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Measure would close bars at 2 in Denali Borough

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HEALY, Alaska (AP) — The son of a woman who was killed by a suspected drunken driver as she rode her bicycle to work for her early morning shift wants bars to close earlier.

Noah Schieber has started an online petition to make closing time in the Denali Borough be 2 a.m. instead of 5 a.m., and a borough assembly member will introduce an ordinance ordering an earlier closing time, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (http://is.gd/1TwH2O ).

Schieber's mother, Gitte Stryhn, was hit and killed by a vehicle last month in Healy as she was headed to her job as a bus driver into Denali National Park.

She was struck by a vehicle about 25 feet from where her bus was parked. Dustin Dollarhide, 30, has been charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and driving under the influence, with trial scheduled the week of Sept. 1 in Nenana.

Dollarhide's attorney, Lance Wells, didn't immediately return a message Friday.

Schieber said the current 5 a.m. closing time puts drivers with alcohol in their systems on the same roads at the same time as early morning commuters.

"This is one thing we can do right now," he said. "It's really more about an unsafe traffic flow than a drinking thing."

Denali Borough member Kimber Burrows plans to introduce the ordinance, likely at the August meeting. It will have to be heard in every community in the borough before a vote can be taken, which could take months.

"This is just one piece of a bigger project in trying to create a culture of safety," Burrows said of the measure intended to put a time gap between closing time and others going to work. "This isn't going to solve the problem of drinking and driving. We know that. But it's a step."

A community meeting is planned in Healy Aug. 2 on Schieber's petition, which went online Thursday. He also plans to go door-to-door to collect more signatures.

"We can fix this by working and caring about the people we love," he said.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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