State officials came to the aid of a bear with a can stuck on its head along the Alaska Highway.Download AudioWildlife Technician Bob Gingue approaches the bear after it’s been darted, preparing to remove the coffee can. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Wells, Alaska Department of Fish and Game)Tok Area Alaska Department of Fish and Game assistant biologist Jeff Wells said the agency and State Troopers were notified about the bear Monday morning by drivers who spotted in along Alcan about 15 miles outside town.”We started receiving calls that a black bear had a whole metal coffee can stuck around its head,” Wells said.Wells said the bear drew the attention of several drivers, in what he describes as a remote spot near the Taylor Highway turn off. He says the bear, a small adult male, had taken refuge under a tractor trailer when Fish and Game arrived on scene.”It was laying off the side of the road under a semi and we were able to dart it while it was laying under there,” Wells said. “We used some tin snips to open up the opening enough so we could slide it off its head.”Wells said the bear did not suffer any injuries, woke up and walked away after the can was removed and the tranquilizer had worn off. He describes the incident as very rare, adding it’s unclear where the empty metal coffee can came from, cautioning people not to leave out food containers which can attract bears. He also underscores the importance of leaving wildlife rescues up to professionals, noting that a concerned citizen reportedly tried to remove the can from the bear before fish and Game arrived on scene.
The Legislative Information Office in downtown Anchorage. (Staff photo)A downtown office-building fraught with political controversy could soon be owned by an Anchorage development authority.Listen nowThe glassy, modern building at 716 West 4th avenue was rebuilt at the request of state lawmakers to upgrade the Anchorage Legislative Information Office. But the deal came under criticism, leading to a lawsuit, and legislators ultimately abandoning the site in favor of an office suite above a midtown bank.Now, the Anchorage Community Development Authority is seeking to buy the building.“Legally it’s not a done deal,” Melinda Gant said. Gant is a spokeswoman for ACDA, which manages revenues from parking facilities and redevelopment projects for the municipality. According to Gant, ACDA has kept an eye on the vacant property since legislators walked away from it in 2016.“We see this as prime real-estate. So we jumped on it,” Gant said. “We want to see it as earning some revenue for ACDA with a tenant that we’re going to bring in (at) market rate.”It’s not clear yet who that tenant might be. The building has a unique open design combined with offices that were built specially to accommodate the needs of the legislature and local constituents. No one is presently lined up.According to the development agreement, ACDA will pay $14 million plus closing costs to Everbank, which currently owns the building. That’s far below the $37 million price lawmakers originally agreed to pay before the sale turned politically toxic and was deemed unlawful by a judge.ACDA is putting down a parking garage on 7th Avenue as collateral, and potentially a parking lot on 3rd Avenue and C Street, as well, in order to pay for the new building. The organization has already made a cash deposit, and is aggressively trying to ensure the sale goes through.“The agency could risk losing the deposit, so we are very serious about moving forward with the purchase of this building,” Gant said.The sale still has to go up for public testimony and be approved by the Anchorage Assembly. Gant estimates that if everything proceeds on time, the deal could be done in three months.