Northwest Digest

Posted: Sunday, July 01, 2007

Police identify man found dead in May

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JUNEAU - Juneau police identified a man whose body was found in May at the southern end of Douglas Island.

Mark Jackson, 48, was identified by dental records, police said, and the name was released after his family was contacted on Thursday.

An autopsy revealed the cause of death was "probable complications of hypothermia," and the death was ruled an accident.

Ex-Alaska Air CEO killed in plane crash

SEATTLE - Former Alaska Airlines Chief Executive Bruce R. Kennedy, who led the company's expansion from a regional operator before stepping down in 1991 to pursue humanitarian interests, was killed when his single-engine plane crashed into a high-school parking lot in central Washington, his wife said Friday.

"We have every reason to believe the plane was Bruce's Cessna 182," his wife, Karleen Kennedy of Burien, said in a statement released by the airline.

"While we are deeply saddened by the loss of someone we love and admire so much, we rejoice in the knowledge that Bruce is united with his Lord Jesus and take comfort in the fact that he died doing something he loved."

The single-engine Cessna 182 crashed and burned while trying to land in Cashmere, near Wenatchee, around 7 p.m. Thursday, and the pilot was dead at the scene, the Chelan County Sheriff's Office said Friday. When Kennedy's family got word of the crash, his son, Kevin, drove to the scene, the statement said. Kennedy was on his way from Hot Springs, Mont., to visit his grandchildren in Wenatchee.

Kennedy, 68, served as Alaska Air's chairman and CEO from 1979 to 1991, and continued to serve on the company's board of directors until his death. He is credited with expanding Alaska's routes into southern California and to Mexico, and developing Alaska's Horizon Air subsidiary.

After 32 years with Alaska Airlines, Kennedy left to pursue humanitarian efforts, according to the Quest Web site. He and Karleen traveled to China to teach English with the Christian group Educational Services International, and the couple also volunteered with World Relief and sheltered dozens of refugee families in their home.

At the time of his death, he served as the chairman of the board for Quest Aircraft Co. of Sandpoint, Idaho, which makes planes for humanitarian routes in remote and conflicted parts of the world.

Roving black bear killed by biologist

ANCHORAGE - A black bear that appeared to be threatening bikers and joggers in Kincaid Park over the past month was shot Friday by a state biologist.

The bear, a young adult male, had become used to people and was not afraid to stay on paved trails in and around Kincaid.

Among the dozens of sightings, two men walking on the trail last week reported that the bear followed them for about a half-hour. A jogger and bicyclist each reported close encounters with the bear on Thursday night. No one reported being hurt by the animal.

The bear was ranging over about eight miles, and may have been raiding garbage cans in a neighborhood adjacent to the park, said Rick Sinnott, an area biologist with the state Department of Fish and Game.

Sinnott said he walked about ten miles in the 1,400-acre park on Friday, searching for the animal.

He was heading back to his truck, about to go home, when he saw the bear about 10 feet from the vehicle.

"The bed of my truck is often fairly aromatic with dead things," Sinnott said. "There's nothing specifically dead in the back of it, but the bear was just kind of walking up like he wanted to crawl in."

Sinnott killed the bear with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Sinnott said in the last decade, one or two black bears have come into the park for a couple of weeks each year. Once in a while, he said, a black bear will become a predator.

"It seems to be a slow, evolving process where they sort of test people and see what they are all about. And that's what this one is doing," Sinnott said.

Northrim BanCorp to buy Alaska First Bank

ANCHORAGE - Northrim BanCorp Inc., one of Alaska's largest banks, has plans to purchase Alaska First Bank, a small Anchorage bank, for $6.25 million in cash, the companies announced Friday.

The sale still needs approval by regulators and could be completed in the fall, company executives said.

Regulatory costs for banks are increasing, and the small banks are disproportionately affected, so the sale makes sense, according to Alaska First Bank president Ron Kukes.

"It seemed like we needed to do something that would strengthen our industry," Kukes said.

Northrim president Marc Langland said the two banks share a similar focus on community-oriented banking.

"It's a good fit, as far as how you handle customers," he said.

Alaska First customers would be merged automatically into Northrim should the sale go through.

The merger doesn't guarantee that Alaska First's 20 employees will be hired by Northrim.

Alaska First has two branches in Anchorage and is privately owned. Northrim has 10 branches and is a public company.

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