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Juneau man wins public service award
ANCHORAGE - Jim Douglas, Juneau's longtime University of Alaska Cooperative Extension agent, won a public-service award Monday that will bring him a $10,000 cash prize.
Emil Usibelli Distinguished Teaching, Research and Public Service Awards also went to two University of Alaska Fairbanks professors: chemistry professor Larry Duffy for his research contributions and math instructor Marty Getz for teaching.
The winners get to use their money however they want.
Southeast lingcod limits imposed
JUNEAU - State officials have set new limits for sport fishing of lingcod in Southeast Alaska waters.
Sports fishing for the species, which opens May 16, will be closed June 16 to Aug. 15. Also, guided and nonresident anglers can keep lingcod only between 30 and 40 inches in length and must land the fish by hand or with a landing net. Resident anglers are allowed one fish per day and two in possession.
The restrictions aim to keep the lingcod catch within allocated limits.
The species is not commonly caught in Juneau waters, but some local fishermen may catch them elsewhere, said area sport fish management biologist Mark Schwan. "We have virtually no lingcod right around Juneau," he said.
The restrictions apply to northern Southeast Alaska and outer waters of Prince of Wales Island. Separate rules apply to Yakutat and Ketchikan area fisheries.
Senate approves pool insurance for small air carriers
JUNEAU - The Senate approved a bill Monday to allow Alaska's small air carriers to create insurance pools to ease the rising cost of coverage. The bill comes in response to Alaska's high aircraft accident rate, court judgments and fewer companies being willing to insure air services.
Rates have risen by as much as 300 percent and have threatened essential air service in some remote areas, said Sen. Robin Taylor, a Wrangell Republican, who sponsored the measure.
The bill, passed 20-0, would allow small air carriers to establish a self-insurance pool, and allow outside insurance companies to participate. To do this, the air carriers would set up a $1.5 million capital and surplus account to entice insurance companies to participate, Taylor said.
Alaska law now requires passenger air services to carry at least $150,000 per seat coverage for injury or death.
Ogan returns to legislative duties
JUNEAU - Rep. Scott Ogan celebrated his 50th birthday Monday by scraping the frosting off his cake.
Seven weeks after suffering a nearly fatal heart attack, Ogan returned to his legislative duties with a new diet and a new appreciation for life.
"You guys can razz me all you want about being 50, but I'm just glad to be here," Ogan told his colleagues on the House floor.
The Palmer Republican actually turned 50 on Friday, but his fellow legislators did not get a chance to celebrate with him until he arrived in Juneau on Monday.
A staunch conservative, Ogan missed a chance last week to vote against a package of tax and permanent fund spending bills in the House. "If I'd come back last week with all those tax bills on, I'd probably have had another heart attack," Ogan said.
Although Monday was his first day back, Ogan has been getting reports on happenings in Juneau from his staff and has participated by phone in a couple of meetings.
Ogan suffered a major heart attack March 16 at his home in Palmer. He said his heart stopped, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation kept him alive.
He was in critical condition for several weeks in an Anchorage hospital, then was discharged in April after having a defibrillator-pacemaker implanted in his chest. He has gradually regained his strength and is now walking about a mile and a half a day. He said he's lost about 25 pounds.