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AK Beat: Eagle River brown bear put down by state wildlife trooper

Alaska Dispatch

Officer kills Eagle River brown bear: An Alaska Wildlife Trooper shot and killed a brown bear in Eagle River Wednesday night following complaints from residents about bears wandering through their neighborhood. Trooper Mike Peltier responded to the neighborhood after an initial report that two women fed a bear from their balcony. Troopers eventually charged 71-year-old Karen Johnson with negligently feeding wild game, a misdemeanor carrying a $310 fine. Trash was strewn about the elderly woman’s front and back lawns – rotting vegetables, molding tins of food and pop cans. Johnson isn’t the only person to blame for bringing the brown bear -- as well as two black bears -- to the neighborhood. Others had left trash unsecured, too, Peltier said. The trooper contacted Fish and Game, and a decision was made to put the bear down. Peltier spent three nights watching the bear and waiting for a safe opportunity to shoot. A single shot to the head killed the bear Wednesday night. The bear was 2 or 3 years old, weighing about 300 pounds, he said. But the animal may have appeared larger than it was, as the brown bear’s winter coat was puffed up. Wildlife troopers have not killed another bear in the Anchorage area due to safety concerns this summer. 

Alaskan guilty of drugs, firearms charges gets 15 years in prison: A 36-year-old Anchorage man was sentenced in federal court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to drug-conspiracy charges and owning a firearm to support the illicit drug transactions, according to U.S. Attorney for Alaska Karen Loeffler. Jason Gerald Woods will serve 15 years in prison for the crimes. According to the prosecutor, Woods worked with two other dealers -- Michael Dean Miller and Boaphan Sengchareun, who received 10 and 12 years in prison, respectively -- to sell more than 40 grams of methamphetamine over a six-month period last year. Woods sold an additional 146 grams to an undercover officer. The meth deals culminated in a plan to trade drugs for automatic weapons. During the trade, Woods was packing a loaded 9mm pistol. 

Tosi rules out running for Anchorage mayor: Mao Tosi -- former defensive lineman for the Arizona Cardinals and creator of the youth organization, Alaska Pride -- has ruled out a run for the Anchorage Mayor’s seat in 2015. But don’t expect Tosi -- who spend his days managing the Northway Mall in East Anchorage -- to be missing from the city’s political free-for-all on election day. Tosi said he is considering a run for Anchorage Assembly, during the municipal elections in April 2014 instead. “I feel like right now, I need to focus more of my energies on getting legislative experience (on the Assembly) and spending time with my kids,” Tosi said. Tosi did not rule out a possible mayoral run in several years when his children will be older.

Anchorage-based PJ tells tale of Afghanistan firefight: When not acting as guardian angels – pulling injured, lost, and endangered people out of the Alaska wilderness -- pararescue jumpers from the Alaska Air National Guard sometimes take fire in Afghanistan.  Maj. Matthew Komatsu, the director of operations for the 212 Rescue Squadron, based in Anchorage, wrote a first-hand account for the New York Times of his unit’s involvement in an hours-long firefight with insurgents in the Helmud Province of Afghanistan.  The skirmish – which killed two Marines, and left at least six insurgents dead – was complicated by the insurgents wearing U.S. Army uniforms, and encounters with friendly British troops, whose accent made communication difficult during the fighting.

Booming bike sales: Bicycles are out-selling cars in Europe, and closing in on them in the U.S. Is it a global trend to reduce oil consumption and get healthy, or merely a reflection of attempts at personal cost cutting in the wake of the global recession? Some point to the former. The Washington Times suggests a "fundamental change in how people in developed nations get around that has been taking root since before the recent financial crisis, even in the U.S. "As more people adopt cycling as a lifestyle, cities provide better cycling infrastructure, and bike-share programs continue to pop up, bikes are only going to continue to increase in popularity in the U.S.,'' wrote reporter Laura Sesana. There are no numbers on bike use in Alaska cities, but despite the marginal infrastructure in Anchorage, the number of year-round bicycle commuters has visibly increased in the past several years.