Alaska Digest

staff and Wire reports

Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Popular fireworks viewing area to be closed

JUNEAU - People who like to watch the Fourth of July fireworks from the Public Works maintenance yard will have to find another place to view this year's show. The city decided to close this area between July 3 and July 5 for safety concerns.

"We know it is a favorite area to view the festivities but fireworks, fuel and heavy equipment don't mix well," said Michael Scott, the city's streets superintendent.

The yard is near the Douglas Bridge. Scott estimates about 50 to 200 people swarm into this spot - which is normally packed with maintenance equipment and fueling tanks - to watch fireworks every year.

"Last year, some people actually set off fireworks very narrowly near the fueling tanks. We were lucky that nothing happened," he said. "We apologize for any inconvenience. We just want people to have a safe and happy holiday."

During this year's Fourth of July celebration, fencing will be erected at Harbor Way, West Ninth Street and West Eighth Street. Signs and traffic control devices will be in place by July 3 to provide traffic directions around the area.

Computer glitch caused 17-minute blackout

JUNEAU - A glitch in a computer program knocked out power for 17 minutes Monday morning to Alaska Electric Light & Power customers in the airport area, the Mendenhall Valley and further out the road.

Gayle Wood, AEL&P office manager, said power went out at 9:01 a.m. and service was restored at 9:18 a.m. She said the problem was with remote switching to take the Mendenhall Loop substation offline for maintenance.

"A couple of months ago we updated our computer program," she said. The new software commanded two switches to shut down instead of one. Instead of keeping power on while the substation was down for maintenance, the second open switch triggered the outage, Wood explained.

Anchorage Zoo gets two orphaned cubs

ANCHORAGE - A Willow man shot and killed a sow grizzly bear after it killed a moose calf and was closing in on his dog and the calf's mother in his back yard.

The grizzly's two cubs were transported to the Alaska Zoo, joining two other cubs and raising the zoo's total to 10 bears.

The new additions were clearly traumatized said Thomas "Smitty" Smith, a zookeeper. When allowed in the same space, they violently fought and had to be separated again, he said.

The showdown that took their mother began early Friday at Kenneth Turner's home about 75 yards from Jean Lake. Around 2 a.m., a mother moose and calf walked onto Turner's property. Soon after a hungry grizzly showed up with her two cubs looking for a meal.

"She gets in between the cow and the calf," Greg Wilkinson, Alaska State Troopers spokesman said of the sow. "The calf runs up right next to this man's house. And the bear runs up and kills the calf right next to this guy's porch."

Turner's dog, a black Labrador mix, was outside and began barking loudly. Turner came out of the house and tried to scare the bear off, but the sow immediately charged him, Wilkinson said.

Turner returned to the fray with a .300 Winchester Magnum and shot and killed the grizzly.

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