Alaska Digest

Posted: Monday, September 03, 2007

Neighbors protest waste disposal plant

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ANCHORAGE - A proposed hazardous waste treatment plant in a populated section of Anchorage has neighbors and one legislator objecting.

The company that hopes to run Alaska's first such plant counters that its land is zoned industrial and the plant will be safe, clean and necessary.

Pacific Environmental Corp. plans to build the 6,000-square-foot building at Ingra Street and First Avenue on sloping, vacant land now ringed with alder. The plant would treat paint, oil, antifreeze and brake fluid but not cyanide or chemical weapons, company officials said.

The plant would use heated and pressurized water to break apart organic waste at a molecular level until it's no longer hazardous, according to the manufacturer. The device is manufactured for use in Alaska by the same defense contractor that makes Predator spy planes for the military.

The Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens chaired at the time, included $5 million for the project in the 2006 and 2007 defense appropriations bills.

Stevens sponsored funding as an environmentally friendly way to reduce the cost of shipping hazardous waste out of state, said a Stevens aide.

The plant would be the first of its kind. The Air Force would study the reliability of the process and its costs in hopes of using similar plants on military bases, according to Pacific Environment.

A neighbor, Ron Alleva, said it should be tested elsewhere. He said the plant would be an accident waiting to happen in the middle of a busy neighborhood.

Pacific Environment Corp. environmental scientist Carl Overpeck, who would manage the waste treatment plant if it's built, disagrees.

Plans for disposing of hazardous waste are a natural progression for a firm that cleans up the stuff, he said.

The company will not bring in waste to treat from out of state and is no longer considering treatment of pesticides and herbicides because people are worried about those chemicals, he said.

Subway restaurants robbed in Fairbanks

FAIRBANKS - Two Subway restaurants were robbed on consecutive nights in Fairbanks and police are looking for a man in his 20s.

The first robbery took place late Thursday at a restaurant on Airport Way across the street from the city's movie theaters, Regal Cinemas.

A gunman walked in through an unlocked back door. Two employees were present.

The second robbery took place at a Subway in the Teddy Bear Plaza in west Fairbanks at Airport Way and University Avenue.

The robber waited until just closing time at 10 p.m. and entered the store through a back door. The door had been unlocked by an employee taking out garbage, said Tim Elbell, who has part ownership in all but one of the Subway restaurants in the Fairbanks area. Three employees were present.

Elbell would not comment on the amount of money taken in the robberies.

"As far as the money goes, it's not such a big deal," Elbell said.

He was more concerned with the effect on the people inside. No customers were in the store, and no one was hurt.

"This kind of thing, it traumatizes the people who work for you," Elbell said.

He said the second robbery took personnel off guard.

"I think they sort of expected that we wouldn't be expecting it. To be honest, we really weren't," Elbell said. "That's all changed now."

Witnesses described the robber as 6-feet-tall man. He wore a hooded sweat shirt and glasses or sunglasses. He brandished a gun in both robberies, Fairbanks police reported.

The restaurant owner has tightened security at all the shops, he said.

Man dies of injuries in wreck with moose

FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks man has died from injuries suffered when the car he was riding in struck a moose.

Clyde Dunlap, 88, a resident of Fairbanks for 56 years, died Friday at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital after doctors stopped sedating him, said Marna Kranenburg, one of his three grandchildren. He died about 7 p.m., shortly after opening his eyes and taking one last look at his wife of 65 years, Martha Dunlap, Kranenburg said.

"We never thought it would be a moose," she said. "At least it was an Alaskan way to step out."

Dunlap and his wife last week had traveled to Tok to see their daughter.

Martha Dunlap was driving north at about 2:30 p.m. on the Richardson Highway in Salcha when a large bull moose ran in front of their 2000 Subaru.

Martha Dunlap said she did not see the moose until it was too late. The animal slid across the Subaru's hood. She managed to maintain control of the demolished car and steer it off the road. The crash killed the moose.

Both Dunlaps were wearing their seat belts, Alaska State Troopers said.

Alaskans compete in facial hair contest

LONDON - Hundreds of shaggy men competed Saturday to see who had the bushiest, longest and most sculpted whiskers in the World Beard & Mustache Championships.

About 250 contestants took part in the competition in Brighton, England, lining up before panels of judges to compete in 17 different classes of facial hair.

Mustache categories include the "Dali" - slender with long tips, straight or arching up - and the big and bushy "Hungarian," while the beard categories ranged from the shorter "Verdi" to the rounder, more expansive "Garibaldi."

Those with particularly fanciful fuzz - like one man who showed up with a beard sculpted into the shape of London's Tower Bridge - were invited to compete in the freestyle categories.

Two Alaskans are competing in the event.

George Haskins, of Fairbanks, Alaska, sports a handlebar mustache measuring 20 inches across.

Dave Traver of Anchorage, Alaska is the perennial winner of the beard competition at the Fur Rendezvous in his home city, which will host the World Beard and Moustache Championships in March 2009.

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