State Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Alaska snow heads to Puerto Rico

ANCHORAGE - A truckload of Alaska snow is headed to Puerto Rico so children there can build snowmen.

Workers on Sunday loaded about 65,000 pounds of snow from an Anchorage parking lot into a tractor trailer truck. They cooled the trailer to 10 degrees Fahrenheit and began the long drive to Elizabeth, N.J., where the shipment will be loaded onto a container ship for San Juan.

Once there, the load will be dumped on the floor of a refrigerated warehouse so children can play in the snow, for a price.

Each November, a Canadian export company ships about seven truckloads of snow to Puerto Rico for the annual carnival celebrations, the company said.

Typically, snow can be found on Canada's east coast by November. But as the due date loomed earlier this month, Canada's maritime provinces were dry. The Rockies, Alberta, British Columbia and even Arctic Northwest Territories had little snow.

To ensure the carnival has enough snow, the company wanted the Alaska shipment. The 65,000 pounds of Alaska snow cost about 50 cents per pound to get to Puerto Rico. Once there, event organizers will charge about $10 for access to it.

Bears charge Juneau family

JUNEAU - A man, woman and dog are safe today after two brown bears charged them Monday afternoon near West Glacier Trail at the Mendenhall Glacier, police said.

The woman called 911 around 3 p.m. from her cell phone and said two bears had cornered her a mile away from the trailhead. As she hid behind a tree, her boyfriend and their dog jogged by, police said. Distracted by the movement, the bears ran after the man and his dog, who continued up the trail for a quarter of a mile, police said. When the police arrived the bears were gone, police said.

Police said both the man and the woman later said the bears came within feet of them, flared their nostrils, growled, made popping sounds with their jaws and charged them.

State honored for repatriation

ANCHORAGE - A group of state transportation employees has won national recognition for working with families of long-dead tuberculosis victims whose remains were in a bunker that had to be moved during an airport expansion in Sitka last year.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials gave the Alaska Department of Transportation staffers an award for outstanding internal teamwork in the airport project. It involved finding the relatives of 147 victims of a post-World War II tuberculosis epidemic.

"The neat thing about this is it provided closure to a lot of people: whatever happened to Uncle Harry, what happened to Mom," project supervisor Frank Mielke said of the effort known as "The Journey Back Home."

The Alaska team was among seven projects nationwide to receive the award out of 110 nominated.

During the tuberculosis epidemic, people had come from all over the state to be treated at the public-health service hospital in Sitka. It was a monumental task to find the families or other representatives who could say where the bodies should finally rest.

"Virtually every Native in the state had a relative there," Mielke told the Anchorage Daily News.

Relatives or representatives were found for nearly every body, and repatriations were done in summer 2000.

Quake strikes near Attu Island

ANCHORAGE - A strong earthquake struck near the western end of the Aleutian Islands early this morning.

The Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer said the quake occurred at 1:43 a.m. It had a magnitude of 5.7 and was located 130 miles northwest of Attu Island.

The quake was seven miles deep. There were no immediate reports of injury or damage.

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