Posted: Thursday, October 26, 2000

Restaurant owner injured in crash

JUNEAU - Robert "Buzz" Ritter, owner of Juneau's Paradise Lunch and Bakery, was injured in a motor vehicle accident Monday in New Mexico.

Ritter, 53, suffered broken bones in his hip, thigh, lower leg and foot, said his wife Monica, reached at his bedside at University Hospital in Albuquerque this morning.

"He has had surgery on his leg, and they are going to do more surgery. But he is stabilized; he is doing OK," Monica Ritter said. "We are just so thankful, because there was no vertebra, no head and no organ injury."

"He and my son Jake were on their way back from a motorcycle trip from Prince Rupert to Pennsylvania," Ritter said. The accident happened on an interstate highway south of Santa Fe.

Dennis Gellhouse, a fan of Ritter's restaurant, said a recreational vehicle made a U-turn in front of the motorcyclists. "Buzz hit it broadside. His son was behind him. (Jake) had to dump his motorcycle, but was saved by his leathers and helmet," Gellhouse said.

The restaurant may reopen in January without Ritter, his wife said. "We do not know yet how long his recovery will take." Jake Ritter, 24, is fine, she said.

Lighthouse preservation bill signed

WASHINGTON - Ten Alaska lighthouses could benefit from a preservation bill signed this week by President Clinton.

The bill, introduced by U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, sets up a process to preserve historic lighthouses that the federal government no longer needs.

Under the bill, nonprofit groups could take over the lighthouses at no cost to ensure their maintenance and preservation. The measure also calls for the lighthouses to revert back to the federal government if local preservation efforts fail.

Several Southeast Alaska groups, including three based in Juneau, already have leases on old lighthouses. If no one steps forward to help preserve a lighthouse, the federal government would allow it to be sold.

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