Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, August 01, 2004

Four dead in plane crash

ANCHORAGE - Four people heading to a fishing excursion died when their plane crashed near the mouth of an Alaska river, authorities said Saturday.

A Montana family was on board the Cessna 170, which crashed about 6:15 p.m. Friday near the Kustatan River on the west side of Cook Inlet, about 70 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Alaska State Troopers identified the dead as Broadview, Mont., residents Joleen Joy Dyess, 38, her husband William Christopher Dyess, 29, and her daughter Taryn Marie Pitsch, 17. Also killed was the pilot, Christopher Copple, 43, of Kenai.

The four were heading to the Kustatan River, a popular fishing spot for silver salmon, when the plane went down, said trooper Sgt. Dan Donaldson.

There were no survivors.

The plane was destroyed on impact, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Troopers were still interviewing witnesses Saturday and the National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation.

Assembly to meet with School Board

JUNEAU - The Juneau Assembly will hold a special meeting at noon Tuesday in the Juneau School District's boardroom at 12th Street and Glacier Avenue.

The Assembly and the Juneau School Board will discuss the roles of the two bodies in developing school construction projects, the items on the October ballot, and development of the district's six-year construction plan.

Committees of the Assembly have recommended that a bond measure to build a high school at Dimond Park be placed on the October ballot, as well as a measure to redirect to school maintenance projects $18 million in previously approved school bonds.

Dead whale found on Glacier Bay beach

JUNEAU - A dead humpback whale was found Friday on a beach at Strawberry Island in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, park officials said Saturday.

The whale was a juvenile male about 28 feet long. Officials don't know how it died, but they will conduct a necropsy to determine a cause of death.

Crew from the park concession's day tour boat spotted the dead whale on the southeast side of the island.

Humpback whales are an endangered species and are protected by federal law. Even disturbing the whale remains without a permit is against the law, officials cautioned.

Calling all berry-pickers

JUNEAU - Friends of Eaglecrest will hold the second annual Blueberry Festival at Eaglecrest Ski Area on Saturday, Aug. 7 and 8.

On Saturday there will be blueberry picking and a hike on the Cropley Lake Trail starting at 10 a.m. at the Hooter lift.

On Sunday there will be a farmer's market and craft show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will include music, games and a blueberry culinary contest. Entries must be submitted by noon for the 1 p.m. judging.

Crabbers say no to buyout

ANCHORAGE - Bering Sea crab fishermen have voted against a proposed federal buyout that would have trimmed the commercial fleet.

The vote follows a miscalculation by the federal government about the economic advantages to fishermen, who initially favored the buyout.

The mistake was discovered after the first vote in June, forcing officials to make new calculations and schedule another vote by crabbers.

A federal official said Thursday it was clear that too few fishermen had voted yes for the buyout to proceed.

Voting yes would have obligated those remaining in the fishery to repay the government $100 million as a 30-year loan in exchange for retiring 28 of the fleet's approximately 260 boats that compete for king and snow crab in the region.

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