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AK Beat: Man expected to survive after Interior Alaska bear mauling

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch
mackenzieandjohn / cc via flickr

Bear mauls hunter near McGrath: A grizzly bear mauled a Rhode Island man who shot it on a guided Interior Alaska hunting trip about 50 miles west of McGrath late Monday, according to Alaska State Troopers. The man, identified as John Matson in a Tuesday trooper dispatch, shot the bear in the Beaver Mountain area and chased it into high brush, troopers said. The grizzly attacked him before it was shot several more times. The bear ran away and was apparently not seen again, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said. Aniak troopers took a report about 9:20 p.m. Tuesday but were unable to fly to the injured man due to poor weather. Troopers requested help from the Alaska Air National Guard’s Rescue Coordination Center at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, who reached Matson Tuesday. An assistant hunting guide and another hunter were able to stem Matson’s bleeding somewhat, and the military rescuers delivered him to an Anchorage hospital, troopers said. Matson was expected to survive, though Peters said she did not have an update on his condition late Tuesday.

Small quake rocks Anchorage: Yep, you really felt it. Anchorage residents got a small jolt from a magnitude-4.0 earthquake Tuesday evening. According to preliminary reports, the quake was centered 16 miles northeast of Anchorage and struck at 5:02 p.m. 

Marathon rower quits after 1,200 miles across Arctic Alaska: Charles Hedrich, a French adventurer, on Monday abandoned his attempt to become the first person to row solo across the Northwest Passage.  Hedrich pulled into the Canadian village of Tuktoyaktuk, on the Beaufort Sea, 600 miles southeast of Barrow, Alaska, and called it quits.  On his blog, Hedrich said he was running into increasing sea ice, and plummeting temperatures.  Hedrich said he will winter the boat in the village and begin the rest of the journey next summer.  In all, he has completed about 1,200 miles of his 4,400 mile journey.

'Cross-dressing for a cause': Get ready for a bit of a geographical smorgasbord: 70-year-old Salem, Ore. resident Ron Rhodehamel recently hiked 33 miles from Skagway, Alaska to Bennett, a town in Yukon Territory in Canada, on behalf of Australian nonprofit One Girl benefitting children in the African nation of Sierra Leone. Whew. The kicker? He did it all in a blue-and-white checkered dress, according to the Statesman-Journal. Rhodehamel's trek was part of a fundraising campaign dubbed "Do it in a Dress" that aims to help African girls attend school. Rhodehamel raised $1,711 -- including $5 donated by a young girl in Alaska -- which should be enough to send at least five girls to school.

Scare a bear with your cellphone's glare: How do you beat back an attacking polar bear? We’re not really sure and won’t endorse any specific method of defense – the Alaska Department of Fish and Game offers some tips here – but when all else fails, you’re drunk, or the bear spray isn’t handy, consider thrusting your cellphone into the bear’s face like one Canadian did this weekend. The Canadian Broadcast Corp. (CBC) reports that a Winnepeg man used his phone to distract a polar bear that charged him and bit him in an industrial area near Churchill, Manitoba, early Sunday morning; listen to the radio broadcast story here.

PETA to Mayor Stubbs: stay indoors:  Among the thousands of well-wishers concerned about the health of Stubbs, the 16-year-old cat who doubles as Talkeetna’s honorary mayor, is the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which couldn’t resist offering advice, too. In short, PETA says, Stubbs should remain indoors unless he’s on “supervised walks with a harness and a leash.” Among the dangers PETA found on the mean streets of Talkeetna:  cars, rat poison, toxic antifreeze, animal dealers who sell critters to laboratories, nasty animals, communicable diseases from other cats, and intolerant neighbors. “Mayor Stubbs risks all nine of his lives every time he goes outside unsupervised,” PETA warned. No word from Stubbs, who continues to recover from a deep gash from a dog, a punctured lung and crushed sternum. 

Generous grant from Freddies benefits Alaska homeless: A last-minute grant from Portland, Ore.-based Fred Meyer will allow the Brother Francis Shelter in Anchorage to operate an overflow shelter for the homeless in Alaska’s largest city this winter. The $30,000 – raised by employees of Freddies, which operates at least 11 stories across the 49th state – will supplant a federal grant that had funded the operation of a 124-bed overflow shelter, according to a story in the Catholic Anchor. Overflow beds are located at Bean’s Café, an Anchorage soup kitchen dependent on volunteers that provides food and services to the less fortunate, mentally ill and homeless of Alaska.