State Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Boy sues to claim contest prize

ANCHORAGE - At the tender age of 12, Douglas Gray knows the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

Last summer, the Wasilla seventh-grader entered an online contest that required him to watch a Looney Tunes cartoon and then answer a question about the show. He won the grand prize, a $31,000 Chevrolet Venture van equipped with a television, a videotape player and individual headsets.

There was just one hitch. According to Warner Bros., which sponsored the contest, Douglas was too young to play and therefore ineligible to win the van.

Douglas' parents are suing the company, noting that the rules state that if a minor wins the prize, it will be awarded in the name of the child's guardian or parent.

The suit, filed in June in Los Angeles, where Warner Bros. is based, seeks damages of more than $50,000.

"I think it's unfair," Douglas' mother, Kari Gray, said in an interview Monday. "They said he could have it. He was so excited, and then they told him he couldn't."

Warner Bros. spokeswoman Barbara Brogliatti said there is no basis for the lawsuit. The rules state the contest is open only to people 18 or older with a valid driver's license. "All I can say is we don't discuss matters of litigation," she said.

Teen reels in 87-pound salmon

KENAI - Patrick York of Anchorage hooked a huge salmon while fishing on the Kenai River over the weekend.

The 16-year-old teen-ager reeled in an 87-pound king salmon after fighting with the fish for 45 minutes on Saturday.

At first glance, he and other members of his fishing expedition, including longtime Kenai River guide Mel Erikson, thought the fish might rival the record held by Les Anderson of Soldotna. However, a final weighing of the fish revealed it was 10 pounds shy of the 17-year-old record. But York and Erikson said the fish gave them a fight worthy of a record holder.

"Well, I was holding the pole and it just bent right over," said York, describing the moment when the monster first hooked his line. "It just kept taking line for a good 15 seconds."

York admitted more than 24 hours after landing the king that his arms and shoulders were sore.

"Sweat was just pouring off him," said Erikson who owns Alaskan Game Fisher guide service. "It was just pretty awesome. The sheer power and sheer size of the thing. It got my heart pumping."

Flags lowered for Wes Coyner

ANCHORAGE - Alaska flags are flying at half-staff today to honor a longtime political lobbyist who was a chief of staff to Alaska's first state governor.

Wes Coyner, 74, died July 14 while competing in the 2002 Duathlon National Championship in Carlsbad, Calif. The duathlon combines running and cycling.

Coyner, who lived in Juneau, served as Gov. Bill Egan's chief of staff from 1971 through 1974. He excelled at athletics as an older adult and played a key role in starting the Juneau Racquet Club 25 years ago.

Coyner was a longtime racquetball competitor and was sponsored by a racquetball equipment maker into his early 60s, Knowles' office said.

Coyner began running seriously in 1993. He went on to win three national duathlon titles in his age group and represented Team USA in three world championship meets.

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