Alaska Digest

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2007

No damage from Cook Inlet quake

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FAIRBANKS - A slight earthquake rumbled the Cook Inlet region, but there were no immediate reports of damage.

The Alaska Earthquake Information Center says the magnitude 4.4 temblor was felt in Anchorage and Palmer.

The center says earthquake, reported about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, was centered about 60 miles northwest of Anchorage. It was located at a depth of about 65 miles.

Hunter still missing near Delta Junction

FAIRBANKS - Alaska State Troopers are leading a search and rescue operation for a hunter missing northeast of Delta Junction.

Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters says the hunter is Lenny Perry, 54, of Montana.

Perry was hunting along Porcupine Creek.

The pilot who flew out to pick him up said he found a note on the airstrip on Sunday indicating Perry intended to walk to the Pogo gold mine.

Peters says Perry is an experienced hunter and outdoorsman.

Jury selection to begin in murder trial

ANCHORAGE - A judge is calling in more than double the normal number of potential jurors for questioning in the murder trial of a former stripper.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Philip Volland says a wider pool will help to ensure an unbiased jury sits on the high-profile case of Mechele Linehan. She's charged with murder in the death of a fiancé, Kent Leppink.

Volland says he'll ask about 120 potential jurors to avoid following media coverage of the case.

Dead whale to serve as lesson in Unalaska

UNALASKA - Officials are hoping to use a 40-foot dead humpback off Amaknak Island as an educational tool.

"The idea was to bring it back to town so people could appreciate the grandeur of an amazing sea animal like this, but also so that we can let the whale live on by examining why it may have died," said marine biologist Reid Brewer, with the local University of Alaska Fairbanks extension office.

The whale was discovered Sunday and towed from the other side of Unalaska Bay.

Brian Rankin spotted the dead whale Sunday afternoon in Broad Bay, and Brewer and Don Graves towed the animal tail-first behind Graves' boat across Unalaska Bay to Little South America, where it's now anchored to the beach and floating just offshore.

Brewer is hoping a specialist from the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward will visit this week to perform a necropsy on the whale, which weighs between 35 and 40 tons.

It was probably dead for a couple of days before Rankin found it, and there aren't any signs of human involvement in its death, Brewer said.

This is the first time a whale of this size has washed up off of Unalaska in more than a decade, although there have been seven smaller marine mammal strandings here in the last several years.

Hunter kills moose on private land

HOMER - The hunter who gave a Homer family a rude awakening two weeks ago when he shot a cow moose in their front yard has been cited - but not for trespassing.

Instead, Alaska Wildlife Troopers charged Harry Forquer, 71, with taking game in a closed season for shooting a cow moose without a permit.

Homeowner Jeff Middleton confronted Forquer and another hunter in his driveway at 7:45 a.m. Aug. 24 after Forquer allegedly shot a cow moose in the Middletons' yard.

"You pulled in a private driveway 100 feet from a house and you didn't know if anyone was in here or where you were shooting or if there were kids walking in and out," Middleton said he told the hunters. "Do you make a habit of this, going onto private property and shooting moose?"

Middleton chased the hunters off his property and called troopers. They told him that because he hadn't posted his property, the hunters could shoot and harvest a moose on the Middletons' land.

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