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AK Beat: Troopers release DUI numbers for sober driving campaign

Alaska Dispatch News

Troopers release DUI numbers for sober driving campaign: Alaska State Troopers have released their statistics for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over national campaign that ended Tuesday. Troopers reportedly arrested 74 commuters for driving under the influence during the enforcement effort, which ran from Aug. 13 to Sept. 2. Sixty-six drivers were charged with misdemeanor DUIs while an additional eight offenders were arrested for felony DUIs, troopers say. A total of 735 drivers who troopers contacted as the result of REDDI (Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately) calls were determined not to be driving intoxicated. Also among the stats: 83 people were charged for driving with revoked or suspended licenses, 1,322 citations were issued for speeding and 343 tickets for seatbelt and other “occupant restraint” violations. During the campaign, there were 111 damage-only wrecks and 23 crashes with injuries on the Alaska roads. A single fatal collision occurred, killing two people. Dontaveon Green and Patricia Williams were returning to Fairbanks from the Alaska State Fair Monday when they died in the head-on collision on the Parks Highway. Grant sources distributed through the state’s Highway Safety Office funded the campaign.

CSI: Arctic Sea Ice: The culprit was a polar bear, with seagulls as possible accomplices. The victim, a seal off Norway’s Svalbard Islands. But while scientists cracked the case by use of CSI-style forensics -- with DNA taken from the bear’s footprint -- the aim isn’t to secure a homicide conviction, but to track populations of endangered species, including the bears, but also snow leopards, and maybe eventually, animals in warmer climates, reports Britain’s The Guardian. The scientists’ ability to gather DNA from a footprint is new, and their remarkable to ability to correlate it with a single individual animal will help such tracking efforts considerably: “The method is cheaper, easier and crucially far less invasive than existing approaches which can involve capturing and anaesthetising wild animals,” The Guardian reports.

Alaska woman contracts mumps case: A 50-year-old Alaska woman was diagnosed with a case of mumps after trip to Japan, state health officials said, according to a report from Dillingham public radio station KDLG. The news came from the state Department of Health and Social Services’ epidemiology bulletin which reported that the woman had traveled with a group of schoolchildren to Japan, where she stayed with a family diagnosed with the disease. The woman was said to be recovering, and KDLG couldn’t determine whether she’d been vaccinated for the disease or not (vaccines for the disease became available in the U.S. in 1967). “However,” reports KDLG “all the children she accompanied to Japan were vaccinated and they show no evidence of the infection.”

Guides matter more to trophy hunting success than other factors: Looking to bag a trophy animal during this fall’s hunting season? Forget the fancy camouflage and save your money for a guide, suggests a new study. The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, and reported in High Country News, suggested that factors such as fitness, age and camouflage had no affect on success rates, while hiring a guide did. That means humans are an unusual kind of predator, HCN notes; the findings “suggest that while humans have staked themselves atop the food chain as ‘super-predators,’ we’re not using typical adaptations of other species, such as fitness, strength, or stealth, to successfully hunt prey. And while other animals may guard knowledge of bountiful hunting grounds as a specialized advantage among individuals, in the case of humans and paid guides, there’s a strong (read: financial) incentive to share information with others.” While the study confined itself to looking at trophy-hunting, the authors suggested the findings might be usefully applied to hunting more broadly.