Alaska In Brief

Parnell adopted into Tlingit clan

SAXMAN — Gov. Sean Parnell was adopted into the Eagle Killer Whale Clan of the Tlingit people during a ceremony in southeast Alaska.

He was among a number of people adopted into the clan after a totem raising Saturday in Saxman, KRBD reported.

Teams of at least a dozen men at a time moved through the drenching rain as they carried the nearly 1,000-pound load a few hundred feet. It took nearly an hour to raise the raven totem at the top of Saxman’s totem row, as about 200 people looked on.

Parnell was among the speakers at the event, drawing attention to the values shared by all cultures. Carver Donnie Varnell thanked his grandmother, among others, while Saxman Mayor Joe Williams thanked those responsible for the totem’s funding, including the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and the National Highway Administration.

The crowd was then invited to a potlatch where the adoption ceremony took place.

Williams adopted the governor into the clan, giving him the name Tan Taal, which Williams said means, “Tell the bear to leave us alone, we’re hunting for food just like you.”


Borough OKs funds for recycling

FAIRBANKS — Fairbanks North Star Borough officials hope a $125,000 appropriation will be enough to keep a recycling drop-off center open at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

UAF officials threatened to shut down community recycling bins in a campus parking lot June 1 if the borough did not come up with a contribution. It cost UAF $130,000 to handle 1.5 million pounds of paper, glass, plastic and other items deposited there last year, according to UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers, an expense he said the school could not justify in its academic mission.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the site is popular with community residents who can swing by the lot. 

The borough assembly appropriated money last week to underwrite recycling costs.

“I don’t want to see that recycling effort interrupted,” said Assemblyman John Davies, a member of the borough Recycling Commission. “They’re collecting a lot of material there, and people have got used to stopping there and dropping off their stuff. If anything, we need to expand the site.”

Borough administrators proposed signing a contract with UAF and K&K Recycling. A contract is expected to cover handling the UAF recyclables plus material from other sites.


Polar bear cub arrives in N.Y.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — It may have been the most anticipated package ever delivered to the Buffalo Zoo: an orphaned polar bear cub that arrived Wednesday from Alaska and will spend the summer with another cub born six months ago.

Kali arrived aboard a UPS flight at Buffalo Niagara International Airport shortly before 5:30 a.m., ending a 14-hour trip that was set in motion in March when a hunter in Alaska realized an adult female bear he’d killed was nursing.

“He followed the tracks back to the den, crawled down inside, found a cub, pulled it out, put it in his coveralls, rode it back into Point Lay and then got hold of U.S. Fish and Wildlife,” said Patrick Lampi, executive director of the Alaska Zoo, which has cared for the bear since.

Subsistence hunting is allowed in the area, but hunters aren’t allowed to shoot females with cubs, Lampi said after accompanying the cub to Buffalo.

Called Kali after the Inupiat name for Point Lay, the male cub now weighs 65 pounds and is estimated to be just less than 5 months old. It would have been unable to care for itself in the wild, experts said. Young polar bears stay with their mothers for about 2 years.

In Buffalo, it will slowly be introduced to Luna, a female polar bear born Nov. 27.