Posted: Friday, June 20, 2003

Dead whale still sailing off Douglas Island

JUNEAU - A dead, bloated gray whale carcass seen floating off the southern tip of Douglas Island early this week is drifting northwest around the back of the island, according to National Marine Fisheries Service officials.

The carcass had been floating in the marine traffic lanes a mile off the southern tip of the island, and several mariners called the Coast Guard to report it Tuesday. Coast Guard spokesman Roger Wetherell said Thursday whale-related calls have stopped.

Gray whales are uncommon in the Inside Passage. This month most gray whales are in the Gulf of Alaska near Kodiak, making their way to feeding grounds in the Bering Sea.

National Marine Fisheries scientists may perform a necropsy on the animal if it beaches. Until then, there is no way to determine the cause of death.

Native leader wins Women of Courage Award

JUNEAU - Rosita Worl of Juneau, comedian Rosie O'Donnell and former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno were among nine women awarded the 2003 Women of Courage Award on June 14 in Washington, D.C.

The National Women's Political Caucus selected Worl for her outstanding career as an anthropologist, scholar, activist, educator and leader, according to the organization, which gives the award annually to women of diverse backgrounds who have demonstrated courage by taking stands on unpopular or controversial issues to further civil rights and equality and who typify women's leadership.

"I was really amazed that I had been selected and then really and truly honored that I was selected because I was in the company of women who I think are very distinguished and have made significant contributions," said Worl, president of Sealaska Heritage Institute.

Worl, a Tlingit, is a vocal proponent of Native subsistence rights and has championed numerous Native causes before governmental bodies and in other forums. She also serves as assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Alaska Southeast.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a Native nonprofit founded by Sealaska Corp. to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures.

Filipino Community Square dedication

JUNEAU - The Juneau Filipino Community will dedicate Manilla Square on Saturday with an entertainment program starting at 1 p.m. in the square. Manilla Square is across from the downtown library bound by South Franklin Street, Admiral Way and Marine Way.

The Manilla Square dedication program starts with the Ati-atihan street parade and continues with souvenir item sales, singing of national anthems, remarks from invited city and state officials and presentations by the Alitaptap Folk Arts Dancers.

Moose stomps poodle

KENAI - Peaches, a 13-year-old miniature poodle, was chasing a robin through the backyard of her owner's home Tuesday when she attracted the attention of a mother moose and was stomped to death, according to the pet's owner.

"A mother moose saw her and ran across (my) yard," said Sally Youngberg. "She reared up and came down on her with front hooves three times."

Youngberg said the cow moose was accompanied by a very young calf.

Youngberg lives in Soldotna just behind Central Peninsula General Hospital. Her back yard is fenced on three sides but she has seen moose step right over the fence.

Youngberg said she was concerned because there were children living in the neighborhood and hospital patients who, because of physical conditions, might not be able to avoid a run-in.

Bear baiting ban initiative petition OK'd

ANCHORAGE - An initiative petition that seeks to prohibit bear baiting has been approved by Lt. Gov. Loren Leman.

If voters approve the initiative, Alaskans would be prohibited from baiting or intentionally feeding bears.

Petition sponsors include Lowell Thomas Jr., George Pollard and John Erickson.

Alaska is one of nine states to allow bear baiting, which involves leaving food or another attractant out to tempt bears while a hunter lies in wait.

The issue received national attention this month when a Virginia congressman's bill to ban bear baiting on federal land attracted the wrath of Alaska Congressman Don Young, who said the decision should be left to states.

Alaska's Division of Elections will prepare and print numbered petition booklets for circulation. Sponsors will need at least 23,286 qualified signatures in at least 27 election districts to place the initiative on the 2004 ballot.

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