Alaska Digest

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pedestrian injured in highway pileup

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JUNEAU - A 59-year-old pedestrian suffered minor injuries Monday after being struck by a car that had been rear-ended by another vehicle on Glacier Highway.

The woman was transported to Bartlett Regional Hospital for treatment, and no other injuries were reported, according to the Juneau Police Department.

The accident happened at 1:10 p.m., while a vehicle was making a left into the Department of Transportation parking lot off Glacier Highway.

A second vehicle and a red 1992 Pontiac Grand Am stopped behind the first as it made the turn, police said. But a white 2004 Honda CRV driven by a 42-year-old man crashed into the Grand Am.

The Grand Am, driven by a 27-year-old man, was shoved off the road and into the pedestrian, who was not on a sidewalk.

Police did not release identities. The Grand Am sustained about $2,500 in damage, and the CRV had about $5,000 in damage. Citations were not immediately announced. The road was closed for about 50 minutes.

Shishmaref searches Web for moving help

ANCHORAGE - Residents of Shishmaref, an Inupiat Eskimo village whose island home is being eaten away by the sea, are turning to the Internet for help in making a multimillion dollar move to the mainland of Northwestern Alaska.

"Shishmaref We Are Worth Saving!" is the message on, the newly established Web site of the Shishmaref Erosion and Relocation Coalition. "To not act represents the annihilation of our community by dissemination."

The 610 residents of Shishmaref are united in their wish to relocate from the barrier reef island - just a quarter of a mile wide and three miles long - to a new location on the mainland, five miles away.

To do so, they need about $180 million, and a lot of expertise, from planners and grant writers to engineers, geologists and cultural anthropologists, said Tony Weyiouanna Sr., a village transportation planner employed through Kawerak, a nonprofit regional firm that provides a variety of services to communities in the Nome region.

By his calculations, Shishmaref must be fully moved by 2012, he said.

Efforts by Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, in particular, plus the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, have so far secured Shishmaref about $23 million in flood assistance and planning the relocation project, Weyiouanna said.

Discovery in rubble strikes happy chord

WASILLA - Volunteers searching through the rubble of the Susitna Valley Junior and Senior High School that was destroyed earlier this month in a fire recovered a cache of musical instruments that survived the blaze.

"It was a great experience. It was music from the ashes," said Talkeetna Elementary School music teacher Sandy Shoulders.

Along with former Susitna Valley music teacher Jonathan McBride, Shoulders led a small group of searchers Thursday into what remained of the school's music classroom.

They found much of the classroom destroyed, as they expected, but they also found the school's grand piano, which appeared to have escaped fire damage thanks to some gypsum wallboard that had fallen on it.

"It looks like it was kind of a soft landing," McBride said.

Unfortunately, he said the same gypsum wallboard that had protected it from fire had left only about half the keys working. And an upright piano looked like it had suffered water damage during the fire, Shoulders said.

Behind the pianos, only feet from a completely burned area, the group found instruments inside cubbyholes that were mostly untouched, save for some smoke and water damage.

The searchers passed cases containing clarinets, brass horns and a $4,000 tuba out of the rubble, McBride said.

Many of the salvaged instruments were already "old and cranky" before the fire, Shoulders said.

Most everything else had been destroyed in the June 5 blaze, though a few choir risers and some sheet music were in salvageable condition.

McBride, who is leaving to Washington State in a move planned before the fire, said a new music teacher is going to have to build the program from ground zero.

At least with the salvaged instruments, he and Shoulders said, things are looking a little brighter for Su Valley's fall music classes than they did last week.

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