Real tsunami warning test
Emergency responders in Valdez are embarking on a media blitz in an effort to spread the word to Valdez residents that a real test of the citywide tsunami warning siren will be occurring during the upcoming Alaska Shield statewide emergency drill later this month.
A test sound unlike the regular weekly testing will occur the afternoon of Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, then again on March 29 during the Alaska Shield statewide emergency drill that will occur in Valdez and other parts of the state.
"It will be something no one here's heard before," said Sheri Pierce, public information officer for the City of Valdez. "We've never actually heard the tsunami siren."
Emergency officials in Valdez routinely test the citywide tsunami warning system at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, using a tone called "Winchester Chimes."
The tests coming on March 18, March 19 and March 29 will be the actual tsunami warning siren people would hear in the event of an actual tsunami threat. Pierce said the warning will be long and loud and "frightening."
JR Shooters take aim
The Valdez Junior Rifle Club swept the third Annual 4 Position Smallbore competition with the best overall score, first place standings in every division and top team score according to organizers. Lizzy Rowe won the late February match with the highest score overall of 386 points. Mitchel Yrjana took first place in the Junior Division with 377. The Intermediate Junior winner was Ashlyn Mahoney with a score of 374. In the Sub Junior Division Tiffany Larcum scored 344 which gave her the top score and the Tyro Award given to the highest scoring shooter at their first competition. Sub-junior shooter Jeremy Mahoney received a third place medal with the score of 295.
After the NRA sanctioned competition, VJRC hosted a fun shoot where the shooters were paired with a parent and competed for the winner of the Guts Match where the audience was encouraged to heckle the pairs. Ashlyn and her father James Mahoney were the top scorers in the fun match.
Fishing boat inspections
The US Coast Guard is encouraging mariners to get free commercial fishing vessel safety exams. Valdez mariners can contact Chief Machinery Technician Steven Blythe at 835-7225.
The Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Valdez will be sending a team of commercial fishing vessel examiners to Cordova April 18-23, according to Lt. Allie Ferko.
Photo courtesy Jr. Rifle Club
Members of the Valdez Jr. Rifle Club swept the competition late last month during the statewide Annual 4 Position Smallbore competition. From the left: Ashlyn Mahoney, Mitchel Yrjana, Jacob Schautt, and Lizzy Rowe.
The Coast Guard said mariners should complete these exams annually through the local Coast Guard commercial fishing vessel examiner well before setting sail for seasonal fishing. Early inspections will provide vessel operators more time to correct any discrepancies that the examiner identifies. A successful exam will earn the vessel a Coast Guard commercial fishing vessel safety decal good for one year. Commercial fishing vessels operating beyond the three nautical mile territorial sea baseline are not required to have decals until the year 2015, however they are strongly encouraged to obtain them. Some vessels, including those used to pursue halibut individual fishing quotas, are required by the National Marine Fisheries Service to have a valid decal prior to carrying their mandatory NMFS observer aboard.
Fishermen are also encouraged to visit http://www.fishsafe.info and click the link to the checklist generator. This application takes input on the fishing vessel, such as length, persons aboard, where it operates, etc ., and generates a list of requirements that apply to that specific fishing vessel. This allows owners to know exactly what Coast Guard dockside examiners will look at before their official examination.