Alaska Digest

Posted: Thursday, July 27, 2006

Bears keep coming to town in Juneau

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JUNEAU - Police say a poor berry crop in the hills around Juneau may be contributing to bear troubles in town.

The department says reports of bears getting into homes are on the rise this year, and many bears have turned to food sources associated with humans. Police are working with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to minimize conflicts, the department said, but officers have requested that residents become more vigilant in keeping household food sources from bears.

Pet food stored in open garages can cause trouble, as can birdfeeders. Police advise residents from Bartlett Regional Hospital to Lemon Creek and Switzer Village to be especially careful.

The city's bear attraction and nuisance ordinance levies a $50 fine for first-time offenders placing garbage cans on the street before 4 a.m. on pickup day. The fine is $100 for a second offense and $300 for a third offense.

For advice about proper garbage storage, contact Officer Bob Dilley at (907) 586-0828.

JUMP hosts animator presentation

The Juneau Underground Motion Picture Society presents an animation screening and discussion Friday with Oscar-nominated animator and filmmaker Bill Plympton.

The event is at 7 p.m. in the Backroom and the Silverbow Inn and Bakery. Space is limited.

Tickets are $10 and available at Lucid Reverie. For information, call (907) 586-3440.

Former USDA official accused of giving secretary political work

PALMER - A former federal Agriculture Department official for Alaska has been accused of directing his secretary do work for his other job as a borough assemblyman, officials say.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel said Bill Allen, Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly member and former Alaska director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, violated federal law by having his department secretary work on borough business.

The investigation was opened after the secretary, Nancy Hayes, told Allen that conducting political activities while on the federal clock was illegal and that they both could get in trouble. The federal Hatch Act prohibits using government offices, resources or the time of subordinate employees for political purposes.

In a prepared statement Tuesday, Allen denied the claims. He declined to answer questions.

Allen resigned from the federal agency on July 6.

Because Allen is no longer a federal employee, the Office of Special Counsel cannot prosecute him for violating the Hatch Act.

Mayor to seek state aid for fishing season

KENAI - Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor John Williams is in talks with the governors office over possible aid to commercial fishing and tourism industries after a down year for sockeye salmon in the Cook Inlet.

Williams also has instructed his staff to begin developing an economic disaster declaration.

The Kenai River usually has a count of about a half million fish as of Sunday, but this year's count was low, at 177,000.

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