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Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, July 28, 2006

Reports of bear's death are premature

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JUNEAU - A bear that had a death sentence after its capture in downtown Juneau this week won a temporary reprieve for science, state biologists say.

The young male tranquilized Tuesday after numerous reports of mischief with garbage was shipped north for a hibernation study at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said Juneau area Fish and Game Department wildlife biologist Neil Barten.

A photo caption in Wednesday's Juneau Empire said biologists had taken the bear away to kill it, though in fact they later changed their minds.

Another bear, trapped the previous night at Bridge Adult Day Center, had been slated for the UAF study but was killed instead. Barten said the young bear darted Wednesday was smaller and already drugged, making him easier to handle and transport by plane.

UAF conducts continuing studies of such things as fat content and metabolism in hibernating bears, and typically gets problem bears for the program.

Barten said the bear will be killed after taking part in the study.

Governor seeks a fisheries representative

JUNEAU - Gov. Frank Murkowski is searching for an Alaskan to take an open seat on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

The 15-member council sets guidelines for fishery management in federal waters three to 200 miles off Alaska's and Washington state's coasts.

Petersburg fifth-generation fisherman Arne Fuglvog is vacating his seat on the council to become a fisheries aide to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. He was the only active fisherman on the council.

The governor plans to nominate and submit three names to the U.S. secretary of commerce for appointment within weeks.

"Time is of the essence," said state Boards and Commissions Director Susan Fischetti. "We believe, though, that there are many qualified candidates out there to fill this important position."

Applicants need to consider the serious time commitment and technical reading involved prior to applying, state officials said.

For more information about the council, see http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc. To apply for a seat on the council, call Boards and Commissions at (907) 465-3500 or apply on the Web at http://gov.state.ak.us/boards.

State management director wins recognition

JUNEAU - Juneau's Cheryl Frasca was one of eight recently selected by the National Governor's Association for distinguished state service.

Frasca, the state's director of management and budget and the governor's deputy chief of staff, was nominated by Gov. Frank Murkowski.

She has worked under two governors, two mayors and five state legislators during her public service.

"The real honor is being able to work with a team dedicated to making Alaska a better place," Frasca said in a prepared statement this week.

Frasca will receive her award at the association's 98th annual meeting on Aug. 5 in Charleston, S.C.

Nome protesters decry new mine

NOME - Nome residents expressed their concerns Thursday about a proposed hard rock mine when Gov. Frank Murkowski appeared at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the road leading to it.

The $7.3 million Glacier Creek Road was built under Murkowski's "Roads to Resources" initiative.

"I appreciate you all coming out here and voicing your legitimate concerns," Murkowski told about 25 protesters asking the governor to provide the public with an independent environmental impact study on the proposed Rock Creek gold mine.

Protesters said they don't want the state to allow the open pit mine to be built as proposed.

"We want an independently prepared environmental impact statement; we want the DEC to uphold the Clean Water Act and we want people to become more educated about hard rock mining and its potential harmful effects on Nome," protester Chris Rowe said.

"I assure you that there will not be environmental degradation - not in this project, not in this state," Murkowski said.

The new Glacier Creek road leads to the site of the proposed Rock Creek mine and mill site that Alaska Gold Co. plans to bring online soon.

Man gets 10 years on child porn charges

ANCHORAGE - A 33-year-old Canadian was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in federal prison for distributing child pornography.

"I can't emphasize too much how horrific these crimes are," said Chief U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick when sentencing Daniel Tan, of Calgary, Alberta.

Tan was arrested at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on March 16. Authorities said he traveled to Alaska to meet a woman he first encountered in an online chat room.

Tan believed the woman was the 29-year-old mother of two girls, ages 6 and 8, but in reality the woman was an undercover Anchorage police officer.

Authorities said Tan sent 24 unsolicited images of child pornography depicting prepubescent girls during three separate chat sessions. Police say 12 of the images show the children being sexually abused.

Chances dwindling for gas contract vote

JUNEAU - Gov. Frank Murkowski still wants an up-or-down vote this special legislative session on his proposed natural gas pipeline contract, but he's not likely to get it.

A growing number of state lawmakers say they won't approve the deal with Exxon Mobil Corp., BP PLC and ConocoPhillips in its current form. Plus, they don't think there's enough time left in the session for the governor to make revisions and bring the contract back to them for a vote.

That hasn't stopped the Republican governor from calling for a revised contract and a ratification vote in the two weeks remaining in the session.

"He is pushing me real hard in that direction," said Murkowski Chief of Staff Jim Clark, although Clark acknowledges that "we have a lot of work to do."



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