Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, August 05, 2007

22-year-old lands $1,000 salmon

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JUNEAU - A 22-year-old former Juneau resident landed a $1,000 coho salmon Saturday in the Golden North Salmon Derby.

Shawn Bethers was pulling in the last line after a day of fishing with his family when he saw the salmon. Bethers brought it closer to the boat, then the fish escaped his mom's net.

"I was cursing and screaming," Bethers said.

But she grabbed it on the second try, and they brought the fish onto the boat and immediately called a derby official, he said. The fish was caught near Aaron Island.

Bethers said the winnings will go to a college fund.

"I'm going to have a hell of a good weekend and put the rest in savings," he said.

Police search for man accused of firing gun

JUNEAU - Juneau police are searching for a man accused of firing a gun Friday night after a fight in the 200 block of South Franklin Street.

Witnesses reported a large fight involving about 10 people at 11:23 p.m., but when police arrived, they found no disturbance. One witness said a man brandished a gun then fired it once into the air after the altercation between two groups of people. After the man pointed the gun at all the fighters, everybody left in separate directions, the witness said.

The gunman was described as an "older white male," about 5 feet, 9 inches tall, wearing blue jeans and a blue polo type shirt. He could not be located.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police at 586-0600.

2 Fort Richardson soldiers killed in Iraq

FORT RICHARDSON - Two Fort Richardson paratroopers died and 10 others were wounded during an attack on their base in Iraq, U.S. Army officials said Friday.

The paratroopers died Tuesday in what the Army called an indirect fire attack on Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq. Their names were not released, but Capt. Richard Hyde, an Army spokesman, said the next of kin were notified.

Ketchikan rejects cell phone ban

KETCHIKAN - Speaking on cell phones while driving is still legal in Ketchikan after the City Council rejected a proposal to ban them from motorists.

Only one Council member, Tom Coyne, voted Thursday in favor of the ban he proposed.

Coyne said he was trying to prevent serious accidents.

"If you're driving, you should be driving," he said.

The rest of the Council disagreed about imposing a regulation.

DNR commissioner names ag director

ANCHORAGE - A new director of the Division of Agriculture has been picked from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

Franci Havemeister, 43, who married into a farming family, was announced as director Thursday by Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin.

"I am impressed with her vision for the agriculture industry, the desire to get the entire agriculture community working together and the opportunity to develop great working relations between the administration, Board of Agriculture, agriculture community and DNR," Irwin said.

Twenty-three people applied to replace Larry DeVilbiss, who resigned earlier in the year. Mat-Su Borough Assemblymen Bill Allen and Rob Wells and state Rep. Mark Neuman, R-Big Lake, were among the applicants. Havemeister was one of four finalists.

The Agriculture Division director oversees state policy on agriculture, a staff of 50 and a $7 million budget.

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