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AK Beat: Cordova achieves TsunamiReady designation

Alaska Dispatch

Cordova is TsunamiReady: The Prince William Sound town of Cordova last week was added to the list of Alaska communities that are designated “TsunamiReady” under a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration safety program. Cordova, located close to the epicenter of the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964, received its formal designation at a March 19 city council meeting. Cordova officials used the occasion to pay tribute to residents of Chenega, the nearby Native village that was destroyed 50 years ago by the quake and the tsunamis that followed, said Cindy Preller, NOAA’s tsunami program manager for Alaska. 

Boater rescued near Petersburg: The U.S. Coast Guard says it rescued a boater on a small island near Petersburg on Tuesday after the man’s skiff broke down. Coast Guard watchstanders in Juneau got calls from the boater’s family; they were worried as he was two hours overdue from a trip from Greens Camp to Banana Point at the south end of Mitkof Island the previous night. He departed Greens Camp in a 14-foot skiff without communications equipment, the Guard reported. Initially, search-and-rescue personnel on the ground did a shoreline search along the Mitkof road system and spotted the missing mariner on the island 150 yards from shore. They couldn’t reach him due to bad weather -- 40 mph winds and 7-foot seas -- so they deployed a Jayhawk helicopter crew that hoisted the man from the island “and transported him to Petersburg in good condition.” The broken-down skiff will be recovered later. The Guard used the incident to remind boaters to carry multiple means of communication when traveling on the water.

In zombie showdown, Alaskans are likely winners: Congratulations are in order for Alaska and its gun-carrying, outdoors-loving, overall bad-ass population. The latest in the Internet's seemingly endless parade of lists and rankings has named the Last Frontier the state most likely able to survive a zombie apocalypse. The list, compiled by Estately, uses as its criteria factors including the number of active military personnel, military veterans, people with survival skills and paintball enthusiasts. Estately claims that because Alaskans are no strangers to running from bears and moose, they will not fear "slow-moving corpses." New Jersey, however, is doomed.

Car, foot chase leads to arrest: A car chase that reached speeds of about 100 mph in Wasilla ended in arrest for the vehicle’s two occupants Monday afternoon, according to Alaska State Troopers. Troopers said they attempted a traffic stop shortly before 3 p.m. Monday near the intersection of Seward Meridian Parkway and Steven Drive. The 1998 Kia Sportage, however, failed to stop, and fled from troopers at high speed, they reported. Eventually, though, the vehicle’s driver lost control and the car crashed near Nelson Road, troopers said. At the point the two occupants fled on foot into the woods, where they were tracked and eventually discovered hiding, with the help of a police dog, said troopers. The driver, 20-year-old Jared Noya, of Wasilla, was charged with felony eluding, not having a valid operating license, reckless driving and criminal trespass, troopers said. The passenger, 22-year-old Shelbie Barden, of St. Maries, Idaho, was charged with criminal trespass and hindering prosecution, troopers said, and the two were remanded to Mat-Su Pretrial Facility.

Condi stumps for Sullivan: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is out with a new ad that takes on the question of Senate candidate Dan Sullivan’s Alaska residency head on, notes the Washington Post. The ad casts Sullivan’s decision to live in the Beltway during his time in the Bush White House as a sacrifice he made to serve his country and his decision to bring his family along proof of his devotion as a family man, not disregard for an adopted home state. Sullivan, who has deep roots in Ohio, has been characterized by opponents as not having a strong connection to Alaska. The ad marks the first for Condoleezza Rice this campaign cycle, the Post notes, but it’s certainly not the first in the race for Alaska’s Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mark Begich. The race has already seen lots of outside money, which has generated several controversial ads.

Remembering the 1964 Earthquake outside Alaska: Although Alaska was the epicenter of the 1964 Good Friday earthquake -- and the hardest hit -- the quakes effects reached beyond the 49th state’s borders -- well beyond. As Alaska remembers the disaster on its 50th anniversary, other regions are marking the date as well. Portland’s Oregonian has a piece that includes accounts of survivors of the tsunami that washed ashore there, killing four, as well as a trove of photos of the damage the wave inflicted on that state’s coast. Just south into California, where Crescent City bore some of the worst of the damage the tsunami inflicted Outside, the Triplicate marked the day with a few stories including one following middle schoolers as they learn about the great wave. Crescent City was also hit by a tsunami following the March 2011 earthquake in Japan (though the damage was less significant), which prompted a $54 million rebuilding project, one that makes it the first West Coast port to be tsunami resistant, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Cracks put early end to Navy sea ice camp: An U.S. Navy camp erected on the Arctic sea ice about 150 miles north of Prudhoe Bay as part of naval submarine exercises in the region had to be abandoned prematurely, due to cracks in the ice, reported the Associated Press. Camp Nautilus, as it was known, was supposed to last through March 30th, but was taken down due do the cracks on Sunday, the Navy said. No one was hurt, and the exercise will continue without the camp, officials said, and before it was dismantled, at least one VIP was able to visit; Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine, flew to the camp in a single-engine plane and visited the submarine USS New Mexico, the AP reported.