Northwest Digest

Posted: Monday, September 12, 2005

Search continues for missing hunter

CAMP DENALI, Alaska - The search continued Sunday for an Illinois hunter missing in a remote area of southcentral Alaska.

The hunter, whose identity has not been released, was last heard from Thursday near Beaver Mountain, about 50 miles northwest of Lake Iliamna.

Lt. Col. Steve Politsch, a spokesman for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, said the man was an experienced hunter, but did not have a gun or any known survival gear with him.

"We are continuing our search today with additional aircraft from the Civil Air Patrol," Politsch said Sunday. The missing man's name has not been released.

Alaska Air National Guard rescue personnel aboard two different types of aircraft were searching Sunday. Two search dogs and about 20 volunteers were helping out with the ground search, Politsch said.

By late afternoon, the aircraft had to be recalled because of deteriorating weather and low visibility. The people doing the ground search were expected to spend the night in the search area and continue the search today.

Contractor quits power plant project

FAIRBANKS - The contractor on a $75 million project to expand the North Pole power plant quit last week, saying the project is over-budget and behind schedule.

HC Price Co., an international pipeline and power-plant building firm, gave Golden Valley Electric Association Inc. notice it planned to lay off workers and transfer control of the project back to GVEA, said Dianne Porter, company spokeswoman.

Seventy percent of the plant is yet to be built.

The move came after the contractor told the utility of the problems with the project, Porter said. When the utility was told of the problems, it asked HC Price to discontinue work.

Porter said that meant some work continued, but the two sides entered into talks. The talks reportedly ended Thursday when HC Price decided to bow out.

Construction work will be scaled back to time- and weather-dependent activities, Porter said. For example, welding will continue on a heat-recovery steam generator, because special equipment had to be rented.

Three die in rockslide on Interstate 90

EASTON, Wash. - Three women were killed early Sunday when a hillside gave way along Interstate 90 near Snoqualmie Pass and crushed their car.

A large section of rock fell in the westbound lanes just after 1 a.m., Washington State Patrol Trooper Kelly Spangler said. The road was closed near Easton, about 70 miles southeast of Seattle, until about 2:30 p.m.

The names of the women - all 28 years old - were not being released because their families had not been notified, the patrol said at midafternoon. Two of the women were from Bothell and Lynnwood, north of Seattle, and the third was from Castle Rock, near Longview, about 150 miles south of the city near the Oregon border.

Investigators believe ths slide may have been triggered by recent rainfall.

Department of Transportation engineers worked to stabilize the hillside about 2 miles west of the pass.

Okanogan wildfire 90 percent contained

PATEROS, Wash. - Crews on Sunday were close to completing lines around a wildfire burning in northcentral Washington.

The Squaw Creek fire, about eight miles northwest of town, was 90 percent contained at 1,100 acres Sunday, according to the Washington Interagency Incident Management Team assigned to the fire.

More than 440 firefighters are assigned to the fire. They focused Sunday on putting out hot spots and mopping up around the fire's perimeter.

No injuries had been reported.

One unoccupied residence was destroyed.

The cause remained under investigation, although it was believed to have been caused by a person. The fire started Thursday in mountainous terrain, grass, brush, and orchards on private land.

Team back from helping storm victims

SEATAC, Wash. - A team of doctors, pharmacists and other emergency professionals from King County have returned home after nearly two weeks helping victims of the Hurricane Katrina.

The group left Aug. 28, on orders from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and was in Houston when the hurricane slammed into the Gulf Coast. Members were inside the New Orleans Superdome when the levees failed.

A 28-member search and rescue team from Washington state was also sent to the region to provide emergency medical treatment, evaluate and stabilize damaged buildings, and assess and control natural gas and electrical service and hazardous materials.

"None of us had ever seen anything like it in our careers - not Vietnam, not 9/11," said Dr. Christopher Sanford, who arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Saturday with 35 physicians, nurses and paramedics making up Washington-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

The team of volunteers trains year-round and has responded to hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, said Marty La Fave, the team's deputy commander.

The group was one of the first medical teams diverted to the New Orleans Airport when it became clear the Superdome was no longer safe.

At the airport, crowds of people were on the floor, begging for food and water. Some were dying. Armed with medicine, a portable lab, large tents and electrocardiogram machines, the medical team set up a makeshift hospital and treated as many people as possible.

The pharmacy was operated out of a tavern near the airport.

Dalai Lama: Fight violence with peace

HAILEY, Idaho - With his amplified words bouncing off the mountains surrounding Sun Valley, the Dalai Lama told a crowd of e-ranging address by the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists touched on the Chinese occupation of his homeland, the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and Gulf Coast hurricane destruction.

The Dalai Lama brought the crowd to giggles with his mix of one-liners and a look of good-natured surprise.

The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner - for his advocacy of nonviolent resistance to China's occupation of Tibet, from which he's been exiled since 1959 - urged victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina to turn their tragedies into something that makes them stronger.

"Your sadness, your anger will not solve the problem," the 70-year old monk said. "More sadness, more frustration only brings more suffering for yourself."

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