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Judge tosses Alaska's lawsuit over refuge closures

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 6:00am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed the state's lawsuit over the closure of national wildlife refuges during the partial federal government shutdown last year. U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason called case moot. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restricted access to refuges nationwide during the 16-day shutdown last October. The state sued as Congress was poised to pass legislation to end the shutdown. The lawsuit was later amended to add the Alaska Professional Hunters Association as plaintiffs. The lawsuit claimed the closure violated provisions of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and asked Gleason to block future closures that don't comply with the law. Gleason said the feds' response to a future shutdown may be different. A Department of Law spokeswoman said the state was evaluating a possible appeal.

Fairbanks priest in alcohol treatment after arrest

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 5:45am
- FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - A Fairbanks priest is in an alcohol treatment program following his arrest earlier this year on a charge of driving under the influence. The Rev. Sean Patrick Thomson pleaded guilty last month to reckless driving as part of a plea agreement. Court records show the former University of Alaska priest was sentenced to 10 days in jail, but he will receive credit for that time by undergoing alcohol abuse treatment. He also received two years' probation. Thomson's attorney, Zane Wilson, called it a "fair resolution." Ronnie Rosenberg, director of human resources for the Fairbanks diocese, said Thomson's duties, when he returns, will depend in part on the recommendations of his treatment program. She told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1oLujYo ) Thomson will not return to the university.
 

Gold miners outraged at critical Nome letter

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 5:30am
- NOME, Alaska (AP) - Nome gold miners are angry about a city letter citing the "negative social impacts" of their industry. KNOM reports miners stormed the Nome City Council meeting Monday night to express their outrage about the July 15 letter to the state Department of Natural Resources from city manager Josie Bahnke. In the letter, Bahnke wrote to DNR Commissioner Joe Balash that there has been some economic benefit from offshore mining, but those benefits are outweighed by negative social impacts. The letter refers to a 2011 lease sale that opened up the offshore dredging boom that brought millions in revenues for the state, but left Nome without money to accommodate increased activity. Kenny Hughes with the Alaska Mining Association says miners feel like city officials are "throwing rocks at us."
 

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