Northwest Digest

Posted: Monday, July 10, 2006

Burglar steals daughter's ashes from Alaska couple

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FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks couple is appealing for the return of the ashes of their dead daughter, stolen in a burglary last month.

Fredi and H. Leo Brown said the remains of their daughter, Carole, were taken along with guns and jewelry the weekend of June 23.

"If we could just get the ashes returned, that would be the one thing," said H. Leo Brown, 79, a retired Teamster. "I wouldn't care about the rest."

Carole Brown died in 1997 after a long battle with multiple sclerosis and was cremated.

Her parents stored their daughter's remains in a box inside a red velvet bag tied with a gold cord. They placed the box on the top shelf of the closet in their bedroom.

The Browns didn't want to place Carole's ashes prominently because of the pain of her loss. They thought they would eventually scatter Carole's ashes, maybe at their cabin at Quartz Lake near Delta Junction. But after a while, the couple found they liked having Carole around.

"I could talk to her," said Fredi Brown, 74, a retired school secretary.

The burglary took place while the Browns were at their cabin fixing a dock and cutting brush.

The burglar broke in using the front door of the Browns' log house on a slough. The Browns didn't notice immediately because they use a door from the garage to enter their house.

The second of the Browns' three girls, Carole was born in Anchorage on Nov. 19, 1956. Considered the adventurous daughter, she was the first to drive a snowmobile by herself and the first to fly her father's Cessna 180.

"She was the top sandwich builder in the family," said H. Leo Brown.

Jetway rises, scratches Alaska Airlines aircraft

SEATTLE - An Alaska Airlines flight to California was delayed more than three hours Saturday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport when a jetway used to board the plane rose 6 to 12 inches and scraped the body of the aircraft, an airline spokesman said.

The device damaged the paint and left a shallow crease in the skin of the MD-80, and maintenance personnel decided to take the plane out of operation, said airline spokesman Paul McElroy. There were no injuries.

The 60 passengers who had boarded left the aircraft to wait for another plane, he said.

Count to assess mountain goats

PORT ANGELES, Wash. - Park officials hope a count of mountain goats in the Olympic National Park and neighboring Olympic National Forest will help them better manage the herds.

The surveys are part of a statewide interagency and tribal effort to improve census techniques for mountain goat populations in the state.

This would be the park's fifth goat count since 1990, when biologists believe the population stabilized. The last count in 2004 showed the population between 259 and 320, similar to previous census results in 1997, 1994 and 1990.

With dagger-like black horns and immaculate white coats, most mountain goat herds are deep in the park's craggy, remote interior, where they are rarely seen.

The animals normally live in groups of three to eight and are led by a dominant nanny. Older billy goats often live alone except during the fall mating season.

For 20 years conservation groups have advocated for removal of the goats, which are said to be a threat to endangered native plants in the parks alpine areas.

Park officials contend mountain goats are not native to the Olympic Mountains and were introduced from British Columbia and Alaska in the 1920s for hunting and to attract tourists.

Animal-rights activists argue the herds are native, and a Missouri professor in the mid-1990s said fossils support that contention. Others cite published reports of mountain goats observed in the Olympics in the 1890s and 1917.

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