Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, November 19, 2004

Charges leveled against Kenai Classic organizers

KENAI - A state lawmaker wants the Department of Revenue to investigate whether the association which holds the Kenai River Classic is abusing its status as a nonprofit.

Rep. Kelly Wolf, a Kenai Republican, said the Kenai River Sportfishing Association doesn't have a gaming permit, inappropriately lobbies on fishery issues and doesn't spend enough on habitat restoration or education.

Kelly said he contacted a revenue investigator over the issue of a gaming permit. Gary Dodson, chief investigator for the revenue department Gaming Unit, would neither confirm nor deny whether an investigation is ongoing.

"The people of the Kenai Peninsula have long questioned what is taking place with the dollars," Wolf said.

The Kenai River Classic is an invitation-only fishing derby which attracts powerful politicians on the national level, corporate leaders and lobbyists. Seven U.S. Senators and Commerce Secretary Donald Evans were among the dignitaries at last year's event hosted by Sen. Ted Stevens.

The association has dedicated more than $2 million from the Classic directly to riverbank restoration and public education programs. But it has also amassed an endowment of more than $1.7 million, Wolf said.

Coghill wants to name bridge after dad

JUNEAU - House Majority Leader John Coghill wants to name a Parks Highway bridge after his father, a former lawmaker and lieutenant governor criticized for the structure when it was constructed in the 1960s.

Under legislation sponsored by Coghill, the Nenana River bridge at Rex would be called the "Jack Coghill Bridge to the Interior."

The younger Coghill, a Republican from North Pole, said his father secured funding for the bridge in 1961 before the Parks Highway was built.

As a result, the project was dubbed by critics "Jack Coghill's Bridge to Nowhere."

"The 'Jack Coghill Bridge to the Interior' is kind of the joke on that," John Coghill said.

Microsoft takes on teen over Web site name

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Mike Rowe knew he needed a catchy name for his Web site design company.

"Since my name is Mike Rowe, I thought it would be funny to add 'soft' to the end of it," said Rowe, a 17-year-old computer geek and Grade 12 student in Victoria, British Columbia.

As in, but not quite, Microsoft Corp.

But the folks at the world's biggest software company are not amused. They've demanded that he give up his domain name.

Rowe registered the name in August. In November, he received a letter from Microsoft's Canadian lawyers, Smart & Biggar, informing him he was committing copyright infringement.

He wrote back asking to be compensated for giving up his name. Microsoft's lawyers offered him $10 in U.S. funds. Then he asked for $10,000.

On Thursday, he received a 25-page letter accusing him of trying to force Microsoft into giving him a large settlement.

"I never even thought of getting anything out of them," he said, adding that he only asked for the $10,000 because he was "sort of mad at them for only offering 10 bucks."

Canadian Coast Guard kept tabs on U.S. ships

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia - Canadian officials were concerned about the presence of U.S. Coast Guard ships in its ports and the possibility they present a tempting target for terrorists, newly released documents suggest.

Five months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Canadian coast guard began quietly collecting information on the movements of its American counterparts while in the country's waters. A Feb. 18, 2002, memo to coast guard regional offices asked whether any American Coast Guard ships were "present or visiting" Canadian ports.

"Do USCG vessels routinely visit your region?" said the memo written by Peter Ballard, a senior Canadian coast guard official.

"What are the capabilities of these ships? I have the CCG capabilities but not USCG capabilities. If you have USCG vessels visit could you tell me the type and anything about its capability that only knowing the type would not tell me."

Snowfall a boon to Washington ski areas

SPOKANE, Wash. - Early snow, a fortunate holiday schedule and even more snow have combined to produce a booming early season for ski areas in Washington and the Northwest, operators said.

At most areas, early snow that allowed resorts to open on or before Thanksgiving has doubled the number of skier visits from the year before, they said.

And a series of Pacific storms rolling across the state this winter have dumped more snow than usual on ski slopes, continuing to attract skiers.

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