Northwest Digest

Posted: Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Rules relaxed for freshwater kings

JUNEAU - The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has liberalized freshwater sport-fishing regulations along the Juneau road system to allow the chance of taking more hatchery king salmon, officials announced Monday.

The freshwater daily bag and possession limit is four kings of any size, now through Aug. 31. Freshwater kings caught by nonresidents will not count toward their annual limits.

Most streams on the Juneau road system see few king salmon, but the department expects Fish Creek on Douglas Island will draw more than 500 this year. Fishing methods on Fish Creek Pond are liberalized as well, allowing the use of bait, weight hooks and lures, treble hooks with a gap greater than a half-inch from point to shank, and retention of salmon hooked somewhere besides in the mouth. Normal freshwater methods banning baiting and snagging apply in Fish Creek and all intertidal waters.

For more information contact the Division of Sport Fish at 465-4270.

Dismissed grand jurors may be interviewed

ANCHORAGE - Defense attorneys in eight separate criminal cases will be allowed to interview grand jurors who handed up indictments after "off the record" discussions with Kenai District Attorney June Stein, a Superior Court Judge has ruled.

The grand jurors were dismissed but their indictments remained intact on charges ranging from second-degree murder to misconduct involving a controlled substance.

Defense attorneys on Monday praised the decision by Superior Court Judge Donald Hopwood.

"The significance of this ruling is that it upholds the idea of an independent judicial system," said Mark Osterman, a Kenai attorney representing some of the defendants indicted last fall. "My greatest concern is that too often the grand jury does not understand the full extent of its power and tends to want to get along with the district attorney, rather than questioning the district attorney or the district attorney's motives."

Stein referred questions to the state Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals, saying she was "not involved in this aspect of the case." Mick Hawley, an assistant attorney general in the OSPA office in Anchorage, said, "We respectfully disagree with the ruling and are considering our remedies."

The matter came to light in December when Superior Court Judge Harold Brown was notified by court clerks that the district attorney routinely held a "rest of the story" session immediately after indictments were issued by the grand jury, which began what was to be a three-month duty in October.

"That session often included disclosing the information or evidence not presented to the jurors on record prior to the indictment, such as details from the criminal investigation, the defendants' prior criminal history, and personal and sometimes demeaning information about defendants, victims and witnesses," Brown wrote in a Dec. 7 memo.

Canadian woman killed by grizzly bear

CANMORE, Alberta - A grizzly bear attacked and killed a woman jogging on a popular hiking trail near this Canadian Rockies resort town, just days after authorities moved the animal from another neighborhood for threatening humans, authorities said Monday.

Isabelle Dube, 36, a competitive mountain bicyclist, was running with two friends on the trail outside Canmore, about 55 miles west of Calgary in the mountainous western province of Alberta, when the bear attacked Sunday.

Dube climbed up a tree and the friends ran to a nearby golf course for help, said Cpl. Brad Freer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. By the time rescue workers got there, the grizzly had somehow gotten Dube down from the tree and mauled her to death.

Fish and wildlife officers later shot and killed the animal.

Dube, a substitute French teacher originally from Cap-St-Ignace near Quebec City, leaves behind a 5-year-old daughter, authorities said.

The same 200-pound, 4-year-old grizzly was removed from a residential area just over a week ago, said Donna Babchishin, a spokeswoman for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.

The bear was relocated after approaching Canmore resident Niki Davison, who was photographing wildflowers. It was tranquilized, fitted with a radio collar and flown by helicopter to an area inside Banff National Park.

Dube was the first person killed by a bear in Alberta since 1998.

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