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Gov: New name for census area named for confederate officer

Jul 02, 2015 -- 11:30am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Gov. Bill Walker has made official Alaska's intent to change the name of a census area named for confederate military officer Wade Hampton. Walker sent a letter to U.S. Census Bureau Director John Thompson, saying he planned to now refer to the region in western Alaska as the Kusilvak Census Area to honor the wishes of local residents. The area is home to the Kusilvak Mountains. Last month, the city and Native village of Hooper Bay passed a resolution calling for that specific name change. The president of the Association of Village Council Presidents says the push began months before the deadly June shootings in South Carolina that brought renewed attention to remnants of confederate history. But Myron Naneng Sr. said that elevated the issue.

State will discontinue filling grayling in Alaska lakes

Jul 02, 2015 -- 11:15am
- FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Funding cuts have forced Alaska hatcheries to stop raising Arctic grayling. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the manager of Ruth Burnett Sport Fish Hatchery in Fairbanks, Gary George, says the state chose to cut grayling because the small, native fish are disproportionately expensive to raise. The canceled grayling program makes up 11 percent of the fish that the Fairbanks hatchery planned to stock next year. The decision also removes grayling production at the William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery in Anchorage. Stocking will continue at near-planned levels for rainbow trout, salmon and arctic char. George says it'll be easy to restore production at the hatchery if funding for stocked grayling were to be restored in the future.

North Pole man sickened by 'rabbit fever'

Jul 02, 2015 -- 11:00am
- FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials are warning residents after a North Pole man was sickened by tularemia, a bacterial infection known as "rabbit fever." The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports ( ) that the man became sick after skinning a hare this spring. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, human tularemia cases in the United States are relatively rare, with fewer than 200 cases reported per year between 1990 and 2013. Tularemia symptoms include fever, sore throat and swollen glands. It can be fatal if untreated. It's often transmitted to people handling infected rabbits, hares, beavers and muskrats. Fish and Game advises that Alaska residents try to keep their animals away from hares, which will be slower if they are infected, making them easier to catch.

Ketchikan man remains missing after 6 months

Jul 02, 2015 -- 10:45am
- KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) - The family of a Ketchikan man who has been missing for six months has filed a presumptive death petition. The Ketchikan Daily News reports that 38-year-old Roy Banhart went missing either Dec. 28 or Dec. 29 after trying to get into a taxi near a bar. Ketchikan Police Chief Alan Bengaard said in January that Banhart did not leave the city by commercial transportation, but that the department has had missing person cases that last several years in the past. In an interview Tuesday Deputy Police Chief Josh Dossett said the case is still open but that there have been no new developments. Banhart's cousin MaryAnn Bright, of Anchorage, filed a presumptive death petition in Ketchikan District Court. A jury will be called to look into the disappearance.

University of Alaska Southeast director won't take job

Jul 02, 2015 -- 10:30am
- SITKA, Alaska (AP) - Just over a week before he was supposed to start, the newly named director of the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus says he won't be showing up for work. The Daily Sitka Sentinel reports that Chris Gilmer emailed UAS Chancellor Rick Caulfield Tuesday to inform him that family circumstances and other opportunities will keep him from reporting for duty. Caulfield says he will be in Sitka next week, at which time he will meet with the community advisory council to plan the next steps for an interim leadership arrangement. Gilmer was selected for the position in February to replace Jeff Johnston. Gilmer has been core professor and chair of the Department of Undergraduate Writing at Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota since 2009.

Man dies after apparently shooting self in Alaska park

Jul 02, 2015 -- 10:15am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - An Arizona has man died after apparently shooting himself with a gun at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. National Park Service officials say it's unknown if the shooting was accidental or deliberate. Authorities say rangers responded to a report of a gunshot Tuesday morning and found the 22-year-old man, who was dead at the scene. The man's name has not been released. Park spokeswoman Miriam Valentine says the shooting occurred at the Riley Creek campground, which is located just inside the park near the entrance. Valentine says the man was visiting the park with his father, but the father was not present when the shooting occurred. Alaska State Troopers are investigating the incident along with the Park Service.
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