Northwest Digest

Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2005

Power restored to most homes in Kaktovik

ANCHORAGE - Electricity was restored Wednesday to most homes in Kaktovik after the Alaska Air National Guard delivered technicians and equipment to the village, thrown into a deep freeze four days ago when it lost power in a blizzard.

A helicopter with two electrical linemen on board was able to land briefly Tuesday. They restored power to about three-quarters of the village, said Dennis O. Packer, chief administrative officer for the North Slope Borough.

While the cause of the power outage is not known, it may have been the result of power lines slapping together and arcing during the severe storm, he said.

The storm Sunday plunged temperatures to 20 degrees below zero with wind chill of minus 60 and knocking out electricity for most of the village's 300 residents.

The village on the Beaufort Sea received more relief Wednesday when a two Alaska Air National Guard cargo planes landed.

Guard spokeswoman Kalei Brooks said the first cargo plane dropped off generators, heaters and other equipment.

North Slope Borough Mayor George Ahmaogak said 10 borough employees also were on board the first flight, including plumbers, mechanics, health aides and more electrical linemen.

Ten more workers were on a second flight that also carried food, water and supplies such as diapers and infant formula, Ahmaogak said.

A third flight carrying propane and other hazardous materials was due in Wednesday night, Ahmaogak said.

Kenai fishermen seek to buy cannery

KENAI - A group of commercial fishermen is negotiating a deal to purchase the former Dragnet Fisheries seafood plant in Kenai and turn it into a producer of high quality seafood products.

"It's an exciting event to have a cannery that was not in operation for many years come alive," said Jack Brown, business development manager for the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

The old Dragnet seafood processor shut its doors in 2000 after the owners went bankrupt, said Gene Shadle, caretaker for the old processor.

When the processor was running at full capacity, it employed up to 170 people, he said. In its heyday in the 1980s, it dealt with a variety of fish but was only processing salmon from driftnet and setnet fishermen, he said. Now it is vacant.

Because negotiations to purchase the cannery are not complete, involved parties are not yet ready to release information on the purchase, Brown said.

The deal would enhance the future of Kenai Wild, a trademarked brand of salmon aimed at increasing the quality and value of Cook Inlet fish.

To be branded Kenai Wild, high-quality custom cuts of salmon are iced at the point of capture immediately after being caught, said Sylvia Beaudoin, executive director of Kenai Wild. They are then inspected by a third party that grades the fish, she said.



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