Northwest Digest

Posted: Monday, June 28, 2004

Biologists shoot Anchorage garbage bear

ANCHORAGE - A female brown bear that had been showing up in Eagle River subdivisions for more than nine months was killed by state game officials.

Fish and Game Department biologist Rick Sinnott shot the grizzly in the head once, then another four times, before it died Friday.

"I didn't kill this bear. The people that are feeding it garbage and birdseed did," Sinnott said.

The 3-year-old, 300-pound bear had recently alarmed Eagle River residents in the dense neighborhoods above the river by killing two moose calves near homes, ripping into people's garbage, and knocking over a backyard fence to retrieve barbecue leftovers. It had generated 100 complaints since spring.

Incidents had been escalating, Sinnott said, though the bear had never been reported to act aggressively toward people.

The state had decided to dispose of the bold bear before it appeared in the back yard of Tom Skore. Skore saw the bear, sitting down, wrestling with his squirrel-proof bird feeder about 15 feet from his back porch, he said.

Skore called 911 and Sinnott showed up a few minutes later, already on his way to look for the bear in the neighborhoods.

After being shot with a 12-gauge shotgun slug, the bear took off running down a nearby bike path and into the woods. Half an hour later, Sinnott caught up with the bear and shot it another four times near Eagle River, two to three blocks from Skore's house. Then it ran into the thick woods nearby, where it died.

Calling all moose: Salcha Fair revives contest

SALCHA - His face hidden behind dark sunglasses and a Panama hat, Paul Harrell stepped to the front of the stage at the Salcha Fair and cupped his hands around his mouth.

The Fort Wainwright man exhaled a strange, rhythmic sound into the microphone. At the end of a full breath, he paused suddenly before letting out a series of quick grunts.

"That's the bulls," he said during the first moose-calling contest the Salcha Fair has seen since the 1980s. "This is the cows."

Harrell then launched into his best imitation of the female moose call, humming more rapidly into the microphone in a slightly higher tone.

Spectators had little trouble telling experienced moose callers such as Harrell, the winner among nine contestants, from those who resorted to less sophisticated techniques such as calling a moose like a pet dog.

For his winning effort, Harrell collected a trophy made of a moose rack and ivory.

He came to the fair knowing nothing about the calling contest but said he couldn't resist participating when organizers recruited contestants.

He claimed his technique has twice attracted four moose during hunting expeditions.

Sales hot for ice, fans in Fairbanks

FAIRBANKS - Ice, bottled water, wading pools and fans are hot commodities for residents seeking ways to cool down in near record-breaking temperatures.

The items are flying off shelves faster than they can be restocked, according to store managers.

"We've sold more fans this year than we have ever sold," said Scott McCulloch, manager of the Fred Meyer store in West Fairbanks.

"In the last 10 days, we've topped 1,000 (in sales)" he said.

McCulloch said he's ordered fans from every place he can think of, including all they can get from Anchorage stores. They usually are sold out by noon, he said. It's the same story for wading pools.

"Everybody wants a wading pool and a fan," he said. Truckloads of bottled water go fast, too, he said.

Across town at Wal-Mart, hot weather items are hard to find late in the day, said manager Timbo Erickson. Fans are gone in minutes, he said.

"We unload them from the front," he said. "They come in and buy them straight off the pallet."

One customer who witnessed a pallet of fans disappear described it as a frenzy.

"When I walked into Wal-Mart, I saw a mob," Dawn Cooper said. It turned out to be several pallets of different types of fans and air conditioners.

Kenai celebrates centenarian's birthday

KENAI - Esther Tyler-Peteet feels like she's 80. That's not bad for a woman who turned 100 Sunday.

On her way to the centennial mark, Tyler-Peteet married twice and outlived four siblings. She survived a car wreck and an airplane crashing into her house. She lived in two territories before they were admitted to the union.

Tyler-Peteet was born in Kansas and as child moved with her family moved to the Arizona territory. She was not yet 8 years old in 1912 when the territory became the 48th state.

She grew up, married and lived in Arizona until the Depression drove her and her husband to look for work elsewhere.

One day her husband, Leo Tyler, came home with a magazine he'd bought for 5 cents that advertised opportunities in the Alaska territory.

The adventurous streak to test new territory that seems to be a family trait kicked in. The article and a little preparation was all it took to get the couple on the next boat.

"In a couple weeks, we were on the way," Tyler-Peteet said.

The Tylers traveled by steamship - they sprang for first-class tickets, which cost $62 each - for six days before disembarking at Seward on Independence Day 1936. Esther was immediately impressed by the peaks that surrounded the harbor at Resurrection Bay and the rich, wild green of summer in Alaska.

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