Around the state

Posted: Tuesday, July 25, 2000

Bear chased away from shrine

JUNEAU -- The brown bear sighted at the Shrine of St. Therese seems to have retreated into the woods.

``The caretaker out there has my number, and I have his. He's going to call me if he sees it, but it has been 24 hours since I have heard,'' said state Fish and Game area management biologist Neal Barten this morning. ``So maybe it has wandered off -- or gone upstream to fish where there are fewer people, which would be nice.''

The bear was first sighted at the shrine, 23 miles north of downtown, just after noon Sunday, and reappeared Monday morning. It was observed by police fishing in a small stream, and also wandered onto a lodge porch and near cabins.

Black bears are common in Juneau, but brown bears usually keep clear of the area. The bear was reported to be 400 pounds and is probably several years old, Barten said.

``The bear is catching salmon after salmon in a little stream there. It's capable of foraging for itself. It's just that the stream and the development (the shrine and its many outbuildings) are too close together,'' Barten said. He has no plans to trap the bear or to act further at this time, he said.

Robbery still under investigation

JUNEAU -- The Juneau Police Department has released more details about a beating and robbery Friday in downtown Juneau.

The incident was reported shortly after 9 p.m. Friday, police said. Initial investigation revealed the victim, 23, had been beaten and had an undisclosed amount of cash stolen from him. Subsequent investigation led to the arrest of Kevin Stephen Brew, 36. Brew was charged with second-degree robbery and second-degree theft, both felony offenses.

His victim was treated Friday night for a sprain of his right ankle and released at 10:30 p.m., said Marijo Toner, regional affairs coordinator for Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Police Sgt. Kevin Siska said it did not appear alcohol was involved in the incident. He would not say whether the victim and suspect knew each other, nor would he release other details of the incident. Investigation of the robbery is continuing, he said.

Fire causes $20,000 damage to home

JUNEAU -- Capital City Fire & Rescue responded to a residential fire at 8:30 p.m. Monday in the 4300 block of Mendenhall Boulevard.

The initial report was that light gray smoke was coming from the eaves of a two-story, single-family home. The suspected cause of the fire was a decorative torchiere lamp with a halogen bulb in a bedroom, firefighters said. Apparently a towel was draped over the lamp. The towel caught fire, dropped to the floor, and ignited carpet, a wall and door.

The owner of the home attempted to extinguish the fire. When he could not, he closed off the room and evacuated his family. Estimated damage from the fire was $20,000. No one was injured.

``I've been to four other fires involving halogen lamps, and people need to keep combustibles far, far away from them,'' said Glacier Fire Chief Max Mielke today.

Anchorage company recalls ground beef

ANCHORAGE -- An Anchorage meat processing company has voluntarily recalled about 800 pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli.

The beef was processed by C & J Tender Meats. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the problem was discovered during routine sampling and there have been no reports of illness linked to the meat.

Most of the meat was sold to stores in rural Alaska villages, said Mary Jones of C & J. Stores that purchased the meat have been notified, she said.

The products being recalled are 1- to 2-pound packages of ground beef with a packing date of July 18. The packages bear the code EST.20899 inside the USDA seal of inspection.

E-coli is a potentially deadly pathogen that can cause diarrhea and dehydration.

A separate E. coli outbreak reported last week around the Kenai Peninsula, affecting 20 or more people, has probably peaked, medical officials say. No additional cases have been reported officially since Friday.

Public health investigators said they traced the outbreak to the Mad Moose Cafe in Sterling, where the infected people had dined. Cafe owners shut down temporarily and are working with state officials on the problem.

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