Annie Ropeik, KUCB - Unalaska
Annie Ropeik is a reporter for KUCB in Unalaska.
A newly refurbished Coast Guard icebreaker is en route to Antarctica to free two vessels stuck in ice. The stuck ships are a Russian research vessel and a Chinese icebreaker, according to Allyson Conroy, the Coast Guard’s chief warrant officer for the Pacific Area. The Russian ship has been stranded since before Christmas. The Chinese vessel got stuck when it tried to help.
The bird count in the Aleutians was also aided by mild weather. Winter is running late in Unalaska this year – and that was good news for those helping with the annual count last Saturday. Such mild weather meant the counters were able to tally the island’s birds in places they usually can’t get to.
Canada’s energy board gave conditional approval earlier this month to the Northern Gateway Pipeline project, which would run through British Columbia and would send hundreds of more crude oil supertankers along high-traffic shipping lanes in Alaska waters. That means the Aleutian Islands will have to prepare for a higher risk of spills and accidents.
There will be about 17.86 million pounds of cod available for harvest, both in the Aleutian Islands state-waters fishery and in the new Dutch Harbor subdistrict.
Kids at Unalaska’s United Methodist Church got to tell the story of Christmas during their annual living nativity last week. Fifteen elementary school kids from the congregation dressed up as wise men, shepherds and angels. Pastor Dan Wilcox helped lead the show.
Alaska Ship Supply had an unwelcome customer for about three hours Wednesday night — a bald eagle, which flew in a loading door around 6 p.m. and refused to leave. The juvenile bird flapped around the store for about three hours before state troopers and employees were able to get it out.
A Coast Guard petty officer has died after being injured during a rescue in the Eastern Aleutians in November.
The Museum of the Aleutians in Unalaska re-opened recently after five months of renovations. The space has been transformed in an effort to tell the whole story of the chain.
For more than a year, getting in and out of Akutan has meant taking a hovercraft. The vessel ferries passengers to and from the island’s airport. But high costs and inconsistent service have sent the Aleutians East Borough looking for a better solution. Now, they think they’ve found one.
The Lower 48 has been on the offensive against the flu virus for weeks. But in Unalaska, most people didn’t have access to vaccines until late November. An attempt to tailor flu prevention around Unalaska’s unique population didn’t go over well with locals.
State officials were in Unalaska on Friday to talk about a proposal pre-authorizing the use of chemical dispersants on oil spills in Alaska waters.
State officials announced this week that the tanner crab fishery would not open for the 2014 seasons in the eastern Aleutian Islands. But Unalaska’s small boat fishermen think they’ve found a way to expand the fishery — in an area that’s been closed for two decades.
The Alaska State Troopers’ largest patrol vessel is back in service after an engine upgrade in its home port of Dutch Harbor. The patrol vessel Stimson was out of commission for 10 days earlier this month during the overhaul.
Two weeks after the Arctic Hunter ran aground outside Unalaska, state officials are estimating that the boat has released up to 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the water.
A big blue fire truck is on its way from Unalaska to the Pribilof island of St. George. The truck has been ready to go for almost a year, but until now, the two communities had no way to move it. They found their solution in a crab boat.
Rough weather is taking a toll on the grounded fishing vessel Arctic Hunter, which has been stuck on the rocks outside Unalaska since last Friday. The 93-foot crab boat has survived a series of storms this week without breaking apart. But salvagers haven’t been able to work on the vessel since last weekend.
Misty King, 40, was found dead during a welfare check at her home in Unalaska on Friday.