One dead, one missing after boat capsizes
JUNEAU - One man is dead and his brother missing after a boat carrying family members capsized in Hoonah Sound, the Coast Guard said Sunday.
Three brothers and their father were in a skiff setting crab pots when a line became entangled in the boat's propeller. The boat capsized Saturday night, the Coast Guard said.
Ken Decker Jr., died and brother Jim remains missing, the Coast Guard said.
Their brother Tim Decker and father, Ken Decker Sr., were spotted by a fishing vessel on a beach at Moser Island, the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard cutter Naushon was dispatched to search for the missing man along with a helicopter from the air station in Sitka and the Alaska State Troopers, the Coast Guard said.
Alaska delegation balks at Bush overtime changes
FAIRBANKS - Both of Alaska's senators backed a move that could derail Bush administration plans to revamp overtime rules.
Sens. Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski were among six GOP lawmakers to support a Democratic amendment that would prohibit the administration from spending money on its proposed new overtime rules.
The amendment by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, was tacked on to the annual Labor Department spending bill. It was approved 54-45.
"This is the single most vocalized issue we've heard about since the senator has been in office," said Murkowski spokeswoman Kristin Pugh.
Stevens said Friday that he hadn't heard too much from his constituents before the vote, but he figured that was because most knew he opposed the administration's plans.
Murkowski was unable to get assurances from the Labor Department about how the rules would affect Rural Alaska health aides, teacher aides and some oil pipeline workers, Pugh said.
The new federal rules, proposed by Labor Secretary Elaine Cho in March, would change which jobs qualify for overtime, expanding extra pay for many low-income workers and eliminating it for some highly paid employees.
Labor Department estimates about 1.3 million people would join the eligible list, while only 640,000 would fall off.
The Bush administration says its changes would create net increases in the number of workers eligible for overtime pay.
But the Economic Policy Institute, a union-backed research group, estimates the administration change would eliminate overtime eligibility for 8 million workers.
Legislator: Security rule shouldn't include Alaska fishing boats
KENAI - Alaska fishing boats should not be required to install expensive tracking gear called for under new Homeland Security rules, a state lawmaker said.
Rep. Paul Seaton, a commercial fisherman who owns two fishing tenders, wants Alaska fishing boats exempted from federal regulations on security.
Seaton, a Republican from Homer, said the new gear is expensive and unnecessary.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security issued an interim rule in July requiring some vessels to install new Automatic Identification System.
The gear is intended to aid ships in avoiding collisions and protect security in key ports and waterways. It allows for identification, easy tracking and ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore exchanges of navigational information.
In Alaska, the devices would be required by July 2004 on certain vessels sailing in the areas such as Prince William Sound.
The U.S. Coast Guard estimated the first-year cost would be around $9,330 when training and installation are considered. The devices cost about $7,000.
Just how many ships in Alaska waters would be affected is not known.
Park Service reopens road into Denali Park
FAIRBANKS - Conditions along the 82-mile road in the Denali National Park and Preserve have improved enough to allow winners of the road lottery to make their trip to Kantishna.
Snow and ice prevented lottery winners from traveling beyond the 53-mile mark of the road on Friday. It was the first of four days within the year in which motorists are allowed beyond the Savage River, 15 miles west of the park entrance.
The remainder of the road is closed for the rest of the year except to shuttle busses and official vehicles.
The National Weather Service said clear weather is expected at the park through Monday when the road is scheduled to be closed for the season.
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