News Briefs


Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Kathy Young of Fairbanks took first place in the halibut derby last week after bringing in this 134 pound halibut. She also became the second place overall placeholder – for now.

Barge cleared to leave Port

The BBC Arizona sailed away from the Valdez container dock Saturday morning, ending a 15 delay in its departure, according to the US Coast Guard.

The cargo vessel underwent an extensive decontamination process and was not allowed to leave Port Valdez under an order from coast Guard Commander Benjamin Hawkins, commander of the port.

Coast Guard officials issued the BBC Arizona’s owner a federal notice of violation for failure to notify about hazardous conditions aboard the ship, which carries a $5,000 fine according to a press release.

The vessel came under scrutiny after a fire aboard the vessel prompted Valdez and Coast Guard officials to investigate. The vessel was found to be carrying a large number of “bladders” containing transformer oil and a number of the containers were found to be leaking.

The Coast Guard press release also said “more than 50 personnel from the Coast Guard, state of Alaska, City of Valdez, Gallagher Marine Systems, LLC, Emerald Alaska Inc., Alaska Chadux, North Star Terminal and Stevedore Company, and several marine survey companies were involved throughout the incident.”

The vessel came to Valdez by way of China and was heading to Mazatlan, Mexico.

Spill drill called a success

A full-scale, government-led, multi-agency spill drill exercise is being called a success. The drill, held the US Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, City of Valdez and Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, was designed to test the oil spill response capabilities of emergency responders in the Valdez area.

Valdez cops in Wilderness Classic

Valdez police officers Sgt. Kalen King and Chris Shumate will compete in the 2013 Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic, according to Bill Comer, Valdez police chief.

Billed as “the state’s premier summer wilderness race,” it begins on Thompson Pass and ends at the Lakina River bridge at Mile 44.3 on the McCarthy Road.

The Fairbanks News-Miner reports that only seven of 18 racers who started the 2012 race finished.

The newspaper says that racers have their choice of two basic routes — a 120-mile overland route with maybe 30 miles of river travel or a 170-mile glacier route with 80 miles of packrafting.

The competition begins June 23.

“I think it’s kind of a cool story,” Comer said. “It’ll take them over a week we figure.”

Gulkana River flood damages hatchery

(AP) Gulkana River flooding has damaged a fish hatchery that enhances runs in the Copper River.

Manager Gary Martinek told the Anchorage Daily news a week ago Monday that staff members discovered that flooding had ripped up the bridge that connects the hatchery to the Richardson Highway

High water also took out 15 to 20 feet of the river bank and pieces of the hatchery building. Martinek says he's also worried that the flooding damaged natural springs used by the hatchery to regulate water temperatures throughout the year.

Martinek says 10 million sockeye salmon fry were moved Sunday night and dropped from the air into Crosswind Lake.

He says they would have died if they hadn't been moved before the flooding a few hours later.

Alaska could go to pot

(AP) Alaska will be the next battleground in the effort to legalize marijuana.

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, whose office oversees elections, on Friday certified a ballot initiative application that would make it legal for adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana.

Supporters will have one year to collect 30,169 signatures from qualified voters across the state to get the question on the ballot. They want to get it done by January and have it on next year's primary ballot, said petition sponsor Tim Hinterberger.

The effort in Alaska comes after voters in Washington state and Colorado legalized marijuana last year.

``It really seems like the whole mood has radically shifted,'' Hinterberger said.

He said the conversation is no longer about whether marijuana should be legalized, and opponents aren't ``trotting out the old propaganda _ it's a gateway, leads to crime and causes brain damage.

``Everybody assumes it's going to happen, and now it's just figuring out the details,'' he said.

He doesn't expect it to be different in Alaska.

Tony Gorman Photo

Players in last week’s oil spill drill held a mock press conference regarding the multi-agency exercise.


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