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AK Beat: Hooper Bay man drowns while subsistence fishing

Alaska Dispatch News

Man drowns while subsistence fishing: An 18-year-old man drowned overnight Saturday while subsistence fishing in a slough near the Southwest Alaska community of Hooper Bay, according to Alaska State Troopers. Darin Long of Hooper Bay was last seen fishing on the banks of the Napareayak Slough at 11:30 p.m. Saturday. When he failed to return about a half hour later, family members living in a nearby residence became concerned, troopers spokesperson Megan Peters said. His body was found by his family, tangled in a partially-deployed fishing net that had been left behind by a previous party, Peters said. It was unclear whether he had become entangled in the net before or after his death, she said. Troopers received a call about the drowning at 1 a.m. from nearby fishermen who had heard the screams of Long's family members. His family pulled him from the water and tried to resuscitate him, and resuscitation efforts continued at the Hooper Bay clinic. Long was pronounced deceased at 3 a.m. Sunday. Long was not wearing a personal flotation device, troopers wrote, and there were no signs of foul play. 

Juneau oil-tax debate to be broadcast live to state libraries: With just five weeks until Alaska voters consider the referendum to repeal the oil-production tax cut, a pair of experts on both sides of the issue will go head-to-head this evening in a debate in Juneau that will be broadcast in some public libraries, including in Anchorage. Squaring off in support of the repeal will be Rep. Les Gara and oil, gas and mining attorney Lisa Weissler. Opposing will be Jim Clark, who was chief of staff to former Gov. Frank Murkowski, and Bill Corbus, Murkowski’s Revenue Commissioner, according to a statement from Gara’s office. The forum runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday at Juneau’s Mendenhall Valley Public Library. It will be broadcast live to other public libraries around Alaska. That includes the public conference room on the first floor of the Loussac Library in Anchorage, next to the Assembly Chambers. Other sites include additional public libraries in Juneau, the Craig Public Library, and the Kenai Community Library, Gara’s statement said. The forum has been organized by Juneau Votes, a newly formed group that calls itself a non-partisan collaborative community project trying to increase voter registration and turnout in Juneau. 

Rescued wolf pups are off to Minnesota: Five abandoned wolf pups found by firefighters battling the Funny River Fire on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula in May are expected to arrive at the Minnesota Zoo Tuesday, reports the Minneapolis-Star Tribune. The pair will arrive in Minneapolis on a Delta Air Lines flight, accompanied by staff from the Alaska Zoo, but won’t likely be in an exhibit open to the public until sometime in mid-August, the paper reports. “The pups will be in quarantine for a month while they are monitored and blood and fecal tests done to ensure they carry no disease or parasites to the zoo,” the newspaper reported. Once they’re given a clean bill of health, “The five siblings likely will boost attendance by creating the wolf pack the zoo has long sought,” the article reported. “They will have free run of the spacious wolf enclosure on the Medtronic Minnesota Trail. They will be spayed and neutered because they are not an endangered species and the zoo avoids inbreeding.”

Colorado and Alaska's marijuana ballot measure: What can Alaska voters considering a ballot measure to legalize marijuana learn from Colorado’s experience? Probably not much, suggests a report on the subject from Politico: “[T]here’s a big problem with the rest of the country looking to Colorado for answers, experts say: There has not been a comprehensive independent study on marijuana implementation in the state. The experts warn that is too early for states to be drawing hard and fast conclusions from the Colorado experience, which only began its implementation in January.” Still, that hasn’t stopped advocates on both sides of the issue in Alaska (and in Oregon, the other state considering a legalization measure this election cycle) from using the Rocky Mountain state to back up claims about the pros and cons of legalized pot, Politico notes, with anti-legalization activists touting two deaths with a connection to edible marijuana, while pro-legalization advocates pointed to a 10 percent drop in Denver crime stats since legalization.

French adventurer resumes Northwest Passage paddle: As word came that one adventurer attempting to sail the Northwest passage needed to be rescued from the ice northeast of Barrow, another man set out to complete a similar voyage -- this one under oar power. Frenchman Charles Hedrich set out last year from a beach in Wales, at the tip of the Seward Peninsula to paddle from the Bering Strait to Greenland, but was iced in at Tuktoyaktuk in Canada’s Northwest Territories, according to a report from the CBC. Hedrich has now departed from there, headed for Greenland, the report says.