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#01-12-2013 - ComFish News Roundup

Akutan: Hovercraft Running, Despite Challenges
By Stephanie Joyce
Friday, January 11 2013
In the wheelhouse of the hovercraft, navigator and pilot Jim Howard is fiddling with a massive array of control buttons in preparation for our journey over to the airport. Although the entire trip will be over water, it would be a mistake to equate this hovering vessel to a boat. The control panel looks like that of an aircraft, but the feeling -- it turns out -- is nothing like flying. It’s more like being the puck on an air hockey table. And Howard says piloting it is distinctive as well. “What it’s like, is you take a Chinese wok, the cooking wok, you turn it upside down, so the round part is up, you put a marble on top of that wok and that is basically what you’re trying to do -- hold that wok so the marble doesn't fall off.” The hovercraft works by pumping pressurized air through a big rubber skirt that surrounds the metal hull. The flow of air through...

PenAir nearly gone from south peninsula
January 11th 2:47 pm | Jim Paulin      
With just one small airplane left, Peninsula Airways is almost completely out of the village air taxi business. But the King Cove wrestling team was in for a big surprise last month when that plane left for five days of maintenance. When they arrived in Cold Bay from the state championships in Anchorage, the last leg of the air journey was missing, according to Aleutians East Borough School Superintendent Tim Stathis........

Unalaska responds to Kulluk grounding
January 11th 2:38 pm | Jim Paulin      
The New Year's Eve grounding of the Kulluk brought various reactions from residents of Unalaska, where the oil rig resides at a specially built dock when not shuttling between the Arctic and the West Coast. The region's new state representative had some thoughts as well. State Rep. Bob Herron, D-Bethel, responded nonjudgementally, saying the incident and its implications for the future of Alaska's environment and economy "brings some additional electricity into the dialogue." But he questioned Shell's decision to take the rig out of state for maintenance work. "I think it's a missed opportunity, and the decision was made a little too quickly to cross the Gulf," Herron said.......

Kenai council gets an earful after biggest-ever dipnet season
Alaska Dispatch | Jan 11, 2013
According to the Peninsula Clarion, frustrated residents at a recent Kenai City Council meeting all seem to agree: Kenai River dipnetting season is becoming an unbearably messy and costly party. One incensed resident compared it to the most notoriously profligate and mud-ridden music festival in American history. The "Alaskan Woodstock" attracts residents from all over the road system for three weeks of personal-use salmon....

Why did Kulluk leave Dutch Harbor? Essential repairs to be made in Seattle.
Suzanna Caldwell | Jan 11, 2013
Royal Dutch Shell officials say maintenance was one of the main reasons the Kulluk -- the conical drilling rig that ran aground near Kodiak Island on New Year's Eve -- needed to be moved to Seattle, across the Gulf of Alaska in the middle of winter. Since the Kulluk's grounding, some have posed questions over why the vessel needed to be moved at all, given the predictability of severe winter storms in the region....

Point-counteroint: Kulluk grounding shows Shell not ready for Arctic #NoPaywall ? For now yes.
Published: January 11, 2013 Updated 12 hours ago
Shell Oil Company is learning the hard way that Alaska's waters demand respect. Operating in the Arctic's remote and difficult conditions requires planning and attention to detail that Shell has not been willing or able to provide. It is well past time to end Shell's poorly designed and inadequately evaluated gamble in the Arctic. The Department of the Interior must not grant any further approvals and must send Shell out of the Arctic before they do even more serious harm to people and our environment.....

Three decades of documenting the wild side of Southeast
Posted: January 11, 2013 - 12:00am
Mark Kelley talks about his 30-plus years as a professional photographer in Juneau during an interview at his office on Wednesday. By Abby Lowell
Mark Kelley believes there is no other place on earth better than Juneau. And that’s not boosterism, he said. “It’s truly what I feel.” For more than 30 years, the acclaimed local photographer has made his home in this little town, a sliver of civilization wedged into a wilderness teeming with wonders of the wild — a photographer’s playground, some might say. He’s built a career on capturing Alaska through his lens — first as a photojournalist for the....

GCI ship to repair earthquake-damaged fiber optic cables
by Shady Grove Oliver
January 11, 2013 4:02 pm
The GCI cable repair ship, Wave Venture, has been anchored outside of town since yesterday. Saturday’s earthquake caused a rare failure along the fiber optic cables that supply Wrangell with its television, telephone, and Internet service.......

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