Alaska Digest

Staff and Wire reports

Posted: Monday, June 27, 2005

Fourth of July parade entries due today

JUNEAU - Entries for the Juneau 4th of July Parade are due at 5 p.m. today at the visitors center at Centennial Hall or the Mendenhall Library in the Mendenhall Mall.

Both sites also have entry forms.

Parade officials have received 41 entries so far, down from the average of 80 to 100. But entrants usually procrastinate, parade director Gerald Dorsher said.

"It's about par," Dorsher said. "I know there's a ton of entry forms out there that have been picked up. Hopefully they're being rounded up."

The theme of this year's Juneau and Douglas celebration is "Freedom of Speech."

The Juneau parade starts at 11 a.m. and the entry fee is $35. University of Alaska Southeast Chancellor John Pugh is the grand marshal. The parade begins near Eighth Street and Egan Highway, winds around South Franklin, Front and Main streets, then heads back to the Douglas bridge.

The Douglas parade starts at 1 p.m. and is free to enter. Douglas residents Fred and Jirdes Baxter are the grand marshals. Jirdes is the last survivor of the 1925 Nome diphtheria epidemic.

Two killed by grizzly near Hulahula River

ANCHORAGE - Two people camping along the Hulahula River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge were killed by a grizzly bear, officials said Sunday.

Officials discovered the bodies and an unused firearm in a tent at a campsite near the river.

The couple, whose names were not released, was believed to be in their late 50s or early 60s, North Slope Borough police said. They were from Anchorage and had been on a recreational rafting trip down the river, Alaska State Troopers said.

The victims were in their tent when the attack occurred, according to Tim DeSpain, spokesperson for Alaska State Troopers.

The campsite was clean, with food stored in bear-proof containers.

"The initial scene indicates that it was a predatory act by the bear," DeSpain said.

The bear was at the site Saturday night when public safety officials arrived. They shot and killed the animal, but did not remove it.

Sheenjek River fire grows to 80,000 acres

ANCHORAGE - The Sheenjek River Fire grew to 80,490 acres but firefighters say fire lines have kept the blaze away from Fort Yukon and some crews could be reassigned.

Crews have focused on the fire line nearest Fort Yukon and kept the blaze from jumping the Porcupine River, said fire information officer Kris Eriksen. The fire remains about eight miles from the community of 600 on the northern curve of the Yukon River 145 miles north of Fairbanks.

The fire started June 12 near the Sheenjek River.

Crews on Saturday targeted the northeast corner for the fire for controlled burns to keep flames from crossing the Sheenjek.

Eriksen said mop-up continued Sunday around the western end of the fire, the side closest to Fort Yukon. Firefighters watched for flames or smoke and pushed over trees with burned roots to prevent them from falling on crews.

"It's sort of the final cleanup stage," she said.

They also on Sunday burned out a pocket of unburned forest along the Porcupine River, Eriksen said, which will add to the total acres burned.

Teenager recovering from stray dog attack

ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage teenager is recovering in the hospital after being attacked by a stray dog she had tried to rescue from oncoming traffic.

Miranda Breaux, 16, is at Providence Alaska Medical Center healing from reconstructive surgery to her lower left leg.

The high school student also had bites on her upper back and left hip from the Thursday afternoon attack.

The dog was captured after the attack. The dog is a white Akita or Akita mix and weighs about 100 pounds, according to officials at the Animal Care and Control Center in Anchorage.

The dog had no identification tags, said Animal Control enforcement supervisor Bradley Larson. The center is attempting to locate the dog's owner.

Breaux had seen the dog dodging vehicles in the Hillside neighborhood.

She knew approaching a strange animal would be risky, but wanted to get it out of traffic, her mother said.

"She said to me, 'Mom, I'd never be able to forgive myself if I looked in the rearview mirror and saw it get hit,"' Belinda Breaux said. "It was a pretty dog, and clean."

When the animal growled at her, Miranda Breaux turned around to leave. The dog grabbed her leg, causing her to fall.

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