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AlaskaDigest

Posted: Friday, August 15, 2003

Comedian visits Juneau in quest for presidency

JUNEAU - A comedian, origami artist and a seven-time, write-in candidate for U.S. president visited Juneau on Thursday and today seeking votes and laughs.

Love 22 - his legal name, as his passport and driver's license prove - lives in Key West, Fla., and Alton, N.H. He dresses as Uncle Sam. He wears the traditional hat, a blue- and white-striped shirt and a U.S. flag tie and sports a snowy goatee.

He left Key West on June 22 and has driven 9,000 miles so far, Love 22 said. He carries a bag full of "$22 bills" he prints by the tens of thousands to fold into figures at venues such as fairs, where he passes the hat.

"I went across the country because I'm a comic performer," he said Thursday. "I'm the longest-running, write-in candidate because Pat Paulsen and Harold Stassen have died."

Why the interest in the number 22? Among a long list of reasons, George Washington was born on the 22nd and it's the number of letters in "United States government." The number also sounds like the name of a former Nobel Peace Prize winner: Bishop Desmond Tutu.

Some people actually pass the $22 bills. Love 22 said a store clerk once gave $21 in change for one. Love 22 was charged in federal court in New Orleans in 1981 with circulating a handbill or advertisement in the likeness of U.S. currency, but the judge found in his favor.

Love 22 said he would campaign for president downtown during his stay in Juneau.

Petersburg hiker turns up during search

JUNEAU - About an hour after a search was mobilized to find an overdue hiker Thursday, he returned to the apartment where he had been staying in Juneau.

Frederick Triem, 62, of Petersburg, set out alone on his planned four-day hike through the Granite Creek Basin over Blackerby Ridge on Sunday afternoon. He had let his wife and a family friend know that he planned to exit the woods near Wire Street on Wednesday. The search started at about 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

Alaska State Trooper Sgt. David Tracy said three Juneau Mountain Rescue teams were on the trail during the search. Weather prevented a search from the air, he added.

Troopers later reported that the search was canceled, when it was learned that Triem was back in the city. Triem reportedly was delayed by fog on the trail. He was described as uninjured and in good shape.

Ketchikan moves toward government consolidation

KETCHIKAN - A citizens' group has taken the first step toward seeking a vote on consolidating Ketchikan's two governments.

The group submitted a petition Wednesday seeking a public vote on formation of a charter commission. The commission would be charged with drafting a charter for the consolidation of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and the City of Ketchikan.

The Ketchikan One Government Committee said it submitted nearly 900 signatures to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Clerk's office. If 598 of those signatures are verified as registered voters, the charter question will go to voters in October.

Inlet fishermen say fish closures unnecessary

KENAI - Cook Inlet commercial fishermen say state Fish and Game officials needlessly prevented them from harvesting thousands of sockeye salmon this summer.

They say that cost fishermen and the community millions of dollars and may burden streams with too many spawning salmon.

"The commercial salmon harvest in the upper inlet was full of frustration, disappointment and lost economic opportunities," wrote Roland Maw, executive director of the United Cook Inlet Drifters Association, in a letter of complaint to state leaders.

A state Department of Fish and Game biologist Jeff Fox acknowledged that the department's plan for managing the fishery didn't keep pace with a larger-than-expected sockeye run.

"We tried to follow the plans as best we could, and in doing so, we had a lot of fish escape into the river," Fox said. "You never know what we have until they're right on us."

According to Fish and Game, of nearly 6 million sockeye that returned to the inlet, more than 1.5 million escaped into the Kenai and Kasilof rivers. That is nearly half a million above the department's high-end biological goals for those rivers.

Cook Inlet Aquaculture Center Executive Director Gary Fandrey said the large numbers of fish allowed to enter the rivers, combined with low water levels, could hurt future returns.

Stryker base to add jobs but pressure resources

FAIRBANKS - Transforming Fort Wainwright into a base for a new Army Stryker Brigade will mean more jobs locally and more adverse effects for the environment, the Army said.

Army representatives were in Fairbanks on Wednesday to give a presentation about changes expected after the new mobile infantry brigade is in place, answer questions from citizens and collect comments to be included in a final environmental impact statement.

According to a draft environmental impact statement, the most visible change the Stryker brigade will bring is more people. The population of Fort Wainwright is expected to grow from 11,600 to about 14,500.

Possible negative impacts include soil erosion or contamination, melting of permafrost, disturbance of wetlands and more demand on local fisheries . "Some contaminants may be persistent in soils, taken up by plants, and entered into the food chain," the documents states. "Permafrost is particularly vulnerable to impact from surface disturbance, and impacts are likely to be long-term and irreversible."



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