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AK Beat: Alaska Air National Guard transports typhoon Haiyan refugees

Active duty Airmen from the 517th Airlift Squadron and Alaska Air Guardsmen from the 249th Squadron serving in "Operation Damayan," storm relief work in the Philippines have transported more than 1,000 refugees to safety. There are currently three Alaska-based C-17 crews operating in the Philippines. MSgt. Brian Johnson photo / U.S. Air Guard

Alaska Air Guard evacuates super typhoon survivors: While their home was being ravaged by freezing rain, snow, ice and high winds, nine members of the Alaska Air National Guard were 5,300 miles away -- helping survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which has killed more than 5,200 people. Three C-17 Globe Master cargo aircraft have flown from Anchorage to Kadena Air Force Base, in Japan, to assist with transporting supplies and evacuees -- including a bleeding pregnant woman who was 11 days overdue. So far, the Guardsmen have airlifted more than 1,000 people to safety as the Philippines struggles to recover from the super typhoon that ravaged the country two weeks ago.

GCI, KTUU chess game continues: On Friday, GCI and KTUU individually announced they are still in talks to keep KTUU programming alive and well in Juneau and Southeast Alaska. Cable provider GCI recently acquired the NBC affiliates in those communities. Because of an ongoing squabble over the cost of each entity (KTUU and GCI) doing business with the other, GCI dropped KTUU programming from its rural cable systems on Nov. 8. Although the dispute remains unresolved, centered on what’s known in the television industry as a carriage agreement, GCI has agreed to keep KTUU on the air in Juneau and Southeast via its newly acquired stations KATH-TV and KSCT-TV. GCI and KTUU have given each other until Dec. 6 to work things out. If the Dec. 6 deadline is met, KTUU has said GCI will restore KTUU programming to the some 7,000 rural cable subscribers who lost it a few weeks ago. Dec. 2 is the planned launch date for GCI’s foray into the world of news production. Through subsidiary Denali Media, it also purchased Anchorage-based KTVA, a CBS affiliate, and has spent an immense amount of money building a new studio and assembling a news staff to go head-to-head with KTUU.

Records fall in Valdez: A storm bearing down on Valdez, a port town in Prince William Sound and the southern terminus for the Trans-Alaska pipeline, brought more than snow plows and kids exhaustively shoveling the white stuff. The Friday storm broke three precipitation records for the community, which is well accustomed to heavy snow. It dumped 20.4 inches of snow, which broke the old daily record for Nov. 22 by nearly six inches; the previous record had been set in 1987. If that wasn’t enough, there were also 3.48 inches of precipitation, more than double the old record of 1.53 inches set in 2002. By the National Weather Service’s account, with this storm Valdez also broke an even bigger record. The weather service’s Valdez office said the annual precipitation total was 93.51 inches as of 9 a.m. Saturday. The old annual record was 93.3 inches set in 1981. Intermittent snow showers may continue through Sunday night.