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Alaska Digest

Wire reports

Posted: Monday, January 17, 2005

Weatherman predicts two feet of snow

JUNEAU - The National Weather Service posted a heavy snow warning on Sunday afternoon for the Juneau area, and predicted total snow accumulations could reach two feet by Tuesday morning.

In some areas, the total snowfall could vary from 20 inches to three feet.

"It just depends on how lucky you are," National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Bezenek said.

As of 8 p.m. Sunday, the weather service office in the Valley had recorded about 812 inches of snow, Bezenek said. The airport had picked up a little more than six inches, and Lena Loop had received about 10 inches.

The snowfall is expected to continue steadily through today.

Search fails to find missing crew

ANCHORAGE - Rescuers searching the turbulent Bering Sea on Sunday failed to find three crew members missing from a crab boat that sank, killing two of the other three people aboard.

The Coast Guard also searched for a crewman who was washed overboard from another crab boat Saturday, the same day the 92-foot Big Valley sank.

Searchers planned to go out again Monday, Chief Petty Officer Darrell Wilson said Sunday evening.

"We're making preparations to get fresh crews back in the air at first light for another full day of searching," he said. "We are searching for these people and holding out all hopes that we'll find them alive."

The Big Valley and the 134-foot Sultan were after snow crab, a fishery that opened to commercial vessels Saturday amid stormy seas and up to 40 mph winds. The Kodiak-based Big Valley sank 70 miles west of St. Paul Island, about 750 miles west of Anchorage.

Three crewmen found Saturday were wearing bulky survival suits, but two of them died. Cache Seel, 30, of Kodiak, was treated at a Saint Paul hospital after he was found floating in a life raft. He returned to Kodiak on Sunday, said Coast Guard Lt. Charter Tschirgi.

Kodiak resident Gary Edwards, the skipper and owner of the Big Valley, was aboard the vessel and among the missing, Seel told authorities, Tschirgi said.

Also missing was the crewman who was washed off the Sultan, 150 miles northwest of St. Paul Island.

Alaska congressman refiles ANWR bill

WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Don Young has refiled his bill to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and, in a biennial bit of insider's irony, has once again secured for it the title "H.R. 39."

H.R. 39 was a bill backed by environmentalists in the late 1970s that would have made ANWR's coastal plain an official wilderness area.

Congress instead passed a bill in 1980 that set aside the 1.5 million acres for study of both their wilderness value and petroleum potential.

Debate has continued ever since, with competing wilderness and oil leasing bills being filed in each session of Congress.



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