in their attempts to control Alaska's most destructive wildfire.

The blaze destroyed more than 400 structures across 37,000 acres from Houston to areas south of Wasilla. Attorneys for the property owners who sued the state argued damages from the 1996 fire exceeded $100 million.

Lawyers for the state argued in the six-week civil trial that unpredicted gusty winds fanned the fire out of control.

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