New bear law before Assembly
JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly tonight will consider an ordinance that would tighten penalties for people who attract bears.
The ordinance implements several recommendations of the Urban Bear Committee. It would control waste storage, require owners to put their names on garbage cans and prohibit unauthorized use of garbage containers.
Under the proposal, Juneau residents would need to place garbage in a bear-resistant container or structure or in a closed garage. Garbage could be put outside after 5 a.m. on a scheduled collection day. The ordinance covers food, animal feed, birdseed or other organic material likely to attract bears.
Bear Committee Chairman Mark Farmer said he's guardedly optimistic about the proposal.
"The big thing is making it law that you can't put out garbage overnight. If there's one single thing that would make a difference, that's it," he said.
Attracting bears would cost a first-time violator $100 with a $250 fine for a second violation. For a commercial operation, a first-time violation would cost $250. A second violation would cost $500. Improperly storing waste would cost a first-time violator $25 and unauthorized use of a garbage container would cost $50.
The Assembly also will consider resolutions supporting subport redevelopment and authorizing the manager to lease a quarter-acre piece of property near Crazy Horse Drive to the Southeast Alaska Food Bank at a reduced rate.
The panel meets at 7 p.m. in Assembly chambers at city hall.
Youths charged in shooting incident
JUNEAU - The Juneau Police Department was alerted just before 4 p.m. on Saturday that shots were being fired in the wooded area near the end of Alaska Avenue off Central Avenue, in the Lemon Creek area.
When officers responded, they continued to hear shots being fired in the field adjacent to Gruening Park, a low-income housing complex. They found two boys, both 13, in Gruening Park. The boys were in possession of handguns and admitted to firing them, police said. They were arrested and lodged at the Johnson Youth Center on charges of third-degree assault, misconduct involving weapons, reckless endangerment and second-degree theft.
At least one of the boys was a resident of the Gruening Park apartment complex, said Capt. Tom Porter. The reckless endangerment charge is a generic one for firing guns in the vicinity of other people, not for firing upon any specific people or residences, Porter said. The felony theft charge is for theft of the handguns involved in the incident, he said. The case is still under investigation.
"There were certainly some residents who were aware that shots were being fired and that the police were here," said Tamara Rowcroft, general manager for Alaska Housing Development Corp., which oversees Gruening Park.
"We don't have a security person at this time. We had a part time security person through the early part of the winter and expect to hire another during the summer," Rowcroft said this morning. Gruening Park contains 96 units, all of which are occupied at this time.
Man rescued after boat sinks
KODIAK - Patrick Hogan of Kodiak,was rescued by the fishing boat Tina Marie after his vessel sank off of Cape Chiniak, about 12 miles south of Kodiak, Saturday evening.
Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak received a mayday call from Hogan at 6:21 p.m. saying the fishing vessel Iliamna was taking on water. The Coast Guard issued an urgent notice to mariners asking that any vessel in the area come to Hogans aid.
The Tina Maries skipper responded to the notice and reached Hogan about seven minutes later. Hogan said he was the only person onboard the Iliamna. The 29-foot boat sank shortly after Hogan was rescued. He was taken to St. Paul Harbor in good condition. An investigator from the Coast Guards Marine Safety Detachment in Kodiak is investigating.
Federal grants to help eiders
ANCHORAGE - Federal grants will go toward helping the Steller's and spectacled eiders near Barrow and brown bears on the Kenai Peninsula.
The Barrow Eider Conservation Plan will receive $82,000 to help the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management to develop a conservation plan and conduct outreach activities with the public. Both the Steller's and spectacled eiders are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.