Groundings keep Coasties hopping
(AP) Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, Alaska Chadux, and the fishing vessel Naknek Spirit’s crew successfully refloated the F/V Naknek Spirit with the aid of high tide Saturday near Poe Bay in Passage Canal and sailed the vessel to Whittier for further assessment Saturday afternoon.
Upon arrival in Whittier the vessel was moored and containment boom was placed around it as a precaution. Cargo aboard the vessel was unloaded and the crew is working to repair a 2 to 3-foot gash in the starboard hull.
The grounding happened in Passage Canal, six miles east of Whittier in sensitive habitat for Steller sea lions.
The incident came on the heels of a similar incident Thursday.
Coast Guard officials said Valdez personnel were monitoring the salvage of the 65-foot fishing tender “Hana Cove” after the vessel was intentionally grounded on Culross Island.
Hana Cove Fisheries, LLC, which owns the Hana Cove, contracted Alaska Marine Response, LLC out of Cordova according to officials. The company was to deploy boom around the vessel, remove the fuel aboard, and prepare a vessel salvage plan.
Kayaker saved on Copper River
(AP) Alaska State Troopers say a personal flotation device likely saved the life of a kayaker who flipped in the Copper River.
Troopers say 57-year-old David Bruss of Tonsina was kayaking a week ago Wednesday and was turned over in the boat downstream from O'Brien Creek.
Troopers called charter boat operators, who ferry people fishing for salmon with dipnets up and down the river, to assist the man.
Charter boat operators found Bruss three miles downstream from O'Brien Creek.
Bruss was treated by Chitina emergency medical service personnel at the river.
The Copper River is dangerous because of its turbulence, cold temperature and silt.
DOT disputes report that Alaska’s roads are shabby
A new report puts the state of Alaska in last place in the quality and cost-effectiveness of the state's road system.
In largely road-less Alaska, the 20th annual report from the Reason Foundation research organization found an increase in both the number of rural roads in poor condition and bad conditions on urban interstates and a high number of deficient bridges, the Juneau Empire reported.
A spokesman for the state transportation department, Jeremy Woodrow, called the report flawed.
``We all know that Alaska's roads are unique and this report, according to our experts, is flawed,'' he said. ``What's considered a smooth road in Alaska might be a rough road in Washington.''
The high costs of building and maintaining roads in Alaska also isn't reflected in the report, he said.
``In these areas with rural roads, it would be a major expense to put underpasses and overpasses where there isn't a lot of traffic,'' Woodrow said.
But the man who compiled the report for the foundation, David Hartgen, said creating special rules for Alaska or any other state defeats the purpose of the report, which makes comparisons based upon data provided by the states from 2007-2009.
``If you do that, you roll down a slippery slope that says, `nobody can be compared to anybody,''' said Hartgen, fellow at the Reason Foundation and emeritus transportation professor at the University of North Carolina.
In fact, Alaska's size and uniqueness should be seen as reasons why roads in the state should be better maintained.
``People traveling long distances from rural communities have to make those trips over bumpy roads,'' Hartgen said. ``(The state) has basically let 10 percent of the system go from `fair' to `poor.'''
Alaska's funding and the size of its road system is similar to Montana and Idaho, but he said Alaska lags behind them in the rankings.
``Maybe (the state) needs more money. That's something to ask the legislators,'' Hartgen said. ``These aren't easy systems to manage. If I were a citizen of Alaska I would be asking these questions.''