Alaska Digest

Posted: Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Bicyclist injured in Valley intersection

JUNEAU - A 24-year-old woman crossing Mendenhall Loop Road with a bicycle at Mendenhall Mall Road Monday afternoon was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital after being struck by a pickup, police reported.

Police did not identify the woman in the crosswalk, who reportedly sustained minor injuries. Police also did not identify the 24-year-old woman driving the 1992 Ford Ranger. Officers, who received the report at 3:14 p.m., said that the pickup was making a left turn onto Mendenhall Loop.

The investigation into the incident continues, police reported. As of late Monday, no citations had been issued.

SeaLife center staff dote on baby walrus

ANCHORAGE - Tessa is a 137-pound infant with big whiskers and a need for constant attention. The baby walrus is getting plenty at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, where veterinary technicians are feeding and petting her and ridding her of sea lice as she recovers from a weekend stranding.

"Walruses are very social and very needy of tactile stimulation," Tim Lebling, a rehabilitation coordinator at the center who is caring for Tessa, told the Anchorage Daily News. "She just wants to crawl into your arms."

Fishermen in Barrow spotted the week-old calf cavorting alone on the beach Saturday. Her mother was nowhere in sight. For hours, the fishermen searched for the mother while trying to shoo the baby walrus back into the water. Both efforts were unsuccessful.

With her mother gone, the baby preferred to stay on the beach rather than return to the Arctic Ocean. But she started getting tangled in the fishing nets, authorities said Sunday.

The fishermen eventually hoisted the walrus into the back of a pickup and called Teresa Heaston, North Slope Borough animal control officer. Heaston arrived shortly after noon and found the walrus in a makeshift harness tethered to the truck.

"The first thing we did was call the SeaLife Center," which operates a 24-hour hot line to report stranded marine mammals or birds, Heaston said.

Native dry dock dispute goes to Washington

FAIRBANKS - Alaska's congressional delegation is getting involved in a disputed Hawaiian dry dock acquired three years ago by the Native village corporation of St. Paul.

The dispute lies in whether Tanadgusix Corp. bought the dry dock with the promise that they would move it to Alaska.

The General Services Administration said Tanadgusix officials deceived the agency and the company planned all along to keep it in Hawaii.

"It's just a big scam," said Bill Clifford, chief executive of Pacific Shipyards International, a company that competes with the dry dock. "They knew it had to be used in the state of Alaska."

The GSA has proposed to bar a Tanadgusix subsidiary from federal contracting work because of the alleged fraud.

Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska inserted language in the House version of a national highway bill that calls for terminating all lawsuits related to the dry dock. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, says he is trying to find a compromise that would send the dry dock to Samoa.

Tom Schlosser, attorney for Tanadgusix, said the GSA debarment is misguided and would destroy the company. Tanadgusix earns about 50 percent of its revenue from government contracts to clean up oil spills and military bombing ranges.

Tanadgusix's shareholders are the Native residents of St. Paul, a village of 700 people on a remote Bering Sea island.

The floating dock, the length of almost two football fields, was built in 1944 and required significant cleanup and repairs.

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