Alaska Digest

Posted: Monday, June 18, 2007

Man dies in Yukon boating accident

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ANCHORAGE - Searchers on Saturday recovered the body of a Russian Mission man who died in boating accident on the Yukon River, Alaska State Troopers said.

The body of Francis Tinker was pulled from the river shortly after 12:30 p.m., troopers said.

Tinker, 28, apparently drowned after he and a 25-year-old man were ejected from the boat when its steering system failed, according to troopers, who were notified of the accident Friday evening.

The younger man was rescued and treated for hypothermia. His name was not released.

Troopers said neither of the men were wearing floatation devices.

Head trauma likely caused camel's death

ANCHORAGE - A necropsy shows that the death of the Alaska Zoo's new camel was likely due to head trauma, officials said.

Knobby, a year-old male, died in his pen May 10.

The zoo refused to publicly release a copy of the report on Knobby's death. Zoo spokeswoman Eileen Floyd said that "we'll never know" what caused the trauma.

The two-humped Bactrian camel arrived at the Anchorage zoo in March, traveling from Minnesota to be a companion and a potential mate for an older female named Tula.

On the morning of May 10, an employee fed and walked Knobby and the animal seemed fine, said zoo director Pat Lampi. A visitor found the camel dead about an hour later.

Lampi said foul play is not suspected.

"(Knobby) is 500 pounds, so I just can't believe anybody would approach him," he said.

The zoo plans to replace Knobby with another camel from Minnesota.

Man charged with rape, kidnapping

FAIRBANKS - A man is in custody in Fairbanks, accused of choking, beating and raping a woman he had been dating for a week, then holding her captive.

Timothy G. Morris, 35, was charged with first-degree sexual assault, first-degree kidnapping and felony assault. He was being held without bail at the Fairbanks Correctional Center.

The 24-year-old woman showed up at the Fairbanks Police Department Thursday with black eyes, bruises on her face, finger imprints on her neck and a nose that looked broken. She told police she had fought off a carjacker the night before, said Officer Al Hutton.

"That story didn't make sense," he said.

The officer challenged the story, and the woman named the boyfriend.

Morris drove the woman to the police station and pressured her to file a false report, according to Hutton.

The woman was afraid because Morris was waiting outside. At least once, he entered the station to check her written statement.

"He basically told her, 'OK, you better stick with the carjacking story because I'll be outside waiting for you,"' Hutton said.

The assault occurred while the couple was parked in the woman's van in the community of Fox about 10 miles northeast of Fairbanks, police said. The man and woman are apparently homeless.

Estimated cost for fish hatchery soars

FAIRBANKS - The price for building a fish hatchery in Fairbanks has jumped to $43 million - a 65 percent hike from the initial estimate.

The state has $74.4 million to fund hatchery projects in Fairbanks and Anchorage, where construction is estimated to run as high as $85 million. But there are no plans to downsize the Fairbanks facility and the state is still committed to building the even costlier Anchorage hatchery, according to officials with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

"We're working to see if we can't come up with other monies to make this happen," said Gordon Garcia, a project manager for agency.

Increases in construction costs are to blame for the substantial price increase, he said.

Fairbanks to review box store regulations

FAIRBANKS - The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly will take another look at box store regulations that drew mixed reviews when they were first proposed over the winter.

The proposal was criticized by some as anti-development and applauded by others as an effort to guide development.

The proposed regulations went through an extensive review process and six months later are headed back to the assembly.

Assemblywoman Valerie Ther- rien said she senses some of the proposal's early critics are now ready to support the proposal.

"I think the rest of the community will too," said Therrien, who proposed the regulations along with assembly colleague Torie Foote.

The proposed standards would require a box store developer to get specific approval from the borough's Planning Commission. An Alaska-registered architect or engineer would have to submit a detailed site plan, and the developer would need to hold an informational community meeting.

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