Alaska Digest

Posted: Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Meadow Lane fire extinguished

JUNEAU - Capital City Fire and Rescue crews put out a fire early Tuesday at a two-story house on Meadow Lane in the Mendenhall Valley.

Firefighters responded at 2:11 a.m. with 22 crew members, finding fire on the second-floor back deck of the residence, and reaching into the attic and kitchen. They put out the blaze after extending a hose to the back deck.

They reported flames had damaged the kitchen and attic. The second floor of the residence sustained heavy smoke damage. Smoke damage on the first floor reportedly was light.

Firefighters reported there were no injuries and all of the residents were accounted for.

NOAA offers award for recovered shark tags

JUNEAU - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Alaska is offering a $200 reward for electronic tags retrieved from Pacific sleeper sharks in Lynn Canal and Chatham Strait.

The tags, which record depth and temperature, are attached externally near the dorsal fin. Data from the tags will help scientists determine sleeper shark behaviors and conditions of the marine environment, the agency said.

Forty-five tags were released this summer. The tags record and archive data for as long as 10 years.

Pacific Sleeper sharks are occasionally encountered in commercial black cod and halibut longline fisheries.

Anyone recovering a tag is asked to record the recovery location, save the tag and return it to Dean Courtney of NOAA Auke Bay Laboratory in Juneau for a $200 reward. He can be called at (907) 789-6006 or 789-6060; faxed at (907) 789-6608; or e-mailed at dean.courtney@noaa.gov.

Lawsuit alleges racial bias at university

FAIRBANKS - A former University of Alaska attorney has filed a lawsuit against the university, UA President Mark Hamilton and other officials, saying he was denied promotions and eventually lost his job because he is black.

Paul Eaglin, who was fired in May 2002, contends he and other blacks were unfairly left out of hiring and promotion practices for upper-level jobs.

Eaglin, who is representing himself, did not receive pay and benefits comparable to white employees in similar situations, according to the lawsuit, filed Aug. 29 in Fairbanks. He also contends he was excluded from weekly meetings when topics such as his workload were discussed. He claims retaliation by university officials, eventually in the form of termination, for speaking out against instances of racial discrimination.

The lawsuit is seeking an award of more than $100,000, with an exact amount to be determined during a trial. The lawsuit also names university general counsel James Parrish and James Johnsen, vice president of faculty and labor relations.

Derr named boards and commissions director

JUNEAU - Gov. Frank H. Murkowski announced Tuesday that Laraine Derr of Juneau has been appointed his director of boards and commissions, effective Oct. 15.

Derr recently retired as president and CEO of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association.

Derr, 61, was with ASHNHA since 1997, working as a liaison with federal and state agencies, and on advocacy, legislation and education projects related to health care.

Before that, she was head of the School of Business and Public Administration at the University of Alaska Southeast for two years. She was commissioner of the Department of Revenue during the last year of the Hickel administration in 1994, after serving as deputy commissioner for several years.

PenAir assumes Unalaska route

ANCHORAGE - Alaska Airlines plans to turn its Dutch Harbor-Unalaska route over to PenAir in January.

Alaska spokesman Jack Evans said the airline can no longer afford to run a jet at roughly half capacity and to meet safety requirements on Dutch Harbor's short runway, only to have to turn around an hour into a flight at times.

The PenAir flights will be under contract to Alaska Airlines and are expected to increase the number of landings.

Alaska Airlines had canceled one in every five flights because the company's jet needed better weather to land than the Aleutians often provided, Evans said. The PenAir flights will be in smaller turboprops.

Dutch Harbor is the nation's largest fishing port, based on number of pounds landed. Passengers sometimes back up by the hundreds in Anchorage during times of bad weather and peak travel, Evans said.



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