AK Beat: Several injured in early morning Bethel fight

Alaska Dispatch News

Multiple people wounded in Bethel fight: The Bethel Police Department says three people suffered cuts in a fight early Tuesday. Callers who reported the fight said the combatants were using “edged weapons and impact weapons,” the police department reported. Bethel police got the call about the fight shortly after 3 a.m. Officers responded to the Haroldson subdivision and contacted 20 people. The officers investigated and determined three people had suffered knife cuts during a fight. Medics transported the injured three to a local hospital, where they were treated and released, the police department reported. The cause of the altercation has yet to be determined, Bethel investigator Amy Davis wrote in a news release. She asked anyone with information about the fight to call her at 907-543-3781. A police department employee referred all questions to the investigator, who was said to be unavailable, and refused to allow Alaska Dispatch News to speak with another officer.

Polar bears' diet shifts toward land-based food: Polar bears are eating fewer seals and more caribou, geese and goose eggs, as they adapt to longer Arctic summers and less sea ice, according to a light-hearted report from environmental news site Grist. Sea ice is the bears’ main habitat, and concern over their future as a species has grown as the ice has shrunk. News that the bears are able to adapt their diets is welcome; “[P]olar bears are spending about 3 more weeks on land each year than they did in the 1980s. At the speed arctic ice is disappearing, adult male bears could be spending half their year on land by 2050. Now we know that at least they can find food there,” Grist writes, though they add that the news does have one significant caveat: “Polar bears are extremely skilled and, for lack of a better word, lazy seal hunters: The bears lounge on ice flows waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting seal. They may have to work harder to catch caribou and geese, however. If they expend more energy hunting than they take in with a kill, the news could still be bad for bears.”

Young said to break through police line at Capitol: Alaska’s lone representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, Republican Don Young, may be in trouble with the Capitol Police, after barging through a police line intended to keep Congress members and staff out of an asbestos cleanup area, reports Roll Call. “According to multiple sources, Young told an officer trying to stop him from entering the Capitol: ‘I don’t care if the building is closed,’ cursed at the cop, then barged into the scene of the cleanup,” the Capitol news site reports. The site later tried to track down Young, but was told he had “no comment” on the incident. A Capitol Police spokesperson also declined to address the incident with Roll Call. UPDATE: Young spokesman Matt Shuckerow told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the incident was a simple misunderstanding that was blown out of proportion.

Bone discovery halts Kotzebue airport project: A human hipbone, unearthed while workers were digging a sewer line trench, has stopped work on a construction project to lengthen the runway at Ralph Wien Memorial airport in Kotzebue, reports the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “The find wasn't unexpected, as the shoreline has been inhabited for thousands of years,” a state Department of Transportation engineer told the paper, who also said the bone was “pretty old.” Recently the stone remnants of a prehistoric qargi -- a communal dwelling -- were discovered near the Northwest Arctic hub village.

Beers of the sea: In January came the unusual news that Icelandic brewery Stedji was brewing a beer made with ground up whale bones, irking some activists in the process. But now a pair of scientists -- one a microbiologist working for a Virginia brewery, the other an amateur paleontologist -- have upped the ante: They’ve brewed a beer from a yeast collected from a 35-million-year-old whale fossil. To be clear, the yeast itself wasn’t that old -- it was living on the specimen: “[Jasper} Akerboom, a former research specialist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, didn't think the prehistoric bones could sustain yeast's appetite,” NPR writes. “But in the name of science and great beer, he swabbed away. The results, he said, surprised him. While most fossils failed to create suitable yeast, Akerboom found one that fermented.” Alaskans not interested in whale-bone beer might have their interested piqued by another ocean-related brew, also reported on by NPR: a beer from Belfast, Maine brewed with locally gathered sugar kelp.