Alaska Digest

Posted: Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Fort Wainwright boy receives hero award

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FAIRBANKS - A 7-year-old Fort Wainwright boy has been honored with a heroism award for saving the life of his mother in November.

The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America honored Michael Wilson for lifting his mother's submerged head out of the family's bathtub.

At the time of the rescue, Michael was a brand new Tiger Cub Scout and a first grader at Arctic Light Elementary School on Fort Wainwright. His father, Robert Wilson, a staff sergeant with the 117th Infantry, 172nd Stryker Brigade, was out of state undergoing jaw surgery.

Michael's alertness to his mother's well-being started early in his life when she began having seizures, his parents said.

"He's always been like that, doing the right thing, taking care of his mother," said Robert Wilson. "If Jennifer falls down, he's there to help her up. He's pretty much watched me when she has seizures. He knows what to do."

Strykers will be home by mid-December

ANCHORAGE - Loved ones of about 4,000 members of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team can start planning those "Welcome Home" parties.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said Monday she learned form Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Army Secretary Francis Harvey that the 120-day redeployment of the 172nd Stryker Brigade will not be extended, meaning the soldiers should be home by mid-December.

"By firmly committing to the 120-day window, as so many of us had asked the military to do, families throughout Alaska can look forward to a truly joyous holiday season," Murkowski said in a prepared statement.

Congressional offices were notified through official Army channels over the weekend of the Dec. 13 timeframe, her release said.

In late July, members of the 172nd Stryker Brigade, based at Fort Wainwright, were told just days before they were preparing to return to Alaska that their one-year tour in Iraq would be extended.

Some soldiers had returned to Alaska and were sent back to Iraq. Harvey said in a letter to Murkowski in August that the extension would last 120 days, likely until mid-December.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld met with soldiers' families later in August and declined to guarantee that timeline.

Managers disagree on hunting in refuge

ANCHORAGE - State and federal managers continue to disagree over whether a sliver of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge should be opened to small game hunting with firearms.

The section of the federal refuge north of Skilak Lake mostly has been set aside for wildlife viewing for two decades.

The Alaska Board of Game proposed allowing the hunting of small game with guns, as Kenai Peninsula residents remember doing when they were young.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service so far has favored expanding wildlife watching along Skilak Lake Road and keeping current hunting restrictions.

Skilak Lakes is about 15 miles long. It's fed by the Kenai River near one end. The river flows out of it near the other.

Current rules allow only bow hunting for hares, spruce grouse and other small animals. Some years, when the moose population is high, moose hunting is allowed.

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