Northwest Digest

Posted: Friday, August 06, 2004

AK public radio program wins national honor

JUNEAU - A new Alaska Public Radio Network program called AK recently won second place for best newspublic affairs program in the country from the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated.

A Division A entrant, AK competed in the same tier as national public broadcasting powerhouses like KQED San Francisco, WBEZ Chicago and WBUR Boston.

AK strives to tell stories that honor Alaska's cultural, regional and ethnic diversity, according to a written statement from APRN.

The show airs in Juneau at 11 a.m. Saturdays on KTOO-FM, 104.3. People can also listen on the Web at www.akradio.org.

Seven Greenpeace activists arrested

ANCHORAGE - Seven Greenpeace activists were arrested Thursday at a protest site in the Tongass National Forest where they had chained themselves to road-building equipment.

U.S. Forest Service enforcement officers cut the seven out of a logging chain they had used to attach themselves to a large backhoe and a rock-drilling machine at a timber-sale site, said Forest Service spokesman Ray Massey.

"It was very calmly done," Massey said of the removal of the protesters.

The activists were cited for violating a forest closure order issued Wednesday, plus interfering with the national forest system and blocking a public road. They were taken to Wrangell, where they were being seen by a federal magistrate, Massey said.

Protester Jeremy Paster, who was cited on Wednesday for violating the closure order, said a Greenpeace lawyer was with the activists in Wrangell.

"That is it for this protest," Paster said, adding that some of the 22 protesters would join him back at the Greenpeace boat in Sitka.

"We definitely will continue working on this issue and highlighting the wasteful practices of the Forest Service," he said.

The Greenpeace campaign calling for a moratorium on large-scale logging operations on public lands was launched in Oregon on June 1. Actions also have been held in Washington, Idaho and Montana.

The Tongass National Forest is the nation's largest, covering almost 17 million acres.

Denali Park area closed after hiker fought bear

ANCHORAGE - The National Park Service closed a backcountry hiking unit in Denali National Park after an Italian man told rangers he had driven off an attacking grizzly bear by burying his ice ax in the animal's back.

Park Service spokeswoman Kris Fister said Roberto Cataldo, 29, of Modena, Italy, reported the encounter Monday, 4 to 6 miles northwest of Kantishna. Backcountry Unit 46, a roughly 50-square-mile tract that encompasses the area where Cataldo said he had hiked, was closed indefinitely.

Fister said much of what Cataldo told rangers has not been corroborated, but the park had to take protective measures against a wounded bear.

"It poses a threat to anyone going into the area," she said Thursday.

Cataldo was treated for scratches on his left forearm Tuesday and was questioned extensively Park Service rangers.

Charter fined $2,000 for feeding sea lions

SEWARD - A charter fishing boat operator was fined $2,000 for feeding endangered Steller sea lions near Seward in violation of federal law, an agency said Thursday.

Jason W. Robinson, 27, was working as a hired skipper aboard the Yoda II on June 16, 2003, when the incident occurred, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Yoda II is owned by Timothy R. Berg of Alaska Fishing Adventures Inc.

Passengers aboard a sightseeing vessel in the area reported seeing Robinson tossing fish to the sea lions, said Kevin Hack, an assistant special agent-in-charge with NOAA Fisheries. Some of the passengers also videotaped the incident.

Feeding the sea lions was a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Hack said. It occurred at a sea lion haulout within a few feet of what locals refer to as "Seal Rock," an uncharted island in Resurrection Bay about 10 miles out of Seward.

"I think they were done fishing and were probably doing it to entertain the crew," Hack said.



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